By Justin Marble.
Waiting for Superman. Directed by Davis Guggenheim. At Coolidge Corner Theatre and Kendall Square Cinema through October. The new documentary from Davis Guggenheim, who previously directed An Inconvenient Truth, focuses on the slipping standards and gaping flaws in the American education system. Many have noted that test scores in America are well behind other developed nations as school systems deal with a myriad of issues across the board. In the trailer, for example, one school district in Washington, DC is forced to institute a lottery system in order to determine if children will be admitted to one of the schools considered a cut above the other ones. Becasue Guggenheim follows multiple families across the country, this promises to be a mix of journalistic analysis with a very human face.
Nowhere Boy. Directed by Sam Taylor-Wood. At Kendall Square Cinema, October 15. Director Sam Taylor-Wood’s first feature is a take on the early years of the Beatles, specifically John Lennon. The film chronicles Lennon’s clashes with his aunt and mother, the formation of his first band, the Quarrymen, and his introduction to Paul McCartney. The Hollywood treatment of this story probably would have tackled Lennon’s entire life, so kudos to Taylor-Wood for restricting the tale to a manageable set of years that are often overlooked.
Wild at Heart. Directed by David Lynch. At the Brattle Theatre with author Barry Gifford, October 17. The Brattle will present one of David Lynch’s weirder films (and that’s saying something) along with an introduction and discussion with the original author, Barry Gifford. Lynch’s take on Gifford’s novel differs in some key points and is quite a bit darker, so it should be interesting to hear Gifford’s thoughts on Lynch’s translation to the big screen. Spoiler alert: The film ends with Nicholas Cage crooning Elvis. So there’s that.
Found Footage Festival. At Providence’s Cable Car cinema, October 23. This one is outside of the Boston area, but for those willing to make the short drive, the Found Footage Festival is worth it. In the days before YouTube, the world’s most random, disturbing, and funniest videos were found on VHS. Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher comb discount bins, thrift stores, and yard sales across the country to distill their very best finds into a new show each year. I had a chance to see the Found Footage Festival when it came to the Coolidge last year and found myself gasping for air. The duo narrates each segment and guides viewers through two hours of celebrity workout tapes, 80’s dating reels, and creepy European music videos, exposing the hilariously mind-boggling depths of human depravity in the process.
His Girl Friday. Directed by Howard Hawks. At the Harvard Film Archive, October 27, free. A number of films about journalism have been made over the years, but Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday is one of the earliest and provides still relevant looks at the profession. Cary Grant plays a hardened newspaper editor who tries to lure his former star reporter and ex-wife (Rosalind Russell) back for one more story so that she’ll avoid marrying a bland insurance salesman. As much as the media industry has changed over the years, watching a film like this reminds viewers that some things never change. The film’s still charming, and the dialogue is quick enough to make Aaron Sorkin blush.
Halloween Movie Marathon. At the Coolidge Corner Theatre, October 30–31. Boston’s theaters always get into the spirit for Halloween, and the Coolidge is back with its annual horror movie marathon. This year the picks are a bit less mainstream, with the Japanese thriller House and the 80’s gorefest Re-Animator on the slate. The first screening is at midnight on the 30th, but if viewers can’t stay up, there will be a second one on the 31st at noon.