Friday, October 07, 2011

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 7 October 2011 - 13 October 2011

It's a relatively quiet week, with the major releases interesting but not essential, although there is plenty else worth checking out, including one of the best from this year's IFFBoston.

  • The festival alumnus would be Littlerock, which will have a very short run in the Paramount Theater's screening room courtesy of ArtsEmerson. It follows a Japanese girl who winds up hanging around a California town even though she doesn't speak any English, and is a great little story about communication and possibilities, especially once the final scenes set in. It's only playing three shows - one on Friday and two on Saturday - so see it while you can.

    The rest of the weekend on that screen is given to ongoing retrospectives of classic actors. Week two of the Katharine Hepburn program includes Sylvia Scarlett, another collaboration with George Cukor in which the title character must disguise herself as a boy; it plays Friday night and Sunday afternoon. Saturday afternoon kicks off a Charlie Chaplin retrospective, using Janus Films's restored prints. The Kid makes for a short matinee, easy to tuck in between trips to the multiplex.

  • The movies opening there have potential, too. The Ides of March features Ryan Gosling as a political strategist who comes to work for Presidential candidate George Clooney, apparently to discover that the man isn't quite so squeaky-clean as he appears. That's for grown-ups, whereas Real Steel looks to be for kids, featuring Hugh Jackman as a former boxer teaming up with the son he never knew to train fighting robots. If the phrase "boxing robots" sounds fun rather than silly, it's hitting most of the premium screens.

  • With just a couple of new mainstream movies hitting screens, the multiplexes are digging a little deeper to fill screens. One movie being used for that is 1911, Jackie Chan's 100th movie. It just came out in China a couple of weeks ago, and features Chan as General Huang Xing, a trusted deputy of Sun Yat-sen (Winston Chao), as the Imperial government gives way to the Republic of China. Chan not only co-stars but directs. Fair warning; it appears this is much more of a historical drama than an action piece, so don't expect a lot of zany Jackie Chan fights. Also, it opens at Fenway (Well Go USA appears to be working with Regal), as opposed to the usual Boston Common.

    There are two smaller films opening at AMC's Boston Common theater, too: The Way has Emilio Estevez writing, directing, and taking a small part as the son whose death brings his father (Martin Sheen) to the Pyrenees, inspiring him to complete the son's hike between France and Spain. They've also got Kenneth Lonergan's long-awaited follow-up to You Can Count on Me, Margaret, which actually shot in 2005 with a heck of an impressive cast (Anna Paquin, Jean Reno, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Allison Janney), which was apparently an editing nightmare to the point where producers were suing each other over who is responsible for it not getting done. The end result runs about two and a half hours and focuses on a teenager trying to determine whether she was responsible for a fatal traffic accident.

  • The Kendall adds two movies from France this week. Mozart's Sister Features Marie Ferét in the title role (her father René writes and directs). It tells the tale of how "Nannerl" Mozart, five years her brother's elder, was also a musical prodigy but was held back by her sex and comparison with her famous brother.

    There's also Love Crime, the final film by Alain Corneau, in which an executive (Kristin Scott Thomas) steals the ideas of her assistant (Ludivine Sagnier), only to discover that the mousy girl is more than she appears. Yes, I said "mousy" and "Ludivine Sagnier" in the same sentence; she's apparently playing against sex-kitten type here.

  • The Coolidge opens Tom Tykwer's latest, 3, though only in the digital screening room. It's apparently a simultaneously more completative and funnier Tykwer than usual, as he tells the tale of a husband and wife who, by coincidence, both fall in love with the same man. I believe it was the opening film of the Boston LGBT Film Festival this year and got good marks. My Afternoons with Margueritte opens on the other digital screen, while Midnight in Paris and The Debt move (back) to the bigger 35mm screens.

    With Halloween coming, the midnight programming takes an even more decided turn toward horror, with Stephen King adaptations playing every weekend before the big marathon at the end of the month. This weekend's selection is The Dark Half, directed by George Romero and starring Timothy Hutton as a respected author who uses a pseudonym to write less serious books - an alter identity that seems to be coming to life. The other screen has Tucker & Dale vs. Evil on Saturday, and a special screening of Popcorn on Friday - special not just because it's a relatively-unseen film that takes place in a movie theater during a horror movie marathon, but because it's meant to raise money to produce special features on the upcoming home video release.

    There are other special screenings there this week, too: The Attic Door plays in the screening room on Saturday afternoon (the 8th), with director Danny Daneau appearing in person to discuss his film about two children abandoned on the family farm in the 1800s. A selection of short films from the New York International Children's Festival plays on Sunday morning (the 9th) at 10:30am, suitable for kids as young as three. And on Tuesday evening (the 11th), directors Apostolos Paraskevas and Mathew Tucciarone will be on hand to introduce and discuss their hour-long documentary I Finally Did It that starts ott chronicling Paraskevas's work on a composition for a German Film Festival and expands from there.

  • The Brattle also has a guest in town this weekend, specifically Jimmy Tingle, who will not only be introducing and answering questions about his new featurette, Jimmy Tingle's American Dream on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but will follow that with some live comedy. Both the film and the stand-up feature the locally-based but nationally-recognized Tingle's observations on the state of the nation and its people.

    On Monday night (the 10th), the Brattle and Chlotruis present the latest CineCaché screening, Silent Souls, a Russian film in which a widower asks his friend to assist him in bringing his wife's body to her ancestral region for a traditional cremation; as it must, this leads to sharing of memories and realizing that one's own memories don't tell the whole story. The film begins at eight and will be followed by discussion among any who wish to stick around.

    The middle of next week is given over to a quick but nifty-looking Peter Pan & Alice in Wonderland series. Tuesday (the 11th) features two recent versions of Peter Pan, Stephen Spielberg's Hook and P.J. Hogan's 2003 adaptation which was well-liked but overlooked at the box office at the time; they play as a double feature. Wednesday (the 12th) has the first feature-length version, a 1924 silent with Betty Bronson in the title role, Anna May Wong as Tiger Lilly, and spiffy technical credits. Thursday (the 12th) is Alice's day, with a star-studded 1933 adaptation playing as a double feature with Dreamchild, a 1985 feature in which Alice Liddel, the inspiration for the character, looks back on Lewis Carroll (Ian Holm) with the wisdom of age - and the help of Jim Henson's Creature Workshop.

  • The Harvard Film Archive had originally planned to have Romanian documentary filmmaker Andrei Ujica as a guest this weekend, but his US visit has apparently been canceled. His three films - Out of the Present, The Autobiography of Nicolae Caeusescu, and Videograms of a Revolution - will still play Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as Andrei Ujica and the Montage of History; they will simply have to speak for themselves. On Monday, the HFA will show The Dreamlife of Angels in preparation for cinematographer Agnes Godard's visit on the 14th. The film itself is about the friendship between two struggling young women in Paris (and the rich man who may come between them).

  • The MFA continues screening Curling and The City Dark at various times on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, adding Israel's Valley of Strength on Sunday as part of the Celebrating World Cinema series. Mother Nature's Child, a short documentary about how spending less time outdoors may be harming today's children, plays Wednesday and Thursday (the 12th & 13th), with the director scheduled to visit for a third screening next Saturday (the 15th).

    Director Jonathan Segal visits on Wednesday the 12th to introduce and discuss his film Norman, about a high school kid who gets caught up in a lie that he, like his father, has stomach cancer. Thursday the 13th also has directors in attendance - Zachary Stuart and Kelly Thomson will be there for the first screening of Savage Memory, a documentary looking at Bronislaw Malinowski, one of the fathers of modern anthropology, from the perspective of his great-grandson visiting the Pacific islands where his controversial ancestor did his most famous work.

  • The Arlington International Film Festival continues at the Regent Theatre through Sunday. As yet, it's not that big, but there are some interesting films there and $35 for a weekend pass isn't bad at all.

  • The Hindi film opening at Fresh Pond is Rascals, a comedy featuring Ajay Devgan and Sanjay Dutt as rival con artists. Held over for a second week of late shows is Force, an action flick starring John Abraham as a no-nonsense cop whose efforts to clean up the city have led to one drug lord (Vidyut Jamwal) consolidating his power and now going after the police and their loved ones.

My plans? Well, it could be a pretty thin weekend, as Sunday is a niece's birthday party and I should probably spend some time buying her toys. I'll probably catch 1911, some of the Peter & Alice flicks at the Brattle (and Silent Souls), but likely wont' fit much more in around them.

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