Friday, August 19, 2016

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 19 August 2016 - 25 August 2016

One of my most anticipated movies of the summer finally arrives this weekend, as does one whose existence kind of baffles me. There's other stuff, too, which you may have to dig for.

  • If there were any justice, a new film from Laika would be a major event on a par with Disney and DreamWorks releases; their stop-motion films are stunning, genuinely worth a 3D ticket, and well-crafted stories on top of that. Their latest is Kubo and the Two Strings, inspired by Japanese folklore and telling the story of a young boy with the family gift to make the stories he tells real. It's at Apple Fresh Pond (2D only), Boston Common, Assembly row, Fenway, and Revere.

    There's also a new, 3D version of Ben-Hur, which strikes me as the kind of remake you don't do unless you know it's going to be an awards-worthy centerpiece, and though you don't necessarily know what it's going to be before you make it, Jack Huston in the lead role and Timur Bekmambetov directing suggests otherwise, even with Morgan Freeman picking up a paycheck. He probably does a decent chariot race, though. It's at the Capitol (3D only), Apple Fresh Pond (2D only), Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere.

    Then again, for all that those movies are interesting, the biggest opening of the week winds up being War Dogs, featuring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller as a pair of twenty-ish guys who start bidding on military contracts and wind up getting in way above their head, from the director of The Hangover. It's at the Somerville, Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, the Belmont Studio, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, Revere, and the SuperLux.

    On the other end of the spectrum, Showcase Revere will have matinee screenings of the Maya the Bee Movie, about a worker bee who wants more than just the inside of a hive, on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Kendall Square just has the one new release this week, but it's a good one. That would be Werner Herzog's latest documentary (well, second-latest, as he's got another one ready to release), Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, in which he examines the history and the present-day reality of the Internet. It is, like all of Herzog's best work, driven by an insatiable curiosity and fascination with the world around him, even if it can come off as dry or cynical in how he meets the less-joyful parts of the topic head on. One of my favorites at IFFBoston.
  • The Brattle Theatre has Cosmos, a surrealistic tale of men and women at loose ends in and around a rural guesthouse and the final film from Czech auteur Andrzej Zulawski, this weekend. It runs Friday through Monday.

    It's not quite alone; Saturday afternoon featues an encore screening of The Painting, while late Saturday night and Sunday afternoon include the week's "Starring Jackie Chan" entry, Supercop, originally known as Police Story 3 but retitled when given a big American release after Rumble in the Bronx was a surprising success; it's also notable for being America's introduction to Michelle Yeoh. The 35mm print is dubbed in English, although with Chan and Yeoh doing their own voice work, it's not as bad as it could be.

    The week's Femme Fatale is Rita Hayworth, whose double feature on Monday afternoon and Tuesday is a pair of classics, Gilda and The Lady from Shanghai. Wednesday's "Under the Influence" series pairs Hail, Caesar! with one of the many films that influenced the Coens in creating it - specifically On the Town, with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra as sailors whose numbers aren't quite so weird as Channing Tatum's (the scheduled Neptune's Daughter, unfortunatley, will not screen). Then, on Thursday, the "Kids International" series includes the two last films to come from Studio Ghibli, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and When Marnie Was There, both excellent. Note that they don't have matinees next weekend because of other programming, as many others in the series have.
  • The Somerville Theatre is the landing spot for Spaceman, a movie about former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee (Josh Duhamel) when he spent some time playing in an independent French-Canadian league after being released by the Montreal Expos. This is actually Rapkin's second pass at this material; documentary Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey came out ten years ago. Note that only the Friday 7:40pm show currently appears to be scheduled for a full-size screen, with the others in the 30-person Micro-Cinema, so buy tickets in advance (guessing on that, but when there are six 7pm shows scheduled for what is basically a 5-screen house, it seems most likely).
  • Anybody know where you can find the Hong Kong TV series with English subtitles on line? I ask because Line Walker at Boston Common is a spin-off of an extremely popular TVB series, though as far as I can tell only Charmaine Sheh returns as an undercover cop trying to find others whose names have been removed from the HKPD's records, leaving them adrift in the underworld. Still, it's big Hong Kong action, though hopefully not impenetrable if you don't binge-watch the 31-episode series to get up to speed.

    Another Chinese film opened Wednesday, Sweet Sixteen, which looks like a young-adult thriller starring Kris Wu Yi-fan as a troubled teenager who only finds some sort of peace with the girl next door. My Best Friend's Wedding sticks around, though just with early-afternoon screenings, and there appears to be a single Saturday-night screening of Time Raiders, a big treasure-hunting adventure that is apparently a huge hit in China.

    Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond opens Dharma Durai, a Tamil-language drama with English subtitles, but I'm having a hard time seeing any information on what it's about (doctors facing government resistence, I think), while the two holdovers, Mohenjo Daro and Rustom, are subtitled Hindi. There are also apparently-unsubtitled screenings of Kannada-language thriller Karva and Tamil satire Joker on Saturday.

    They've also got an American action film, Billionaire Ransom, in which rich-kid teens at a reform school fight back after a group of criminals take the place over in hopes of extorting money from their parents, playing a couple of times a day even though it's also on VOD.
  • It's one of those quiet weeks at The Coolidge Corner Theatre where one of the midnight movies - a reissue of John Waters's early bit of vulgarity Multiple Maniacs, which bounces between screens, so check showtimes. 10pm all week, with midnight showings Friday and Satuday.

    The other midnight presentation on Friday and Saturday continues the Boston Yeti's creature feature series with Grizzly, which is pretty much what it says on the tin, with a freakishly-large, angry bear killing campers. The big-screen classic on Monday is Federico Fellini's 8 1/2.
  • The Harvard Film Archive dives deep into their Rouben Mamoulian series this week, including the 1932 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Friday 7pm), Summer Holiday (Friday 9pm), Love Me Tonight (Saturday 7pm), The Gay Desperado (Saturday 9pm), Becky Sharp (Sunday 5pm), and Rings on Her Fingers (Sunday 7pm). After those, they wrap their Theo Angelopoulos on Monday evening with Eternity and a Day. All films are on 35mm.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts continues their runs of Korean documentary My Love, Don't Cross That River and Bulgarian parable Viktoria, with both screening once each on Friday,Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday. Kamikaze '89, a new restoration of Wolf Gremm's German cyberpunk noir from 1982 that includes Rainer Werner Fassbinder's final role.
  • Outdoor movies on Joe's Boston Free Films include plenty of chances to see Zootopia, Up, and other recent animated films; the most interesting appears to be The Witches in Harvard Square on Thursday.

    Also free that night (though not appearing on The Regent Theatre's website) is a screening of Indie Game: The Movie, which even includes free popcorn, sponsored by UXPA Boston

I intend to take in Spaceman, Kubo, Pete's Dragon, Line Walker, and Time Raiders, and hopefully catch up on some other things as well.

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