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WeekendWatch: As possible storm looms, catch up on movies and museum exhibits

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Forecasters predict a wet and wild ride later in the weekend here in Boston, where Hurricane Irene could deliver a tropical storm to the region. If you’re second-guessing your outdoor plans, there is still plenty to do indoors in and around the city before the full force of the storm hits.

MOVIES
In addition to Boston’s massive multiplexes near Boston Common and in the Fenway neighborhood, the area is home to a handful of smaller theaters that show less-mainstream films. The Coolidge Corner Theatre mixes art-house screenings with weekly midnight showings of cult classics and special events, such as talks by academics about the science (or lack thereof) in big-screen classics. The nine-screen Kendall Square Cinema offers a wide selection of indie flicks and smaller films that might not find their way to a multiplex’s screens—and boasts some excellent popcorn. The Brattle Theater in Harvard Square shows films both classic and new, but is perhaps best known for its special screenings, such as its regular showings of “Casablanca” timed with Harvard’s exam schedule.

SHOPPING
Much of Boston’s shopping is located along outdoor thoroughfares like Newbury Street and Harvard Square, but there are plenty of places to shop away from the rain and weather. The sprawling Copley Place and Shops at the Prudential Center host nearly every kind of shop, from an always-busy Barnes and Noble to high-end retailers like Tiffany & Co. and Neiman Marcus. Or, take a drive out to The Mall at Chestnut Hill, which has a variety of stores selling clothes, shoes, computers and housewares.

MUSEUMS
You’ve probably been meaning to hit up the new Art of the Americas wing at the Museum of Fine Arts for months now, and this rainy weekend might be your best shot—and remember: admission to the MFA is free for Northeastern undergraduates with a valid Husky Card. If you’re feeling inquisitive, head down to the Museum of Science, where you can admire the stars in the new planetarium or see lightning generated with the museum’s massive Van de Graaff generator. The Institute of Contemporary Art, located on the South Boston waterfront, has an impressive collection of modern art along with top-notch views of Boston Harbor, allowing you to watch the storm behind glass walls.