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Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Only a week left until G.I. Joe and Meryl Streep’s Julia Child bull their way onto the big screen. Can you contain your excitement? Until then, here are some of the most intriguing selections now playing at an indie theater near you.

1. Easy Rider
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Aug. 5-8
Why: Dennis Hopper’s offbeat 1969 classic about brothers of the road “in search of America” and running into all manner of resistance and drug-induced euphoria along the way, is back on the big screen celebrating its 40th anniversary with a newly restored print. Whether or not you’re familiar with its sometimes funny and ultimately tragic contemplation of countercultural paranoia – justified in the bitter end – Easy Rider is required viewing.

2. Thirst
Where: Bridge Theatre, 3010 Geary Blvd., 415-751-3213
When: All Week
Why:
The latest from South Korea’s Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Lady Vengeance) takes no prisoners – it’s a brutal, exhilaratingly original tale of recently turned vampires struggling with their newfound taste for blood. One, a deeply spiritual priest (Song Kang-ho, of The Host) before his unholy conversion, attempts to strike a delicate balance between his beliefs and his after-dark feeding frenzies; his girlfriend (Kim Ok-vin), who makes Lady Macbeth look like a pussycat, has other ideas. Chan-wook’s story, co-written with Chung Seo-kyung, is hardly for the timid, but it’s thrilling as it ufolds.

3. Shrink
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: For those who share Hollywood’s fascination with therapy – the same audiences drawn to Gabriel Byrne in HBO’s In Treatment and James Gandolfini’s soul-searching confessionals with Lorraine Bracco in The Sopranos – Kevin Spacey’s turn as a bitterly cynical psychiatrist to the stars could be just what the doctor ordered.

4. In the Loop
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Armando Iannucci’s scathing political comedy, a Sundance darling that has drawn comparisons to Dr. Strangelove and Thank You for Smoking, brings with it an all-star cast including Tom Hollander, Steve Coogan, James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky and Peter Capaldi of BBC’s Torchwood.

5. Herb & Dorothy
Where: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When: All Week
Why: Winner of the Audience Award at last year’s Hamptons Film Festival, Herb & Dorothy tells the strange true story of a postal clerk and his librarian wife who, over the course of four-plus decades, used their very modest salaries to acquire one of the world’s most important collections of contemporary art, stuffed lovingly into their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment.

6. The Hurt Locker
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Americans have cast their ballots at the polls and the box office, and the message is clear: Our military presence in the Middle East is only slightly less popular than the movies inspired by it. The Hurt Locker may not reverse that trend, which felled recent offerings like Ridley Scott’s underrated Body of Lies and the equally overlooked Rendition, but that takes nothing away from Kathryn Bigelow’s most gripping thriller to date. It’s not only as emotionally involving an action movie as you’re likely to find this year, but also a tense, forceful meditation on the addictive nature of combat.



7. Julia
Where: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When: All Week

Why: The incomparable, chameleonic Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) returns, this time as a self-loathing alcoholic hitting rock bottom in French filmmaker Erick Zonca’s relentlessly downbeat story of an ill-fated kidnapping. Hardly a walk in the park, but effective all the same.