- The big one is Kong: Skull Island, a big new Imax 3D take on King Kong from Legendary which will tie in with the American Godzilla from a couple years back. It’s just twelve years since Peter Jackson’s take, and it really seems like it should be more a once-a-generation event to me. It’s at the Somerville (2D only), Apple Fresh Pond (2D only), Jordan’s Furniture (Imax 3D), the Embassy, Boston Common (including Imax 3D), Assembly Row (including Imax 3D), Fenway, Revere (including MX4D), and the SuperLux.
- Meanwhile, it seems like just a few years ago that something like The Last Word would have been a wholly average part of a major studio’s release schedule, but instead, it’s a indie opening at The Coolidge Corner Theatre, Kendall Square, and Boston Common. It’s a cute enough idea, with Shirley MacLaine as a pushy retiree who decides to take control of her obituary, to be written by Amanda Seyfried. The Coolidge and the Somerville Theatre also pick up Kedi, an awful charming documentary on the stray cats of Istanbul.
The Coolidge offers Kazuo Koike samurai stuff at midnight this weekend: A 35mm print of Shogun Assassin plays Friday; that one’s an English-dubbed picture edited together in 1980 from a couple of early-1970s Lone Wolf and Cub movies, while on Saturday night they have Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance. On Monday, they partner with the Huntington Theater, showing a 35mm print of Menace II Society as a tie-in to the company’s production of Topdog/Underdog. There’s an Open Screen on Tuesday, and a sold out show of Sunn O))) on Thursday night.
- The Brattle Theatre will play host to the Boston Underground Film Festival in a couple of weeks, but first, they bring back last year’s opening night film, The Lure. I saw that at Fantasia last summer, and folks loved it, and even if you don’t love it, you probably haven’t seen much like this Polish horror-musical about mermaid girls working as cabaret singers in the 1980s. It’s got the place more or less to itself all week, with the exception of a free preview of T2 Trainspotting on Thursday evening.
- Kendall Square, meanwhile, not only has The Last Word, but they have documentary Mr. Gaga, which follows groundbreaking Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. The one-week booking is actually three movies, a new restoration of Marcel Pagnol’s “Marseille Trilogy”. Marius plays Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Thursday; Fanny on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday; and Cesar Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
They also have another “Deconstructing the Beatles” presentation, this one focused on Revolver. And, like many of the theaters that still have La La Land around (including West Newton, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere), they will be having some shows designated as sing-along presentation.
- Speaking of sing-alongs, there’s also a Friday night screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Showat Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond, with a different shadow cast than Boston Common’s regular Saturday night presentation.
The week’s big Bollywood opening at Fresh Pond is Badrinath Ki Dulhani, which looks like an opposites-attract thing about two people from small towns meeting in the city. Could very well have catchier songs than La La Land, too! Other movies playing there for Holi include Tamil action ensemble piece Maanagaram (apparently called Nagaram for the Telugu-language screenings).
- The Harvard Film Archive has a couple of special screenings this weekend: Friday evening they welcome back benshi Ichiro Kataoka, who presents two Japanese shorts (“Taro’s Train” and “Blood’s Up in Takadanobaba”) and Lois Weber feature Shoes with narration, as was the most popular way to view silent films in Japan. It’s a fun show, and he’ll be accompanied by Jeff Rapsis on piano. On Saturday afternoon, they will have their first monthly Saturday matinee show, where film fans of all ages can catch E.T.The Extra-Terrestrial on 35mm film at 3pm.
Later Saturday, they will start a Terence Davies retrospective with The House of Mirth on 35mm at 7pm. After that, they continue their Christophe Honoré series with Man at Bath (shown with the apparently-unsubtitled “Hotel Kuntz” at 9:30pm Saturday) and a 35mm print of his Beloved on Monday. In between, they use Sunday for a couple of films from the Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub series that were cancelled due to bad weather: The pair’s Sciilia! (5pm) and Pedro Costa’s documentary about the pair, Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? (7pm), both on 35mm.
- Frederick Wiseman: For the Record is at The Museum of Fine Arts for the long haul (into June), and this week’s selections are Deaf (Friday), Multi-Handicapped (Friday), Adjustment and Work (Sunday/Wednesday), Blind (Sunday/Wednesday), and Manoeuvre (Thursday). They will also have the first of two “Exhibition On Screen” presentations of I, Claude Monet on Sunday.
On Thursday, they have the opening night of their annual Boston Turkish Film Festival, with Onur Karaman’s There Where Atilla Passes, whose Turkish protagonist was adopted by a Quebeçois couple when he was young, although he has just met a girl from Istanbul.
- Free stuff at the Paramount Theater’s Bright Screening Room starts on Friday as ArtsEmerson presents Chapter and Verse, a man-just-out-of-prison drama that will be followed by a conversation with director Jamal Joseph and former Boston Assistant District Attorney Adam Foss.
After that, Bright Lights returns (must have been spring break last week) on Tuesday with a screening of Trumbo followed by a discussion with Emerson faculty member tom Kingdon. On Thursday, in association with MIT’s Women Take the Reel Festival, they will screen Equity, with producer/actor David Alan basche around for a Q&A. That series has three other screenings at area colleges that night: No Mas Bebes at Boston College, Trapped at Northeastern, and Mothers of Bedford at Tufts.
- For some reason, Warner isn’t sending The Somerville Theatre a 70mm print of Kong, hopefully not because of a couple fun-looking one-night shows during the week: Swing Away, on Tuesday, stars Shannon Elizabeth as a professional golfer who, after being booted from the tour, reconnects with her roots in Greece; it’s also got John O’Hurley as another pro who apparently based his characterization on Donald Trump. Completely coincidentally, Wednesday’s repertory screening is a 35mm print of A Face in the Crowd, Andy Griffith’s cynical but pretty terrific debut that did not really set the tone for the likable career that followed.
I will catch Kong, Get Out, and Shoes (although, wow, that’s the same movie he did when he was here last time, AND it just played at the Brattle) at some point over the weekend, and then I’ve got vacation to use before the end of March, so why not fly out to San Diego and catch the second round of the World Baseball Classic? Better way of seeing early baseball than last year, when I went to Montreal and it was freezing!