Thursday, February 09, 2017

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 10 February 2017 - 16 February 2017

Typical; not a whole lot to get me excited about going to the movies, and this week, when it’s time for the event I go to more out of hope than enthusiasm, all sorts of things I want to see elsewhere.

  • Probably not the greatest set-up for The Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival, but long-time readers of this blog are likely fairly familiar with my difficult relationship to this event: I always hope that the week of independent sci-fi/genre films that lead up to the President’s Day marathon will include something great, but it tends to require a lot of sifting and some frustration with tech screw-ups and weather. I’m hoping that the apparent greater involvement of host venue The Somerville Theatre augurs good things; at the very least, they’ve got a nice set of family-friendly stuff for the weekend afternoons (April and the Extraordinary World, Fantastic Planet, Castle in the Sky, Fantasia/Fantastic Fest selection Nova Seed), a lot of shorts, a schlock triple-feature, and a pair of throwbacks.

    This means that they don’t have much time for Valentine’s Day stuff, but their sister cinema, The Arlington Capitol, will be screening the 1950 version of Cyrano de Bergerac, featuring José Ferrer and Mala Powers, at 7pm on Tuesday the 14th
  • And the stuff that looks fun? Well, there’s The Lego Batman Movie movie, which appears to zero in on one of the funniest parts of The Lego Movie - how a comic book character who has often been cool in a fun, goofy way, is often made absurdly serious. Oddly, in terms of exhibition, the Imax shows, for whatever reason, are only in 2D around here, though there are plenty of regular 3D shows. It’s at the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, Studio Cinema Belmont (2D only), Jordan’s (Imax 2D), the Embassy, Boston Common (including Imax 2D), Assembly Row (including Imax 2D), Fenway (including RPX 3D), Revere (including MX4D & XPlus), and the SuperLux.

    Speaking of sequels that initially seemed unlikely, John Wick: Chapter 2 features the return of Keanu Reeves’s assassin who just wants to retire, a new dog, and supposedly even more amazing action and cool world-building that the surprisingly great first one. It’s at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere. For those who want something else from their sequels, there’s Fifty Shades Darker, which has more of what the first had, I guess. It’s at the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway (including RPX), Revere, and the SuperLux.

    Revere continues its February Disney Weekends with Aladdin matinees from Friday to Sunday, and, boy, would I try to be making it out there for that if it were any other weekend. Revere, Assembly Row, and Fenway will also have An Affair to Remember on Sunday and Wednesday, while there will be screenings of the Newsies Broadway musical at Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, Revere, and the SuperLux on Saturday afternoon and Thursday evening.
  • Kendall Square gets Oscar-nominated Iranian film The Salesman, in the news lately since director Asghar Farhadi can’t attend the ceremony because of the travel ban, although the fact that he tends to make really good movies and this one, about a couple who find both their relationship and lives imperiled after moving to a new apartment, looks pretty good should be enough. They’re also among the first in the area to play the Animated and Live-Action Oscar Shorts, I believe with a full complement. The shorts also play at CinemaSalem this week. In addition, Oscar-nominated doc I Am Not Your Negro expands to their sister cinema in Waltham (the Embassy) and Boston Common.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre, meanwhile, gets the Documentary Oscar Shorts, as usual split into two programs because these tend to push the length definitions of a “short” (they also play at CinemaSalem as one long program).

    In addition, their February midnight program of 1990s comic-book movies continues, with Friday night featuring The Shadow in 35mm and Saturday featuring Tank Girl. I love both of these non-ironically. If you prefer to get up early than stay up late, Sunday morning’s Talk Cinema preview is The Ottoman Lieutenant, a love story taking place in World War I Turkey. Monday’s almost-Valentine’s Day Big Screen Classic is The Lady Eve, while Wednesday features both Open Screen and the AAS Science Film Showcase, a Science-on-Screen special with scientists and the producers of five science documentaries speaking and showing excerpts from their productions.
  • Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond is pretty terrible about announcing when their English-language indies have special guests, such as when writer/director/star Jack Fessenden and producer/cast-member Larry Fessenden show up Friday night to present Stray Bullets, a thriller that the 17-year-old Jack made over the last few years, featuring teens finding what they think is an abandoned trailer in the woods, only to find that it’s actually housing fugitives. The distributor’s event page also includes Saturday, but since it also shows a similar event in New York that evening, I’m guessing it’s actually one night only. Speaking of that, they’re also giving a super-thin booking to 1 Night, which has two couples figuring out things out in a hotel; it appears to only be playing 11am shows through the weekend, moving to 1:30pm on Monday.

    The big opening for their Indian slate is Jolly LLB 2, with Akshay Kumar taking over the title role in this Bollywood comedy (with subtitles) about a small-time lawyer who manages to find himself trying a major case. They also keep keep Telugu biopic Om Namo Venkatesaya, Singam 3 in subtitled Tamil and Telugu, Telugu comedy Nenu Local, and Kannada comedy Kirik Party.

    On the Chinese side, Boston Common keeps Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back around, though it loses the Imax room, with Duckweed opening on Friday, with Deng Chao having a near-death experience that sends him back in time to the 1990s, where he meets his younger parents (Eddie Peng & Zanilia Zhao). And while it’s not on any of the ticketing sites yet, the distributor has Cook Up A Storm, a Hong Kong flick featuring a the chefs at a neighborhood take-out spot and a fancy Michelin-starred place facing off on a televised competition, opening Tuesday night. It stars Nicholas Tse and Tiffany Tang and is directed by Raymond Yip.
  • The Brattle Theatre, as is traditional, celebrates Valentine’s Day with a week of Great Romances. It kicks off on Friday with single features of Carol and Purple Rain (the latter on 35mm), with Saturday offering a double feature of Wings of Desire & Amélie while Sunday has a 35mm pairing of Roman Holiday & The Philadelphia Story. Tuesday and Wednesday are, of course, Casablanca on 35mm, with The Princess Bride (booked when they thought they couldn’t get Casablanca this year) playing at 10pm.

    In between, there’s a DocYard screening of The Russian Woodpecker on Monday, with director Chad Garcia attending in person to introduce his Sundance-winning documentary which started out as an investigation into Chernobyl conspiracy theories but wanders through amid the conflict between modern Russia and Ukraine.
  • The Harvard Film Archive welcomes Jonas Mekas for a visit on Friday and Saturday, showing a 16mm print of Walden: Diaries,Notes, and Sketches the first day and a pairing of Out-Takes from the Life of a Happy Man with an excerpt from his “365 Day Project”on Saturday.

    Sunday and Monday, on the other hand, are given to their Ha Gil-Jong and the Revitalization of the Korean Cinema series. Yoo Hyeon-ok’s Flame plays Sunday at 4:30pm, Vow of Chastity that day at 7pm, and Kim Su-yong’s A Splendid Outing on Monday. All three are on 35mm film.
  • Along with Friday night’s already-sold-out screening of Moonlight (with panel discussion afterward),The Museum of Fine Arts continues their parallel retrospectives. The week’s Stanley Kubrick films are Killer’s Kiss (16mm Friday) A Clockwork Orange (35mm Saturday), 2001: A Space Odyssey (35mm Saturday/Thursday), The Shining (Friday), Full Metal Jacket (35mm Sunday), and Spartacus (35mm Wednesday). Frederick Wiseman is represented with Essene (Friday), Primate (16mm Saturday/Thursday), Basic Training (Sunday), and Meat (16mm Wednesday).
  • This week’s Bright Lights selections att he Paramount Theatre’s Bright Screening Room both played Fantasia last summer, although I only caught one there. Some Freaks, on Tuesday, was the one I missed; it stars Thomas Mann and Lily Mae Harrington as high school outcasts who find things getting odd after their first year of college. Director Ian MacAllister McDonald will skype in afterward, with producer Sarah Edrie and composer Walter Sickert there in person. On Thursday, they have the pretty terrific Under the Shadow, which has a woman in 1980s Tehran possibly being haunted even as the city evacuates; a panel discussion will follow.
  • The Museum of Science has recently added ”Journey to Space” to its roster of Imax films; this Patrick Stewart-narrated featurette looks at the future of space tourism and the possibility of manned missions to Mars.
  • Silent film accompanist Jeff Rapsis will be accompanying Buster Keaton’s Seven Chances at the Aeronaut Brewery on Sunday
  • Though their main series won’t start for another few weeks, the Belmont World Film has been running a short series on the global refugee crisis; this Thursday’s finale, All of Me, comes from Mexico and tells the story of a group of women who meet the trains full of immigrants passing through on the way from Central America to the United States. It’s at the Belmont Public Library, and though free, an RSVP is required. It’s co-sponsored by the Boston Jewish Film Festival, which is also one of the sponsors of a free screening at the Boston Public Library’s Rabb Hall on Sunday, The Heart of Nuba, which follows a doctor in the Sudan who single-handedly runs a hospital serving the Nuban people.
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I’m going to try and be a bit more selective at the sci-fi festival this year, hopefully avoiding obvious crap and giving myself more time to do something else or catch the other stuff I want to see this week; otherwise it’s early Saturday shows.

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