Friday, December 04, 2015

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 25 November 2015 - 3 December 2015

Film scheduling seems to be becoming even more slot-based than usual, with the weekend after Thanksgiving never really featuring much new and high-profile, as the big releases from the previous two weeks are presumed to remain strong. So you usually get a horror film to pick up the screens from whatever is ready to go and maybe a little specialty material as well.

  • This year, the scary movie is Krampus, which sics the less-popular Christmas legends about Santa's monstrous counterpart who punishes bad children onto a suburban family. Hilarity and PG-13-rated bloodshed ensue. That happens at Apple Fresh Pond, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere.

    The really big theaters with many screens to fill also dig a bit deeper, getting what is supposedly Spike Lee's best work in some time, Chi-Raq, which modernizes an Ancient Greek play to the South Side of Chicago, where a woman is so feed up with gang violence that she starts a movement to withhold sex until headway is made. Nick Cannon and Teyonah Parris (pretty good in Dear White People) co-star, with a great supporting cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, John Cusack, Wesley Snipes and many more. It's at Apple Fresh Pond and Boston Common.

    Chinese romances help fill the gap at Boston Common. Fall in Love Like a Star comes from the Mainland and features Li Yi-Feng as and actor and Yang Mi as an assistant who were friends before rising in their professions but may want more when they meet again. Hong Kong serves up She Remembers, He Forgets, which had a housewife attending her high school reunion and thinking maybe she married the wrong one of her two male friends. Flashbacks occur, of course, because apparently Hong Kong was feeling left out of that action (Taiwan's Our Times is sticking around, too).

    in Revere, that means opening The Letters, a biography of Mother Teresa (played by Juliet Stevenson) told through her letters as a priest investigates whether she qualifies for sainthood. They also have a screening of Home Alone on Thursday.
  • Kendall Square has relatively little turnover this week, even keeping last week's seven-day booking around. They also add another single-week engagement, Theeb, a sort of Middle-Eastern coming-of-age adventure. It's about a young Bedouin forced to rely on his wits while helping to guide a British regiment during World War I.
  • Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond continues their run of Tamasha, but has other offerings for fans of films from the subcontinent. Sankarabaranam is a crime comedy from the Telugu-speaking region, with the poster making it look like a kidnapping-gone-awry tale. There's more crime with Care of Footpath 2, apparently set to be India's Oscar submission, but it's only playing late shows and in unsubtitled Kannada. Chaali Polilu is Tulu-only, Partu is Marathi, and Judge Singh LLB is Punjabi, all staying on Saturday and having weekend shows (with one Wednesday screening for the latter). Same goes for Katyar Kaljut Ghulsi, although that Marathi film about rival musical families has English subtitles. Remind me never to just say "Indian" again.
  • The Harvard Film Archive begins a "regular" run of Guy Maddin's The Forbidden Room, a truly strange but mesmerizing assembly of lost films that Maddin and a rotating cast recreated as part of a museum installation. You almost certainly haven't seen the like. It plays twice on Friday, once Sunday afternoon, and Monday evening.

    In between, they welcome guests. Rebecca Baron makes a very quick appearance on Saturday for her documentary sort "Detour de Force", which examines a 1960s "thoughtographer" who claimed he could place images on film with his mind. It's on 16mm film, naturally. After that, filmmaker Luke Fowler presents screenings on both Saturday and Sunday evenings, with both packages focusing on the examination of art and perception.
  • The Brattle Theatre has a solid week devoted to one filmmaker with Wim Wenders: Portraits Along the Road. It begins with a double feature of The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick and a shorts program on Friday, and then a twin bill of Alice in the Cities & Wrong Move on Saturday. After that, it's mostly one film per day - Kinds of the Road (Sunday), The American Friend (Monday), The State of Things (Tuesday), and Paris, Texas (Wednesday) - before another double feature (Notebook on Cities and Clothes & Tokyo-Ga) on Thursday, and will continue playing through next weekend.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre holds stay for the most part, but has a special presentation just about every day. On Friday and Saturday nights, it's midnight showings of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, kicking off a month of holiday-themed midnight shows, although Saturday night's 8th Annual Druid Film Festival doesn't fit the theme. That one's a "Found Footage Assault" paired with an hour of underground short films.

    The Talk Cinema preview on Sunday is Nicholas Hynter's The Lady in the Van, in which an arts critic becomes friends with a homeless woman who has parked her vehicle in his driveway. Monday's Science on Screen presentation is The Blob, from 1958 with Steve McQueen, preceded by journalist Ferris Jabra discussing the 1919 Boston Molasses Disaster (horrifying and absurd!). There's Open Screen on Tuesday, a regular schedule on Wednesday, and a Rewind! presentation of Ghost World on 35mm Thursday, with an after-pay across the street at Osaka.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts finishes continues The Art of Alfred Hitchcock starting on Wednesday the 2nd with Suspicion (Friday/Saturday), Shadow of a Doubt (Friday/Sunday), Rebecca (Saturday), and Rope (Thursday), all on 35mm. They will also welcome director Takeshi Fukunaga on Sunday for a Q&A after his film Out of My Hand, a near-documentary set on a Liberian rubber plantation, one of very few films shot in the country. Thursday's documentary Men of the Cloth will also have guests, a panel including director Vicki Vasilopoulos, two master tailors, and other experts on the world of fashion. Both seem to be part of a series called "Adults".
  • With the academic year almost complete, Emerson wraps up this semester's Bright Lights series in the Bright Screening Room at the Paramount Theater on Tuesday with Lost River, Ryan Gosling's directorial debut, which I apparently liked more than almost anyone else. Gorgeous-looking, if nothing else, and there's a fair amount else IMHO. Scholar-in-residence Jim Lane will lead a discussion afterward, and admission is free.
  • That also means the end of the UMass Boston Film Series for the fall, finishing with Armor of Light, following an Evangelical minister attempting to preach against gun violence. Director Abigail Disney will be on-hand, and admission is free.

I'm looking forward to Theeb, Chi-Raq, the Chinese romances, Krampus, and finally catching up with Spotlight and Legend, as well as The Blob.

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