Friday, February 07, 2020

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 7 February 2020 - 13 February 2020

It is genuinely weird to have the Oscars get in the way of the sci-fi film festival; I know that even awards contenders cycle through theaters so fast now that they've got to keep moving up, but this feels way too early.

  • But, believe it or not, The Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival kicks off Friday night in The Somerville Theatre, and for all that I've given the festival and its organizers a hard time in the past, they have (in combination with other local film organizations) put together a schedule with some pretty noteworthy entries: Opening night film Proxima, for instance, stars Eva Green and is written and directed by Alice Winocur, while Saturday night includes Synchronic, the new one from Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead, who haven't done a less-than-great feature yet. Mattie Do is here from Laos to do a Q&A after The Long Walk Sunday afternoon, and… Well, I'll admit, I haven't actually been that excited with the rest. Shorts packages and conferences will be at The Rockwell through Tuesday before moving back to the Somerville's Micro-Cinema for the rest of the fest, and there will also be a special "first-person cinema" live commentary for Serenity at the The Museum of Science on Tuesday night..
  • Upstairs (mostly) in the Somerville's big room, the week's only new release, Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is the week's only wide release, also playing at Fresh Pond, Jordan's Furniture (Imax), Boston Common (including Imax/Dolby Cinema), Causeway Street (including Wide Screen), Fenway, the Seaport (including Icon-X), South Bay (including Imax/Dolby Cinema), Assembly Row (including Imax/Dolby Cinema), the Embassy, Chestnut Hill, and Revere (including MX4D/XPlus).

    The Kendall, Boston Common, and Fenway all continue their Best Picture showcases this weekend, with the Kendall notably being the only one to include the Netflix productions. Fenway and Assembly Row will have 50th Anniversary screenings of Love Story on Sunday afternoon, with Revere joining them on Wednesday evening. Filipino (but English-language) historical drama Quezon's Game is at Boston Common on Monday, while Revere has Fatal Attraction that night. Concert film Break on Thru: A Celebration of Ray Manzarek and The Doors plays Wednesday night at the Kendall, Boston Common, Fenway, and Chestnut Hill. The latest Russian film at Fenway, Vtorzhenie ("Invasion") is a sequel to 2017's first-contact story Attraction, and I won't lie about being curious despite not being impressed with the first. There are also special preview screenings of Portrait of a Lady on Fire at Boston Common, Causeway Street, Fenway, the Kendall, and the Embassy on Wednesday, before the "regular" night-before shows on Thursday prior to its opening next weekend.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre, Kendall Square, and Boston Common open The Assistant, which arrives here soon after playing Sundance, with Julia Garner as an executive assistant having rather a lot asked of her. The Coolidge also begins showing some of its screenings of Parasite (doing a really impressive job of hanging around despite already being out on disc) in the new black-and-white version.

    The Coolidge also adds the documentaries to their mix of Oscar-nominated shorts, the 160 minutes broken into two (roughly) 80-minute programs. If you wish to catch the shorts before (or after!) the ceremony, the Coolidge, Cinema Salem, and Causeway Street have everything every day; Kendall Square and Boston Common have live action and animation daily; The ICA has documentaries on Saturday (in two programs) and animation & live action on Sunday, with a program of Sundance shorts starting Thursday; The Lexington Venue has animation Friday/Saturday and the documentary and live action programs Saturday/Sunday; and the Luna has everything on Saturday.

    The midnights at the Coolidge this week feature new digital restorations, with Fulci's The House by the Cemetary playing Friday and Saturday, Slumber Party Massacre II only on Friday, and a 35mm print of Trouble Every Day on Saturday. If you'd rather show up early, Sunday morning has both a show of Kids' Flicks from the New York International Children's Film Festival and a Goethe-Institut screening of The Goldfish. Monday night's Science on Screen show is a 35mm print of Panic in the Streets with microbiologist Silvia Caballero discussing new approaches to fighting disease. There's Open Screen on Tuesday and an already-sold-out Valentine's show of When Harry met Sally… on 35mm Thursday.
  • Kendall Square also picks up Citizen K, a documentary from Alex Gibney that puts the spotlight on Mikhail Khodorovsky, one of the first Russians to get extremely rich after the fall of the Soviet Union, who was later imprisoned for ten years and later exiled after speaking out against Putin.
  • Apple Fresh Pond has three new movies from India this week - Telegu-language high-school reunion romance Jaanu; Tamil action/romance Malang - Unleash the Madness, and Tamil family drama Vaanam Kottattum, with Jawaani Jaaneman and Panga also continuing their run.

    The runs for Dominican comedy Los Leones at Revere and Weathering with You at Boston Common also continue. Boston Common also opens The Man Standing Next, a political drama from South Korea featuring Lee Byung-hun as a fictionalized version of the head of the KCIA in the 1970s, in a more straight-ahead telling of the same events that inspired The President's Last Bang. I am kind of mildly surprised that this is the first Korean film to open here since Parasite; you'd think someone might have tried to see if that was a wave they could ride a bit.
  • The Brattle Theatre leads up to their Sunday night Oscar Party with 35mm screenings of Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (and a special 35mm preshow) from Friday to Sunday. On Saturday it shares the screen with Boston Jewish Film's Boston Israeli Film Festival, which also has shows at The West Newton Cinema from Sunday to Tuesday and finishes at the JCC Reimler-Goldstein Theater on Wednesday and Thursday.

    After that, the Brattle has the first DocYard screening of the season on Monday, with directors Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside there to discuss América, their film about a family coming together to care for their deteriorating mother. There's a "Cinema in Context" screening of Carol on Tuesday, with a post-film discussion led by KJ Surkan. There's nothing on the schedule Wednesday, but Thursday starts the Valentine's programs, with 35mm prints of Casablanca and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
  • The Harvard Film Archive completes The Films and Videos of Richard Serra, with "Prisoners Dilemma" as program #3 on Friday and a pair of 16mm shorts on Sunday evening. Their Angela Schanelec program also reaches its end, with screenings of The Dreamed Path on Friday and Saturday night and Ms. Schanelec visiting in person for her latest, I Was at Home, But, on Monday evening. The Weekend Matinee on Saturday afternoon is a subtitled 35mm print of Studio Ghibli's relatively little-screened Whisper of the Heart, showing for $5 and free with a Cambridge library card. Finally, the weekend's Silent Hitchcock shows are The Ring on Saturday evening and Downhill on Sunday afternoon, both on 35mm..
  • The Museum of Fine Arts begins a run of documentary 16 Bars on Friday, with Sam Bathrick's film about the music being made inside the American prison system also playing Sunday and Wednesday. Much of the rest of the week is given to the Boston Festival of Films from Japan, including Dance with Me (Friday/Saturday), an "on the fringe" show of Spirited Away (Friday), Blue Hour (Saturday), Killing (Wednesday), Okko's Inn (Thursday), and Erica 38. There's also a second show of "The Blunderwood Portable" on Sunday.
  • Bright Lights has what I believe is the first Boston-area showing of A Vigilante on Tuesday, with producer Andrew Corkin there for discussion. Thursday's show, #Female Pleasure, has director Barbara Miller on hand. Both are free to the public in the Paramount's Bright Screening Room
  • In addition to the Oscar shorts, The Luna Theater has Parasite on Friday and Tuesday evenings, Casablanca all day Sunday, and the usual free Sunday Morning Magical Mystery Movie Club and Weirdo Wednesday surprises.

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