Thursday, October 22, 2015

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 23 October 2015 - 29 October 2015

It's kind of a shame that The Independent Film Festival Boston doesn't label individual iterations with edition numbers rather than years, because then we could say this coming week is IFFBoston 13.5. "2015½" doesn't quite have the same ring, although I will be describing their "Fall Focus" series as that all week anyway.

Also, let me just say that I love the idea of festivals having "and-a-half" editions six months after the main program; there are a lot of films that just aren't available in April but don't have a place to play in the a given when they are on the festival circuit and on the cusp of release. Honestly, every festival should try to do this.

That said, no way in hell I'm going to be running around Montreal in late January/early February if Fantasia starts having one.

  • Before that starts, though, The Brattle Theatre will be bringing back a sleeper from this year's festival, Stray Dog. It's a documentary by Debra Granik, following one of the crew/cast members she met filming Winter's Bone, a Vietnam veteran/biker looking to bring his Mexican wife's family to Missouri. It plays Friday and Saturday with Granik on-hand for the 7pm shows, as well as Sunday afternoon. Friday and Saturday also have 9:30pm screenings of Tales of Halloween, a fun anthology from a dozen of horror's best young directors. Even later on Saturday, there's the finale of their "Reel Weird Brattle: Animated Weirdness" series, Ghost in the Shell, which I believe is the original version as opposed to the newer "v2.0".

    Then, on Sunday night, the IFFBoston Fall Focus series begins with Michael Moore's latest, Where to Invade Next, continueing with The Invitation on Monday, Entertainment on Tuesday, The Assassin on Wednewday, and Anomalisa on Thursday. Heck of a line-up.
  • Not a bad week to avoid the multiplexes, then, where there seems to be a lot of crud coming out. Consider The Last Witch Hunter, which features Vin Diesel in the title role, with Elijah Wood as his sidekick and Michael Caine calling the shots. Doesn't look great, and it might be the best of the bunch. It's at the Arlington Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row,and Revere. Also on the spooky side is Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, which supposedly finishes the series and somehow manages to be in 3D despite being a found footage film. It's at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere (including the MX4D screen).

    There's also the latest Hasbro adaptation, Jem and the Holograms, which fans have been saying is a complete botch of the original, and it's kind of nice to be hearing a different group saying that. It's at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere.

    On a more upbeat note, Steve Jobs expands to more theaters - the Somerville, Coolidge, Embassy, Fenway, Assembly Row, and the SuperLux, in addition to Kendall Square and Boston Common. Boston Common also gives a couple showtimes per day to Extraordinary Tales, an animated anthology with in which director Raul Garcia animates five different Edgar Allen Poe stories, some of which apparently were done as shorts earlier, including one narrated by Bela Lugosi. Speaking of, Revere will be showing a double feature of Dracula and "Spanish Dracula" on Sunday and Wednesday, along with John Carpenter's Halloween on Thursday.
  • Along with Steve Jobs, The Coolidge Corner Theatre also opens Room (as does the Kendall and Boston Common), a pretty terrific-looking movie starring Brie Larson as a mother kept prisoner with her son in a small room for five years, with the room being the only world the child knows.

    The midnight shows this weekend including Attack on Titan: Part 2, which also plays Kendall Square & Revere on Tuesday. The other midnight show is a 35mm print of Halloween III: Season of the Witch, when Universal tried to make the series more of an anthology rather than just having it focus on Michael Myers, which clearly didn't take. There's also a Big Screen Classic on Monday, with a 35mm print of The Bride of Frankenstein
  • One more wide release at Kendall Square, the new Bill Murray movie directed by Barry Levinson, Rock the Kasbah, with Murray as a washed-up talent agent who winds up stranded in Afghanistan after a series of mishaps. In addition to the Kendall, it's also at the Embassy, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere.

    There's also Labyrinth of Lies (also at West Newton), which tells the tale of an idealistic young lawyer in post-war Germany who looked to bring the Nazi atrocities into the public when many would choose to forget. Also from German, for one week, Victoria, a heist thriller shot in one 130-plus-minute take, and from the trailer it's not even close to confined to one location, which looks amazing.
  • Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond holds over Pyaar Punchnama 2 and opens Shaandaar, a romantic comedy with Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhaat, and Pankaj Kapoor as a bridesmaid, a wedding planner, and a protective father at a destination wedding in Europe. There's also Telugu war story Kanche for those who speak that language.

    In English, they've got The Rocky Horror Picture Show with the Tesseracte Players at 11:59pm on Friday (Boston Common has its regular "Full Body Cast" show at midnight on Saturday), and The Algerian for morning and evening shows daily starting Friday; that one's a thriller following a middle-eastern sleeper through America.
  • The Capitol continues their tribute to the late Wes Craven on Thursday with a double feature of A Nightmare on Elm Street and A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors.
  • Bright Lights is also going with Halloween-inspired programming, with What We Do in the Shadows on Tuesday and It Follows on Thursday. As usual, the screenings are free and feature discussions led by Emerson professors at the Paramount Theater's Bright Screening Room.
  • The Harvard Film Archive gives prime time to the cinema essays of Thom Anderson this weekend, with "Juke: Passages from the Films of Spencer Williams" at 7pm Friday, playing with a 35mm print of one of those films, The Blood of Jesus, and a program of shorter, (mostly) 16mm films Saturday night. Both nights have later presentations from the Matter of Life and Death series of movies-about-movies, with Confessions Among Actresses Friday at 9pm, Dennis Hopper's The Last Movie in 35mm at 8:30pm on Saturday.

    "Five O'Clock Shadow" on Sunday is Max Ophüls's The Reckless Moment; the evening show that day is their third and final Paul Sharits shorts program. Monday's "Furious and Furiouser" presentation is Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom, presented in 35mm.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts wraps up their Boston Palestine Film Festival over the weekend, with directors Carole Mansour and Gabriele Del Grande in person for We Cannot Go There Now, My Dear and On the Bride's Side, respectively, on Sunday. It's mostly shorter works this weekend. On Wednesday, they begin a brief run of A Small Good Thing, a documentary on living smaller, more satisfying lives by Pamela Tanne Boll.
  • The Regent Theatre actually has a fair amount of film this week - The 10th Annual Boston Bike Fim Festival is Friday evening, featuring a program of 26 short cycling-related films. Documentary Hannah: Buddhism's Untold Journey plays Tuesday, telling the tale of how a Dutch hippy and her husband helped bring Buddhism to the West in the 1960s and 1970s. There's also a short program on Wednesday, Telluride MountainFim on Tour, which features selections of outdoor adventure films from the fest in its name.

So, I'll be making near-daily trips to the Brattle for the festival, and before/around that, I hope to hit Extraordinary Tales, Attack on Titan 2, Victoria, Ladrones, and The Algerian. That's ambitious, though. Mostly, count on me being at IFFBoston 2015½ most days.

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