"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" is the weekend's big mainstream deal, and it'll make many, many millions before the end of Sunday, but I can't think of an "event" movie with less sense of genuine event. "Tides" confirms two things: That 3D, when decently done, really can make a mediocre movie marginally more interesting and that Johnny Depp is treading water. The nighttime mermaid attack sticks in the mind, but it's the only scene that does.
Mark Feeney says "The Princess of Montpensier" is one hot, provocative slice of period-film French bread, but he's a lot more eloquent about it than that. Two clip-show documentaries hit town: "Blank City," about the filmmaking scene in punk-era Manhattan, is the more thorough and eye-opening, but "These Amazing Shadows" is a very fond tip o' the hat to the good folks and films of the National Film Registry.
The Harvard Film Archive offers a rare mother-daughter act in Sharmila Tagore and Soha Ali Khan, the former an Indian cinema legend for her work with director Satyajit Ray, the latter a rising star of Bollywood's new generation. Daughter arrives at the HFA on Saturday for a screening (of "Rang de Basanti," a sort of Hindi "St. Elmo's Fire") and a chat, while mom comes in on Sunday to talk about Ray's 1970 classic "Days and Nights in the Forest."
The MFA digs into its "Global Lens" series with films from Argentina, Krygystan, China, and elsewhere. Of special note is "White Meadows" (in photo above), the final movie directed by Iran's Mohammad Rasoulof before he and fellow filmmaker Jafar Panahi were jailed by the regime. (How Rasoulof managed to get a new film made is unclear, but "Goodbye" just played at Cannes and Wesley and others say it's a powerful tale of life lived in a totalitarian vice.)
The Brattle brings in some serious HK action over the weekend with Andrew Lau's latest, "Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen" and the massivity of the two-part "Ip Man," a fictionalized bio-smackdown about one of Bruce Lee's more colorful mentors. It's a Donnie Yen weekend! Maybe his classmates from Newton North High should swing by.
Finally, ArtsEmerson brings two early Terrence Malick movies ("Badlands" and "Days of Heaven") and his last, "The New World," to the Bright Family Screening Room at the Paramount. It's a good way to get up to speed before the most recent Malick, the rapturous macrocosmic coming-of-age myth "The Tree of Life" arrives in theaters on June 3. (I've seen "Tree" and agree with Wesley that it may not be Malick's best movie but it is his most Malick-ian, the sum total of everything that makes this director our cinema's own holy fool.)
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
Take 2 reviews and podcast
Look for new reviews by Ty Burr and Wesley Morris at the end of each week in multiple formats.