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Film, Miss Sharon Jones!

Miss Sharon Jones!

With all due respect to Nuts! and Aferim!, no film this year has earned its exclamation point quite like famed documentarian Barbara Kopple's Miss Sharon Jones!. Miss Jones is a gifted soul singer who was marginalized for decades by a…
Film, Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt

Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt

The phrase "the banality of evil" was coined by Hannah Arendt, the controversial subject of Ada Ushpiz's documentary Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt. She was inspired (for want of a better word) by the 1961 trial of Adolf…
Film, Little Men

Little Men

At first glance, Ira Sachs' Little Men would appear to be geared toward those who thought his previous film Love Is Strange didn't spend nearly enough time on the travails of the straight teenage boy. Thankfully, it's playing on a…
Film, Anthropoid


If anyone's forgotten what a country looks like after a fascist rises to power, Anthropoid will be a welcome reminder. This World War II film is set in Prague after the Nazis have taken control of what was then Czechoslovakia.…

Arthouse Film Listings For August 11 - 17, 2016

4-Star Theatre. Paths of the Soul: Eleven Tibetans prostrate themselves every few steps during a 1,200-mile pilgrimage that lasts for seven months. Starting Aug. 12. Daily. Under the Sun: An ordinary family in Pyongyang is followed for a year. Starting…
Film, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You

The subject of Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You is the legendary television producer. Still working at 93(!), Lear looks back on the highs and lows of his life — tracing his strong…
Film, All of Me (Llévate Mis Amores)

All of Me (Llévate Mis Amores)

Based in the Mexican village of La Patrona, Arturo González Villaseñor's documentary All of Me (Llévate Mis Amores) is about a multigenerational group of women appropriately known as the Patronas. As freight trains pass by, carrying migrants heading to the…
Film, Don't Think Twice

Don't Think Twice

"You're not a failure, Bill. You're in The Commune," so declares Samantha, the undaunted peacekeeper of a flailing improv group. Don't Think Twice is based on Mike Birbiglia's firsthand experience as a member of a comedy troupe similar to The…
Film, Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad

Shenanigans! The bright colors and high energy the marketing for David Ayer's superhero film Suicide Squad promised fades in the first 20 minutes, and the movie remains mired in Zach Snyder's gray-on-gray DC Gloomiverse. Government agent Waller (Viola Davis, rising…

Arthouse Film Listings For August 4 - 10, 2016

Alamo Drafthouse. Burt Reynolds Mystery Marathon: A free screening of The Bandit, followed by a ticketed mystery marathon of Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham classics and a bonanza of 35mm trailers. Sat., Aug. 6, 10 a.m. Free. 2550 Mission St,…
Film, Tallulah


Perhaps unsurprisingly for the feature debut from a writer and producer on Orange is the New Black, Sian Heder's dramedy Tallulah might have worked better as a miniseries. Tallulah (Ellen Page) and Nico (Evan Jonigkeit) are free spirits roaming the…
Film, The Witness

The Witness

Humans are capable of some astonishing inhumanity to one another, and they're also strangely eager to believe the worst about each other. Consider one of the most notorious tales of post-World War II apathy: the 1964 rape and murder of…
Film, Phantom Boy

Phantom Boy

Frame by animated frame, the French duo behind Phantom Boy turn our attention toward the sky. We take in the multicolored floors and windows of office buildings, and the famous monuments of New York City. This version of the great…
Film, Gleason


Gleason has been misclassified as a documentary. It's a horror film, humane to the core, but meant to disturb. We watch the motor functions of a former NFL player atrophy on screen. The film begins with video clips of Steve…

Arthouse Film Listings For July 28 - August 3, 2016

Alamo Drafthouse. Private Property: A hoodlum (Corey Allen) plots to seduce a lonely housewife (Kate Manx) and turn her over to his virginal friend (Warren Oates). Fri., July 29, 9 p.m. Silver Bullet: A werewolf terrorizes a small city where…
Film, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 36

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 36

For its 36th year, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival brings a week and a half of delicious cinematic noshes to the Castro Theatre and beyond. Highlights include Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, a documentary about the legendary…
Film, Breaking a Monster

Breaking a Monster

Depending on your point of view, Luke Meyer's fly-on-the-wall documentary Breaking a Monster is either about the breakthrough and rise of a heavy metal band, or about their capture and taming. The band in question is Unlocking the Truth, comprised…
Film, The Blackout Experiments

The Blackout Experiments

The Blackout Haunted House is an "extreme immersive horror experience" in which all manner of degradation and torture is consensually committed upon the patron, who is given both a safeword and a waiver to sign beforehand promising not to sue…

Arthouse Film Listings For July 21 - 27, 2016

Alamo Drafthouse. Star Trek Beyond: A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall (Idris Elba), a lizard-like dictator who derives his energy by sucking the life out…
Film, Seoul Searching

Seoul Searching

Benson Lee's Seoul Searching is a funny and often poignant meditation on both ethnic identity and drinking games. In 1986, a group of Korean teenagers born and raised abroad arrive at the Seoul Summer Camp, created by the Korean government…