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Arthouse Move Listings for March 12-18, 2015 

Wednesday, Mar 11 2015
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Balboa Theatre. Road Hard: Taking a page from his own life, Adam Carolla co-wrote the script and directed himself in this crowdfunded indie comedy about a stand-up comedian who's forced to go back to touring crummy nightclubs when his TV career hits the skids. Carolla also makes a personal appearance for a Q&A session after the 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. shows on Tuesday, March 10. Through March 12. $7.50-$10. roadhardmovie.com. 3630 Balboa, 221-2184, balboamovies.com.

Castro Theatre. Seoul Searching: Writer-director Benson Lee's Seoul Searching finds a lively gaggle of adolescent Korean expats summoned to their homeland for government-sponsored summer camp; cultural education is what's on the official agenda, but John Hughesian coming of age is what's in store. This seems like the perfect CAAMFest kickoff: generous, inclusive, and movie-lovingly true. Thu., March 12, 6:30 p.m. $35. caamfest.com. Jesus Christ Superstar: Jesus and Pontius Pilate have apparently been reconciled, as actors Ted Neeley and Barry Dennen both appear in person for a Q&A session preceding this screening of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical's 1973 film adaptation. Tue., March 17, 7 p.m. $12. 429 Castro, 621-6120, castrotheatre.com.

Center for Sex & Culture. Erotic Film School: Madison Young presents a three-day seminar on the ins and outs of erotic filmmaking. March 13-15. eroticfilmschool.com. 1349 Mission, 902-2071, sexandculture.org.

Clay Theatre. Wild Tales: A cornucopia of comeuppance, this exuberant pulp anthology from Argentine writer-director Damián Szifrón would like to point out how ready and willing humans still are to act like animals. The tales include a perhaps deservedly unlucky assembly of airplane passengers; a dish of revenge best served at a late-night diner; a bribery spiral spinning out of control from a drunken rich kid's hit-and-run; an elaborate road-rage duel that'll be the envy of Tarantino; a demolitionist getting his own blow-up button pushed by parking-enforcement bureaucracy; and one catastrophically tacky wedding. Daily. The Room: Tommy Wiseau's cinematic bomb is every bit as bad as it's cracked up to be. You'll crack up as well at this riotous midnight screening with lots of Rocky Horror-style audience participation. Second Saturday of every month, 11:59 p.m. 2261 Fillmore, 267-4893, landmarktheatres.com.

Dark Room Theater. Bad Movie Night: The Last Dragon: Hosts Sherilyn Connelly, Mikl-Em, and Tristan Buckner bring all of their kung-fu training to bear upon this oh-so-'80s cult classic that combines mystical martial arts with the cheesiest urban pop and R&B that decade had to offer. Sun., March 15, 8 p.m. $6.99. 2263 Mission, 401-7987, darkroomsf.com.

Embarcadero Center Cinema. Birdman: In Alejandro González Iñárritu's bold comment on the uncertain new frontier of performing arts, Michael Keaton plays the wounded, ambitious, has-been star of a superhero-movie franchise, now mounting his own Raymond Carver adaptation on Broadway. Daily. Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem: An Orthodox Jewish Israeli woman (Ronit Elkabetz, who also wrote and directed) seeks a divorce without official permission from her husband, which the law requires. Her only recourse is to probe the depths of absurd intransigence in a stifling rabbinical courtroom, suffering and enduring scrutiny with exquisite cinematic purity. Daily. The Theory of Everything: In director James Marsh's gauzy and chastely reverential movie, Eddie Redmayne relishes the physically challenging role of young astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, bending himself through a progression of wheelchairs from 1960s Cambridge toward the gnarled, impish, computer­-voiced transglobal keynoter we all know and love today. Daily. The Imitation Game: After breaking Nazi codes, basically winning World War II, and pretty much inventing the computer and modern-day artificial intelligence, British mathematician Alan Turing was then chemically castrated for being gay and poisoned to death with cyanide. Last year the Queen granted Turing a posthumous pardon, but nothing really says "we're sorry" like Benedict Cumberbatch playing him in a posh, Oscar-hungry historical thriller. Daily. Leviathan: Writer-director Andrey Zvyagintsev's sublimely bitter tragedy reveals that post-Soviet life is not sweet along the shores of the Barents Sea, where a middle-aged mechanic (Aleksey Serebryakov) endures increasingly unfavorable negotiations with his beautiful doom-barometer wife (Elena Lyadova), his sullen teenage son (Sergey Pokhodaev), and a petty, portly mayor (Roman Madyanov) who's determined to run him out of business and out of town, apparently just for the thrill of manifesting corruption. Daily. What We Do in the Shadows: In this mockumentary written and directed by two Flight of the Conchords guys, Vladislav, Viago, Deacon, and Nick are vampires of varying antiquity who cohabitate in a grungy flat in New Zealand. Followed by a documentary crew, they go on about the business of both being undead (if foppish) ghouls who feed on the blood of humans to survive, as well as being a bunch of straight men living together, which means the dishes and other basic chores tend to go undone. Daily. Merchants of Doubt: Director Robert Kenner turns the Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway book that exposed amoral paid pundits who sow doubt about climate change into a mostly redundant, Food, Inc.-like documentary. Starting March 13. Daily. 1 Embarcadero Center, 267-4893, landmarktheatres.com.

Exploratorium. Saturday Cinema: Weekly thematic film screenings presented in the Kanbar Forum by the Exploratorium's Cinema Arts program. Saturdays. Free with museum admission. Pier 15, 528-4444, exploratorium.edu.

Multiple Bay Area Locations. CAAMFest 2015: The global is local in CAAMFest — the Center for Asian American Media's annual film festival — which imports more than a hundred movies from 20 countries, with several filmmakers hailing from throughout the Bay Area. But the notion of cinema as a means to make sense of life is neither geographically nor temporally limited, and CAAMFest encourages reveling in pop culture universalism. March 12-22. caamfest.com. Multiple addresses, San Francisco.

New Parkway Theater. The Ear Goes to the Sound: The Work of Laetitia Sonami: Director Renetta Sitoy presents her DIY cinematic portrait of Laetitia Sonami, the wonderfully creative Oakland experimental/electronic musician and instrument inventor, with both Sitoy and Sonami appearing for a Q&A session after the film. Sun., March 15, 12:30 p.m. $6. earsoundfilm.com. 474 24th St., Oakland, 510-658-7900, thenewparkway.com.

Oddball Films. The Kiss of Death: A Menage à Murder: Spend your Friday the 13th with curator Kat Shuchter as Oddball Films cues up a series of unlucky short films guaranteed to end in tragedy for someone. Fri., March 13, 8 p.m. $10. 275 Capp, 558-8112, oddballfilms.blogspot.com.

Opera Plaza Cinemas. The Salvation: Starring Mads Mikkelsen as a Danish settler in the American West in 1871, director Kristian Levring's The Salvation is a gorgeous-looking western with no other aims than being a gorgeous-looking western, with the possible exception of also being a violently nihilistic yet gorgeous-looking western. Daily. Queen & Country: Following a young British man as he begins two years of conscripted army service and comes of age amidst wacky non-combat shenanigans, John Boorman's Queen & Country is upfront about being a sequel to his autobiographical 1987 picture Hope & Glory, but it may play better for those who aren't attached to the original film. Daily. Still Alice: Julianne Moore's performance as a well-to-do woman stricken with Alzheimer's before her time redeems Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's cringe-drama, which otherwise doesn't say anything new about the disease (though some seriously tacky product placement does imply that Pinkberry may be somehow related). Daily. A Most Violent Year: A 1981 NYC period piece with the word "violent" right there in its title, writer-director J.C. Chandor's A Most Violent Year might disappoint some viewers by stoking unfair expectations. Instead of an over-cranked opera, it's really just a subtle character study about a would-be heating oil tycoon, and a reiteration of the perceptive question Chandor has been asking for three films now: With his self-made world maybe inevitably coming apart, what's a man to do? Daily. Deli Man: Erik Greenberg Anjou's documentary traces the rise and fall of a sadly vanishing institution: the endangered species known as the Jewish Delicatessen. Daily. 601 Van Ness, 777-3456, landmarktheatres.com.

Roxie Theater. Faults: There are cult movies and then there are movies about cults. Writer/director Riley Stearns' darkly comedic debut feature may end up being both, as Leland Orser's onscreen attempts to deprogram a teenage girl end up getting more complicated than he initially bargained for. Through March 12. Buzzard: Joel Potrykus' wrist-slashingly dark comedy stars the Buscemi-esque Joshua Burge as a greasy-haired horror aficionado who makes most of his living running scams — but when one scam in particular goes south, he takes his middle class rage to the city streets. Through March 12. The Cult of JT LeRoy: Local filmmaker Marjorie Sturm's documentary offers a sober yet somewhat punch-drunk reminder of what it felt like when the local literary wunderkind with a disturbingly tragic past was shown to possess an even more disturbingly tragic future, on account of having become a celebrity without ever having been an actual person. March 13-18. Science on Screen: Sleep Dealer: Science meets film and fiction when UC Berkeley mechanical engineering professor J. Karl Hendrick speaks about unmanned aircraft systems (aka drones), followed by a screening of Alex Rivera's sci-fi thriller Sleep Dealer, in which a Mexican man's family is the victim of a misdirected drone attack. Mon., March 16, 7 p.m. $10. 3117 16th St., 863-1087, roxie.com.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Cracked Actor: David Bowie on Screen: Rock stars have always had an iffy track record in movies, but David Bowie has been more successful than most. YBCA's Cracked Actor series looks at several of Bowie's cinematic forays, including concert films, fantasies, dramas, and documentaries like Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars (March 5-7), Christiane F. (March 8), Absolute Beginners (March 12), The Man Who Fell to Earth (March 15 & 21), The Hunger (March 19-20), The Prestige (March 22), Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (March 26), Labyrinth (March 27-29), and David Bowie Is Happening Now (March 29). Through March 29. $8-$10. ybca.org/david-bowie. Mentors & Mavericks: Rova Channeling Coltrane: Free screenings of the films Electric Ascension Live at the Guelph Jazz Festival and Cleaning the Mirror document how the Rova Saxophone Quartet transformed John Coltrane's album Ascension into Electric Ascension, a new avant-garde jazz classic featuring a dozen improv monsters. Fri., March 13, 7 p.m. Free. 701 Mission, 978-2787, ybca.org.

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