Fine, you're right. But we might as well take advantage of it!
- I refer, of course, to my not-quite-recent-any-more trip to Montreal for the Fantasia Festival, where one of the two films I saw opening night was Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, which opens this week at Kendall Square and is awesome. Sure, it's a movie that caters directly to my personal tastes - it's about a kung fu-fighting 9th Century Sherlock Holmes type trying to unravel a series of mysterious spontaneous combustions, with a revitalized Tsui Hark directing and action choreography by Sammo Hung - but, seriously, a whole crowd of not-me people in Montreal loved it, and it was a huge hit at NYAFF a week or so earlier. It is a ton of fun.
The Kendall opens another two foreign films as well, both of which look fairly entertaining: My Afternoons with Marguerite features Gerard Depardieu as a nearly-illiterate middle-aged man who discovers that there is a difference between being intelligent and being educated when he happens upon a little old lady reading aloud. The (intended) one-week booking is for Happy, Happy, a Norwegian film about a woman who is relentlessly upbeat even in the face of her husband's indifference and the sort of neighbors that usually provoke envy.
- One of the films they've got playing midnights this weekend at the Coolidge Corner Theatre is one that I'd hoped would show up at Fantasia but didn't; The Last Circus is the new one by Alex de la Iglesia - his first in years without his usual co-writer - which starts with a clown being drafted to fight the Spanish Civil War while still in costume and just gets weirder from there. I suspect you either love de la Iglesia or you don't, and I find him to be a guy who makes funny, exciting movies, so I'm thrilled to get a chance to see it on the big screen before it, too, quickly heads to video. The midnight screening for the other theater is Clueless, which I've heard is also pretty good. Otherwise, things stay pretty much the same there, the only addition being a program from the Manhattan Short Film Festival in the digital rooms; there will also be a live jazz performance on Monday.
(Note: At one point, the schedule included a screening of Kevin Smith's new movie Red State on Sunday, but it appears to have been dropped.)
- The Brattle has a different sort of music on tap, with the Cameron Crowe-directed documentary Pearl Jam Twenty getting the bulk of screenings this week. Bands that were popular when I was in high school having twentieth-anniversary shows makes me feel old, but this was a big enough deal to sell a preview out a few days ago. Take heed and buy tickets early, as pre-sales have evidently been unusually high!
It doesn't have the theater completely to itself, though; at 6pm on Friday night, The Runway screens in association with the Irish Film Festival; it's a family film about a South American pilot who crashes in a small Irish town, with only one person in the village able to speak Spanish. It's family friendly, with free popcorn for the first fifty kids. On Monday, the CineCaché program returns with a free preview of Martha Marcy May Marlene, in which an escaped cult member must confront both her recent past and the events that drew her to the cult in the first place. Wednesday evening, there's a presentation of of "The Greenhorns", a short documentary about young American farmers, with director Severine von Tscharner Fleming present. Thursday, there's a Harvard Book Store talk at 6pm, so the last showings of Pearl Jam Twenty will be at 8:30pm and 11:00pm.
- The stuff at the smaller theaters is the most attention-worthy stuff this weekend, but it's actually not a bad-looking week at the multiplex, either; even the lesser-looking stuff has interesting things about it. Abduction, for all that it looks like a watered down mash-up of The Bourne Identity and I Am Number Four, has some good people in its cast and John Singleton in the director's chair. The Killer Elite has a pretty ridiculous top three in the cast - Jason Statham, Clive Owen, and Robert De Niro - although we all know too well that the none of the three are particularly discriminating in the projects they choose these days. Dolphin Tale also has an impressive cast - Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Jdd, Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson - and the aquatic setting often makes for impressive 3D. All of them are in solid "can go one way or the other" territory.
The surest bet looks to be Moneyball, which lost Steven Soderbergh as director but gained Bennett Miller (who did nice work with Capote) and has a script by Steven Zallian and Aaron Sorkin. The book's been on my shelf for a while without being read, but most everybody interested in baseball has heard plenty about it. The trailers look pretty exceptional, so here's hoping it lives up to them.
Boston Common also has Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football opening; it's a documentary about a high-school football team in a Detroit suburb with a large Muslim population, whose big game coincides with the end of Ramadan.
- John Malkovich is going to be at Emerson's Paramount Theater on Thursday and Friday (the 29th and 30th) for two performances of The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a Serial Killer, so this weekend, they're running several of his films in the Bright Screening Room: The Killing Fields, A Talking Picture, Empire of the Sun, and Being John Malkovich. Saturday night, there will also be a "Radical Light" anthology, a set of short films spanning thirty-plus years that feature unusual storytelling techniques; Kathy Geritz of the Pacific Film Archive introduces it.
- Ms. Gertiz will also be introducing different "Radical Light" programs at the Harvard Film Archive on Monday (the 26th) and at MassArt on Wednesday (the 28th); the HFA screening caps their "American Punk" series. The main series running this weekend is Viva l'Italia! The Risorgimento on Screen, with Paisan and The Bandit of Tacca del Lupo on Friday and Little Ancient World Sunday afternoon. Director Matt Porterfield will be in town on Saturday to screen his new film Putty Hill; his previous film, Hamilton (also named after a Baltimore neighborhood), screens on Sunday evening.
- The Museum of Fine Arts kicks off a month-long series Celebrating World Cinema this Friday; films screening over the weekend include The Green, Miral, and The Lips, with Shadows and Faces and Lights Out joining the lineup on Wednesday. The Art on Film series also continues through the weekend, including screenings of Wild Style on Sunday in tandem with a lecture on Graffiti and Contemporary Art.
- One Hindi-language movie (with subtitles) at Fresh Pond this weekend, Mausam. It's a dramatic love story that takes place over a ten year period between 2000 and 2010, incorporating real-world events in the narrative.
- All Things Horror presentations generally take place once a month in the small screening room at the Somerville Theatre, but this weekend it appears to have moved up to one of the larger screens to present the Viscera Film Festival, which celebrates women in horror filmmaking. Both Friday and Sunday nights will include different programs of Viscera-selected short films; Friday night director Maude Michaud will introduce her documentary Bloody Breasts, while Sunday will feature a program of shorts by Izabel Grondin and Karen Lam's feature Stained.
- The Regent Theatre in Arlington has two film presentations this week: FIX: The Ministry Movie, a documentary about one of the best-known and loved industrial rock bands, plays Wednesday (28 September) at 8pm; "Reel Rock" is an adventure film tour whose latest installment plays Thursday (29 September) at the same time.
My plans? The Last Circus is actually the one I'm most excited to see, although I'd really like to get a second viewing of Detective Dee in. Moneyball will probably grab some time, and I intend to be at Martha Marcy May Marlene. And I'll probably catch The Killer Elite from among the other new openings. Anything else depends on just how much it rains and how much baseball disgusts me between now and the upcoming end of the regular season.