- The film I am talking about is The Witch, opening at The Coolidge Corner Theatre, Somerville, the Kendall, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere - a real cross-section of mainstream and boutique houses. The material fits - it's a highly-acclaimed historical horror movie where a family on the outskirts of a Puritan settlement fears their misfortune is more supernatural than coincidence.
In addition to that movie, the Coolidge also opens Mustang, which it displaces at Kendall Square. They also wrap up their highways-to-hell midnight series on Friday and Saturday with a compact 16mm double feature of Steven Spielberg's TV-movie Duel and Dick Richards's Death Valley.
- Interestingly, the other movies opening at the multiplexes are also period pieces. Race is a biography of Jesse Owens (played here by Stephen James), who famously won a great deal of gold at the 1936 Olympics, humiliating Hitler. It's at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, Revere, and the SuperLux. Risen, on the other hand, takes place about 1900 years earlier and features Joseph Fiennes as a Roman legionnaire tasked with with investigating the rumors that a crucified Hebrew prophet has been resurrected, which is one of the more interesting directions to do your faith-based film. It's at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere.
Boston Common also opens a pair of independent films. Touched by Fire (aka "Mania Days") stars Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby as two young people with bipolar disorder who meet at a treatment facility and fall in love, apparently using their illness as fuel for their creativity. There's also an English-language dub of animated Québèçois kids' film Snowtime!, about a group of kids planning a massive snowball fight, although it only shows once a day, at 1:45pm. There's also a preview screening of Eddie the Eagle Sunday at 4pm at Boston Common, Fenway, and Revere
- Boston Common also picks up The Mermaid, which has been shattering records in China (world records - it's driven one of the highest-grossing weeks anywhere). Stephen Chow directs but doesn't appear in this story of a mermaid ("Jelly" Jhuang Yun-lin) who comes ashore to kill a real estate developer (Deng Chao) but falls in love instead. It has showtimes in both 3D and 2D.
Over in Revere, they go with Mexican romantic comedy Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer, which involves an unhappy husband hiring a professional lothario to seduce his wife so that he can presumably escape his marriage without alimony, although nothing ever goes as planned.
Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond has a mix of Indian movies, including Fitoor (subtitled Hindi), Sethupathi (unsubtitled Tamil), Miruthan (unsubtitled Tamil, but does a zombie movie really need subtitles?), Ricky (unsubtitled Kannada), Action Hero Biju (subtitled Malayalam), Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha (unsubtitled Telugu), and Marathi, a subtitled thriller originally in Malayalam, with different ones getting a different single show per day.
- Kendall Square not only picks up The Witch, but also The Club, Pablo Larrain's drama about a group of former priests in exile, whose familiar arrangement is shaken by a new arrival. It's a one-week booking, and only gets half a slate of showtimes (apparently sharing a screen with Anomalisa) on top of that.
- The Brattle Theatre finishes the vacation-week Bugs Bunny Film Festival with matinee screenings of the "Looney Tunes Revue" on Friday and Sunday. The afternoon and evenings of those days (and the Saturday between) goes to Eisenstein in Guanajuato, the new film by art-house legend Peter Greenaway which tells the story of legendary Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, who has come to Mexico to make a film and is drawn into a relationship with his guide.
The week afterward belongs to one-off showings documentaries. On Monday, the DocYard brings filmmakers Peter Galison, Robb Moss, and Chyld King to town with their movie Containment, which examines how to handle the highly-dangerous substances left over from nuclear weapons and energy plants. On Tuesday, they have a documentary of a different sort, We Are Twisted Fucking Sister, which seems pretty self-explanatory. No word yet of what plays Wednesday, while Thursday has a restoration of thought-lost film The American Dreamer, which followed Dennis Hopper during the production of The Last Movie, his follow-up to Easy Rider.
- The Somerville Theatre has enough special presentations in its main room to be down to four movies, including a fundraiser for victims of a Nepal earthquake hosted by one of the co-stars of Downton Abbey on Friday and a live show by Altan on Saturday. On Sunday, thought, they're running film, kicking off the 2016 "Silents, Please!" series with Steamboat Bill, Jr., one of Buster Keaton's most famous and funny, a great dose of romance and daredevil adventure. As always, it's on 35mm film and Jeff Rapsis is at the organ.
- As mentioned last week, The Harvard Film Archive has Lebanese filmmakers/media artists Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige on-hand for the end of their "Lost Films and Meditations" retrospective while also opening an exhibition at MIT. On Friday, they combine the short film "Ashes" with a lecture called "Aida, Save Me"; on Saturday, their documentary feature The Lebanese Rocket Society plays.
After that, there are two "Innocence Abroad" movies this week, both with Fred Astaire, and both in 35mm. Daddy Long Legs with Leslie Caron plays at 4pm Sunday and Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn at 7pm Monday. In between, the Jean Epstein series continues with jumbo-sized silent The Adventures of Robert Macaire at 7pm Sunday, with musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis (busy Sunday!).
- The Museum of Fine Arts has more of Stanley Kubrick: A Retrospective, including Dr. Strangelove (Friday/Sunday), 2001: A Space Odessy (Friday), Lolita (Saturday), Spartacus (Sunday), and Barry Lyndon (Wednesday/Thursday). Saturday also includes a screening of short documentary "Lou Montgomery: Legacy Restored", about the Boston College's first black football player back in 1937. Filmmaker John Michalczyk and others will be on-hand for a Q&A.
- As per usual, two free presentations at the Paramount Theater's Bright Screening Room as part of the Bright Lights series: Auf Das Leben on Tuesday is a German film of the unlikely friendship of an older cabaret singer and a young man with severe health issues, and writer Stephen Glantz will be on-hand for a Q&A along with a couple other panelists. Excellent Oscar-nominated documentary The Look of Silence plays Thursday, with Emerson professor Jacqueline Romeo leading discussion afterward.
- Oscar-Nominated Shorts play in a variety of locations, with Kendall Square having live-action and animation all week, the Coolidge having a few screenings of animation, and the ICA screening animation and the first half of the documentary program on Sunday.