Wait, what do you mean there's no room because they're still giving the Whitey Bulger movie half the screens? I'm reasonably sure that Bostonians like Matt Damon at least as much as Bulger!
- Ah, well, other places are willing to take my money for Ridley Scott's movie about an astronaut presumed dead on the first manned mission to Mars, making for a heck of a hard-science tale of survival, which should look spectacular in 3D, as Scott's use of that technology was the most interesting thing about his last two films. The Martian opens in 2D and 3D at the Somerville, the Embassy, Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Square, and Revere (including XPlus & MX4D).
Another spectacular-looking picture opened earlier in the week on the deluxe screens, with Robert Zemeckis's The Walk playing in 3D at Jordan's (Imax), Fenway (RPX), Boston Common (Imax), and Assembly Row (Imax). An adaptation of the same material used for the excellent documentary Man on Wire, only with Zemeckis putting the audience on the high-wire strung between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in the last act.
There's also an outright oddity opening in Hell and Back, an R-rated animated comedy about friends looking to bust a buddy out of Hell. Probably not very good, but, how often does an adult-oriented animated movie come out in America?
- The other big release this week is Sicario, with Emily Blunt as an FBI agent assigned to the Mexican border with Benicio Del Toro as a dangerous "consultant"; it's apparently right on the line between "morally complex drama" and "action/adventure", which is neat. It's at The Coolidge Corner Theatre, the Somerville, Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Revere, and the SuperLux.
The Coolidge also has Attack on Titan - Part 1 at midnight on Friday & Saturday; it's a blast, although I'm glad Part 2 is coming quickly; it also gets encore screenings at the Kendall and Revere on Wednesday. The Coolidge's other midnight this weekend is a 35mm print of Witchfinder General (aka The Conqueror Worm), featuring Vincent Price as a particularly vicious zealot with a soldier seeking revenge. On Sunday, the Goethe-Institut selection for the month is not, as is usually the case, a new film, but a 35th-anniversary re-release of Solo Sunny, a sneakily subversive East German film about a would-be pop star.
- Busy week at Kendall Square, which, along with West Newton, opens the first of the two Chinese films opening this week, Coming Home, this one another reunion between director Zhang Yimou and star Gong Li, who plays the wife of a political prisoner who loses all memory of him during the twenty years he is in prison. It's kind of weird to wait a year and a half for this to come to the US, isn't it? They also share the opening of 99 Homes with Boston Common, which features Andrew Carfield and Michael Shannon as the victim and head of a predatory real estate crew who aims to bring the former on-board.
For exclusives, they also pick up three, starting wtih The Keeping Room, an IFFBoston alum starring Brit Marling as a woman left beind on a small farm during the Civil War. It's pretty good. There's also Time Out of Mind, with Richard Gere as a homeless man struggling to find a place to stay in a film by Oren Moverman. There's also the documentary Peace Officer, which looks at the militarization of America's police forces through the lens of a former sheriff who sees his son-in-law killed by the SWAT team he founded.
- Hey, speaking of Gong Li and things that took a while to get to America, there's Shanghai, where she co-stars with John Cusack, Chow Yun-fat, Franka Potente, David Morse, and Ken Watanabe in the story of an expatriate returning to the title city soon before Pearl Harbor. It shot in 2008, was released in China in 2010, and because Weinsteins, it's just arriving here now, although it's only getting one screening daily at 5:55pm at The West Newton Cinema. Bizarre.
- The other Chinese film opening this week is Saving Mr. Wu, featuring Andy Lau as a kidnapped actor in a thriller based upon a true story. It's at Boston Common, which also keeps Lost in Hong Kong around, because that made crazy money last week ($100M worldwide, even if only $600K was in the US, and a noticeable chunk of that there). In addition to that, have what I think is the first local day-and-date opening of a Filipino movie, Etiquette for Mistresses, about five successful women having affairs with the same married man.
Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond has a busy week of Indian movies: Singh Is Bliing is a Hindi-language (subtitled) action/comedy starring Akshay Kumar, while Talvar is a thriller starring Irrfan Khan. There's also Shivam if you speak Telugu, Mr. Airavata if you speak Kannada, and Puli if you speak Tamil (with some screenings in Telugu).
- The Brattle Theatre has guests on Saturday night as director Jamie Babbit and writer Karey Dornetto introduce and do Q&A for Addicted to Fresno, starring Judy Greer - yes, starring! her - and Natasha Lyonne as sisters who wind up needing to cover up a murder, as happens. It runs from Friday to Sunday.
That's not all; there's also a 35mm "Real Weird Brattle: Animated Weirdness" screening at 11:30pm on Saturday of Ralph Bashki's Heavy Traffic, while Sunday night has writer/editor Kier-la Janisse doing a local booklaunch for Satani Panic by introducing a screenings of The 'Burbs. Monday's guest is director Robert Gordon, presenting his film Best of Enemies for The DocYard, and Tuesday's is Will Sheff, who will introduce his short film "Down Down the Deep River", as well as play some music, as that's what he does by trade with the band Okkervil River.
Then, on Wednesday, they start a "75 Years of Noir" series so big hti has to be broken up into chunks. The first, Proto-Noir, is films from before what would later be codified as "film noir" that were clear influences, beginning with Fritz Lang's brilliant M and following it on Tuesday with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
- The Harvard Film Archive starts continues their Guy Maddin series with Tales from the Gimli Hospital (Friday 7pm, preceded by short "The Dead Father" in 16mm), Archangel (Friday 9:30pm), and Keyhole (Saturday 7pm, DCP). The "A Matter of Life and Death" films about filmmaking series makes a return on Saturday with The Stunt Man, while the "5 O'Clock Shadows" on Sunday is a 16mm print of T-Men. Later that day, faculty fellow Valérie Massadian will present her film Nana and short film "America" (DCP), while Monday's "Furious and Furiouser" screening is Robert Bresson's The Devil, Probably.
- This week's silent film at The Somerville Theatre is Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, which does not star Charlie Chaplin but Harry Langdon, with the forgotten silent star playing a man mistakenly entered into a cross-country hiking contest who keeps it up to impress a girl. As usual, it's in 35mm with Jeff Rapsis on the organ. They also pick up Goodnight Mommy, and have a variety of live shows in the main auditorium.
- The Museum of Fine Arts has a very brief film program this week, mostly just screenings of Mélanie Laurent's Breathe, with single shows on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday as part of "New French Cinema". Thursday does start another unusually specific program, with Museum Hours the first selection in "Dutch Paintings: A Cinematic Exploration".
- The main Bright Lights screening at the Paramount this week is She's Beautiful When She's Angry, an oral history of the feminist movement, followed up by discussion with members of Our Bodies, Ourselves.
Thursday's Stink!, meanwhile, is part of the GlobeDocs Film Festival, presented as part of "HubWeek" by the Boston Globe at various theaters: It starts at the Coolidge on Wednesday with Most Likely to Succeed, adding the Paramount and Kendall (Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead) on Thursday, when the Coolidge will also have Circus Without Borders and In My Father's House. The event continues through the 10th
- I missed listing the UMass Boston Film Series starting last week (sorry!), but The Institute of Contemporary Artwill be co-presenting Here Come the Videofreex! at 7pm on Saturday at the ICA.
Since it's my birthday, it's also my niece's birthday, so we'll be doing the present/cake exchange this weekend. I'm planning to hit The Martian, Saving Mr. Wu, Hell and Back, Sicorio, Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, Coming Home, and 99 Homes, but am pretty sure some of those will fall by the wayside.