close
close

Review of Marilyn, ‘Casablanca’, ‘True Grit’ in repertoire, ‘In the Dirt’, ‘Glass Onion’ and ‘RRR’

Film Ahead is a weekly column highlighting special events and repertoire programming for the discerning Camberville movie buff. It also includes movie capsule reviews that are not feature film reviews.

Blanks

Llocal focus

Taking a cue from Ana de Armas’ bold incarnation of icon Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s “Blonde” this year, the brattle theater kicks off a “Marilyn Beyond Blonde” series, showcasing many of her classics including a 1953 Tuesday and Wednesday of “How to Marry a Millionaire” with Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” For Thanksgiving Thursday (and returning November 29), there’s a double helping of Billy Wilder’s Marilyn: the classic drag caper with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, “Some Like it Hot” (1959) and that unforgettable blast of air through a subway grate in “The Seven Year Itch” (1955).

For Black Friday, compulsive consumerism is given a sci-fi horror twist with John Carpenter’s cleverly witty “They Live” (1988) and Jim Wynorski’s 1986 slasher film “Chopping Mall.” The weekend sees The Brattle “Give Thanks for Bogie” with a two-day celebration of the 80th anniversary of the timeless romantic drama “Casablanca.”

Blanks

the Harvard Film Archive continues his filmmaker’s approach to “Michael Roemer and the Rite of Rediscovery” with a screening of a film that influenced him: “Day of Wrath” (1943) directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer (“Vampyr,” “The Passion of Joan of Arc ”). , about the plight of the young wife of an elderly priest who falls in love with her son in the midst of a ruthless witch-hunt in 17th-century Denmark. Roemer will be available to present and discuss the film on Monday. Roemer’s feature debut, “Nothing But a Man” (1964), a timely portrait of a black man and his schoolteacher wife facing discriminatory challenges in 1960s New Jersey, will screen again on September 27. november.

Blanks

The retro reprise of “Jeff Bridges Abides” in the Iconic Kendall Square Cinema concludes this week with a 4K restoration of the Coen brothers’ dark reimagining of the 1969 John Wayne western “True Grit.” The 2010 collaboration marked a reunion for Bridges with the Coens after 1998’s “The Big Lebowski” and was nominated for 10 Oscars. The eclectic cast surrounding Bridges’ tough quarterback includes Josh Brolin, Matt Damon and a young Hailee Steinfeld, who nearly took the movie; Dusty, dark photography courtesy of the great Roger Deakins, Academy Award winner for “Blade Runner 2049” (2017) and “1917” (2019). (tom meek)

Blanks

In theaters and streaming

‘Something on Earth’ (2022)

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (“The Endless”) have made careers pushing the boundaries of home movie making. They narrow it down further in their latest work, directing, writing and starring in a duo as LA locals who see a life-changing event and must find out the truth about it. Largely reduced to conversations between the two as they become increasingly obsessed with the unknown, the film still manages to create a vast world, even as much of the story takes place inside an apartment complex. Darkly funny in the way they approach the characters—amateur documentarians trying to recover the supernatural event for acclaim—they are just as susceptible to online conspiracy theories as anyone in real life, making them relatable and, sometimes insufferable. As the characters continue to philosophize about the event, the walls of their apartments appear to close in, creating an effective sense of claustrophobic dread. There may have been more of a plot drive rather than so many dialogue-heavy sequences, but, as always, Benson and Moorhead have crafted something tricky and engaging as two of the most exciting directors working today. (allyson johnson) Coming up Tuesday on video on demand.

Blanks

‘Crystal Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ (2022)

A somewhat cheeky follow-up to “Knives Out,” a 2019 whodunit (filmed in and around Boston) that was rightly compared to the 1970s classic “Murder by Death.” So cheeky, yes, but not up to par. Former Bond boy Daniel Craig is back as Clouseau-mad detective Benoit Blanc, who gets an invitation to a remote Greek island owned by a Musk-esque billionaire (Edward Norton) to participate in a party of murder mysteries a weekend. Blanc is correct and solves the hoax of the murder in 20 seconds, much to the chagrin of the island owner, but there is an actual murder when a guest drinks poisoned whiskey. Among the suspects/guests are an attractive young woman aptly named Whiskey (Madelyn Cline), Dave Bautista as a gun-waving male influencer, Kate Hudson as the washed-up supermodel who doesn’t know what a sweatshop is, and Leslie Odom Jr. and Jessica Henwick, mostly wasted on roles that feel pushed to the periphery. The last outing made Craig’s Blanc the centerpiece; here director Rian Johnson splits time between Blanc and a mysterious woman played by Janelle Monáe, and it’s not quite as sharp as his predecessor, though cameos by Hugh Grant, Ethan Hawke and Serena Willams are bits of plenty of fun. Here’s another clue: the walrus was Paul. (tom meek) In AMC Assembly Row 12, 395 Artisan PathAssembly Square, Somerville.

Blanks

‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ (2022)

This year we saw Robert Zemeckis’ live performance of Pinocchio with Tom Hanks as the fatherly Geppetto. That Disney reboot of the 1940 animated classic was a bit stiff and by the numbers too; here Del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Shape of Water,” “Nightmare Alley”) mixes it up. This takes place in WWII Italy with Mussolini as a puppet fanatic who actually loathes the Pinocchio propaganda puppet show turned excrement fest. Yes, it’s a big change. It is war that takes Geppetto’s child from him, and a forest spirit imbuing a wooden puppet with the spirit of a child. Del Toro’s animated imagination of Pinocchio (voiced by Gregory Mann) is inspired – he’s more the rough-hewn incarnation of the Disney versions. (The name is Italian for roughly “pine eye”.) Major voice talents in del Toro’s version include Cate Blanchett as a sphinx-like creature called Spazzatura (Italian for “trash”), David Bradley as Geppetto , Ewan McGregor in full. in Scottish Brogue as Sebastian J. Cricket and Finn Wolfhard and regular Ron Perlman del Toro as the bad actors trying to manipulate and exploit the wooden boy. At one point, a Mussolini agent even debates arming Pinocchio. As gonzo as it may sound, the narrative finally lines up. The new waves are interesting, and there’s more life on this one than on Zemeckis, but I still want to know how Grandpa Geppetto fathered a son at such a late age. (tom meek) At the Landmark Kendall Square Cinema, 355 Binney Street and next December 9 on Netflix.

blank space

RRR (2022)

The three-plus hour epic of SS Rajamouli is a bold and outrageous spectacle, peppered with thrills, jaw-dropping stunts, leaps into Bollywood dance, and a glimpse into the Western eye on the evils of colonialism. Indian production takes place in the 1920s, when the country was under British rule. Our larger-than-life heroes come in the form of Raju (the charismatic Ram Charan Teja), an Indian soldier under British command, and Bheem (NT Rama Rao Jr.), a villager and mechanic whose daughter has been kidnapped by the Governor. British (Ray Stevenson). The Governor is so hyperbolically nefarious that they could have called him Snidely Whiplash and be done with it, and his wife (Alison Doody) is almost as unpleasant; she at one point provides a torturer with a spiked whip. We meet each protagonist separately, each performing Herculean feats: Raju battling a crowd of hundreds, who are pummeling and beating him, to apprehend a suspect; Bheem running faster than a wolf and, bare-chested, screaming at a tiger. (The CGI is pretty low budget, but it doesn’t matter.) Later, the two team up to save a child over a burning river, but even later in the epic runtime they find themselves at odds due to Raju’s loyalty and Bheem’s relentless quest to retrieve his daughter from the superior. of Raju. “RRR” (for “Rise, Roar, Revolt”) is astonishingly energetic from start to finish, a tongue-in-cheek madness that sometimes strives but never breaks the wild ride of twists and falls. (tom meek) on Netflix.


Cambridge writer Tom Meek’s reviews, essays, short stories, and articles have appeared in literary magazines The ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper, and WBUR’s SLAB. Tom is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike all over the place.

Leave a Comment