Friday, February 19, 2021

Next Week in [Virtual] Tickets: Films sort of playing Boston 19 February 2021 - 25 February 2021

So Detective Chinatown 3 made something like $400M last weekend, but it looks like it won't play near Chinatowns in America because its distributor isn't the one that's booking in US theaters. Which is weird, since they own a large chunk of AMC, the only chain that's committed to being open, but go figure.
  • The Brattle Theatre has something to fit Chinese New year, though, with Twilight's Kiss, a film out of Hong Kong about two older men who meet in a park after having been closeted their whole lives. They also bring in Truth to Power, a musician documentary focused on System of a Down's Serj Tankian, as well as a new restoration of the director's cut of Demonlover, and, folks, I do not like this whole deal of time passing to the extent that movies released in the twenty-first century are getting restorations. They join Lapsis, Crestone, What Happened Was…, Heartworn Highways, Mirror, Atlantis, Have You Seen My Movie?, and Psycho Goreman in the Brattlite virtual theater.

    The Independent Film Festival Boston/A24 virtual premiere run of Minarihas done well enough that all the 7pm shows have been sold out, but they've put extras on at 9pm (and weekend 4pm shows) for the second week of its run, through the 25th. Proceeds from those shows benefits the teater, as does their concessions take-out sale; reserve a time and come away with popcorn, soda, candy, shirts, and more.
  • Things get kind of weird at The Coolidge Corner Theatre this week, at least from what I can tell from two of their films. Jumbo is one I didn't get a chance to stream from Fantasia last summer, but it has a unique hook with Noémie Merlant playing a woman who falls in love with an amusement park ride, and if I remember the discussion at the time, it's not exactly a platonic affair. Meanwhile, Days of the Bagnold Summer is a coming-of-age film about a teenager who just wants to stay in his room and listen to Metallica when plans to visit his father for the summer fall through and his single mother, with original songs by Belle and Sebastian, who, if I'm not mistaken, represent the polar opposite of Metallica, musically.

    Test Pattern, at least, looks a little more conventional, a taut-looking drama about a couple who drive from hospital to hospital looking to have a rape kit performed after the black girlfriend is attacked, the white boyfriend never having faced that sort of official apathy and hostility. They can be found alongside Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words, Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities, Two of Us, M.C. Escher: Journey to Infinity, Some Kind of Heaven, and City Hall as streaming options.

    Filmmaker Shatara Michelle Ford and co-stars Brittany S. Hall & Will Brill will have a virtual Q&A for Test Pattern on Monday evening, one of three discussions planned for the week. MLK/FBI director Sam Pollard will join State Representative Nika Elugardo for a Panorama discussion on Wednesday; the film was part of IFFBoston's Fall Focus last summer and while it's not at the virtual Coolidge, it's rentable in plenty of places. The same goes for Singin' in the Rain, the subject of critic Josh Spiegel's Thursday seminar (with an introduction available earlier for those who register).
  • The page for the GlobeDocs Black History Month Film Festival has some of the earlier discussions meant to follow the films up on line, and still shows links to RSVP to stream Black Boys, Code Switching, and short "Together - 6 Feet Apart" even though the Q&A events have already taken place. Process is the Project Part One is available to stream now (with a RSVP), with a discussion at noon on Monday, right about when Glory will become available (though you have to reserve before 9am on Monday) ahead of a 3pm discussion on Thursday.

    Boston Jewish Film continues their preview of The Vigil through Monday, which also gives the viewer a chance to see a live talk with filmmaker Keith Thomas, cast, and crew on the closing night.
  • Bright Lights at Home offers a free stream (for up to 175 people) of Coded Bias from noon Wednesday through 7pm Thursday, with director Shalini Kantayya joining a Zoom call at 8pm on Thursday. I remember it being one of those docs that's a decent overview, the sort of thing where you could probably get a lot of extra benefit from picking the director's brain (and that of the moderator and any other guests) afterward.

    With both series being virtual, they don't have to share the Bright Screening Room with ArtsEmerson's Film Program, which has a week of encores from their "Shared Stories" series starting on Wednesday. Features Our Right to Gaze, Savages, Servants, and Specialty Acts, and Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066 are marked as "Pick Your Price" (with Our Right to Gaze and Alternative Facts including pre-recorded Q&As); there are also six short films being streamed for free. They come online at 7pm Wednesday and go off at 10pm on the 28th.
  • Landmark Theatres Kendall Square is open Friday to Sunday with the main new attraction being Nomadland, Chloé Zhao's terrific film featuring Frances McDormand as a widow living out of her van after her entire town closes. It's been an Imax exclusive for a while, and also shows up on Hulu this weekend, although the big screen adds quite a bit. The film also expands to South Bay and Chestnut Hill.

    They also pick up Blithe Spirit, an adaptation of a Noël Coward play which stars Dan Stevens as a novelist whose first wife (Leslie Mann) is manifested by a spiritualist (Judi Dench), and is not exactly pleased with her replacement (Isla Fisher). That is, if nothing else, a heck of a nifty cast.
  • It's a quiet week at the multiplexes, with the main addition at Boston Common being End Game, a new film from A Cool Fish director Rao Xiaozhi, in which an out of work actor assumes the life of a man he presumes to be dead, only to find out his new identity is that of an assassin, while that man awakens with amnesia, befriended by a single mother who believes him to be the actor. It joins A Writer's Odyssey, both of which I notice are distributed by CMC, as was The Rescue, as the rest of the folks importing Chinese films don't seem to think it's worth booking in America despite many screens being available.

    South Bay has the three Lord of the Rings films at various times this week - I don't quite see the pattern on the weekend, although Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday is clear enough, with both AMCs' Imax screens going to the Billie Eilish documentary on Thursday.
  • The West Newton Cinema does not yet have their schedule up; my guess is Nomadland and Judas and the Black Messiah, although they might just go with last weekend's slate of Judas and Leona.
  • The Regent Theatre has a livestreamed "My Sweet George" event on Thursday, with a number of artists playing the music of George Harrison from the Beatles to, presumably, the Wilburys, with event posters available and an auction to benefit the theater.
  • The Somerville Theatre is still closed while The Slutcracker: The Movie is apparently still available, because why not, I guess. Over 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 AMC app lists some "sold out" showtimes that are probably just meant to show the movies are available as part of rentals. The independent theaters also have other fund-raising offers worth checking out.
I'm tempted to do double features this weekend, with the Chinese movies at Boston Common and maybe Blithe Spirit & The World to Come at the Kendall, getting weird with Psycho Goreman and Jumbo around it. Might do Demonlover, because I remember hating it 20 years ago but am now kind of unsure whether it was the movie or me.

No comments: