Friday, November 04, 2011

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 4 November 2011 - 10 November 2011

No "This Week in Tickets" this week, not for lack of material, but actually for so much seen that I had no time to write. This week looks a little quieter, so I should have time for a double-sized TWIT next week.

  • The movie getting on a lot of screens this weekend is Tower Heist, with Ben Stiller as an apartment concierge scheming to rob the occupant of the penthouse suite, as that guy's Ponzi scheme destroyed the staff's retirement savings. Not knowing the first thing about doing this, they recruit Eddie Murphy's professional crook to help. I'm a bit higher on this than some others; I don't hate director Brett Ratner the way a lot of writers seem to (granted, I find him mediocre-but-capable as opposed to actively bad). Also opening is A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, so I guess Kal Penn isn't working at the White House any more. Aside from the returning Penn, John Cho, and Neil Patrick Harris, I see that Richard Riehle is reprising his role from The Hebrew Hammer (I'd say more, but, honestly, I haven't seen the other Harold & Kumar movies, and it's a little early for Christmas stuff, honestly).

  • Surprisingly not opening at the multiplexes is Like Crazy; you've got to head to Kendall Square (where it's got two screens) for that. I may not have loved it, but I kind of liked it, and the long-distance romance story with Felicity Jones and Anoton Yelchin seems pretty mainstream-friendly. Maybe Paramount's giving it a slow roll-out. Also playing at Kendall Square is Oranges and Sunshine, a based-on-a-true-story story of British kids sent to Australia by the government and told their parents were dead; Emily Watson plays the social worker who stumbles onto it and tries to reunite the adult children with their parents; Hugo Weaving (in what seems like a rare non-villain role) and David Wenham also star. Also kind of rare is the scheduled one-week booking, in that Revenge of the Electric Car is a documentary sequel, following up Who Killed the Electric Car? with the story of how consumer demand has led to a resurgence of development in the Electric Vehicle field. The first was an entertaining bit of advocacy, so here's hoping the same can be said for the second.

  • The Brattle has a somewhat cobbled-together schedule this week, although many of the parts are interesting. On Friday and Saturday, the screen is split between Margaret (matinees and 7pm) and The Catechism Cataclysm, a pair of interesting if imperfect films. I'm not sure whether Margaret needed to lose about forty-five minutes or have the extra half-hour in Kenneth Lonergan's director's cut put back in, and I'm not sure whether The Catechism Cataclysm could do with being weirder all the way through or whether it should have saved all its strangeness for the end, but they're both worth watching at least once.

    The next couple of days (Sunday the 6th and Monday the 7th) are sort of an Alexander Payne series, with a double feature of Sideways and Election playing on Sunday and a CineCaché preview screening of his new movie The Descendants (with George Clooney as a father forced to take unaccustomed responsibility for home and family in Hawaii) on Monday. That one's free but will sell out; admission is only guaranteed with a series subscription or for the first 100 people to buy tickets for Sunday's double feature.

    Sunday also features Israeli gay activist Assi Azar in person to introduce his featurette on coming out, "Mom & Dad: I Have Something to Tell You". The Harvard Book Store will be hosting author talks at 6pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday; I suspect Wednesday's Guest Jonathan Lethem had a hand in choosing the screening of John Carpenter's They Live that follows his talk at 8pm (if not, then it's amazingly random!).

    And on Thursday evening, the Brattle hosts Opening Night of the Boston Asian-American Film Festival. The picture is Almost Perfect, which features Kelly Hu as the stable center of a California family who helps everybody else but doesn't have time to help herself. Director Bertha Pan Bay-Sa and co-star Tina Chen will be on-hand to introduce the film and take questions afterward.

  • Another festival, The Boston Jewish Film Festival, will be spending time at the Coolidge Corner Theatre throughout the week; there's at least one showing every day, although it's sometimes matinees and sometimes evenings. The means there will be a fair amount of bouncing between screens and formats for Martha Marcy May Marlene (always on film), Margin Call (some film, some video), and Take Shelter (all video); check The Coolidge's website before heading out.

    Aside from the BJFF, there are a few nifty specials: True Romance plays midnight on both the 4th and 5th; it's joined on Friday night by a Dumb & Dumber quote-along and on Saturday night by the monthly screening of The Room. If you prefer getting up early to staying up late, Saturday morning offers a Kids' Show screening of The Great Muppet Caper and Sunday morning a Talk Cinema screening of Lars Trier's apocalyptic drama Melancholia.

  • The Museum of Fine Arts film program also has several BJFF screenings, but this weekend also features a couple of other new presentations: On Friday night, there are two chances to see Urbanized with director Gary Hustwit in person for both; it's his third film about design (following Helvetica and Objectified; this one focuses on making cities both beautiful and liveable. There are also three chances to see His Mother's Eyes, a new film from French director Thierry Kilfa starring Catharine Deneuve as a successful woman at the center of a family that has torn itself apart; it plays Saturday the 5th at 4:30pm, Sunday the 6th at 10:45am, and Wednesday the 9th at 8pm. It's the start of a Film of Cateherine Deneuve series, which continues on Thursday afternoon with Time Regained.

  • Speaking of directors in person, ArtsEmerson has a couple coming to the Bright Screening Room: Hassan Ildari introduces his 1989 thriller Face of the Enemy, set during the aftermath of the 1979-1981 Iran hostage crisis, at 6pm on Friday, and director Naomi Uman is there for her "Ukranian Time Machine" collection of films made during her return to her ancestral village on Saturday at 8:15pm.

    There will also be classic films on offer: Saturday afternoon, they'll be running an IB Technicolor print of the 1939 animated Gulliver's Travels, made directed by the legendary Fleischer brothers and preceded by two of their cartoon shorts. They also start the second leg of their "Kate the Iconoclast/Katharine the Icon" series with Woman of the Year on Saturday the 5th (5:45pm) and Sunday the 6th (2pm). November highlights her films with Spencer Tracy with a theme of Kate's character attempting to be a supportive wife, even if that's not always her nature; here they're married newspaper columnists.

  • The Harvard Film Archive sometimes goes for the obscure, but this weekend they begin a program dedicated to a widely known master: Once Upon a Time... Sergio Leone. This weekend kicks off with two of his "Man with No Name" westerns, A Fistfull of Dollars (Friday at 7pm) and For a Few Dollars More (Friday at 9pm and Sunday at 4:30pm), along with the full 229-minute European cut of his final film, Once Upon a Time in America (Saturday at 7pm). Sunday and Monday nights, the venue will host the local premiere of Nicholas Ray's just completed/restored We Can't Go Home Again.

  • RA. One, Velayudham, and 7am Arivu continue at Fresh Pond; note that only RA. One is subtitled and there are no more 3D shows.

  • The third annual Killer Film Fest takes place in the Somerville Theatre's "micro-cinema" on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; I can personally vouch for El Sanatorio (Friday the 4th, 8pm) and The Dead Inside (Saturday the 5th, 5:40pm). Upstairs, there's live theater in the main auditorium this weekend, and the latest ski movie from Warren Miller Entertainment, Like There's No Tomorrow. And while it's not quite this week, the Alloy Orchestra returns on Saturday the 12th with the restored Metropolis after a sold-out show earlier in the year.

  • The Arlington Capitol - aside from having a BJFF screening on Tuesday night (Life Is Too Long, 7pm) and opening Tower Heist - picks up a couple of other movies for second runs: Moneyball slides over from Somerville, and Midnight in Paris from Kendall Square. Here's hoping the latter can find an audience in its second-go round!

My plans? Yeesh, I don't know; Urbanized if I can make it tonight, the previews of Melancholia, The Descendants, and hopefully Into the Abyss I'll maybe go for the Emerson screenings of Gulliver's Travels and Woman of the Year while also catching up on In Time, Puss in Boots, and Moneyball.

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