Friday, December 15, 2017

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 15 December 2017 - 19 December 2017

It's almost Christmas, so it's Star Wars time, and how many screens is it opening on? So many that Boston needs a whole new multiplex to handle the demand for people to see movies, and so AMC opened a new one at the South Bay Center on Monday, giving them a little time to work the kinks out before people hit it hard this weekend. South Bay Center is a new mall near the Andrew stop on the Red Line, and the theater itself is one of the new variety with recliners, reserved seating, and two premium screens, one digital Imax, one Dolby Cinema. Gonna have to give it a look-see sometime in the next couple of weeks to see if there's an cool food and drink options. But, in the meantime...

  • So, I can't say I know that much about what's going on in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, but since The Force Awakens was pretty good, Rian Johnson hasn't made a movie that's less than brilliant yet, and Luke & Leia have major parts, so I'm feeling excited about the new 3D entry in the saga. It's all over the place, with showings at the Capitol (2D only), Fresh Pond, Jordan's Furniture (Imax 2D/3D), the Belmont Studio (2D only), the Embassy, Boston Common (including Imax 2D), Fenway (including RPX), South Bay (including Imax 3D and Dolby), Assembly Row (including Imax 3D), Revere (including XPlus and MX4D), and the SuperLux.

    Also playing in 2D and 3D is the latest from Blue Sky Studio, Ferdinand. Based upon the children's book, it's got John Cena as the voice of a bull who is actually a gentle soul and really wants no part of bullfighting (but, really, what bull would?). It's at the Capitol (2D only), Fresh Pond (2D only), Boston Common, Fenway (2D only), South Bay, Assembly Row, and Revere.

    Fenway also continues Regal Christmas matinee series on Saturday with Elf. The holiday also has other movies (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle andThe Greatest Showman) opening Wednesday.
  • As much as I like the comfy new theaters when I'm sitting in them, I kind of hope that Boston Common doesn't go nuts upgrading its amenities too much any time soon, because having a bunch of seats in a bunch of rooms to fill means they still have room for a couple of Chinese films even this week. It kind of allows Youth to slide into theaters oddly unheralded after having had a lot of previews played only to be pulled days before its release in late September because, apparently, it made the censor board nervous to have it playing during the People's Congress, even though it sure looked like a return to safe mainstream material for director Feng Xiaogang after I Am Not Madame Bovary. We'll finally see, I guess.

    Looking like more fun is The Thousand Faces of Dunjia, a big wire-fu-filled fantasy adventure directed by Yuen Woo-ping and written by Tsui Hark, and it's got a pretty fun cast including Zhou Dongyu, Da Peng, Ni Ni, and Darren Leung.
  • Kendall Square switches one Finnish film out for another, bringing Fantasia selection Tom of Finland in for a one-week run. It's a fun biopic of a commercial artist who became famous world-wide for his erotic cartoons of over-the-top leather-clad masculinity.
  • The Brattle Theatre has their annual screenings of It's a Wonderful Life this weekend, from Friday to Sunday, but the site has these 35mm shows marked as sold out. They've also got the new restoration of the America cut of Suspiria playing late shows from Friday to Tuesday (and a full slate on Wednesday and Thursday).

    That leaves a few evening slots open for special features. On Saturday, they celebrate Arthur C. Clarke's birthday with a 35mm print of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is always a trip on the big screen. Monday features the 2017 Grrl Haus Cinema program of short films, while Tuesday is Trash Night, where Elf Bowling: The Movie will be shown and mocked (which may be holiday-themed, but seems unsporting).
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre gets expansions of The Shape of Water (as do Fenway and West Newton) and Darkest Hour (also at the Embassy) to mostly take over their larger screens, with the former having a special "Off the Couch" show on Tuesday evening. They aren't getting The Disaster Artist, but that doesn't stop them from welcoming the writer of the book it's based on (and co-star of The Room) for midnights over the weekend, with a sold-out show of The Room on Friday and a special "Inside the Room" event on Saturday.

    For special features that are not about being awful, they're showing The Muppet Movie on Sunday morning and a 35mm print of Safe on Monday evening. The latter is a "Science on Screen" show, with Dr. Laua Vandenberg discussing chemical exposure and "twentieth century disease". There's also a special BALAGAN: "Conquest" program of experiment short films on Tuesday.
  • The Harvard Film Archive closes out its December schedule with a bunch of Bob Fosse, mostly on 35mm: All That Jazz (Friday 7pm), White Christmas (the $5 Saturday matinee at 3pm), Lenny (Saturday 7pm), Star 80 (Saturday 9pm), My Sister Eileen (Sunday 7pm from a DCP), and Cabaret (Monday 7pm). In addition to Saturday's matinee, they also have their free Sunday holiday show, with a bunch of family-friendly (but off-beat) short films on 16mm and 35mm film.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts has more of Harry Dean Stanton: Say Something True: Cockfighter (Friday on 35mm), Straight Time (Friday 35mm), Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (Saturday), Wise Blood (Saturday/Sunday on 35mm), and One from the Heart (Sunday on 35mm). They also continue to screen Zaradasht's Ahmed accidentally-autobiographical documentary Nowhere to Hide (Friday/Saturday).
  • The Regent Theatre has a tribute to prog rock band Emerson Lake & Palmer on Friday, with documentary The Birth of a Bandat 8pm (part of their ongoing tribute to concert film director Murray Lerner) followed by a performance by tribute band Eruption.
  • CinemaSalem's picks up My Friend Dahmer for the 18-seat screening room.

Well, I'm down forStar Wars at least once and the two Chinese films. Probably should fill in some big gaps with Suspiria and Safe, as well.

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