Friday, October 20, 2017

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 20 October 2017 - 26 October 2017

Some poisonous reviews for the weekend's two biggest releases, so it's probably a good thing that, six months having passed since the 2017 edition of Independent Film Festival Boston, they're ready for more with the better part of a week's worth of previewing some of the fall's more interesting movies.

  • That would be the IFFBoston Fall Focus (or, as we like to call it around here, "IFFBoston 2017½"), encompassing seven films over four nights at The Brattle Theatre, and opening on Sunday night with Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird and Takashi Miike's Blade of the Immortal. It continues on Tuesday with Richard Linklater's Last Flag Flying and Faith Aiken's In the Fade, Wednesday with Thoroughreds and Thelma, and closes Thursday with Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Some of these have upcoming theatrical releases, but in some cases it's your only chance to see them on the big screen.

    Before that starts, though, they have the new restoration of Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris, playing as a double feature with Stalker (which is a lot of deliberately-paced Soviet science fiction) from Friday to Sunday afternoon. They also have a DocYard presentation on Monday, with director Salomé Jashi dialing in after The Dazzling Light of Sunset to talk about her look at a low-budget local news team in the Eastern European country of Georgia.
  • In other festival programming, The Boston Asian American Film Festival moves from the Brattle to the Bright Screening Room at the Paramount Theater, which is fairly small, so a bunch of shows are already sold out. There still seem to be tickets available for Friday's AKA Seoul, Saturday's Finding Kukan and Resistance at Tule Lake, as well as Sunday's I Can I Will I Did.

    The room goes back to Bright Lights presentations after that, with Rasheed playing on Tuesday with director Samia Badih doing Q&A afterward and An Inconvenient Sequel on Tuesday, preceded by a live feed from Al Gore and a panel discussion afterward. As always, these are free and open to the public, but, again, small room, so RSVP early.
  • The two biggest mainstream releases have apparently been dressed up to look nice after sitting on shelves for a while, which is a shame. I was really looking forward to The Snowman, with Tomas Alfredson (who did Let the Right One In and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) adapting one of Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole novels with Michael Fassbender as the detective in question, but the word is not good. It's at Boston Common, Fenway, Assembly Row, and Revere. Then there's Geostorm, a film with Gerard Butler fighting sabotage of a global weather-control system from Dean Devlin, which is finally getting a big 3D/Imax release after sitting on shelves for a couple years. It's at Apple Fresh Pond (2D only), Jordan's Furniture (Imax 3D), the Embassy, Boston Common, Fenway (including 2D RPX), Assembly Row (including Imax 3D), Revere (including MX4D), and the SuperLux (2D only). Also said to stink: Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (which is, if nothing else, a punctuation nightmare), which plays at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Fenway, Assembly Row, and Revere.

    Getting better reviews is Only the Brave, which follows an elite group of firefighters as they attempt to control one of the worst wildfires in history. Nice cast (Josh Brolin, Miles teller, Jennifer Connelly, Andie MacDowell, Jeff Bridges), and I suspect director Joseph Kosinski will be really good at handling the large-scale action (he was good at scale, if not story, with Tron Legacy and Oblivion). It's at Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Boston Common, Fenway, Assembly Row, Revere, and the SuperLux. There's also Same Kind of Different As Me, with Greg Kinnear and Renee Zellweger as a couple whose marriage is falling apart until a homeless man played by Djimon Hounsou comes into their lives, though you have to head out to Revere for that one.

    Revere, Assembly Row, and Fenway all have "Disney Junior at the Movies: Halloween Party" on Saturday Morning, with Fenway and Assembly also having matinee screenings on Thursday. Regals' Halloween series continues at Fenway with a double feature of the 1982 Cat People & Videodrome on Monday and Jaws on Tuesday, while Revere goes with The Witches of Eastwick on Thursday.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre is one place to get Goodbye Christopher Robin, featuring Domhnall Gleeson as author A.A. Milne, who created the Winnie the Pooh stories based on his son's toys. It also plays at Kendall Square.

    The Coolidge also continues with a bunch of Halloween programming, doubling up on midnights this weekend: They'll have the new 4K restoration of Rawhead Rex upstairs on Friday and Saturday night, while Dario Argento's The Stendahl Syndrome plays in the main theater at midnight Friday (also newly restored), while Argento's Deep Red plays on 35mm Saturday. There's a break from the scary stuff as Goethe-Institut presents The Young Karl Marx at 11am Sunday (from I Am Not Your Negro director Raoul Peck), but then it's back to horror: The special "Composer's Cut" of The Beyond plays Tuesday night, with Fabrio Frizzi conducting a live orchestra playing his expanded score, along with opening band Dust Witch. Then, on Thursday, there's a 35mm "Rewind!" screening of The Monster Squad, with after-party at Osaka.
  • In addition to Goodbye Christopher Robin, Kendall Square opensBreathe, featuring Andrew Garfield as a man who is paralyzed from the neck down at a young age, but who invents a portable mechanical lung so he is not simply warehoused like many others who need assistance breathing. It's also at Boston Common and West Newton. They also have a special one-week booking of The King's Choice, featuring Jesper Christensen as King Haakon VII, who was on the Norwegian throne when the Nazis invaded during World War II.
  • It's Diwali, so not only are some big Bollywood movies being released, but Apple Fresh Pond has to share them with the bigger chains. Secret Superstar, for instance, also plays Boston Common, while Golmaal Again takes its wacky gang rivalry to Fenway as well. Tamil-language Mersal and Telugu Raja the Great are also sticking around at Fresh Pond.

    If you're more interested in Korean fare, Boston Common has The Fortress just a couple weeks after it opened in its home country, with Lee Byung-hun and Kim Yun-seok as royal retainers trying to convince the King to negotiate or fight their way out of a siege.
  • The Somerville Theatre continues their month of Halloween programming with an eclectic group of 35mm prints: Cabin in the Woods plays as part of a "Cabaret in the Woods" themen night on Friday, while Sunday features a double feature of Don Knotts in The Ghost & Mr. Chicken and Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy, and Wednesday features the original version of The Haunting. There's also a Boston Underground Film Festival shorts program on the calendar, but neither the theater nor the festival has more information than that.

    CinemaSalem has a lot of "The History of Halloween" shows, and while they have a fair amount of live events this weekend, they've also got Rocky Horror on Saturday (different live show than AMC Boston Common, which also has one that day), the restored Night of the Living Dead on Sunday, and the 10th annual Druid Underground Film Festival program on Thursday.
  • The Harvard Film Archive welcomes Croation filmmaker Rajko Grlic on Friday to present his latest film, The Constitution, which examines the nation through the eyes of a cross-section living in a Zagreb apartment building. There was going to be another filmmaker visit over the weekend, and though it was cancelled, Danny Lyon's "Soc. Sci 127" & "Little Boy" will play Saturday evening while his Willie plays on 16mm Sunday night. The Chantal Akerman series finishes Sunday afternoon with Hotel Monterey, while Warren Beatty's Reds plays on 35mm Monday night, with an introduction by Houghton Library director Thomas Hyry.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts begins their annual Boston Palestine Film Festival on Friday with Ghost Hunting (which also plays Saturday); it also features A Magical Substance Flows Into Me (Saturday), a shorts program (Sunday), Off Frame (Sunday), and Personal Affairs (Thursday). They also have a Thursday-afternoonscreening of Kékszakállú (Bluebeard).
  • The late-night Saturday Night Creature Features at the The Museum of Science planetarium wasgood last week, so they make up for it with This Island Earth at 11pm this Saturday.
  • Jeff Rapsis visits The Regent Theatre to accompany silent thriller The Man Who Laughs, these days best known for inspiring the look of Batman nemesis The Joker but a classic in its own right, on Wednesday. That's followed on Thursday night by a group of local filmmakers in the "Iconic Film Fest".

I'll probably hang out at the Brattle for most of the week, but will be unable to resist some of the less-impressive mainstream stuff. I will check out The Fortress, of course.

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