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Indie Theater Roundup: Seven Movies to See This Week

Candyman

A scene from Candyman

Now that the heatwave has subsided and you've begun to feel that good ol' San Francisco malaise start to return, why not throw on your puffy jacket, grab your boyfriend/girlfriend (if you didn't break up with them in a fit of Indian Summer-induced mania), take a seat in a nice comfy theatre and enjoy some rays of a different sort. This week's recommendations:

1. Candyman
When it was released it seemed that Candyman wasn't just a horror movie, it was meant to say something about the anxiety of urbanism, the ghettoization of minorities and perhaps even the abject pedantry of grad school. As those particular topics have lost their appeal (due in large part to saturation), what remains is a tightly crafted, very adult film starring Virginia Madsen as a sort of proto-Dana Scully haunted/hunted by Tony Todd, whose rendition of the titular villain is as chilling and sublime now as it was when the film came out in 1992. Plays at Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street @ Market.

2. The Master
It's not new this week, but Paul Thomas Anderson's latest Rubick's Cube of a film is still playing around the Bay, and you'll be kicking yourself if you wait and see it on the small screen. If you have the time or the inclination, make the trek to the Grand Lake Theater out in Oakland to see it on 70mm as was intended--it's a spectacle worthy of the trip. Plays at Grand Lake Theatre, 3200 Grand Avenue, Oakland.

3. V/H/S
Horrorists who require a bit more gore than Candyman cares to provide will rejoice for this weekend's release of this omnibus film–a series of found footage vignettes by different directors loosely tied together by the conceit that they're all unmarked VHS tapes. Critical asides alleging the films (the best of which comes from purist genre up-and-comer Ti West) are uneven and vaguely misogynist will do very little to defer genre fans, who are by now accustomed to such things. Plays at Bridge Theatre, 3010 Geary Boulevard @ Blake.

4. Bitter Seeds
Local filmmaker Micha X. Peled's third entry into the "globalization trilogy" he began with the takedown doc Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town is as incisive and insightful as its predecessors, if a bit more emotional.  Those interested in the human cost of the rush to adopt GMO crops will have a special interest in this itinerary of the life-and-death hardships of modern Indian farmers. Plays at Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street @ Valencia.

5. Spirit of the Beehive
Victor Erice's hypnotic masterwork is difficult to describe in words, but primarily concerns the life of a young girl obsessed with the tale of Frankenstein's monster. Along with Cria Cuervos, in which its young star Ana Torrent also features, Spirit is one of the most accomplished portraits of the conflicted Franco era and has inspired the work of many modern directors, most visibly Guillermo Del Toro. Plays at Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street @ Market.

6. Mill Valley Film Festival
Marin's Oscar-feeding celebrity-packed 35th year opens this Thursday, boasting a massive slate of much-hyped spectacles like Holy Motors, The Sessions, and Argo and guests ranging from Stevie Nicks to Dustin Hoffman. Look for our picks next week, in the meantime, take a peek at their schedule here without the benefit of its rather hideous cover art. Plays at Smith Rafael Film Center, 1118 Fourth Street between A & B in San Rafael, other locations.

7. Guilty Pleasure - Taken 2
Something very strange has happened in the later years of Liam Neeson's career: He's gone from a stoic, dependably leaden leading man to a stoic, dependably violent man of action. Since this is part two, of course, this time it's (even more) personal. If you haven't forgiven him for Gun Shy yet, this amazing clip from Ricky Gervais' "Extras" might help–NSFW! Plays at AMC Metreon 16, 101 Fourth Street @ Mission.