Thursday, February 26, 2015

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 27 February 2015 - 5 March 2015

The Oscars are over, which means theaters can clean house of the stuff that people are interested in seeing before the awards, and start bulking up with new releases that are more than sacrificial lambs!

  • The big one: Focus, starring Will Smith as a master con artist and Margot Robbie as his beautiful protege, a former lover turned rival. Strange thing to get an Imax blow-up, but that's apparently not just about grand-scale movies as much as milking a couple extra bucks these days. It's at the Somerville, Embassy, Apple Fresh Pond, Jordan's, Fenway (including RPX), Boston Common (including Imax), Assembly Row (including Imax), Revere (including XPlus), and the SuperLux.

    The less-big one: The Lazarus Effect, a Flatliners-looking horror movie with a nice cast (Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Donald Glover, Sara Bolger) and an interesting choice of director (David Gelb, who did the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi). Plus, it's 83 minutes, and horror movies that don't wear out their welcome are generally okay in our books. It's at Apple Fresh Pond, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere.

    Boston Common also opens two foreign films this week: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal is a 3D fantasy adventure featuring Chen Kun and Li Bingbing in a movie that promises to at least look gorgeous (they're also keeping Somewhere Only We Know around while Fenway continues playing Triumph in the Skies). They and Revere will also have A la Mala, a Mexican romantic comedy about an actress who has a side gig where she's hired to tempt unwanted boyfriends into breakups, only to fall in love with her latest mark.

    Fenway will also have a three-day run, from Tuesday to Thursday, of The Drop Box, a documentary about a Korean minister who set up a place where unwanted infants can be left safely
  • The Coolidge really cleans house, getting down to one film per screen, half new, although they move from one to another based upon the day and time, so you'd be advised to check and buy tickets early or miss out when it's in one of the smaller rooms (or not playing in a slot at all). That includes Map to the Stars, a black comedy from David Cronenberg (really!), featuring Julianne Moore as a high-strung actress, John Cusack as a self-help guru, Mia Wasikowska as a scarred personal assistant, and Robert Pattinson driving the limo this time around. It will also have midnight screenings on Friday and Saturday, and Cronenberg will be doing a Q&A via Skype after the 2pm screening on Saturday. Note that he was originally supposed to be there in person, which had the show sell out fast, but there may be tickets now that he isn't travelling to Brookline.

    The other film opening is She's Beautiful When She's Angry, a document about the early years of the women's rights movement (1966-1971) that won the audience award for documentary at IFFBoston last year. It will also have guests over the weekend, with director Mary Dore and guests from Our Bodies, Ourselves introducing and discussing the film afterward for early shows on Saturday and Sunday.

    There's a Talk Cinema screening on Sunday morning, although the film has not been announced. Monday's special presentation is a "Sounds of Silents" show featuring Donald Sosin & Joanna Seaton accompanying the long-thought-lost John Ford comedy Upstream, along with Charlie Chaplin short "The Adventurer". Then, on Thursday, they start a weekly series of French-language films in the screening room with Left Foot Right Foot, a Swiss story of May-December romance and intrigue.
  • Too late to do anything about any desire to see all the nominees before the ceremony, Kendall Square opens Song of the Sea, nominated in the Best Animated Feature category. It's directed by Tomm Moore of The Secret of Kells fame, and similarly looks like a stylish family movie based upon Irish folklore.

    There's also Ballet 422, which follows young New York City Ballet dancer Justin Peck as he is given a chance to create the institution's 422nd original ballet. It may just be ticketed for one week, but so was What We Do in Shadows, which not only sticks around but expands to the Embassy.
  • The Brattle continues Damn Fine Cinema: The Films of David Lynch with a week of mostly 35mm prints: Dune on Friday, a double feature of Wild at Heart & Blue Velvet on Saturday, a reprise of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me & the series pilot (digital) on Sunday, The Straight Story on Monday, Lost Highway on Tuesday, Mulholland Drive on Wednesday, and Inland Empire (digital) on Thursday.
  • The Harvard Film Archive wraps up a couple of series this weekend, with The Lost Worlds of Robert Flaherty finishing with the F.W. Murnau collaboration Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (Friday 7pm) and a collection of short films including the recently-discovered "A Night of Storytelling" (Sunday 5pm). Grand Illusions - The Cinema of World War I includes La France (Friday 9pm), Comradeship (Saturday 7pm), The African Queen (Saturday 9pm), and Four Sons with live accompaniment by Robert Humphreville (Monday 7pm). That means, yes, there are two separate silent John Ford movies on Monday. All films in both programs screen in 35mm.

    Sunday evening, there's a rescheduled DCP screening of Touki Bouki, which was cancelled due to a blizzard a few weeks ago. Then on Wednesday, the weekly "Furious Cinema" presentation is Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, Melvin van Peebles's mico-budget grindhouse feature. It screens in 35mm and starts at 7pm rather than 7:30 like the other Wednesday shows.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts finishes the February calendar and The Films of Stanley Kubrick with 2001: A Space Odyssey (Friday), A Clockwork Orange (Saturday), and Room 237 (Saturday & Sunday). Their first program on the March calendar is New Latin American Cinema, which incudes Argentina's Natural Sciences (Wednesday) and History of Fear (Thursday) plus Brazil's Casa Grande or the Ballad of Poor Jean (Wednesday) and Obra (Thursday).

    In between, they're one of the venues for the Boston ReelAbilities Film Festival, screening Here One Day and AKA Doc Pomus on Sunday; check the festival's website for scheduling information.
  • It's a busy week for film at The Regent Theatre in Arlington. Saturday has a Lord of the Rings marathon that runs from 9am to midnight, including themed meals and discussion (register here). Tuesday is the rescheduled screening of King: A Filmed Record from the 10th. Then there are two on Thursday - Irish film Patrick's Day, which was selected by the Manhattan Short Film Festival's Feature Film Project, runs at 7pm. Digging up the Marrow, the new one from local filmmaker Adam Green, runs at 9:15pm. It's a mock documentary featuring Ray Wise as a man who claims monsters are real.
  • The Bright Lights series in the Paramount Theater's Bright Screening Room has a panel discussion about video game culture on Tuesday, following Roger Sorkin's documentary "Joystick Warriors". Then on Thursday, they team with Balagan for a 35mm presentation of Burn the Sea.
  • The UMass Boston Film Series welcomes director Zachary Levy with his documentary Strongman on Thursday; it shows titular subject "Stainless Steel" encountering problems that his physical strength can't solve.
  • The ICA has the program of Sundance 2014 Animated Shorts that played the Coolidge a month or so ago a couple times in March; the first screening is on Thursday the 5th.
  • Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond/iMovieCafe continues Badlapur with English subtitles this week, but you'll probably need to know Tamil to appreciate Kaaki Sattai and Telugu for Bham Bholenath

My plans: Snow Girl, Focus, A La Mala, Song of the Sea, The Lazarus Effect, the Coolidge silents, Map to the Stars, and maybe Digging into the Marrow. And I've probably pushed my luck re Paddington long enough.

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