- It is, as usual, when the 24-hour-marathon portion of the finish of The Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival finishes, although there are two days coming before that, with horror night on Friday and a full slate on Friday. It’s at The Somerville Theatre, which fills the extra screen it’s got open after that finishes up with three screenings of the Banff Mountain Film Festival world tour from Tuesday to Thursday. They also pick up I Am Not Your Negro and add it to the non-festival line-up.
- Elsewhere, the Chinese movie gets a big release this week, with Zhang Yimou directing The Great Wall with an international cast including Matt Damon, Willem Dafoe, and Andy Lau fighting the lizard monsters that the Great Wall of China was built to keep out in spiffy-looking 3D. Fun fact: This is apparently Andy Lau’s first English-language film, which amazes me; a fixture of Hong Kong films when Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-fat were coming over to Hollywood, he never even had a supporting part here in twenty years. Weird? At any rate, it’s at Apple Fresh Pond (2D only), the Embassy, Boston Common (including Imax 3D), Assembly Row (including Imax 3D), Fenway (including RPX 3D), Revere, and the SuperLux. Boston Common also keeps Duckweed around, as well as Cook Up a Storm, a fun Hong Kong cooking comedy that is goofy as heck but also kind of charming.
Also coming out this weekend is Fist Fight, with Charlie Day and Ice Cube as high school teachers who wind up at odds and, like their students, wind up with one far more enthusiastic about throwing down after school than the other. It’s at Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere. The other big opening is A Cure for Wellness, with Gore Verbinski directing a creepy looking horror movie wherein a low-level executive is sent to a strange clinic to bring the CEO back, and, honestly, I’m kind of shocked that he hasn’t done more straight-out horror in his career. It’s playing at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere.
It’s a smaller opening for Everybody Loves Somebody, which comes from Mexico and stars Karla Souza as a woman who has her American co-worker pose as her boyfriend at a wedding, only to run into her ex there. That one plays at Boston Common and Revere.
If you’re way behind on Oscar movies, both Boston Common and Fenway are having Best Picture marathons/season pass situations this weekend. Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, Revere and the SuperLux are all having their final screenings of the Newsies Broadway musical on Sunday and Wednesday, and Revere continues their February Disney screenings with Frozen from Friday to Monday.
- Kendall Square and West Newton both open a couple of noteworthy films this week. Toni Erdmann is a much-lauded (and Oscar-nominated) comedy from Germany about a weird father/daughter relationship, recently optioned for an American remake. There’s also A United Kingdom, starring David Oyelowo as an African king who falls in love with a white woman in London, even though their marriage could cause massive controversy in his home country. That one also plays Boston Common.
- The Salesman expands to The Coolidge Corner Theatre and the The Arlington Capitol, with the Coolidge having a special screening Sunday afternoon featuring a post-film panel discussion. The Coolidge also switches out the Documentary Oscar Shorts for the Animated & Live Action Oscar Shorts programs, which also play at CinemaSalem, Kendall Square, and (on Sunday and Monday) The ICA.
At the Coolidge, the 1990s comic book midnight movies continue with The Crow on Friday and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Saturday, both on 35mm. They also have a Goethe-Institut film Sunday morning, with All of a Sudden being a nifty-sounding mystery. There’s also a special screening of Oklahoma City on Wednesday, with the documentary tracing the events that led to what is, in many ways, still the defining act of domestic terrorism in the United States.
- Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond has a pretty big slate of Indian movies coming out this week. RunningShaadi.com is a goofy-looking comedy about two friends who come up with a service to help people escaped arranged marriages, while the other two are more action-oriented: Irada is an anti-terrorist thriller, while Ghazi is a submarine movie set during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. I think the first two are subtitled, and am even less sure about the third. They also keep legal comedy Jolly LLB 2 around.
- With most area schools on vacation next week, The Brattle Theatre has its annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival, presenting two programs of vintage Looney Tunes on 35mm. The “All Bugs Revue” plays Friday, Sunday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon, and Thursday, while “Daffy Duck and Friends” screens Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday. Check the calendar, though, because there are a couple of special programs - the Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Ceremony takes place Sunday evening, with Guy Maddin and Peter Flynn in person, the former showing some new shorts and the latter his documentary The Dying of the Light. Tuesday, meanwhile, is the monthly “Trash Night”, with this month’s piece of schlock being something called “Hologram Man”.
- The Harvard Film Archive gives most of the schedule to Ha Gil-Jong and the Revitalization of the Korean Cinema, showing films such as The Ascension of Han-ne (Friday 7pm on 35mm), I-eo Island (Friday 9:15pm on 35mm), Heavenly Homecoming to Stars (Sunday 7pm), and I Am Looking for a Bride (Monday 7pm on 35mm). The film playing in between is the end of their Jonas Mekas series, with As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty having an early start at 6pm on Saturday because it’s a 4-hour-45-minute 16mm beast.
- The Museum of Fine Arts still has more Stanley Kubrick & Frederick Wiseman to play this February. Those looking for Kubrick will get to see Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (35mm Friday), Eyes Wide Shut (Friday), A Clockwork Orange (35mm Saturday), Lolita (Sunday/Wednesday), and Barry Lyndon (35mm Thursday). f your taste runs to Wiseman, you’ve got the options of Law & Order (16mm Friday), Juvenile Court (16mm Saturday/Wednesday), Titicut Follies (35mm Saturday), High School (35mm Sunday), and Welfare (16mm Thursday)
- Emerson’s Bright Lights program in the Paramount Theatre’s Bright Screening Room is a bit more academic and student-targeted than usual this week. Tuesday’s program is Other People’s Footage with directors Diane E. Carson and Robert Johnson on-hand to give examples of films made of pre-existing material and the cases where it is both legal and laudable, while Thursday’s Daylight Exhibitions is a “concert of 16mm films” made and presented by faculty member Robert Todd.
My plan is to live at the sci-fi festival until noon on Monday and then catch The Great Wall, Lego Batman, and some others after I’ve rested up but good.