In repertoire, the rare ‘El Topo’ returns to The Brattle; Reviews of ‘Resurrection’ and ‘Take the Night’

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


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It’s pairing week in The Brattle Theater, beginning with a twofer as part of a Judy Garland centennial celebration with Garland opposite Buster Keaton in “In the Good Old Summertime” (1949) and Fred Astaire in “Easter Parade” (1948) on Mondays and Tuesdays. On Thursday, as part of a “Midnighters” series, are curious cult curiosities from Alejandro Jodorowsky (the director who originally wanted to turn “Dune” into a space opera): the gonzo western “El Topo” (1970) and equally outside of the common – hook search for spiritual enlightenment “Sacred Mountain” (1973). Then The Brattle kicks off with six of the seven collaborations between director Josef von Sternberg and his fiery muse of five years, actress Marlene Dietrich, though the list doesn’t include “Blue Angel” (1930), considered the masterpiece by von Sternberg. and the film that coined Dietrich as a sole star. The Friday-Sunday six-pack includes “Morocco” (1930, Friday), a cabaret romance co-starring Gary Cooper; Dishonored (1931), a fictionalized version of spy femme fatale Mata Hari; “Blonde Venus” (1932), another trip to the cabaret, this time a little more risky and with Cary Grant as co-star; “Shanghai Express” (1932), in which the agendas of love and power unfold on a train traveling through China’s civil war; “The Devil is a Woman” (1935), von Sternberg’s homage to his muse; and “The Scarlet Empress” (1934), a historical drama about the life of Catherine the Great. It’s a lifetime of big, boundary-pushing projects that the pair completed in just half a decade.


The “Complete Federico Fellini” program in the Harvard Film Archive comes the fall of the director’s storied run with alter ego Marcello Mastroianni and his wife Giulietta Masina playing an aging Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers tribute in “Fred and Ginger” (1987) on Monday. Fellini’s latest feature, “Voice of the Moon” (1990), starring Roberto Benigni (“Life is Beautiful,” “Down by law”), is an asylum play on Friday, and there’s a bonus screening of the reflections from the director on Ancient Rome, “Satyricon” (1969), on Sunday.


Midnight train movies seem to be a thing on the Somerville Theater, lining up with the opening of the newly released action movie “Bullet Train.” Last week was Andrei Konchalovsky’s great existential train ride into oblivion “Runaway Train” (1985); this week is John Frankenheimer’s superbly shot (black and white) 1964 caper “The Train,” with Burt Lancaster as a French resistance fighter trying to foil the plans of a German colonel (Paul Scofield) trying to move works of art stolen by train. Like “Bullet Train” and “Runaway Train,” most of the action takes place aboard a moving locomotive. Play at 11:59 pm on Wednesday.

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This week’s retro play at Kendall Square Cinema as part of “Happy Birthday, Mr. Hitchcock” is “Strangers on a Train” (1951), a thriller in which you kill my wife, I’ll kill yours starring Robert Walker and Farley Granger. The screenplay, from a novel by Patricia Highsmith (“The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “Carol”), was adapted in part by Raymond Chandler, and Hitchcock’s only daughter, Patricia, has a role in the film; she had a small role in “Psycho” (1960) as well. Patrica Hitchcock died last year.


In theaters and streaming

‘Resurrection’ (2022)

Andrew Semans’ psychological horror film is a slow WTF that works mainly because of the bravura performances from leads Rebecca Hall and Tim Roth, especially Hall, to whom the film clings. She plays Margaret, an intense top office with a big corner office. Hearing her intern talk about her new boyfriend, she coldly replies, “He’s making jokes at your expense.” Margaret runs like a commando in training and has sex with a married co-worker when her teenage daughter (Grace Kaufman) isn’t around. One day, David (Roth) shows up at a work conference and Margaret freaks out; then there’s a crooked human tooth in a bag of hers. Margaret goes to the police, who find no problem. Although she is terrified, she finds herself attracted to David and makes a “nice” walk to work for him barefoot. The subjugation of women will rightfully be compared to Alex Garland’s “Men” (2022), which was brought to its madcap social-horror climax by the sheer force of its performers (Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear), but is closer in plot and Chloe’s construction. Okuno’s devilishly intense “Watcher” (2022). To rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video and other services.


‘Take the Night’ (2022)

There’s plenty to like in Seth McTigue’s gritty thriller, even if he can’t deliver on his promise after all the cards have been laid. The film centers on brothers Robert (Sam Song Li) and William Chang (Roy Huang), the former having just been promoted to CEO of the family’s lucrative import business, much to the chagrin of the latter. It’s unclear if William is just adding insult to injury or trying to make amends when he stages a “joke kidnapping” for Robert’s birthday. William’s bogus kidnappers, ex-veterinarians and con men led by McTigue’s taciturn Chad, have other plans besides the holiday task at hand. What follows is a back-and-forth chess match between the Changs and the hard-hitting team, including a well-done car chase sequence washed in neon lights through the rain-slicked city streets. . The dramatic backstories of the Changs, Chad and their ilk tend to bog down the action, but the noir-style camerawork and setting, as well as the Jonas Wikstrand score that drives the action and sets the mood, they take the movie beyond a few rough scenes that might have been better hammered out of the script or left on the cutting room floor. For rent or purchase.

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‘Bullet train’ (2022)

A disappointment from double-turned-director David Leitch, who gave us the “John Wick” and “Atomic Blonde” movies (2017), although in making this film Brad Pitt made a fabulous cameo in the adventure comedy “The Lost City” (2022) starring Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock, who have cameo appearances here: Tatum amused as a bullet train passenger who thinks everything is a sexual proposition, and Bullock as the voice of “Charlie’s Angel” on the other end of the killer in the pay of Pitt, nicknamed Ladybug. He’s on that Japanese locomotive to snatch a box of cash (that’s the main thing – snatch and grab) but the train is full of other kinds of hits: the Wolf (Bad Bunny), the twins (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry, both great), the Poison Hornet (Zazie Beetz), a femme fatale schoolgirl known as Prince (Joey King), and the king entity known as White Death (I’ll leave out the actor’s identity, as well as a few other random greats). . cameos). The individual performances hit home, with Pitt carrying it all with friendly charm, even when he was punched in the face or sprayed with a bidet. However, Zak Olkewicz’s script for Kôtarô Isaka’s novel “Maria Beetle” contains too many backstories and long soliloquies that scream “I want to be Tarantino”. I’m not sorry. The movie feels 20-30 minutes long and literally skips tracks in the last set of frames. It’s certainly a fun, but uneven ride that almost squanders the talents of such a talented ensemble. At the Landmark Kendall Square Cinema, 355 Binney Street; cambridge Apple Cinemas, 168 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge Highlands near Alewife and Fresh Pond; somerville Theater, 55 Davis Square; and AMC Assembly Row 12, 395 Craft WayAssembly Square, Somerville.

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

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