Friday, November 22, 2013

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 22 November - 26 November 2013

Up too late writing This Week, fortunately Next Week is pretty short. Literally; with new movies opening next Wednesday, I can shave a couple days off of it.

  • It's not quite The Hunger Games or nothing this weekend, but there are certainly a metric ton of theaters playing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. This sequel sees Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen once again thrown into the arena, although this time with more pointed political machinations behind it. Everything I've heard says it's better than the first movie in every way, which shouldn't be too terribly difficult. It plays at the Capitol, Apple, Fenway (including RPX), Boston Common (including Imax), Jordan's Furniture (where you'll get the most out of the scenes filmed in IMAX), and the SuperLux.

    Opening on somewhat fewer screens is Delivery Man, which looks from the preview to be a very close remake of the French-Candian film Starbuck, not terribly surprising with the same director in charge. Possibly not a bad thing; I liked that movie even if I don't necessarily see Vince Vaughn in the role. It's at the Capitol, Apple, Boston Common, and Fenway.

    Boston Common and Fenway will also be screening the 50th anniversary Doctor Who special The Day of the Doctor in 3D on Monday (Fenway also has 2D screenings), although I think all but the 10pm screening at Boston Common are sold out (and maybe that one, too). Boston Common will also be opening The Book Thief, a drama about an orphaned German girl learning to read just as the Nazis come to power, who helps hide a Jewish refugee along with her new parents.
  • Kendall Square will also be picking up The Book Thief, along with a couple of other movies. The one-week booking is the new one by John Sayles, Go For Sisters, with LisaGay Hamilton and Yolanda Ross as two childhood friends whose lives have taken very different turns - one is now the other's parole officer - who team up with an ex-cop played by Edward James Olmos to track down the parole officer's daughter. The words "Sayles's best since Lone Star" have been batted around, and IFFBoston will be hosting a Q&A with Sayles at the 6:45pm screening on Friday; Sayles will also be on-hand to introduce the 9:40pm screening if you have trouble making the early show.

    The other film opening is a big-deal documentary, The Armstrong Lie, which started life as the authorized story of his comeback, only to have been shelved and then revived with a completely different focus. It's from Alex Gibney, who is pretty darn good at this sort of thing (and prolific - he just gave us We Steal Secrets earlier this year!)
  • The Brattle Theatre has two films playing during the short week. American Promise is some serious long-term documentary work, with Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson documenting the thirteen years that their son Idris and his friend Seun spent in a prestigious private school from kindergarten to graduation. It has the bulk of the times, including a Friday-night visit from Brewster (although that screening is, per the theater's website, completely sold out).

    The late show is also an epic of sorts, Drafthouse Pictures's new restoration of The Visitor, a 1979 Italian movie that is kind of bonkers even for 1979 Italian movies: A sci-fi horror story where the villain is an eight-year-old girl. It plays at 11pm on Friday and 9:45pm from Saturday to Tuesday.
  • Ram-Leela appears to have done well enough that Fenway and iMovieCafe/Apple Theaters are opening a second Bollywood film alongside it. This one is a romantic comedy, Girl... In Your Love, which stars Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor in a story about a ne'er do well trying to win the heart of an activist girl. Apple also picks up Irandam Ulagam in Tamil and Telugu (where it is called Varna), which appears to be a fantasy romance of some kind. Looks kind of cool, but neither version appears to have English subtitles.
  • The Coolidge will be turning things over on Wednesday, and fills some time in between with special presentations, two with guests. For example, the midnight movie this weekend is Maniac Cop 2, an over-the-top 1980s undead-cop gross-out flick with a cast that includes the likes of Bruce Campbell, Robert Davi, Claudia Christian, and Robert Z'Dar. As a bonus, director Bill Lustig will be on-hand to bask in the audience's esteem on Friday.

    There are two special screenings Sunday morning: Documentary Khodorkovsky tells the rags-to-riches-to-rebel story of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, imprisoned in Russia for over ten years and counting; his son Pavel will introduce the screening. And while there is no guest for the Goethe-Institut's German film,Measuring The World, it's only $5 to see Detlef Buck's highly fictionalized story of how two scientists who made great discoveries before their paths crossed in 1828. And on Monday night, there's an NT Live presentation of MacBeth with Kenneth Branagh in the title role and Alex Kingston as Lady MacBeth.
  • The Boston Latino International Film Festival is back at Harvard's Tsai Auditorium on Saturday and Sunday with a selection of films from the USA and Latin America, with a particular focus on documentaries and immigration.
  • Elsewhere on CampusThe Harvard Film Archive begins a series Lhomme with a Movie Camera honoring French cinematographer Pierre Lhomme. including jumbo-sized feature The Mother and the Whore on Friday, two screenings of Alain Cavalier's Le Combat Dans l'Ile on Saturday, and James Ivory's Maurice on Sunday evening. Lhomme will come visit next week, but in the meantime, they do have two other guests: Film critic J. Hoberman will host a screening of David Lynch's Inland Empire (which figures prominently in Hoberman's recent book Film After Film), and Errol Morris will host a free screening of his new documentary The Unknown Known, including a post-film conversation with Mahindra Humanities Center director Homi Bhabha.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts has more entries in the 2013 UCLA Festival of Preservation this week, including That Cold Day in the Park (Friday), Gun Crazy (Friday), Midnight Madness (Saturday), Mantrap (Saturday & Sunday), and Thirty Day Princess (Sunday, preceded by a Laurel & Hardy short).
  • ArtsEmerson actually has some film programmed at the Paramount Theatre this weekend, with the 32nd Annual Black Maria Film + Video Festival playing Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm; it's a ninety-minute collection of short films. A few days later (Tuesday the 26th), the Bright Lights series has another set of short films, "OJOBOCA", an experimental 16mm film programs featuring the work of Anja Dornieden and Juan David González Monroy.
  • The Regent Theatre has two films this week, both courtesy of Gathr. The Anonymous People plays Monday; it's a documentary on people recovering from addiction, and may be the first Gathr booking I've actually seen succeed in Boston (besides Girl Rising). The regular Preview series entry is on Tuesday; Cold Turkey is a Thanksgiving tie-in starring Peter Bogdanovich as a father whose holiday dinner goes awry when his daughter (played by Alicia Witt) makes her first visit in 15 years.

My plans? Well, I've already got my tickets for Day of the Doctor (10pm Monday @ Boston Common) and Cold Turkey. I'll try to make one of the Sayles screenings of Go For Sisters and probably also see The Armstrong Lie and Delivery Man. I'm also very tempted to make a day trip to NYC to see some of the Fantastic Fest stuff showing at the Drafthouse there, as well, but I'm guessing it would destroy me for the week if I go through with it.

(And, yeah, I will see Hunger Games 2 eventually, though I'm thinking I'll wait until the crowds die down at the furniture store.)

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