- After bursting onto the scene as one of the year's most eagerly awaited movies before the rape trialin writer/director/star Nate Parker's past was rediscovered, who knows how to react to The Birth of a Nation? You'll be able to see the film about Nat Parker and his slave rebellion all over the place, including The Coolidge Corner Theatre, the Capitol, Kendall Square, the Embassy, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere.
Also opening fairly wide is another film about true life battles: Denial stars Rachel Weisz as historian Deborah Lipstadt who, because of England's screwy libel laws, must prove the Holocaust happened after calling out a famed denier. With an impressive as heck cast including Timothy Spall and Tom Wilkinson, it's playing at the Coolidge, West Newton, the Kendall, and Boston Common.
The Coolidge also continues their Halloween "Flick'r Treats" midnights, with Friday night's late show being the original version of The Amityville Horror on 16mm and Saturday's screening of The Exorcist introduced by two founders of the Talking Board Historical Society. Monday night's Big Screen Classic is The Machurian Candidate, and there's an Open Screen on Tuesday.
- There's also a pretty gigantic opening for something that didn't really look like a blockbuster, as The Girl on the Train plays at the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, the Studio in Belmont, West Newton, the Lexington Venue, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway (including RPX), Revere (including XPlus), and the SuperLux. It stars Emily Blunt as a woman who, watching the houses she passes every day while commuting to work, believes she witnesses a crime, but is quite possibly not considered a reliable witness herself.
Also playing the multiplexes is Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, which looks to be a mash-up of several books in a series, meaning that the hero has things coming at him from all sides. It's at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere.
It's also a week for oddball releases for genre/cult audiences. The latest DC Comics animated film, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, is a throwback to the 1966 TV series, complete with Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar doing voice work; it plays Boston Common, Fenway, and Revere on Monday the 10th only. Tuesday the 11th marks the return of the classic Toho Godzilla series after more than a decade with the start of an eight-day run of Shin Godzilla, although it won't necessarily play every day at all theaters playing it - which are Fenway (Tuesday-Thursday), Kendall Square (Tuesday), and Revere (Tuesday-Thursday).
- Kendall Square also picks up American Honey, the first American movie by director Andrea Arnold, which follows a young woman played by Sasha Lane who runs away from home, falls in with a group of folks in similar situations selling thing door to door, and otherwise gets into trouble. It's also at Boston Common. The one-week booking is Girl Asleep, an import from Australia about a teenage girl who, when pushed out of her comfort zone, finds herself spending time in a bizarre fantasy world.
- Boston Common's Chinese movie selection retains I Belong to You and one 3D matinee per day of L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties. The new selection is Mission Milano, featuring Andy Lau and Huang Xiaoming as veteran and rookie spies dispatched to Milan to prevent the theft of a super-charged fertilizer compound by a drug cartel. Looks zany.
Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond keeps sports biography M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story and thriller Pink around, with Mirzya the other new (likely subtitled) Bollywood film, a love story which plays out in both real and fantasy worlds. There's also the subtitled Tamil romantic comedy Remo, and scattered screenings of Telugu romance Premam, Telugu horror Abhinetri, Malayalam thriller Oppam, and Tamil actioner Rekka.
- The Brattle Theatre has a new restoration of Blood Simple from Friday to Sunday. It's the first film by the Coen Brothers, already displaying their trademark style and introducing several of their collaborators.
The rest of the week is special one-off screenings: The DocYard welcomes director Penny Lane to show her animated documentary Nuts! (and several short films), telling the odd tale of a man who built a business empire during the Depression on the backof goat testicles. Though closed Tuesday, they have director Jac Pettibone Riccobono visit on Wednesday to screen his film The Seventh Fire, a film with tremendous access to get an in-close look at gangs on the Ojibwe Indian reservation. Then, on Thursday, there are two shows of Ruin and Rose, a ski movie that, instead of just showing great winter sports action, integrates it into a story of a post-apocalyptic future.
- The Harvard Film Archive was going to be all about visitors this weekend, although it didn't quite work out that way. Still, they do welcome Pam Grier to start, hosting Foxy Brown on Friday and Jackie Brown on Saturday, both on 35mm. Marlen Khutsiev, unfortunately, won't be able to visit as planned, but the Archive will still be kicking off a retrospective of his films, starting with 35mm screenings of Ilych's Gate on Sunday and July Rain on Monday. There's also a special Thursday program, Thomas Beard introducing 16mm rarities "You Only Lie Once: Production Takes from a Film in the Making" and "Correction Please, or How We Got into Pictures".
- The Museum of Fine Arts has three films playing on and off - French drama My King (Friday/Sunday/Wednesday), documentary Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt (Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Wednesday), and shorts program "A Shaded View of Fashion on Film" (Saturday)
- The Somerville Theatre not only picks up The Dressmaker, but they continue with interesting repatory shows, including a program of Looney Tunes on Friday and a double feature of The Muppets Take Manhattan & The Dream Team on Saturday. Those are in 35mm, which is not the case with Chatty Catties, an unusual indie which posits a world where cats and humans can communicate,making the unusual choice of casting hearing-impaired actors as the voice sof the cats.
They also kick off the Halloween Terror Thon on Thursday; rather than a long sit, it's a four-day mini-festival, with opening night featuring were-amphibian flick Bad Blood: The Movie, the fairly entertaining The Master Cleanse, and Found Footage 3D. Their sister cinema in Arlington, The Capitol, continues "Before Vampires Sucked" on Thursday with The Lost Boys.
- The free Bright Lights screenings at Emerson's Paramount Theatre are documentaries of folks famous and infamous. Editor (and alumnus) JD Marlow will be around to discuss Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You on Tuesday night, while Emerson faculty will lead a discussion after Wiener on Thursday
- The Regent Theatre will show The Seeds: Pushin' Too Hard on Saturday, with director Neil Norman discussing his documentary of the long-forgotten proto-punk band afterward, with the evening kicked off by a selection of songs by tribute band "The Seedlings".
Not sure what I'll be able to see and when; I may have baseball tickets interrupting things. I am going to try and hit Mission Milano, the Terror-Thon, Shin Godzilla, and both some of the newer ones and things I've missed.