Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 21 December 2011 - 29 December 2011

I could do with new movies being released in theaters every two days, although the smaller venues being at half-strength isn't the greatest trade-off.

  • Opening Wednesday 21 December: Three new movies open this Wednesday, although a couple have already gotten a head start. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol has already opened on the premium screens, but on Wednesday it makes it to the standard digital and 35mm screens. It's a bunch of fun, although I highly recommend seeing it in genuine IMAX at Jordan's Furniture. It picks up new screens at Fenway, Boston Common, Harvard Square, the Arlington Capitol, and Fresh Pond.

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had preview screenings Tuesday night; it's David Fincher's version of the popular Stig Larsson novel about a disgraced reporter and young hacker investigating a forty-year-old murder. Fincher is pretty terrific, and the Swedish film was easily the best of the trilogy. I do find it kind of amusing that two of the films that will form this movie's competition at the box office (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) each feature a star from the Swedish versions. It opens at Fenway, Boston Common, Harvard Square, Somerville (in the main theater when it's not being used for "The Slutcracker"), and Fresh Pond.

    Then there's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, Steven Spielberg's adaptation of two of the tremendously popular albums of Belgian comics. Great voice cast, good-looking motion-captured animation, and though the character isn't that well-known in the US, the international response has been good. Note that it's only playing matinees on the Imax-branded screen at Boston Common (Mission: Impossible takes over at 4pm); it also plays Fenway, other screens at Boston Common, Fresh Pond, and the Arlington Capitol.

    Not a new release, but the Brattle will be picking up The Tree of Life for those of us who missed it earlier this year. It plays Wednesday through Friday.

    The Museum of Fine Arts will be finishing the "Architecture and Design on Film" series on Wednesday and Thursday with two final screenings of Unfinished Spaces; aside from that, they are closing out the year with two movies being called "Film for Foodies": A return of El Bulli: Cooking in Progress and another film called Three Stars, which brings the audience inside the Michelin rating system and features ten different three star chefs. Both films play Wednesday through Friday, and after a few days off for Christmas return on Wednesday the 28th.

  • Opening Friday 23 December: One of my favorite movies for the year so far finally gets non-preview screenings on Friday, with The Artist opening on two screens at Kendall Square and one at Boston Common. It's a thoroughly charming film about the end of the silent area filmed in the style of the time; even those who don't already love silent films should find reason to fall for this one.

    The Kendall also picks up A Dangerous Method, the new film by David Cronenberg. It features Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, treating a beautiful women played by Keira Knightley, and while the trailer makes it seem like a love triangle, early word is that it's actually a far more intellectual exercise.

    The mainstream theaters, including Boston Common, Fenway, Harvard Square, the Capitol, and Fresh Pond, will be opening We Bought a Zoo, Cameron Crowe's new movie about a likable widower (Matt Damon), who, well, buys a zoo for his family to live in. Looks pleasant, at the very least, and has a nice supporting cast in Scarlett Johansson and Thomas Haden Church.

    The Coolidge doesn't have any openings, but the After Midnite series will be celebrating Christmas on Friday night with Silent Night, Deadly Night, the infamous "Santa slasher" of 1984.

    Fresh Pond also will be opening Don 2, a sequel to the 2006 hit about a crime lord (played by Shah Rukh Khan) who, having conquered Asia, has now set his sights on Europe. Much of the cast of the previous movie, including Om Puri and Priyanka Chopra, returns as well. The movie actually opens a day early, on the 22nd, and there will also be 3D screenings at 9:45pm starting on Friday, and it's worth mentioning that the 3D conversion of Ra.One is one of the better ones I've seen.

  • Opening Sunday 25 December: Two new Steven Spielberg movies opening within a week? That's Christmas and then some. The second is War Horse, which follows a horse that is pressed into service during World War I and the boy who bonded with him. It will be playing Harvard Square, Boston Common, Fenway, and likely other venues.

    If you'd like something a little zippier for your post, there's The Darkest Hour, a Moscow-set alien invasion thriller produced by Timur Bekbambetov and directed by Chris Gorak. Nice young cast, decent-looking 3D. Opens at Boston Common, Fresh Pond, and likely other spots.

    The Brattle doesn't have a new release opening, but they start a repatory series. Backwards & in High Heels: A Tribute to Ginger Rogers is fairly self-explanatory, although as the theater's description points out that this title sells her a bit short, as she had a fine career outside her well-known pairings with Fred Astaire. It runs from Christmas to Friday the 30th, with a different double feature each day except Tuesday (when Stage Door plays by itself).

  • The Regent Theatre in Arlington, as they do annually, will be playing The Sound of Music starting on Monday the 26th. It's a Sing-Along print, so there will be lyrics thrown up on the screen and audience participation will be encouraged.

  • Things are expanding and moving around a bit in spots: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy expands to Boston Common on Friday, picking up two screens, while The Skin I Live In moves from Kendall Square to the Somerville Theater the same day.

My plans? Finish my Christmas shopping, travel to Maine to see my brothers and father, and see what fits around that. I'm guessing that will include most everything above, including trying to see Tintin on the Imax-branded screen Saturday morning.

So, if I don't post anything else before then, Merry Christmas!

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