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10 Picks for the San Francisco International Film Festival, Week One (April 21-27) 

Wednesday, Apr 20 2016
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Assassination Classroom

Based on the manga by Yusei Matsui, which was also the basis for a recent anime series — why can't Hollywood Tokyo come up with any original ideas, right? — this live-action film finds an alien bent on destroying the Earth become a third-grade teacher teach the students how to defeat him. Same old, same old! (4/23 & 4/27, Alamo)

Five Nights in Maine

Local filmmaker Maris Curran's low-key drama has a killer cast, with David Oyelowo (last seen as Dr. King in Selma) as troubled widower in Atlanta who decides to visit his New England mother-in-law, played by the underused Dianne Wiest. (Underused in general, not in this movie.) Rosie Perez rounds out the ensemble as Wiest's caregiver.(4/23, 4/25, & 4/26, Alamo)

The Fixer

You've always suspected that odd things are in happening up in Sonoma, and Ian Olds' fiction feature debut would support that theory, as displaced Afghani reporter Osman (Dominic Rains, Saeed from A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night!) finds a local guide in Guerneville in the form of shaggy, not-all-there hot tub mechanic Lindsay (James Franco). (4/24, Castro)

The Greasy Strangler

Elijah Wood has developed a side-career as a producer of unusual horror movies — including the aforementioned A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night — and his latest production is Jim Hosking's tale of father-son rivalry between two terrible human beings, as well as a lard-covered killer roaming the streets. Film critic Devin Faraci loved it, so take that as you will. (4/22 & 4/25, Alamo)

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

The latest documentary by Werner Herzog traces the interconnectivity of our world via the internet, from the days when promises of reading the newspaper on your home computer seemed impossibly futuristic, to our current always-online lives and the pitfalls thereof. (4/23, Castro)

Maggie's Plan

Personal Velocity director Rebecca Miller's new comedy follows Type-A personality Maggie (Greta Gerwig) as she plots to reunite her current husband John (Ethan Hawke) with the ex-wife he left Maggie for, Georgette (Julianne Moore). Thoughtful wackiness ensues. (4/23 Victoria, 4/26 Alamo)

Miss Sharon Jones!

That's Miss Sharon Jones whether you're nasty or not, as legendary documentarian Barbara Kopple records the course of the equally legendary Miss Jones as she gets her career back on track after being diagnosed with cancer. (4/22, Castro)

The Man Who Knew Infinity

Math porn alert! In Matthew Brown's new biopic,Dev Patel stars as mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan, a Madras native who encounters more than a little racism when he's admitted into Cambridge University in 1914. (4/24, Castro)

Operator

Logan Kiben's comedy explores similar themes of how modern personal technology can interlope into our personal relationships as did Her and Creative Control, but Operator stars Martin Starr (!) and Mae Whitman (!!), so it wins by default. (4/23 & 4/25, Roxie)

Wild

Not the Wild from 2014 that starred Reese Witherspoon, but rather a German riff on Little Red Riding Hood in which a woman (Lilith Stangenberg) becomes obsessed with a wolf. Fun fact: Witherspoon once starred in another single-word title movie called Freeway, which was also a Little Red Riding Hood riff. Your mind: blown.(4/22, 4/26, & 4/28, Alamo)

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Sherilyn Connelly

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