Thursday, June 12, 2014

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 13 June 2014 - 19 June 2014

On the one hand, the two big movies opening this week are sequels. On the other hand, they're sequels to two unexpectedly great movies with the people in large part responsible for their greatness back in charge.

  • Actually, How to Train Your Dragon 2 shows a little bit of change in the credits, but that apparently gets it down to one voice. It's also kind of interesting in that it appears to take place five years after the first, letting its young characters (Vikings who live side-by-side with dragons on an island off the coast of Scotland) age a bit, something animated features can avoid if they want. Anyway, the first is one of DreamWorks's best animated features and used 3D amazingly, so I'm quite anxious to see the new one. It plays in 2D and 3D at the Capitol, Apple, West Newton (2D only), Fenway, Boston Common (including Imax 3D), and Assembly Row (including Imax 3D). Note that it doesn't play Jordan's and the AMC Imax screens are both still playing Edge of Tomorrow; I guess that one may have fizzled at the general box office but did well enough to keep around on the giant screens.

    The other big sequel is 22 Jump Street, which keeps the same team as 21 Jump Street (who also did The Lego Movie, which has free screenings at MIT Building 26 Room 100 on Friday and Saturday) and certainly looks like another movie which is funnier and more self-referential than anyone could have expected. Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, and Ice Cube are all back along with Phil Lord and Chris Miller. It's opening at the Somerville, Apple, Embassy, Fenway (including RPX), Boston Common, Assembly Row, and SuperLux.

    Boston Common also picks up The Signal, a problematic but great-looking sci-fi thing with Brenton Thwaites and Laurence Fishburne; the director really needs to work on other people's scripts, it seems. The movie also plays at Kendall Square and the Embassy. NOT opening in the area is The Human Race, which also has a disabled hero in a strange, arbitrary environment, and I can't help but wonder why XLrator keeps buying these good little sci-fi films and opening them when they'd get crushed by bigger-budget equivalents (see also The Machine opening the same day as Transcendence); it might have made good sense when the same movie wasn't booked in two theaters close to each other, but that's not the case now.

    Both Boston Common and Fenway are having Fathom screenings of a "David Tenant night" on Monday and Tuesday, which includes back-to-back screenings of Doctor Who episodes "Rise of the Cybermen" & "The Age of Steel" on Monday and "Wings 3D", a BBC nature documentary Tennant narrates, on Tuesday, with one ticket getting the audience into both nights. Boston Common's Sunday/Wednesday classic is the original Dirty Dancing.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre, Kendall Square, and Boston Common all open IFFBoston selection Obvious Child, starring Jenny Slate as a stand-up comedian dealing with an unplanned pregnancy among other obstacles that show she's not quite as fearless in real life as she is on stage. The Coolidge and West Newton also pick up the really terrific Ida in its second week of release, with the Coolidge's 7pm show on Tuesday an "Off the Couch" screening, with post-movie discussion from members of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society.

    Friday is the thirteenth, so the Cooldige has Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI on 35mm at midnight on both Friday and Saturday. They don't appear to stepping through the series in order every time one comes up on the calendar, which is too bad; that would be quietly cool. There's a "Cinema Jukebox" screening of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Monday, also in 35mm.
  • Kendall Square isn't just picking Obvious Child up from IFFBoston, but two others: Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon is a documentary about the beloved Hollywood figure (whom nobody seems to have a harsh word for despite him being a celebrity manager), with actor Mike Myers making his directorial debut. The one marked down as a one-week booking is the absolutely delightful We Are the Best!, about three middle-school girls starting a punk band in 1980s Stockholm. Their midnight on Friday and Saturday is The NeverEnding Story.
  • One more from IFFBoston, as the Brattle has Ti West's The Sacrament playing the last show of the night on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and three shows daily from Monday to Thursday. It features two reporters accompanying a friend to a cult compound to rescue his sister.

    Horrors of a different kind play earlier during the weekend, with The Great Flood director Bill Morrison piecing together archive footage of the 1927 Mississippi River Flood and musician Bill Frisnell helping to show how this event pushed blues from the rural South to the rest of America. And on Sunday, why not celebrate Father's Day with a 35mm print of The Shining?
  • I figure to spend a lot of time at The Museum of Fine Arts this weekend for the "Enchanting Films from Hong Kong" series, which started on the 12th and runs through the 22nd. It features Dante Lam's Unbeatable (Friday), Flora Lau's Bends (Friday/Saturday), the double bill of short feature Sometimes Naive and short film "When Love Encounters" (Saturday/Sunday), Johnnie To's Blind Detective (Sunday/Wednesday), documentary on the director Boundless (Sunday/Thursday), and Kiwi Chow's A Complicated Story (Thursday). The Saturday afternoon screening of Alumbrones on the schedule has been canceled, but the impressive documentary about students in a Cuban ballet school Secunduria plays Wednesday. The "Limitless Possibilities of Black and White" series will return on Thursday, with Kevin Smith's Clerks.
  • The micro-cinema at the Somerville Theatre (hopefully) has a busy week coming up, with Somerville Subterranean Cinema presenting Soft in the Head twice on Friday and once on Saturday; I saw it at IFFBoston last year and it's as independent a film as you'll find. They also have a Wednesday night screening of The Retrieval, a film by Chris Eska about slaves on the run from bounty hunters in 1864.

    The gap on Saturday is for the monthly All Things Horror presentation, which this month features Stomping Ground, where a man finds out that his girlfriend used to hunt Bigfoot when they visit her hometown and meet an old friend. Presumably, love triangles and dismemberment ensue.
  • More Kenji Mizoguchi at >The Harvard Film Archive, with this week featuring Miss Oyu (Friday 7pm), My Love Burns (Friday 9pm), The 47 Ronin Parts I & II (Saturday 7pm with an intermission in the middle of the four-hour double feature), The Lady of Musashino (Sunday 5pm), The Crucified Lovers (Sunday 7pm), and Tales of the Tiara Clan (Monday 7pm). The last two are on 16mm film; the rest are 35mm.
  • Two movies at the Regent Theatre this week: Director Robert Radler visits on Friday to introduce and answer questions about his documentary Turn It UP! A Celebration of the Electric Guitar, which is narrated by Kevin Bacon and combines a history of the instrument with interviews with many who play it. The documentary that Belmont World Film and the Arlington International Film Festival present on Tuesday, Return to Homs, is much more serious business; it covers the bloody fighting in Syria from the middle. It has won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and a host of other awards.
  • Joe's Calendar of free movies has the outdoor movie series at the Boston Harbor Hotel starting on Friday with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Gene Wilder, not Johnny Depp), while the Bloc 11 outdoor movie on Monday is Mars Attacks!.

My plans? Lots of Hong Kong stuff at the MFA, both Dragon and Jump Street sequels, The Sacrament, Night Moves while it's still hanging around the Coolidge's GoldScreen, and maybe The Retrieval and some Mizoguchi if I can fit them in.

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