It’s mid July, and we’ve slugged our asses halfway up the sweltering sulphuric mountainside that is summer in Boston with a minimal amount of AC because apparently New Englanders are too hard-assed to sweat (fuck that). Hopefully you’ve been able to catch some relief in the cold dark of a movie theater, perhaps having followed our little calendar of flicks coming to some of Boston’s fabulous art houses--Kendall, the Brattle, and Coolidge Corner. We’ve stumbled across some keepers so far this summer: the witty and twisted coming-of-age story Submarine; the gloriously indecent exploitation flick Hobo With a Shotgun; and moving, well-crafted docs like Louder Than a Bomb and Sons of Perdition. Here are some more cinematic underdogs on their way to Boston’s finest movie houses. You hear that Transformers 3? I said, SICK EM.
Coming to Kendall, from their press kit:
7.22 BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST (Sony Classics)
R, 98 min
Directed by Michael Rapaport
Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest is a documentary film directed by Michael Rapaport about one of the most influential and groundbreaking musical groups in hip-hop history. Having released five gold and platinum selling albums within eight years, A Tribe Called Quest has been one of the most commercially successful and artistically significant musical groups in recent history, and regarded as iconic pioneers of hip hop. The band’s sudden break-up in 1998 shocked the industry and saddened the scores of fans, whose appetite for the group’s innovative musical stylings never seems to diminish. A hard-core fan himself, Rapaport sets out on tour with A Tribe Called Quest in 2008, when they reunited to perform sold-out concerts across the country, almost ten years after the release of their last album, The Love Movement. As he travels with the band members (Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White), Rapaport captures the story of how their personal differences and unresolved conflicts continue to be a threat to their creative cohesion. When mounting tensions erupt backstage during a show in San Francisco, we get a behind-the-scenes look at their journey and contributions as a band and what currently is at stake for these long-time friends and collaborators.
7.29 ANOTHER EARTH (Fox Searchlight)
PG-13, 92 min
Directed by Mike Cahill
In the sci-fi drama Another Earth, Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling), a bright young woman accepted into MIT’s astrophysics program, aspires to explore the cosmos. A brilliant composer, John Burroughs (William Mapother), has just reached the pinnacle of his profession and is about to have a second child with his loving wife. On the eve of the discovery of a duplicate Earth, tragedy strikes and the lives of these strangers become irrevocably intertwined. Estranged from the world and the selves they once knew, the two outsiders begin an unlikely love affair and reawaken to life. But when one is presented with the chance of a lifetime opportunity to travel to the other Earth and embrace an alternative reality, which new life will they choose?
8.5 THE FUTURE (Roadside Attractions)
R, 91 min
Directed by Miranda July
In her follow-up to Me and You and Everyone We Know, internationally acclaimed artist, author and filmmaker Miranda July returns with her moving and fearless drama The Future. When thirty-something couple Sophie (writer/director July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater) decide to adopt a stray cat, their perspective on life changes radically, literally altering the course of time and space and testing their faith in each other and themselves.
Coming to the Brattle, from their website:
7.25 FAKE IT SO REAL (4TH Row Films)
Directed by Robert Greene (SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE!)
The close-knit men of Millennium Wrestling Federation of Lincolnton, North Carolina work hard to deliver the goods week after week: vivid costumes, elaborate backstories, gripping choreography, and high-octane simulated violence. Performing to small crowds of locals, some of these wrestlers still dream of getting discovered and making it big; others own the in-the-moment reality of performing on this small scale, living for the weekends when they get to be the kinds of heroes and villains they idolized in childhood.
Robert Greene’s riveting, insightful documentary follows this troupe of costumed dreamers over the course of a pivotal week. An injury threatens to make Millennium leader Jeff miss his first performance in a decade, while clean-cut, wide-eyed rookie Gabriel hungers to prove himself in a tight-knit brotherhood heavy on initiation rites and cutting humor.
Fake it So Real delivers an embedded observational eye that may remind some of documentary giants like Frederick Wiseman and The Maysles, while delivering all the grit, spit, sweat, dirt, and blood inherent to its subject. There’s also much humor here, especially in the sometimes bizarre stage personas some of the wrestlers have crafted for themselves, and the hazing banter lobbed at newcomer Gabriel by the older men. But this isn’t a film told looking down at its subjects, but rather looking up to their physical feats, artistic triumphs, and unending dreams.
7.26 THE BIG UNEASY
NR, 98 min
Directed by Harry Shearer
In 2005, a disaster struck New Orleans. You know the rest. Or do you? The media reported that what happened in New Orleans was a natural disaster primarily affecting poor black people. On both counts, the media was wrong. But its inability or unwillingness to report the hard truth – that these tragic floods were caused by manmade errors in engineering and judgment – has failed both journalism and public safety. For what happened in New Orleans could happen again in other cities across the United States.
The Big Uneasy marks the beginning of the end of ignorance about what happened to one of our nation’s most treasured cities – and serves as a stark reminder that the same agency that failed to protect New Orleans still employs the same flawed science in many other cities across America.
Of course, why it took the bass player from “Spinal Tap” and the voice of Flanders, Smithers and Mr. Burns to reveal these tragedies is a story unto itself. Join us as we welcome director Harry Shearer for Q+A following the film.
8.5 THESE AMAZING SHADOWS (Gravitas Docufilms)
NR, 88 min.
Directed by Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton.
These Amazing Shadows is a remarkable documentary for anyone who loves movies – from the casual filmgoer to the ultimate cinemaniac. Ostensibly the story of the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress, These Amazing Shadows is that and so much more – it is also a tale of discovery and exploration, a primer on the history of film, and an examination of how and why all cinema (from the sacred to the profane) must be preserved and protected. Through interviews with Registry board members, archivists, and notable directors, the filmmakers demonstrate how document artistic, historic, and societal milestones as well as being great entertainment. Guided by a true cinephile’s love of the medium and a treasure trove of archival footage, These Amazing Shadows molds a cultural history from pieces of film, offering a microcosm of the work of the National Film Registry and making a powerful case for film preservation.
Coming to the Coolidge, from their website:
7.22 PROJECT NIM (HBO Documentaries)
PG-13, 1hr 33min
Directed by James Marsh
From the Oscar-winning team behind Man On Wire comes the story of Nim, the chimpanzee who in the 1970s became the focus of a landmark experiment which aimed to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. Following Nim’s extraordinary journey through human society, and the enduring impact he makes on the people he meets along the way, the film is an unflinching and unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human. What we learn about his true nature -- and indeed our own -- is comic, revealing and profoundly unsettling.
7.29 STREET TRASH (Synapse Films)
NR, 91 min.
Directed by J. Michael Muro
Street Trash is the subversive cult classic horror-comedy that rode the last wave of super-gore in the late ’80s before the curtain fell on such outrageous material and we entered an era of safe, “R” rated horror flicks and endless, unoriginal remakes.
In the sleazy, foreboding world of winos, derelicts and drifters in lower Manhattan, two young runaways – eighteen-year-old Fred and his younger brother, Kevin, live in a tire hut in the back of a vast auto wrecking yard. Fred is burnt-out by the forces that destroyed his family life, whereas Kevin, having missed much of their childhood trauma, yearns to get back into society and lead a normal life. The most lethal threat to the boys is the case of Tenafly Viper in Ed’s liquor store window. Ed found the cheapo wine behind a wall in his basement. The stuff’s forty years old, and it’s gone bad…real bad. Anyone who drinks it melts within seconds…but it’s only a dollar a bottle!!
The bums are lining up for their deaths like moths at a flame, with Fred standing right there amongst them.
7.28 SOUL SISTERS (Oracle Voice Films)
NR, 1hr 40min
Directed by Rahman Oladigbolu
An African medical student seeking better professional opportunity in the United States finds herself caught up in the American immigration war.
With the political heat mounting on illegal immigrants, she’s faced only with a dilemma: she either continues to live on the fringes of the society, where there’s no hope for her career goal, or give up all hope on the American dream.
A young American puts her life on hold to restore the glory of her parents estranged marriage. After years of painful sacrifice, and amid the storm of her adolescent crises, she has to make a last shot for their reconciliation, or give up forever on her parents as she goes away to college.
What happens when the lives of these two young women cross? The result is a soul-touching friendship that tests the limits of political laws and redefines human dedication.