Thursday, February 14, 2013

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 14 February - 21 February 2013

Happy Valentine's Day! And President's Day! I love movies and long weekends, even if I do now have to take the end of this one as a vacation day to gorge on movies.

  • That gorge will be done at the The Boston Sci-Fi Film Fest. The "festival" part continues through Saturday, with the Marathon running from Sunday at noon until roughly the same time Monday in the big room at the Somerville Theatre (Friday and Saturday nights are on smaller screens).

    Before then, the Somerville Theatre has two special programs on Valentine's Day - Harold Lloyd's Girl Shy on the main screen with a short and accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, and Faith Soloway adding music and comedy to Claire of the Moon in a "Lesbian Cinema Schlock Treatment" show. Two days later, they'll also be hosting the All Things Horror screening of Mon Ami, an entertaining black comedy I enjoyed at Fantasia last year. And with one screen left empty after the sci-fi festival ends, they'll welcome the Banff Mountain Film Festival from Tuesday to Thursday with a touring show of short films centered on nature, sport, and the environment. Looking a little further out, they will also welcome the Alloy Orchestra on the 23rd with new scores for a selection of Buster Keaton shorts.
  • The big studios bring out some big guns a day early to catch Valentine's Day moviegoers. The most obviously Valentine-y movie is Safe Haven, the latest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, this one featuring Julianne hough and Josh Duhamel as good-looking people who need to see past their tragedies to find love again, with Lasse Hallström in the director's chair. It plays Fenway, Boston Common, and Fresh Pond. The same theaters also have Beautiful Creatures, a Southern Gothic but modern adaptation of a young-adult fantasy novel with Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich as the star-crossed lovers, since she's a witch who will be claimed by good or evil on her birthday. The supporting cast is temptingly excellent, with Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, Margo Martindale, Kyle Gallner, Viola Davis, and more.

    For those more in the mood for male bonding, A Good Day to Die Hard also opens on Valentine's Day, with Bruce Willis back as John McClane, this time (hopefully) in over his head in Moscow where he finds out his son is a spy hunting down terrorists. Hopefully a bit of a bounce-back after #4, as opposed to just Fox realizing that a Bruce Willis action movie will make twice as much if it has the words "Die Hard" in the title, even if it's not nearly so great as the original. It plays the Arlington Capitol, Fresh Pond, Boston Common (including the Imax screen), Fenway (including the RPX screen), and the Jordan's Furniture IMAX screens, Another action choice this weekend is the 3D re-release of Top Gun, which moves over to Fenway on Friday after having played the Imax screen at Boston Common for a week.

    It's also school vacation week, so kids younger than the target audience for Beautiful Creatures get Escape from Planet Earth, an animated film with Brendan Fraser and Rob Corddry as alien astronauts brothers trapped in Area 51 and looking to bust out. Fun voice cast, but the animation doesn't look great (what falls to The Weinstein Company seldom does), and even the trailer had obnoxious product placement. It has 2D and 3D showings at the Arlington Capitol, Fresh Pond, and Fenway; 3D-only at Boston Common.
  • The Brattle has their big Valentine's screening of Casablanca tonight, and there may still be tickets available. After that, it's school vacation time with The Bugs Bunny Film Festival running Friday to next Saturday, including three programs: The "All Bugs Revue" plays on Friday, Sunday, Tuesday (noon only), and Thursday; "That Fantastic Friz" celebrates Friz Freling's centennial on Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday; and a special "Looney Tunes Revue" plays matinees next Friday and Saturday (the 22nd & 23rd). The gap on Tuesday is for a Balagan presentation of "Breakwater", an hour's worth of short films (mostly) on 16mm capturing imagery of water.
  • Kendall Square tends to have a low turnover during Oscar season, and this year (and week) is no exception, with Stand Up Guys leaving and Happy People: A Year in the Taiga opening. The trailers play it up as a Werner Herzog film, but he seems to mostly lend a hand (and his distinctive voice) to Dmitry Vasyukov, who spent a year documenting fur trappers in a Siberian village. Timur Bekmambetov is also on board as a producer, so that's an interesting group.
  • the Coolidge Corner Theatre presents Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca as their Valentine's Day show tonight, a romantic mystery that was also his first American film. Tomorrow, they open Tabu in the screening room, which is also a romance that is split into two halves, one in contemporary Lisbon and one in colonial Africa.

    They also continue midnight Blaxploitation History Month screenings on Friday and Saturday with modern spoof Black Dynamite, a pretty darn great send-up of the genre which demonstrates that Michael Jai White really should do more comedy, because he's hilarious. Lore screens Sunday morning, delayed from last week because of blizzard-related travel issues, and Fargo plays on the big screen Monday as part of "Big Screen Classics".
  • Leos Carax will be visiting the Harvard Film Archive next weekend, but they start their retrospective of his films on Friday so that folks can get up to speed. Boy Meets Girl plays Friday at 7pm, Pola X that night at 9:15pm, Tokyo! Saturday at 9pm, and The Lovers on the Bridge Sunday at 4pm. They're also continuing the Raoul Walsh retrospective ("Action! Action! Action!") with a rescheduled The Revolt of Mamie Stover at 5pm Saturday, followed by Wild Girl 7pm, and They Died with Their Boots On Sunday 7pm. They'll also look at another filmmaker on Monday with The Poetic Semiotics of Peter Rose, with the filmmaker present to introduce a series of his short films and videos.
  • The MFA continues with The Films of Stanley Kubrick, offering up unconventional Valentine's Day options with Lolita and Dr. Strangelove (also running Saturday the 16th), then moving on to Paths of Glory (Friday the 15th), 2001 (Friday & Sunday), A Clockwork Orange (Saturday and Sunday), and Barry Lyndon (Thursday the 21st). Lolita, 2001, and A Clockwork Orange are digital; the rest are on 35mm.
  • ArtsEmerson's The Next Thing Festival begins in earnest this weekend with "American Utopias" on the main stage, and the film portion is a mix of new and influential pictures: Transition is a musical performance piece Friday evening, with Spaulding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia (as filmed by Jonathan Demme) Friday night. Saturday offers Time Bandits in the afternoon, a presentation of Young Jean Lee's play The Shipment at 6pm, and Aaron Landsman's live-streamed participatory theater event City Council Meeting at 9pm. It's Spaulding Gray again Sunday afternoon, with Steven Soderbergh's film And Everything Is Going Fine at 1pm, including specially appearances by Gray's wife Kathleen Russo, son Forrest Gray, and fellow monologuist Mike Daisey.
  • School vacation means sing-along shows at the Regent Theatre, and apparently Grease! is the word for February. 7pm Shows all week from Monday the 17th to Friday the 22nd, with 2pm matinees on Tuesday and Thursday and a 9:30pm late show on Friday. There will be goody bags, and coming in costume is strongly encouraged.
  • It's been a while since the New England Aquarium shuffled their IMAX shows, and they add a new one looking at marine life and environments on Friday with The Last Reef. Truth be told, looking at undersea environments in IMAX 3D never gets old, and it also plays on the 2D-but-curved OMNIMAX screen at the Museum of Science.
  • AMC's Best Picture Showcase is split into two parts to handle the nine nominees this year; the first part runs on Saturday the 16th starting at 10am and includes Amour, Les Miserables, Argo, and Django Unchained for $30 (the other five will run next week) at Boston Common. Boston Common also will be keeping Lost in Thailand around for late shows, either because it did well or because the blizzard killed any chance for folks to see it.
  • Speaking of Oscar catch-up, the ICA starts screening the Oscar-nominated short films off and on starting on Sunday; they'll be showing animation, live action, and three of the documentary shorts on Sunday, and animation on Thursday.

My plans? Sci-fi fest until Monday, sneaking Lost in Thailand in there somewhere, and maybe catching Die Hard 5 and Happy People later in the week. Probably won't go for the latter on Monday afternoon, because I can see Werner Herzog's voice lulling me to sleep after the 'thon. I'm half-tempted to see Lore Sunday morning and show up a bit late for said marathon, but do I really need to make 24 hours of movies straight into 26?

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