Friday, March 25, 2016

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 25 March 2016 - 31 March 2016

Yeah, it is "sequels of dubious merit" week. And it doesn't look like a lot of relief next week. BUt don't worry - there are other options!

  • First and foremost, Boston Underground Film Festival continues through Sunday at The Brattle Theatre, and while I can't necessarily vouch for all of it, I can say that Cash Only on Friday night was pretty impressive when I saw it at Fantasia last summer, my friend Gabriela has a short in the "Fugues & Riffs" short program on Saturday and my friend Izzy has one ("Innsmouth") playing before Antibirth. There are also some special events at the Harvard Film Archive this year - Sympathy for the Devil and a live performance of Stand by for Tape Backup on Saturday and Rain the Color of Blue with a Little Red in It, a West African remale of Purple Rain so named because the Tuareg language does not have a word for "purple", on Sunday. As usual, the homestretch on Sunday looks particularly strong with MAD, Karaoke Crazies, and Trash Fire.

    The Brattle occasionally takes a few days off to recover from that crazy festival, but this year the DocYard comes in with a selection of Field of Vision presentations from the MIT Open Documentary lab on Monday, and there will be an encore screening of North by Northwest on 35mm on Tuesday. No intro and you've got to pay this week (the Elements of Cinema screening sold out last week), but it's still North by Northwest on film. Wednesday and Thursday are still marked as TBA.
  • Despite pushing Krisha hard with a preview before nearly every movie I've seen there for the past month or two, Kendall Square has it down for a one-week booking. That film is the directorial debut of Trey Edward Shults and looks like a verite-style presentation of a family thrown into turmoil when the family's titular black sheep returns unexpectedly for Thanksgiving.

    The other two films opening also have their main characters in the title. City of Gold does this playfully, as it's a documentary about Los Angeles food critic Jonathan Gold, who spends as much time and as many words on discovering ethnically-varied neighborhood places as reviewing the work of celebrity chefs. Marguerite, meanwhile, comes from France and stars Catherine Frot as a wealthy woman with a passion for music whose friends have cruelly convinced her she has talent, leading her for her first performance in front of an audience of strangers.
  • And, I suppose, after seeing all those, it won't be hard to find a theater playing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the sequel to Man of Steel that adds Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne to Henry Cavill's Clark Kent, with Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor fanning the flames of their initial distrust. As much as everything about it makes me nervous, I did apparently enjoy the previous film enough to cautiously recommend overlooking its real problems. It is all over the place in 2D and 3D: Somerville, Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Jordan's Furniture (Imax 2D in Reading, Imax 3D in Natick), the Belmont Studio, Boston Common (including Imax 3D), Assembly Row (including Imax 3), Fenway (including RPX 2D/3D), Revere (including MX4D and XPlus), and the SuperLux.

    There's also My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, writer/star Nia Vardalos's second attempt to recapture the popularity of her surprise hit from 14 years ago (remember the short-lived sitcom My Big Fat Greek Life?), with the entire cast returning for a contrived reason to have another wedding. It's at the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, the Lexington Venue, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, Revere, and the Superlux. Boston Common will also be bringing back The Rocky Horror Picture Show after a couple weeks off at midnight Saturday, while Fenway and Revere will be presenting In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen on Monday.
  • In addition to keeping Kapoor & Sons around, Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond also has Bollywood action with Rocky Handsome, which despite its goofy title looks an awful lot like a remake of The Man from Nowhere, and I'm sure that this particular Indian version of a South Korean action movie could be the first time it's not a disaster. The trailer at least looks amusingly over-the-top with John Abraham in the middle of some crazy action. They also have a Tamil/Telugu remake of The Intouchables, Oopiri, and a Tamil horror/fantasy in Zero (Friday afternoon only).

    This week's "probably on VOD but why not give it a couple shows a day" selection is Fastball, an MLB-network produced documentary on the great fastball pitchers; it's fluffy, but entertaining enough. Thursday's Rotten to the Core presentation, meanwhile, potentially offers anybody disappointed with Batman v Superman a chance to see that it could be worse with Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (arguably the first to really live up to the "rotten" part of the title).
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre keeps the same basic line-up this week as last (I heartily recommend Eye in the Sky), but offers some worthy special presentations. The Friday/Saturday midnight shows are Attack the Block, Joe Cornish's really great "Inner City vs. Outer Space" action-comedy which, among other things, gave the world it's first good look at John Boyega. There's also a Saturday morning screening of The Sound of Music aimed at kids, and a Monday evening presentation of Strangers on a Train on 35mm. Then, on Thursday, the next installment of the Francophonie Film Festival, Quebec's Louis Cyr.
  • The Harvard Film Archive spends most of the week with special guests: Visiting Professor Rachel Tsangari will introduce her latest film Chevalier on Friday, while Alfred Guzzetti presents a collection of digital short films on Saturday. I don't know if Guy Maddin has been introducing him programming, but the latest of his presentations, 1931's Josef von Sternberg/Marlene Dietrich collaboration, Dishonored, plays on 35mm Sunday afternoon. After that, it's back to guests, with director Billy Woodberry introducing his documentary on beat poet Bob Kaufman, And When I Die, I Won't Stay Dead, Sunday evening. Experimental filmmaker Ernie Gehr has a set of new works on Monday. They'll also have another screening of one of artist Phil Collins's works, This Unfortunate Thing Between Us, on Thursday.
  • ArtsEmerson has another surprisingly full film program this week, with two shows a day of The Consul of Bordeaux, which tells the story of a Portuguese diplomat who issued 30,000 exit visas to French refugees (including 10,000 Jews) in 1940 in defiance of the wishes of his government. It shares time on Saturday and Sunday with a "Pavarotti Festival" that showcases three of the world's best-known tenor's most popular concert films.

    The other occupant of the Paramount's Bright Screening Room, Bright Lights, has two distinctive directors introducing their latest for free screenings. Cheatin', on Tuesday, brings Bill Plympton in for his bizarre twisted sci-fi romance, while Guy Maddin crosses the river from Harvard on Thursday to show The Forbidden Room, his mash-up of recreated lost films.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts is all about The 15th Boston Turkish Film Festival this week, with sreenings Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with Yearning director Ben Hopkins visiting Friday, award-winning shorts on Saturday, Nausea director Zeki Demirkubuz on-hand Wednesday, and Cold of Kalandar director Mustafa Kara leading discussion on Thursday.
  • I haven't seen any indication on The Somerville Theatre's website that they got an actual film print for Batman v Superman, which is kind of disappointing, but they've got a full schedule regardless: The Alloy Orchestra visits on Saturday night with two (separate admission) silent films, The Man with the Movie Camera and L'Inhumaine, while their "Music & Movies Around the Corner" series visits Brazil on Wednesday with Dominguinhos. The makers of Alienated (not one of my favorites from the recent Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival, sadly) appear to have rented out the Micro-Cinema from Friday to Thursday, and it certainly looks like director Brian Ackley will be facing the music after each show.
  • This week's The Belmont World Film Series entry at the Belmont Studio Cinema is actually pretty notable - The Treasure is the latest from Romanian director Corneliu Poromboiu of Police, Adjective and 12:08 East of Bucharest fame; it's a comedy about trying to find treasure on the grounds of a house that was appropriated by the communists during the cold war.
  • The ICA will be the host for opening night of Wicked Queer, the new name for the long-running Boston LGBT Film Festival, on Thursday night. The night's presentation is Viva, an Irish film about a Havana hairdresser whose dreams of becoming a drag performer are turned upside down when his father re-enters his live, with Irish documentary short "Hand in Hand" tacked onto the front.

I will likely see Batman v Superman, Rocky Handsome, and Superman 4, because I just can't help myself, and catch as much of BUFF as this week's travel allows. The Treasure may supersede doing two 35mm Hitchcock days, and that doesn't leave a lot of room for anything else.

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