Film Ahead is a weekly column highlighting special events and repertoire programming for the discerning Camberville movie buff. It also includes capsule reviews of films that are not subject to a feature film review.
The “Noirvember” program ends at The Brattle Theater this week with dark black-and-white screenings of 1947 films: “Ride the Pink Horse” and Mary Astor and Burt Lancaster in “Desert Fury” on Monday, Henry Hathaway’s “Kiss of Death” and Robert Mitchum and Robert Ryan in ” Crossfire” on Wednesday and “Johnny O’Clock” and – starring Orson Welles in the lead role and director – “The Lady from Shanghai” on Thursday. The Wicked Queer Film Festival presents a trio of high-profile documentaries on Sunday and November 21: the comedy compendium “All Man: The International Male Story”; “Nelly & Nadine,” the story of two women falling in love in a 1940s concentration camp, with their archival documents revealed on camera; and “The Radical”, about the first gay imam released.
The “Brooke Adams, Radiance in Plain Sight” program continues at Harvard Film Archives with David Cronenberg’s chilling twist on Stephen King’s “The Dead Zone” (1983), about a man (Christopher Walken) who can see the future through touch (Monday); and Terrence Malick’s second feature, “Days of Heaven” (1978), sounding and visually stunning, with Adams on one side of a tragic love triangle opposite Richard Gere and Sam Shepard (Sunday ). Also this week at the HFA, the films of “Michael Roemer and the Rite of Rediscovery”, with his WGBH documentary collaboration “Dying” (1976, Friday) and the director’s free follow-up on the subject, “Pilgrim, Farewell” (1982, Sunday, in the presence of Roemer). And in happy accident or deft cross-programming, Saturday brings a screening of Roemer’s “Vengeance is Mine” (1984), starring Adams as a woman returning to Rhode Island to confront her troubled past. Adams and Roemer will be on hand for a Q&A with documentary producer and film historian Jake Perlin.
“Screens for Teens” at Harvard Art Museums, free films for and primarily about young people, is part of Indigenous Heritage Month with a screening of Trevor Mack’s “Portraits from a Fire” on Sunday. It chronicles the coming of age of an Indigenous boy who deals with his troubled past and his distant father by making videos on the lands of his people in British Columbia. The 2021 work doesn’t yet have an official US release and isn’t available to stream, so it’s a real treat. Mack, a Tsilhqot’in filmmaker from Canada, will be on hand to talk about the film.
Art museums are offering a free screening of “Angola Do You Hear Us? by Cinque Northern. Voices from a Plantation Prison” Thursday. The short documentary tells the story of playwright Liza Jessie Peterson and her acclaimed play “The Peculiar Patriot,” which was shut down midway through 2020 at Louisiana State Penitentiary, commonly known as Angola Prison. Peterson and producer Catherine Gund will be in attendance and will chat with Harvard professor Brandon Terry after the screening.
The programming of this week’s repertoire at Somerville Theater is powered by a double shot of old “Star Trek” photons: the first big-screen foray for the company crew, “Stat Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979), and the most excellent sequel – and still the best of all taken on the big screen – “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1882). A jacked Ricardo Montalban reprises his role from the TV series as Kirk’s nemesis Khan, who is more interested in style points than outright revenge, and a young Kirstie Alley (before “Cheers” ) is Saavik, the half-Vulcan, half-Romulan Crewman.
This week at Kendall Square Iconic Cinema, The Dude is very much part of the “Jeff Bridges Abides” retro rerun, as this week’s JB-celebrating feature is The Coen Brothers’ “The Big Lebowski” (1998). It’s become something of a cult classic and what some would say is the dynamic duo’s finest work. (I’m a fan, but my top three in no particular order are “Fargo,” “Blood Simple,” and “No Country for Old Men.”) Believe it or not, the movie — about an LA slacker (Bridges) taken in a ransom plot due to mistaken identity – loosely based on the works of Raymond Chandler and the life of slacker anti-war activist Jeff Dowd.
Cambridge writer Tom Meek’s reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in WBUR’s literary journals The ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB. Tom is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and bikes everywhere.