- That festival is Independent Film Festival Boston, in its fifteenth year and kicking off on Wednesday the 26th at the Somerville Theatre and then picking up the Brattle on Thursday. Opening night is Stumped, a documentary about a filmmaker who turns to comedy to cope with becoming a quadrilateral amputee after an accident. Thursday’s offerings include a documentary showcase at UMass Boston, Rat Film at the Brattle, and showcase presentation Columbus (along with four shorts programs) at the Somerville.
Because they’re going to be using all five screens for the festival come Thursday, most of what’s at The Somerville Theatre is probably on its way out. In the meantime, they pick up The Zookeeper’s Wife from the Capitol and have special 10pm screenings of The Void on Friday and Saturday, so all those who had trouble seeing the BUFF favorite at midnight at the Coolidge the last couple weekends can catch it there.
- The multiplexes basically know that The Fate of the Furious is going to keep rolling this week, so they open a few lower-profile things. The most fun is likely Free Fire, Ben Wheatley’s new one which starts with an arms deal in 1970s Boston, only things go sideways about twenty minutes in and the ensuing firefight lasts the entire remaining hour of the film. Fun cast of Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, and more. It’s at the Embassy, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere.
After that, it’s a varied group. The Promise is a romance featuring Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, and Christian Bale against the background of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. It’s at the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, West Newton, Boston Common, Fenway, Revere, and the SuperLux. A tackier love story plays out in Unforgettable, in which Katherine Heigl plays the deranged ex and Rosario Dawson the sane new wife of Geoff Stults. Interesting to note that Denise Di Novi, Tim Burton’s longtime producer, is making her directorial debut. That one’s at Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, Revere, and the SuperLux.
With Earth Day on Friday, Disney releases their annual nature documentary, with Born in China focusing on pandas, monkeys, and other animals in the Chinese plains and mountains. It plays the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere. Those who like their documentaries more fictional have Phoenix Forgotten, the second film in as many years building a bit of found-footage horror out of the peculiar “Phoenix Lights” phenomenon of twenty years ago. Find that at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, and Revere.
Or, if you’re looking for a classic, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere have a TCM presentation of The Graduate on Sunday and Wednesday. Fenway and Revere have TED presentations on Monday and Tuesday, and Fenway screens Alien on their RPX screen for “Alien Day” on Wednesday (the planet in the film is “LV-426”).
- The Coolidge Corner Theatre is one of several places opening The Lost City of Z - it also plays Kendall Square, the Embassy, and Boston Common - and it looks like a nifty one. Charlie Hunman plays an explorer who, in the early years of the Twentieth Century, found evidence of a lost advanced civilization in the Amazon, and spent the rest of his life trying to prove its existence. It’s a passion project for director James Gray, whose last film was the impressive The Immigrant. They also pick up Colossal, as does Fenway,to add to its runs at Somerville, Boston Common, Kendall, and the Embassy.
At midnight, it’s David Fincher weekend, with Seven on Friday and The Game on Saturday, both on 35mm. Between those, on Saturday morning, they celebrate Earth Day by showing the new documentary from Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzard, Seasons, which depicts the animals living in Europe at the end of the last ice age. The week’s other Science on Screen program is on Monday, with Harvard professor Dr. Evelynn Hammonds introducing Hidden Figures. Then, on Tuesday, Berklee professor Sheldon Mirowitz leads a master class in composing a silent film score that serves as a preview of an upcoming show of The Freshman.
It’s worth noting that Kendall Square is down to four screens from the usual nine this week (in addition to Z, they keep A Quiet Passion, Colossal, and Your Name), likely renovating to put in those bigger seats with recliners and such that have been hanging around the lobby for the past few months. Expect a bit of grumpiness about how those aren’t always good things from me soon.
- The Harvard Film Archive has two Jem Cohen shows this weekend, with Chain on Friday a rejiggering of an exhibition and Benjamin Smoke on Sunday a 16mm music documentary. The “Hachimiri Madness!” series begins on friday with early short works by Shinya Tsukamoto (”The Adventure of Denchu-Kozo”) and Sion Sono (”I Am Sion Sono!”). Filmmaker Mike Henderson visits to introduce a selection of his films on 16mm Saturday, and one by collaborator Robert Nelson on Sunday evening. There’s also a “Houghton at 75” presentation on Monday, with assistant curator Heather Cole introducing a screening of Jane Campion’s John Keats biography Bright Star, as the archive contains many manuscripts and letters from Keats.
- More Frederick Wiseman at The Museum of Fine Arts this week: Aspen (Friday/Sunday), Zoo (Friday/Wednesday), Public Housing (Saturday), La Comédie-Française (Sunday), and Ballet, all listed as 16mm prints.
- The Brattle Theatre is being used by the Women in Comedy Festival through Sunday. Then, on Monday, the DocYard and Crows & Sparrows present Behemoth, with Zhao Liang skyping in after his film about Chinese mining operations. Tuesday is Trash Night, and then on Wednesday they pay tribute to the late Debbie Reynolds and Carrie fisher with a double feature of Singin’ in the Rain (on 35mm) and Postcards From the Edge, and then IFFBoston on Thursday.
- ”Amazon Adventure” opens in IMAX 3D at the New England Aquarium on Monday; it continues to play The Museum of Science in OMNIMAX.
- Telugu film Mister and join Tamil film Kaatru Veliyidal at Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond has Kannada-language drama Shuddhi for the weekend, joining scattered shows of Tamil dramas Pa Paandi and Take Off. BaahuBali 2 opens Thursday, with both Telugu and Tamil screenings.
- ArtsEmerson’s Paramount Theatre brings back a recent Bright Lights selection on Saturday as part of its “Reel Life Experience” series as Moonlight plays with reception, performances, and a panel discussion. Bright Lights itself would be done for the spring, but Trumbo was snowed out back in March, so it has been rescheduled for Tuesday in the Paramount’s Bright Screening Room, with Emerson faculty member Tom Kingdon doing a Q&A after the free screening.
- This week’s Belmont World Film presentation at the Studio Cinema comes from Australia, with direcotr Ivan Sen skypin in after the Monday night screening of western noir Goldstone.
- The Regent Theatre is mostly booked by a stage show through June, but there are some film programs this week: The Silence of the Priest, or Alter Ego, telling the story of the supposed savior of Armenian music, plays Sunday afternoon, while The Jazz Loft.has its premiere in the small underground space on Monday.
I’d kind of like to catch some of the bad-looking stuff opening this weekend, but there’s stuff like Get Out, Personal Shopper, and Your Name that needs seeing before IFFBoston (and baseball on Tuesday).