Friday, May 07, 2021

Next Week in [Virtual] Tickets: Films sort of playing Boston 30 April 2021 - 6 May 2021

Are the local indie theaters being relatively quiet this week to point us to IFFBoston, or is there just less going the virtual cinema route with more places opening in person with larger capacities, even here? Anyway, I wonder what will become of those virtual rooms over the next couple months - will they disappear, or will places like the Brattle and Coolidge use them as run-extenders and extra screens? Has any place that doesn't have that sort of theater opened one up? Might be a neat way to see if there's any interest in potentially opening an art-house in a small city!
  • Meanwhile, it's IFFBoston time, hopefully one of the last cinematic events we'll be doing virtually around here. You should totally go to the site and see what interests you, but my schedule is The Dog Who Wouldn't Be Quiet and A Reckoning in Boston on Friday; Holler and We're All Going to the World's Fair on Saturday; I Was a Simple Man and Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America on Sunday; The Dry on Monday; The Oxy Kingpins on Tuesday; and Marvelous and the Black Hole on Thursday. The hole on Wednesday is for when Edgar Wright's The Sparks Brothers starts its 48-hour run, and I may fill it with shorts since I anticipate seeing that one theatrically.

    Or one could go with The ReelAbilities Film Festival, also playing virtually through Thursday. Their whole schedule is up, but it's worth noting that there will be live Q&As for Wildflower on Sunday, Scattering CJ on Monday, The In-Between on Wednesday, and In a Different Key on Thursday (closing night).

    If you want still more online film festivals this week, even if they're not local, the TCM Classic Film Festival has programson the namesake channel and HBOMax, and the Animation Show of Shows is online for those who can't make it to Beverly Hills.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre picks up Duty Free (which was part of Bright Lights a few weeks back); it's a documentary in which filmmaker Sian-Pierre Regis takes his 75-year-old (and recently laid off) mother on a journey to do things she never figured she had time for. It joins About Endlessness, In Silico, the three Oscar Nominated Shorts programs (Animated, Live-Action, and Documentary, also available virtually from The ICA through Sunday and Landmark), and City Hall in the virtual theater.

    And, at the end of the week, they open up to paying customers, with Get Out and Do the Right Thing playing on Thursday. Reserved tickets go on sale today, and at 15% they may go fast, so maybe get ahead of the rest of opening week with Enter the Dragon & Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on the 14th; Top Hat & The Grand Budapest Hotel on the 15th; and Frances Ha & the Almodovar program of "The Human Voice" and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown on the 15th.
  • The DocYard offers up maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shore for those that missed it from the Brattle; it's available through Thursday, with director Sky Hopinka joining moderator Cass Gardiner for a live Q&A on Wednesday
  • The Brattle Theatre keeps their virtual offerings pretty steady with The County, Work Songs, Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts, Hope, Małni – Towards the Ocean, Towards the Shore, This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection, and Center Stage in the Brattlite. They've got snacks and merch for order and pick-up over the weekend, but it looks like they're planning to stick with virtual shows and private rentals through the end of the month.
  • ArtsEmerson and The Boston Asian-American Film Festival continue their "Community Stories" program through Monday, with three short documentaries on noteworthy figures in America's Chinatowns - "A Chinese American Giant: The Y.C. Hong Story", "Vanishing Chinatown: The World of May's Photo Studio", and "Meditations of the Power of Community". The latter was commissioned by the Gardner Museum, which will be hosting a free viewing on Tuesday at 6pm, followed by a panel discussion with filmmakers, subject, and community members.
  • Belmont World Film reaches its conclusion this weekend, with Cuban coming-of-age story Agosto playing until Monday, when they will host a live Q&A with producer Marcela Esquivel Jiménez and a special message from director Armando Capo (who can't join the discussion because there's apparently no internet in Cuba at night). The group will have another series in June for World Refugee Month.
  • The Regent Theatre still has Long Live Rock: Celebrate the Chaos on offer, and that happens to also be this week's main GlobeDocs event, with a chance to watch it over the weekend and a discussion with director Jonathan McHugh and the Globe's Maura Johnston at 5pm on Monday.
  • I feel like I first saw Landmark Theatres Kendall Square play a trailer for Gunda before the pandemic, but maybe not. It is, at any rate, something well out of the ordinary, a black and white documentary about the daily life of a farm pig told more or less from her perspective and eschewing human narration. The Kendall also opens another documentary, The Human Factor, which looks at the past 30 years of American negotiators trying to find a way to peace in the Middle East. They're closed Monday and Tuesday, and show a screening of Chicago: American's Hidden War on Thursday, though I'm not sure whether this is a one-night thing or a night-before screening.
  • Add AMC Assembly Row to the list of open theaters this weekend - technically the one closest to my apartment, but I kind of feel like Kendall's the less taxing walk - although without concessions, because Somerville is cautious as heck. The big movie they get opening weekend is Wrath of Man, which is somehow the first time director Guy Ritchie and star Jason Statham have worked together in 15 years, and though it looks like standard direct-to-video fare (undercover cop with a grudge looking to take down armored car robbers), they don't really need to do that right now, so maybe it's something more. It's and Kendall Square, Boston Common (including Imax & Dolby Cinema), Fenway, South Bay (including Imax & Dolby Cinema), Assembly Row (including Imax & Dolby Cinema), Arsenal Yards (CWX), and Chestnut Hill.

    Also opening is The Water Man, with David Oyelowo directing and co-starring with a nice group of character actors (Rosario Dawson, Maria Bello, Alfred Molina), although they're likely supporting Lonnie Chavis and Amiah Miller as kids on a quest to find a mythic healer in the modern world. It's at Boston Common. Arsenal Yards in Watertown seems to be the only place picking up Gia Coppola's Mainstream, with Maya Hawke, Andrew Garfield, and Nat Wolff in an online/entertainment-world love triangle.

    There's also Here Today, with co-writer/director Billy Crystal as a comedy writer who forms an unlikely friendship with a street musician played by Tiffany Haddish. That one plays Boston Common, South Bay, and Chestnut Hill.

    Chinese film My Love also opens at Boston Common, and it has perhaps the single most generic young-people-in-love trailer I've ever seen; I couldn't even tell whether or not it was supposed to be a nostalgic-flashback romance or not. Cliff Walkers sticks around at Kendall Square and Boston Common and Demon Slayer continues at the Kendall, Boston Common, Fenway, South Bay, Assembly Row, Arsenal Yards, and Chestnut Hill; it's now apparently Japan's highest-grossing film ever.

    Scott Pilgrim Versus The World adds Assembly Row and Arsenal (Saturday only) while hanging around Boston Common and South Bay, though no longer on Dolby screens. The F9 countdown (or count-up) continues with 2 Fast 2 Furious on Friday night at Boston Common, Fenway (for reward program members), and Arsenal Yards. South Bay and Arsenal Yards have Fried Green Tomatoes on Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
  • The West Newton Cinema keeps last week's slate of Together Together, Godzilla vs Kong, The Father, Raya and the Last Dragon, Tom & Jerry (Sunday only), and Nomadland through Sunday, and are available for private rentals.
  • The Somerville Theatre isn't yet ready to open, and The Capitol only has their ice cream shop and concession stand open.
  • Theater rentals are available at the Coolidge, the Brattle, Kendall Square, West Newton, the Capitol, The Lexington Venue, and the AMC/Majestic/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 Wolfwalkers, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7, The Father, Mank, Judas and the Black Messiah, Nomadland, Minari, In the Mood for Love, and Sound of Metal; 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, and Apple Fresh Pond has plans to re-open in May.
I'm taking the week off work for IFFBoston, but won't be entirely staying in my living room, since I don't really like watching movies there before it's totally dark. So, I'll probably hit Wrath of Man and The Water Man, maybe something else.

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