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A Brattle series lets the Halloween spirit linger, along with the 1931 ‘Dracula’ and new ‘Antlers’

Film Ahead is a weekly column highlighting particular occasions and repertory programming for the discerning Camberville filmgoer. It additionally consists of capsule opinions of movies that aren’t function reviewed. 

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Local focus

The Brattle’s “Folk Horror Beyond the Wicker Man” continues this week with “The Witch” (2015), Robert Eggers’ story of the occult set in the woods of Calvinist-era New England, and Kier-La Janisse’s documentary “Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror,” a deep – three-hour – delve into the evolution and legacy of folks horror cinema. (Eggers additionally seems in Janisse’s movie as a type of behind people horror.) Both display screen on Halloween Sunday, along with Stan Winston’s “Pumpkinhead” (1988), based mostly on a poem by Ed Justin and starring Lance Henriksen as the tortured soul who conjures up the demon of the title. Winston, greatest recognized for his FX in “Aliens” (1986), “Terminator 2” (1991) and “Jurassic Park” (1993), takes a uncommon flip in the director’s seat. Others taking part in as a part of the program embrace a restoration of the 1958 Norwegian traditional “Lake of the Dead” and “Clearcut” (1991), an environmental horror movie by Ryszard Bugajski that does a much better job of incorporating Native America lore than “Antlers,” now taking part in in theaters (see evaluation under). Both movies play Tuesday. On Wednesday, The Brattle screens the 1968 Japanese medieval ghost story “Kuroneko” and “Eyes of Fire,” a restoration of Avery Crounse’s witch story set in a pre-Revolutionary America colony. It would make an apt double invoice with Eggers’ movie. The program wraps up Friday with “A Field in London,” a bravura interval piece from Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise,” “Rebecca”) set throughout the British Civil War, and the 1967 Czech movie “Marketa Lazarová,” which focuses on a feud between rival medieval clans. In each instances, as you may count on, the supernatural intercedes.

The DocYard brings Courtney Stephens’ “Terra Femme” to The Brattle on Monday. A crowdsourced compendium of newbie travelogues, “Femme” notches a feminine gaze into American social constructions and societal norms. Stephens might be readily available for a Q&A.

The Brattle begins the run of two area premieres Friday: Amalia Ulman’s “El Planeta” and “The Spine of Night” from Morgan Galen King and Philip Gelatt. In Ulman’s Spanish comedy, the writer-director additionally stars as a lady compelled to return house after the loss of life of her father and reluctantly reconnect with her eccentric mom (performed by Ulman’s personal mom). Best approach to bond with oddball mother? Grifting. That’s proper, the pair workforce up as small-time con artists to get to know one another once more. “The Spine of Night” is one thing of a gonzo sci-fi fantasy animation akin to the ’80s cult traditional “Heavy Metal” (1981), during which the forces of excellent should get rid of the tyranny of darkish magic. The eclectic solid consists of Larry Fessenden, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt and Richard E. Grant. Note: The Brattle’s Covid coverage requires proof of vaccination or a current damaging check consequence for admittance.

On Halloween Eve you’ll be able to catch a Somerville Theatre screening of Tod Browning’s 1931 traditional “Dracula” starring the eccentric Bela Lugosi (Lugosi performed the rely on stage, however Lon Chaney, John Wray and Paul Muni have been all larger on Browning’s record when casting). The movie has nearly no rating, however musician Jeff Rapsis will chime in with stay accompaniment at strategic factors to boost the temper. Also this week, the theater showcases “Winter Starts Now,” the most up-to-date ski derring-do from the Warren Miller workforce.

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In theaters and streaming

‘The Harder They Fall’ (2021)

Jeymes Samuel’s trendy Black Western borrows a lot from Leone and Tarantino whereas reducing its personal swath. The setup’s proper out of Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968), as a younger boy, Nat Love, witnesses his dad and mom gunned down by the gang of a remorseless outlaw (Idris Elba) and spends the remainder of his life searching down these accountable. Nat, performed as an grownup by Jonathan Majors, additionally operates his personal gang that steals solely from gangs after they rob banks. The motion’s fairly violent and extremely stylized (I feel Sam Peckinpah may’ve gotten a kick out of this one), however the scenes go on too lengthy and character growth is razor skinny. Jay-Z produced the venture and curated the hip, rap-infused soundtrack (Samuel goes by the musical stage title The Bullitts, so it’s simple to see how he and Jay-Z linked), and the title’s a transparent play on the 1972 look inside the music business “The Harder They Come” starring reggae legend Jimmy Cliff. That Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”) is a commanding presence as Rufus Buck is plain, nevertheless it’s Regina King (“Watchmen”) as his cold-blooded sergeant-at-arms who rocks the badass mantle. On Netflix beginning Wednesday.

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‘Tango Shalom’ (2020)

This comedy harking back to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” – a number of gamers right here have ties to that 2002 shock hit – tackles cultural divides and the human bonds between them as Moshe, a Hasidic rabbi (Jos Laniado) in Crown Heights, wants to come back up with an enormous wad of money to maintain the faculty he teaches at from closing. So what’s the rabbi to do? Enter a big-prize tango contest, in fact. It’s a cheeky setup, as Moshe’s faith forbids him to the touch any lady aside from his spouse, and the tango is a sensual strut that includes numerous touching.To determine a workaround, Moshe reaches out to different non secular leaders in the Heights, together with a Catholic priest, a Muslim imam and a Sikh holy man. Theological bridge-building ensues. Laniado does a strong job of anchoring issues as the conflicted, comedic lead and Karina Smirnoff from “Dancing with the Stars” is a plus as the lithe dance accomplice he can’t make contact with. The movie has a heat, amiable vitality and a splash of hokey verve, but in addition comes off as mild and one-note. Streaming on demand.

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‘Antlers’ (2021)

A mediocre horror flick from some fairly succesful types – it’s directed by Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart,” “Black Mass”) and produced by Guillermo del Toro (“Pacific Rim,” “The Shape of Water”). In a small Oregon city, Julia (Keri Russell, “The Americans”) tries to come back to phrases with previous traumas and work by means of points with her brother, Paul (Jesse Plemons, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”), the native sheriff. A pupil of Julia’s (Jeremy T. Thomas) has darkish secrets and techniques at house, particularly that his father’s possessed and doubtless behind a string of murders in the space. Julia pushes her luck and into horror lore we go, particularly that of the wendigo, an antlered, supernatural entity impressed by Native American folklore. “Antlers” has a disturbing creepiness to it that chills successfully for about the first half of the movie, and Thomas is improbable as the palpably conflicted youth with scary monsters in his attic. But the movie blows it with the tacky CGI rendering of the wendigo and slack-jawed lip service paid to Native American traditions. At Apple Cinemas Cambridge, 168 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge Highlands close to Alewife and Fresh Pond; and AMC Assembly Row 12, 395 Artisan Way, Assembly Square, Somerville.


Cambridge author Tom Meek’s opinions, essays, brief tales and articles have appeared in WBUR’s The ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB literary journal. Tom can be a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike all over the place.

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