Thursday, March 15, 2012

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 16 March 2012 - 22 March 2012

I was going to spend the last week doing a #EXNE gag on Twitter, being excited about what I was seeing and how it was cooler than what was happening in Austin but... Yeah, not much moviegoing; even when I had the opportunity, there wasn't a whole lot I really wanted to hit. This weekend, though, there's at least one thing I'm stoked for.

  • The Bright Screening Room in ArtsEmerson's Paramount Theater has the Boston release of A Life Without Principle, a new movie from Hong Kong master Johnnie To starring Denise Ho, Richie Ren, and the great Lau Ching-wan as a banker, a cop, and a gangster involved in a financial crime in the wake of the economic collapse. To is fantastic, and while it's a shame that it's only playing four times - Friday at 9pm, Saturday at 7pm & 9pm, and Sunday at 2pm - that's four times more often than his movies usually play here, and it's screening in 35mm to boot.

    Rounding out the usual schedule of six screenings per weekend are a couple entries in continuing series. Friday night's 7pm film is Lumumba, a biography of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba; it's a part of "Visionary Filmmaker: Raoul Peck", a series of talks and screenings around dedicated to the Haitian director that includes a book signing at 2pm, though it appears Peck won't be on-hand for the screenings. The Saturday afternoon family matinee is also the week's "Gotta Dance" screening, Shirley Temple in Bright Eyes, one of nine movies she made in 1934 at the age of six. So what have you accomplished with your life so far?

  • Another limited weekend release is happening at the Brattle, with The FP playing at 10pm from Friday to Sunday and at midnight on Friday and Saturday. It's more fun than most movies this eager to be a cult hit are. The non-late shows those days feature the work of Canadian director Atom Egoyan - The Sweet Hereafter on Friday, two double features on Saturday (Next of Kin & Speaking Parts in the afternoon and Exotica & Adoration during the early evening), and Calendar Sunday evening. They're in support of the Chlotrudis Awards, where Mr. Egoyan will be a guest and receive an award as the Chlotrudis society honors the best in 2012 independent film.

    (Don't blame me if you don't like the results; my indie films seen and the nominees don't intersect enough for me to vote in many categories.)

    The rest of the week is filled with a number of one-off screenings. On Monday, the DocYard presents Battle For Brooklyn, which follows Daniel Goldstein, who no sooner moved into a new apartment than he was informed that the New Jersey Nets would be knocking the building down to build a new arena, as he organizes opposition. Tuesday is a premiere screening of 40 West, a chamber piece featuring Wayne Newton in a supporting role. Wednesday still says "TBA" on the website, and Thursday is the opening night of Irish Film Festival Boston, with the U.S. Premiere of Stella Days, with director Thaddeus O'Sullivan and star Stephen Rea in person to introduce and answer questions afterward.

  • Only one new release hitting the multiplexes this week, the feature version of 21 Jump Street, with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as the youthful looking cops sent undercover to uncover crimes in high schools. It's a comedy (intentionally), unlike the version which launched Johnny Depp's career twenty-five years ago (man, I'm old). It plays Somerville, Fresh Pond, Fenway, Harvard Square, and Boston Common.

    Boston Common fills a couple of other screens in with smaller releases. Love sticks around for on 11:05am show a day, and they also pick up Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which had previously only been playing Landmark's places in Kendall Square & Waltham. They're also opening a couple of movies that have the cast to open wider, but are sort of off-beat: Casa de mi Padre is a high-concept Will Ferrell parody of Mexican telenovelas and narco-dramas, with Ferrell playing his part entirely in Spanish alongside Genesis Rodriguez and legit Mexican stars Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal. On another screen, the Duplass brothers continue their transition from mumblecore to the mainstream with Jeff, Who Lives at Home, featuring Jason Segel as a twenty-something still living in his mother's basement who may finally be motivated to move out on his own after spending a day helping his brother track down his unfaithful wife.

  • Jeff also opens in Kendall Square, as does The Salt of Life, Gianni Di Gregorio's follow-up to Mid-August Lunch. Not a sequel; though much of the cast overlaps, they're playing different roles in a movie about a middle-aged man who feels that the women of Rome look right through him. It's cute but thin, and booked for a week. They also open Undefeated, the Oscar-winning Documentary about an underfunded high-school football team that turns becomes a winner under the guidance of a new coach.

  • Things mostly stay the same at the Coolidge, with the exception of swapping one animated film (Arrietty) out for another, more adult feature (Chico and Rita). Chico mostly plays in the Goldscreen room, although the 5pm show will be on screen #2 (whether that means it will be on film or not is not clear). There's still some animation for kids, though, with Kids' Shows of Looney Tunes both Saturday and Sunday mornings.

    There are a couple of other special events at 7pm during the week. Monday's Science on Screen program is Ma Vie en Rose, about a young boy convinced he should be a girl, and is introduced by Norman Spack, MD, an endocrinologist who is one of the world's top authorities on gender-variant children. On Thursday, filmmaker Kevin Smith will be on hand to speak and sign his new book TOUGH SH*T: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good; the $28 ticket includes a copy.

    And later still, at midnight on Friday and Saturday, the Boston Underground Film Festival presents Shogun Assassin, a movie made by editing two Lone Wolf and Cub pictures together and dubbing them into English. Saturday night also has a midnight show of The Room.

  • The Harvard Film Archive has a Terrence Davies program coming up next weekend, but gets a jump-start on it on Friday as Mr. Davies will be there in person to introduce his newest film, The Deep Blue Sea, featuring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston in an adaptation of a Terrence Rattigan play. After that, they return to their Bela Tarr retrospective. His seven-and-a-half-hour Satantago plays both Saturday and Sunday at 2pm - not split into two, but with the whole thing showing both days, with a 15-minute intermission and a one hour dinner break. Monday night's screening of Almanac of Fall, running only two hours, should be much more manageable. And on Thursday, Ernie Gehr returns to present a set of "Recent Video Work"

  • The MFA concludes its New Latin American Cinema series with screenings of Bonsai, Machete Language, and Craft over the weekend; Bonsai serves double-duty as part of the Friday Night Films series, with folks arriving early treated to Latin American music courtesy of DJ due Pajaritos. On Sunday the 18th, they begin sporadic showings of Being Jewish in France, a three-plus-hour documentary by Yves Jeuland that means to serve as a primer for the entire history of Jews in that country. And on Thursday, they begin The Boston turkish Film Festival with Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.

  • The Regent Theatre in Arlington has a couple of film programs this week. Loot runs Sunday at 7:30pm and Monday at 8pm; it's a crime flick from Nepal set against the backdrop of Kathmandu. On Thursday, they've got a screening of 40 West, for those that missed it at the Brattle on Tuesday.

  • The Somerville Theatre and Arlington Capitol are shuffling a few second-run films around, with The Descendants opening in Somerville after closing in Kendall Square - since it's already out on video, this week is likely the last chance to see the nice Hawaiian scenery on the big screen. Of course, the Capitol is still running Hugo on its main screen in 3-D despite it already being on video; they also picks up In Darkness as it also leaves Kendall Square. And in an odd move that suggests the two cinemas owned by the same company operate in neighborhoods with different curfews, the Somerville Theatre will have a midnight screening of The Hunger Games on Thursday before shipping the print up Mass Avenue to open in Arlington on Friday.

My plans? A Life Without Principle on Friday, the Chlotrudis awards on Sunday, and then who knows in between and afterward. Chico & Rita, maybe, if I can get to the big-screen showing after Japanese class on Saturday. It is kind of slow right now.

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