Resistance and Silence Cinemas at The Brattle, and new releases ‘The Guilty’ and ‘The Voyeurs’


Film Ahead is a weekly column highlighting special events and repertoire programming for the discerning Camberville cinephile. It also includes film capsule reviews that are not rated.

Local concentration

The Brattle ends its “Neo-black African-American” Sunday program with “Set It Off”, F. Gary Gray’s 1996 bank robbery thriller starring Vivica Fox (“Kill Bill”) as a fed up cashier who enlists her friends to get a use. Jada Pinkett Smith, Kimberly Elise and Queen Latifah co-star. On Monday, the DocYard returns with two films by Boston filmmaker and Professor Emerson Jean Gianvito, “Her Socialist Smile” (2020), chronicling activist Hellen Keller’s political enterprises, and “Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind” (2008), a visual meditation on Howard Zinn’s revered textbook, “A People’s History of the United States ”. Gianvito will be present to talk about both films and resistance cinema. Tuesday is a kind of memorial presented by the Revolutions Per Minute festival for the life and works of the experimental 16mm and 8mm filmmaker Luther Prize (also known as Tom Rhoads), who passed away in June 2020. And The Brattle spans National silent cinema day with Buster Keaton’s “Seven Chances” (1925) and Paul Leni’s “The Cat and the Canary” (1927) on Wednesday with live musical accompaniment, returning Thursday with Fritz Lang’s 1927 vision of the industrial future we live in now, “Metropolis,” as well as Chaplin’s timeless 1921 classic, “The Kid.”

To note: The fray has changed its Covid policy, and proof of vaccination or a recent negative test is required for admission.


In cinema and streaming

“The Guilty” (2021)

Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this remake of the 2018 Danish film, “Den skyldige” which follows a night in the life of Police Officer Joe Baylor, serving as a dispatcher as he investigates a recent incident on the street. Wildfires rage around LA and we hang out with Joe at his desk and on the phone throughout the movie, much like we did with Tom Hardy in the brilliant “Locke” (2013), in which everything what we had was an exec trouble on the road at night, talking into his luxury coupe’s bluetooth. Here, the result is shy and manipulative. The most disturbing call comes from a woman claiming to have been kidnapped by her ex-husband. She walks in and out, and the tale changes and turns as Joe calls his ex in the middle of the night and is harassed by the press. The film, directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day” and who previously worked with Gyllenhaal on “Southpaw”) has an A list of vocal talent for those on the other end of the line which includes Ethan Hawke, Paul Dano, Bill Burr, Eli Goree (Cassius Clay in “One Night in Miami”) as a former partner of Joe and Riley Keough (“Zola”) and Peter Sarsgaard as a married couple in crisis. At the Landmark Kendall Square cinema, 355 Binney Street, Kendall Square, Thursday and coming to Netflix Friday.


“Sowing Change: The Power of Conscious Commerce” (2020)

Richard Yelland’s beautiful documentary asks whether a business can do good for society around the world while making money. The answer, according to a battery of young start-ups awakened with endless energy, is a resounding yes. The film focuses on companies seeking to move Amazon-based businesses away from deforestation for agriculture and other industrial gains (with many climate change scientists) to take advantage of the high açaí bay as a magic bullet. It’s a hot topic and a big boost, but the solution as presented seems too simple to be plausible, and the film becomes a kind of social entrepreneurship kumbaya of happy workers in South America and South America. Africa receiving a fair wage and in need of education and life. – sustainable resources such as drinking water. It is edifying and hopeful, certainly, but biased; no counter-arguments, failures or testimonies from developing countries are explored; all we get are happy, shiny, good looking faces and lots of startup brands. On Amazon Prime.


“The Voyeurs” (2021)

I guess you could say the erotic thriller is back (think “Basic Instinct” and “Dressed to Kill”), but there are usually more duds (“The Canyons” or “Sliver”) than hits in Michael Mohan’s genre and this one, heavily lifting Hitch’s classic “Rear Window” in 1954, is more the latter. Pippa (Sydney Sweeney) and Thomas (Justice Smith) are an idealistic millennial couple who have just moved into a large Montreal studio with a view of neighboring apartments. One couple they are drawn to are Seb (Ben Hardy) and Julia (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), perfect humans who have steamy sex in the open air. Natch, the teasing of watching turns into action, and Pippa professionally bonds with Julia, but also learns from snooping that Seb is inviting other people over for some recreational carnal acquaintance. Pippa makes a fateful decision that changes the course for everyone involved. The twists and turns that ensue (social media plays a role, as you would expect) are pretty neat, as are the directing and cinematography; the biggest problem here is that these four comely beasts have no soul – they are empty posers with no discernible desires outside the imprisoned walls of their egos. It is “Eyes Wide Shut”, except when taboos are jostling in the alley. On Amazon Prime.

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


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