Friday, April 18, 2014

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 18 April 2014 - 24 April 2014

Man, I swore it wouldn't happen again this year, but, I've been so focused on BUFF that IFFBoston completely snuck up on me. Like, blew past every deadline and chance to buy film passes. I need more time between these things!

(Just kidding; cram the schedule as full of awesome film events as possible!)

  • As I said: Independent Film Festival Boston 2014 starts this week, on Wednesday the 23rd, with Beneath the Harvest Sky at the Somerville Theatre. It's a coming of age story that takes place in Maine's Aroostook County, the first fiction feature from the directors of the much-liked documentary The Way We Get By. Thursday has Fight Church on the main screen, though I'll probably be at the Brattle for Trap Street and Skeleton Twins. Thursday also includes a screening shared with the UMass Boston Film Series, Freedom Summer, a documentary about student volunteers fighting civil rights battles in the summer of 1964, with director Stanley Nelson there to discuss it. Umass will also have Uranium Drive-in, rescheduled from mid-February.

    Don't get IFFBoston confused with the Boston International Film Festival, which will be at Boston Common from Friday to Monday (the 21st). Again, interesting stuff, terrible website.
  • It's another churning week at the multiplex, with the big release being Transcendence, a sci-fi film with Johnny Depp as a researcher whose mind is uploaded into a computer he created. Nice cast (Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Kata Mara, Cillian Murphy), and it should look great as it's the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolans regular cinematographer. It's at Jordan's (Imax), the Capitol, Apple, Fenway (including RPX), Boston Common (including Imax), the Embassy, and the SuperLux. It's getting iffy reviews, though, so you may want to buy advance tickets to The Machine to see the idea really done well. Yeah, I'm gonna be a pest about this.

    Also opening wide: A Haunted House 2, the sequel to the Marlon Wayans spoof of Paranormal Activity-type movies, which looks like more of the same. It's at Apple, Fenway, and Boston Common. Those theaters also open Bears, the latest DisneyNature film to be released in conjunction with Earth Day. They've also had Heaven Is for Real since Wednesday.

    Boston Common sort of doubles down on Asian movies as well. They're getting That Demon Within the same day it opens in Beijing & Hong Kong, with Dante Lam directing Daniel Wu and Andy On in a crime/action piece about a cop going mad with guilt after saving the life of a crime boss. They've also got Make Your Move, which is produced by Korean film company CJ Entertainment and co-stars Korean pop star BoA as a dancer in New York in a sort of Romeo and Juliet thing with underground dance clubs. Her co-star, Derek Hough, is pretty popular for being on Dancing with the Stars. Oh, and they've got The Ten Commandments as an Easter special on Sunday.
  • Down the Green Line, Fenway has some Bollywood, 2 States, as does Apple Cinemas. Pretty standard material, with Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt playing lovers who met in London but have trouble convincing their parents to allow them to marry as they come from separate states. iMovieCafe also has Tamil-language comedy Thenaliraman, with Vadivelu in the title role, but there's no English subtitles on that one.
  • Kendall Square has three films opening, with The Railway Man also opening at West Newton. It features Colin Firth as a former World War II prisoner of war who learns that his captor is still alive. Nicole Kidman plays his wife, Hiroyuki Sanada the interpreter.

    The other two new films are documentaries. Finding Vivian Maier tells the story of a nanny who took thousands of fantastic photographs but was an utter recluse, her work not discovered until after her death. The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden tells the tale of Europeans expatriates who settled in those islands in the early twentieth century and had a story that grew into soap opera and murder. It's scheduled for just one week despite its great voice cast.
  • The Coolidge picks two documentaries up from the Kendall, Anita and Jodorowsky's Dune, to play in the Screening Room and GoldScreen. One of the midnights is a popular new release, though, Cheap Thrills. I found this story of Pat Healy and Ethan Embry doing rapidly-escalating dares for money okay, but not as excellent as much of the blogosphere did (though David Koechner is pretty great in it). The other midnight is a 35mm print of 1976 oddity The Devil's Express (aka Gang Wars), wherein Harlem martial artists go to Hong Kong to train and bring a 50,000 year demon back with them, which takes up residence in the subways. There's also a special "The Sounds of Silents" presentation of The Mark of Zorro on Tuesday, with the Not So Silent Orchestra in town to accompany it.
  • It's school vacation week in Massachusetts next week, so the Brattle is doing a Kids' Movies Not Just for Kids series from Friday to Wednesday. A subtitled Hayao Miyazaki double feature of Spirited Away (35mm) and My Neighbor Totoro plays Friday and Saturday (with the Saturday matinee of Totoro dubbed in English). A 35mm double feature of Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal plays Sunday, while Marathon Monday is also Muppet Monday, with The Muppet Movie (35mm), The Great Muppet Caper (35mm), and The Muppets Take Manhattan playing as a triple feature. Tuesday has a special John Hubley Centennial program, with new 35mm prints of short films by the famous animator (who began a bit of a dynasty). Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are plays Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, and Pee-wee's Big Adventure on Wednesday evening. Thursday, IFFBoston takes the place over.
  • The Somerville Theatre will also be turning its screens over to the festival, but will be screening great 35mm prints until then. The weekend double features start with Rain Man & Raging Bull on Friday, E.T. & Gandhi on Saturday, and The Princess Bride & Beetlejuice on Sunday. It's singles afterward, with The Silence of the Lambs on Monday and what manager Ian Judge described as a really excellent print of Jurassic Park on Tuesday.
  • The Harvard Film Archive starts things off with Claire Denis's most recent, Bastards, on Friday night. They also begin a new retrospective, Jan NÄ›mec and the Cinema of the Golden Sixties, about the an experimental Czech filmmaker (from back when his naive land was Czechosolvakia), with A Report on the Party and the Guests on Saturday evening (preceded by "Oratorio for Prague"). The rest of the weekend is Frank Capra, with A Hole in the Head Saturday night, Ladies of Leisure Sunday afternoon, It Happened One Night Sunday evening, and American Madness on Monday.
  • The Museum of Fine Artscontinues screening When I Saw You and In Bloom on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with When I Saw You also playing Thursday afternoon. There are also two special programs: Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America will screen Wednesday with a discussion following, while Thursday's monthly "Mind Bending Movie" is Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Yep, more Lynch.
  • This week's entry in the Belmont World Film Series is Wajma: An Afghan Love Story, which I saw a few months back and found pretty darn good. Star Wajma Bahar will participate via Skype, while the other speaker, author Qais Akbar Omar (who worked with Bahar on another project in Kabul) will be present at the Studio Cinema in Belmont.
  • Emerson's Bright Lights program will have a screening of Her in the Paramount Theater's Bright Screening Room on Tuesday, but it'll be a tough squeeze to make it to the Brattle in time to do a Spike Jonze double feature. On Thursday, they will show New York in Motion with director (and Emerson alum) Graham Elliot there to discuss his documentary on the city's "motion graphics" industry.

My plans? The Demon Within, The Devil's Express, Transcendence, and whatever else I can catch up on before IFFBoston. Having a hard time choosing between Hubley and Zorro on Tuesday, though.

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