Thursday, May 17, 2012

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 18 May 2012 - 24 May 2012

So, I didn't do this last week as I went head-down on IFFBoston stuff, and neither heard complaints not saw a really noticeable downtick in hits, but I found myself losing track of what was playing and what I wanted to see. So I'm back at it, just because I need to do so.

That last sentence likely describes blogging and writing in general.

  • It looks like a pretty unimpressive week in the mainstream theaters, and that's even with me being one of the few people who had been looking forward to Battleship. The way I figured it, it was a big blank slate with which Peter Berg could do any insane thing he wanted, and, hey, that's a fun cast. But successive trailers have done less and less as it looked more and more Transformers-like. It plays the Arlington Capitol, Fresh Pond, Harvard Square, Boston Common, and Fenway.

    Another movie with a potentially decent ensemble cast, What to Expect When You're Expecting, gives us several couples with kids on the way. There's some good folks in it - Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, Anna Kendrick, Dennis Quaid, Elizabeth Banks - so it could be all over the place. Plays at the Capitol, Fresh Pond, Fenway, and Boston Common.

    A couple other things have already opened - Dark Shadows last week and The Dictator back on Wednesday. Johnny Depp and Sasha Baron Cohen with stupid haircuts. Both play the Somerville Theatre, Fresh Pond, Harvard Square, Boston Common, and Fenway.

    Boston Common also has a few limited releases opening. The most notable is likely Warriors of the Rainbow - Seediq Bale, which was Taiwan's submission to the Academy Awards last year. It's a big action/adventure about the native Taiwanese who rebelled against the occupying Japanese (including Masanobu Ando). Down the hall (awkward segue alert!), Native American teens compete in a lacrosse tournament in Crooked Arrows, with Brandon Routh apparently the biggest name, apparently as the father of one of the girls. There's also Mansome, the new documentary by Morgan Spurlock about male grooming. Man, I bet other documentary filmmakers look at his ability to get movies into theaters with immense envy.

  • Over at the Coolidge, Marley opens up in the GoldScreen after a run in Kendall Square, and Headhunters moves over to the screening room after opening there last week. On film, the new opening is Bernie, Richard Linklater's strange-but-true tale of mystery with Jack Black as a funeral director who insinuates himself into the affairs of a local widow (Shirley MacLaine), and Matthew McConaughey as the sheriff. Lots of people are mentioning Fargo when referring to it.

    In terms of special engagements, there's a couple of midnights: Friday and Saturday at midnight, there's Event Horizon, with Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill in an early flick by Paul W.S. Anderson, while Friday also features a "video mixtape" by the Whore Church, with a live heavy-metal pre-show. Sunday morning, director Robert Thalmeim will be present for the Goethe-Institut screening of Westwind, his film about two East German twins in 1988 who may find themselves pulled in different directions.

    And, on Monday, the Big Screen Classic is a great one - Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby, one of the all-time great screwball comedies, with Hepburn as a dizzy heiress fixated on Grant's paleontologist. Every minute of this is hilarious.

  • Bernie also opens at Kendall Square, as does another movie by a frequent pair of collaborators. Lawrence Kasdan directs Kevin Kline in Darling Companion, in which he plays a man whose wife (Diane Keaton) loves her dog more than him... and who loses it. Sadly, it's been getting toxic reviews. They also open Surviving Progress, a documentary about "progress traps", tempting advances that may have deleterious long-term effects, and The Hunter, with Willem Dafoe as a big-game hunter who comes to Tasmania to try to catch the last Tasmanian tiger.

  • The Brattle has a couple of small premieres for the weekend. The Color Wheel has director Alex Ross Perry and Carlen Altman playing bickering siblings trying to put up with each other as they help each other move, while God Bless America is the latest from Bobcat Goldthwait, featuring another male/female pair, this one fed up with modern American life and looking to kill the worst aspects of it. God Bless America has the late shows (9:45pm, with midnight on Friday and Saturday) while The Color Wheel runs earlier.

    After that, there are a number of one-night bookings: On Monday Night, the Massachusetts Campaign for a US Department of Peace & Nonviolence presents The Dhamma Brothers with filmmaker(s) in person to discuss their film about how a mediation program changed an Alabama prison. Tuesday's guest is the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, who present their spoof Freak Dance. No guest Wednesday, because that's when the new 35mm print of F.W. Murnau's Sunrise finally arrives for a "Wordless Wednesday" screening. And on Thursday, "Reunion Weekend" begins, with a 25th Anniversary double-feature of The Princess Bride and Spaceballs.

  • ArtsEmerson's Paramount Theater actually had The Color Wheel last year, and has more recent indie films this weekend as part of their "Festival Focus" series. Joachim Trier's Oslo, August 31st has single shows on Friday and Saturday; it follows a Norwegian man at the end of his drug rehabilitation program who may be on the brink as he heads to the city for a job interview. Neighboring Sounds comes from Brazil (and the consulate is making the Friday night screening a free one), with Kleber Mendonça Filho observing a tense neighborhood through the eyes of the private security firm hired to patrol it.

    Saturday and Sunday afternoon, meanwhile, are taken by French Cancan, a 1954 "Renoir in Technicolor" entry, with Jean Gabin as the founder of the Moulin Rouge who started the cancan craze.

  • Apparently, by not doing this last week, I missed the start of The Story of Film at the MFA, a fifteen-part series being (mostly) shown in chunks of two episodes. Episodes #3 to #10 play over the weekend, with #9 through #11 playing Wednesday and Thursday. The other "Exclusive Screening" is Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, a re-presentation from the Boston Turkish Film Festival that starts out as the search for a missing person and expands into a broader examination of Turkish life; it plays Friday evening and Saturday morning.

  • The Harvard Film Archive presents "The School of Reis: The Films and Legacy of António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro this weekend and next; it features a more-or-less even split between movies made by the influential Portuguese filmmakers and the artists they influenced.

    Less heavy - a Sunday afternoon screening of BMX Bandits as part of "Bay State Bike Week", featuring a very young Nicole Kidman as one of a group of teenagers getting into mischief (and paired with an I Love Lucy episode, so you get bonus redheads on bikes!).

    Monday night's screening, part of their continuing "¡Qué Viva Eisenstein!" series, is two incomplete Sergei Eisenstein films: ¡Qué Viva Mexico!, shot in 1931 but left incomplete when the producer backed out and the director was recalled to the Soviet Union, is a mostly complete history of Mexico missing its climactic sequence (assembled by Grigori Aleksandrov after Eisenstein's death), while "Bezhin Meadow" only survives as a half-hour collection of stills.

  • The Regent Theatre has one more screening of Yellow Submarine, Saturday at 10:30am.

  • Fresh Pond opens a new Hindi action movie, Department, about a special police unit that is later accused of corruption. I can't find much English-language infomration on it, but director Ram Gopal Varma is a big enough deal that his new films are an event (though I must admit, the one I've seen, Rann, didn't do a whole lot for me).

My plans? Not really set in stone aside from Warriors of the Rainbow - Seediq Bale. I suspect that I will be weak and see Battleship and/or Darling Companion, even though I have been thoroughly warned. I also want to see Sound of Her Voice, and had better hop to it, as it's been cut down to half-a-screen at the Kendall after opening last week.

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