- That would be Your Name, the new film by Makoto Shinkai, which was a massive hit in Japan last year - it is now the highest-grossing Japanese animated film of all time - and it feels great to see a guy I’ve loved since his first short film having that sort of success. This one’s a body-swapping fantasy that has a pretty dazzling finale and gorgeous, detailed backgrounds. It’s at The Coolidge Corner Theatre , Kendall Square, Boston Common, and Revere, although check showtimes for whether shows are playing dubbed or subtitled: The Coolidge and Kendall are playing dubbed shows before 4pm and subtitled ones after, while Boston Common and Revere alternate, with the “main” showtimes (the 1pm and 7pm hours) dubbed and the early/late shows subbed.
There’s also a boutique/multiplex split for Gifted, directed by Mark Webb (note how the previews talk of 500 Days of Summer but not the two terrible Spider-movies), and starring Chris Evans as a man raising his niece, discovering she’s a child prodigy. He wants her to have a normal life; her grandmother (Lindsay Duncan) wants her funneled into special schools. It’s also at the Coolidge, Kendall Square, Boston Common, and Revere.
The Coolidge also gets The Void as a new release, although just Friday and Saturday at midnight. It’s a throwback horror movie by members of the Canadian Astron-6 group, although played straight rather than as comedy; it was a big hit at BUFF a couple weeks ago (if you don’t mind heading out of town to see it at non-late-night shows, it’s also playing at CinemaSalem). The other midnights are a pair of David Cronenberg/Viggo Mortensen collaborations on 35mm - A History of Violence on Friday and Eastern Promises on Saturday. Other special presentations include Sunday morning’s Goethe-Institut presentation Wonderland, a Swiss anthology film based around a massive hurricane bearing down on the country; newly-restored Big Screen Classic Tampopo on Monday; and Open Screen on Tuesday.
- C’mon, doesn’t Your Name sound better than the other new animated option of Smurfs: The Lost Village? Admittedly, this new 3D all-CGI Smurfs movie looks like more fun than the “Smurfs in the real world” stuff that they’d been doing before, so I suppose the kids could do worse. It’s at the Capitol (2D only), Apple Fresh Pond (2D only), Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere. Also getting a revisit is Going In Style, with Zach Braff remaking the 1979 heist film with Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin as the over-the-hill would-be bank robbers. That one’s at the Somerville, Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, Revere, and the SuperLux.
While Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remake continues to go strong (it expands to the Lexington Venue), several of the places where it is running will be having special sing-along shows with lyrics on the screen; go or avoid as you see fit. Revere is also showing The Case for Christ, which I’m guessing is self-explanatory.
- There’s a lot coming from Japan, either directly or the long way, over the past few weeks, and one of the best is the latest from Hirokazu Kore-Eda, After the Storm, which plays Kendall Square. It features Hiroshi Abe as an award-winning writer now working as a private detective, trying to connect with his son even though he’s kind of a screw-up.
- If Your Name is not enough gender-bending for you this week, Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond has The Assignment, Walter Hill’s action movie about a hitman (Michelle Rodriguez) going after the doctor (Sigourney Weaver) who kidnapped him and gave him gender-reassignment surgery for her own revenge. Not tacky at all! It splits a screen with 1 Mile to You, about a teenager who finds cross-country running allows him to remember his dead friends better (it’s one of those indies that doesn’t look very good but is filled with good character actors). Both have been renamed to show up earlier in their true homes on VOD menus. In Indian film, there’s Telugu romantic thriller Cheliya and Kaatru Veliyidal in Tamil.
- The Brattle Theatre continues to be Wicked Queer central with shows through Sunday, with the Museum of Fine Arts and ArtsEmerson’s Paramount Theatre downtown also hosting screenings.
The festival caused them to miss out on the 1984 festivities last week, but they catch up on Sunday evening with a 35mm print, playing it as a double feature with Fahrenheit 451 on Sunday evening. On Monday, the DocYard presents The Islands and the Whales with director Mike Day doing Q&A after his documentary about Faoese whalers whose way of life and island are both vanishing. They’ve also got anime on tap, with vampire-hunting adventure Kizumonogatari showing on Tuesday (parts 1 & 2) and Wednesday (part 3). Then, on Thursday, they’ve got a new restoration of Donnie Darko (the original cut) for its 15th anniversary.
- The first guest at The Harvard Film Archive this weekend is Jem Cohen, who will personally host two shorts programs on Friday and Saturday evenings, though he his not scheduled to be there for feature Museum Hours on Sunday evening. No guest for Rules of the Game, one of the entries in their new French independent cinema series on Sunday afternoon, but Matias Pineiro will be on hand to introduce his new film Hermia and Helena on Monday.
They also have their monthly $5 family film on Saturday afternoon, with Mary Poppins on a 35mm print that they say is gorgeous.
- The Somerville Theatre kicks off this year’s “Silents Please” program on Sunday with a 35mm print of The Wind, with Jeff Rapsis accompanying on the keyboard. This one stars Lillian Gish as a woman driven mad (by, among other things, the windy weather) when she moves from Virginia to Texas.
- The Museum of Fine Arts combines Wicked Queer with their monthly “On the Fringe” program Friday night, breaking out a newly-restored 35mm print of 1983’s Born in Flames, with co-star Jeanne Statterfield doing a Q&A after what was an unusually political sci-fi film for 1983. Once that festival is finished, they get back to their Frederick Wiseman series, with a prints of Near Death on Wednesday (note that 498 minutes is a lot of 16mm film), and Central Park (176 minutes) on Thursday. Thursday also starts their annual “Hollywood Scriptures” series, this one focused on “Migrations”, with Fatima.
- The Bright Lights shows at the Bright Screening Room at the Paramount are two looks at the same story - the on-air suicide of news anchor Christine Chubbock - from different angles. Christine on Tuesday is a conventional biopic, while Kate Plays Christine on Thursday features Kate Lyn Sheil going through the motions of researching Christine to play her in a (non-existent) TV movie.
- Belmont World Film is at the Studio Cinema on Sunday this week, with He Even Has Your Eyes flipping the usual script with a Senegalese family in France adopting a blonde-haired baby boy.
Although I’m going to spend a lot of the weekend binging Netflix stuff while Comcast has them on demand for free (really enjoying Sense8!) and have my first Red Sox ticket of the year on Tuesday, I will try and kick a little money Your Name’s way, maybe catch up on Tampopo, Get Out, and Beauty and the Beast (and probably also see The Assignment because Walter Hill is usually at least interesting and I like gender-bender stories).