Friday, August 12, 2011

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 12 August 2011 - 18 August 2011

Been a while since I've done one of these, so if I'm not clear on what's a new release in Boston and what isn't, bear with me.

  • The big opening this week appears to be Final Destination 5, which was a last-minute addition that I didn't see at Fantasia because I figured I'd have to get to the Scotia Bank Cinemas quickly after my last screening of the day, and a midnight film when you have to work the next day can be rough. Oh, and I haven't seen any of the first four. I'm hearing mixed things, although apparently even some of the usual 3D-haters are saying that this looks pretty good in that format.

    Also opening in 3D (for a two-week limited engagement) is a Glee 3D Concert Movie, and that's certainly a thing that exists. Civil rights drama The Help opened Wednesday, and looks pretty good for a "civil rights seen through the eyes of privileged white people" movie. And then there's 30 Minutes or Less, a comedy with Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, and Danny McBride where a group of friends must rob a bank or be blown up by a bomb strapped to one's chest.

  • Landing between mainstream and boutique (both in terms of distribution and on this list) is The Guard, a buddy movie that teams Brendan Gleeson as a small-town Irish Constable and Don Cheadle as an uptight American FBI agent. The premise is somewhat generic, but since both Gleeson and Cheadle are really good, I'm guessing that they elevate it. This plays at both AMC Boston Common and the Landmarks in Kendall Square (Cambridge) and Embassy Square (Waltham). Both are still playing The Devil's Double, which I saw at Fantasia (it's decent), which is more than can be said about Cold Fish (apparently its lack of an MPAA rating is keeping it out of AMC and no other place in Boston is picking it up).

  • Kendall Square gets one new film, one second run, and one re-issue this week. The new one is Point Blank, a French action-adventure about a man forced to break a gangster out of the hospital or his pregnant wife gets it. Looking forward to this, as the French do not mess around with their genre films. The second run is for The Tree of Life - at least, I don't think it was playing last week (I'm pretty sure it was done before I left for Montreal). And the one-week calendar booking is for a new 35mm print of David Bowie in Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth.

  • The two new films at the Coolidge this week opened at Kendall Square last week, but Sarah's Key is playing the main screen in Brookline, and wouldn't you rather see it there? It features Kristen Scott Thomas as an American journalist who learns that her French husband's family home was seized from a family of Jews during WWII and strives to discover what has happened to them. Meanwhile, The Future is playing in the screening room, and features a self-centered couple doing ridiculous, selfish things when confronted by the awesome life change that is owning a cat.

    Going back to the big screen, Friday and Saturday feature Sam Raimi's Army of Darkness at 11:59pm. Should be a blast, although be warned: The audience is almost guaranteed to be quoting it non-stop. Monday night (the 15th), there's a "Summer Fun Flicks" screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - the 1970s version with Gene Wilder in 35mm.

  • The Brattle is being used for the National Poetry Slam Semi-Finals tonight (with a digital screening of poetry-slam movie Louder than a Bomb at 11pm), but has a bunch of exciting programs for the rest of the week. Saturday (13 August) - Monday (15 August), there's the original 1957 3:10 to Yuma, which is just as good as the more recent version and should look fantastically crisp in a new black-and-white 35mm print. It doesn't get a whole day to itself, though; on Saturday and Sunday, the 9:30pm show is Skatetown USA, a roller disco movie featuring Scott Baio, Flip Wilson, Maureen McCormick, and Patrick Swayze which hit theaters just as roller disco died, and is thus apparently ripe for unearthing.

    Monday, meanwhile, features matinees of the Bernard Hermann-scored double feature also playing on Tuesday (the 16th) - The 7th Voyage of Sinbad & Jason and the Argonauts. That's Bernard Hermann and Ray Harryhausen, folks. The other composer centennial series runs on Thursdays, and the 18th features another matched pair - Nino Rota scoring two Franco Zeffirelli Shakespeare films, Romeo and Juliet & The Taming of the Shrew. In between, on Wednesday the 17th, there's a double feature of "Recent Raves" - The Runner, in which a marathoner escapes from bank robberies on foot, and Viva Riva!, in which a small-time Congolese crook makes it big and has to face down other players in the African underworld.

  • A few doors down, the Harvard Film Archive has programs that feature three very different directors. On Friday and Saturday evenings, two of George Kuchar's "Weather Diaries" films will screen (#1 on Friday, #3 on Saturday, both with other shorts). Most of the rest of the weekend is the tail end of a Monte Hellman retrospective ("All Roads Lead to Nowhere"), featuring Silent Night, Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out! on Friday at 10pm, Iguana and Cockfighter on Sunday (5pm & 7pm, respectively), and Fight to Fury on Monday at 7pm, the latter playing with "Stanely's Girlfriend", his segment of the otherwise-unimpressive Trapped Ashes anthology. And on Saturday night, there's a rescheduled screening of Somewhere in the Night, part of a "Complete Joseph L. Makiewicz" series.

  • The Museum of Fine Arts is spending most of August on a series of New and Restored Prints, all struck from the original negatives. This weekend (the 12th-14th), the films in question are The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963) and Age of Consent (Michael Powell, 1969); next weekend's selection (starting Wednesday the 17th) is Went the Day Well? (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1942), along with new Peruvian film Octubre.

  • And, finally, the Indian movie playing at Fresh Pond this week is Aarakshan, a drama and romance that apparently is courting some controversy on the subcontinent because the subject that serves as its backdrop (an educational quota system for different castes and ethnicities) is in the news there thanks to a recent court decision.

My plans? Man, I don't know - I'm just a bit burnt out after Fantasia (71 films in 22 days is a lot, and I've only reviewed half of them!). I suspect I'll take in Point Blank, The Guard and maybe The Man Who Fell to Earth, maybe making my way out to the museum to see Age of Consent so that Helen Mirren when she was young and sexy can blow my mind. Plus, there is a bit of catch-up of what I missed while north of the border.

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