Thursday, August 23, 2012

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 24 August 2012 - 30 August 2012

While Hollywood has stretched the summer movie season earlier every year - I believe it begins in mid-April now - the late August/early September period still seems to be a dumping ground of sorts. There's some good-looking stuff coming out, some that is less certain, and some that is just bizarre.

  • But let's start with the fun! Films at the Gate starts Thursday the 23rd and runs through Sunday the 26th, with a different kung fu flick each night at 8pm, with short films and live martial arts and dance demonstrations beforehand. All films play outside, at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway near the Chinatown Gate (nothing in the vacant lot this year), and cover 35 years of action from Hong Kong's biggest stars: "Jimmy" Wang Yu in Master of the Flying Guillotine on Thursday, Jacking Chan writing/directing/starring/choreographing The Young Master on Friday, Jet Li in Shaolin Temple (his first film!) on Saturday, and Donnie Yen in Ip Man 2 (which has a pretty great fight scene with choreographer Sammo Hung) on Sunday. Grab some takeout from a local merchant and have some fun!

  • The Brattle has their new schedule out (check it up, there's cool stuff), and wraps their previous one this week. They start out with a new 35mm print of Daisies, an absurdist Czechoslovakian film from 1966 "widely considered one of the great works of feminist cinema"; it's got the screen to itself from Friday to Sunday.

    All sorts of series on the vertical schedule wrap up after that: Monday completes current DocYard series with director Michael Collins and producer Marty Syjuco in town for Give Up Tomorrow, which documents the conflict between two women on opposite sides of a Filipino death penalty case. "The Story of Film" also finishes Monday and Tuesday with episode 15, which leads into Tuesday's double feature of Mulholland Drive and Inception (the latter of which also has a Monday matinee). The "Wordless Wednesday" feature sort of wraps "Recent Raves", as Hugo has certainly brought Georges Meiles's "A Trip to the Moon" back to the forefront; a newly-restored print plays with The Extraordinary Voyage, a 60-minute documentary that chronicles the restoration. And "International Asskicking!" finishes on Thursday with one of its most famous and influential entries, Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon.

  • Across the river at the Coolidge, they open up Robot & Frank, which true to its name offers up Frank Langella as an elderly man none too fond of his new caretaker; the twist to this Sundance sleeper being that the caretaker is a robot and Frank used to be a cat burglar. It mostly plays the larger screen and also opens at Kendall Square.

    Also playing the large screen is the last of their "Terror-ble 2" shows, Psycho II, which might not be in the same ballpark as the original, but is a surprisingly clever inversion of it. It plays midnight on Friday and Saturday, as does Bronson, with Tom Hardy as the title character in Nicolas winding Refn's stylish story of Britain's most violent and outrageous convict. The large screen also has another "Big Screen Classic" on Monday, this week featuring Quentin Tarantino's directorial debut Reservoir Dogs (note that this is the last weekly screening; the series returns on September 24th).

  • In addition to Robot & Frank, Kendall Square opens the critically-acclaimed Compliance for its one-week booking; it's about a manager at a fast-food restaurant who is told that one of her employees is a thief and to detain her and is based on a real-life incident that demonstrated just how much people will defer to apparent authority. They also have Cosmopolis, the new film by David Cronenberg which stars Robert Pattinson as a Wall Street financier who watches his virtual world collapse even as things are going mad outside his limousine's windows. It also plays at Boston Common.

  • Aside from that, it's kind of a dodgy week at the multiplexes. The most promising opening looks to be Premium Rush, which seems to have received little attention despite a pretty capable writer/director in David Koepp and a decent cast led by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon. It's a pretty straightforward chase movie, with a bike messenger picking up a mysterious package and being pursued through Manhattan, and plays the Arlington Capitol, Boston Common, and Fenway. The other chase movie opening, Hit & Run, actually snuck into theaters on Wednesday and features Dax Shepard (who also writes & directs) as a former getaway driver in witness protection who hits the road with his girlfriend and winds up chased by both his old gang and the feds. Fun supporting cast, too, with Kristen Bell, Tom Arnold, Bradley Cooper, and Kristin Chenoweth. It plays Fresh Pond, Fenway, and Boston Common.

    There's also a pretty generic-looking horror movie opening at Boston Common and Fresh Pond, The Apparition, with a poltergeist of sorts that becomes more powerful the more it's feared haunting a young couple. And for some reason, both theaters are opening 2016: Obama's America, even though I'd be kind of surprised if these conservative-leaning documentaries ever did very well in Boston.

    A few movies will try to get an extra jump on the Labor Day weekend next Wednesday, including Lawless, something called "The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure" (cue my brother telling me that his girls can't wait), and maybe sci-fi action/adventure The Day, which is distributed by WWE Films despite not appearing to have a single wrestler in the cast.

  • It's almost all Paramount's 100th at the Harvard Film Archive this weekend. Dark City plays Friday at 7pm (the 1950 film noir with Charlton Heston and Lizbeth Scott, as opposed to the other one); Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Warriors at 7pm and 9:30pm, respectively, on Saturday; "Cheat" with live piano accompaniment at 5pm Sunday, with S.O.B. at 7pm; and Days of Heaven at 7pm Monday. The only exception is El Bruto at 9:30pm on Friday, a story of class warfare that wraps up the "Buñuel's Mexico" series.

  • The MFA spends the weekend alternating screenings of two movies: Side by Side, Christopher Kenneally and Keanu Reeves's examination of the movie industry's transition from film to digital, and We Won't Grow Old Together, a reissue of Mauriece Pialat's 1972 film about a five-year romance between a couple with a 20-year age gap that has a number of break-ups and make-ups. On Wednesday the 29th, they keep Side by Side but otherwise start up a new rotation, with Oslo, August 31st - about an addict skipping a job interview to visit old friends - notable both for being much-acclaimed and being booked last-minute when its playdates at another theater fell through (it will also open in Somerville on August 31st, appropriately enough). Documentaries Sushi: The Global Catch and Better Than Something start on Thursday, with the directors of the latter (which spends a week with garage rocker Jay Reatard) on-hand for the Thursday & Friday screenings.

My plans involve some baseball (I bought these tickets back in January, so I can't give up), some kung fu, Cosmopolis, and Robot & Frank. I have never seen Reservoir Dogs, so I probably should get on that, too.

No comments: