Friday, July 13, 2012

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 13 July 2012 - 19 July 2012

This is a quiet week, making a quick trip to NYC really tempting.

  • One wide opening this week: Ice Age: Continental Drift. It's the fourth movie about a group of animals banding together for adventures, with the cruel irony being that soon, mammoths and saber-toothed tigers will be extinct, but the progeny of a moron like Sid the Sloth survive to the present day. This one has the gang cast away at sea. At the very least, the Scrat bits should be funny. In both 3D and 2D at the Capitol, Fresh Pond, Fenway, and Boston Common.

    In addition to picking up Beasts of the Southern Wild, Boston Common has one other movie opening, Drunkboat - and that's only playing once or twice a day. It's got a surprisingly good cast, though: John Malkovitch as a bottomed-out drunk returning to his family, Dana Delany as his sister, and John Goodman as the guy selling his nephew a boat. It's based on a play by co-writer/director Bob Meyer, and has been sitting around for two years, so be warned.

  • It's also a quiet week at Kendall Square; the only movie opening there is Neil Joung: Journeys. On the other hand, that movie is Jonathan Demme cutting together Neil Young telling him stories about his youth during a road trip with music from the concert at the end of the trip, so that's kind of a big deal.

    They do have one other program, and it's also musical - they'll be running Shut Up and Play the Hits for two nights on Wednesday the 18th and Thursday the 19th, which also splits time between a concert (LCD Soundsystem's final show) and the performer (James Murphy, pondering his decision to disband the successful group).

  • The Coolidge keeps From Rome with Love and Moonrise Kingdom in their main rooms, but bring Pelotero (Ballplayer) to the screening room. It's a pretty darn good documentary about young Dominicans with big-league dreams, and the exploitation thereof by the major leagues. Friday night, executive producer Andrew Muscato will do a Q&A after the 7:15 show, which means that this movie will have played Boston with three different special guests (directors Ross Finkel, Trevor Martin, and Jonathan Paley at IFFBoston in April; executive producer/Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine last Wednesday).

    There's a few interesting special events there as well. There are two midnight shows this Friday and Saturday; Night of the Creeps is a 1980s sci-fi/horror/comedy that I wished I'd stayed awake for at SF/35 a couple years ago, because it looked like a lot more fun than this sort of deliberately campy homage usually is. That's downstairs; upstairs, the "Fresh Blood" screening is The Pact, a creepy-old-house story with Caity Lotz, Agnes Bruckner, and Casper Van Dien. Writer/director Nicholas McCarthy will pop up on Friday night for an introduction and Q&A. On Monday, there's a Big Screen Classics presentation of Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb - an unweildy title that sounds so much better when you say it like they do in the trailer, and also a very funny movie.

  • The Brattle has two special engagements this weekend. Afternoon and evenings from Friday to Sunday are given to a 25th anniversary run of Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire, in which an angel played by Bruno Ganz falls to Earth after falling in love with a mortal woman (Solveig Dommartin). Those of us who've only seen the American remake with Nicolas Cage should probably check it out. The late show (9:30pm, with 11:30pm shows on Friday and Saturday) is Sleepless Night (Nuit Blanche), what is apparently a very tight French action film that takes place in one night and one location (an admittedly very large nightclub). The French don't mess around with this sort of thing, so this is likely a heck of a thriller.

    On Monday and Tuesday, The Story of Film continues with episodes 3 & 4, with the hilarious Twentieth Century as its illustrative double feature partner (and worth seeing on its own, as it is Howard Hawks directing Carole Lombard and John Barrymore). Note that the showtimes are a bit odd on Monday, as they must accommodate an 8pm DocYard screening of Tchoupitoulas, a documentary about New Orleans as night as seen through the eyes of three young boys; filmmakers Bill and Turner Ross will be there to answer questions.

    The rest of the vertical schedule doesn't kick in until next week, but in the meantime, Wednesday offers a musical double feature in Color Me Obsessed: A Film About the Replacements and What Did You Expect? Archers of Loaf Live at Cat's Cradle. And Thursday, after Grub Street's author talk with Susan Orlean (sold out, but there's a wait list if you want to try your luck), she'll stick around to introduce Clash of the Wolves, as this 1925 film stars the subject of her latest book... Rin Tin Tin.

  • MIT has free/cheap movies most weekends (especially during the school year), but this weekend's presentation is of special interest. Ghosts With Shit Jobs is a mock-documentary, with the twist being that it's episodes from a Chinese television series in 2040 that chronicles the economically disadvantaged population of Toronto after the North American economy collapsed. The guest list includes writer/producer/director Jim Munroe, a good chunk of the cast and crew, "interactive fiction guru" Andrew Plotkin, and XKCD creator Randall Munroe (no relation). It's in building 10, room 250 at 8pm on Saturday, and it's free.

  • I'm admittedly terrible about mentioning the various film programs at the local libraries, but the folks who made Shellshocked, a documentary on the efforts to save wild oyster reefs, inform me that it will be playing at the North End Branch of the Boston Public Library on Wednesday the 18th at 6:30pm, with director Emily Driscoll, UMass Boston's Dr. Anamarija Frankic, and journalist Erin Byers Murray there for a Q&A afterward. There will also be an oyster tasting as well.

  • The Harvard Film Archive begins a summer-long series commemorating 100 Years of Paramount Pictures with some good stuff: Trouble In Paradise and A Foreign Affair on Friday, Serpico on Saturday, El Dorado and a dobule feature of Shanghai Express & City Streets on Sunday. Amusing that this is happening at the HFA and not ArtsEmerson (whose Paramount Theater still has the mountain logo if you look up), and that the prints of older films are supplied by Universal, but fitting in that it takes place nearly 100 years to the day after Adolph Zukor's "Famous Players" (as it was originally called) opened their first film.

    The rest of the weekend's showings are a continuation of their Erich von Streheim retrospective, with a reconstruction of Queen Kelly playing Saturday evening and The Wedding March on Monday. Both will have live piano accompaniment.

  • Over at the MFA, it's time for their 17th Annual Boston French Film Festival, which actually began on Thursday with a sold-out showing of Farewell, My Queen. They will be screening contemporary French cinema for the rest of the month, with the screenings on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday including Belleville Tokyo, Guilty, The Art of Love, My Worst Nightmare, A Happy Event, The Screen Illusion, and The Minister.

    It's not just French film, though - Broke screens Saturday at 7pm. It's a documentary by and about musician Will Gray, a young artist trying to record his first album while also documenting the process, which shows how the music industry is either self-destructing or evolving, depending who you ask. Gray and Reva Williams will be on-hand for a performance after the movie.

  • One Hindi movie with English subtitles opens up at Fresh Pond this weekend: Cocktail has Saif Ali Khan as an Indian expatriate in London, where his parents try to arrange a marriage to Diana Penty on the one hand and he falls into a love triangle with Deepika Padukone and Randeep Hooda on the other. We should all be so lucky. There are screenings of Eega (in which a murdered man is reincarnated as a housefly and seeks to avenge his death) if you speak Telugu and gangster movie Billa 2 if you know Tamil.

  • And, finally, though The Dark Knight Rises does not open until the 20th, many theaters will be doing a "Dark Night Marathon" of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight leading up to it, including Fenway and Boston Common (Fandango also claims Harvard Square, but given that it closed on Sunday, I find that unlikely). The one you want, though, is the one at the Somerville Theatre, which will be in 35mm, as per the strong preference of director Christopher Nolan.

My plans? Oooh, I want to go to New York and see Scabbard Samurai and Potechi so badly, but those are the ones that transportation makes difficult and practically everything in between will also be playing Fantasia, so it's probably not a great idea. There's interesting stuff in between, anyway, so I'll probably try to check out the likes of Drunkboat, Ghosts with Shit Jobs, Sleepless Night, Savages, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and, yeah, Ice Age 4 before heading to baseball on Monday and Montreal on Thursday.

That's right, it will be three weeks before I get to see The Dark Knight Rises, unless their playing it at the Science Museum or some other genuine IMAX theater there and I feel like hitting it. I'd appreciate if you held off on discussing it until I get back to Boston, Internet.

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