Thursday, January 23, 2014

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 24 January 2014 - 30 January 2014

Wow, but there is very little coming out this Friday. I'm not really complaining; I still have two or three holdovers that need viewing and much of my weekend is booked up anyway, but if that weren't the case, I'd be glad of some of the specials going on.

  • Let's start with where I'll actually be spending much of the weekend, the Somerville Theatre. There's a Somerville Subterranean Cinema show in the microcinema on Friday and Saturday night, and Animals is one I'm looking forward to, a coming-of-age story from Spain featuring Oriol Pla as a teenager with a talking teddy bear. It seems a bit darker than than Ted, features Martin Freeman as the boy's English teacher, and was very highly recommended to me at Fantasia last year, though I couldn't fit it into my schedule. Looking forward to it.

    I'll be there Friday night, because Saturday is the Alloy Orchestra's annual visit courtesy of CrashArts. They'll be accompanying HE Who Gets Slapped, which features Lon Chaney as a man who became a clown after a betrayal and may have a chance to reunite with the love of his life (Norma Shearer) on the circus's latest stop. Aside from Alloy just being great at accompanying silent movies, this one is also notable for being the first one produced by MGM (which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year). It's at 8pm on Saturday, and there are still tickets available as I write this.
  • Quiet week at the multiplexes, with only I, Frankenstein opening wide. It's got Aaron Eckhart as the Creature, still alive long after his creator perished, being drawn into a war between what look like angels (who are actually big jerks) and various other monsters. It's actually kind of a fun cast, with Yvonne Strahovski, Billy Nighy, and Miranda Otto there (you know the director's Australian because there are at least two Ottos in the cast). Previews look kind of sketchy, though. It's in 2D & 2D at Jordan's Furniture (Imax 3D only), Boston Common (including Imax 3D), Fenway, and Apple.

    Boston Common also picks up Gimme Shelter, which isn't the Rolling Stones documentary but the story of a pregnant teenager who winds up on the streets after running away from her mother and being rejected by her father. Nifty cast, with Vanessa Hudgens starring and Rosario Dawson, Brendan Fraser, and James Earl Jones also there. They're also re-opening Dallas Buyers Club and 12 Years a Slave, and have Ferris Bueller's Day Off on Sunday & Wednesday (and, of course, Rocky Horror at midnight on Saturday). Fenway brings back 12 Years a Slave and Gravity (3D only, same as Boston Common).
  • The quiet week means Fenway will be joining Apple Cinemas in opening Jai Ho, which stars Salman Khan as a common man (and former soldier?) waging a one-man war on crime and corruption. Daisy Shah plays his love interest, and if I remember the preview I saw correctly, it looks to be packed with action. iMovieCafe is also keeping Dedh Ishqiya around for late shows, along with Uyyala Jampala if you speak Telugu.
  • The Brattle Theatre has some fun in the cold weather with Dead of Winter: Bloodsucking Freaks, a weeklong celebration of vampires on film (and 35mm unless otherwise stated!). Friday night is classic with a double feature of the original Nosferatu (DCP) & Dracula; Saturday brings back the eighties with Fright Night & The Lost Boys; Sunday is Hammer time with the Roman Polanski's spoof The Fearless Vampire Killers and Christopher Lee classic Horror of Dracula (digital). Monday just has one late show with Blacula, but it's twin bills the rest of the week with Twins of Evil & Daughters of Darkness on Tuesday, Let the Right One In & Nadja on Wednesday, and Trouble Every Day & The Addiction on Thursday.

    They've also got the digital restoration of Ms. 45 playing late shows from Friday to Sunday; it's supposedly not looked this good since it first came out. There's also a DocYard screening of Aatsinki on Monday; it follows a family of traditional reindeer herders in Finland over the course of a year. Director Jessica Oreck will be there for a Q&A.
  • Scheduling in advance like that means they can't hold things over very often, but The Coolidge picks up some of the slack by opening The Square in the cozy GoldScreen. It's a great, Oscar-nominated documentary that follows a group of protesters from Cairo's Tahrir Square over the next two years of upheaval and change in Egypt. Highly recommended.

    Otherwise, things stay as-is, with just a couple of the recurring programs among the holdovers. The midnight movie on Friday & Saturday is Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, with Michael Rooker as a sociopath whose very ordinary nature is why this is considered one of the most chilling horror movies ever by many. It's in 35mm; not sure about Monday's "Science on Screen" presentation of the original King Kong. The expert on-hand to introduce the movie is primate veterinarian Chris Whittier, a Research Assistant Professor and Director of the Master of Science in Conservation Medicine Program at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine who has treated gorillas in the wild. There's also the annual "Sundance USA" screening on Thursday (documentary Whitey: United States v. James J. Bulger), but that is completely sold out.
  • Emerson's Bright Lights series at the Paramount Theater also has a film nominated for Best Documentary this week, with 20 Feet From Stardom playing Tuesday, and it's pretty nice. There's no film Thursday, but the Boston Creative Pro User Group will be having a monthly meet-up with American Hustle editor Crispin Struthers as the guest speaker.
  • The Harvard Film Archive keeps up what it started last week, paying tribute to two major filmmakers. Late John Huston screenings are Wise Blood (Friday 7pm) and The Kremlin Letter (Sunday 4:30pm). Time Within Time - The Complete Andrei Tarkovsky fills the rest, with Mirror (Friday 9:30pm), Andrei Rublev (Saturday 7pm), Stalker (Sunday 7pm), and The Sacrifice (Monday 7pm).
  • The Museum of Fine Arts also continues what they started last week with the conclusion of the Boston Festival of Films From Iran. The last few days include Fat Shaker (Friday), Cinema of Discontent (Friday & Saturday), The Bright Day (Saturday & Sunday), and Mory Wants a Wife (Sunday). The Genius of Marian also continues, with screenings on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday.

    They've also got a fun-looking recurring series starting on Thursday the 30th, "Mind-Bending Movies". The first entry is Mulholland Drive, and the post-film discussion will apparently be led by whoever posts the best ideas on their Facebook page.
  • The Regent Theatre wimped out and canceled their screening of Black Out over what turned out to be not a lot of snow last week (can't really say they should have kept it open for me and a few others with the weather looking bad, though); hopefully a similar fate won't befall this week's Gathr Preview Series selection, Wajma, which tells the story of a clandestine love affair in the extremely conservative Kabul, Afghanistan. They've also got an encore of AKA Doc Pomus, which tells the story of a paralyzed Brooklyn Jew who, believe it or not, wrote a great many soul and rhythm & blues hits; that's Thursday evening.

My plans? Animals Friday night, Penn & Teller Saturday afternoon, HE Who Gets Slapped Saturday night, the Chlotrudis nominating meeting Sunday, Wajma Tuesday, and what combination of vampirism, I, Frankenstein, and holdovers I can fit in around that.

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