Friday, February 17, 2012

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 17 February 2012 - 23 February 2012

Curse you, movie scheduling people, for stacking so much stuff I want to see on top of each other like this. Did you book all the good stuff for this week after I'd purchased by SF/37 pass and just laugh and laugh?

  • SF/37, aka the 37th Annual Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival wraps up this weekend with two more days of new science fiction films in the Somerville Theatre on Friday and Saturday, and then the big Marathon that starts at noon on Sunday and lets out twenty-four hours later. The festival films have been uneven, but there's been some good stuff, and a lot of appealing things in the 'thon too. Only bummer: My company's new ownership doesn't consider President's Day a holiday, so I have to dip into vacation time.

  • Look, I think we all know that I'd rather see stuff on 35mm film than digital, but if theaters are going to be switching over to digital projection, shouldn't that mean they can show a little flexibility in exhibiting things like The Secret World of Arrietty? I don't doubt that Disney has given it a very nice English-language soundtrack (even if the UK one looks nicer), but why not show the 9pm screenings in Japanese with English subtitles? Anyway, Hayao Miyazaki co-wrote the screenplay and Hiromasa Yonebayashi directs in his feature debut. It plays Coolidge Corner, Kendall Square, and Boston Common.

    Kendall Square's one-week booking opening this week is Declaration of War, a dramatic film written by and starring Jérémie Elkaïm & Valérie Donzelli (with Donzelli directing) that is based upon their own struggles dealing with the diagnosis of their very young son with a brain tumor. Looks great, but be warned - it's not only expected in town for one week, but it's sharing a screen with The Iron Lady and will thus only be playing at 4:10pm and 9:25pm. Plan accordingly! They also open up Rampart, in which woody Harrelson reunites with The Messenger director Oren Moverman, this time playing a corrupt cop in one of Los Angeles's more infamous precincts.

  • The more conventional multiplexes open up a couple of action-oriented pictures. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance has Nicolas Cage returning as Johnny Blaze, this time with the directors of Crank at the helm and no Eva Mendes or Sam Elliott; here's hoping that some of the off-kilter charm of the first movie survived (it wasn't exactly good, but Cage doesn't often do boring). It plays the Arlington Capitol, Fresh Pond, Fenway, and Boston Common in both flat and 3D shows (3D only at the Capitol); check times for which plays when.

    Best buddies who are also international spies compete for the affections of the same girl in This Means War. Sadly, the reviews are poisonous, which is a shame, because I was hoping for good things from McG, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, and Reese Witherspoon. It plays the Capitol, Fresh Pond, Harvard Square, Boston Common, and Fenway.

    And if you're looking to do some Oscar catch-up, AMC's Boston Common theater has a four-film marathon starting at 11am - War Horse, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, and The Descendants. The other five films will play on the 25th.

  • The Coolidge cleans house this weekend, and in addition to picking up Arietty, will also be running The Artist, with the 7:20pm showing on Tuesday the 21st being an "Off the Couch" screening with post-film discussion by members of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society. They will also be adding two more sets of Oscar-Nominated Shorts to the digital rooms, as programs with 5 live-action shorts and 9 animated ones join the 4 documentaries already playing.

    At midnight on Friday and Saturday, they'll be showing the newest Troma flick, Father's Day, with the Z-movie studio's godfather, Lloyd Kaufman, on hand to introduce Friday's show and face interrogation afterward. Saturday night features prettier guests, with the Betsi Feathers Valentine Special burlesque show upstairs.

    Sunday morning, on the other hand, is the Goethe-Institut presentation of If Not Us, Who?, about rebellious youth in 1960s Germany. Monday night, there's a Science On Screen presentation of Crimes and Misdemeanors, with Northeastern University psychology professor David DeSteno on hand afterward to break the thinking of the characters in Woody Allen's movie down.

  • It's school vacation week so the Brattle is having their annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival, with 90 minutes of classic Looney Tunes projected from film. The "All Bugs Revue" plays Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, with "Chuck Jones Goes Looney" playing Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday.

    For those looking for a different form of absurdity, the DocYard presents Campaign on Monday evening; it presents an inside look at the city council campaign of a man running for city council under the Liberal Democratic Party banner, despite apparently having no qualifications for the job other than the machine's support.

  • The Harvard Film Archive and Korean Institute of Harvard welcome Park Kwang-su to their screening room. Park is a noteworthy member of the wave of Korean filmmakers that pushed against the country's censorship in the late eighties and early nineties to tell more political stories, and he'll be present for three screenings of his films - A Single Spark on Friday, Chilsu and Mansu on Saturday, and The Uprising on Sunday - and already on his way back home when Black Republic plays on Monday evening. In between, there will also be a screening of Robert Bresson's The Devil Probably on Sunday afternoon, closing out his retrospective.

  • ArtsEmerson has two guests this weekend, with Robert Todd presenting a selection of 16mm shorts on Friday at 6pm and Robert Drew presenting two documentary featurettes on JFK during crucial moments ("Primary" and "Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment") on Saturday at 7pm. There will also be two screenings of The Merry Widow, an Ernst Lubitsch-directed musical with Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald that is not available on DVD (Friday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm), and a new print of Stand By Me on Saturday at 2pm.

  • The Studio Ghibli series at the MFA wraps up this weekend with screenings of Pom Poko, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Porco Rosso, and My Neighbors the Yamadas. They also continue the "Exiled in Hollywood" series with Friday and Saturday screenings of Billy Wilder's A Foreign Affair, featuring Marlene Dietrick, Jean Arthur, and John Lund, and will start a new series, The Films of Derviş Zaim, on Thursday the 23rd with the Turkish director's recent Shadows and Faces.

  • The Regent Theatre in Arlington is actually showing a bunch of film this week: The second and final screening of RE: Generation Music Project is Friday at 10:30pm, and looks spiffy. They premiere a new sing-along feature, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, from Friday to Sunday. And the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour runs Monday through Wednesday, with three different programs featuring mountain and adventure sports.

My plans? Finishing up SF/37, naturally, and then likely crashing Monday before trying to catch up with Arietty, Star Wars, Declaration of War, and maybe some Oscar Shorts later in the week.

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