Friday, July 12, 2024

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 12 July 2024 - 18 July 2024

Crap, it's hot. Like, is it worth walking 10 minutes to the T station and getting sweaty and gross to sit in a theater? That sort of hot.
  • Fly Me to the Moon is a high-concept romantic comedy with Scarlett Johansson as a marketing executive who sparks with a launch director played by Channing Tatum during the Apollo program, although higher-ups expect her to fake the moon landing should disaster occur. It's at the Capitol, Fresh Pond, West Newton, Boston Common, Causeway Street, Kendall Square, the Seaport, South Bay, Assembly Row, Arsenal Yards, and Chestnut Hill.

    For those looking for something creepier, there's Longlegs, starring Maika Monroe as an FBI agent investigating a serial killer, who is almost certainly played by Nicolas Cage, although he's been almost entirely absent from the trailers. It's at the Coolidge, Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Kendall Square, Causeway Street, the Seaport, South Bay, and Assembly Row.

    One of my favorites from this year's Independent Film Festival Boston, Dandelion, opens at Boston Common, Causeway Street, the Seaport, and South Bay; it stars KiKi Layne as a Cincinnati musician who takes a trip to a South Dakota motorcycle festival and meets a Scottish folk singer.

    The Lion King has a 30th anniversary run at Boston Common and South Bay. That's the original cel-animated version, so it might be odd when there's a CGI Mufasa trailer attached. A League of Their Own plays Arsenal Yards Sunday.to Wednesday.

    Sci-fi/horror flick Lumina, about a group searching for a friend who has been abducted by aliens, opens limited shows at Causeway Street (and one show Saturday at The Embassy). The trailer, oof, it is not good. Bull Street has limited shows at South Bay, starring Malynda Hale as a woman trying to prevent herself and her grandmother from being evicted from their house by her estranged father.

    There's a screen-unseen preview at Boston Common, Causeway Street, and Assembly Row on Monday. "A24 x Imax" presents Oasis: Supersonic on Tuesday at Jordan's Furniture, South Bay, and Assembly Row. Sing 2 has matinees at Boston Common, Causeway Street, South Bay on Monday and Wednesday. There are early access shows of Twisters on Wednesday at Boston Common (Dolby Cinema), South Bay (Dolby Cinema/Imax Laser w/ Q&A), Assembly Row (Dolby Cinema/Imax Laser w/ Q&A), and Arsenal Yards (CWX).
  • Icelandic drama Touch, in which a widower seeks his first love, who returned to Japan without a word 50 years earlier, plays The Coolidge Corner Theatre, Kendall Square, Boston Common, amd Assembly Row.

    The Coolidge also has the new 4K restoration of Seven Samurai for its 70th anniversary, a full and fantastic evening of film.

    Midnights at the Coolidge include a 35mm print of Joan Crawford in William Castle's Strait-Jacket on Friday and the original Friday the 13th on Saturday (you do what you can when the Georgian calendar puts nearly a year between months that start on a Sunday); if you still need catching up before MaXXXine, the two previous films will play midnight in chronological order this weekend - Pearl on Friday and X on Saturday. Monday's Big Screen Classic is City of God, Tuesday's "Godzilla vs. the Coolidge" show is a new restoration of Destroy All Monsters, and Thursday's "Rewind!" show is Cruel Intentions on 35mm film, with an after part in the ew Education and Community Engagement Center in the new new addition.
  • The Brattle Theatre has two very different films from France Friday to Monday: Céline and Julie Go Boating is Jacques Rivette's surreal New Wave comic fantasy on its fiftieth anniversary; The Vourdalak is a new period horror film about a French noble trapped in a Serbian cabin with a family fearing their patriarch has returned as a vampire.

    After that, the vertical calendar returns! Mondays and Tuesdays will be the latest "Columbia 100" series, focused on Musical Columbia, with Start Cheering on 35mm film Monday and a twin bill of You Were Never Lovelier & Cover Girl on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday afternoon are a special engagement of The LInguini Incident, with Rosanna Arquette and David Bowie scheming to rob a restaurant in a throwback screwball comedy. Thursday evening has a 35mm print of Desperately Seeking Susan with director Susan Seidelman in person.
  • Tamil-language blockbuster Indian 2, a sequel to one of S. Shankar's first films (his first since Endhirian sequel 2.0), has Kamal Haasan returning as a vigilante teaming with a young vlogger to fight corruption. It's at Fresh Pond (Tamil/Telugu), Boston Common (Tamil including Imax Xenon/Hindi). Also opening at Fresh Pond, Boston Common is Hindi-language drama Sarfira starring Akshay Kumar as an aviation entrepreneur.

    Kalki 2898-AD continues at Apple Fresh Pond (Telugu/Hindi), Boston Common (Telugu/Tamil); Kill continues at Boston Common and the Seaport.

    Chinese film Life Hotel, with Huang Xyan as an ex-con who gets work in a "home for patients". It's at Causeway Street.

    Korean thriller Project Silence has Familyhood director Kim Tae-gon returning to his horror roots, as an accident traps motorists on a bridge with a monster. It plays Causeway Street, alternating showtimes with Escape.

    The week's Ghibli-fest film is Princess Mononoke, playing Boston Common, South Bay, Assembly Row Sunday (dubbed), Monday (subtitled), Tuesday (dubbed), and Wednesday (subtitled); Arsenal Yards also has it Saturday (subtitled) to Monday.
  • The Somerville Theatre brings back Hundreds of Beavers for the Saturday midnight special and I love that my neighborhood gets a kick out of it. They also team with IFF Boston for a "Hot Summer Nights" series starting this week with American Gigolo on Monday, a 35mm double feature of Body Heat & 9½ Weeks on Tuesday, and another 35mm pairing of Fast Times at Ridgemont High & Flashdance on Wednesday. On Thursday, they have the first of two night or a week-long run of Lost Soulz, about a Texas rapper on a journey of self-discovery.

    The Capitol will be running (mostly) Dreamworks animated matinees this summer, with How to Train Your Dragon first up. They also have another 4th Wall event on Saturday night, with Pew Pew, Scaffolding, and Jim E. Brown playing and visuals by Digital Awareness.
  • The Alamo rep calendar has Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Cure for the "Seaport Selects" shows on Friday and Saturday night. Purple Rain plays Friday/Sunday/Tuesday/Wednesday, with Movie Party shows Sunday & Wednesday; Gremlins plays Saturday, a "World of Animation" screening of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind on Monday; and a preview screening of Crumb Catcher on Tuesday (scheduled for a two-day run next Friday & Saturday).
  • The Tuesday Retro Replay musical movie at Landmark Kendall Square is Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts has an unusually busy film schedule with the Boston French Film Festival: Ama Gloria and The Crime Is Mine each have shows Friday & Sunday; Sisterhood and Banel and Adama play Saturday.
  • The Regent Theatre has Water Brother: The Sid Abbruzzi Story on Wednesday, with Abbruzzi on-hand for this documentary about how he is an east-coast skate & surfing legend.
  • The New England Aquarium has Jaws on their giant Imax screen Friday and Saturday.
  • Last weekend for Inside Out 2 on the Omnimax screen at The Museum of Science; Twisters starts showing Friday and Saturday evenings next weekend.
  • The Lexington Venue has Despicable Me 4 and Thelma (returning Friday), and is open all week except for Monday.

    The West Newton Cinema opens Fly Me to the Moon and keeps Despicable Me 4, Kinds of Kindness, A Quiet Place: Day One (Friday to Tuesday), Thelma, Inside Out 2, If (Saturday/Sunday), and Janet Planet.

    The Luna Theater has Robot Dreams (Friday/Saturday/Sunday), Tuesday (Saturday/Sunday/Thursday) , and a Weirdo Wednesday Show.

    Cinema Salem has Kinids of Kindness, Despicable Me 4, Maxxxine, and Inside Out 2 from Friday through Monday. The Friday Night Light late show is Roar, and Cruel Intentions plays Thursday night.
  • Outdoor films on the Joe's Free Films calendar this week are Shrek (Friday at the MIT Open Space), Legally Blonde (Saturday at the Prudential Center), The Rock (Wednesday at the Speedway in Allston, postponed from a previous week), Migration (Wednesday at Timothy J. Twomey Jr. Park in Cambridge), In The Heights (Wednesday at the Charleston Navy Yard), Elemental (Thursday at the Lyman Estate in Waltham), The Mummy (Thursday at the Argenziano School in Somerville), and Up (Thursday at The LOT in Dorchester).
Well, miserably hot or not, if I want to see Kinds of Kindness, Longlegs, Project Silence, The Vourdalak, and maybe Life Hotel in theaters before heading north, let alone Jaws at the Aquarium, Fly Me to the Moon, or any of the Brattle/Somerville programs, I can't waste much of the weekend!

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Defection Double Feature: Escape and Hijack 1971

I feel like AMC works hard to not have this situation come up most of the time, but when distributors toss out two Korean thrilled with similar plots on the same day, there's probably not enough demand to give them each a screen of their own. So they share a screen, alternating showtimes, and that lets me do this:
This, by the way, if what I'm going to be doing a lot of in a couple of weeks, hopefully: Going to one movie at Fantasia, enjoying it from my preferred close-to-the-front-and-center seat, and then walking to the lobby, joining the passholder line, and settling back into the same seat. That it's entirely possible that both movies in Montreal will be Korean makes it even more like practice for the festival.


Talju (Escape '24)

* * * (out of four)
Seen 6 July 2024 in AMC Causeway Street #2 (first-run, laser DCP)

Escape manages the nifty trick of feeling fairly no-nonsense despite a couple of twists, the sort that could otherwise make a lean feature feel like it has been padded to get over 90 minutes. Writer/director Lee Jong-pil establishes a plan, throws wrenches into it, and circles back in a satisfying way.

He presents the plan right away, as North Korean border patrol agent Lim Gyu-nam (Lee Je-hoon) waits until the others in the barracks are asleep, rushes across the room, climbs through a duct, and then sprints for the spot where he's burrowed under the fence and follows the map he's made of a clear path through the minefield to its end, where he starts carefully feeling out the ground in front of him so that he can extend it. He should be able to flee in four days, but fellow NCO Dong-hyuk (Hong Xa-bin) throws a pair of wrenches into it: First, but noting that low-flying birds indicate it will probably rain heavily in the next couple of days, likely making things muddy enough that the mines will drift into new positions, and by saying he has seen Gyu-nam's activity and wants to come along, to reunite with his mother and sister in the south. This naturally causes things to go sideways, but Gyu-man may have another chance - the State Security Agent sent to investigate, Li Hyun-sang (Koo Kyo-hwan), is a childhood acquaintance, and notes that it certainly looks like Gyu-nam was trying to capture Dong-hyuk. It seems pretty clear, though, that Hyun-sang is more interested in having Gyu-nam under his thumb than helping an old friend.

In a lot of thrillers, this might be a time for a lull, or a reset as the filmmakers send the film off in a different direction, albeit one that will inevitably draw on something Gyu-nam learned early on, but Lee is not looking to do "one year later" here: Gyu-man has maybe not spent his whole ten years in the force on this plan, but it has been enough time that it would be difficult to let go, and there's too much energy here, whether in Gyu-man's urgency, Dong-hyuk's desperation, or Hyun-sang's sadism, that there's not a whole lot to gain by dissipating it off-screen, even if Koo Kyo-hwan (as Hyun-sang) is the only one who is really chewing scenery. Lee slows down just enough to make the film breaking into a run again so quickly almost confusing - my brain had started to shift back into "gather information" mode - but it's exciting when one realizes just what he's doing.

It's not entirely man-on-a-mission linear, though, having time to ruminate about how nastily top-down a place like North Korea can be, but also realizing that's background noise for its people as opposed to something to ruminate on. The characters know this, it's probably well known in the South, and honestly most folks know that this is how it works, no matter how rigid a place's stated principles are. There's just enough time to find something tragic but not forgivable about how this makes some people mean, especially Hyun-sang, who is fascinating because one must be almost willfully ignorant to miss that he's gay. Does he feel that being constantly on offense is the only way to keep people from coming for him, or want more than military loyalty from Gyu-nam? It doesn't matter; the combination of ambition and fear has made him a monster. The film is also darkly comic as it plays with the irony of how sometimes the best weapon against authoritarians is their own fear of getting in trouble.

With all that, it moves quickly; the filmmakers build the various escape plans smartly, the sort of things that can either be done on the run either in terms of being improvised or with the knowledge that people may be shooting at you, rather than trying to impress the audience with plans where a million things out of Gyu-man's control could go wrong. The action does, admittedly, feature an awful lot of near misses with guns on full auto and one very fortuitous encounter with some guest stars, but these sequences flow well, both individually and in getting from one to the other, and flow is what this sort of movie thrives on.

Indeed, when one considers that the South Korean action movies that cross the Pacific often give a writer/director enough rope to be self-indulgent that the end result can make one fidget (even this 94-minute film draws things out a bit at the end), Escape is refreshingly efficient, at times so much so that one wonders if one missed a step. It passes, though, and the lasting impression is something that knows the plan and gets it done.


Hijack 1971

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 6 July 2024 in AMC Causeway Street #2 (first-run, laser DCP)

It's kind of fascinating that movies set on trains are often more exciting than expected but ones set on planes are maybe a notch below what they should be, especially when you consider ohw many people are afraid of riding a train as opposed to flying. It's like the all or nothing nature of disaster in the air boxes the filmmakers in, even more than being based on an actual event. Hijack 1971, for instance, chugs along, never actually getting close to dull, but you know the big fireworks and reprise of the moral dilemma in the prologue isn't coming until the very end.

That prologue, set in 1969, as South Korean Air Force pilots Tae-In (Ha Jung-woo) and Dong-cheol (Kim Dong-wook) diverted from training to track a passenger plane flying to the North. Tae-in recognizes the pilot as his former wingman Min-su (Choi Kwang-il) and, believing the plane to be hijacked, refuses to disable it by shooting out an engine, feeling it an unacceptable risk to the passengers on board. He is dismissed from the service even before Min-su is not repatriated - North Korea needs pilots, even if they don't want to be there, and offers a bounty on hijacked planes. So come 23 January 1971, Tae-in is flying commercial, though his decision has him still a co-pilot rather than a captain, when Kim Young-dae (Yeo Jin-goo) boards his plane with a carryon full of explosives, quickly injuring captain Gyu-sik (Sung Dong-il) and air marshall Chang-bae (Moon You-kang), leaving Tae-in and flight attendant Ok-soon (Chae Soo-bin) to figure out how to keep the passengers safe and in their homeland.

This general description probably holds for a lot of hijacking stories, from the dawn of aviation to the twenty-first century, because how else is it going to go? So the devil's in the details, and the good news is that the core cast here is strong: As the former fighter pilot in the copilot seat, Ha Jung-woo brings steady movie-star charisma tempered more by humility than self-doubt, a sense that he doesn't exactly know what to do next but has what it takes to think it through. He's a good match for Sung Dong-il as the captain, who is cut from the same cloth and manages to make their trust and teamwork work even though friction might be the more easily thrilling narrative. Chase Soo-bin is a nice anchor as the flight attendant who proves calmer under pressure than she maybe expected. Generally, the supporting cast does the "passengers with just enough backstory to make them individual" thing well.

It could maybe so with a better antagonist, Yeo Jin-goo is in a sort of no-man's land between delusional zealotry and sweaty panic for much of the film, even with a fair amount of attention paid to his backstory. His motivation is one of the more intriguing underlying themes of the film, and complements what's going on with Tae-in well: Both are where they are because absolutely anyone with some connection to the North, even relatives of those kidnapped and returned, are treated as if they were spies by default. I'm curious to what extent this is still a contemporary thing in South Korea or a relic of the past. There's not a lot of chance for Tae-in to show empathy, or draw on that common thread, or even for the characters to reflect on it after a finale where he could be seen as attempting to prove his loyalty at all costs.

It's also kind of fascinating to watch a movie in this genre where the setting and present day are on opposite sides of 9/11, because the first act hits you with nostalgia for how air travel used to be awesome and exciting but also, in retrospect, insanely reckless. The film is actually quite good when it focuses on the flying, too, since these movies often have the plane as an island in a featureless sky. The previz credits include a "virtual pilot", so there's clearly been some attention paid to things being plausible if extremely unlikely along with some creativity about how it all plays out, and the effects work is solid.

Hijack 1971 winds up being a tight-enough thriller that it's an entertaining evening or matinee at the movies. There are bits where a viewer might want more or something a bit more unexpected, but no so that it keeps the film from getting the job done.

Wednesday, July 03, 2024

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 3 July 2024 - 11 July 2024

Oh, these Wednesday pre-holiday openings can sneak up on you, can't they?
  • Despicable Me 4, which counting the Minions movies is the sixth film in the series to come out in a 14-year period, pretty crazy turnaround time for major animated features, opens all over at the Capitol, Fresh Pond (including 3D), the Embassy, the Lexington Venue, Jordan's Furniture (Imax), West Newton, CinemaSalem, Boston Common (including Imax Xenon/Dolby Cinema/RealD 3D), Causeway Street (including RealD 3D), Kendall Square, the Seaport, South Bay (including Imax Xenon/Dolby Cinema/RealD 3D), Assembly Row (including Imax Laser/Dolby Cinema/RealD 3D), Arsenal Yards (including CWX), and Chestnut Hill. This time around, Gru and his adopted family must enter the witness protection program and the Minions are injected with super-soldier serum.

    The latest Angel Studios thing, Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot, is about a church whose members adopt 77 children from the local foster-care system. It's at Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Causeway Street, South Bay, and Assembly Row.

    Ti West's third X-trilogy film, MaXXXine, doesn't exactly open Wednesday, but most places will have preview shows that night, nothing on the Fourth, and then regular opening at the Somerville, the Coolidge, CinemaSalem, Boston Common, Causeway Street, Kendall Square, the Seaport, and Assembly Row on Friday.

    There are early screenings of Fly Me to the Moon at Boston Common, Assembly Row, Arsenal Yards, and Chestnut Hill on Friday and Saturday. Close Encounters of the Third Kind gets anniversary shows at Boston Common, South Bay, and Assembly Row on Sunday and Wednesday. Arsenal Yards plays Caddyshack Sunday to Tuesday. The Lorax has matinees at Boston Common, Causeway Street, and South Bay today; Sing plays matinees at those locations on Monday and Wednesday the 10th. South Bay has documentary Watershed, about an athlete training for the Paralympics despite the pandemic and further injury, plays South Bay on Thursday the 11th.
  • Two border-crossing films from South Korea open on Friday: Escape, at Causeway Street, has someone from the North trying to go South; Hijack 1971, at Boston Common and Causeway Street, has a man trying to force a Southern airliner to land in the North. They're on the same screen at Causeway Street, so you can do a double feature with time for a bathroom break and trip to the concession stand in between (although, given the setup, can you get a refill on a large drink there?).

    Indian action film Kill, a fight-your-way-from-one-end-of-a-train-to-the-other thing, opens at Boston Common and the Seaport.

    Kalki 2898-AD continues at Apple Fresh Pond (Telugu/Hindi/Tamil), Boston Common (Telugu/Hindi), and South Bay (Telugu/Hindi); Jatt & Juliet 3 closes at Fresh Pond but opens at Boston Common on Friday.

    Anime feature Blue Lock: Episode Nagi continues at Boston Common, Causeway Street, South Bay, and Assembly Row.
  • Landmark Kendall Square opens June Zero, a drama which examines the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann from three perspectives at the periphery, on Friday.

    The Kendall also starts a month of music movies with Wattstax on Tuesday.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre also opens MaXXXine, supported by midnight screenings of X (Friday) and Pearl (Saturday). The other midnights are 35mm prints of Serial Mom Friday and The Honeymoon Killers on Saturday.

    Other repertory presentations include a Big Screen Classic shows of Blow Out on 35mm on the Fourth and Some Like it Hot on Monday. Godzilla vs the Coolidge continues with Mothra vs. Godzilla on Tuesday, and there's a Cinema Jukebox presentation of Rock 'n' Roll High School on Thursday.
  • The Fourth of July means The Brattle Theatre has Jaws on 35mm film on Wednesday and Thursday.

    For the next few days, they team with The Harvard Film Archive for a peek at the series the HFA would be dedicating the summer to if it weren't undergoing repairs and a "prologue" for the series at the reopened HFA this fall. "Melville and Company", featuring the films of French crime master Jean-Pierre Melville and others working the genre side of the nouvelle vague. That includes Le doublos (Friday/Saturday/Monday), the new 4K restoration of Le samouraï (Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Tuesday), Jacques Becker's The Hole (Saturday/Monday), a new 4K restoration of Claude Sautet's The Big Risk (Saturday/Tuesday), When You Read This Letter… (Sunday/Tuesday and not expected to be at the HFA this fall), and Léon Morin, Priest (Sunday/Monday).

    Wednesday offers up a 50th anniversary double feature of John Boorman's Zardoz & Brian De Palma's The Phantom of the Paradise, and on Thursday the films play on either side of the annual Trailer Treats party where they run an hour and a half of trailers, music videos, and short films on 35mm film.
  • In addition to opening Maxxxine, The Somerville Theatre has the original Fright Night on 35mm film on Saturday.

    The Capitol hosts children's entertainer Brecky Breck on Saturday for a matinee that includes readings stories, crafting, and a short film.
  • The Alamo rep calendar hosts a movie party for Jaws on the afternoon of the Fourth and starts their "Seaport Selects" program on Friday, showing Tsai Ming-liang's debut Rebels of the Neon God through Sunday. The Time Capsule series rolls back another five years to 1984 with Red Dawn (Saturday), Top Secret! (Sunday), and The Company of Wolves (Monday). There's also a preview screening of Sing Sing with a Q&A streamed afterward.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts begins their annual Boston French Film Festival on Thursday with The Nature of Love, a romantic comedy from Quebec about a professor who leaves her husband for her handyman.
  • The Regent Theatre has 1776 on Wednesday.
  • The New England Aquarium has Jaws on their giant Imax screen for three night starting Thursday the 11th.
  • The Museum of Science has Inside Out 2 on the Omnimax dome Fridays and Saturdays through 13 July, and then switch to Twisters the next weekend.
  • The Lexington Venue has Despicable Me 4, Inside Out 2 (through Thursday) and Thelma (returning Friday), and is open all week except for Monday.

    The West Newton Cinema picks up Despicable Me 4, Kinds of Kindness, and A Quiet Place: Day One, alongside Paradise (Friday/Sunday), Thelma, Inside Out 2, If, and Janet Planet.

    The Luna Theater is dark until Thursday the 11th, when they show In a Violent Nature.

    Cinema Salem has Despicable Me 4, Maxxxine, Thelma, and Inside Out 2 from Friday through Monday. They also have locally-shot horror film Dead Whisper on Wednesday and a program of shorts made in New England on Thursday.
  • Joe's Free Films shows Top Gun at the Navy Yard tonight; League of Super Pets at Hoyt Field in Cambridge, The Rock at the Speedway, and Dirty Dancing at the Navy Yard next Wednesday; and then Barbie at Lyman Estate in Waltham and Home Alone at Boston Landing on Thursday the 11th.
None of the mainstream new releases appeal to me, which is fine, because I've got two Korean movies, some Jean-Pierre Melville (that link to my review of Le Doulos says maybe I should mainline his movies sometime and thanks for making that easy, Cambridge film institutions!), and Kill along with the Trailer Treats and some catching up.

Monday, July 01, 2024

Handsome Guys

I've been making my reservations to go to Montreal for the Fantasia International Film Festival, and they've been rolling out their lineup, so the festival was on my mind as I bought my ticket for Handsome Guys and went to see it on Saturday, and even more so as the two other purple in the audience and I had a pretty good time, with more laughter from us than I've heard from bigger crowds watching acknowledged classics lately. This, I thought, would probably be a huge hit at Fantasia, even if it was the "2130 show in DeSève generates enough word of mouth to sell out another matinee a few days later" variety. I'd certainly have loved being in a room with a couple hundred people laughing rather than the three of us who somehow became aware of a movie with no trailer that I don't think even showed up on the AMC and Fandango apps until sometime Thursday.

And I think that's what would have happened, five years ago: Instead of opening in American theaters two days after opening in South Korea, it would have played a few genre festivals, folks like me (most with much more of an audience) would have written reviews and gone on social media, and there would have been people waiting when it got theaters and home video. Now it's going to be a pretty brief blip in theaters, quite possible gone Tuesday because it was basically filling a screen meant for Despicable Me 4 for a few days. Maybe Well Go or Bayview pots it out on disc, maybe not.

And, sure, maybe these are more showtime than it would have had five or ten years ago! But I can't help but feel that for something like this - a goofy little movie from a first-time director - the current very fast home-market to worldwide to streaming pipeline doesn't really give movies many chances to succeed. It ain't great for the festivals and sites where people write about movies, either.


Random-ish thoughts on the previews before the movie:
  • it didn't take until seeing it this time for it to hit me (although I'm kind of embarrassed I didn't see it right away), but the Borderlands movie is really looking for the Guardians of the Galaxy audience, isn't it? I'm sure there have been other "irreverent space adventure" movies in the past ten years, but this one's really going for it, with the classic rock trailer, just enough gore and casual violence to make you go "ewww!" without it really feeling dark, and even a guy whose background is mostly weird horror (Eli Roth) in charge. Someone really wants to recreate the GOTG magic!
  • It's weird that you never see Nicolas Cage in the trailer for Longlegs. I mean, I love Maika Monroe as much as anybody, but I don't know that she's a draw outside of the indie-horror-knowers, especially as the lead in a dour serial-killer movie.
  • I am so ready to not see the trailer for Maxxxine any more, although it's kind of funny how the red-band one comes of as obnoxiously crass but the lack of f-bombs in the green-band version just throws the whole rhythm of it off.
  • Wait, are we really getting both Hijack 1971, in which a South Korean tries to divert a plane to the North, and Escape, in which North Koreans try to escape to the South, on the same day? I don't know how much demand for Korean cinema the typical city has, but probably not "two action movies about defecting" much. It seems like Sony and Well Go should have checked to make sure this didn't happen!

Haenseomgaijeu (Handsome Guys)

* * * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 29 July 2024 in AMC Causeway Street #9 (first-run, laser DCP)

Handsome Guys is close enough in its setup to Tucker and Dale va. Evil - two threatening-looking bumpkins try to help an unconscious girl but are mistaken for killers by her friends, who off themselves trying to rescue her - that I'm tempted to call it an uncredited remake, but it goes bigger and goofier early and often enough to be its own thing. It is, at the very least, good enough in an empty theater that I wonder how it would play with a crowd.

The two "Handsome Guys" are Jae-pil (Lee Sung-min), gruff and weathered, and Sang-gu (Lee Hee-joon), friendly but weird-looking, who are going to the countryside to look at a house formerly owned by an American missionary that they can buy and fix-up. Not far away, pro golfer Lee Jung-bin (Jang Dong-joo) is traveling to his vacation home with friends Byung-jo (Kang Ki-doong), Yong-jun (Bin-Chan-uk), and Jason (Kim Dong-hoon); Jason's girlfriend Mina (Gong Seung-yeon), and Mina's friend Bora (Park Jeong-hwa), who has a crush on Jung-bin. When Bora hears that she was brought along as a prank, she runs off, knocking herself out when startled by Jae-pil & Sang-gu. The others go looking for her, or at least the cell phone whose contents could wreck Jung-bin's career in her pocket, but get the wrong idea even before it becomes clear that the black goat their car hit earlier and that Jae-pil & Sang-gu buried has placed in motion the events of a dark prophecy.

It's all very silly, and the trick first-time director Nam Dong-hyub and his cast is making the group of Sang-gu, Jae-pil, and Bora cheery enough to hang out with that the meaner and more horror-oriented elements feel more like spice pulling the rest of the movie back from being too sugary rather than the actual real story that has a plot. Lee Hee-joon, especially, gives a sunny performance as sweet but self-doubting himbo Sang-gu, always finding a way to position his large frame so that the audience can see him as a big teddy bear while implying that someone else might see him as a hulking, dangerous redneck. Lee Sung-min is a fun complement as his far less cheerful "brother from another mother" - director Nam kind of rides the line between queer-baiting and apparent frustration on Jae-pil's part that they're not more than best friends - and Park Jeong-hwa gives Bora enough depth to go from smitten to hurt to happy that these weirdos seem to actually like her. The rest of the cast, by and large, finds the right lane between their characters being huge turds one doesn't mind being killed in gruesome fashion and also funny as they misinterpret Sung-gu, Jae-pil, and Bora going about their business.

Nam uses everything from smash-cuts to putters to play all this out, but his go-to move is blithely showing the audience various things around the guys' home improvement project that could be lethal, lingering on them, and then moving on. Eventually, enough of them are bouncing around a viewer's head that they're a surprise when they actually get used (and by how; I kind of expected something else from the paint thinner). It's like he read about Chekhov's gun and said he'd take ten. It keeps the audience keyed up even as a couple other things are thrown in.

He's pretty consciously silly about it all, figuring gross-outs would probably break the fun atmosphere, but with got a good sense of how not to be cavalier about the bodies piling up, which lets him give folks their hero moments without breaking the atmosphere, even if the way they wind up fighting demons is kind of silly. He has fun pushing the inherent silliness of exorcism narratives even further than other Korean films often do, and often smartly - it is utterly logical that an American missionary would have a six-shooter that dispatches demons with silver bullets, for example, but just putting that gun in this group's hands wouldn't entirely make sense.

It's kind of derivative at points - you could describe this as Tucker and Dale vs Evil Dead and capture 80% of what's going on - but it never just feels like lifting, rolling into its own story throughout. It's 100 minutes of entertaining set-ups to bloody punchlines and doesn't often miss.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 28 June 2024 - 2 July 2024

Short-ish week with the holiday next week, and an odd one.
  • The big opening (for one value of big) is A Quiet Place: Day One, which has Pig director Michael Sarnoski jumping back to the alien invasion that set the series in motion, with Lupita Nyong'o as a woman in New York City when the aliens attracted to sound arrive. It's at the Capitol, Fresh Pond, Jordan's Furniture (Imax), Boston Common (including Imax Xenon/Dolby Cinema), Causeway Street, Kendall Square, the Seaport (including Dolby Atmos), South Bay (including Imax Xenon/Dolby Cinema), Assembly Row (including Imax Laser/Dolby Cinema), Arsenal Yards (including CWX), and Chestnut Hill.

    Big in another dimension is Horizon: An American Saga Chapter 1, the first of two three-hour westerns directed by and starring Kevin Costner to be released this summer, with at least one more coming after that. It's almost like Costner is making a TV series that also gets released in theaters, but with a nifty ensemble cast. It's at Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Causeway Street, Kendall Square, the Seaport, South Bay, Assembly Row, Arsenal Yards, and Chestnut Hill.

    Also opening is Kinds of Kindness, which director Yorgos Lanthimos and Poor Things co-stars Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe (among others) must have made pretty soon after that film, telling multiple stories. It's at the Coolidge (mostly 35mm), the Somerville, Boston Common, Kendall Square, the Seaport, and Assembly Row.

    There's a Screen Unseen preview on Monday at Boston Common, Assembly Row, and non-surprise previews for Maxxxine at Boston Common on Monday. Dr. Seuss's The Lorax plays matinees at Boston Common, Causeway Street, and South Bay on Monday (and Wednesday). Arsenal Yards (barely) has the area's first screenings of Jaws on Monday and Tuesday.
  • IFFBoston films continue rolling out, with Janet Planet playing at The Coolidge Corner Theatre, the Somerville, Kendall Square, West Newton, CinemaSalem, and Boston Common. It features Julianne Nicholson as a single mother who is the only company for the 11-year-old girl at the center. Playwright Annie Baker writes and directs.

    Note that Kinds of Kindness is playing in 35mm when it's on the main screen, so some of the rep screenings will bump it. Not the midnights - 300 in 35mm and The Room on Friday and Sin City on Saturday - as they're too late, nor New Queer Cinema selection Go Fish on Sunday, but it will bump Big Screen Classic Speed on Monday and Godzilla '54 on Tuesday, which kicks off a month of "Godzilla vs the Coolidge" and features a seminar led by Jennifer Cullen.
  • The big Indian movie for the week, Kalki 2898-AD, opened on Wednesday with fancy preview shows and settles into more normal presentations this weekend; it's a Telugu-language film starring Prabhas as a bounty hunter in the world's last city whose latest job brings him face to face with with ancient gods returning as new avatars. It's at Fresh Pond (playing in Telugu/Hindi/Tamil), Boston Common (Telugu/Hindi), and South Bay (Telugu).

    Apple Fresh Pond also opens Jatt & Juliet 3, the latest Punjabi-language romantic comedy to feature Diljit Dosanjh and Neeru Bajwa in stories where a case takes cops from India to Canada, although descriptions make them sound more like variations on a theme than sequels. Chandu Champion is held over at Causeway Street.

    Blue Lock: Episode Nagi, a prequel to the anime series about an attempt to find Japan's greatest youth soccer player focusing on the backstory of a supporting character, opens at Boston Common, Causeway Street, South Bay, and Assembly Row. Volleyball anime Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle continues at Boston Common.

    Korean comedy Handsome Guys opens at Causeway Street just two days after it opened in its native land, featuring Lee Sung-min and Lee Hee-joon as two men who get a great deal on a house only to find there is an evil spirit of some sort in the basement.

    Vietnamese film Face Off 7: One Wish (not really part of a series) continues at South Bay.
  • There's more anime at Landmark Kendall Square as well, with The Imaginary, the latest from Studio Ponoc (the company formed by former Studio Ghibli folks when that appeared to be closing); it tells the tale of an imaginary friend arriving at a town where forgotten imaginary's live. Probably only getting a week before landing on Netflix.
  • The Brattle Theatre brings back BUFF standout Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person, featuring Sara Montpetit as a young (in vampire terms) Québèçoise nosferatu unable to bring herself to kill for her sustenance and Félix-Antoine Bénard as a bullied teenager, for shows Friday to Monday. It splits the screen with Flipside, with director Chris Wilcha examining his unfinished projects and hanging around his hometown record store.

    On Tuesday, they've got a 35mm double feature of X & Pearl, for those of us who have not yet caught up on Ti West's connected slashers starring Mia Goth before the third, Maxxxine, arrives next week.
  • The Somerville Theatre, Boston Common, West Newton open Daddio, a chamber piece with Dakota Johnson and Sean Penn share a conversation as the latter, a cabbie, drives the former into New York City from the airport.

    The Somerville also offers Re-Animator as the midnight special on Saturday, plus an "Attack of the B-Movies" double feature of Dracula vs Frankenstein & The Brain That Wouldn't Die on Sunday afternoon.

    The Capitol has their weekly collaboration with The 4th Wall & Digital Awareness on Friday, with bands Cape Crush, Circlebrooke, and No Good With Secrets on stage.
  • The Alamo rep calendar includes The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Saturday), Born on the Fourth of July (Sunday), License to Kill (Sunday), and I Know What You Did Last Summer (Monday/Tuesday).
  • The Museum of Fine Arts hosts the last night of RoxFIlm on Friday with a shorts package and Sing Sing. The festival continues online through Tuesday.
  • The Regent Theatre has their annual screenings of 1776 on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • The Museum of Science still has open seats for Inside Out 2 on Fridays and Saturdays through 13 July.
  • The Lexington Venue has Ghostlight, Inside Out 2 and Thelma, and is open all week except for Monday.

    The West Newton Cinema opens Paradise, a Sri Lankan film starring Roshan Mathew and Darshana Rajendran as an Indian couple whose anniversary trip to the island takes an unexpected turn, as well as Daddio and The Old Oak, keeping Thelma, Beethoven's Nine: Ode to Humanity, Inside Out 2, If, and Wicked Little Letters (no show Friday).

    The Luna Theater has In a Violent Nature on Friday and Saturday; Hundreds of Beavers and I Saw the TV Glow on Saturday, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Sunday.

    Cinema Salem opens Janet Planet and continues Thelma, Inside Out 2, and I Saw the TV Glow through Monday. Friday's Night Light show is C.R.A.Z.Y., there's a screening of The Birdcage on Saturday, and a "Whodunnit" event on Sunday.

    If you can make it out to the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers, thriller A Sacrifice, a thriller featuring Aussies Eric Bana and Sadie Sink playing Americans in Berlin, opens there
  • Outdoor movies listed on the Joe's Free Films page for Friday are Migration at Boynton Yards in Somerville and Hidden Figures at the open space behind the MIT Museum
Is that blank spot on my Letterboxd map for Sri Lanka going to get me out to West Newton for Paradise? Probably not but it's tempting! In the meantime, I've got my eye on A Quiet Place Zero (had no idea it was the guy who did Pig!), Imaginary, Horizon, and Kinds of Kindness.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Crisis Negotiators

A funny thing to think about is that when The Negotiator came out, back in the 1990s, a popular thing for genre film fans to crumble about was American studios not putting Asian genre movies in theaters but instead getting the remake rights and doing something inferior. It was framed as a peculiarly American thing to do, because only Americans get worked up about having to read subtitles. I don't think that was particularly true at the time, but we've got enough movies coming out here now without being filtered through Miramax/Dimension and the like. It was before we really started to see things which were seemingly designed to be franchised, though.

Anyway, it's good to see a Herman Yau film in theaters again. It's been almost six months, but I see he had a second film come out in China less than a month later, so I'm very excited to see if they could potentially overlap here.


Crisis Negotiators

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 22 July 2024 in AMC Causeway Street #8 (first-run, laser DCP)

Understand, I say this as a person who loves Lau Ching-Wan, but there's at least one scene in Crisis Negotiators where, even if you've only seen the trailer for The Negotiator, you can't help but remember how Samuel L. Jackson chewed the scenery in glorious fashion and sadly note that this doesn't measure up. That bit winds up clearly needing to be more unhinged than what Lau and writer/director Herman Yau are going for. And, boy, does it feel kind of odd that we've come to a point when Hong Kong filmmakers are seemingly watering down American movies for local consumption.

This version of the story starts in 1993, with hostage negotiator Tse Ka Chun (Francis Ng Chun-Yu) brought in to defuse a situation where a mentally unbalanced couple (Andy Lau Tak-Wa & Kearan Pang Sau-Wai) have taken folks in the local social services office hostage over not being able to see their child. Fellow negotiator Cheuk Man Wai (Sean Lau Ching-Wan) is there in a supportive capacity, but come 1996, he's working solo to handle a bank robbery gone wrong. Later, an old friend and colleague asks to meet, but when Cheuk arrives, Ka is dead, the police arriving just in time to find him over the body. With the Internal Investigations detective Ka had suspected, Lee Chun-Kit (Michael Chow Man-Kin), planting evidence to frame him, Cheuk escapes and eventually takes Chun-Kit, his assistant Maggie (Cherry Ngan Cheuk-Ling), informer Lu Di/Rudy (Alan Yeung Wai-Leun) and his own chief Law (Michael Miu Kiu-Wai) hostage, saying he will only negotiate with Tse - who, aside from a reputation for de-escalation and never using force, left the force to become a social worker and is thus unlikely to be part of the conspiracy.

I'm tempted to pull out my DVD of The Negotiator to compare, in part because the casting is interesting - Lau's part, as mentioned, was originally played by Samuel L. Jackson, whose breed of intensity is distinctive, and while Lau is certainly capable of letting loose, he's only occasionally in that mode here. It's hard to remember if Kevin Spacey's character was as big-hearted as Francis Ng's (one can barely remember in 2024 that Spacey was capable of that), but Ng is pretty good at letting his eyes twinkle with intelligence as everybody around him, particularly Philip Keung Hiu-Man's chief officer on-scene, tends to underestimate the pacifistic ex-cop. Much as one might like Lau to be more fiery - he plays Cheuk as a little too smart to have things spin out of control - it's a nice group.

Indeed, the film is mostly fine. If I've seen the original rather than just that preview, it's been a while, so I was never really anticipating things because I knew the story as opposed to this movie never having any really great twists - it more or less goes where expected most of the time. It's a little flabby toward the start, wanting to get too much out of its "guest stars" in the prelude before that deflated while also showing what various sorts of negotiation might look like, but once it gets moving, it's pretty good fun and doesn't waste much time.

The action is pretty well done as well; Herman Yau Lai-To has been doing this forever and has assembled a good team to handle it. Surprisingly, given that much of the film is based around people talking on the phone, some of the best bits of action come from car chases in tight spots, tight enough that they're sometimes knocking pedestrians over. Even the stuff that has some clear digital assistance is nice staging.

I did find myself wondering, toward the end, if Hong Kong is running out of 1990s cars filmmakers can destroy because they've got to set movies with police corruption thirty years in the past. They haven't run out yet, at least, and can still smash things up old-school when they need to.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 21 June 2024 - 27 June 2024

I'm not sure of the extent that it's been moving in this direction for the past few years, but it seems like all the IFFBoston movies are hitting theaters at once and a lot of them had distribution before playing. Like, Netflix/Amazon/Apple carve what plays at Sundance & SXSW up and what makes it to local fests is what IFC, Mongolia, and Neon picked up and probably aren't planning awards campaigns for.
  • The big studio release is The Bikeriders, Jeff Nichols's film about a motorcycle club moving toward crime in the 1960s. Gotta say, I'm a bit worried by the placement of Tom Hardy's name on the poster versus his prominence in the trailer, and that Michael Shannon might just be making an obligatory Nichols-film appearance. Looks like smart counterprogramming for last week's big PIxar movie, though. It's at the Coolidge, the Capitol, Fresh Pond, the Kendall, Boston Common, Causeway Street, the Seaport,South Bay, Assembly Row, Arsenal Yards, and Chestnut Hill.

    The Exorcism, though it stars Russell Crowe, has nothing to do with The Pope's Exorcist other than probably going direct to video if the other film hadn't been a sleeper hit. Crowe plays an actor in a movie about demonic possession who gets a bit close to the material. It's at Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Causeway Street, South Bay, and Assembly Row.

    Documentary I Am: Celine Dion plays Boston Common and Arsenal Yards through Sunday. Origin continues to play (mostly) matinees at Boston Common and South Bay through Wednesday. Concert film Ghost: Rite Here Rite Now has encores at Boston Common (Saturday) and the Seaport (Saturday/Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday).

    South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut has (shiver) sing-along anniversary shows at Boston Common, South Bay, Arsenal Yards on Sunday and Wednesday. Minions: The Rise of Gru plays matinees at Boston Common, Causeway Street on Monday and Wednesday. The run-up to Maxxxine continues with screenings of Pearl at Boston Common, Assembly Row on Tuesday. There's what appear to be a very early screenings of Twisters at Arsenal Yards on Monday and Tuesday (or they're just showing Twister, singular), a slightly early screening for Kinds of Kindness on Wednesday at Boston Common (Dolby Cinema), and a special "Opening Day Fan Event" for A Quiet Place: Day One, presumably including all three movies, on Thursday at Boston Common (Dolby Cinema), South Bay (Dolby Cinema), Arsenal Yards (CWX), and Assembly Row (Imax Laser).
  • Thelma closed IFFBoston (I missed it by cutting it too close with the Green Line), and opens at The Coolidge Corner Theatre, Kendall Square, the Embassy, the Lexington Venue, West Newton, CinemaSalem, Boston Common, the Seaport this weekend. It stars June Squibb as a nonagenarian who is victim to a phone scam and resolves to get her money back. Fun supporting cast, including Parker Posey as her daughter, Clark Gregg as her son-in-law, and Richard Roundtree (Shaft!) in one of his final roles as her partner in crime.

    At the other end of the festival, opener Ghostlight opens at the Coolidge, Kendall Square, The Embassy, Boston Common, Causeway Street, the Seaport, with a family of Chicago stage performers playing a mother, father, and daughter reeling from tragedy, with the father finding an odd escape in a community theater production of Romeo & Juliet.

    Midnights at the Coolidge this weekend feature 35mm prints of Cool World on Friday and Mystery Men on Saturday. Sunday's Geothe-Institut German film, 8 Days in August, will feature a post-film Zoom discussion with filmmaker Samuel Paerriard; Monday's Big Screen Classic is the original 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers on 35mm film while Wednesday's is Cléo from 5 to 7; Tuesday's New Queer Cinema selection is Gregg Akari's Nowhere; and Thursday's Rewind! show is the McG/Diaz/Lieu/Barrymore Charlie's Angels
  • Hong Kong action movie Crisis Negotiators opens at Causeway Street, starring Lau Ching-Wan and Francis Ng Chun-Yu in an adaptation of The Negotiator directed by Herman Yau (who hasn't had a movie released in these parts for almost six months but has two coming out in the Chinas this month).

    Apple Fresh Pond opens Hindi-language comedy Ishq Vishk Rebound and Nepali drama A Road to a Village on Friday. 2021 Tamil crime-in-middle-school actioner Master returns for matinee shows on Saturday and Sunday. They add Telugu screening times alongside Tamil ones for action film Maharaja and also hold over Chandu Champion (also at Causeway Street). If you can make it to Danvers, Telugu thriller Nindha plays at the Liberty Tree Mall.

    The big one, though, opens on Wednesday, with Kalki 2898-AD playing in Telugu (its original language), Hindi, and Tamil showtimes. The most expensive Indian film ever made, it stars Prabhas as a modern (or future) incarnation of Vishnu battling evil forces. It co-stars Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Haasan, Disha Patani, and features a ton of cameos. It also plays Boston Common (Telugu including Imax Xenon/Hindi), the Seaport (Telugu), South Bay (Telugu), but note that neither AMC nor Alamo is including it in their monthly memberships.

    Ghost In the Shell 2: Innocence plays at Boston Common, Assembly Row on Sunday (subtitled), Monday (dubbed), and Wednesday (subtitled). Blue Lock: Episode Nagi, a prequel to the anime series, has early access shows on Wednesday at Assembly Row (subtitled Imax Laser) before regular early shows at Boston Common, Causeway Street, South Bay. Volleyball anime Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle continues at Boston Common.

    Vietnamese film Face Off 7: One Wish (not really part of a series) continues at South Bay.
  • The Brattle Theatre begins a "Recent Raves" series this weekend, with Fallen Leaves (Friday), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Saturday/Sunday), Love Lies Bleeding & Drive-Away Dolls (Saturday), Perfect Days (Sunday), Immaculate & Late Night with the Devil (Monday), Sometimes I Think About Dying & How to Have Sex (Tuesday), Tótem (Wednesday), and La Chimera & The Beast (Thursday).

    They also have a 25th Anniversary "Strictly Brohibited" presentation of Ravenous on 35mm film Friday night, with post-film discussion. Guys welcome, but we're last in line when choosing audience questions.
  • The Somerville Theatre has the last leg of their 70mm/Widescreen Festival, including their 70mm print of 2001 on Friday; an IB Technicolor 35mm print of the 1959 Ben-Hur Saturday afternoon, a somewhat faded 35mm print of Grand Prix Saturday evening, a 35mm print of Raintree County Sunday afternoon, a 70mm print of In the Line of Fire Sunday evening. There's also a midnight special of Scanners Saturday night and a special Monday night show of The Religion Movie, with director Al Kryszak and others expanding on its themes of LGBTQ+ perspectives on religion and faith.

    The Capitol has their weekly collaboration with The 4th Wall for a live show featuring Husbands, Dafnez, Roxy 2, and So Perfect with visuals by Digital Awareness on Friday, plus another on Thursday with Sincerely, Secret Gardens, Circus Trees, and Professor Caffeine and the Insecurities presented by Broken String Booking. The monthly "Disasterpiece Theater"/tape-trading night is Monday, and Thursday also has them hosting "I Want to See 16", a collection of vintage 16mm sci-fi short films
  • The Alamo rep calendar has The Wizard (Friday/Saturday), themed screenings of The Bikeriders and Thelma on Saturday,Vampire's Kiss (Sunday/Tuesday/Wednesday), Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (Monday), and UHF (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday).
  • The Museum of Fine Arts is the main hub for RoxFIlm, with shows Friday to Sunday and on Thursday. There are also screenings at MassArt (Saturday), Hibernian Hall (Sunday to Wednesday), Northeastern University (Monday/Tuesday), and a streaming platform that goes online Thursday.
  • Tuesday's Pride Retro Replay at Landmark Kendall Square is But I'm a Cheerleader.
  • The Regent Theatre is has Man Ray: Return to Reason on Tuesday night and concert film/documentary Revival69 on Wednesday.
  • The Museum of Science still has open seats for Inside Out 2 on Fridays and Saturdays through 13 July.
  • The Lexington Venue has Inside Out 2 and Thelma, and is open all week except for Monday.

    The West Newton Cinema picks up Thelma and continues Beethoven's Nine: Ode to Humanity, Inside Out 2, Ezra, Challengers, If, and Wicked Little Letters.

    The Luna Theater has In a Violent Nature on Friday and Saturday; Hundreds of Beavers and I Saw the TV Glow on Saturday; But I'm a Cheerleader on Sunday; and a Weirdo Wednesday show.

    Cinema Salem adds Thelma to Break The Game, Inside Out 2, Tuesday, and I Saw the TV Glow for regular shows through Monday. There's a Saturday night presentation of Rocky Horror with Teseracte Players (Full Body Cast is at Boston Common, as usual), and a Pride-themed screening of The Birdcage on Thursday.
Ouch to the cost of seeing Kalki 2898-AD in Imax, but I'm doing it, and also catching Crisis Negotiators, Love Lies Bleeding, In the Line of Fire, Inside Out 2, Thelma and probably The Bikeriders.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 14 June 2024 - 20 June 2024

You know, if I were some non-Disney distributor, I might not open my animated feature the same day as a big Pixar release. Maybe Netflix and Neon figure they'll get some overflow when that movie is sold out, but it seems just as likely they'd lose showtimes.
  • As mentioned, Inside Out 2 is the big opener this weekend, with new emotions joining Joy, Anger, Sadness, Disgust, and Fear as she goes through adolescence. It's at the Capitol (including RealD 3D), Fresh Pond (including 3D), the Museum of Science, the Embassy, the Lexington Venue, Jordan's Furniture (Imax), West Newton, CinemaSalem, Boston Common (including Imax Xenon/Dolby Cinema/RealD 3D/Spanish subs), Causeway Street (including RealD 3D), Kendall Square, the Seaport (including RealD 3D), South Bay (including Imax Xenon/Dolby Cinema/Real D 3D), Assembly Row (including Imax Laser/Dolby Cinema/RealD 3D), Arsenal Yards (including CWX), and Chestnut Hill.

    Boston Common has three smaller films to fill its 19 screens in the absence of other large releases: Firebrand stars Alicia Vikander as the sixth wife of Hervy VIII (Jude Law) determined to escape the fate of her predecessors; Treasure stars Lena Dunahm as an American visiting Poland with her Holocaust survivor father (Stephen Fry), who is less than eager to show his daughter the places that shaped and then rejected him; and documentary Bad Actor: A Hollywood Ponzi Scheme.

    The Lord of the Rings extended editions are back at Boston Common for another weekend, with Fellowship of the Ring on Saturday, The Two Towers on Sunday, and Return of the King on Monday (that one an evening show rather than playing in the afternoon). There's a Screen Unseen preview at Boston Common, Causeway Street, and Assembly Row on Monday. Audiences get the chance to play catchup before Maxxxine with special presentations of X Tuesday at the Somerville, Boston Common, Kendall Square, and Assembly Row. Ava Duvarney's Origin has a matinee show Wednesday and Thursday at Boston Common and South Bay. There's also screenings of the Midsommar Director's Cut at Boston Common (Imax Xenon), South Bay (Imax Xenon), Assembly Row (Imax Laser), and Jordan's (Imax) on Thursday. Boston Common and the Seaport also have the first of two screenings of Ghost: Rite Here Rite Now, which combines concert footage with the band's narrative web series, the first on Thursday.
  • The second-biggest animated film to open this week is Robot Dreams, which was a delight when I saw it at IFFBoston's Fall Focus and whose release seemed to have gotten a wrench thrown at it when it received an Oscar nomination. It finally opens this week at The Coolidge Corner Theatre, Kendall Square, and Boston Common.

    It's a busy week at the Coolidge, as they also open IFFBoston alum Tuesday, in which Julia Louis-Dreyfuss plays a mother with an ailing daughter whose lives are further upended when Death, in the form of a talking, shapeshifting bird, pays them a visit; it's also at the Somerville, Kendall Square, the Lexington Venue, CinemaSalem, Boston Common, and Assembly Row. There's also I Used to Be Funny, at the Coolidge and the Seaport, starring Rachel Sennott as a struggling comedian/au pair unsure whether she should help search for a missing teenager she used to care for.

    The Coolidge's Midnights this weekend are 35mm prints of the adaptations of a couple Alan Moore comics (which I'm sure he disapproves of): V For Vendetta on Friday and Watchmen on Saturday. The other repertory presentations are a 35mm print of Field of Dreams as Monday's Big Screen Classic, Edward II for New Queer Cinema on Tuesday.
  • Landmark Kendall Square also opens a third animated film, Ultraman: Rising, an American animated take on the venerable sentai series where, on top of defending Tokyo from monster attacks, this generation's Ultraman has to look after a baby kaiju.

    The Retro Replay show this Tuesday is Moonlight.
  • The big Indian film this week is Chandu Champion, a Hindi-language biopic starring Katrik Aaryan as Murikant Petkar, the first Indian to win an Olympic medal, just part an an eventful life. It's at Fresh Pond, Causeway Street.

    Also opening at Apple Fresh Pond are Telugu drama Music Shop Murthy, Tamil action film Maharaja, and Bengali wrestling romance Kudi Haryane Val Di (opening Saturday).

    Chinese comedy G For Gap, starring Hu Ge as a man who returns to the (crowded) family home after striking out in the city, opens at Causeway Street.

    South Bay has the latest from Vietnamese director Ly Hai, Face Off 7: One Wish, with this entry having a 73-year-old widow and her relationships with her 5 adult children. Near as I can tell, these movies aren't sequels, so folks should be able to jump in just fine.

    Volleyball anime Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle continues at Boston Common, South Bay, and Assembly Row.
  • The Museum of Science not only has Inside Out 2 for the next month or so, but they add "Cities of the Future" to the Omnimax mix!.
  • It's Noir City Boston at The Brattle Theatre this weekend, with the event once again having an international focus, mostly double features pairing American and foreign classics! It starts with Street of Chance (35mm) & Argentina's Never Open That Door on Friday, Across the Bridge & Japan's Zero Focus on Saturday afternoon with two directed by Hugo Fregonese, Black Tuesday (35mm) & Argentina's Hardly a Criminal in the evening, Union Station & Egypt's Cairo Station Sunday afternoon with Italy's Smog & City of Fear (35mm) in the evening. It wraps on Monday with France's Elevator to the Gallows.

    The week's Jordan Peele film is Nope. On Tuesday and Wednesday it's paired with Buck and the Preacher (if you come early) or Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (if you arrive later). On Thursday it plays as a double feature with Carpenter's The Thing (the original plan was Signs, but that fell through).
  • The Somerville Theatre continues its 70mm/Widescreen Festival with It's Always Fair Weather (35mm) and Picnic (DCP) on Friday, Lord Jim (70mm) on Saturday, Funny Girl (35mm) Sunday, . The Band Wagon (35mm) and Gilda on Monday aren't technically part of the festival, but there's a lot of overlap between that and the Tale of Two Studios. There's also a midnight presentation of Penelope Spheeris's Suburbia on Saturday and a "Queer Futures" shorts program on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    The Capitol teams with The 4th Wall for a live show with the Umbrellas and Mallcops with visuals by Digital Awareness on Saturday.
  • The Alamo rep calendar has a fair amount of 1989 Time Capsules: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Friday to Monday), Do the Right Thing (Friday/Sunday/Tuesday/Wednesday), Field of Dreams (Saturday/Sunday/Monday/Wednesday), and Pet Semetary (Monday). There are also screenings of Hollywood 90028 (Friday), The Birdcage (Saturday/Sunday/Wednesday), documentary Federer: Twelve Final Days (Tuesday), and a preview of The Bikeriders with live-streamed Q&A on Wednesday
  • The Museum of Fine Arts wraps the Korean film series with Parasite on Friday, has a 2D screening of Anselm on Saturday, and has opening night of RoxFIlm on Thursday evening with Luther: Never Too Much, including a live musical performance, presumably covering the late Luther Vandross's songs.
  • Monday's widescreen special at The Embassy is Doctor Zhivago.
  • Joe's Free Films shows an outdoor screening of The Greatest Showman on Thursday..
  • The Wednesday movie at The Regent Theatre is featurette Forever Is Now, which follows 10 caretakers at Zion National Park; it will be preceded by a short film and followed by Q&A with the filmmakers.
  • The Boston Asian-American Film Festival will be hosting an open house and screening Twilight's Kiss at the Pao Arts Center Thursday evening.
  • The Lexington Venue turns over completely with Inside Out 2 and Tuesday. They also have two local documentaries by David Abel & Ted Blanco: Inundation District on Tuesday and In the Whale: The Greatest Fist Story Ever Told on Wednesday. The theater is closed Monday but otherwise open all week

    The West Newton Cinema is the only place opening documentary Beethoven's Nine: Ode to Humanity, which converses with nine musicians and artists about their relationship to Beethoven's 9th; director Larry Weinstein will be present for a Q&A Friday night. They also open Inside Out 2 and Tuesday, holding over The Long Game (no show Friday), Ezra, Challengers (no show Monday), If, and Wicked Little Letters.

    The Luna Theater has I Saw the TV Glow Friday, Saturday, and Thursday; Hundreds of Beavers Saturday; Jaws on Sunday; and a Weirdo Wednesday show.

    Cinema Salem opens Break The Game, a documentary about gamer Narcissa Wright trying to rebuild her fandom after coming out as a trans woman, from Friday to Monday. That's in addition to Inside Out 2, Tuesday, The Watchers, and I Saw the TV Glow for regular shows. Friday's Night Light screeding is But I'm a Cheerleader, with the original '88 Hairspray playing Saturday and a program of locally-made shorts on Thursday.

    If you can make it out to the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers, the AMC there opens both sci-fi thriller Latency and Jennifer Esposito's mob family drama Fresh Kills in addition to everything else.
Busy weekend - ticket to the Red Sox & Yankees tonight, graduation party for my niece Saturday, so just one day of Noir City, choosing between Elevator and the Somerville double feature on Monday, and catching up with Inside Out 2 and G for Gap after that.

Young Woman and the Sea

Apparently, this was originally slated to go straight to Disney+, but someone at Disney either figured "we spent some money on this and maybe it would be a good idea to build Daisy Ridley up before New Jedi Order" or, as I've read, they figured it would be a good tie-in for the Olympics, but in either case, it's not like they did much to promote it or release it wide. Which is a shame, because it's pretty darn good, although I suppose it's also the sort of thing people have been trained to wait for streaming on.

Apparently, it was set up at Paramount for a while before moving to Disney, and I'm kind of surprised that Universal didn't pick it up. It fits Disney's brand better, I suppose, but Universal and NBC are sister companies, and not only has NBC/Peacock had a stranglehold on the Olympics for decades, but all the radio news in the movie is from the National Broadcasting System. The cross-promotion seems natural!

(Aside - how excited do people get about the Olympics these days? It was a big deal when I was a kid, but now I regularly ignore it and hear little but how NBC smothers any actual sports under human-interest stories and ignores everyone but Americans.)

I'm guessing it won't hang around much longer than this coming coming week (and that seems like of lucky), but it's worth recommending. I bet my sporty tween nieces would like it.


Young Woman and the Sea

* * * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 9 June 2024 in AMC Boston Common #6 (first-run, DCP)

Movies like this used to be Disney's bread and butter: Earnest tales of adventure and overcoming obstacles with young heroes and little material that might give parents pause. Young Woman and the Sea may be longer and more elaborate than many of its forebears, but it's got the same quality of nobody seeming embarrassed to be making family fare,and winds up surprisingly rousing and entertaining without having to give the audience a wink to show how clever they are.

It introduces young Trudy (Olive Abercrombie) and Meg Ederle (Lilly Aspell) in 1914 New York, a freighter burning in the distance as their immigrant parents (Kim Bodnia & Jeanette Hain) fear Trudy will die of the measles. She proves too stubborn for that, and she doesn't stop being stubborn when mother Gertrud insists on Meg and their younger brother Henry receiving swimming lessons but attempts to exclude her because measles survivors risk losing their hearing from the activity. The sisters take to it with a passion, and by the time they are older, Gertrud signs them up for a team coached by Lotte Epstein (Sian Clifford). Meg (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) is initially seen as the team's strongest member, but soon Trudy (Daisy Ridley) is setting records, eventually recruited for the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Neither the sponsor (Glenn Fleshler) nor the coach (Christopher Eccleston) actually believes in women's athletics, but Trudy nevertheless sets her sights on swimming the English Channel, an oft-deadly pursuit that only a handful of men have managed in 1926.

It's odd to say, perhaps, but the way that the film handles the sexism at the heart of its story is kind of impressive; it could often be presented as so overwhelming that Trudy and Meg would have to do something that seems truly impossible to chip away at it, or seem like they're undoing sexism all by themselves. Instead, though, they show the 1920s as a sort of inflection point, where there are a lot of silly assumptions and attitudes persisting but not only can one see a space for someone like Trudy, but where her love for swimming can exist as its own thing rather than as a response to the nonsense: She swims because she loves it and is naturally competitive, as opposed to as an escape from what she deals with on land.

That's all important because it gives writer Jeff Nathanson (adapting Glenn Stout's book) and director Joachim Rønning more room to make a good sports movie. Swimming isn't necessarily the easiest activity to make exciting, since there's limits on where you can put the camera without the shot feeling contrived when someone is doing laps - I imagine that it's a bit of a filmmaking challenge to get across the emotional intensity of a bunch of people face down in the water - and so rely on live commentary and montage a lot until it becomes a distance event, when they can open the image up, center the seemingly tiny Trudy against the vast ocean, and face her with a variety of challenges, from boats coming too close to how one can get completely turned around in the dark to jellyfish. They also give the audience a fair amount of credit for connecting necessary dots, from how Trudy's works stoking the boiler where the women practice is probably building a fair amount of strength to how the line between being very good and great can be a heck of a thing for two people to find between them.

In the middle, there's Daisy Ridley, the only person in the film you'd potentially call a star, and it's been kind of interesting to see her carve out this niche of women who are wired differently since Star Wars. Trudy doesn't seem quite so peculiar as her characters from Sometimes I Think About Dying and The Marsh King's Daughter, but she probably was relative to her time, and neither she nor Rønning seems worried about making Trudy's focus something that other people will have to work around if they want to be close to her. Indeed, it often seems that the only person she is consistently playing off comfortably is Tilda Cobham-Hervey as the teen/adult Meg, who clearly understands Trudy's passions and can serve as a sort of bridge to those who don't. One can see some of where Trudy comes from in the parents played by Kim Bodnia and Jeanette Hain, but there's always a bit of distance between them - they love Trudy but can't fully enter her world. The coaches played by Sian Clifford, Christopher Eccleston, and Stephen Graham can, perhaps, but they're different sorts of extreme personalities.

It's a terrific looking picture for something with just the one major star and originally destined for a streamer (and likely not one of Disney+'s tentpole releases); you can never really know these days how much was shot in a big green room and how much is finding spots in Bulgaria that can pass of the New York City of a century ago with some clever redressing, but it's a convincing-enough world, and the aquatic scenes are equally great. It's perhaps longer than this sort of film traditionally would be, but seldom feels flabby or drawn out or flabby.

Young Woman and the Sea is kind of a modest movie, but it does what it's supposed to do and does it well. We could probably use this sort of kid-friendly adventure which doesn't rely on visual effects and fantasy being in theaters from major studios a little more often.

Friday, June 07, 2024

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 7 June 2024 - 13 June 2024

Happy "no more trailers for The Watchers or Bad Boys 4" day! That second one, especially, is a rough couple minutes even if Will Smith saying "it's on her mixtape" is as good an example of a skilled performer doing what he can with a bad line.
  • Good news for those of us who have seen both green and red trailers for Bad Boys: Ride or Die a zillion times, as it opens this weekend, with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith as Miami cops trying to clear the name of their murdered captain (so long, Joey Pants). It's at the Capitol, Fresh Pond, Jordan's Furniture (Imax), Boston Common (including Imax Xenon/Dolby Cinema/Spanish subtitles), Causeway Street, Kendall Square, the Seaport (including Dolby Atmos), South Bay (including Imax Xenon & Dolby Cinema), Assembly Row (including Imax Laser & Dolby Cinema), Arsenal Yards (including CWX), and Chestnut Hill.

    Ishana Shyamalan (yep, Night's daughter) makes her feature debut with an adaptation of A.M. Shine's novel The Watchers, featuring Dakota Fanning as one of a small group of people who have somehow been placed in a mysterious room with something watching them through the one-way mirror that makes up a wall. It's at Fresh Pond, CinemaSalem, Boston Common, Causeway Street, Kendall Square, the Seaport, South Bay, Assembly Row, and Arsenal Yards.

    The extended editions of The Lord of the Rings plays at Boston Common, Causeway Street, South Bay, and Assembly Row this weekend: The Fellowship of the Ring on Saturday, with The Two Towers on Sunday and Return of the King on Monday. There's also an AMC Screen Unseen preview at Boston Common, Causeway Street, and Assembly Row on Monday
  • Apple Fresh Pond has a new website that feels like it could take some getting used to - it's all sorted by film rather than date, and I kind of liked being able to see at a glance the size of the rooms each showtime was in - and open a few new movies this weekend. Munjya is a Hindi-language horror-comedy ("for the whole family"), Satyabhama is a Telugu-language crime film with Kajal Aggarwal as a detective on a missing-persons case, Manamey is a Telugu-language comedy about a playboy taking in a young boy (plays through Sunday), and Love Mouli is a Telugu-language romance (no show Sunday). They also have a re-release of Tamil action movie Indian on Saturday afternoon and the India-Pakistan game in the T20 World Cup on Sunday morning. Held over are Tamil-language film Garudan and Hindi-language Mr. & Mrs. Mahi, the latter also at Boston Common.

    Chinese action film Hovering Blade plays Boston Common.

    The week's two Ghibli Fest films are the ones Hiromasa Yonebayashi directed at the studio before moving to Studio Ponoc: The Secret World of Arrietty is at Boston Common, South Bay, and Assembly Row on Sunday (dubbed) and Tuesday (subtitled); When Marnie Was There plays on Monday (dubbed) and Wednesday (subtitled); Arsenal Yards as Marnie subtitled Monday and Arrietty subtitled on tuesday. Volleyball anime Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle continues at Boston Common, Causeway Street, South Bay, and Assembly Row.

    If you can make it out to the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers, they have matinees for Cottontail, a UK/Japan co-production with Lily Franky as a widower traveling from Japan to England to fulfil his wife's dying wish.
  • Run Lola Run gets a 25th anniversary re-release/restoration, with The Somerville Theatre giving it the most showtimes on the main 4K laser screen (it's also at the Coolidge, Kendall Square, the Embassy, and Boston Common). It gets bumped on Monday for the Tale of Two Studios double feature of On the Town & The Caine Mutiny, the former on 35mm film, and then the 70mm & widescreen fest (which will also feature a lot of Columbia & MGM films) begins on Wednesday with a 70mm show of Lawrence of Arabia, and then a 35mm print of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on Thursday.

    The Capitol teams with The 4th Wall for a live show with Bruiser and Bicycle, Tula Vera, and Ski Club with visuals by Digital Awareness on Friday, and while there was no regular Disasterpiece Theatre show on Memorial Day, they team with High Energy Vintage to show The Apple on Thursday evening.

    Also, both theaters have started doing $7 Tuesday shows ($5 for members).
  • The Brattle Theatre has a new restoration of Andrei Tarkovsky's Nostalghia from Friday to Monday, with late shows of The People's Joker Friday to Sunday.

    The week's Jordan Peele film is Us, playing as part of double features Tuesday to Thursday, with a 35mm print of Funny Games on Tuesday and The Shining on Wednesday and Thursday; note that Noir City next weekend means that one doesn't get its usual Father's Day shows.
  • I suspect The Coolidge Corner Theatre is pleasantly surprised at the legs for Hit Man, mostly keeping it on the main screen and pushing Run Lola Run to limited shows in the new rooms. Midnights this weekend are the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Friday and Dick Tracy on Saturday, and the June "New Queer Cinema" program starts with a 35mm print of My Own Private Idaho on Sunday afternoon and Young Soul Rebels with a seminar by Wicked Queer's Shawn Cotter on Tuesday. Monday's big screen classic is Rear Window on 35mm, there's Open Screen on Tuesday, and a 35mm "Cinema Jukebox" show of Selena on Thursday.
  • The Pride Retro Replay show at Landmark Kendall Square on Tuesday is Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
  • The Alamo Seaport holds over Don Hertzfeldt's twin bill of "ME" & It's Such a Beautiful Day with a full slate until at least Wednesday - good job, us, putting enough butts in seats for that! Their rep calendar has time capsule shows of Teen Witch (Friday/Monday/Tuesday), Steel Magnolias (Movie Party Saturday), But I'm A Cheerleader (Saturday/Sunday/Wednesday), plus Back to the Future Part II (Sunday) and Part III (Saturday/Sunday/Monday/Wednesday); there are also "Guest Selects" shows of the Cassevetes/Rowlands Gloria on Friday and Tuesday (doesn't say who the guest selecting is).
  • The Museum of Fine Arts has Spike Lee's School Daze on Friday night with a post-film panel discussion of Historically Black Colleges & Universities and fraternities & sororities. The Korean films series features B>Road to Boston on Saturday afternoon and Kim Ji-young, Born in 1982 on Sunday afternoon, with Thursday's Spa Night a Korean-American film that overlaps with Pride.
  • The Embassy has Kidnapped: The Abduction of Eduardo Mortara on Saturday and Sunday, and a 4K restoration of Lawrence of Arabia on Sunday and Monday, on top of Run Lola Run and Garfield.
  • Joe's Free Films lists a three-film outdoor German film marathon at Goethe-Institut, starting with Solo Sunny at 4pm, followed by Goodbye Lenin and Traces of Stones, all focused on life in pre-unification East German in some way.
  • Belmont World Film has their second of two films for World Refugee Awareness Month at West Newton on Monday, with Striking the Palace following the mostly-immigrant maids who work in Paris's grand hotels..
  • The Museum of Science has the latest local screening of Inundation District on Tuesday, free with and RSVP. Showtimes for Inside Out 2 and "Cities of the Future" are also on sale.
  • The Regent Theatre has a Midweek Music Movie show this week: The Humbler focuses on blues guitarist Danny Gatton, with director Virginia Quesada on-hand for a post-film panel discussion.
  • The Lexington Venue brings in Kidnapped to join Ezra and Nowhere Special. They're open Friday to Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

    The West Newton Cinema brings in Nowhere Special and The Long Game to join Ezra (not scheduled Thursday), Young Woman and the Sea, Challengers (not scheduled Thursday), If, Farewell Mr. Haffmann (Saturday/Sunday), and Wicked Little Letters.

    The Luna Theater has I Saw the TV Glow Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; Hundreds of Beavers Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday; and Civil War Saturday. There's also a program of Queer Short Films on Sunday evening and a Weirdo Wednesday show.

    Cinema Salem adds The Watchers to In a Violent Nature,I Saw the TV Glow, and Furiosa through Monday. On Thursday, they've got the original Hairspray and a "Funny Filmmakers" night featuring Perry Strong doing stand up comedy and presenting short films.
I'll probably head to The Strangers, The Hovering Blade, Run Lola Run, and some things that have been waiting around, especially since Inside Out 2 will likely clear screens out and I've got a bunch of things planned for next weekend.

Friday, May 31, 2024

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 24 May 2024 - 6 June 2024

A sort of in-between week, since people thought Furiosa would blow up much bigger, but nothing really scrambling to capitalize.
  • Ezra, which features Bobby Cannavale as a stand-up comic with an autistic son whom he brings on a cross-country road trip to Los Angeles, plays the Lexington Venue, West Newton, Boston Common, Causeway Street, Kendall Square, and Assembly Row.

    BUFF selection In a Violent Nature, which is kind of a Friday the 13th movie from Jason Vorhees's perspective (a clever-ish idea but hard to make scary or thrilling) opens at CinemaSalem, Boston Common, Causeway Street, the Seaport, and South Bay.

    Summer Camp has Diane Keaton, Kathy Bates, and Alfre Woodard as three old friends who met at camp as kids but fell out of touch getting reacquainted at a reunion, with Eugene Levy as a love interest. It plays Fresh Pond, Boston Common, and South Bay and, not going to lie, I'm a bit surprised that there's only a six-year range for the stars of the movie, as I'd pegged Woodard as much younger than Keaton.

    Young Woman and the Sea is an old-school PG-rated Disney family film, with Daisy Ridley as Olympic swimmer Trudy Ederle, attempting to be the first woman to swim the English Channel. It's at West Newton, Boston Common, and Kendall Square.

    Babes expands to the Somerville Theatre and the Seaport, already at Coolidge, Kendall Square, Boston Common, Causeway Street, South Bay, Assembly Row, and CinemaSalem.

    Arsenal Yards brings back Top Gun: Maverick for matinees Friday to Sunday. The Muppet Movie has 45th anniversary shows at South Bay and Arsenal Yards on Sunday & Monday. Spider-Mondays wrap up with Spider-Man: No Way Home at the Coolidge, Boston Common (through Thursday), the Seaport, and Assembly Row (through Thursday). There's an extra-early screening of Bad Boys: Ride or Die at Assembly Row (Dolby Cinema) on Wednesday before the regular-early ones on Thursday
  • Maybe the week's biggest opening is Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle, a theatrical tie-in to the popular anime & manga about a high-school volleyball team, this one involving an all-or-nothing contest; it's at Boston Common, Causeway Street, South Bay, and Assembly Row; check showtimes for languages.

    A lot of Indian films open at Apple Fresh Pond to fill some screentimes. Mr. & Mrs. Mahi (also at Boston Common) is a Hindi-language sports drama about a couple in an arranged marriage who bond over their love of cricket, with the husband coaching his more talented wife. Savi, also in Hindi, stars Divya Khosla Kumar as a housewife with a plan to break her husband out of a British maximum-security prison. In the Tamil language, there's action movies Hit List and Garudan. The Telugu-language releases are chase movie Bhaje Vaayu Vegam, action-comedy Gam Gam Ganesha, and period crime story Gangs of Godavari.
  • I think we're getting more westerns that superhero movies this summer, even if The Dead Don't Hurt - opening at The Coolidge Corner Theatre, the Kendall, Boston Common, and South Bay - doesn't necessarily read as traditional, with Vicky Krieps and director Viggo Mortensen as an immigrant couple whose lives go in different directions as Mortensen's Olsen chooses to fight in the Civil War.

    This weekend's midnights at the Coolidge are Cynthia Rothrock in Martial Law on Friday and a 35mm print of Sam Raimi's Darkman on Saturday. There's a special Panorama showing of Butterfly in the Sky, with the panel discussing the documentary about LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow featuring folks from public television, libraries, and bookstores. Monday's Big Screen Classic is a 35mm print of 12 Angry Men with a pre-show seminar featuring Emerson College's Peter Horgan; Spider-Man: No Way Home plays later.

    On Wednesday, they head out to the Charles River Speedway in Brighton to screen Wayne's World.
  • Landmark Kendall Square opens Kidnapped: The Abduction of Edgardo Mortara, an Italian film about a mid-1800 cause celebre, in which the Catholic Church seized a Jewish boy whom his nurse had secretly baptized to send him to their schools.

    Retro Replay screenings return to the Kendall on Tuesday for a month of Pride-themed selections, starting with Brokeback Mountain.
  • The Brattle Theatre opens "Man Ray: Return to Reason", a collection of four avant-garde silence newly restored and scored by Jim Jarmusch & Carter Logan's band Sqürl from Friday to Monday. It splits showtimes on those dates with Omen, a BUFF selection in which a Congolese man who grew up in Belgium returns to introduce his pregnant wife to his family and finds his homeland very strange indeed.

    On Tuesdays and Wednesdays in June, they get a jump start on the summer vertical schedule with "Peele Apart", pairing a Jordan Peele film with his inspirations. This week, it's Get Out, playing with the original Candyman on Tuesday and Rosemary's Baby on Wednesday (Get Out is DCP; the others are 35mm). On Thursday, they celebrate Prince's birthday with a double feature of Purple Rain & Sing O' the Times, the latter on 35mm.
  • Depending on how you look at it The Alamo Seaport is either playing Don Hertzfeldt's new short film "ME" and attaching the feature edit of It's Such a Beautiful Day or bringing back the latter with the new short as a bonus; either way, it's 90 minutes of Hertzfeldt's distinctively (and sometimes deceptively) lo-fi but strangely affecting work.

    Backspot, with Devery Jacobs as an ambitious college cheerleader, gets a somewhere-between-run-and-rep booking with shows Saturday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. rep calendar also has Spider-Man: No Way Home on Monday, Tetsuo: The Iron Man late shows Monday and Wednesday, a movie party for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Down Part 2 on Tuesday, and Back to the Future: Part II on Wednesday.
  • Aside from The Somerville Theatre picking up Babes, they also have a Midnight Special of Black Tight Killers on Saturday. They restart "Tale of Two Studios" shows on Monday (note that they had been Wednesday), with Meet Me In St. Louis & On the Waterfront, the former on 35mm film.

    Evil Does Not Exist moves up the 77 to the Capitol.
  • The Museum of Science has two screenings of documentary To Be Takei in the Mugar Omni theater on Friday and Saturday, neatly spanning Asian American & Pacific Islander and Pride months. They have also put showtimes for Inside Out 2 on sale.
  • The Embassy has The Bridge on the River Kwai on Sunday and Monday. The listing says 4K; I hadn't realized they had upgraded their projectors, but it makes sense Landmark would have taken the old ones.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts has one Korean film to support their exhibition this week - Snowpiercer on Friday - but the other three are about the Korean diaspora: Nam June Paik: Moon is the Oldest TV on Saturday afternoon (part of the Art Docs series), Minari on Sunday, and Past Lives on Thursday.
  • The main Belmont World Film series is completed, but they have two more weeks at the West Newton Cinema for World Refugee Awareness Month, with Swedish Oscar submission Opponent, which features Payman Maadi as a wrestler who arrived in Sweden as a refugee from Iran. There will be Swedish pastries and a talk with Persian-American filmmaker/educator Homa Sarabi beforehand.
  • The Harvard Film Archive is closed for the summer, but they have recently uploaded a whole mess of filmmaker introductions and discussions going back to 2008 to their Conversations page, and there are probably worse ideas than browsing that, finding the referenced films, and streaming both.
  • The Lexington Venue opens Ezra and Nowhere Special, holding over Sight. They're open Friday to Sunday and Thursday.

    The West Newton Cinema opens Ezra and Young Woman and the Sea, holding over Furiosa, Challengers, If, Farewell Mr. Haffmann (no shows Monday & Tuesday), The Fall Guy, and Wicked Little Letters (not scheduled Thursday).

    The Luna Theater has Civil War Friday, Saturday, and Thursday. On Sunday, they welcome the band Negativeland for a double feature including documentary Stand By for Failure with a live performance of "We Can Really Feel LIke We're Here" augmented by visual artist SUE-C. No Weirdo Wednesday show on the calendar yet.

    Cinema Salem adds In a Violent Nature and I Saw the TV Glow to Furiosa, Babes, and IF through Monday.
It's kind of all catch-up - even the Hertzfeldt shorts are me coming in late because I used to see them at festivals and now he's kind of bypassing that - and maybe Young Woman and the Sea and The Dead Don't Hurt.