Elizabeth Moss does a spin on Courtney Love, and we explore Reagan era on the big screen
Film Ahead is a weekly column designed to highlight repertory and art house programming for the discerning Camberville filmgoer seeking something old, something new and something forever provocative. (More cinematic offerings can be found in our week-ahead events calendar.)
Director Alex Ross Perry (“Listen Up Philip”) appears at the Harvard Film Archive on Monday to introduce and discuss his latest film, “Her Smell,” starring Elizabeth Moss (TV’s “Mad Men” and “The Handmaid’s Tale”) as a rock diva something akin to Natalie Portman’s turn in “Vox Lux” (2018), though Moss’ Becky Something is clearly a nod to Courtney Love’s career, tumultuous melodrama and all. Like with “Listen Up Philip,” in which Perry plumbed the roots of a young Phillip Roth, “Her Smell” leverages a known celebrity persona struggling with art and life while moving the narrative in a different and surprising fashion.
Harvard Film Archive at The Carpenter Center, 24 Quincy St., Harvard Square.
‘Make My Day: The Cinematic Imagination of the Reagan Era’
Starting Tuesday and running through the end of the moth, the Brattle Theatre and Harvard Film Archive co-curates “Make My Day: The Cinematic Imagination of the Reagan Era” with classics from the mid-’70s to the late ’80s. The program takes its title and inspiration from the last book in film critic J. Hoberman’s “Found Illusions” trilogy exploring the synchronicities between cinema and U.S. politics. On the docket this week is David Cronenberg’s devilishly creepy “Videodrome” (Tuesday, Brattle) pairing high punk princess Debbie Harry and James Woods (before he went to the absurd extreme right) to follow the 1983 underground of early cable TV into the surreal and lurid. On Friday, the film that made Tom Cruise (and made briefs briefly hip as underwear), “Risky Business” (1983), plays at the Brattle with a killer ’80s soundtrack that includes Tangerine Dream and Talking Heads (David Byrne’s “True Stories” plays the Brattle on Tuesday too). For fans of “Joker” and those dying to see “The Irishman,” “The King of Comedy” (1982) plays the HFA on Saturday, delivering a classic Scorsese-De Niro collaboration and part of the source inspiration for Joaquin Phoenix’s recent tour de force. Also on Saturday for family viewing, “E.T. the Extraterrestrial” (1982) and “Gremlins” (1984) play the Brattle. And if you just caught “Terminator: Dark Fate” you can see the original pairing that had Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton on the opposite side of the kill equation – “The Terminator” (1984) – on Sunday at the Brattle, the undercard of an informal Arnold double bill with “The Running Man” (1987), in which TV stars will kill for good ratings.
Look also for David Lynch’s perverse “Blue Velvet” (1986), DeLorean- propelled comedy classic “Back to the Future” (1985), Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley back at it in “Aliens” (1986) and Paul Verhoeven’s uber-violent satire, “Robocop (1987). For a full listing of the program’s slate and tickets, visit the Brattle and the HFA websites.
The Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Harvard Square.