- New Spielberg with a screenplay by Joel & Ethan Coen (among others) tops the list, with Bridge of Spies a Cold War tale featuring Tom Hanks as an American lawyer hired to do a job way above his usual, negotiating the release of a downed U-2 pilot - the sort of case that could exacerbate the already-massive tensions between the U.S. and Soviet Union. It plays at the Somerville Theatre (screen #1), the Belmont Studio Cinema, Lexington Venue, The West Newton Cinema, Kendall Square, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Revere, and the SuperLux.
Also getting a big release: Crimson Peak, a gorgeous-looking gothic romance and ghost story written and directed by Guillermo del Toro that likely wins the weekend on pure "just look at that!" level. Nice cast, too, with Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska. It's at the Somerville, Apple Fresh Pond, Jordan's (Imax), Fenway, Boston Common (including Imax), Assembly Row (including Imax), Revere, and the SuperLux.
And yet, I wouldn't be surprised if the biggest crowds wound up being for Goosebumps, positing that the popular series of spooky books for kids was about real monsters who are escaping into the real world to wreak 3D mayhem. That's at the Arlington Capitol (2D only), Apple Fresh Pond (2D only), Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere (including both "XPlus" and "MX4D" screens).
There's also a small opening for Woodlawn, a high-school football movie set in 1973 Birmingham, Alabama, where hopefully the blossoming of the school's first African-American star player helped ease racial tensions rather than inflamed them (they probably wouldn't have made a movie of it otherwise). It's at Boston Common and Revere. Boston Common also opens documentary Thao's Library, a documentary about an American woman (director Elizabeth Van Meter) who helps a Vietnamese woman crippled from birth because of Agent Orange build a village library. Revere will also have anniversary screenings of My Fair Lady on Sunday and Tuesday, with the SuperLux having one screening Sunday afternoon.
- Kendall Square appears to be giving three screens to Steve Jobs, which presents Michael Fassbender as the late Apple co-founder, with writer Aaron Sorkin and director Danny Boyle telling the story as a three-act play, each taking place backstage at a product launch. Kendall and its sister cinema in Embassy Square, Waltham, will also be opening Beasts of No Nation despite its simultaneous premiere on Netflix; the latest from Cary Joji Fukunaga, which presents the life of an African child soldier; Idris Elba co-stars as the commandant.
They'll also have a one-night presentation of Attack on Titan The Movie: Part 2 on Tuesday evening (Revere has them Tuesday and Thursday). The first was fun, but if they were both going to be right around 90 minutes, why not one big epic movie, maybe with an intermission?
Oh, and for reasons that aren't immediately obvious, they will also be hosting the Arlington International Film Festival this week - maybe its previous home at the Regent couldn't commit to a surprisingly full eight-days slate running from the 15th to 22nd?
- The major Bollywood release at Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond is Pyaar Punchnama 2, a sequel which apparently features three bachelors meeting the girls of their dreams, only to find that they come with demanding families. If you speak Tamil, I'd appreciate if you report back on what something called Bruce Lee: The Fighter is all about, since it doesn't look like it has anything to do with Bruce Lee. There's also Amar Akbar Anthony for those who speak Malayalam. Tamil action/adventures 10 Endrathukulla and Naanum Rowdy Dhaan start Tuesday, which I'm guessing is the start of Diwali.
For English-speakers, they'll also be screening Once I Was a Beehive, in which a girl who lost her father not only gets a new step-father, but winds up shuffled off to a Mormon girls' camp while he and her mother go on their honeymoon. One 7pm screening per day.
- There has been lots of The Rocky Horror Picture Show over the last month or so, as it's the thing's 40th anniversary, and The Somerville Theatre busts out an archival 35mm print at midnight on Friday, with the pre-show with the Teseracte Players starting at 11:30. Boston Common has their regular Saturday night show with the Full Body Cast.
The Somerville's sister cinema in Arlington, The Capitol, is one of many, many places screening the Back to the Future trilogy on Wednesday (the actual date Marty arrived in 2015 in Part II) - it's also at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere. The Capitol also pays tribute to the late Wes Craven on Thursday with a double feature of Scream and Scream 2.
- The Brattle Theatre has their own marathon this weekend, showing all four Mad Max movies: Friday has the original and The Road Warrior (given that they're using that title, I'm guessing the American dub), Saturday has Beyond Thunderdome and Fury Road, and Sunday all four. The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome are 35mm; the others DCP.
Saturday night also has Don Hertzfeldt's "It's Such a Beautiful Day" trilogy of animated shorts as part of "Reel Weird Brattle: Animated Weirdness", with his most recent short, "World of Tomorrow", filling it out. They are amazing films.
Monday's DocYard presentation is Dreamcatcher, with former teenage prostitute turned activist Brenda Myers-Powell (the film's subject) and producer Lisa Stevens on had for introduction and Q&A, along with local activists. On Tuesday they team with the Boston Book Festival to present a preview of Room, with the original novel's author Emma Donoghue in person. This bumps Trash Night to Wednesday, while Seoul Searching kicks off the Boston Asian-American Film Festival on person with writer/director Benson Lee there to present his movie about Korean teens from around the world sent to a camp in Seoul for the summer.
- After that, The Boston Asian-American Film Festival heads for the Bright Screening Room in the Paramount Theater for the rest of the weekend, with a theme of "Home in America" and filmmakers at nearly every screening including Saturday's centerpiece The Killing Fields of Haing S. Ngor and Sunday's closing film, Miss India America
After that, Bright Lights has their regular presentations on that screen. Tuesday's is This Is My Land, a co-presentation with the Boston Palestine Film Festival with director Tamara Erde calling in to discuss her film about how Israeli and Palestine schools teach recent history differently. Thursday is the monthly BOSCPUG meeting.
- The bulk of the Boston Palestine Film Festival takes place at its home, The Museum of Fine Arts, with screenings Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday; filmmakers will be present for Eyes of a Thief (Friday), Trip Along the Exodus (Saturday), and Love, Theft, and Other Entanglements (Thursday). Before that, they have one last "Dutch Paintings: A Cinematic Exploration" screening, Tim's Vermeer, on Friday afternoon.
- The Coolidge Corner Theatre is down a (tiny) screen, with the GoldScreen closed for renovation and expansion, so they drop a couple films and squeeze the rest onto three. It's somewhat quiet for special engagements, with the midnight screening Friday and Saturday being Hocus Pocus (which, I gather, was a big hit the last time they had it). They also have a Science on Screen presentation of Erin Brockovich on Monday, introduced by BU professor and epidemiologist Daniel Brooks, and are part of the Back to the Future fun on Wednesday with a "Rewind!" screening of the first film (though theirs is already sold out).
- The Harvard Film Archive spreads their presentations out over a bunch of programs this weekend: Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse is the "A Matter of Life and Death" movies-about-movies screening at 7pm on Friday (35mm), with Guy Maddin represented by Cowards Bend the Knee (and short "Sissy Boy Slap Party") at 9pm (digital). a 16mm program of Paul Sharits shorts, "S:TREAM:S:S:ECTION:S:ECTION:S:S:ECTIONED" and "Color Sound Frames" plays at 7pm Saturday. The "Five O'Clock Shadow" noir screening on Sunday is Robert Siodmak's Phantom Lady, while Singaporean filmmaker Daniel Hui visits at 7pm Sunday for to show his new film Snakeskin (DCP). Monday's "Furious & Furiouser" screening is W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism, a Yugoslavian "experimental documentary" (35mm).
- The Regent Theatre has two film presentations next week: TAP World plays Sunday afternoon and includes footage of tap dancing from around the world. Producer Chloe Arnold will be on-hand, both for Q&A and performance. They've also got a rock-doc on Thursday, with Scorpions: Forever and a Day chronicling what was supposed to be the German band's farewell tour but instead winds up being part of a fiftieth anniversary celebration.