Friday, February 12, 2021

Next Week in [Virtual] Tickets: Films sort of playing Boston 12 February 2021 - 18 February 2021

Potentially a very busy weekend - Lunar New Year, Valentine's Day, President's Day - all with attached film stuff. Plus theaters reopening with a fair amount of new material!
  • I'm still kind of surprised that it's come down to The Brattle Theatre having to stream Casablanca for Valentine's Day, but here we are, so if that's a tradition for you (or even if it isn't), you can let them send it to you through Sunday. They've also got people manning the concession stand for the weekend, with popcorn, soda, snacks, and other goodies available for pick-up through Sunday night. Pre-order them online, specifying the pick-up time, and maybe get some merch as well.

    They also team up with Independent Film Festival Boston and A24 to do a virtual premiere run of the pretty darn great Minari, with shows at 7pm every day through the 25th. They've actually already sold everything through the 21st out, so lock down your ticket if you want your stream to benefit the Brattle!

    "Regular" virtual bookings include another that I enjoyed during festival streams last year, with Lapsis having played Fantasia and taking place in an alternate present where working class people lay cable throughout parkland for quantum computing, and a man doing it under false pretenses finds he's in for more than he bargained for. Another new addition, Crestone, has a kind of similar now/future/out of sync vibe, following musicians who come together in a Colorado desert town. They also pick up a new restoration of What Happened Was…, Tom Noonan's directorial debut from 1994 with two people spending Friday night in an intimidating apartment. They join My Little Sister, Heartworn Highways, Mirror, True Mothers, You Will Die at Twenty, Atlantis, Psycho Goreman, and Identifying Features in the Brattlite virtual theater.
  • It's a relatively quiet week for The Coolidge Corner Theatre and their streaming options. Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words opens on Friday; it's a documentary that uses animation and illustration to visualize her letters and opinions. Their second new release arrives on Sunday, with Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities an anthology whose six segments are all directed by Black creators. They join Two of Us, A Glitch in the Matrix, M.C. Escher: Journey to Infinity, Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time, Some Kind of Heaven, and City Hall as streaming options.

    The week's virtual talk is a "Shakespeare Reimagined" presentation, with folks from the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company discussing Ten Things I Hate About You at 8pm on Wednesday. As with the usual Thursday entries, you can either dig through your shelves for a DVD or find a stream (JustWatch shows 4K availability!) after registering and before joining the panel.
  • The Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival continues through Monday night, with features, shorts, and panels available to stream any time after they premiere and the traditional 24-hour marathon live-streamed starting at noon on Tuesday. I covered Monster Seafood Wars (very much Minoru Kawasaki pastiche, for better or worse) and A Mermaid in Paris (aggressively cute with a nice cast) via Fantasia, and am planning to catch Toxico, Truth or Consequences, Beauty Water, Bruja, Infinitum, The Trouble with Being Born, Deep In, The Unhealer, Tales of Tomorrow, and Curse of Willow Song, and maybe more if I find the time come Monday night.

    GlobeDocs continues their Black History Month Film Festival, with Code Switching and short "Together - 6 Feet Apart" available to stream now (Process is the Project Part One goes online Thursday). RSVP for the discussions (Tuesday noon for Code Switching, Thursday noon for "Together") to be sent links for both those Zoom calls and the film itself.

    Boston Jewish Film will be presenting the Boston Israeli Film Festival next month, but team up with the Coolidge and IFC Midnight for a preview of The Vigil, in which a man who has left his Hasidic community takes a job watching a recently-deceased man overnight and does not have it go smooth at all. It's available starting on Tuesday the 16th, and the ticket also includes a discussion with filmmaker Keith Thomas, cast, and crew on the 22nd.
  • The week's Bright Lights at Home presentation is Welcome to Chechnya, available from noon Wednesday through 7pm Thursday. Director David France and producer Alice Henty will then join a Zoom call (also part of the same stream) to discuss their film on how the republic's leader is trying to eradicate LGBTQ-ness in the region. It's also available on HBO's streams if you don't want to count against the 175-person limit, although I don't know if that gets you into the Zoom.
  • Landmark Theatres Kendall Square re-opens Friday through Monday with concessions on sale as well - in fact, if you have a vaccination card, they'll give you a free popcorn. They've got Minari on two screens, and five other new releases besides.

    Two are true-story dramas: The Mauritanian stars Tahar Rahim as the title character, imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay without charge for years, with Jodie Foster and Shailene Woodley as his attorneys and Benedict Cumberbatch as their opponent; it's also at Boston Common and Chestnut Hill. Judas and the Black Messiah stars Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton and William O'Neal, who has been sent in undercover but has his loyalties tested as he rises through the ranks. It also plays Boston Common (including Dolby Cinema), South Bay (including Dolby Cinema), West Newton, Chestnut Hill, and HBO Max.

    Two more have women in isolated parts of America, with Robin Wright's Land (also at Boston Common/South Bay/Chestnut Hill) contemporary and featuring the director's character retreating to a cabin after a tragic loss, while The World to Come takes place in the 19th century and has two farmers' wives growing closer as they find themselves with needs that their husbands cannot fill.

    Serbian Oscar submission Dara of Jasenovac also opens, with director Predrag Peter Antonijević telling a tale from World War II about a young Serbian girl in a Croat concentration camp, the only one during the war not run by Germany. That one is also at Boston Common; Kendall Square also has Amazon's One Night in Miami… and Netflix's Mank.
  • So far, there is only one Chinese movie at Boston Common opening to celebrate the Year of the Ox, with A Writer's Odyssey coming from Brotherhood of Blades director Lu Yang and featuring Dong Zijian as a fantasy writer whose world is starting to bleed into our own, which leads to a price being put on his head.

    Boston Common continues Nomadland on the Imax screen, while South Bay gives it over to the second and third parts of Lord of the Rings. Valentines/Black History presentations include Pretty in Pink at South Bay on Friday & Sunday, The Notebook at Boston Common Saturday & Sunday, and Ray at South Bay on Saturday.
  • The West Newton Cinema is open through Sunday, and in addition to Judas and the Black Messiah, they have Leona, which stars Naian González Norvind as a young Jewish woman in Mexico City who falls for a man outside the faith.
  • The Regent Theatre has their last planned stream of Jimmy Tingle's featurette "2020 Vision" this weekend; as usual, the one-hour featurette is followed by comedy and talk, with virtual tickets marked as "pay what you can"; unlike the previous three, this one is on Sunday at 5pm.
  • The Somerville Theatre is still closed but the site offering The Slutcracker: The Movie is still showing tickets for sale. The Somerville's sister theater in Arlington, The Capitol, has ice cream and snacks Wednesday through Sunday.
  • Theater rentals are available at the Coolidge, the Brattle, Kendall Square, West Newton, the Capitol, The Lexington Venue, and the AMC/Showcase multiplexes. The Coolidge is showing slots available to reserve online through the end of March for Moviehouse II, the screening room, and the GoldScreen, with "Premium Programming" including In the Mood for Love, Sound of Metal, and Wolfwalkers available along with the option to bring your own disc. The independent theaters also have other fund-raising offers worth checking out.
As you can see, I've got a lot of Sci-Fi fest stuff to get through before Monday night and am very tempted to head out for A Writer's Odyssey, The World to Come, The Mauritanian, and/or Judas and the Black Messiah on top of it.

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