Thursday, February 20, 2014

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 21 February 2014 - 27 February 2014

No lie - as stupid as the things hitting the multiplexes look, I'm kind of oddly excited for them.

  • I mean, you know how Pomepeii is going to end, with Kit Harrington's enslaved gladiator racing to get out of the city before the volcano smothers everything - he'll probably have to rescue Emily Browning's lovely young noblewoman on the way - but it's got Keifer Sutherland as the presumed villain and Paul W.S. Anderson directing, and Anderson should at least make it visual striking with some decent action and well-implemented 3D. It plays in both 2D and 3D at the Capitol, Apple, Boston Common, and Fenway (3D showtimes on the RPX screen).

    Meanwhile, Kevin Costner and director McG sign up for one of those Luc Besson-written/produced "basic action movie tailored to our strengths" that have worked out pretty well for the likes of Jason Statham and Liam Neeson; 3 Days to Kill has Costner playing a former spy pulled in for one last bout of mayhem in exchange to an antidote to the poison his employers (notably Amber Heard) have given him, even though he's looking after his teenage daughter at the same time. It's at Somerville, Apple, Fenway, and Boston Common.

    Boston Common also has the first half of their annual Best Picture Showcase on Saturday; $30 gets you a seat for Philomena, Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street, and 12 Years a Slave, starting at noon; the other five play next Saturday. They've also got screenings of Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront Sunday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon/evening, and (in an unexpected but pleasing move) will be expanding Beijing Love Story from two screenings a day to a full slate of four.
  • Fenway and Apple Cinemas/iMovieCafe are both keeping Gunday around on a reduced schedule (Apple also has Hasee Toh Phasee playing as well). Apple is also doing the thing where they book an interesting international genre film, in this case Snabba Cash II (okay, it's "Easy Money II: Hard to Kill" in the US, but isn't saying "Snabba Cash" fun?). It's a Swedish crime drama, the second of a fairly popular series there (the first was briefly released stateside in 2012 and is rentable on Amazon) about a business student who gets pulled into the local mafia. I suspect this entry from 2012 is being released now in order to tie in with star Joel Kinnaman currently being on another screen playing RoboCop, but, hey - Swedish action movie in local theater! I'll take it!
  • The Coolidge opens up Tim's Vermeer, a documentary about an inventor from Texas who attempts to reverse-engineer the process that allowed Johannes Vermeer to paint photorealistically well before photography was invented. Should be fun; it's produced by Penn & Teller and directed by the latter half of the duo, and is playing upstairs in screen #2.

    Downstairs, the @fter Midnite crew will be running John Carpenter's version of The Thing on 35mm at midnight Friday and Saturday; it's one of the best things either Carpenter or star Kurt Russell has ever done. Sunday morning is the monthly Goethe-Institut German film screening, with the Swiss consul co-presenting Lullaby Ride in which parents who take their baby Tim out for a drive get him to fall asleep must scramble when the car is stolen with Tim inside. $5 for a pretty nice-looking thriller.
  • Kendall Square will also be showing Tim's Vermeer, while also clearing and consolidating some screens for a number of other movies. One is The Wind Rises, master animator Hayao Miyazaki's final movie as director, in which he returns to his longtime passion for aviation to tell the story of the aeronautical engineer who designed the Zero fighter jet used during World War II. It looks as if the 11am and 5pm screenings will be dubbed into English, while the 2pm and 8pm showtimes will have the original Japanese soundtrack with subtitles.

    There are also two romantic/erotic thrillers arriving there: In Secret (aka Thérèse) has Elizabeth Olsen playing a young woman in a loveless arranged marriage, the sort that may lead one to turn to crime when someone she is truly attracted to comes along. There's also a one-week booking of Stranger by the Lake, with Pierre Deladonchamps as fellow who meets two other men at a lake in rural France - one older and friendly, one sexy and dangerous, who will get him involved in a murder investigation. There's also a presentation of the recent Royal Opera House staging of La Bohème on Sunday morning.
  • The Somerville Theatre continues its Centennial Celebration with a Marx Brothers double feature on Friday night (Duck Soup at 8pm and A Night at the Opera at 10). It's live music for a few days after that, and then Top Haton Thursday (the program also shows Stagecoach on Wednesday, but it's not listed on the website as of right now). All anniversary screenings are in 35mm.

    The Somerville Subterranean Cinema series has two programs in the Micro-Cinema this week: Black comedy Coyote plays Friday and Saturday nights and features horror stalwart Bill Oberst Jr. as an insomniac writer driven to violence, while Christmas with the Dead adapts a Joe R. Lansdale short story about a man trying to have a good Christmas despite the zombie apocalypse. It's a family affair, with Lansdale's son Keith penning the screenplay and daughter Kasey appearing in the movie and at the theater (as well as a number of other local venues as an author and musician). The theater also will be running 4:30pm screenings of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire at least through Sunday and sending The Wolf of Wall Street to their sister theater, the Capitolin Arlington.
  • The Brattle Theatre finishes up the annualBugs Bunny Film Festival with a "Looney Tunes Revue" of 35mm cartoons playing matinees Friday to Sunday, which may overlap the past week's Bugs and Daffy programs but which contains other bits, too. Those evenings have another classic, a new digital restoration of Orson Welles's The Lady from Shanghai.

    The weekdays following are a number of unique presentations: On Monday, the DocYard teams with The Flaherty (a New York-based film seminar) for a group of documentary shorts that will not be revealed beforehand so that they can be watched without preconception; special guests will be on hand and there will be a post-event discussion. Tuesday is the monthly "Trash Night", with The Dirt Bike Kid screening for the audience to mock. And then on Wednesday, director Doug Wolens and a number of others will be on-hand for the local premiere of his documentary The Singularity, an introduction to the idea that civilization will pass a point of no return where innovation happens faster than mere human minds can assimilate, placing the world in the hands of artificial and post-human intelligences.
  • The Harvard Film Archive continues Fortunes of the Western with Budd Boetticher's Ride Lonesome (Friday 7pm) and Robert Wise's Blood on the Moon (Saturday 9pm). They also begin a Harmony & Anarchy series spotlighting the films of Harmony Korine, with Kids (Friday 9pm) and Gummo (Saturday & Sunday 7pm, the latter replacing Ken Park). Korine will come to town next weekend, while this weekend's special guest is Herbie Hancock, who will appear in person for Monday night's screening of The Spook Who Sat by the Door. He may also be around for Sunday afternoon's presentation of Antonioni's Blow Up, but it's not listed on the schedule. There's also a VES screening of La Commune on Thursday, tying in to the Carpenter Center's "Living as Form (The Nomadic Version)" exhibit.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts wraps up the Films of Lars von Trier series with Antichrist on Friday and The Five Obstructions on Saturday & Sunday. A different filmmaker, Raoul Peck, will visit on Friday to host a screening of Fatal Assistance, his documentary on attempting to rebuild Haiti after it's horrible earthquake; it also plays Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It's run overlaps that of Cousin Jules, Dominique Benicheti's 1971 film about a blacksmith in the French countryside. That one plays Wednesday and Thursday and will continue popping up for another week after that. Then, on Thursday, "Mind-Bending Movies" returns with another David Lynch film; this month, audience members will have a chance to lead the post-film discussion of Blue Velvet by posting their theories on the museum's Facebook page.
  • The Regent Theatre has two film events this week. The first is the weekly Gathr Preview Series film; The Forgotten Kingdom follows a man who returns from Johannesburg to his home village in Lesotho (a country completely surrounded by South Africa) and reconnects with both an old friend and the land itself. Then on Thursday, they'll have the local premiere of Lamb of God: As the Palaces Burn, which started out as a traditional rock doc about a Virginia heavy metal band but took a swerve when the lead singer was arrested for charges of manslaughter in the Czech Republic. In addition to the movie itself, there will be an exclusive pre-recorded Q&A session afterward.
  • The first entry in this spring's UMass Boston Film Series was canceled due to weather (Uranium Drive-In has been rescheduled for 24 April, albeit in the afternoon); hopefully the same won't happen for Southern Comfort, a documentary about Robert Eads, a female-to-male transsexual who had difficulty finding treatment for his ovarian cancer because the local doctors worried what having him as a patient would mean for their reputations. As always, admission is free and director Kate Davis will be present for an introduction and post-film Q&A.
  • The Bright Lights program at Emerson College's Paramount Theater has one program this week, a Thursday night screening of Fruitvale Station co-presented by EBONI (Emerson's Black Organization with Natural Interests) as part of African American Heritage Month
My plans? The Lego Movie, Pompeii, Tim's Vermeer, The Forgotten Kingdom, Snabba Cash II, probably fit The Wolf of Wall Street in now that it's easy to get to after work (and likely to end at a reasonable hour, too), and probably more.

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