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Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Sure, you could waste your weekend listening to Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories or celebrating the misguided passions of material girls with Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson in Bride Wars. But if you're in the mood for something a bit more rewarding, there are plenty of worthwhile adventures arriving at theaters near you. Among them:

1. The Wrestler
Where:
Bridge Theatre,
3010 Geary Blvd., 415-751-3213

When: All Week
Why: After nearly two decades spent disfiguring his once-pretty face, suffering embarrassing run-ins with the law and starring sporadically in straight-to-DVD clunkers, Mickey Rourke is suddenly in contention for the first Oscar of his curious career. Here’s your chance to find out the reason.

2. Vivre Sa Vie
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Jan. 18-19
Why: Jean-Luc Godard’s fourth feature, about a Parisian prostitute (brilliantly played by then-wife Anna Karina) wandering aimlessly through a life of spiritual solitude, is a sensory experience of the highest order, boldly unconventional in its use of sound and Raoul Coutard’s roving camera. Better yet, it’s back on the big screen, if only for two nights.

3. Waltz with Bashir
Where: Clay Theatre, 2261 Fillmore St., 415-346-1124
When: All Week
Why: Ari Folman’s animated documentary, inspired by interviews with veterans of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, is anguished, timely and profoundly affecting.

4. Che
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: At nearly four-and-a-half hours, Steven Soderbergh’s exhaustive (and mostly reverential) portrait of Ernesto “Che” Guevara might seem more like a test of endurance than an evening’s entertainment. But those attending tonight’s premiere at the Embarcadero will have the pleasure of watching with the director himself.

5. The Dark Crystal
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Jan. 22
Why: A dramatic departure from sunnier, all-ages-appropriate fare like The Muppets Take Manhattan, Jim Henson’s Tolkien-esque fantasy still stands as his darkest and most ambitious achievement. It turns 27 this year. Those inclined to celebrate need only find their way to the Vic.

6. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Where: Opera Plaza Cinema, 601 Van Ness Ave., 415-771-0183
When: All Week
Why: Woody Allen’s finest offering since Deconstructing Harry arrives at a bittersweet conclusion – that our most passionate desires are almost invariably trumped by life’s mundane imperatives – but along the way, it serves notice that the Brooklyn-born director has, at 72, lost none of his talent for thrusting his characters into slyly comical binds without hitting a single false note.

7. Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Jan. 20-21
Why: Documentarian D.A. Pennebaker (Don’t Look Back) captures David Bowie on the final night of 1973’s Ziggy Stardust tour. ’Nuff said.