Friday, March 05, 2021

Next Week in [Virtual] Tickets: Films sort of playing Boston 5 March 2021 - 11 March 2021

Is it school vacation or spring break or something in other parts of the country? In Maine and Massachusetts, I'm used to vacations mid-February and mid-April (President's Day and Patriot's Day), but maybe it's early March in other places, which would explain why so much is coming out this week, relatively speaking despite the calendar being wide open.
  • Virtually speaking, The Brattle Theatre picks up the most, with Quentin Dupieux's absurdist crime comedy Keep an Eye Out at the top of the list. Between Deerskin a year ago and Mandibles playing as part of Nightstream, it may seem like Dupieux is having an inhumanly productive pandemic, but this one played Europe back in 2018 and just hadn't made it here yet. They also open a couple of odd documentaries: Truth or Consequences (part of the Boston Sci-Fi FIlm Festival a month ago) looks at the small New Mexico town in question, the site of a spaceport and not much else, with a speculative framing; F.T.A. is a new restoration of Francine Parker's look at the explicitly anti-war comedy show Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland put on for American soldiers in Southeast Asia during the height of the Vietnam War. They join Sin, Un Film Dramatique, Twilight's Kiss, Truth to Power, Demonlover, Lapsis, and Mirror in the Brattlite virtual theater.

    That site also has a "Brattle Selects" presentation of The Mystery of Picasso, a 1956 film that played the theater back in 1960 and was also the first movie the theater played after becoming a non-profit 20 years ago, an event the play to celebrate for the next twelve months. A24 and IFFBoston have also extended virtual shows of Minari (which benefit the Brattle) for another weekend through Sunday, and they are also offering take-out concessions through Sunday (order ahead). And while the good folks at The Boston Underground Film Festival will have to hold off having an in-person festival again this year, they're teaming with the Brattle for an virtual advance screening of Come True on Wednesday, before the film starts its regular run in the Brattlite on Friday.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre will welcome director Elizabeth Lo and canine cognition expert Alexandra Horowitz on Tuesday evening for a Science on Screen presentation related to Stray, which is opening in the virtual room on Friday; it's a look at the stray dogs of Istanbul, and if it's as good as Kedi was for the city's cats, it should be a treat. They also bring IFFBoston Fall Focus alum Night of the Kings to local streaming (it has already opened in-person at Kendall Square). The virtual room will also continue to feature Days of the Bagnold Summer, Test Pattern, Two of Us, M.C. Escher: Journey to Infinity, Some Kind of Heaven, and City Hall.

    In addition to the Stray chat, they will be teaming up with Brookline Booksmith for a virtual book tour event on Wednesday, with The Nolan Variations author Tom Shone discussing said book about filmmaker Christopher Nolan; there's a special discount code at the theater's website if you order from Booksmith's site. And on Thursday, critic Odie Henderson stops in for the weekly Coolidge Education seminar, talkin 'bout Shaft, the original 1971 classic. Sign up, watch Henderson's intro, rent the film on your streaming service of choice, and come back for the Zoom discussion.
  • Boston Jewish Film started their Boston Israeli Film Festival on Thursday night, and its eight films and short programs will be available through Wednesday. Five will also have live conversations: Rain in Her Eyes and Rockfour on Sunday afternoon, Four Mothers on Monday evening, Menachem Begin: Peace & War on Tuesday evening, and Here We Are on Wednesday afternoon.

    A week after that, the Irish Film Festival will begin its virtual edition on St. Patrick's Day, combining new selections with, I believe, some which were part of the drive-in version that was held in the fall; only a limited number of slots are available for each program, open for pre-order now. Passes are also available for Belmont World Film's virtual spring series, with new films (mostly) coming online Tuesdays starting on the 16th and being available for a week that ends with an online discussion.
  • Bright Lights at Home has an especially interesting-sounding presentation this week, with The Viewing Booth inviting the audience to watch a young woman as she herself watches and reacts to footage, in this case a young Jewish American woman having what she thinks of Israel and the occupation of Palestine territory challenged by images from that milieu. It's free to stream from noon Wednesday until 8pm Thursday, with director Ra'anan Alexandrowicz joining a live chat afterward.
  • Landmark Theatres Kendall Square is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday and gets two new releases. My Salinger Year stars Margaret Qualley as the assistant to a literary agent (Sigourney Weaver) whose clients include J.D. Salinger, who begins to write responses to fan letters that are normally shredded without being sent to the reclusive writer.

    There's also Boogie starring Taylor Takahashi as a Chinese-American teenager who may have the talent to play in the NBA but is under tremendous family pressure to direct his efforts toward academics. It also plays at Boston Common( some screenings subtitled in Mandarin) and South Bay.
  • The multiplexes get two big movies to split the premium screens this week - both, oddly enough, featuring actresses from the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon is their new animated adventure which features Kelly Marie Tran as the title character, a warrior in a world inspired by Vietnamese myth on a quest for an elusive dragon. It plays Boston Common (including Dolby Cinema & Imax), South Bay (including Dolby Cinema & Imax), and Chestnut Hill (through Sunday), and is also available for home rental via Disney+. Chaos Walking, meanwhile, features Daisy Ridley as a woman who crash-lands on a planet where only men survived some sort of disaster and broadcast their thoughts, with Tom Holland as the guy who befriends her. That one is also at Boston Common (including Dolby Cinema & Imax), South Bay (including Dolby Cinema & Imax), and Chestnut Hill (through Sunday). Both look like they'd be fun in 3D, but nobody seems to be playing them in that format locally.

    In addition to the new releases, Boston Common also has showtimes for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and 42 on Friday, although those may just be titles available for use in private screenings. Paramount, meanwhile, is weirdly schizophrenic, using The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run to launch the rebranding of CBS All Access to Paramount+ after it's been on VOD for a while (though maybe not in the USA), but selling Coming 2 America to Amazon, which has it on Prime starting this weekend.
  • The West Newton Cinema has Tom & Jerry playing through Sunday and is also open for private rentals.
  • The Somerville Theatre is still closed but had construction permits in the windows when I last walked by, so maybe the upstairs theaters will have the same new look as the ones downstairs when they re-open. The site, though, is still just linking to The Slutcracker: The Movie. 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 has extended the slots available to reserve online through the end of April now offers early and late evening chances to rent Moviehouse II, the screening room, and the GoldScreen, with "Premium Programming" including Minari, 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've already bought tickets for an Imax Rose & Rey double feature on Sunday, with Keep an Eye Out and Stray also in my plans, as well as getting a few things moved from the

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