Thursday, October 13, 2011

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 14 October 2011 - 20 October 2011

Have I opened one of these with "it's 1980s remake weekend!" yet? It feels like I have, which means that there was another weekend in the last couple years with two noteworthy remakes opening, which is kind of nuts. I'm not as anti-remake as some - I like the idea of classic stories being reinterpreted for new generations in theory, but geez...

  • The remakes are of Footloose and The Thing, and I don't know how good an idea either is. I mean, the first one is Footloose... It's not as if the original is a classic, but a dopey little movie that had a great soundtrack album (yes, I own it), and while director Craig Brewer has made a couple of pretty darn good movies in Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan, I'm not feeling this. The Thing v3.0 can go either way; nice cast, and making it a prequel as much as a remake isn't a bad idea, and remember, the "classic" it shouldn't touch is the second cinematic version of the story itself, after 1951's The Thing from Another World.

    The sleeper this week could be The Big Year, which features Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson as rival bird-watchers. On the one hand, all three can be very, very funny; on the other, they can make some very bad choices. The cameo list is a mile long, so it shouldn't get bogged down too long, and the story seems to have a little bit of heft to it, which could play to Martin's strengths.

    The "it's only opening in one theater, which can't be a good sign" entry is Trespass, which is apparently hitting OnDemand at the same time despite starring NIcolas Cage and Nicole Kidman as a couple fraying in a home-invasion thriller. Directed by Joel Schumacher, who worked with Cage and Kidman in 8mm and Batman Forever, respectively... Man, this is another bunch of real hit-and-miss people, isn't it?

  • Meanwhile, three movies open up at the Kendall. I sort of saw Blackthorn at Fantasia (fatigue knocked me out), and I found the "what if" story of Butch Cassidy living out his days in Bolivia (under the alias of the title) until deciding to return home and getting into one last adventure nicely shot but kind of dull. It might be worth a second look, though.

    The other two films opening come from the UK. Toast tells the story of a young man (Freddie Highmore) who finds himself competing for his father's attention with his new stepmother (Helena Bonham Carter). The name comes from how, while both stepson and stepmother are fine cooks, the late mother could only prepare toast. The comedic memoir doesn't arrive with quite the acclaim of Weekend, whose description suggests a sort of gay Before Sunrise, in that it appears to be two would-be lovers spending a weekend talking and getting to know each other. It's getting a a lot of love, both on the festival circuit and with critics.

  • Meanwhile, the Coolidge opens The Women on the 6th Floor, which played the Boston French Film Festival earlier this year. It features Fabrice Luchini and Sandrine Kiberlain as a wealthy couple in 1960s Paris whose lives are turned upside down when they hire a maid (Natalie Verbeke) and get to know the other women in the servants' quarters (including Pedro Almodovar and Alex de la Iglesia favorite Carmen Maura).

    The midnights this weekend include the local premiere of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), which also plays at 10pm in one of the screening rooms through at least Thursday (the 20th). The first one would pop up for midnights on a regular basis for a while, but I hear that this one is not only not a direct follow-up, but also pretty charmless. Other midnight options include Creepshow on both Friday and Saturday nights; it's another collaboration between Steven King and George Romero, this time an EC Comics-inspired anthology piece. And on Saturday (the 15th) only, co-director Howard Ford will introduce The Dead, a generically-named but interesting-looking zombie film that was shot on location in Western Africa. I'm guessing there aren't going to be a lot of chances to see this on the big screen.

    There are other interesting one-offs playing there as well; Sunday morning has Goethe-Institut presenting Sasha, a German film about a gay immigrant teen struggling with the decision to come out. Monday night (the 17th) has the latest installment of Big Screen Classics, with Judgment at Nuremberg playing on the main screen in 35mm. And on Tuesday and Wednesday (the 18th & 19th), Guitober Rocks Brookline Music School plays in the screening room; it's a featurette-length documentary about local students and why they love the guitar.

  • The Brattle kicks off its Recent Raves series this weekend, and although the calendar doesn't officially include it -likely because it's too recent, technically still in first-run release - I'm counting Friday Night's screenings of Tucker & Dale vs. Evil in there. Other entries for the week include the jumbo-sized drama Mysteries of Lisbon (Saturday the 15th and Sunday the 16th), Errol Morris's Tabloid (Monday the 17th), Terrence Malick's The Tree of LIfe (Wednesday the 19th), and a double feature whose cleverness is hard to beat: Project Nim & Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Thursday the 20th).

    In between, there are a couple of short packages. The Boston Bike FIlm Fest is about three hours of short films featuring bicycles and bicyclists on Saturday night (the 15th). $15 gets you in; there will be door prizes and BBQ from Redbones. On Tuesday (the 18th), Balagan sets up shop for the first entry in a biweekly series of "homegrown short films" - some on video, other on 16mm, and with an hour of Jesse Kaminsky DJing to kick things off at 7pm.

  • It's not listed on the Somerville Theatre's website, so that means it's probably in the digital screening room in the basement, but All Things Horror has a nifty little "Shudderfest" scheduled for this weekend. I can vouch for both movies being screened on Friday night (the 14th) - The Corridor is a nifty thriller about a strange, mind-altering corrior of light in Nova Scotia, while Absentia manages a lot of creeps out of very little in the way of effects, and would be an interesting drama even without it. Saturday's movies are new to me, with I Didn't Come Here to Die looking like "people go nuts in the woods" and Ashes is more in the rage-virus mold. All have shorts attached, and you can save money by buying passes for either double features or the entire event.

  • The Hindi movie opening at Fresh Pond this week is Aazaan, an action movie about an Indian army officer investigating a high-tech terrorist plot that may involve his younger brother.

  • ArtsEmerson has entries from three different series at the Paramount this weekend. The Katharine Hepburn movie is Bringing Up Baby (Friday & Saturday night, Sunday afternoon), a classic screwball comedy in which she clashes with Cary Grant and has a pet leopard; the Chaplin films are "A Dog's Life" and "Sunnyside", each about half an hour and thus making for a quick double feature Saturday afternoon. And they have their first "Crazie Cult Classics" screening with, appropriately enough, George Romero's original version of The Crazies. I'm a bit amused that they call it a "rare screening", because I've actually seen it twice in theaters not that long ago, which just shows how skewed perspective can be.

  • The Harvard Film Archive has cinematographer Agnes Godard in town on Friday evening, introducing and discussing Claire Denis's 35 Shots of Run, which she shot beautifully. Saturday afternoon has a couple of special presentations - "Home Movie Day" in the classroom next to the theater, and the premiere of Josiah McElheny's "Island Universe" at 3pm. Then, much of the rest of the weekend will be the continuation of the Frederick Wiseman, Institution U.S.A. series - Essene and Meat Saturday night, Welfare on Sunday evening, and Law and Order on Monday. Sunday afternoon also has a special free preview screening of Martha Marcy May Marlene at 4:30pm, with tickets given out starting at 3:45.

  • The Museum of Fine Arts will mostly be showing Savage Memory this week, with screenings on the 15th, 16th, 19th, and 20th (Saturday/Sunday/Wednesday/Thursday), while "Celebrating World Cinema" feature Valley of Strength also plays on the 16th. There are a couple of "events" screening as well - "Mother Nature's Child" has filmmaker Camilla Rockwell visit on Saturday (the 15th) to discuss her featurette about how kids need the outdoors, while Brent Green visits on Friday as part of the Fall Concert Series: Not only will he be showing his live-action/animated film Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then on that day, but he'll be on stage, providing live narration and music.

Plans? Well, I'm not trying to do the "see lots of horror in October!" thing, but I may opt to go nuts on Saturday with the second day of ShudderFest, The Dead, and maybe The Thing '11. Why not? Around there will probably be The Big Year, maybe Trespass and some catch-up - I sort of can't believe I haven't seen Moneyball yet, although it might be good to wait until baseball stuff doesn't feel like raw pain any more.

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