Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Ray Stevenson stars in Kill the Irishman, now playing at the Lumiere.

The Sonoma Film Festival and the San Francisco Women's Film Festival are both underway through Sunday, while Super, an ultra-violent comedy starring Rainn Wilson as a hopeless schlub turned vigilante superhero, ratchets up the body count at the Embarcadero. Elsewhere:

1. Bill Cunningham New York
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: “We all get dressed for Bill,” says Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, paying the ultimate compliment to legendary fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, whose work has been featured in the New York Times for 33 years. But who is Cunningham, the octogenarian-about-town relentlessly searching for the perfect shot? Bill Cunningham New York leaves us with as many questions about Cunningham as answers. That we bother to ask them at all is a tribute to the film’s effectiveness.

2. Kill the Irishman
Where: Lumiere Theatre, 1572 California St., 415-885-3201
When: All Week
Why: Inspired by the true story of Danny Greene, a onetime labor leader turned gangster who rose to fame during the summer of 1976 as the man Cleveland's Italian mafia couldn't seem to murder, Kill the Irishman is a compelling chronicle of a man compromised by ambition and doomed by his brazenness, featuring a stellar cast led by Ray Stevenson, Christopher Walken and Vincent D'Onofrio.

3
. Rubber
Where: Lumiere Theatre, 1572 California St., 415-885-3201
When: All Week
Why: If you’ve ever wondered whether contemporary filmmakers have run out of original stories to tell, look no further than Rubber, Quentin Dupieux’s cheerfully deranged tale of a killer car tire rolling down a barren interstate, using psychokinesis to obliterate anyone who stands in his way. On some level, it’s like cinematic performance art; not every gamble Dupeiux takes pays off, but you have to admire him for taking the risks.

4. Picnic at Hanging Rock
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: April 14
Why:
A Valentine’s Day picnic at an ancient volcanic outcropping turns into a haunting mystery for the residents of a girls' boarding school when a few wandering teenagers inexplicably vanish. A disquieting exercise with a subtext charged by suppressed longings, Peter Weir’s 1975 masterpiece remains as ineffable as the conundrum at its core.

5. Win Win

Where: Bridge Theatre, 3010 Geary Blvd., 415-751-3213
When: All Week
Why: Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor) returns to his hometown of New Providence, New Jersey, to capture the compelling trials and often laugbable tribulations of an elderly-law attorney (Paul Giamatti) and his burgeoning friendship with a gifted young wrestler, played by newcomer (and real-life Jersey state champion) Alex Shaffer. It's foolish to make such proclamations in March, but no matter: Win is one of the year's best.

6. Blue Valentine

Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: April 11-13
Why: The best of intentions can’t rescue a flatlining relationship, a lesson learned through tears, small explosions and passionless embraces by Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams), a still-young married couple watching the embers of their romance turn cold in Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine. Where did their passion go? Cianfrance leaves that question to our imagination, and Dean and Cindy's cold civility – as well as the riveting, award-worthy performances of Gosling and Williams – gives Valentine its withering power.

7. Of Gods and Men
Where: Lumiere Theatre, 1572 California St., 415-885-3201
When: All Week
Why: Nominated for 11 César Awards including Best Picture, Xavier Beauvois' historical drama documents the lives of eight French Christian monks who share a monastery in the mountains of North Africa. When Islamic fundamentalists slaughter a crew of foreign workers, the monks refuse to evacuate, soon finding themselves stuck in an increasingly tenuous living situation and resigned to whatever fate brings.