Of course, in a lot of cases, they probably just spent last night mounting and unplugging hard drives. If that's the case, I'm a lot less sympathetic. Just make sure to use the right lens, OK? I seriously don't need another week of Roger Ebert and company retweeting a hundred variations of a story on how 3D is ruining everything because Boston theaters are having trouble with implementation.
- Two movies are opening today, Kung Fu Panda 2 and The Hangover Part II, and it strikes me that Panda is getting a pretty raw deal. It's opening on few, if any, IMAX screens because those are all still clogged with Pirates 4, and it seems to be getting a whole lot less coverage than Hangover (at my eFilmCritic stomping grounds right now, there are 4 Hangover reviews to 0 Panda reviews). This despite the fact that the original Kung Fu Panda was good and the original Hangover, well, wasn't.
- In addition to the two sequels, AMC Boston Common opens what is basically another franchise installment, Midnight In Paris, on two screens this Friday (the 27th); it also opens at Coolidge Corner and practically cleans house at Kendall Square, occupying three screens there. It's Woody Allen's latest, this time with the character of Woody Allen being played by Owen Wilson.
I kid, a bit. Wilson plays a writer on a vacation to Paris with his finacée, apparently finding himself much more enraptured by the city and the thought of the famous people who have lived there than Rachel McAdams. It seems to be getting some of Allen's best reviews in a while, and Sony's apparently got enough faith in it to give it a serious push.
- Three other movies open at Kendall Square, two of which have played local festivals in the past few months. The single-week booking is Sons of Perdition, an intriguing documentary about a polygamist cult's excess sons who live in de facto exile from their families. That one played IFFBoston; Hobo with a Shotgun made a stop as the opening night selection at BUFF. The title is a pretty concrete example of truth in advertising - Rutger Hauer plays a hobo who fights crime in a corrupt town with a shotgun. And then there's L'amour Fou, a documentary on the late Yves Saint-Laurent, framed by his longtime companion's sale of the couple's art collection.
- The Coolidge has two special screenings of Midnight In Paris; a "Box Office Babies" screening Friday afternoon and an "Off The Couch" show on Tuesday (31 May), after which you can discuss it with members of the Boston Psychiatric Society. The movie most likely to drive the audience to look for psychiatric help, though, is the weekend's late show, A Serbian Film (11:59pm Friday and Saturday). Widely described as both depraved and provocative, it follows a retired porn actor who agrees to one last job, not realizing how horrific it will be. You've got two options, running more or less simultaneously: The cut (but still NC-17-and-we-really-mean-it) version will play screen #1 in 35mm downstairs, while the uncut (and unsubtitled) will run off a Blu-ray Disc on screen #2 upstairs. You're on your own for this; I had the opportunity to see this at Fantasia last year and fully own my cowardice.
Other special screenings there over the next week include The Poll Diaries on Sunday the 29th at 11am; it's a German film about a family vacationing on the Baltic coast in 1914, just before war explode in Europe. On Monday, A Streetcar Named Desire plays at 7pm as part of the Big Screen Classics series; and for those who like their plays on stage where they belong, there's a simulcast of the new Broadway staging of The Importance of Being Earnest on Thursday (2 June).
- As was made painfully clear by the crowds in and around Harvard Square and on the Red Line last night and this morning, Harvard University graduates the class of 2011 today, with plenty of reunion activity going on around that. The Brattle jumps in with their Reunion Weekend series of noteworthy movies released 52x years ago. Blue Velvet (x=1) plays Friday; a double feature of Divorce, Italian Style and One, Two, Three (x=2 for both) runs on Saturday; and the x=3 pairing of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and My Man Godfrey on Sunday. Jim Jarmusch's Down By Law (x=1) plays 9:30pm shows Friday and Saturday, while a double feature of West Side Story (x=2) and Pretty In Pink (x=1) closes things off on Monday.
After a day to recover, the Brattle starts their next series on Wednesday, with Amblin Adventures showcasing the fun adventure movies either directed by Steven Spielberg or produced by his company. Wednesday (1 June) is a double feature of Spielberg's two first contact tales, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial; as near as I can tell,the runtimes indicate the "special edition" of Close Encounters (the one with scenes inside the ship) and the original version of E.T., but it can sometimes be hard to predict which cuts the distributors will actually send. Thursday (2 June) is a double feature of two Spielberg produced - Men In Black (directed by Barry Sonnenfeld) and The Goonies (directed by Richard Donner)
- It will be difficult to go wrong at ArtsEmerson's Paramount Theater this weekend: The Searchers plays Friday and Saturday night at 7pm, and it's one of the greatest Westerns ever made (in retrospect, my 2005 review underrates it). The 1935 Max Reinhardt adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream plays Saturday afternoon and Sunday night, tying in with Susurrus, the play interpreted as a guided walk through Boston's Public Gardens that runs through June 5th.
- The Harvard Film Archive presents Masterworks by Kaneto Shindo, a roughly chronological survey of the Japanese director's work that starts with 1952's Children of Hiroshima on Friday and ends with 2010's Postcard. Of the group, I can only vouch personally for Saturday night's Kuroneko, but that one is very good indeed.
- At the MFA, the Global Lens series wraps up with films from Georgia, Bosnia/Herzegovina and India. It is playing alongside Great Directors, which as the title implies centers on conversations with renowned filmmakers, including David Lynch, Ken Loach, Agnes Varda, and Todd Haynes. Both run through Sunday the 29th.
The next series is Art on Film, which opens Wednesday (1 June) with Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Secret Museums; also playing Thursday (2 June) is The Roundup, a co-presentation of the Boston Jewish Film Festival that tells the tale of how Paris's were arrested and imprisoned before being sent to Auschwitz. It features Jean Reno and Melanie Laurent and garnered both ticket sales and tremendous respect in France last year.
- Remember that The Somerville Theatre is playing Inventory again on Friday night in the "microcinema"; they also have a screen of second-run stuff that is moving over from the Kendall: Jane Eyre afternoons and at 7pm, and the thoroughly awesome 13 Assassins at 9:30pm. Still playing the Kendall but getting a jump on the second-run is Meek's Cutoff, which moves into the small digital room at the Coolidge. Over in Belmont, The Studio Cinema runs Rio for matinees and Water for Elephants and The King's Speech in the evening. Google even shows The King's Speech as being the original R-rated version.
My plans? Kung Fu Panda 2, using up expiring tickets at the Aquarium and Science Museum, and maybe catching up with Bridesmaids and Incendies (because, obviously, those two go together). And it will probably be difficult to avoid seeing Midnight in Paris; six or seven local screens is a lot, even by studio standards.