(Note: I haven't been calling theaters, so even if there's no notes on them being closed don't just assume that they're open and show up. Seriously, don't go outside if you don't have to; it may not look like much now, but everyone swears this blizzard will be an actual blizzard!)
- The Boston Sci-Fi Film Fest is at the Somerville Theatre this week, a run-up to next weekend's marathon. It looks even more uneven than most specialty festivals, with a pretty well-received French-Canadian film (Mars et Avril) opening the fest but some rough selections later and one notable movie dropped at the last minute. Still, there is often a gem or two hidden amid the rest. Note that the blizzard will see the theater close at 6pm on Friday, so the opening night screenings will be rescheduled (the Somerville Theatre website says Saturday, but the festival site has no details).
It's a busy week for the Somerville; they'll be presenting two performances of The Vagina Monologues on Saturday, and on Valentine's Day there are two special screenings beyond the festival: Girl Shy, a pretty darn funny Harold Lloyd silent in 35mm on the big screen with Jeff Rapsis on the organ. There's a short, too, and it should look pretty good, between Dave Kornfeld likely digging the super-bright lamps out and Lloyd having taken good care of his films. Those looking for something a little more daring may want to head upstairs where Faith Soloway's Lesbian Cinema Schlock Treatment has its first(?) monthly show with Claire of the Moon getting what looks like a highly specialized live MST3K-ing from the local musician.
- In first-run presentations, Somerville opens Identity Thief, as does Boston Common, Fenway, and Fresh Pond. It features a couple reliably funny people (Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy) as a victim and perpetrator of credit card fraud, with the former trying to bring the latter to the police and both running from even worse folks.
Looking more promising is Side Effects, the latest - and possibly last - film from Steven Soderbergh, with Rooney Mara as a woman put on an experimental new drug by her psychiatrist (Jude Law) only to find the cure may be worse than the disease. It plays the Capitol, Fresh Pond, Fenway, and Boston Common. Personally, I think Soderbergh will do another movie in a few years (not counting the Liberace biography he's doing for HBO), but he's earned a rest if he wants it.
With a little more in the way of screens to fill, Boston Common also opens Lost In Thailand, a hit comedy from China starring and directed by Xu Zheng (whom Chinese film fans may remember from Crazy Stone, Crazy Racer, and Love in the Buff). He plays a businessman trying to meet up with a stockholder in Thailand before a rival despite one of those laid-back traveling companions who make everything go wrong.
- Kendall Square is closed on Friday and wn't open until 6pm on Saturday. It mostly keeps the same line-up. The new addition is pretty noteworthy, though: 56 Up, the latest installment of a series of documentaries made for British television starting in 1964, when a group of seven-year-olds were interviewed. Director Michael Apted has been revisiting those that still wish to participate every seven years since, so this is the eighth check-in with the group. Kind of an astonishing accomplishment, really.
- That movie will open at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in two weeks; this week, they pick up Quartet and the Oscar-Nominated Live Action & Animated Shorts (joining the documentary shorts that are already playing. Those don't start until Saturday, as the Coolidge is closed on Friday in anticipation of the blizzard.
Its Saturday screening is also canceled, but Mary Poppins will still play as a Sunday morning kids' show.
Sunday morning has a second movie featuring kids, but Lore is likely not for them, as the Talk Cinema presentation is about five children of Nazi SS officers making their way across Germany in the wake of World War II to join their grandmother and facing their parents' legacy.(Note: Lore has been postponed until the 17th)
For the Saturday midnight screening (the Friday one is canceled), they continue Blaxploitation History Month with Sugar Hill, with Marki Bey seeking revenge on the gangsters that killed her boyfriend with voodoo - specifically, bringing forth zombies (in the original meaning of the word) to do her bidding! There's also a special "Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper" lecture by Scott Freiman on Monday night, which would normally be when "Big Screen Classics" is presented, but that series return will instead be on Thursday, so that Rebecca, the gothic romance that was Alfred Hitchcock's first American film, can run on Valentine's Day.
- The Brattle is also closed on Friday, meaning that the "(Some of) The Best of 2012" series loses How to Survive a Plague and The Raid. It has a busy Saturday, though, with two double features: Animated monster movies Paranorman and Frankenweenie in the afternoon and noteworthy directors sending limousines across a city (Leos Carax's Holy Motors and David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis) in the evening. Those will be introduced by members of the Boston Society of Film Critics, who will have their awards ceremony and a screening of How to Survive a Plague on Sunday evening, with director David France joining them. Another director, Carlo Guillermo Proto, will be on-site Monday to screen and discuss his documentary El Huaso as part of the DocYard series. That one follows a retiree who takes up competing in rodeos in case his short-term memory problems are a harbinger of full-blown Alzheimer's, which he has decided he would not live with.
For Tuesday through Thursday - well, it's Valentine's Day, which means Casablanca on 35mm! The actual Valentine's Day shows will probably sell out, so buy tickets in advance; there are also Premium Tickets available for couples that include special gifts.
- The Arlington Capitol will be closing at 6pm Friday and opening late at 4pm Saturday, and will have another week of Capitol Classics double features mid-week, this set valentine-themed: Mystic Pizza & Four Weddings and a Funeral on Tuesday the 12th, Untamed Heart & The Apartment on Wednesday the 13th, and Moonstruck & A Fish Called Wanda on Thursday the 15th.
- The Harvard Film Archive will be closed on both Friday and Saturday, but will continue their mini-run of Bruno Dumont's Hors Satan on Sunday afternoon and Monday evening. The snow wipes out two screenings in the Raoul Walsh retrospective, but the one that remains, High Sierra on Sunday night, is a pretty good one, with a script by John Huston and Humphrey Bogart as a thief on the run with Ida Lupino. There's also a free VES screening of I Don't Want to Sleep Alone on Tuesday night.
- ArtsEmerson has a film, stage, and music program called The Next Thing Festival (TNT for short) over the next few weeks, and the film programming this weekend is a preview, with this weekend focused on "lighting the dynamite". Films scheduled include Brazil (35mm) Friday evening, Zabriskie Point (DVD) Friday night, Far From Heaven (DVD) Saturday afternoon, Swimming to Cambodia (DVD) Saturday evening, The Bride of Frankenstein (35mm?) Saturday night, and Month Python and the Holy Grail (Blu-ray) Sunday afternoon.
- The MFA has cancelled film programming on Friday and Saturday (sorry, Tiny Furniture fans), but The FIlms of Stanley Kubrick continues once the snow stops falling, with Lolita and Spartacus on Sunday and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb on Thursday. If you've seen the trailer, the way that subtitle is pronounced probably makes it seem even less apt for the 14th.
- iMovieCafe opens Special 26 (Special Chabbis on IMDB), which features Akshay Kumar as a thief who masterminds a jewel heist involving a gang of 26 who posed as tax collectors based on a real life incident. It also features Manoj Bajpai, Jimmy Shergill, Anupam Kher, and Kajal Aggarwal, and is written and directed by Neeraj Pandey. That's in Hindi with English subtitles, and shares the screen with Telugu film Mirchi and Tamil film Viswaroopam, neither of which appear to be subtitled.
My plans? Mostly living at the Sci-Fi Festival, though I will