Friday, November 18, 2011

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 18 November 2011 - 22 November 2011

Short-ish column this week - not only do new movies open next Wednesday, there aren't really a large number opening, though some are on a bunch of screens.

  • I refer, mainly, to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1. That, folks, is a lot of punctuation. I could make all the usual jokes, but I've got no actual standing to do so. You know if you're down for this or not; if you are, I count at least twelve screens between Boston, Cambridge, and Arlington.

    If not, there's Happy Feet Two. It's playing on the real IMAX screens at the furniture stores and the digital one at Boston Common. I liked the original a lot, even if it does have roughly five places where you can stop the movie at what seems like a natural ending that would leave a little kid in tears. This time around, we spend time with Mumble's son as all Antartic creatures have to work together. We also get 3D this time - five years ago, despite a nice 3D teaser, Warner Brothers cancelled the stereo conversion because of how poorly The Ant Bully did; nobody does that any more.

  • With more screens to fill, AMC Boston Common also opens The Descendants, as does Kendall Square and Coolidge Corner. I saw this at a preview last week; Alexander Payne's first movie since Sideways is an amusing but heartfelt tale of a man (George Clooney) trying to do the right thing for his family on both immediate and extended fronts.

    The Kendall also opens a documentary, The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby, in which filmmaker Carl Coby attempts to understand his father, a man with long service in the CIA who finally balked after thirty years. It's the one-week booking (which, this week, may mean it only runs until Tuesday), and Carl Colby will actually be in town on both Friday (18 November) and Saturday (19 November) to speak with the audiences for both the 6:45pm and 9:35pm shows on both days.

  • Over at the Coolidge, The Descendants, Margin Call, and Martha Marcy May Marlene are in the main rooms, while Le Havre and Being Elmo are on video. The midnight screenings are actually somewhat minimal - the new Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation program plays Friday and Saturday (in the main auditorium on Friday, the screening room on Saturday). On Saturday night, there's an "Analog Awesomeness" double feature, with Terrorvision and The Video Dead being screened on VHS in theater #2, and the chance to swap VHS tapes wtih fellow enthusiasts. Gotta say, I really don't understand the whole fetishization of VHS. Better off heading to theater #1, where there's a Burlesque Marathon with 100 acts.

    On Monday night (21 November), director Johanna Demetrakas will be in town to screen her documentary Crazy Wisdom: The Life & Times of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, which tells the story of "the bad boy of Buddhism". The event will raise money for the Boston Shambhala Center.

  • The Brattle regrets to inform us that director/co-star Sophia Takal will no longer be attending Monday's CineCaché screening of Green; she and the film will (deservedly) be receiving an award in New York that day. It's still well worth a look; I was surprised how much I liked it at IFFBoston this spring.

    Aside from that screening, continues the engagements of documentaries that started on Wednesday, with Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey running all week and Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone having its last show on Sunday. To go along with Being Elmo (and because Ned will program Muppet-related stuff every chance he gets), several movies Kevin Clash made contributions to will also be playing: The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland on Saturday and Sunday morninings, Muppets from Space (featuring his character Clifford) on Tuesday night, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (where he performed Splinter) on Wednesday, and Labyrinth (where he plays The Four Guards and Ambrosius) on Thursday.

    Oh, and if you want more Muppet action, the Somerville Theatre is offering a special double feature on Tuesday night: Buy a ticket for the midnight premiere of The Muppets, and also get into a 10:15pm screening of The Muppet Movie.

  • Over at ArtsEmerson's Paramount Theatre, they've got three classics of different varieties screening. First, they close out the second leg of the "Kate the Iconoclast/Katharine the Icon" series with Adam's Rib, a 1949 film where she's once again teamed with Spencer Tracy, this time as married attorneys on different sides of a murder trial. It plays Friday at 6pm, Saturday at 8:45pm, and Sunday at 2pm. The complementary slot on Friday and Saturday nights (6:15pm and 8pm, respectively) is given to a new print of The Last Picture Show made for its 40th Anniversary; Peter Bogdanovich's best known film got a slew of awards and nominations, especially for its amazing ensemble cast. And the family-friendly program Saturday afternoon is the original The Land Before Time; although Universal would later crank out twelve direct-to-video sequels, only this one features the involvement of director Don Bluth and producers Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, and Frank Marshall.

  • The Harvard Film Archive has a similarly eclectic set of programming, with something different practically every night. On Friday, director Laurel Nakadate will introduce her film The Wolf Knife, which is apparently an "extension of Nakadate’s confrontational installation and video work". Saturday night, they wrap up the Sergio Leone series with a screening of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, which is, as we all know, one of the greatest westerns of all time. After that, the Frederick Wiseman, Institution U.S.A. series of 16mm documentaries returns with the four-plus-hour Belfast, Maine playing Sunday at 6pm and his first film, Titicut Follies (documenting a Massachusetts State Prison for the Criminally Insane), running on Monday the 21st at 7pm.

  • Festival time is done (for now) at the MFA, so they will spend the weekend on The Films of Catherine Deneuve; this weekend features Genealogies of a Crime, Repulsion, The Girl on the Train, Belle de Jour, The Last Metro, and I'm Going Home.

And that, folks, is close to it until the new stuff opens on Wednesday. I think I'm basically looking at Happy Feet Two among the new releases, maybe catching up with Immortals, J. Edgar, and/or Take Shelter, with Adam's Rib and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly the most tempting rep screenings. But, hey - Muppets and Hugo next week!

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