- ... a new M. Night Shyamalan film! Here's hoping The Visit, which sends a couple of kids to visit their creepy grandparents, is a return to form, although he's trying some new things with both found-footage and comedy in his horror film. It's fashionable to bag on him, but I can't help but root for the guy. The movie plays at the Somerville, Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway (including some RPX screenings), Revere, and the SuperLux.
A more conventional thriller also opens at the multiplexes, with The Perfect Guy starring Sanaa Lathan as a woman who breaks up with her longtime boyfriend (Morris Chestnut) and strikes up a new relationship with a handsome guy (Michael Ealy), who may turn out to be kind of nuts. That one's at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Fenway, and Revere.
The surprises come at AMC Boston Common, instead of getting the reissue of Mad Max: Fury Road for their Imax 3D screen, they instead open Wolf Totem, a Chinese film by French director Jean-Jacques Annaud that stars Feng Shaofeng as a young student from Beijing sent to Outer Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution, and must face the dangers of wolfpacks along with the changing culture. They also have The Beauty Inside, a Korean film about a man who wakes up in a new body every morning (old, young, male, female, foreign, etc.) and the girlfriend (Han Hyo-ju) who knows and must try to adapt.
Over in Revere, the success of War Room has another overtly-religious film opening, with 90 Minutes In Heaven telling the story of a man (Hayden Christensen) who was declared for ninety minutes and got to experience heaven before returning to Earth, which is something of a letdown. Might be more interesting than most, because writer/director Michael Polish actually has some darn good stuff on his resumé. Also interesting: He apparently segued from this super-wholesome thing to a raunchy sci-fi comedy by the name of "Hot Bot".
Both Boston Common and Revere will also have special converted-to-3D screenings of last year's Doctor Who season finale two-parter on Tuesday and Wednesday, while several other theaters plan to do a double feature of The Maze Runner and its sequel The Scorch Trials for the latter's opening night on Thursday.
- Just one new film opening at Kendall Square this weekend, although they will have guests, with director Stanley Nelson introducing certain Saturday and Sunday screenings of his documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, a feature-length documentary on the rise and fall of that movement.
- The Brattle Theatre also welcomes a director as Bob Byington does introductions and Q&As for Friday and Saturday screenings of IFFBoston selection 7 Chinese Brothers, starring Jason Schwartzman as a slacker not really looking too hard for very much. It has the screen for most of the week, but there are a couple of special events during the week, including Tuesday's Trash Night and a special 35mm screening of Adrienne Shelly's Waitress on Thursday, which will be introduced by the staff of the American Repatory Theater, who are currently staging a music based upon the fim before it moves to New York.
- The Coolidge Corner Theatre picks up Isabel Coixet's Learning to Drive a couple weeks into its run; check the website to see whether it's playing in theater #2 or the screening room at any particular time. They also have a number of special presentations: David Lynch's Blue Velvet on 35mm for the Friday/Saturday Midnight, the Goethe-Institut presentation of Germany's Who Am I - No System Is Safe on Sunday morning, a "Cinema Jukebox" screening of School of Rock Monday evening, and a "Rewind!" screening of Clueless on Thursday. Note that the theater isn't technically closed on Tuesday, but if you weren't invited, you're not getting into the premiere of Black Mass.
- So wait for that one to hit The Somerville Theatre, which is advertising an increasingly rare 35mm print of a new release. Before that, they've got two other special 35mm presentations: Moonstruck plays Saturday night, courtesy of the Boston Lyric Opera Company who will be performing a selection from La Boheme before the film. Then on Sunday afternoon, they have an unusual "Silents Please!" presentation - The Matrimaniac starring Douglas Fairbanks, which will be followed by a 16mm print of "The Missing Millionaire", which recut the other film into a completely different film after Fairbanks left the studio. Jeff Rapsis is on the organ for both.
- Experimental filmmaker Saul Levine visits The Harvard Film Archive visits this weekend, with programs of his mostly-16mm short films playing Friday, Sunday, and Monay. On Saturday, they have two more from their The Filmmaker's Nightmare series, with single features of Sunset Boulevard (7pm) and Peeping Tom (9:30pm), boht on 35mm.
- The Museum of Fine Arts has one more screening of The Great Man on Friday afternoon before the rest of the week's calendar is given to 35mm prints from UCLA Festival of Preservation, including Bachelor's Affairs (Friday & Sunday, preceded by short "Me and the Boys"), John Ford's A Long Voyage Home (Friday & Saturday), The Crime of Doctor Crespi (Saturday & Wednesday), The Big Broadcast (Sunday), My Best Girl (Wednesday, preceded by short "A Manlly Man"), Her Sister's Secret (Thursday), and White Zombie (Thursday).
- Emerson College's Bright Lights series has two free screenings this week: Don't Tell Anyone plays Tuesday, with subject and activist Angy Rivera on hand for post-film discussion, while Do I Sound Gay? will have speech pathology Dr. Kelly Farquhar on Thursday.
- The Regent Theatre has two documentary screenings this week: Unity on Sunday seems like a fuzzy thing about how people should really get along, while Thursday's All Kindsa Girls looks at the evolution of punk rock through the lens of John Felice and his band The Real Kids.
- Apparently, The Boston Film Festival is still a thing, and it opens on Thursday with Papa, which stars Giovanni Ribisi as a young writer who meets with Ernest Hemingway in Cuba at the start of the revolution. Apparently both based upon the life of its writer (who died in 2006) and the first Hollywood film to shoot in the country since the embargo. The festival's always-frustrating website lists it as playing at "Lowes Theater", which I think means AMC Boston Common (which still has signage saying "Loews".
Well, somehow I plan to see Wolf Totem, The Beauty Inside, The Visit, The Matrimaniac and maybe Mad Max: Fury Road this weekend, with attempts at The Perfect Guy, White Zombie, and a couple others likely.