Friday, December 16, 2011

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 16 December 2011 - 22 December 2011

Christmas is coming! That means a short week for this column, as it'll pop up early next week to cover the new movies opening on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. It also means that the lines between what opens in the multiplexes and what opens in the boutique houses gets blurred all to heck, with the IMAX guys confusing things a little further as they try to sort of a logjam on the premium screens.

  • The big tentpole opening this weekend is Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which has Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law returning as Holmes and Watson, original "girl with the dragon tattoo" Noomi Rapace as the love interest, and Stephen Fry as Sherlock's smarter brother Mycroft on the trail of Professor Moriarty. I dug the first film, and while I'm admittedly a big fan, I've got fairly high hopes for this. Opens at Boston Common, Fenway, Harvard Square, Fresh Pond, Somerville, and places you can't get to via the T.

    Young Adult is the movie that straddles the multiplex and boutique houses, opening on one screen apiece at Boston Common, Fenway, and Kendall Square. It comes from director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody, the team behind Juno, and stars Charlize Theron as a self-centered writer of successful young adult novels who returns to her hometown to hopefully wreak havok with her old classmates' lives. Though I cringe a bit at how positive that Juno review is, Reitman and Cody are talented people, and both Theron and Patton Oswalt are getting raves for their performances.

    Limited openings followed by expansion are usually a trick reserved for smaller films, but Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol pulls it this week in order to grab the premium screens before Tintin opens on Wednesday. It's got Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, and Jeremy Renner dashing across the world to figure out who blew up the Kremlin, and director Brad Bird (making his first live-action film after some great animated work) shot pieces in no-crap real IMAX. Thus, the best places to see it in the Boston area are probably the Jordan's Furniture stores in Reading and Natick, where it's playing with the prologue for next year's Batmovie through at least the end of the year, but if you don't mind paying more for something a bit better than regular digital projection to be on the Green Line, it's also playing the Imax-branded screen at Boston Common and the RPX screen at Fenway, without Batman.

    Oh, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked opens at Fenway, Boston Common, Fresh Pond, and Arlington. Every one of those places also offers something from the Muppets/Hugo/Happy Feet/Arthur Christmas set as another option, and Tintin is just a week away.


  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is getting a surprisingly limited initial release, playing just the main screen at the Coolidge and two screens at Kendall Square. It stars Gary Oldman as George Smiley, the protagonist of a great many John LeCarre novels, trying to ferret out a Soviet mole in MI-6 at the height of the Cold War. Fantastic cast, and it comes from the director of Let the Right One In, which I should not have to remind people is really, really good.

    The Coolidge is offering a bonus on the 7pm screenings on the 16th & 17th (Friday & Saturday), with Brookline's Metropolitan Chorale giving a brief performance before those shows. They also have a few special presentations lined up, including midnights of David Cronenberg's The Fly on those same two days (yes, kids, David Cronenberg made great, disgusting horror movies before A History of Violence). Monday the 19th, there's a Sound of Silents screening of Battleship Potemkin at 7pm, with live music provided by the Berklee College of Music's Department of Film Scoring.

    Kendall Square, in addition to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, picks up The Conquest, Xavier Durringer's dramatization of French president Nicolas Sarkozy's climb to his current office. It's set for a seven day run, as nothing is lined up to open there on Wednesday.


  • The Brattle is having their Christmas celebration this weekend, with holiday stalwart It's a Wonderful Life playing through Tuesday. They'll also be having their annual Alt X-Mas series, with 10pm shows of Christmas movies that are less warm and fuzzy: On Friday and Saturday, it's Rare Exports, last year's Finnish tale of how every Christmas tradition is meant to protect us from a Krampus-like Santa Claus and his murderous elves; Sunday the 18th brings National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation; the woefully underseen but excellent Kiss Kiss Bang Bang plays Monday (it's got Robert Downey Jr. being cool, Michelle Monaghan in the Santa dress, and Val Kilmer in a rare bit of recent awesomeness from Shane Black); and Cano & Jeunet's City of Lost Children wraps things up on Tuesday. It's a Wonderful Life gets pushed to a matinee only on Monday the 19th to make way for a 7:30pm CineCach√© screening of Secona. In this one, a big-city executive gets stranded in the Arizona town of the title while others there search for a boy lost in the woods. The advertising copy includes both the words "inspirational" and "quirky"; take that as you will.


  • It opened in India a couple of weeks ago but The Dirty Picture appears at Fresh Pond this weekend; the musical Bollywood biography stars Vidya Balan as Silk Smitha, a Bollywood star in the 1980s and 1990s who apparently scandalized with her overt sexuality and was involved in a love triangle with her director and his brother. It's also a comedy, apparently. Ladies vs Ricky Bahl also has a few scattered showtimes, as does Panjaa (but you'd better speak Tamil).


  • ArtsEmerson just has a couple of films before shutting down for winter break. Friday night and Saturday afternoon, they've got a new print of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. They're advertising it as a new 35mm print of the 1998 "Ultimate Edition". Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, they finish up the "Kate The Iconoclast, Katharine the Icon" series with Long Day's Journey Into Night, a 1962 film based on Eugene O'Neill's play directed by Sidney Lumet considered to feature one of her greatest performances. It's a long one, but looks to be well worth it.

    Across the river, the Harvard Film Archive wraps up its retrospective with one last weekend of The Complete Henri-Georges Clouzot before they shut down for the holidays. Manon plays Friday at 7pm and Sunday at 4:30pm (followed by a recently recovered 1931 short); Les Diaboliques plays Saturday and Sunday at 7pm; and Clouzot's final film, Woman In Chains, plays Saturday at 9:30pm. Also included in the program is Serge Bromberg's and Roxandra Medrea's Inferno (playing Friday at 9:30pm), in which film preservationist Bromberg attempts to reconstruct the making of Clouzot's unfinished film of the same title.

    The HFA also has a shorts program on Sunday at 2pm featuring vintage 16mm and 35mm holiday shorts; it's free and family-friendly.


  • The Museum of Fine Arts continues its Architecture and Design on Film series, with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday screenings of How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?, Unfinished Spaces, and John Portman: A Life of Building.


  • There's a little shuffling around going on as well. Shame opens up at Boston Common, also remaining on two screens at Kendall Square. Melancholia is no longer playing at the Kendall, but opens at the Arlington Capitol, which also picks up J. Edgar from Somerville (which is temporarily a 4-plex while the main auditorium is used for burlesque show The Slutcracker). The Coolidge also picks up The Skin I Live In, which will play alongside Melancholia in the smaller video rooms.



My plans? Well, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, because I love Sherlock Holmes. Depending on how I can work it in around my Christmas shopping, I may try and make it to the furniture store to see Mission: Impossible. In between, I'll probably hit Long Day's Journey Into Night, Sedona, and maybe Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

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