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Arthouse Movie Listings February 12-18, 2015 

Wednesday, Feb 11 2015
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Artists' Television Access. OLINGLINGO: The Movie: Premiere of Jeepneys' new "video opera" that combines live performance footage of the one-woman synth act with staged scenes and retro VFX that are every bit as lo-tek as the music's '80s-indebted electronic sounds. Thu., Feb. 12, 8 p.m. $7-$10. GAZE: Pleasure//Pain: The independent women's film and video series tackles love in all of its "kinky, sweet, dark, seductive, uncomfortable, playful, and difficult" splendor in experimental and exploratory short films by Claire Arctander, Renae Barnard, Nazli Dincel, Sasha Waters Freyer, Minna Långström, Karly Stark, Amanda Thomson, and more. Fri., Feb. 13, 8 p.m. $7-$10. gazefilmseries.wordpress.com. The New Talkies Take on North America and The Beyond: This sui generis mashup of film and performance pairs scenes from fascinating films (think Chinatown, The Sound of Music, Joan Crawford's subtext-soaked Johnny Guitar, and Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le Fou) with artists and writers chipping in live narration or even their own scripts. Sun., Feb. 15, 8 p.m. $10. 992 Valencia, San Francisco, 824-3890, atasite.org.

Castro Theatre. Romeo & Juliet: Wherefore art Romeo? Why, he's right here, with actor Leonard Whiting appearing in person at this Valentine's Day screening of Franco Zeffirelli's classic 1968 film adaptation of the most famous play ever written. Sat., Feb. 14, 8 p.m. $25-$45. 429 Castro, San Francisco, 621-6120, castrotheatre.com.

Clay Theatre. 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. 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, San Francisco, 267-4893, landmarktheatres.com.

Dark Room Theater. Bad Movie Night: Michael Jackson's Moonwalker: Hosts Sherilyn Connelly, Tristan Buckner, and Chris Rockey surely have enough respect for the late pop superstar not to mock him outright ... though certain segments of this surreal long-form music video may not escape the same fate. Sun., Feb. 15, 8 p.m. $6.99. 2263 Mission, San Francisco, 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. 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. Red Army: Gabe Polsky's entertaining documentary revisits the Cold War though the lens of hockey — particularly the story of Slava Fetisov, the captain and most charismatic member of the Soviet Union's Red Army hockey team — and keeps a light tone even when dealing with serious issues. Daily. Oscar Nominated Short Films 2015: Live Action: Forever flying far enough under the radar to avoid Oscar controversy are the short films, a genre which tends to be unheard of until a given film is nominated for the little gold statue. This is especially true of the live-action short films, and it's a shame, because there always a few works that deserve special attention. 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. Oscar Nominated Shorts: Animation: Animated shorts, when made well, have a beautiful way of boiling down everything that ever was and ever will be great about movie storytelling. In general, the only shortness that's a problem here is the shortsightedness of the Academy: There's just so much more original and award-worthy animation being made in any given year than this somewhat puny batch of nominees ever can contain. Still, they've picked some good ones. 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. 1 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, 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, San Francisco, 528-4444, exploratorium.edu.

Multiple Bay Area Locations. 17th SF IndieFest: They grow up so fast, don't they? SF IndieFest is old enough to drive this year, but you should still take public transportation to the kickoff film, Hits, at the Brava. Writer/director David Cross's keen sense of misanthropy shines through in this story of a small town whose residents (and a few outside agitators) become dangerously obsessed with getting internet-famous. The rest of the fest is filled out with sensitive indie dramas, documentaries of many stripes, creepy animated features, short films, international thrillers, exploitation spoofs, cheesy midnight sci-fi, and stuff that is just plain batshit weird. This year's IndieFest takes place at the Brava Theater Center (2781 24th St., S.F.), Roxie Theater (3117 16th St., S.F.), and Humanist Hall (390 27th St., Oakland). Through Feb. 19. sfindie.com. Multiple addresses, San Francisco, N/A.

New Conservatory Theatre Center. The Case Against 8: The NCTC presents a Valentine's Day benefit screening of HBO's 2014 documentary about the legal battle to bring down the California state proposition outlawing same-sex marriage. Following the film is a panel discussion moderated by Supervisor Scott Weiner and featuring former Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn R. Walker, attorney Enrique Monagas, and plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo. Sat., Feb. 14, 1 p.m. $65-$100. 25 Van Ness, San Francisco, 861-8972, nctcsf.org.

Opera Plaza Cinemas. She's Beautiful When She's Angry: Documentaries about social justice history often get to benefit from a kind of positive culture shock, in that the viewer can take some comfort in how much better things are now. And while there's been some measure of improvement since the time covered in Mary Dore's fascinating documentary about the feminist movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, She's Beautiful When She's Angry demonstrates that things may be better than they were, but they still need to be better than they are. Daily. Oscar Nominated Short Films 2015: Live Action: Forever flying far enough under the radar to avoid Oscar controversy are the short films, a genre which tends to be unheard of until a given film is nominated for the little gold statue. This is especially true of the live-action short films, and it's a shame, because there always a few works that deserve special attention. Daily. Mr. Turner: Mike Leigh directs Timothy Spall as the prolific 19th-century English painter J.M.W. Turner, whose work became a sublime segue from Romantic landscapes to Modernist abstractions, and whose personal life — as robustly inhabited by Spall — apparently contained multitudes of gropes and grunts. Daily. Oscar Nominated Shorts: Animation: Animated shorts, when made well, have a beautiful way of boiling down everything that ever was and ever will be great about movie storytelling. In general, the only shortness that's a problem here is the shortsightedness of the Academy: There's just so much more original and award-worthy animation being made in any given year than this somewhat puny batch of nominees ever can contain. Still, they've picked some good ones. Daily. Ballet 422: In this beautifully muted documentary by cinematographer-director Jody Lee Lipes, a New York City Ballet company dancer gets and takes a chance to create his own show. Lipes' reticent observational style, structured by the chronology of readying a debut production for its impending premiere, implies that all any movie really needs is the privilege to watch someone making something. And what's not to like about lovely young bodies in motion, striving for grace? Starting Feb. 13. Daily. 601 Van Ness, San Francisco, 777-3456, landmarktheatres.com.

Roxie Theater. 17th SF IndieFest: This year's San Francisco Independent Film Festival is chock full of sensitive indie dramas, documentaries of many stripes, creepy animated features, short films, international thrillers, exploitation spoofs, cheesy midnight sci-fi, and stuff that is just plain batshit weird. Through Feb. 19. sfindie.com. Power Ballad Sing-A-Long: SF IndieFest invites you to release your inner poodle (or at least your inner lover of poodle-haired pop rockers from the 1980s) at their annual music video sing-along party. Sat., Feb. 14, 9:30 p.m. $15. sfindie.com. 3117 16th St., San Francisco, 863-1087, roxie.com.

Sundance Kabuki Cinemas. Song of the Sea: Folklore is life in Tomm Moore's animated masterpiece, a stunning visual tapestry and a simple story about how any family's grief for a lost loved one can be as deep and vast as a national mythology. It demonstrates, as maybe only a great animated film can, how ordinary life teems with wonder. Through Feb. 12. Timbuktu: In filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako's documentary, the eponymous Malian city is a place increasingly in thrall to Islamic fundamentalism, a place of men with guns instead of minds, with a Sharia mandate to ban anything fun under threat of barbaric punishment. We begin to understand what makes Malian blues bands so soulful and mesmerizingly good: In a place like this, they get 40 lashes for playing music at all, and 40 more just for being together in a room. Through Feb. 12. 1881 Post, San Francisco, 346-3243, sundancecinemas.com/kabuki.html.

Vogue Theatre. Mostly British Film Festival: This year's festival features films from not only the United Kingdom and Ireland, which most Americans would readily quantify as being British (much to Ireland's chagrin), but also Australia and South Africa, which is seriously kicking it old-school, colonially speaking. And the films in this year's MBFF are also a combination of the old and new schools, kicking off with Yann Demange's award-winning '71 from last year, and including an in-person Q&A with Malcolm McDowell before a screening of his turn as famed Englishman H. G. Wells in 1979's Time After Time. Feb. 12-22. facebook.com/MostlyBritishFilmFestival. 3290 Sacramento, San Francisco, 346-2288, voguesf.com.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. In Case of No Emergency: The Films of Ruben Östlund: Starting with a pair of Force Majeure screenings perhaps strategically scheduled on either side of Valentine's Day (Feb. 12 and 15), this month's highly recommended YBCA retrospective of Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund reveals the career progress through which sad-funny failures of manliness have become an Östlund specialty, with the filmmaker developing a sophisticated internet-age understanding of how social pressure and attention dissipation have combined into some subtle evil superforce that may be driving us all insane. Thu., Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 15, 2 p.m.; Thu., Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 22, 2 p.m.; Thu., Feb. 26, 7 p.m. $8-$10. 701 Mission, San Francisco, 978-2787, ybca.org.

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