Thursday, February 19, 2015

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 20 February 2015 - 26 February 2015

Oscar weekend seems to be coming early this year; I really don't think I'm going to get to see all the nominees I want to. And that's not even including the ones where I've been actively dragging my feet (looking at you, American Sniper).

  • For instance, two of the Best Foreign Language Film nominees are opening at Kendall Square. Timbuktu is the first submission from Mauritania; it takes place near the city of the title during a time when Mali's government was controlled by religious fundamentalists. The cattle herders there are typically left alone, at least until something changes. Russia, meanwhile, submits Leviathan, in which a man fights to keep the house he built himself from the corrupt mayor who intends to demolish it. The previews, at least, have been great. It also plays at West Newton.

    The one-week booking is What We Do in Shadows, a mock-documentary about three ancient vampires who infect a twenty-year-old, setting off a severe culture clash. It has been getting some great reviews from the horror-comedy fans.
  • Over at the multiplexes, Kevin Costner seems to follow up Black and White up in short order with MacFarland, USA, where he plays a gym teacher who starts a cross-country team at a California school where most of the students are children of migrant workers. It's at the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, Fenway, Boson Common, Assembly Row, and Revere.

    For something a little more comedic, there's Hot Tub Time Machine 2, in which most of the folks from the original return to further mess with the past, present, and future. Not having watched the Blu-ray on my shelf yet, I'm not sure whether the reason John Cusack is not returning is obvious or not. It's at the Somerville, Apple Fresh Pond, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Revere, and the SuperLux. For the younger set, there's The DUFF, which apparently stands for "Designated Ugly Fat Friend", though star Mae Whitman doesn't exactly fit that profile in this high-school comedy. It's at the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere.

    The Imax screens in the area shuffle things up a bit - the Jordan's furniture stores drop Seventh Son to give Jupiter Ascending the full slate, while Assembly row ditches both to bring American Sniper back for a week. The latter also has a special screening of Interstellar on Saturday afternoon, with twelve minutes of behind-the-scenes footage.
  • It's astonishing how well quick releases of foreign films appear to be doing right now - both Boston Common and Fenway are keeping Somewhere Only We Know around for a second week, while Fenway also opens Triumph in the Skies the same day as Hong Kong, with Wilson Yip and Matt Chow directing a feature version of a popular TV series; Louis Koo and Sammi Cheng are in the cast, and it looks pretty funny.

    Fenway also opens C'est Si Bon, which isn't French, but Korean; it stars Jung Woo, Jin Goo, and Han Hyo-joo in a romance set against the background of the Seoul folk-music scene of the late 1960s. It's just a couple weeks after it opens in Korea, and this is a trend that I can get behind.

    This has been going on forever with Indian movies, of course, with Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond/iMovieCafe opening Badlapur this week; it's in English-subtitled Hindi and stars Varun Dhawan s a young man looking for revenge on the people who killed the love of his life.
  • The Coolidge is splitting its screens between a lot of Oscar-nominated movies, both first- and second-run, and it adds Mr. Turner to that list this week. That means there's only room for one or two showings per day of Richard LaGravenese's adaptation of The Last Five Years, featuring Jamie Jordan and Anna Kendrick as a couple who tell their story entirely through song, and in the screening rooms at that. A really small release, considering how many folks seemed to love Kendrick in Pitch Perfect.

    At midnight on Friday & Saturday, they keep The Duke of Burgundy around for another couple of shows, and have the last repertory screenings of the Cronenberg Mad Science series with a 35mm print of Dead Ringers, his creep-fest with Jeremy Irons as identical twin gynecologists.

    Sunday morning has a more cheerful kid's show, with the delightful Babe running on the main screen while the monthly Goethe-Institut German film - a four hour beast by the name of Home from Home - Chronicle of a Vision which is the latest in the long running "Heimat" series - plays upstairs. The Science on Screen presentation of Evil Dead 2 (on 35mm) that got knocked out by the blizzard a couple of weeks ago is rescheduled to Monday.
  • The Brattle has the special 35mm "Looney Tunes Revue" program of Bugs Bunny Film Festival on Friday and Saturday afternoon, with a new DCP restoration of Frank Capra's It Happened One Night playing during the evening. Then, on Sunday, they have their annual Oscar Party. On Monday night, the DocYard will present Ne Me Quitte Pas, a Belgian documentary about two down-and-out friends - one Flemish and one Walloon - contemplating suicide. Directors Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels Van Koevorden will do a Q&A via Skype afterward.

    That same night, they begin their Damn Fine Cinema: The Films of David Lynch program with a 35mm print of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. The show's pilot plays for free on Tuesday as part of the Elements of Cinema program (including discussion of how it and film have influenced TV over the past quarter-century). A 35mm print of Eraserhead and a program of his shorts play Wednesday, and The Elephant Man plays Thursday.
  • The Harvard Film Archive continues The Lost Worlds of Robert Flaherty with the 7pm shows on Friday ("Moana with Sound") and Saturday (a 35mm print of Elephant Boy). The rest of the weekend continues Grand Illusions - The Cinema of World War I: First up, James Whale's pre-code melodrama Waterloo Bridge (Friday 9pm) and Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory (Saturday 9pm), both in 35mm. That is followed by three silent films: The End of St. Petersburg (Sunday 5pm in 35mm), J'Accuse (Sunday 7pm), and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Monday 7pm in 35mm). On Wednesday, the 35mm "Furious Cinema" presentation of Two-Lane Blacktop will be followed by a Skype conversation with director Monte Hellman.
  • It's still February, so The Museum of Fine Arts continues The Films of Stanley Kubrick. This week's films are Barry Lyndon (Friday & Saturday), 2001: A Space Odyssey (Friday), The Shining (Saturday & Sunday), Full Metal Jacket (Sunday & Wednesday), and Eyes Wide Shut (Wednesday).
  • The Bright Lights series in the Paramount Theater's Bright Screening Room welcomes actor Mike Wiley on Tuesday to discuss Dar He: The Lynching of Emmett Till. Thursday's entry is the rescheduled Room 237, a look at the crazy theories that surround Kubrick's The Shining (so, good timing). That presentation will also include director Rodney Ascher's short film "The S from Hell".
  • The UMass Boston Film Series returns on Thursday the 26th with The Possibilities Are Endless, a documentary by Edward Lovelace & James Hall about songwriter Edwyn Collins, amnesic and aphasic following a stroke.
  • The ICA will be screening the Oscar-nominated animated and live-action short films on Sunday (which are also still playing at the Coolidge and Kendall Square).
  • The Regent Theatre has their last Sing-along Shows of Annie and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Friday.

My plans: Lots of foreign stuff, hoping to fit Triumph in the Sky, C'est Si Bon, Leviathan, and Timbuktu in before the Oscars. Maybe try for Kingsman and the Hot Tub Time Machines. There are also gaps in my movie-seeing history to fill in, specifically Dead Rings and the Lynch movies.

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