- The biggest is opening is Spectre, the latest entry in the James Bond franchise, the fourth with Daniel Craig in the title role and the long-awaited return of the villainous organization of the title. It is all over the place, as you might expect, with plenty of screens at the Somerville Theatre, Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Jordan's Furniture (in Imax), Fenway (including RPX), Boston Common (including Imax), Assembly Row (including Imax), Revere (including XPlus), and the SuperLux.
A certain comic strip first appeared a couple years before Casino Royale was published, with The Peanuts Movie its first theatrical outing in decades, as well as the first in 3D CGI. It looks to be about the little red-haired girl moving to town and Charlie Brown hoping to catch her eye in the right way. It's at the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere (including MX4D).
Surprisingly, Spotlight is only opening at Boston Common this week, albeit on three screens there. It's Tom McCarthy's film about how the Boston Globe's Spotlight team of investigative reporters dug up the details on the systematic abuse of children by clergy and the Catholic Church's cover-up. It expands wider next week.
Boston Common will also open up a second Chinese film, with Ex Files 2: The Back-Up Strikes Back joining The Witness. It looks more like a spin-off than a straight sequel, with a supporting character from the first movie having his own romantic adventure involving a woman who poses as a love guru to get revenge on him. Or so I gather; I haven't see the first. Revere also has afternoon showings of Home Alone on Sunday and Wednesday.
- Kendall Square has the other movie co-starring Monica Bellucci (aside from Spectre): The Wonders, a coming-of-age story about a family of beekeepers in Tuscany whose daughter has bigger ambitions, with a local reality show being the first step. It's scheduled for one week, and I wouldn't expect All Things Must Pass to last that much longer. This one, directed by Colin Hanks (generally a character actor notable for his resemblance to his famous father), looks at the rise and fall of Tower Records.
They're also one of several places in the area playing Miss You Already, which features Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore as best friends who, from the title, are facing one one being stricken with a fatal illness. Catherine Hadwicke directs, and it also opens at West Newton and Revere.
There are also a few one-night presentations: Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie, the latest spin-off of Masamune Shirow's manga, plays on Tuesday (with shows Tuesday through Thursday in Revere); an anniversary screening of Oklahoma! plays Wednesday; and PlantPure Nation, what looks like a documentary on organic farming, on Thursday.
- Gaspar Noe's Love looks to be getting just about the smallest two-theater release possible: It plays daily at West Newton in 2D at 3:15 (except for Sunday, when it plays at 8:15pm), and at The Somerville Theatre in 3D at 10pm.
- That leaves holes in their schedules, as does the opening of The Assassin at The Coolidge Corner Theatre, which only plays a couple shows a day other than on Friday. They also begin a month of Lloyd Kaufman films at midnight with a 35mm print of Tromeo & Juliet, which adapts the Bard in classic Troma fashion with a screenplay by James Gunn (who later graduated to such things as Slither and Guardians of the Galaxy), on Friday & Saturday. Sunday morning's Talk Cinema presentation is Theeb, a sort of Bedouin Western set in 1916. There's also a 75th Anniversary presentation of Fantasia on Monday (for those in the burbs, it plays Revere on Tuesday).
The holes in those three theaters' schedules (plus many others, including the Belmont Studio, Brattle, the Capitol Theater, the ICA, Showcase Cinemas Foxboro, AMC Framingham, and the Marblehead Little Theatre) are for The Boston Jewish Film Festival. Among the notable ones playing the Coolidge are Israeli horror movie Jeruzalem at midnight Saturday and Yalom's Cure, which doubles as the theater's monthly "Off the Couch" presentation.
- The Brattle Theatre's BJFF day is Saturday, with Red Leaves and The Hebrew Superhero. Around that, they have a new restoration of Goodfellas playing Friday, Sunday, and Monday, and folks, I am not ready for movies that were in theaters when I was an usher twenty years ago to be undergoing restoration. On Tuesday, director Gerald Peary visits with his documentary Archie's Betty, which is neat, but stretched. Then on Wednesday, they start the Reel Music Film Festival, with Ramones documentary Danny Says playing as a double feature with a 35mm print of Rock 'n' Roll High School, following up Thursday with Hot Sugar's Cool World.
- Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond seems to be waiting to get new Indian movies until after the weekend, which seems to correspond with Diwali. Monday night is when Thoonga Vanam, a Tamil-language remake of pretty darn good French thriller Sleepless Night, opens up along with Tamil action movie Vedalam; both, unusual for Tamil movies, are being shown with English subtitles. The next subtitled Hindi movie is Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, a family drama with Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor, which opens Thursday the 12th.
- The Harvard Film Archive welcomes Thom Andersen for three screening of his video essays: Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer on Friday (on 35mm with two 16mm shorts), The Thoughts That Once We Had (his most recent) on DCP Saturday, and Reconversão presented digitally on Sunday. Aside from that, it's the weekly programs: Act of Violence is the "Five O'Clock Shadow" film noir on Sunday afternoon, with George Romero's Martin as the "Furious and Furiouser" presentation Monday, both on 35mm.
- The Museum of Fine Arts continues A Small Good Thing (Friday) and Welcome to Leith (Saturday & Sunday). They also have several programs in the Boston Turkish Festival Documentary & Short Compeition, with screenings on Friday and Saturday
- Bright Lights has a 50th anniversary screening of Peter Whitehead's short documentary "Wholly Communion" on Tuesday, along with a live poetry reading by Janaka Stucky. Thursday's presentation is also a short doc, with Helgi Piccinin on-hand to introduce and discuss "Coureurs des Toits" ("Roof Runners"), following the guys who climb and de-ice the steep rooftops in Quebec City. Free admission, as always.
- The UMass Boston Film Series is also always free, with Sharon Shattuck on hand to discuss her film From This Day Forward, in which she, approaching her own wedding, returns home to find out how her parents' marriage survived, especially since her father came out as transgendered and transitioned when she was a pre-teen.
My plans are pretty clear - Spectre, Peanuts, Love, Ex Files 2, and Fantasia. After that, who knows?