Friday, October 28, 2011

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 28 October 2011 - 3 November 2011

It's Halloween weekend! Let's push the big releases down a little bit and see what's off-beat and scary!

  • The Brattle Theatre goes super-old-school with their Silent Screams series this weekend, showing off (mainly) some early and justly famed early horror. Friday night offers up The Golem (with a pre-recorded soundtrack by Frank Black) from 1920 at 8pm and the recent period-style silent adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu at 10pm (both on video). Sunday offers a matinee pair of German classics - The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari at noon and F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu (for my money, still the best vampire film ever made nearly 90 years later) at 1:45. 8pm that evening has Cirkestra back in town to accompany The Unknown, which from their premiere earlier in the year is a pretty good show. Unfortunately, the other planned film with live accompaniment (Volcano Kings with the film White Zombie) has had to be postponed; as yet there's no replacement on the schedule.

    If that's not enough silent film for you, Wednesday and Thursday (the 2nd and 3rd of November) will feature the (in)famous Moroder Metropolis, a truncated version of the classic (from well before the recent recoveries of nearly the full picture) that uses subtitles instead of intertitles and a then-contemporary rock & roll score. Before that, there will be a live Tanya Donelly concert on Saturday night (the 29th), while Tuesday brings the second entry in the new Balagan series, Robert Todd's experimental documentary Master Plan.


  • The Coolidge starts their celebration of Halloween off with a midnight screening of An American Werewolf in London on Friday, in 35mm no less. Then, on Saturday night, they offer their annual midnight horror marathon. It kicks off with a midnight double feature of the uncut Suspiria and Return of the Living Dead, but for $5 and nine hours more, you get five other movies, including Demons 2, Hardware, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, plus shorts, trailers, costume contests, and other good stuff.

    No special events on Halloween proper, but there's a bit of a vibe to the other films playing - the excellent Martha Marcy May Marlene opens Friday and features newcomer Elizabeth Olsen trying to return to normal life after escaping a cult lead by John Hawkes; that's kind of creepy! There's also likely a feeling of dread to held-over Take Shelter and thrills (and economic horror!) to Margin Call, which occupies both digital rooms. And then Tuesday night (November 1st), there's a "Science on Screen" presentation of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, with Dr. Robert Stickgold on-hand to discuss the role of dreaming in the film and life.

    The Coolidge will also be one of the main venues for The Boston Jewish Film Festival including Wednesday's opening night screening, Kaddish for a Friend. The BJFF will also be having screenings at the Museum of Fine Arts and West Newton Cinema this week.


  • The Somerville Theatre wraps up their week-plus of horror double features on their main screen with a couple of classics - Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and James Whale's Frankenstein running from Friday to Monday in 35mm. $8 for the pair in the evening, $5 for matinees.


  • Head out to Showcase Cinemas Revere if you're in the mood for some locally-produced horror; Inkubus was shot in Providence by local filmmaker Glenn Ciano, and has Robert Englund as a demon terrorizing the cops in a police station scheduled for imminent demolition. It's actually got other familiar names in the cast (William Forsythe, Joey Fatone, Jonathan Silverman), and who knows, maybe it'll surprise.


  • Maybe the fact that Roland Emmerich's new film is playing boutique theaters like Kendall Square is not exactly scary in and of itself, but it's certainly enough to make a moviegoer wonder if something is off with the universe. The movie in question is Anonymous, which posits that Shakespeare did not actuallyl write the work attributed to him, and has the true author involved in the tricky court & succession politics of the time. This also plays at Boston Common and Fenway.

    The one-week opening at Kendall is Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, a biography of the famed French chanseur who is just as well-known for his women as his music. It's directed by Joann Sfar, who is best known as a comic book artist, and it will be interesting to see how his style translates to live action. Kendall also gets in on the horror train, somewhat, with The Skin I Live In, in which a scientist whose wife was horribly burned goes to great lengths to test his new artificial skin. Perhaps not the sort of movie one would expect from Spanish legend Pedro Almodovar, but he's dabbled in this sort of thing before (heck, he even produced Alex de la Iglesia's first movie), and he's collaborating with Antonio Banderas for the first time since they were doing sex comedies back in the early nineties.


  • Of course, some would probably like their Banderas speaking English and animated; they get Puss In Boots, opening on the bulk of the 3D and IMAX-type screens this week. It's probably worth shelling out for the extra 3D, as DreamWorks Animation builds their movies with that in mind. The movie apparently jumps back to the early days of Banderas's swashbuckling cat (a fairy tale character who did, in fact, exist long before DreamWorks included him in Shrek 2). The other big star turn this week is Johnny Depp, who sports a shockingly conventional haircut in The Rum Diary. It's Depp's second go at Hunter Thompson (having also starred in the author's Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas), though not technically the same character.

    Last but not least among the big openings is In Time, which has survived a number of screwy name changes and a Harlan Ellison lawsuit. It depicts a future where people stop aging at 25 and from then on use lifespan as currency. I'm actually pretty excited for this one, as it's both somebody giving Andrew Niccol money to make a big sci-fi adventure (the premise has a fair amount of his Gattaca in it) and Amanda Seyfreid in a movie I want to see. Justin Timberlake stars.


  • Arts Emerson wraps up their run of Charlie Chaplin films with Modern Times, Chaplin's last mostly-silent movie (released in 1937, well after talkies took over). In it, the Tramp not only confronts the Depression and increasingly mechanized current life, but sings! It plays Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The first leg of their Katharine Hepburn series finishes, too, with The Philadelphia Story on Friday and Saturday evenings, in which Hepburn must choose between Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and, oh yeah, her fianc√©. A different "Story" - The Palm Beach Storyfollows in on Friday, although they're not related; this Preston Sturges comedy is part of the "Marriage Circle" series. That series closes Saturday night with Ernst Lubitsch and George Cukor remaking The Marriage Circle as a musical in One Hour With You


  • It's Festival time at the MFA, with The Boston Palestine Film Festival wrapping up with screenings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and their screenings as part of The Boston Jewish Film Festival beginning on Thursday (November 3rd).


  • The Harvard Film Archive will present A Celebration of Helen Hill Friday night, with the late filmmaker's mother introducing a selection of short films, including the one she was working on at the time of her death in 2007 (since finished by her husband). And after a weekend off, "Frederick Wiseman, Institution U.S.A." returns Saturday through Monday with three long documentaries - Public Housing on Saturday the 29th, Deaf on Sunday the 30th, and Blind on Monday the 31st.


  • It looks like Indian films will be playing on two screens at Fresh Pond for Diwali, with Telegu-language 7th Sense playing at 3:25pm and 9:45pm today (Friday the 28th) and Tamil-language films 7am Arivu and Velayudham splitting the screen for the rest of the week (no English subtitles). Ra.One plays all day on the other, with special 10pm 3-D shows bumping the late shows of Puss in Boots on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.


  • Some second-run movies shuffle to the Capitol Theatre in Arlington: 50/50 comes from Somerville and The Debt and The Guard arrive from Kendall Square. I must admit, I'm very pleasantly surprised by how well The Guard is sticking around; I think only Midnight in Paris has seen more longevity this summer. Speaking of which: Woody Allen's movie is down to just matinees at the Kendall, which makes this weekend likely the last chance to see it in theaters for those of us who work.



My plans? I'd love to get out to Revere to check out Inkubus (I don't expect it to be good, but like to support the locals), but a great weekend of silents at the Brattle and Paranount mean that The Golem, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, and Modern Times will cut down on many chances. Similarly, I'd love to see Puss in Boots in proper IMAX in Reading, but I'll probably settle for digital elsewhere. In Time definitely gets a look, as does The Skin I'm In and I really should catch Moneyball before it disappears now that actual baseball is ending.

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