Friday, October 18, 2013

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 18 October - 24 October 2013

Weird throwback weekend at the multiplexes. Sort of. Well, maybe not really.

  • Surprise opening at Boston Common: Chinese Zodiac, Jackie Chan's latest action/adventure movie. It's a sequel to his popular Armor of God and Operation Condor pictures from twenty years ago, although word from when it came out in China last December seemed to suggest it was a lot more like his American movies than his Hong Kong classics. Still, Jackie Chan punching and kicking - take it while you can.

    Speaking of action stars still hanging on, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzeneggar have their first for-real team-up in Escape Plan, with Sly as a prison beta-tester of sorts who is thrown into a new high-tech prison, with Arnie as a convict there. It's at the Capitol, Apple, Fenway, and Boston Common. There's also a remake on tap, Carrie, with Chloe Grace Moretz in the title role and Julianne Moore as her mother. Seems unnecessary, but it's also the only mainstream horror movie coming out this Halloween. It's at Somerville, Apple, Boston Common, Fenway, and the SuperLux.

    There's also The Fifth Estate, a fictionalized version of the WikiLeaks saga with Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, and Bill Condon in the in the director's chair. It's at Somerville, Kendall Square, Fenway, Boston Common, and the SuperLux. Fenway also picks up Bollywood action/comedy/drama/everything feature Boss - which, interestingly enough, does not seem to be playing at Apple Cinemas.

    If you want to head out a little further from the city, most of those movies are also playing at Showcase Revere, which also has I'm in Love With a Church Girl, starring Ja Rule as a former drug dealer whose past causes friction with a new lady played by Adrienne Bailon; it seems to be produced by one of those little companies that targets the religious community specifically. They're also opening The Snitch Cartel, Colombia's submission to the Oscars from last year; it's a fact-based crime-drama (and actually hit screens there back in 2011). Closer to home, Boston Common has special screenings of The Matrix on Sunday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon/evening.
  • In other very-limited openings, The Capitol in Arlington has Broadway Idiot, a documentary on Green Day transforming their album American Idiot into a Broadway show, all week. The October horror show this weekend is the original Night of the Living Dead at 10:30pm on Friday & Saturday
  • In addition to The Fifth Estate, Kendall Square has a pair of documentaries. The Summit chronicles the "deadliest day on the world's most dangerous mountain", when eleven climbers died or vanished while attempting to scale K2. The Trials of Muhammad Ali, there for a one-week booking, is about the courtroom battle that ensued after Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam War. Two of his attorneys will be on-hand for the 4:30pm Sunday show.
  • The Brattle Theatre has a pair of openings this weekend. I Used to Be Darker has the evening shows; it's the new one by Matt Porterfield about an Irish girl who runs away to American relatives only to find their family falling part. Co-star Kim Taylor will be at Friday's shows for a Q&A and perhaps a few songs (as music appears to be a big part of the film). Also running from Friday to Saturday at 9:30pm is Johnnie To's newest, Drug War, his first crime drama made in mainland China. It's pretty darn thrilling; shame it took until right around the movie's home video release to get here (though it's better with a crowd).

    Sunday afternoon is the first of several special presentations with guests: From the Ground Up! is a documentary on a sustainable program to fight child malnutrition pioneered by a group of Harvard students; some of them will be present along with the filmmakers. Tuesday has a special screening of Jesus Christ Superstar with stars Ted Neeley & Barry Dennen there for a Q&A. Local critic Peter Keough will be presenting a Kathryn Bigelow double feature of Zero Dark Thirty (on 35mm) & Point Break on Wednesday, signing books and answering questions in between. And on Thursday, the Boston Asian American Film Festival kicks off with special guest Ang Lee introducing The Wedding Banquet; Linsanity also plays later that evening.
  • No new openings at The Coolidge this wekeend, but they're continuing their three-pronged Friday/Saturday midnight attack during October: The witch movie is, well, The Witches, directed by Nicholas Roeg and with effects by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. That's upstairs; the main theater holds the haunted house movie, the original Insidious (crazy-popular sequel still in theaters!). And the screening room as two last chances to see Jim Mickle's We Are What We Are, since it left the Kendall after just one week (for shame, Boston!). The Halloween vibe continues with Monday's "Science on Screen" program, as a Tufts Biologist discusses Young Frankenstein (playing in 35mm).

    There's also a Sunday-morning German film from Goethe-Institut, Free Fall, in which a cop with a pregnant girlfriend finds himself in an uncomfortable situation when attracted to a new male colleague.
  • The first half of the week at The Regent Theatre is music-oriented, with new documentary Jimi Hendrix: "Hear My Train A-Comin'" playing Friday night; there's also a Hendrix-themed tribute CD release concert on Saturday. The Gathr Preview Series feature on Tuesday is also musical, as Autoluminescent chronicling the life and death of Australian post-punker Roland S. Howard.

    Then, starting on Wednesday, they play host to The Arlington International Film Festival, a combination of local and global features that will run through Sunday.
  • The Harvard Film Archive is mostly loaded up with short films this week: Friday and Saturday feature Scott MacDonald, author of a book on Cambridge-based documentary filmmaking, curating two programs of documentary shorts with filmmakers in attendence. Sunday afternoon has a program of films by Chris Marker of "La Jetee" fame at 4pm, and two longer (but not quite feature-length) works - "Letter from Siberia" and "Sunday in Peking" - at 7pm. Monday evening's presentation is still Marker, but at the opposite end of the length spectrum, with the three-hour A Grin Without a Cat.
  • The MFA is all about The Boston Palestine Film Festival with their film screenings this week, with various shows playing Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday; check the site for details. It will continue on through the 27th.
  • ArtsEmerson finishes up their tie-ins with the Boston Book Festival on the weekend of the actual event. The encore screenings involved include Hal Hartley's Henry Fool on Saturday afternoon, The Bling Ring Saturday night (with original author Nancy Jo Sales in person for a Q&A), and Adaptation Sunday afternoon. They've also got the original Nightmare on Elm Street on Friday night (director Wes Craven is at the festival). The Bright Lights programs include a Friday afternoon showcase of Provincetown and Emerson student shorts as well as the regular weekday programs, both documentaries: David Lunch: Meditation, Creativity, and Peace plays on Tuesday, while Family Talk plays Thursday. The Sierra Leone doc will be followed by a discussion with producer Libby Hoffman and anthropology professor Gillian Goslinga.
  • The UMass Boston Film Series is on Tuesday this week, with director Roger Ross Williams on hand to answer questions after a free screening of God Loves Uganda, a look at how American evangelicism is gaining a strong foothold in Africa.

My plans? Chinese Zodiac, Baseball (hopefully a lot!), Escape Plan, The Summit, Machete Kills, and whatever else I'm behind on.

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