Thursday, March 17, 2016

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 18 March 2016 - 25 March 2016

Ugh. Business travel all next week means I am missing out on some fun stuff in the Boston area, most notably at the theater that has been my home base for so long.

  • The Brattle Theatre, you see has a pretty great line-up this week. They kick things off with a special engagement of the restoration of River of Grass, Kelly Reichardt's debut film, and, yeah, stuff from just 20 years ago does need restoration. That plays Friday to Sunday, taking a brief break on Sunday afternoon for the Chlotrudis Awards, where the local filml society will present their awards for the best in independent/overlooked films from last year; this year's guests will include many from the cast and crew of Tangerine. Then, on Monday, one of the directors of IFFBoston selection (T)ERROR will visit with his film with The DocYard, and it's a nifty one. Then, on Tuesday, the free Elements of Cinema screening is a 35mm print of North By Northwest, and I submit that you will not see a better value in theaters this year.

    Then, on Wednesday, the always-terrific Boston Underground Film Festival kicks off with a bunch of stuff I wish I could get to: Polish teen vampire mermaid picture The Lure, a new restoration of Belladonna of Sadness, a Homegrown Horror block of New England-made shorts, British import Kill Your Friends, and a 35mm print of Larry Fessenden's Wendigo. Fessenden, by the way, produced/edited/co-starred in River of Grass, really tying the schedule together.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre also has a couple of noteworthy releases this week: Eye in the Sky stars Helen Mirren as a military commander navigating the tricky ethics of modern drone-based warfare. Aaron Paul plays the American pilot, and Alan Rickman has what I believe is his last live-action role. Also playing at Kendall Square and Boston Common.

    They also have My Name is Doris, starring Sally Field as a sixty-something who falls for a new co-worker half her age (Max Greenfield). Aside from generating a lot of praise for Field, it's worth noting that it's director Michael Showalter's first feature since 2004's The Baxter, which was also a fun twist on romantic comedy material. It's also at West Newton and Kendall Square.

    It looks like the last chance for many of us to easily take in their midnight programming, as the MBTA shuts late service down after Friday night. There are two options this weekend - the remake of Cabin Fever (that seems really fast, doesn't it?) and a 35mm print of Brian Trenchard-Smith's Ozploitation oddity Stunt Rock. At more reasonable hours, Monday offers a "Sound of Silents" program of three shorts - two by Charlie Chaplin and one by Fatty Arbuckle that also features Buster Keaton - with Donald Sosin, Joanna Seaton, and their group providing the score. There's also a national Science on Screen event Tuesday, with Harvard genetics professor George Church introducing a 35mm print of Steven Soderbergh's Contagion. Then, on Thursday, the Francophonie Film Festival presents Le Rang du Lion, in which a young man in Quebec, disillusioned with city life, winds up being drawn into what may be a cult.
  • In addition to those opening at the Coolidge, Kendall Square has a one-week booking for Creative Control, a near-future sci-fi thing in which a new augmented-reality technology wreaks odd havoc, including a guy having an affair with a virtual copy of his friend's girlfriend. Both they and their sister cinema in Waltham, The Embassy (as well as the multiplexes in Boston Common and Revere) aso open The Bronze, with Melissa Rauch as an unlikely gymnastics medalist who has been living off that fame for years pushed to train a new Olymmpic hopeful.
  • It looks like the only big multiplex release is The Divergent Series: Allegiant, the third in this series of young-adult adaptations about a girl who has multiple skills in a world where everybody only has one. Or something; I haven't seen them and it looks like Kate Winslet is no longer the villain, so half the appeal is gone, especially since this is apparenty just half of the final novel in the series. It's playing the Somerville, Apple Fresh Pond, Jordan's (in Imax), the Embassy, Boston Common (including Imax), Assembly Row (including Imax), Fenway (including RPX), Revere (including MX4D and XPlus), and the SuperLux. Revere, at least, will also be screening The Ten Commandments on Sunday and Wednesday (I think some other places are, but that's the listing I saw).

    Boston Common also has Papa, a Chinese comedy starring Xia Yuas a talent manager sent to L.A. to retrieve an AWOL client only to somehow wind up in an arranged marriage with five adopted kids. Macy Gray appears to have a cameo in it. Meanwhile, The Mermaid keeps chugging along, still at a full theater after a month.
  • New Bollywood at Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond, with Sidarth Malhotra and Fawad Khan playing brothers who had been living abroad that don't get along when they return to their hometown, and both falling for Tia (Alia Bhatt) is likely not going to help in Kapoor and Sons (Since 1921); looks like the sort of masala musical one expects upon hearing "Bollywood": There are also screenings of Tamil romantic comedy Kadhalum Kadanthu.

    They also seem to be the only place showing The Confirmation, and that just for two schows a day. It's the directorial debut of Nebraska writer Bob Nelson which stars Clive Owen as an absentee father spending the weekend with his son (Jaeden Lieberher) while his mother and new husband are off on a religious retreat, with wackiness ensuing. Nice looking supporting cast, including Maria Bello, Robert Forster, Tim Blake Nelson, Stephen Tobolowsky, Patton Oswalt, and Matthew Modine. The week's Thursday night cult movie is Phantasm, with any luck the new restoration that played SXSW last week (although a lesser transfer is more likely).
  • West Newton Cinema appears to be the only place in the area showing Remember, the new film by Atom Egoyan which featuers Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau as a pair of Auschwitz survivors - one physical disabled, one dealing with memory loss - tracking down the guard who killed their families.
  • Guy Maddin Presents... some more at The Harvard Film Archive, with this week's programming from the eccentric filmmaker and visiting lecturer including Moonrise and Man's Castle for a Frank Borzage Friday, New Year's Eve with accompaniment by Robert Humphreville and pre-code prison flick The Big House on Saturday, and James Whale's Remember Last Night? on Sunday afternoon. Alfred Guzetti visits in person for a sort of preview of his retrospective with Family Portrait Sittings on Sunday evening, and then the first of three versions of Hamlet that will play over the next month (Laurence Olivier's) plays Monday. They also have a pair of free-admission screenings on Thursday: "the world won't listen", a multimedia presentation by Phil Collins (a different one!) at 5:30pm, and a DocYard screening of Sembene! with director Jason Silverman at 7pm.
  • Interestingly, ArtsEmerson, is also showing Sembene!, on Friday, and they have the other director (Samba Gadjigo) on-hand. They also welcome visitors for Five Star on Saturday, with a musician, producer, and actors discussing their film about gang life. Bright Lights takes over on Sunday with the Emerson Film Festival, featuring the school's student filmmakers. On Tuesday, filmmaker Maria Agui Carter shows of Rebel, a documentary on Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who had a pretty incredible Civil War. Another director, Susan Gray, visits with her documentary Circus Without Borders on Wednesday, with producer Matt Valentinas shows An Open Secret, an exposé of sexual predators in Hollywood, on Thursday.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts uses their auditorium for The 15th Boston Turkish Film Festival this week, with sreenings Friday, Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday, including Academy Award nominee Mustang and Remake, Remix, Rip-Off. There are also screenings of Talent Has Hunger on Sunday and Wednesday, Censored Voices on Sunday, and In the Shadow of Women on Wednesday.
  • The people at The Somerville Theatre just love showing film, folks, squeezing in another couple nights of The Hateful Eight on Friday and Saturday, and if you haven't seen it in 70mm yet, you owe it to yourself, especially since it's likely this is it (I expect Batman vs Superman gets screen #1 last week, especially if that gets prints). Channel Zero has their first screening room show in a while, presenting a film noir double feature of A Shortcut to Hell & The Hoodlum. The theater also start a new weekly series on Wednesday, "Movies and Music Around the Corner", which looks at world music, with Roaring Abyss first up, taking the viewer on a cultural tour of Ethiopia.

  • Two film presentations at The Regent Theatre this week, although the one in the "Underground" space (The Phenomenon Bruno Groening) looks less like a documentary and more like a sales pitch. They'll also be showing Janis: Little Girl Blue up in the main theater on Thursday.

  • The ICA has the Black Radical Imagination shorts program on Sunday afternoon. Curators of the program and featured filmmaker Terence Nance will introduce and lead discussion.

  • The Belmont World Film Series returns to the Belmont Studio Cinema this Monday, starting this year's series with Parisienne, which follows a 19-year-old Lebanese girl coming to Paris for school. Professor Franck Salameh will introduce it, and there's a reception beforehand.

  • The UMass Boston Film Series returns on Thursday with The Invisibles, a documentary that follows a group of refugees seeking political asylum in Germany. As per usual, the director (Benjamin Kahlmeyer) introduces and provides Q&A.

  • There is so much there that I would like to see, but I'll probably settle for Papa, Creative Control, Eye in the Sky, and whatever is playing in the multiplex nearest the hotel in Texas. You have no excuse to not catch North By Northwest, BUFF, the silents, and all the other great stuff in Boston this week.

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