- And why's that? Because Ian, Dave, and the crew at The Somerville Theatre are finally getting to do their great big 70mm and Widescreen Festival, with a ton of great films presented in the highest-quality film prints you can find, some of them tremendously rare in this format and all of them looking like you wouldn't believe if you've just seen them on video or digital. Heck, it's probably several tons, with all the celluloid involved. Look at this line-up: Lawrence of Arabia on Friday, Lord Jim and West Side Story on Saturday, Sleeping Beauty and Tron on Sunday, Ride Lonesome (35mm) and The Wild Bunch on Monday, Interstellar on Tuesday, Silverado on Wednesday, and West Side Story again on Thursday. Note that Saturday's originally scheduled It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World has been pushed to the 24th because of a shipping issue. Individual tickets and full-festival passes are available. They want to make this an annual thing, and you want that to, so go check out a ton of this great stuff!
- It should be a crazy week there for other reasons, as two of the week's big openers are playing the Somerville as well. The big awards-targeting film is Oliver Stone's Snowden, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing the infamous intelligence analyst who turned whistleblower when he discovered the extent to which the US government was engaged in illegal surveillance activities as a matter of course. Nice cast, and Stone is not going to shy away from controversy. It's at the Somerville, Coolidge Corner (including an "Off the Couch" screening with members of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society), Apple Fresh Pond, The West Newton Cinema, Kendall Square, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, Revere, and the SuperLux.
And then there's Blair Witch, a (second) sequel to the film which made found footage an important part of the horror genre a decade and a half ago, this time handled by writer Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard, who have made some pretty great genre flicks over the past few years and deservet he boost this will give them. It's at the Somerville, Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway (including RPX), Revere (including MX4D), and the SuperLux.
Another long-time-coming sequel also opens wide, Bridget Jones's Baby. This one has Renee Zellweger's signature character getting her life under control after a breakup, but not sure whether Colin Firth or Patrick Dempsey is the father of her forthcoming child. It's at the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, Revere, and the SuperLux.
Boston Common is the place in Boston to see Kicks, in which a 15-year-old kid in Oakland has his brand-new sneakers stolen and will go through a great deal to get them back. They'll also be the theater showing a "Quote-Along" version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the next few Fridays and Saturdays, which sounds like a special kind of hell despite it obviously being a great movie. Over in Revere, they have matinees of Blinky Bill The Movie Saturday and Sunday mornings (Bill being an animated koala), and TCM presentations of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Quit Worrying and Love the Bomb on Sunday and Wednesday.
- It's a pretty busy week at The Coolidge Corner Theatre as well, as they open three new movies to turn over most of their screens. In addition to Snowden, they're the place opening The Beatles: Eight Days a Week (The Touring Years), Ron Howard's new documentary on the years from 1962-1966 when the Fab Four became the biggest rock band the world had ever seen. Those two getting the larger screens means that Cameraperson, in which documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson turns the camera on herself, will mostly play in the GoldScreen, although it gets a bigger room on Sunday afternoon when Johnson visits in person for the 2pm show.
On top of all that, they're busy at midnight (a little past, actually, but we'll call the 12:15am shows Friday and Saturday nights rather than Saturday and Sunday morning). Both nights screen Antibirth, a BUFF and Fantasia selection starring Natasha Lyonne as a trainwreck who knows that sex is the one thing she hasn't done in months, so what the heck is rapidly growing in her abdomen? They also continue a month of 35mm prints of seminal midnight movies, with Cannibal Holocaust on Friday and I Drink Your Blood on Saturday. They're also using 35mm film for Monday's Cinema Jukebox presentation of Selena, which will be kicked off with a liver performance by the ZUMIX Latin Ensemble.
- Kendall Square will be picking up what may be my favorite of Fantasia's Polish Genre Film sidebar, Demon. Sure, it's a conventional possession story in a lot of ways, but it also does a great many things well. In terms of festival alumni closer to home, they get IFFBoston selection Author: The JT LeRoy Story, a documentary on how the a young turk author turned out to be the creation of a 40-year-old housewife.
- Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond gives a full screen (at least on some days), to this week's "probably also on VOD" selection, Mr. North, as does the Lexington Venue. The film stars Eddie Murphy as a man hired to cook for a recent widow and her daughter who, naturally, grows somewhat attached. It seems like a long time since Murphy last slowed up on screen, doesn't it? Apple (along with Showcase Revere) also have Hillsong: Let Hope Rise, a documentary on an Australian megachurch which appears to include a lot of music and has been kicking from one distributors shelf to another for a year and a half. Music of a different sort takes center stage in A Fat Wreck, a documentary on punk label Fat Wreck Chords, which apparently "blazes exciting new ground in the cinematic genre of puppet-driven punk rock music documentary filmmaking", which I presume is just having one show on Thursday rather than opening for a run - that's a specialized thing.
Fresh Pond has a fair slate of Indian movies as well, with Bollywood thriller Pink getting the full-screen treatment. It stars the ubiquitous Amitabh Bachchan as the grumpy retired lawyer living near the young women in South Delhi, called in to help when one is charged with attempted murder after a girls' night out. Saturday has screenings of Kannada film Mungaaru Male 2 and Pretham (which has no language listed), with Tamil film Thodari opening Wednesday.
Over at Boston Common, there are two films from the Chinas. S-Storm comes from Hong Kong; it's a crime thriller starting Vic Chou, Louis Koo, and Dada Chan as anti-corruption cops investigating gambling. Our maybe they're not cops; I haven't seen the film this follows, Z-Storm, yet. The mainland offers up Cock and Bull, a goofy-looking capper that has an innocent bystander played by Liu Ye get caught up in a bizarre murder.
- The Brattle Theatre has an interesting well coming up, starting with a weekend Wicked Queer: Flashback series series highlighting the barrier-breaking LBGTQ film of the 1980s and 1990s. Friday has single features of Watermelon Woman and Bound (the latter 35mm and also screening Saturday night); Saturday a35mm double feature of Desert Hearts & High Art; Aimee and Jaguar (16mm) & Bent (35mm) on Sunday; with Mala Novhe (35mm) & Poison wrapping it up on Monday.
While that's going on in Cambridge, the Brattle staff will also had out to Allston for a "Zone 3 Outdoor Film Festival" at 267 Western Ave, playing Flash Gordon on Saturday night and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension Sunday night. They will then return home for Trash Night on Tuesday, a secret member screening on Wednesday, and a special presentation with Independent Film Festival Boston on Thursday: A 25th Anniversary presentation of Shakes the Clown with director, star, and frequent festival guest Bobcat Goldthwait in person. As much as this movies been a punchline for nearly that long, it turned out to be the start of a fiercely independent filmmaking career.
- The Harvard Film Archive begins Not Reconciled: The Cinema of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet< on Friday with a visit from filmmaker John Gianvito, who will introduce a 35mm short program at 7pm before a film he considers a major influence, Too Early/Too Late, plays at 9pm. From the Cloud to the Resistance and Fortini/Cani play Saturday, while Monday offers both a book event at 6pm and a 35mm print of Antigone introduced by UMass Amherst faculty member Barton Byg on Monday. In between, on Sunday, Jeff Rapsis visors to accompany two in a series of lesser-known Russian silent films, Yakov Protazanov Queen of Spades and Father Sergius, both on 35mm film.
- The Museum of Fine Arts continues their showcase of Reagan In Hollywood: The Origins of a Conservative Icon this week with The Hasty Heart (Friday/Saturday/Sunday), Desperate Journey (Friday/Saturday), Night Unto Night (Sunday/Wednesday/Thursday), and Storm Warning (Wednesday), the latter taking him with Ginger Rogers and Doris Day in a crime story featuring the Ku Klux Klan terrorizing an apparently all-white town.
They're also starting an "mfaNOW" series where the museum is open overnight from Saturday to Sunday, including a film program celebrating the works of Philip K. Dick. It kicks off Saturday night/Sunday morning at 1am with Blade Runner: The Final Cut.
- ArtsEmerson starts their fall "film" program at the Paramount Theater's screening room this weekend with an encore of Mark Strong in the Young Vic's production of A View from the Bridge; as has been the case in recent years, is pretty much all filled stage productions. Bright Lights started back up last week, though, and that free film program features Chi-Raq on Tuesday, followed by a panel, and The Trust on Thursday, with director and Emerson alumnus Been Brewer doing a Skype Q&A afterward.
- The Regent Theatre has the touring Telluride MountainFilm short program on Friday evening, along with a community event on opium dependency on Monday that includes a screening of short film "If Only"
- Oh,and the Boston Film Festival is apparently still a thing, opening Thursday evening at AMC Boston Common with Under Fire: The Untold Story of PFC. Tony Vaccaro, a documentary about a WWII infantryman who documented the war from the trenches
After a Red Sox game Friday night, I'm going to be living at the Somerville Theatre for the 70mm fest. May try to sneak other stuff in, but that's priority #1.