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Arthouse Movie Listings for December 10-16, 2015 

Wednesday, Dec 9 2015

4-Star Theatre. The Assassin: In ninth-century China, an exiled assassin (Shu Qi) must choose between love or duty when she receives orders to kill a man (Chang Chen) from her past. Daily. The Room: Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) is a successful banker who lives happily in a San Francisco townhouse with his fiancée, Lisa (Juliette Danielle). One day, inexplicably, she gets bored of him and decides to seduce Johnny's best friend, Mark (Greg Sestero). From there, nothing will be the same again Daily. Theeb: In 1916, Theeb lives with his Bedouin tribe in a remote part of the Ottoman Empire. When his older brother has to escort a British officer across the desert, Theeb tags along for the adventure. Starting Dec. 11. Daily. 2200 Clement, San Francisco, 666-3488,

AMC Metreon 16. The Big Short: When four outsiders saw what the big banks, media and government refused to, the global collapse of the economy, they had an idea: The Big Short. Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of modern banking where they must question everyone and everything. Daily. In The Heart of the Sea: Oscar winner Ron Howard directs the action adventure In the Heart of the Sea, based on Nathaniel Philbrick's best-selling book about the dramatic true journey of the Essex. In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. In the Heart of the Sea reveals the encounter's harrowing aftermath, as the ship's surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Daily. 101 Fourth St., San Francisco, 369-6207,

Balboa Theatre. Popcorn Palace: Every Saturday at 10 a.m. $10 gets ticket plus popcorn and drink! 12/12 It's a Wonderful Life. 12/19, 12/26 Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Saturdays, 10 a.m. Horror Express: Alexander Saxton (Christopher Lee), a brilliant British anthropologist researching in the Russian Far East, boards the Trans-Siberian Express with his latest discovery, a frozen specimen he hopes to prove is the missing link. But en route to Europe, passengers begin to turn up dead, and terror engulfs the train as Saxton and his partner, Dr. Wells (Peter Cushing), struggle to contain a mysterious -- and increasingly murderous -- force with the power to control minds. Mon., Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. It's A Wonderful Life: After George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes he had never been born, an angel (Henry Travers) is sent to earth to make George's wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there. Daily. 3630 Balboa, San Francisco, 221-2184,

Castro Theatre. THUNDERCRACK!: In 1975, San Francisco filmmakers Curt McDowell and writer/actor George Kuchar created the exceptionally perverse, shocking and utterly brilliant THUNDERCRACK!, a film not recommended for those with tender sensibilities, and the world's only kinky art-adult horror film. With the initial setup of an atmospheric gothic tale it quickly turns into an eerie orgy of tasteless humor, incredibly quotable dialogue, graphic horror and raunchy sex. The 7:30 screening includes a pre-show hosted by Peaches Christ and features special guests. Fri., Dec. 11, 3 & 7:30 p.m. Double Feature: The Nightmare Before Christma and Elf: The Nightmare Before Christmas: Producer Tim Burton's warped holiday fantasy is a true stunner. Pumpkin King Jack Skellington wants to remake Christmas in his own image, with help from the other residents of Halloween Town. Elf: Will Ferrell plays one of Santa's elves who learns of his true identity as a human and goes to New York City to meet his biological father, spreading Christmas cheer in a world of cynics as he goes. Jon Faverau's spirited, good-natured holiday comedy benefits greatly from Ferrell's do anything for a laugh performance. Sun., Dec. 13, 3:30, 5:05, 7 & 8:35 p.m. 429 Castro, San Francisco, 621-6120,

Clay Theatre. 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. Royal Opera House: Nutcracker: Celebrate Christmas with this classic production of Tchaikovsky's ballet. Sun., Dec. 13, 11 a.m. Youth: A poignant tale of how we each find our own passion in life, starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Jane Fonda and Paul Dano. Starting Dec. 11. Daily. 2261 Fillmore, San Francisco, 267-4893,

Embarcadero Center Cinema. Brooklyn: A young Irish immigrant (Saoirse Ronan), navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn, must choose between two countries when her new vivacity is disrupted by her past. Daily. Carol: Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star as women from different backgrounds who find themselves feeling a forbidden attraction in 1950s Manhattan. Daily. The Danish Girl: A love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener, as they navigate Lili's journey as a transgender pioneer. Daily. 1 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, 267-4893,

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,

Great American Music Hall. Timeline Missions presents Degrees North: Mon., Dec. 14, 8 p.m. $16. 859 O'Farrell, San Francisco, 885-0750,

The Knockout. Cyberpunk Cinema: Thrillhouse Records presents a classic sci-fi flick every month, preceded by an episode of Cowboy Bebop. Second Monday of every month, 6:30 p.m. Free. 3223 Mission, San Francisco, 550-6994,

Opera Plaza Cinema. The Wonders: A family of beekeepers living in stark isolation in the Tuscan countryside is disrupted by a reality TV show intent on showcasing the family. Daily. Hitchcock/Truffaut: In 1962, François Truffaut persuaded Alfred Hitchcock to sit for an interview in which the great British director would share the secrets of his cinema. Starting Dec. 11. Daily. Macbeth: A fearless Scottish general (Michael Fassbender), haunted by a prophecy and his own ambition, uses murder to gain the power of the throne. Daily. 601 Van Ness, San Francisco, 267-4893,

Presidio Theatre. The Good Dinosaur: Luckily for young Arlo, his parents (Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand) and his two siblings, the mighty dinosaurs were not wiped out 65 million years ago. When a rainstorm washes poor Arlo (Raymond Ochoa) downriver, he ends up bruised, battered and miles away from home. Good fortune shines on the frightened dino when he meets Spot (Jack Bright), a Neanderthal boy who offers his help and friendship. Together, the unlikely duo embark on an epic adventure to reunite Arlo with his beloved family. Daily. Spotlight: In 2001, editor Marty Baron of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. Led by editor Walter "Robby" Robinson, reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer interview victims and try to unseal sensitive documents. The reporters make it their mission to provide proof of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. Daily. 2340 Chestnut, San Francisco, 776-2388,

Roxie Theater. Bleeding Heart: Reserved yoga instructor May (Biel) lives a peaceful, clean-living life with her boyfriend. But her carefully maintained equilibrium is thrown out of balance when she discovers her long-lost biological sister Shiva (Mamet), a street-smart yet naive young woman caught working the streets and trapped in an abusive relationship. May feels compelled to rescue the hapless Shiva but as she takes steps to pull Shiva back from the edge she finds herself increasingly drawn out of her sedate world and deeper into Shiva's chaotic one. Dec. 12-17. The Quay Brothers on 35MM: Curated by Christopher Nolan: A touring package of four films curated by Christopher Nolan. Featuring In Absentia, The Comb, Street of Crocodiles, and the world premiere of Christopher Nolan's Quay in all new 35mm prints. Dec. 11-17. Blind: Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Pettersen) is a woman contending with the loss of vision. In trying to navigate a world without sight, she spends her days attempting to reconstruct the visual world as she once knew it. As she struggles with her new found predicament, she begins writing salacious fictional stories that slowly morph into fantasies of what her husband does when she's not around. When real-life events seamlessly give way to Ingrid's creations, she is able to find a means to come to terms with her disability. Provocative, sexy and deeply-felt, "Blind" won raves out of its premiere at Sundance where it won the World Cinema Screenwriting Award as well as the Label Europa Cinemas Award at the Berlin International Film Festival the following month. Fri., Dec. 11, 9 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 12, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 13, 7 p.m.; Tue., Dec. 15, 7 p.m.; Wed., Dec. 16, 7 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 17, 7 p.m. 3117 16th St., San Francisco, 863-1087,

Temescal Arts Center. Shapeshifters Cinema: Free monthly film series featuring experimental image manipulators and ambient sound shamans. Second Sunday of every month, 8 p.m. Free. 511 48th St., Oakland, 510-923-1074,

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Music Movies: From industrial noise to latin boogaloo to the sounds of Thailand, this series of new music films has something for all adventurous viewers. Featured are renowned filmmaker Les Blank's previously unreleased documentary about Leon Russell, and Doug Aitkin's epic Station to Station composed of 62 one-minute films about a cross-country train journey with a constantly changing group of artists, musicians and performers. Three more films round out the series with in-depth looks at the American genre of Latin boogaloo, the industrial music and noise scene in Europe and the U.S., and the diversity of amazing music from Thailand. Through Dec. 20. 701 Mission, San Francisco, 978-2787,

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