Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Next Week in [Virtual] Tickets: Films sort of playing Boston 25 November 2020 - 3 December 2020

Switching the format up a bit this week, since the open-in-person places are (mostly) getting new movies on Wednesday and the ones offering virtual screenings (mostly) reload on Friday.

Based on the ads I'm seeing in various places, I'd be very curious to see what portion of the big new release's box office comes from theater rentals. I mean, if I were foolishly planning a big family get-together or even if I had a fair-sized pod, that would be tempting.
  • Said big new release is The Croods: A New Age, which seems kind of destined to come out during all this - the first one was actually pretty good and nifty to look at, but even those who really liked it probably lost a lot of excitement at the idea of a sequel over the past seven and a half years. Getting a major holiday release date but also not being valuable enough to save for when people are comfortable returning to theaters is kind of like being dumped, and on top of that, 3D screenings are going to be tough to come by even though DreamWorks uses that format better than anyone. It's getting plenty of screens, though, playing Boston Common (including Imax & Dolby Cinema), South Bay (including Imax & Dolby Cinema), Kendall Square, Watertown (including CWX), Chestnut Hill, and Revere (including 3D and XPlus)

    There's a smaller opening for Last Call (aka "Dominion"), with Rhys Ifans in what is supposedly a fine performance as poet Dylan Thomas in his last days "as he dreams and drinks", with chunks of the dialogue and narration presented as free verse. The film has been in limbo for a while, shot back in 2014 and playing a couple film festivals as a work in progress since, but making its way to Boston Common nevertheless.

    The reissues are pretty holiday/winter-slanted too, with the original Frozen playing Boston Common and Watertown; Elf at Boston Common, and The Santa Clause sticking around Boston Common and Watertown. Showcase continues to dig through the Paramount/Miramax/Tarantino library with Pulp Fiction at Revere, and moves up to Pierce Brosnan in their Bond-a-week series with GoldenEye at Revere. The Last Waltz also plays Revere (note that showtimes for Revere's reissues drop from Fandango starting Monday, but may get put back on; I suspect they're leaving room for rentals). Guardians of the Galaxy also hangs around Boston Common and South Bay.

    Magic Mike plays Chestnut Hill on this Wednesday (the 25th) and The Notebook on the next (the 2nd). South Bay has Stand! The Movie Musical on Tuesday; it's an adaptation of Strike! that played Canada last year and whose director (Robert Adetuyi) at least seems to have some experience in shooting movie with choreography and dancing.
  • Landmark Theatres Kendall Square has another Netflix awards hopeful in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, starring Viola Davis as the "Mother of the Blues" and Chadwick Boseman in his final role as her band's trumpet player in the adaptation of August Wilson's play. They've also got Stardust, with Johnny Flynn as a young David Bowie still creating his on-stage alter ego, which isn't a bad idea for a movie but the family wasn't up for it so soon after his death and didn't license any music to the producers, which I imagine leaves a bit of a hole in it.

    Elvis: That's the Way it Is plays next Thursday, the 3rd, and Kendall Square and Boston Common. The Kendall is listed as closed on Monday and Tuesday.
  • The Regent Theatre doesn't yet have a link up for Insert Coin, but they will be streaming the documentary on Chicago-based arcade-game studio Midway, most notable for creating Mortal Kombat. It's directed by Justin Tsui, who produced the pretty entertaining IFFBoston entry The Lost Arcade (which I thought I reviewed but apparently not!). They begin streaming Jefferson Mays's one-man version of A Christmas Carol starting Saturday, as well as a one-night livestream of The OTA from their stage on Sunday (but with no in-person seating). They also continue their streams of Herb Alpert Is… and Chuck Leavell: The Tree Man through at least Monday.
  • Zappa had one night in brick-and-mortar theaters and moves to places selling virtual tickets like The Brattle Theatre starting on Friday; Alex Winter's documentary on Frank Zappa does have the full co-operation of his estate, allowing him to use all sorts of archive footage. They also open Sandra Kogut's Three Summers, with Regina Casé as a housekeeper for a family whose fortunes change over those two-plus years, although her Madá has schemes of her own. They've also got a new restoration of Hou Hsiao-Hsien's Flowers of Shanghai, which features Hong Kong stars Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Michelle Reis, and Carina Lau, as well as Michiko Hada. They join Fire Will Come, The Twentieth Century, Francisca, City Hall, Six in Paris, Action U.S.A., and Ham on Rye in their streaming selection.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre keeps The Twentieth Century, Collective, Monsoon, Radium Girls, Smooth Talk, Coded Bias, City Hall, and Martin Eden in their streaming room, with Born to Be joining the line-up on Wednesday the 2nd; it follows the staff at Mount Sinai center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York, with special attention paid to Dr. Jess Ting, who was a renowned plastic surgeon before specializing in gender affirmation.

    Jake Mulligan's "Roger Corman, Producer" begins on Monday with discussion of Martin Scorsese's Boxcar Bertha; slots are still available. Participants have to find the movie themselves, which is also the case with the Coolidge Education entry Watermelon Woman, with cultural critic Soraya Nadia McDonald joining for a Zoom seminar on Wednesday the 2nd. Registration is also open for their annual Film Trivia Night fundraiser, held virtually this year on December 5h.
  • Out-of-town virtual streaming festivals Noir City International and DOC NYC continue through the 29th, with the latter giving you the chance to get a discount and support The Lexington Venue by using the DOCNYC-LEXINGTON code when checking out. The Taiwan Film Festival of Boston's free Thanksgiving program also runs through Sunday, featuring documentary short subjects "After Crossing" and "Moving In Between" and featurette "1 / 3 Millions".
  • Bright Lights at Home skips this Thursday for Thanksgiving, but will be back on 3 December with The Condor & The Eagle, a documentary on Indigenous woman leaders fighting to protect their lands from the climate crisis. The film will be followed by a discussion with climate activists.

    Their colleagues at ArtsEmerson, which whom they would share the Bright Room in normal times, also have a film-ish event, with musician Somi's featurette in the absence of things premiering on Tuesday with a live-stream followed by a conversation with Somi, director Mariona Lloreta, and National Black Theatre Artistic Director Jonathan McCrory, with the film available to stream on-demand for a week afterward.
  • The Museum of Science re-opened their Omni theater last week with "Superpower Dogs" and "Back from the Brink: Saved from Extinction"; like the rest of the museum, timed tickets must be bought in advance, and there are big gaps between showtimes to allow time to clean/sanitize. Sadly, the re-opened theater is now using digital projection rather than classic 70mm-film-with-frames-the-size-of-your-fist-projected-onto-a-dome-the-height-of-a-medium-sized-office-building-with-a-lamp-that-doubles-as-a-death-ray OMNIMAX.

    I believe The New England Aquarium's Imax screen is also digital these days, and is currently only open during the weekend (which includes Friday this week). They also co-present the weekend's GlobeDocs presentation, Entangled - RSVP, stream the documentary about the fight to save the North Atlantic right whale over the weekend, and then tune in for a panel discussion including filmmaker David Abel and a number of experts on Tuesday evening.
  • It looks like The Somerville Theatre site no longer links to their virtual cinema, but they are offering up a link to a streaming version of Slutcracker: The Movie, which is edited together from last year's performances at the Somerville (including two separate casts) starting on Thanksgiving. Their friends at The Capitol in Arlington have the concession stand and ice cream stand open, but are only showing films for private rentals.
  • The West Newton Cinema has not yet posted a holiday-weekend schedule; I wouldn't be surprised if they added The Croods 2 and jettisoned some of The Climb, Pride and Prejudice '40 (Saturday), A Rainy Day in New York, Honest Thief, The Keeper, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Casablanca, and The Maltese Falcon, and wouldn't be surprised if they didn't.
  • Theater rentals are available at the Brattle, the Coolidge, the Capitol, The Lexington Venue, West Newton, Kendall Square, the open AMCs (that is, not Assembly Row), the Majestic in Watertown, and maybe Apple Fresh Pond (the Belmont Studio has a rental page on their site, but it's the same as it was back before everything). The Coolidge is showing slots available to reserve online through December 23rd, the Brattle has scattered slots through December 3rd. The independent theaters also have other fund-raising offers worth checking out.

    While the open multiplexes mostly offer the chance at private screenings of their line-ups, it's worth noting that South Bay has listings but no available showtimes for The Star, Bad Moms & A Bad Moms Christmas, Arthur Christmas, The Holiday, and Hook; presumably those are available rentals even if they're not on the marquee.
I've got a ton of Noir City International to watch over the long weekend and will probably also try for Vanguard, Mank, Ma Rainey, and The Croods 2.

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