Friday, March 07, 2014

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 7 March 2014 - 13 March 2014

Dear people who book movies for Boston theaters,

I understand there aren't a whole lot of screens here compared to cities of similar size, and we don't tend to leave our neighborhoods or get terribly adventurous, but, guys: Special ID starring Donnie Yen opens in many places that are not Boston today. Yen is a great big action star and grew up here. We should take more pride in that.

Your friend, Jay.

  • What's opening in all those theaters that are not showing Special ID (or, for that matter, Journey to the West, the new Stephen Chow movie also opening today)? Two 3D movies that come from pre-existing material. The first is Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which expands the recurring segment from Jay Ward's Rocky & Bullwinkle show into a feature where the dog and his boy (and the girl he likes) attempt to fix the history they messed up rather than just make a goofy pun. It's at the Capitol, Apple, Boston Common, and Fenway; most screenings are in 2D, even though DreamWorks does 3D better than most everybody.

    The other big opening is 300: Rise of an Empire, a sequel nominally based upon Frank Miller's Xerxes comic, although that never actually came out. Eva Green plays a Spartan naval genious who, along with Xerxes, battles Greek hero Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton). It plays at Somerville (3D only), Apple, Jordan's Furniture (Imax 3D only), Boston Common (including the Imax screen), Fenway (RPX), and the SuperLux. Interestingly, Fandango is listing Fenway's RPX screenings as Dolby 3D rather than Real3D; not sure if that's a misprint or an upgrade or what.

    Boston Common will also be showing Chicago on Sunday and Wednesday. They'll also have two screens showing the special Veronica Mars "fan events" on Thursday, along with the openings of Mars, Need for Speed, and Single Moms Club.
  • Fenway and Apple Cinemas/iMovieCafe have keep Shaadi Ke Side/Effects for single shows daily, but Apple is also opening two other movies in Hindi with English subtitles: Queen stars Kangana Ranaut as a woman left at the altar who uses her already-paid-for honeymoon to see the world and discover herself. There's also Total Siyappa (aka Total Chaos aka Aman Ki Aasha), a romantic comedy where a Pakistani living in London has trouble impressing his Indian girlfriend's parents.

    Apple also has a couple American independents. Awful Nice is a comedy about two brothers (one a screw-up, one not) who have to work together to renovate their vacation home in Branson, MO after their father dies. They've also got Hank: 5 Years from the Brink, Joe Berlinger's new documentary. It's an extended interview with former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson, who claims to find the bailout and what led to it "reprehensible".
  • Kendall Square turns some things over post-Oscars, picking up three or four movies, depending how you count them. The "or" comes from the one-week booking of Generation War, a German miniseries about five young Germans in the early days of the war. It shows in two separate-admission parts, with Part 1 showing Friday to Thursday, and Part 2 starting Saturday. They split a screen, so plan your trip(s) to the theater carefully.

    There's also Bethlehem, a spy thriller set in the West Bank about a Mossad agent who has cultivated a Palestinian asset in order to get at his brother, only to find things getting complicated. There's also Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, a profile of the 87-year-old theater legend that I seem to recall got pretty good notices when it played IFFBoston last year.
  • The Brattle Theatre has two films opening this week. The afternoons and evenings are given to Jimmy P., which features Benicio Del Toro as the title character, a Blackfoot WWII veteran whose mental health problems remain intractable until a French anthropologist (Mathieu Amalric) takes the case. Then, later at night, there's A Field in England, the latest from Ben Wheatley, a black-and-white head trip about deserters during the English Civil War of the 1600s searching for a treasure that may be something stranger than gold.

    The exception is Monday evening, when the DocYard will present First Cousin Once Removed, which introduces viewers to Edwin Honig, a poet and teacher suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. Director Alan Berliner, who is in fact Honig's cousin, will be there for Q&A afterward.
  • The Coolidge also has guests, but those will be for the Friday and Saturday midnight showings of Almost Human, with director Joe Begos and actor Mark Ethier there to introduce and maybe face interrogation on their horror movie in which a man (Ethier) vanishes in a flash of light which somehow ties into a set of murders two years later. That's upstairs; a rare, X-rated 35mm print of Wild at Heart will be playing midnights downstairs.

    The 14-seat Goldscreen will have Child's Pose, last year's Golden Lion winner and Romania's Oscar submission, which stars Luminita Gheorghiu as a mother doing everything possible to keep her son out of jail for vehicular manslaughter. It didn't make the final cut, but two other films showing this week did: The Great Beauty, which eventually won and makes a return engagement (albeit with limited showtimes), and Omar, the Palestinian entry which is the "Talk Cinema" screening at 10am Sunday. There's also a potentially fun "Stage & Screen" presentation of Juan of the Dead, a Cuban zombie comedy which will be introduced by Becoming Cuba playwright Melinda Lopez and director M. Bevin O'Gara. Tuesday has the monthly "Open Screen" in the screening room, which also plays host to this week's entry in the month-long Francophone Film series, Longwave
  • All Things Horror makes their monthly visit to the Somerville Theatre on Saturday for a "The Kids Aren't All Right" program anchored by Found, in which a kid discovers that his older brother is a serial killer. There will also be three short films playing with it.

    That's in the micro-cinema; in the big house, the centennial programming chugs along with some great stuff: Saturday offers a double feature from the 1940s of Bogart in John Huston's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Judy Garland in Vincente Minelli's Meet Me in St. Louis. The double feature on Sunday is at least thematically linked, even if it is two very differnt looks at old Hollywood in Sunset Boulevard & Singin' in the Rain. Touch of Evil takes the screen on Wednesday, while Thursday goes to Seven Samurai. All, of course, in 35mm.
  • The Harvard Film Archive has more of the Fortunes of the Western on tap with The Tall T and Duel in te Sun on Friday (separate admission), I Shot Jesse James at 9pm Saturday, and The Violent Men at 5pm Sunday. The weekend will also have them playing host to John Akomfrah, a Ghanan emigrant to the UK whose films focus on the African diaspora. Two of his short documentaries presented through the lens of science fiction play at 7pm Saturday - "The Last Angel of History" & "Memory Room 451", while Akomfrah and producer Lina Gopaul will be on hand for Handsworth Songs on Sunday (shown with "Peripeteia") and The Stuart Hall Project on Monday.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts has one last screening of Cousin Jules on Friday aftrenoon. The fourth annual Hollywood Scriptures Film Series ("The Search for Meaning: Home, Hope, and Identity") continues, with discussions after the screenings of Herman's House (Friday evening), Departures (Saturday morning), and Homegoings (Sunday morning). As that winds down, a series of New Latin American Cinema begins, with All About Feathers (Satuday & Wednesday) and Summer of Flying Fish (Wednesday); the series will continue through the end of March. There's also a special free presentation Sunday afternoon of "Great Beethoven Piano Performances on Film", curated and introduced by Boston Globe music critic Richard Dyer.
  • The Regent Theatre is moving the Gathr Preview Series to Sundays for the next couple of months to avoid some friends' programming, with this week's presentation, Tiger Tail in Blue, screening in the Underground space at 8:15pm. It's an independent film about a young married couple who barely see each other because of opposing schedules.
  • They're looking to not conflict with the Belmont World Film Series, which will be running Monday nights at the Studio Cinema in Belmont through May 5th. The opening night program, Playing Dead, follows an out-of-work actor reduced to playing the victim in a crime scene re-enactment who takes it upon himself to solve the murder. Director Jean-Paul Saomé will be addressing the crowd via Skype, and thre is also a "Fabulous Fondue Party" at 6pm (though tickets must be purchased by the 7th) to kick things off.
  • Though they've left the Coolidge, the ICA still has some screenings of the Oscar-nominated short films. The live-action shorts will run on Sunday afternoon, and if you ask me, "Just Before Losing Everything" was robbed.
  • Emerson's Bright Lights film program has two screenings in the Paramount Theater's Bright Screening room, both free. On Tuesday, Whitey Bulger: The Making of a Monster plays with producer Susan Gray in person (not to be confused with the other Whitey Bulger documentary from Joe Berlinger; this one is made for TV and directed by Ben Avishai and Dan Mooney). Steven Soderbergh's final film (which only played HBO in the US despite starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon), Behind the Candelabra, plays Thursday.
  • UMass Boston Film Series is also free and showing something on Thursday, with director Kaspar Astrup Schröder on-hand to introduce his documentary Rent a Family, Inc., an I-can't-believe-it's-not-fiction picture of a Japanese man who pretends to have a regular job at home but actually runs a service where he and others he knows pretend to be related to people who don't want to be embarrassed by their solitude at social events.

My plans? Uh, clone myself to see all the cool things playing Thursday. Not possible? Dang. Then probably a Brattle double feature of Jimmy P. & A Field in England, Almost Human, try for Tiger Tail in Blue and Playing Dead, see if Generation War can possibly fit in as well as Bethlehem and Found.

(And, no, all that stuff does not make me any less annoyed that Special ID is not playing here!)

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