Friday, January 31, 2014

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 31 January 2014 - 6 February 2014

If you read this regularly, you'll notice that when a film's theaters are listed, certain ones go toward the front of the line, mostly independently-owned theaters. One of them, the Somerville Theatre, is turning a hundred years old soon, and it's worth reminding folks why that place is awesome: The projection is great, they are constantly upgrading even little things like the recently rebuilt concession stand, and there are quirky things (like the load-bearing piano) throughout that are not the result of trying to be hip, but just accumulating a century of history, both public and internal. It's going to be fun celebrating their birthday.

  • The Somerville Theatre doesn't have it's birthday until 11 May, 100 days from now, and they are having almost daily events, which include live music, theater, three film festivals, and plenty of movies spanning the life of the theater, all on 35mm. This weekend, they start at the beginning with three silent programs, featuring Jeff Rapsis on the piano. Friday at 8pm is extra special, with a Mary Pickford program that includes the feature Sparrows and the shorts "The Dream" and "Their First Misunderstanding", with the latter extra-special not just because it's Pickford's first credited film, but because a 35mm print was found in a New Hampshire barn seven years ago after the film was considered lost for almost a century, and this is the first time it's been publicly screened in 35mm since. Saturday night features Lilian Gish in D.W. Griffith's Way Down East, and Sunday afternoon is the first Oscar winner, Wings.
  • That's going to cut into their first-run screenings, but it's still kind of quiet on that front. The new one from Jason Reitman, Labor Day, in which Josh Brolin plays an escaped convict who hides out in the home of an agoraphobic divorcée played by Kate Winslet. It's at Apple, Boston Common, Fenway, and the SuperLux. There's also That Awkward Moment, wherein three friends pledge to stay single only to each fall in love soon after. It's at Apple, Fenway, and Boston Common.

    It looks like the Imax folks knew I, Frankenstein would tank, because Gravity was put back on the schedule for Imax 3D bookings even before the other one opened. It gets the big screen at Boston Common. They also have Groundhog Day on Sunday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon/evening, which is cool, what with Sunday being Groundhog Day and all.
  • Kendall Square has been playing the preview for Gloria fairly frequently. It's a well-awarded romantic comedy from Chile with Paulina Garcia as a middle-aged woman who is young at heart and is falling in love with a former naval officer. It was Chile's submission for the Oscars, but was not actually nominated. They do have some nominees, though,with the 2014 Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts and 2014 Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts. They're splitting a screen, and running for at least two weeks, so you can either do a double feature or catch them separately.
  • The other Oscar-nominated shorts are playing at The Coolidge, with the 2014 Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts playing in two programs in the screening room (two, because documentary shorts tend to push right up against the 40-minute limit for short films). They've also got a 35mm print of Trouble Every Day , Claire Denis's 2001 take on vampirism and the study of the human libido; it plays at midnight on Friday and Saturday.
  • That one was just at the Brattle Theatre a day earlier, and they switch from vampires to (Some of) The Best of 2013 this week. Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine (35mm) & Nicole Holofcener's Enough Said play as a double feature Friday & Saturday, although Saturday also has a 10pm late show of The Visitor. Sunday's twin bill is black-and-white ensemble casts with Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess and Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. Monday night is Matías Piñeiro's Viola, about a group of actors in Buenos Aires performing Twelfth Night, while Tuesday features the unorthodox commercial-fishing documentary Leviathan. Wednesday's double feature is Night Across the Street & Museum Hours, while Thursday has Wadjda, the story of a Saudi girl who wants to buy a bike. Members of the Boston Society of Film Critics will be on-hand to introduce the films on Friday, Sunday, and Thursday evenings.
  • The Harvard Film Archive has in-person appearances by French filmmaker Alain Guiraudie for two screenings, No Rest for the Brave on Sunday evening and Stranger by the Lake (digital), his latest film, on Monday. Before he actually arrives, they will be playing the two features he made in between, Time Has Come (Friday 7pm) and The King of Escape (Saturday 7pm).

    A film from the Late John Huston series helps fill in the gaps, with The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean playing at 9pm on Friday. There is also the end of the Complete Andrei Tarkovsky program, with a second screening of Mirror (Saturday 9pm), and a double feature of two of his shorter works, "The Steamroller and the Violin" & Voyage in Time, at 4:30pm on Sunday.
  • The Regent Theatre is reconfiguring how they present the Gathr Preview Series, with screenings moving to Monday and apparently taking place in a smaller "Regent Underground" theater downstairs. The funny thing is, the next couple actually look like higher profile films that might be able to draw some people, starting with The Pretty One, which features Zoe Kazan as identical twins; one is much more confident and outgoing, but the other assumes her life when she dies. It's also got Jake Johnson and Ron Livingston. Note that right now, the Regent's website has a 7pm showtime and Gathr's says 7:30pm; hopefully that clears up in the next couple of days. They also start a short engagement of Bob Marley:The Making of a Legend on Thursday the 6th; it runs through Saturday the 8th and features long-lost footage of Marley's early career.
  • ArtsEmerson actually has some film programming at the Paramount Theater this weekend, with four screenings of documentary Fire in the Blood between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. It describes how pharmaceutical companies made it difficult for AIDS medication to be available in developing countries and how a coalition chose to fight back. The Saturday evening show will also have a reception beforehand and a Q&A (via Skype) with director Dylan Mohan Gray afterward. The Bright Lights series has just one screening this week, with Louis C.K.: Oh My God playing Thursday the 6th.
  • New month, new calendar for the film program at The Museum of Fine Arts. February features The Films of Lars von Trier throughout most of the month, starting with Epidemic and The Element of Crime (both Saturday & Wednesday); Medea plays Wednesday & Thursday while Europa has its first screening on Thursday.

    There are two non-Trier films on Sunday as part of the ReelAbilities: Boston Disabilities Film Festival - Andrzej Jakimowski's Imagine and Michelle Chen Miao's Son of the Stars (with a panel discussion afterward) - and both are free, and presented with open captions and audio descriptions. ReelAbilities will feature other screenings in the area every day from 30 January through 6 February; check the schedule on the site for details.

My plans? Silents in Somerville, Oscar-nominated shorts, watching Wolf of Wall Street or Her while everyone else is watching the Super Bowl, and maybe fitting some other catch-up like Blue Jasmine in around that. And, hey, it might not be wise to pass up a chance to see Gravity on Boston Common's largest screen, either.

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