Ty’s picks for Friday May 11


Let us have a moment of silence for the late, beloved Adrienne Shelly, above. Okay, now go see "Waitress," her last movie as director and actor, and a goofy, bittersweet treasure.

In general, the arthouses are probably your best bet for new releases this weekend: "Away From Her" at the Harvard Square and "Waitress," "Red Road," and "Stephanie Daley" all at the Kendall -- all good, nervy movies. I'll spare you my rant about the Kendall hogging the good stuff while other area indie houses starve. Let's instead just note the overwhelming number of women directors (respectively Sarah Polley, Shelly, Andrea Arnold, and Hilary Brougher) and tremendous roster of strong female performances, from Julie Christie in "Away From Her" to Tilda Swinton and -- surprise -- Amber Tamblyn in "Stephanie Daley."

Also worth seeing are the smart zombies-in-London sequel "28 Weeks Later" and "Zoo," arguably the first documentary on the subject of bestiality and definitely the most artistic. Reviews have been fairly rapturous and Wesley likes it a lot; I'm in the minority, I guess, that thinks the film aesthetizes the meaning out of its subject in an effort to be poetic. But, hey, if you have the stomach and "Seabiscuit" was too tame for you, go right ahead; you can't argue that Robinson Devor doesn't know how to direct a movie.

The studio pickings are pretty dire this weekend: "The Ex," with Zach Braff, and "Georgia Rule," with Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, and Felicity Huffman. Haven't seen the former but the latter is just painfully bad, a new low for all three actresses. I'm imagining the look on the faces of parents all over America who take their tweeners to see the new Lohan movie and get a plot involving incest and oral sex. (Yikes! What's in the next theater over, kids? Something called "Zoo"? That sounds cute.)

In the rep houses and elsewhere: The Boston Gay and Lesbian Film/Video Festival kicks in at the MFA; the Globe's Erin Meister breaks the offerings down.

Real, honest-to-goodness grindhouse movies at the Brattle, including a solid John Carpenter/Kurt Russell double bill tonight: "Escape from New York" (1981) and the much-reviled-but-actually-frickin'-awesome 1982 remake of "The Thing". On Sunday, they chase the stink out with a few Laurence Olivier classics.

The Harvard Film Archive is dark Friday and Saturday but comes back strong on Sunday with a rare screening of 1964's "The Pumpkin Eater," with a script by Harold Pinter and what is probably Anne Bancroft's single best performance, as a wife and mother going around the bend from husband Peter Finch's cheating ways. Grab this one.

Finally, if you've always wanted to meet director Paul Mazursky ("An Unmarried Woman," "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," "Moscow on the Hudson") and feel like heading out to Brandeis on Sunday, the National Center for Jewish Film will be playing his travelogue documentary "Yippee: A Journey to Jewish Joy." The director will be in attendance. What, they couldn't program it on a double bill with "The Pickle"?

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