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The DocYard and Somerville are back in person; See ‘Candyman,’ ‘Malignant’ and ‘Small Engine’

Film Ahead is a weekly column highlighting particular occasions and repertory programming for the discerning Camberville filmgoer. It additionally consists of capsule critiques of movies that are not function reviewed. 

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Local focus

The “Tales of the Muppet Diaspora” program continues Tuesday at The Brattle Theatre with Frank Oz and Jim Henson’s “The Dark Crystal” (1982), a barely extra macabre providing than the muppet masters’ typical comedies that’s about good and evil in a primitive alter-world (suppose Tom Cruise in “Legend”); and Spike Jonze’s freaky-cool grownup spin on Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009) on Thursday. In between, on Wednesday, the Brattle hosts a one-night screening of David Byrne’s efficiency piece “American Utopia” directed by Spike Lee, who’s simply come out with a 7.5-hour documentary about 9/11 that’s on HBO Max.

The DocYard returns to in-person screenings at The Brattle on Monday to start its fall run with Angelo Madsen Minax’s “North by Current,” chronicling cycles of habit and home abuse in north Michigan. Minax will probably be readily available for a followup Q&A.

In different excellent news, the Somerville Theatre comes back on-line Friday with the regionally made “Last Night in Rozzie” and 91-year-old Clint Eastwood’s newest, “Cry Macho.” (Tom Meek)

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In theaters and streaming

‘Malignant’ (2021)

A wacky horror outing that just about works. James Wan, the person behind the “Saw” and “Conjuring” movies in addition to helming “Aquaman” (2018), is back in the bloodletting biz with this story of a younger housewife named Madison (Annabelle Wallis), who suffers miscarriages thorough spousal beatings. One day the spouse beater is killed throughout a house invasion – or is he? What ensues is a eerie creepshow of carnage in which Madison has visions of a disjointed entity named Gabriel committing murders. Her reporting it to the police attracts their curiosity and lands her intermittently as each sufferer and suspect. The gory, head-splitting CGI is a tad excessive (as is the theme of most cancers personified as pure evil), and the movie veers into the realm of unintentional camp. But it retains its toehold, simply barely. (Tom Meek) 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; and on HBO Max.

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‘Small Engine Repair’ (2021)

John Pollono’s big-screen adaptation of his 2013 off-Broadway play is just not solely provocative, however ought to resonate with space folks – it’s a neighborhood tackle class and regional custom, a lot as “Manchester by the Sea” was in 2016. Pollono performs Frank, a working-class stiff in New Hampshire (Manchester, in truth) with a drunken ex (Jordana Spiro) and a teen daughter Crystal (Ciara Bravo) at a weak stage in her life. Frank sober is a dutiful dad, although besties Swaino (Jon Bernthal, “The Walking Dead”) and Packie (Shea Whigham, simply in “The Gateway”) are egging him on consistently to fall off the wagon. The movie hits its peak when a yuppie teen drug supplier (Spencer House) exhibits as much as ship a number of tabs of molly to Frank and crew and issues go from edgy to grim as old-school methods and new-age social media collide. (Tom Meek) At AMC Assembly Row 12, 395 Artisan Way, Assembly Square, Somerville.

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‘Candyman’ (2021)

Nearly 30 years after “Candyman” gave audiences a chill back in 1992, the immediately traditional urban-legend horror story will get an updating as Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a visible artist, and Brianna, (Teyonnah Parris), an artwork gallery director, transfer into the previous Cabrini-Green housing undertaking in Chicago regardless of her brother’s claims that the grounds are haunted. Anthony investigates and talks to longtime resident William Burke (Colman Domingo), which evokes Anthony to make an set up, “Say His Name,” a title appropriated from the African American Policy Forum and a hashtag that raised consciousness of police brutality towards black individuals. After a critic skewers Anthony’s work, brutal homicides observe of victims who adopted the exhibit’s directions and mentioned Candyman’s title 5 instances whereas trying in a mirror. Brianna notices Anthony’s psychological and bodily deterioration because the murders carry consideration (good and dangerous) to the couple. “Little Woods” (2018) and “The Marvels” (coming in 2022) director Nia DaCosta cowrote this sequel of kinds with sizzling property Jordan Peele (“Get Out,” “Us”). She paints attractive, shiny visuals, and the story grounds the horror by connecting it with lynchings and an inequitable justice system. But reframing the legend as a vengeful specter as an alternative of Tony Todd’s romantic, Byronic icon inadvertently erases Anthony’s company and individuality, and glosses over how Candyman terrorizes his neighborhood. (Sarah Vincent) 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.


Tom Meek is a author residing in Cambridge. His critiques, 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 also be a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike in all places.

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