Thursday, March 22, 2012

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 23 March 2012 - 29 March 2012

One movie hitting multiplexes this weekend, and I'm not saying it's a big deal, but there are an astonishing number of things attempting to ride its coattails. I, personally, picked up a Blu-ray set of Battle Royale on Tuesday and the new volume of Gunslinger Girl on Wednesday.

There's something really creepy about there being a "killing teens" bandwagon. I'd mock, but I'm clearly on it even with without being particularly interested in the movie everyone else is trying to take advantage of - which kind of makes me worse than the rest, doesn't it?

  • So, yeah, tons of chances to see The Hunger Games if you are so inclined; it looks to be taking up fully half of Regal Fenway's 13 screens, as well as two at Fresh Pond, two in Harvard Square, five or so at Boston Common, and one at the Arlington Capitol. The story apparently has kids from various regions selected for a fight to the death, Most Dangerous Game-style, as a means of pacifying the 99%.

  • On the other hand, you may feel more interested in a festival film. The Irish Film Festival Boston runs from Thursday the 22nd to Sunday the 25th; opening night is at the Brattle Theatre and the rest of the shows at Somerville. It's not all new-new stuff - I saw A Film With Me In It the year I went to SXSW (2009), but some looks interesting. And as soon as the Irish festival is over, the Underground one starts, with John Dies at the End kicking off The Boston Underground Film Festival on Thursday the 29th, back at the Brattle.

  • There's plenty of good stuff in between at the Brattle as well. The weekend features a double feature of old-school Hitchcock with The Lady Vanishes and The 39 Steps on Friday and Sunday, with The WAM! Film Festival (for "Women, Action, & the Media") in between on Saturday. The Boston Jewish Film Festival proper takes place in the fall, but the organization will be presenting a special screening of Dolphin Boy on Monday evening with director Dani Menkin in person to introduce and answer questions. Tuesday is Balagan night, with Sandra Gibson & Luis Recoder in person to present their "projection performance" Aberration of Light: Dark Chamber Disclosure. No guests on Wednesday, when the monthly "Wordless Wednesday" program kicks off with the first Oscar winner for Best Picture (and, until this year, the only silent to win the prize), 1927's genuinely fantastic Wings.

  • Across the river, the Coolidge picks up The Salt of Life in one of the video rooms while opening Footnote on the main screen most days and on 35mm all week. It's actually got a fairly unusual set-up - a father and son are both Talmudic scholars, one of whom is recognized with a reward meant for the other. I'm a bit worried that, because this was Israel's nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, it will be all serious as opposed to comically absurd.

    Speaking of absurd, the midnight show this weekend is David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. That may be unfair, but the TV show ticked me off back in the day. On Saturday, it's joined by Everything Is Terrible Presents: DoggieWoggiez! PoochieWoochiez!, which is, apparently a remake of The Holy Mountain composed entirely of VHS found footage of dogs (with a live stage-show element). Also combining film and live elements is Saturday morning's kids' show, the 5th Annual BEEP Young Kids' Big Music Party, featuring local guys Philip Alexander & the Family Band and Oren Rosenthal.

  • The Kendall also gets Footnote, along with three other movies. The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, which tells the tale of an avant-garde musician who underwent a series of surgeries to make himself more like the woman he loves. Director Marie Losier will be in town on Wednesday to introduce the film and face interrogation after the 5:30pm and 7:30pm shows.

    The other two movie come from France - Free Men is a WWII drama about the unlikely friendship between an Algerian immigrant and a local Jew. It's the one with the one-week booking scheduled. And finally, there's Delicacy, which despite the listing on Google is not about unicorn hunting, but Audrey Tautou as a young widow who begins a relationship with her subordinate at work.

  • ArtsEmerson continues the "Gotta Dance!" series this weekend with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Top Hat, which runs at 6pm Friday and at 2pm and 8:30pm Saturday. It's paired with one featuring "the Yiddish Fred Astaire", Leo Fuchs, as American Matchmaker plays Saturday at 6:30pm and Sunday at 2pm. In between is The Heretics, Joan Braderman's exploration of the works and influence of The Women's Movement's Second Wave.

  • The Harvard Film Archive starts their weekend off with a visit from Claude Lanzmann, best known as the maker of the sprawling Holocaust documentary Shoah, who will screen "The Karski Report" on Friday; it's an expansion of his interview with Jan Karski from that film. Saturday and Monday are taken up by Sing, Memory: The Postwar England of Terence Davies, with a new print of Davies's The Long Day Closes Saturday at 9pm, Distant Voices, Still Lives following at 9pm, and "The Terence Davies Trilogy" (three linked shorts from the start of his career) on Monday at 7pm. Sunday features the finale of their Béla Tarr series - The Man From Londay at 4:30pm and Wreckmeister Harmonies at 7pm.

  • The MFA has several screenings of In Search of Haydn, one of a regular series of documentaries by Phil Grabsky that presents the life and work of a composer via interviews with and performances by today's musicians. Surprisingly, that's not the "Friday Night Films" selection; Night of Silence is, with director Reis Çelik on hand to discuss the film afterward. It's part of the Boston Turkish Film Festival, which also includes Toll Booth on Saturday and Shadows and Faces on Sunday. Sunday afternoon and Wednesday evening also feature the last two screenings of Yves Jeuland's three-hour documentary Being Jewish in France.

  • The big Hindi movie opening at Fresh Pond this weekend is Agent Vinod, a big-time action adventure movie featuring Saif Ali Khan as the title character and the lovely Kareena Kapoor as his leading lady. There's apparently a little bit of controversy in that it's not opening in Pakistan, although the filmmakers claim it's free of anything likely to offend India's neighbor.

My plans? Maybe wait until the crowd clears out after the weekend for The Hunger Games, hit BUFF and John Dies at the End on Thursday and probably do some catch-up over the weekend and in between (whether in theaters or that massive pile of discs next to me). Oh, and I'll try to get to Wings, because it's great, although I've already got it on Blu-ray.

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