Friday, April 01, 2011

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 1 April 2011 - 7 April 2011

Next Week in Tickets is officially an April Fools-free zone this year, no matter how much fun that might be. This includes The Last Godfather. I'm crazy behind this week, have stuff needed for work, and I'm even giving "This Week" an off-week [at least, until the double-sized BUFF extravaganza (note: may not actually be an extravaganza) next week]. But, since there's stuff to be excited about here, let's get right to it!

  • Source Code opens! All my friends who saw it either at SXSW or critics' screenings came out very excited, which is impressive, because most of them (like me) are big fans of Duncan Jones's first feature, Moon, and thus had heightened expectations. It's also got a great cast (Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright) and a nifty sci-fi storyline. The only thing holding back my enthusiasm is that it seems to be almost-exclusively in DLP cinemas, getting neither 35mm prints (except at Fresh Pond) nor the premium rooms (I'd have paid the RPX prices on this one, Regal). Oh well, you only really notice that during the credits, most of the time.

    For those who lean more to the horror side of genre films, there's Insidious, a haunted house story by the makers of Saw. And while Lionsgate beat that franchise into the ground, the first one was darn good and these guys left fairly early in the process. Of course, their other work hasn't set the world on fire, but the same folks I know who liked Source Code had good things to say about Insidious.

    For the kids, there's Hop, with Russell Brand as the voice of the son of the Easter Bunny who finds his way to Los Angeles with the goal of becoming a drummer in a band. It looks mostly harmless. The movie at least looks like a nice blend of live action and CGI, and it's not in 3D, which should make the matinee with the kids a little less costly.

  • Also playing at the multiplexes is The Last Godfather, and it kind of boggles my mind that it's not just playing at Boston Common, but Fenway and Revere as well. It's the latest from Korean writer/director Shim Hyung-rae, last seen making the pretty darn bad Dragon Wars. Here, he steps back in front of the camera (before trying to conquer the American film business, he was best known as one of South Korea's most popular comedians) as the apparently developmentally disabled son of mobster Harvey Keitel, who has been brought back to 1950s New York to be his heir apparent. I suspect that like "D-War", this was a big hit in South Korea, but will get eaten alive here.

    In more encouraging "boutique movies at the multiplex news", Boston Common adds two screens' worth of Win Win (knocking Jane Eyre down to one) and also opens The Music Never Stopped, about a father trying to reconnect with his estranged son, who has a Memento-like inability to form new memories and thus really can't get past their previous animosity. It's a rare starring role for J.K. Simmons, a reliable and familiar supporting actor (I say he's got "That Guy" status).

  • For boutique movies in something closer to their natural environment, Kendall Square offers an almost completely revamped slate, with roughly half of the screens taken up by new releases. Likely the most multiplex-friendly is Super, in which a just-dumped nebbish (Rainn Wilson) decides to change his luck by dressing up as a superhero and fighting crime. It's from James Gunn, who made the pretty-fantastic Slither, and has a fun supporting cast - Keivn Bacon, Ellen Page, Nathan Fillion, Liv Tyler, Michael Rooker, and more.

    Also opening is Certified Copy, which features an interesting combination of talent: Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami and French actress Juliette Binoche, as a bookseller who meets and English writer in Italy. It appears to be a star vehicle for Binoche, and there's nothing wrong with that. Another director in an unexpected place is Tom Shadyac, a guy who is best known for comedies that don't exactly tax the mind, but who after a nasty injury changed his life completely, stripping it of excess and making I Am, a documentary about how to make the world a better place.

    Elsewhere, director Julian Schnabel returns with Miral, about a Palestinian girl being drawn into the Arab-Israeli conflict. It's in English and stars Frieda Pinto along with a few other familiar faces (Vanessa Redgrave, Willem Dafoe, Alexander Siddig, and Hiam Abbass, who seems to appear in every single movie made in that part of the world). And the one-week warning is attached to Die Fremde, a German film about a Turkish family in Berlin that still finds itself attached to old traditions with potentially deadly results. Note that there are no 9pm showtimes for this one, for some reason.

  • Strangely, Happythankyoumoreplease is not playing in any of the usual spots in metro Boston; to see it, you'll have to head out to the Embassy Cinema in Waltham (which is actually a fairly nice place, but not usually the only spot to see a movie. It's got a nice enough cast, but looks like a fairly weak interconnected-stories picture.

  • If you're into Bollywood, Game opens at Fresh Pond today. It's apparently neither a musical version of the David Fincher film nor a take on The Most Dangerous Game, more's the pity, but an action-oriented mystery taking place on a private island in Greece.

  • Extremely quiet week for the Brattle - they finish up their run of Cold Weather on Sunday, but if you see it this weekend, there's a chance to see it as part of a double feature - there's a 9pm screening of The Big Lebowski tonight, and a 3pm one on Satruday (replacing Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye on the schedule). The 3pm show on Sunday is Rear Window, which makes the 5:30pm Cold Weather a bonus.

    If you haven't gotten enough out-of-the-mainstream material from the Underground Film Festival, they've got you covered - Cinemental and Truth Serum has the latest installment of Bike Porn at midnight on Friday and Saturday, which is what it sounds like. On Wednesday evening (at a time still to be announced), they kick off the 10th anniversary of the 48 Hour Film Project with a screening of Be Kind, Rewind and previous entries in the short-film contest. They're closed the rest of the week, I'm guessing because the live theater playing there next weekend takes some set-up.

  • The Coolidge doesn't have any new openers, but they have a whole bunch of special events: Friday and Saturday they kick off their 1980s adventure midnight movie series with The Goonies, which I have somehow never seen. I am amused by them including one of my favorite actors in their credits as "Joey Pants". The Sunday morning "Talk Cinema" screening is Incendies, in which the reading of their mother's will leads a pair of twins to seek out the family they never knew they had. Also playing this week (in the screening room) are three films from Whole Foods's "Do Something Real" Film Festival: Vanishing of the Bees (Sunday the 3rd), Lunch Line (Monday the 4th) and On Coal River (Wednesday the 6th).

    Oh, and the stage performance of Frankenstein directed by Danny Boyle on Monday night, this time with Jonny Lee Miller playing the monster and Benedict Cumberbatch playing victor. Sold out right now, although they may release tickets that afternoon. I've got mine and I'm excited.

  • F. Murray Abraham is appearing in The Merchant of Venice on the Paramount's main stage, but he will take a moment before that starts to introduce Amadeus in the screening room upstairs on Friday night; the movie also runs Saturday afternoon. Saturday and Sunday evenings, they have a double feature of A Letter to Mother, a classic Yiddish film from 1939, and Mamadrama, a documentary on portrayals of Jewish mothers in Yiddish, Hollywood, and Israeli cinema.

  • At the MFA, the Boston Turkish Film Festival continues this weekend with four different films. On Wednesday (the 6th), the MFA starts something that's almost like a regular booking, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. It's the new one by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, in which a man near death returns to the forest and tells the story of not just his current life, but his past lives. It won last year's Palme d'Or at Cannes and its omission from the Oscar nominations caused a fair amount of confusion in some circles.

  • Race to Nowhere pops up again, this time Thursday (the 7th) night at the Arlington Regent. Down the street at the Arlington Capitol, a couple of other movies that played elsewhere open up for second runs: Kill the Irishman in the smaller screening room and The Fighter. Downtown, Stuart Street picks up Even the Rain, but only Friday through Sunday and only at 8:50pm (Black Swan plays at 4:25 and Inside Job at 6:35 all week).

  • And, finally... Baseball! I'm writing this while watching Sox-Rangers, and, man, this could cut into my movie watching just a bit (but help the reviewing, because it's great background material).

My plans? Since it looks like the game won't be done in time to see Cold Weather tonight, that's probably on deck for tomorrow. Maybe I'll head downtown for Source Code tonight. Sunday morning will probably be my last chance to catch Hubble 3-D for a second time, as the Aquarium shuffles their line-up next weekend. That'll put me downtown for a cheap show at Boston Common, with maybe something at the Coolidge later.

Or I can just sit, watch baseball, and actually make some headway on all these BUFF reviews.

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