Friday, February 16, 2018

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 16 February 2018 - 22 February 2018

In this week's theater news, it looks like the AMC at South Bay has started some sort of tiered pricing, with "Premium Zone" (the stadium seating that takes up the rear half of the theater) costing a buck more than the "Vanguard Zone" (the flat-ish section up front), and while I tend to sit up front anyway, this just isn't a good look. I suspect it will spread to Assembly Row and other local AMCs soon enough, and I kind of wonder how it plays with what MoviePass and the other programs like it will pay. I kind of like it in the "Vanguard", but I understand people think I'm nuts for that.

  • They likely feel comfortable doing it because they will sell out a bunch of shows of Black Panther, Marvel's latest big 3D entry in the Avengers franchise (building on an appearance in Captain America: Civil War. It looks great, director Ryan Coogler has a pretty terrific track record, and the Afro-futuristic design promises to be like nothing we've seen in a blockbuster before. It gets a ton of screens at the Capitol (2D only), Fresh Pond, Jordan's Furniture (Imax 2D),the Embassy, Boston Common (including Imax 3D), Fenway (including RPX 2D/3D), the Seaport (including Icon-X), South Bay (including Imax 2D and Dolby Cinema), Assembly Row (including Imax 2D/3D), Revere (including XPlus & MX4D), and the SuperLux.

    The other big opening is Early Man, and it shouldn't be slept upon - it's the new stop-motion feature from Nick Park, of Wallace and Gromit fame, with local cave-dwellers playing a soccer game against invading Bronze Age men to determine who gets the stay. I am told there is a giant duck. I'm sort of mildly surprised it's not getting a 3D release, but maybe Aardman only renders their digital pictures in 3D. It's at the Capitol, Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Fenway, South Bay, Assembly Row, and Revere. Between those two (and a few other things), there's actually little room for Biblical epic Samson, which opens in South Bay and Revere.

    The TCM Classic for the week is The Philadelphia Story which screens Sunday and Wednesday at Fenway, Assembly Row, and Revere. Fenway also has a one-time screening of distance bikinig documentary MAMIL: Middle Aged Men In Lycra, on Wednesday evening.
  • Kendall Square and The Coolidge Corner Theatre both open The Insult this weekend. It's the nominee for Best Foreign-Language film from Lebanon, a courtroom drama that springs from a confrontation between a Christian and a Palestinian refugee where the words were perhaps more damaging than the blows. Kendall Square also has a special screening of Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story on Wednesday, with filmmakers Mick McIntyre & Kate McIntyre Clere on-hand to take questions after their film about how, while the rest of the world loves one of Australia's best-known native species, they're actually considered something of a pest there.

    The Coolidge is busy at midnight this weekend, with two "women in horror" offerings - A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night on Friday and a 35mm print of Jennifer's Body on Saturday - as well as the monthly screening of The Room on Friday. There's a "Science On Screen Jr." showing of Looney Tunes on Sunday morning to teach kids cartoon physics, and a 35mm showing of Cave of Forgotten Dreams on Wednesday as part of their Werner Herzog tribute that gives viewers a rare look inside the famous Chauvert Cave.
  • It's also a holiday weekend, with the biggest holiday world-wide being Chinese New Year, and there are some sequels on tap for that at Boston Common: Monkey King 3 has Aaron Kwok returning as Sun Wukong, still on the Journey to the West and this time encountering a land of women and, if the posters are to be believed, seeing one member of his all-male party get pregnant. More kid-friendly is Monster Hunt 2, a live-action/CGI followup to the gigantic hit about the heir to the monster kingdom being raised in exile by two humans (although both could go in weird directions that American kids' movies generally don't if their predecessors are anything to go by). There's also Detective Chinatown 2, which follows up the obvious franchise possibilities of the first by having the mismatched buddies who previously bet in Bangkok's Chinatown reteaming in New York's. That one also plays in Revere, which also has Mexican comedy La Boda de Valentina and Portuguese-subtitled screenings of Black Panther for the linguistically adventurous.

    Apple Fresh Pond and Fenway hang on to Padmaavat with Fresh Pond also continuing Pad Man. They also open up Hindi political thriller Aiyaary, Tamil action movie Naachiyaar, and Telugu sci-fi flick Awe!.

    Fresh Pond also give half-schedules to a couple American indies - documentary Poop Talk is an irreverent doc on the universal subject of the title, while Looking Glass has Nicolas Cage and Robin Tunney buying a motel on a quiet stretch of road and finding strange things afoot. If you're like me, you were amazed that Cage is on pace to do a VOD-level thriller with the entire cast of The Craft by summer, but, surprise, Mom and Dad's Selma Blair wasn't in that one. Then again, at the pace he's making these things, he could still manage it.
  • President's Day is the other end of the long weekend, which means the back end of Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival at The Somerville Theatre, which features a 35mm print of Superman on Saturday afternoon, and Muse (from one of the co-directors of [REC]) that evening before the twenty-four-hour Marathon running from noon Sunday to noon Monday, which ha a pretty decent line-up and a surprise 50th anniversary presentation teased that has me wondering if the Somerville has a certain newly-commissioned print to debut. With the sci-fi guys gone after Monday, they'll have an empty theater, which will be filled with the latest edition of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour running Tuesday to Thursday, after having played The Regent Theatre on Monday. The Regent will also have one of their sing-along presentations during school vacation week, with Frozen starting Saturday and continuing daily matinees straight through next weekend.
  • School vacation week also means The Brattle Theatre will be running their annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival, alternating 35mm packages of an "All Bugs Revue" (Friday/Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday) and "Daffy Duck and Friends (Saturday/Monday/Wednesday).

    They also have two special screenings this week: Multiple guests will be on hand to introduce a free screening of A Futile and Stupid Gesture, the story of National Lampoon creator Doug Kenney, at 10pm on Saturday. As it's a Netflix film, this may be your only chance to see it on the big screen, so get a pass and line up early if that's your thing. Then, of course, Tuesday is trash Night, with an a-yet-unannounced movie for your mockery.
  • This year, at least, the films at The Harvard Film Archive celebrating the recipient of the McMillan-Stewart Fellowship are being offered free of charge, so you can learn about director Alain Gomis by seeing 35mm prints of L'Afrance and Andalucia without spending any cash. After that, it's a weekend of king-sized documentaries - Park Lanes by Kevin Jerome Everson documents an entire eight-hour work day in real time on Saturday and the finale of their Frederick Wiseman series on Sunday with At Berkley, which is just a hair over half that length. Then on Monday, they have their monthly "Cinema of Resistance" screening, this time around welcoming director Theo Anthony to introduce and discuss IFFBoston alumnus Rat Film.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts has more of their Boston Festival of Films From Japan, including Over the Fence (Friday), Oh Lucy! (Friday), Takashi Miike's Blade of the Immortal (Sunday), and Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High (Wednesday). They also begin a run of rotoscoped Irani film Tehran Taboo with screenings on Friday, Sunday, and Wednesday, while two classic international satires - 1963's Il boom from Italy and 1936's French The Crime of Monsieur Lange - start Thursday. In between, Saturday is Stanley Kubrick Day, with A Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove, and The Shining all screening.
  • Emerson's Bright Lights presents two differently-ambitious 2017 films for free in the Bright Screening Room this week, with The Killing of a Sacred Deer on Tuesday and The Florida Project on Thursday. Discussion with members of the school's faculty will follow.
  • The Institute for Contemporary Art has two free screenings with museum admission this weekend, with The Square playing Friday night and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry the week's "Month of Sundays" show. They also have Oscar-Nominated Shorts this weekend - Live-Action on Saturday and Animation on Saturday and Sunday. The animated and live-action shorts will also be playing all week at the Kendall and West Newton, while the Coolidge keeps the documentary shorts around for another week, and CinemaSalem fits all three programs into their little room.

Man, as much as I love the idea of the Sci-Fi Film Festival, it is really in the freakin' way this weekend! I'll somehow try to fit the Chinese New Year and Nic Cage films in around it, hang out with my brother for the first time in years, and then actually catch some of the others at night when I just want to sit down after walking around New Orleans all day.

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