Thursday, May 15, 2014

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 16 May 2014 - 22 May 2014

Not technically summer for another week, but there's big/cool sci-fi stuff and baseball in the theaters this week. It counts.

  • The big sci-fi movie, in the most literal sense, is a new version of Godzilla, this time directed by Gareth Edwards (who did the nifty low-budget kaiju film Monsters a few years back), with a nifty cast of humans and, I suspect, multiple monsters. Early word is that it gets right all the things that the previous American Godzilla got wrong. It's playing on most of the biggest screens in 2D & 3D, including the Somerville (2D on the main screen and one 3D show upstairs daily), Jordan's Furniture (3D Imax only), Apple, the Landmark Embassy, Boston Common (including Imax 3D), Fenway (including RPX 2D/3D), Assembly Row (including Imax 3D), and the SuperLux.

    The other major opening is Million Dollar Arm, based (vaguely) on a true story about an attempt to find cricketers in India who can pitch in Major League Baseball. It's got John Hamm, Lake Bell, Suraj Sharma, and Aasif Mandvi and plays at the Capitol, the Studio, Apple, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Square, and the SuperLux.

    Boston Common also has Chef (it's also at Kendall Square), with Jon Favreau writing, directing, and starring in the title role of a man who loses his job at a big restaurant and rediscovers himself running a food truck. There are an awful lot of talented people involved, and it looks like it might be good to see Favreau getting back to something smaller. Their Sunday/Wednesday classic this week is Spartacus.
  • The Somerville Theatre had a great 100th birthday party, and they're taking a bit of a break from the special programs for a few weeks before the summer specials kick off. Somerville Subterranean Cinema has a movie I saw at Fantasia last year and loved, The Machine, Friday and Saturday evenings (I have mentioned it); tickets available here. They also pick up Fading Gigolo while the Capitol gets The Railway Man as they leave Kendall Square.
  • They are moving to not only make room atKendall Square for Chef, but a couple more highlights from IFFBoston: One-week booking The Double stars Jesse Eisenberg in Richard Aoyade's adaptation of a Dostoyevsky story about a man whose already surreal and dystopian life is knocked even further off balance by the appearance of someone who looks exactly like him at his job. Palo Alto, meanwhile, is directed by Gia Coppola and stars Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer, and a bunch of other next-generation actors in a coming-of-age story based on co-star James Franco's book of short stories.

    That one is also playing the Embassy in Waltham, and it seems you'll have to head out there in order to see God's Pocket, one of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman's last movies. He plays a mildly corrupt guy in the titular neighborhood reluctantly trying to find out how his stepson died at the behest of his wife (Christina Hendricks). John Tuturro, Richard Jenkins, Eddie Marsan, and others also show up. Meanwhile, back in Cambridge, Kendall Square will start opening late for late shows on Fridays and Saturdays, mostly the regular schedule, but also one "Midnight Madness" screening, kicking off the schedule with Clue.
  • The Coolidge has three much madder midnight movies this weekend: Possession is a downright bonkers horror movie starring Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill, and it will be playing on the main screen in 35mm. That's the "Cult Cut"; "Fresh Blood" is Stage Fright, which has blood spilling at a summer camp for musical theater nuts. Meat Loaf is in it, which seems right. It's on screen #2 on Saturday but the screening room on Friday, because, well, it's The Room time.

    If you're not into staying up late, Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq opens in the Goldscreen, as it's a pretty specialized thing, a documentary on the great ballerina who served as muse to both George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. It does have one showing in the main theater on Sunday afternoon, when director Nancy Buirski will be on-hand for a Q&A. Sunday morning is the monthly Goethe-Institut German film, Hanna's Journey, starring Karoline Schuch as an ambitious woman who does charity work in Israel to polish her c.v. but may learn more about herself in doing so. On Monday, Big plays as part of "Science on Screen", with MIT Media Lab student Eric Rosenbaum stopping by to discuss why we shouldn't stop playing even into adulthood.
  • The Brattle has a fairly quiet week, with Manakamana having close to a full-week's run. It's the latest from Harvard's Sensory Ethnography Lab, a documentary entirely shot on a cable car up and down a mountain in Nepal, with each trip corresponding to one shot. Co-director Stephanie Spray will be there for Q&A after the 7pm shows on Friday and Sunday.

    That's not quite all they've got; there's a new digital restoration of the original RoboCop at 10pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and, good lord, how can things I remember coming out need restoration already? Tuesday, meanwhile, has Everything Is Terrible! Live! at 9:30, with the makers of the comedy website doing their found-footage-remixing thing on the Brattle stage.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts continues The Boston International Children's Film Festival with Aunt Hilda (Saturday), Latvian coming-of-age story/thriller Mother, I Love You (Saturday), unique Brazilian animated film Boy and the World (Saturday & Sunday), two shorts programs (Sunday), and Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart (Wednesday). The other program is a series of Technicolor Musicals, including The Music Man (Friday & Thursday), Meet Me in St. Louis (Friday & Thursday), and Singin' in the Rain (Wednesday).
  • The Harvard Film Archive will be spending much of the next month presenting the surviving films of Kenji Mizoguchi, one of the earliest masters of Japanese cinema. This week's entries are Ugetsu (Friday 7pm & Sunday 5pm), Song of Home (Friday 9pm, with Robert Humphreville on piano), Sisters of the Gion (Saturday 7pm), Oyuki the Virgin (Saturday 9pm), Street of Shame (Sunday 7pm), and Utamaro and His Five Women (Monday 7pm). All in 35mm, although I must admit to being sad that Friday night's silent does not have a benshi doing narration.
  • The ICA will show documentary I Dream of Wires at 2pm on Sunday as part of "Together Boston"; it's about the return to popularity of the modular synthesizer, a fitting entry for a "celebration of music, art, and technology". Afterward, a group of local artists and academics will discuss the film and electronic music in general.
  • The Regent Theatre will be screening Don Peyote on Monday and Tuesday, with Dan Fogler (who also co-writes & directs) as a slacker who apparently achieves enlightenment and becomes a guru. Impressive cast, although I kind of wonder how long any of Josh Duhamel,Jay Baruchel, Wallace Shawn, Anne Hathaway, and/or Topher Grace (the last two credited with "special appearances") are actually in it.

My plans? Godzilla, The Machine, Chef, Stage Fright, God's Pocket, and Million Dollar Arm. Mayyyybe catch the early show of Kochadaiiyaan on Thursday, because a 3D performance-captured movie starring Rajinikanth in his first starring role since Endhirian is going to be something else.

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