Friday, December 13, 2013

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 13 December - 19 December 2013

Pretty much one big movie about a bunch of small people coming out this weekend, and I'm actually kind of looking forward to it, and some of the other things opening around it. But...

  • Well, anyway, that big movie is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the middle part of a trilogy based upon a relatively short book. Still, the first wasn't bad at all and the second may benefit from having all the exposition out of the way. Be aware, though, that there are a lot of viewing options, and not all of them seem to be clearly labeled online, in particular whether a screening is at the usual 24 frames-per-second speed or the 48 fps "High Frame Rate". I tried that last year and found it looked unusual, but also made the fast-moving 3D action exceptionally clear. It's playing at the Capitol (2D/3D), Apple (2D/3D), Jordan's Furniture (IMAX 3D), Boston Common (2D/3D/HFR 3D/IMAX 3D), Fenway (2D/3D/RPX 3D/HFR 3D), the SuperLux (2D/HFR 3D), and the Landmark Embassy in Waltham (2D/HFR 3D). Ask about the projection (which I may not have correct) at the ticket counter if it's important.

    That's not entirely all that comes out today; Tyler Perry's latest, A Madea Christmas, has his sassy female alter ego tagging along with a friend who is surprising her daughter on the holidays, which should be interesting because said daughter is spending it with her boyfriend's family who are white country folk! This one is at Apple, Fenway, and Boston Common. If that's not your style of comedy, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, hits Wednesday, with Will Farrell and company traveling to New York at the start of the 1980s to work for a 24-hour news station. That will be at the Somerville Theatre, Apple, Boston Common, Fenway, and the SuperLux.
  • Tis the season for platform openings, which means that Kendall Square and Boston Common will be getting Saving Mr. Banks a week or two before other theaters. That features Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, trying to acquire the rights to adapt Mary Poppins from its very reluctant author (Emma Thompson). A nice cast around them, although I suspect the Walt Disney Company isn't the group that's going to tell the whole story.

    The Kendall also throws a curveball with the year's last scheduled one-week booking by playing The Last Days on Mars; it looks like a pretty straightforward sci-fi/horror flick, not the usual thing that they play.
  • Two movies that the new releases are bumping at the Kendall make their way to the smaller screening rooms at The Coolidge: Dallas Buyers Club, a pretty-good story of a man trying to go around the slow-moving FDA to find treatment for his AIDS with a pretty-great performance by Matthew McConaughey, and The Great Beauty, a sumptuous Italian film about a Roman playboy whose life takes a turn at 60. The new release is actually one of the Friday & Saturday midnight movies, Bettie Page Reveals All, a documentary built around an interview that the famous pin-up model gave near the end of her life. The other midnight is Team America: World Police, Trey Parker & Matt Stone's pretty darn hilarious marionette comedy.

    Sunday morning, the Goethe-Institut German film is Ludwig II, a biography of Bavaria's "Mad King Ludwig" starring Sabin Tambrea. Monday evening is a "Sounds of Silents" presentation of Harold Lloyd's Safety Last, with a newly-commissioned score from the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra, which should be fun - those students do pretty good work! There are also two screenings of Voices Across the Divide, a documentary and oral history project that looks at the conflict between Israel and Palestine via stories from the people living through it; director/narrator Alice Rothchild will be on hand for both the Tuesday and Thursday presentations.
  • The Brattle Theatre spends the week giving audiences The Complete Coens, on 35mm film unless otherwise indicated: Friday has a double feature of Millers Crossing (DCP) & The Man Who Wasn't There; Saturday pairs O Brother, Where Art Thou? & The Hudsucker Proxy; Sunday is for Westerns True Grit (DCP) & No Country for Old Men; Monday offers another free preview of Inside Llewyn Davis (DCP); Tuesday has comedies The Ladykillers & Intolerable Cruelty; Wednesday A Serious Man & Burn After Reading, and Thursday wraps things up with single showings of The Big Lebowski. They've also managed to fit a couple extra screenings of Kathleen Hanna documentary The Punk Singer in, at noon Sunday and 9:30pm Monday.
  • The Harvard Film Archive spends the weekend continuing The Bodies and Souls of Robert Rossen with 35mm screenings of Lilith (Friday 7pm), The Hustler (Friday 9pm), Island in the Sun (Saturday 7pm), The Undercover Man (Saturday 9:30pm), They Won't Forget (Sunday 5pm), and Out of the Fog (Sunday 7pm). Then on Monday, they wrap up Chris Marker:Guillaume-en-Égypte with one last collection of shorter works: "Junktopia", The Case of the Grinning Cat, and Remembrance of Things to Come.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts also continues a retrospective; this week's selections from The Films of François Truffaut are Fahrenheit 451 (Friday), Stolen Kisses (Friday & Saturday, preceded by "Antoine and Colette"), The Bride Wore Black (Friday & Saturday), Mississippi Mermaid (Saturday), The Wild Child (Wednesday & Thursday), The Story of Adele H. (Thursday), and Bed and Board (Thursday). Once again, Sunday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon/evening are used for Frederick Wiseman's documentary At Berkeley.
  • The ICA has a screening of "The British Arrows", a program of award-winning advertisements from across the pond, on Thursday evening; more screenings are planned for after Christmas.

My plans... Well, I'm about to head over to the Kendall for Last Days on Mars, but after that, I'm heading to Paris for vacation, so, well, who knows? Depending how worn out and jet-lagged I am after long days of touristing, there's a good chance I'll see something, because that city has an enormous amount of cinemas, and some of them are showing Snowpiercer. The funny thing is, I'm picking up my "Paris Pass" in the lobby of one of the biggest, which is playing The Hobbit in a truly massive 1200-seat auditorium... Dubbed in French. Maybe I'll be able to find a subtitled HFR screening there, or maybe I'll just wait until I get back home for that one.

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