Saturday, August 08, 2015

(Mostly) Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 7 August 2015 - 13 August 2015

Yeah, I let this slide while in Montreal this year; I apologize to the folks who use it. Fantasia was a busy time. So let's see what there is:

  • Not the biggest opening, but one well worth calling attention to, is Assassination; a South Korean import that is hitting North America just a couple weeks after opening in its home territory (and days after playing Fantasia), it's a pretty fantastic period action-thriller about a team of rebels facing a number of twists as they attempt to take out a hated collaborator and war criminal whose children are about to marry. It stars Gianna Jun, Lee Jung-jai, Ha Jung-woo, and Oh Dal-soo and was one of the best things I saw in Montreal. It's at Boston Common and Fenway.

    If your taste in Asian film skews more toward Hong Kong, Fenway is opening To The Fore, the latest from director Dante Lam, the same day it opens in China. Though best known for action, Lam goes for drama this time, with Eddie Peng as a professional cyclist dealing with rivals and romance. Word is that the cycling scenes are fantastic.

    For holdovers and limited runs, Boston Common is giving Hong Kong comedy Pancake Man a single 10:40am screening daily (at least through Sunday) in its second week. It's probably too late to get a ticket for the 11am Saturday screening of anime sequel Dragonball Z: Resurrection 'F' at Fenway, but it will be playing daily shows at Revere through Wednesday.
  • Speaking of things I liked at Fantasia and things only getting early-morning shows at Boston Common, you've got to be there by 11:30am to see Dark Places. A shame, because it's a pretty good thriller based on a book by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn and starring Charlize Theron and Christina Hendricks in fine performances. That's what happens when a movie is also available on VOD, also illustrated by The Runner, which stars Nicolas Cage as a New Orleans politician caught in a real mess after the BP oil spill, and has early and late shows at Apple Fresh Pond. (There's also Boston Common playing Furious 7 daily as part of its summer recent-hits-for-charity program, though that doesn't quite fit the narrative).

    Interestingly, two of the week's wide releases look like the sort of thing that would usually play 3D but don't: Fantastic Four may be an alleged disaster, but it's a big superhero movie based upon the characters that defined Marvel comics for decades, and that usually merits Imax and/or 3D, but not here. It plays the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Fenway (including RPX), Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere. Shaun the Sheep, a stop-motion feature from the makers of Wallace & Grommit, looks to be delightful for all ages and plays at the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere.

    Ricki and the Flash also opens, and I think is the first time Meryl Streep and daughter Mamie Gummer have appeared in the same film. They've got good company as a rock-and-roll mom who has not been a part of said daughter's life, with Jonathan Demme directing a script by Diablo Cody and Kevin Kline playing Ricki's ex-husband. It's at the Somerville, Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Revere, and the SuperLux.
  • A semi-wide opening for The End of the Tour, this year's Opening Night selection at IFFBoston which stars Jason Segel as author David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as the reporter doing a multi-day interview during the book tour for Infinite Jest. I didn't love it, but a lot of folks did; it plays the Coolidge, Kendall Square, the Embassy, and Boston Common.

    I've been away, but I think The Coolidge Corner Theatre has been doing a cannibal horror series as part of its After Midnite shows, and it wraps up with a 35mm print of the original cut of Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly). Or maybe it's a one-off; I've been away. Aside from Tuesday night's Open Screen, the other special presentation is a Cinema Jukebox show of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars on Thursday; the David Bowie concert film from 1973 is presented in 35mm.
  • Kendall Square gets three other films in addition to The End of the Tour, and they all look pretty good. Well, there's no doubt on one, as it's the new restoration of Carol Reed's classic The Third Man, featuring Joseph Cotten as a journalist in post-WWII Vienna looking to meet old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles), only to be pulled into a web of skullduggery and suspense.

    Post-WWII Europe is the setting for one of the other films opening, Phoenix, starring Nina Hoss as a concentration camp survivor whose reconstructive surgery leaves her looking just different enough to alienate her former husband but also to investigate whether her new lover was the man that betrayed her to the Nazis. Also opening is Samba, with the directors of The Intouchables reuniting with star Omar Sy for the story of an undocumented immigrant in Paris calling on an inexperienced lawyer (Charlotte Gainsbourg) to help him stay in the country.
  • The Brattle Theatre also has both a restored classic and a new release this weekend. The restoration is Grey Gardens, the documentary by Albert & David Maysles about a very eccentric mother and daughter living in a much-decayed mansion, said to look better than ever before. The new one is Alleluia, one I missed at last year's Fantastic Fest but which received high marks for its story of murderous lovers on the road in Belgium. Both play as single features through Monday.

    The vertical repatory calendar presentations overlap them somewhat, with "Reel Weird Brattle: Camp Sci-Fi Camp" presentation Barb Wire screening Saturday night; this futuristic sex-changed version of Casablanca is a natural selection for the series. "Screwball Summer" entry The Awful Truth only plays matinees Monday but has the screen to itself on Tuesday (and is terrific). On Wednesday they celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Goonies with not just a screening, "Scavenge the Square: Harvard", a scavenger hunt with local businesses hiding treasures. On Thursday, they continue a Nuri Bilge Ceyla retrospective with Three Monkeys. All rep screenings are in 35mm this week.
  • I'm kind of sad I missed much of the summer programming at The Somerville Theatre right after moving to Davis Square, but it continues chugging along. Saturday's midnight screening is Serial Mom, which had Jon Waters directing Kathleen Turner in one of his mainstream-but-still-weird movies from the 1990s. Wednesday continues the Sam Peckinpah series with James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson as Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. On Thursday, the Paul Thomas Anderson series catches up to last year and thus closes out with Inherent Vice. All are on 35mm.

    "Throwback Thursday" at The Capitol heads back to high school with a double feature of Mean Girls and Easy A, and, come on, that last one is only five years old!
  • I regret missing much of what has played at The Harvard Film Archive this summer, too, even if I'm no longe quite so close by. the Robert Altman retrospective continues with The Long Goodbye (Saturday 7pm, with short "Speak Low"), Cookie's Fortune (Sunday 4:30pm), and The James Dean Story (Sunday 7pm). Sam Fuller is represented by Street of No Return (Saturday 9:30pm), China Gate (Monday 7pm), and I Shot Jesse James (Thursday 7pm).
  • The Museum of Fine Arts is giving over much of August to The Films of Ingrid Bergman for what would be her 100th birthday. This week's selections include Casablanca (Saturday), For Whom the Bell Tolls (Sunday & Thursday, on 35mm), and Gaslight (Thursday).
  • The Regent Theatre is mostly being used for live shows this week, but they've got a Gathr "Alive Mind" presentation on Tuesday of Steak (R)evolution, a documentary in which a French filmmaker Franck Ribiere, child of cattle farmers, searches the world for the best steaks, which is as much a result of the techniques used to raise the livestock as the preparation. Strangely, no local restaurant is tied in.
  • Free outdoor screenings listed on Joe's Calendar include Mean Girls at Bloc 11, Dirty Dancing at the Sinclair, Batman Returns at Powderhouse Square, dueling screenings of The Wiz and The Wizard of Oz, and Cinderella in multiple spots.

My plans: Well, I really should unpack, but I'll probably check out Pancake Man, To the Fore, Phoenix, and Mission Impossible anyway.

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