- ... one of the year’s best-reviewed so far does come out this weekend, a horror movie with enough buzz that it’s hitting some of the classier places too. That would be Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele, whose trailer makes it look like a creepily Stepford Wives-ish thing where a young black man who makes the trip to visit his white girlfriend’s folks finds things more than a little off in their hometown. It’s at The Coolidge Corner Theatre, the Somerville Theatre, Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, Revere, and the SuperLux.
One of the screens at the Coolidge will also have a new release for the midnights this weekend, with Don’t Knock Twice looking like a kind of standard ghost story, but it’s directed by Caradog James, whose The Machine is one of my favorite genre films in recent years. The other screen will wrap the 1990s comic book series, with Blade on Friday and Batman Forever on Saturday, both on 35mm. On Thursday, they start the annual Francophone Film Festival in the screening room with Un Juif pour l’example, a Swiss film about would-be fascists trying to get Hitler’s attention.
- The other multiplex releases are less heralded, with Collide maybe the best of the rest, with Nicholas Hoult in the middle of a chase to try and save girlfriend Felicity Jones, with Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley chewing scenery as the villains. That’s at Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere. There’s also Rock Dog, an animated film I haven’t even seen a trailer for, which has an anthropomorphic dog learning to play rock & roll despite the disapproval of his dad. That’s at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Fenway, and Revere. Bitter Harvest gets a smaller release - just Boston Common and Revere - because even though a movie about the Soviet Union violently annexing the Ukraine in the 1930s may be surprisingly current, it’snot coming in with a terribly noteworthy cast or good reputation.
For whatever reason, Boston Common is bringing Why Him? back for a couple shows a day. More happily, Revere finishes up their month-long Disney weekend matinees with Dumbo playing Friday to Sunday. Boston Common and Fenway will also be doing more Best Picture Showcase shows this weekend.
- One of the nominees for Best Animated Feature opens at Kendall Square and their sister cinema in Waltham, the Embassy, and while you usually have to check showtimes to see if a Studio Ghibli production is playing in English or Japanese, The Red Turtle sidesteps that by avoiding dialogue entirely in its story of a man shipwrecked on a deserted island. It’s also the first movie Ghibli didn’t produce in-house, instead lending production support to a German filmmaker. Kendall Square also seems to be going the “charming” route with Kedi, a documentary on the thousands of stray cats that live in Istanbul (I’m guessing the kitty from Bad Cat is not among them). That one’s booked for one week.
- New Indian movies at Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond include Rangoon, a World War II-set film with Kangana Ranaut playing a Bollywood actress who winds up in the midst of a dangerous love-triangle as well as espionage. Less likely to be subtitled are Yaman (a Tamil thriller), Winner (Telugu action), Beautiful Manasugalu (Kannada action/romance), and Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol (Malayalam), with Ghazi and Jolly LLB 2 also continuing.
They also have a couple of English-language indies this week, with Dying Laughing a documentary on stand-up comedy with a heck of a lot of good people interviewed that gets a couple shows a day. VooDoo is a “young girl comes to L.A. and finds something nasty” horror movie, buried at either noon (Friday-Sunday) or 4pm (Monday-Thursday).
- The Brattle Theatre builds their schedule somewhat piecemeal, what with their annual Oscar party Sunday night, but at least has a lot of film on tap: Friday and Saturday start with matinees of Bugs Bunny Film Festival “Looney Tunes Revue”, while the evening has special engagements of Cinemania (a documentary about extreme cinephilia celebrating its 15th anniversary) and a return engagement of The Love Witch, all three on 35mm.
After the Oscar Party, the DocYard and UMass Boston screen Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four on Monday, with director Deborah S. Esquenazi on-hand to talk about her film that helped get the women of the title exonerated after over a decade in prison. Then on Wednesday, they begin their ”Women Who Built Hollywood” series with a free 35mm Elements of Cinema screening of The Women, continuing on Thursday with a double feature of “Et la femme créa Hollywood” and The Wild Party (the second on 35mm), the former a documentary on the forgotten women behind the camera of early cinema and the latter Clara Bow’s first talkie, directed by Dorothy Arzner, who (it is said) invented the boom mike during its production. The series will continue into next week.
- The Harvard Film Archive welcomes Ryusuke Hamaguchi for a couple of in-person events - Friday’s screening of “Touching the Skin of Emptiness” will be followed by an in-depth conversation, while Saturday’s mammoth Intimacies will start at 3pm so that its four-plus hours can get in and still have time for Q&A afterward. Hamaguchi isn’t scheduled to appear with Sunday afternoon’s screening of The Depths, after which the Archive will finish up their Ha Gil-Jong and the Revitalization of the Korean Cinema series with 35mm prints of Heavenly Homecoming to Stars 2 (Sunday 7pm) and Byongtae and Youngja (Monday 7pm)
- The Museum of Fine Arts wraps up their February schedule with more Stanley Kubrick & Frederick Wiseman. The Wiseman films are Essene (16mm Friday), Meat (16mm Sunday), Welfare (16mm Sunday), and Canal Zone (16mm Wednesday); the Kubricks are Eyes Wide Shut (Friday), Barry Lyndon (35mm Saturday), Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (35mm Saturday), and The Shining (Saturday). Thursday is the monthly “On the Fringe” screening, starting March off with a 35mm print of John Carpenter’s The Thing.
- Add The Somerville Theatre to the list of places playing the Oscar Shorts this year; they have screenings of the Live-Action and Animated Shorts on Friday and Sunday, while the Coolidge and Kendall Square have them all week. The ICA will be screening the documentary shorts on Sunday afternoon, and the animated shorts Thursday evening. The Somverville will also start their 35mm repertory programming for the year with a print of Gaslight on Wednesday the 1st. To make a little room, 20th Century Women and Moonlight move over to The Arlington Capitol.
- The Bright Lights program in the Paramount Theatre’s Bright Screening Room looks to offer sharp contrasts this week, although there’s a pattern if you squint beyond both free programs (as always) being followed up with faculty discussion. Tuesday’s show is The Neon Demon, Nicolas Winding Refn’s hyper-stylish horror piece about a young girl trying to become a model in Los Angeles; Thursday’s Untouchable is a documentary about a Florida lobbyist who pushes through a tough sex-offender law, with the film (perhaps uncomfortably) looking at both the victims and the people who have been made pariahs by the law. Before that, though, ArtsEmerson’s “main” film program will be screening Queen: A Night in Bohemia from Friday to Sunday.
- The Regent Theatre as what seems like their first film programming in a while on Friday and Saturday with The Sunshine Makers, a documentary on two of the hippies who did the most to popularize LSD in the 1960s.
- The Rockwell in Somerville (formerly known as the Davis Square Theatre, much to the consternation of their neighbors), has a silent with live music by house band Noxaphonic on the first Wednesday of every month, and this week’s selection is the 1920 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with John Barrymore. It’s not the greatest venue for such things (the room is set up for concert-in-the-round and last month they projected a public domain DVD), but the music is pretty good.
- This week’s only-at-CinemaSalem presentation is Neruda, with Gael Garcia Bernal as a policeman tracking down the poet of the title (played by Luis Gnecco) after he declared himself a communist and thus became an outlaw in 1930s Chile.
Got a lot of Oscar-nominated shorts to see, and will also try and catch The Red Turtle, A Cure for Wellness, Lego Batman, Don’t Knock Twice, and a couple other things around the Academy Awards and anticipated long days at work.