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Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Halloween has arrived early this year thanks to the weekend’s two biggest major-studio releases – The Final Destination (in 3-D!) and Rob Zombie’s latest supplement to the never-ending saga of famed serial killer Michael Myers. If you don’t feel like celebrating, there are several excellent alternatives now playing at an indie theater near you.

1. Moon
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Sept. 1-2
Why: The tale of a solitary lunar employee, played by Frost/Nixon’s Sam Rockwell, whose mission to solve earth’s energy crisis with Helium 3 extracted from the moon’s surface is compromised by his swiftly deteriorating health, Duncan Jones’ debut represents an increasing rarity: a sci-fi fantasy that’s as serious-minded as it is entertaining.

2. It Might Get Loud
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Oscar-winning documentarian Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) assembles three legendary guitar gods – Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, U2’s The Edge and Jack White of the White Stripes – to reflect on the formation of their unique sounds, their creative processes, and to play never-before-released samples of their latest compositions.

3. The Cove
Where: Lumiere Theatre, 1572 California St., 415-885-3201
When: All Week
Why: Put simply, The Cove is a stunning, heartbreaking achievement. Director Louie Psihoyos' documentary bravely exposes the savage slaughter of thousands of dolphins off the coast of Taiji, Japan, where fishermen use sonar emissions to drive their victims into a secluded cul-de-sac and spear them into submission; the sea literally turns red with blood. It's a horror show that unfolds with all the breathtaking suspense of an espionage thriller, and a necessary step toward raising awareness. See it.

4. American Casino
Where: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When: All Week
Why: Washington power couple Leslie and Andrew Cockburn, the journalists, authors and filmmakers behind the infuriating and ultimately tragic new documentary American Casino, expose the predatory lending schemes that were greatly responsible for causing America's financial crisis – and caused millions to lose their homes in the process – while Republican lawmakers and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan did nothing to discourage them.

5. Somers Town
Where: Lumiere Theatre, 1572 California St., 415-885-3201
When: All Week


Why:
At little more than an hour, Somers Town, the most lighthearted offering to date from This Is England director Shane Meadows, could easily be dismissed as slight. Yet there is more to engage the mind here than in most adventures twice its length, thanks to Paul Fraser’s perceptive story, which follows two teenagers – Tomo (Thomas Turgoose), a mysterious runaway from the Midlands, and Marek (Piotr Jagiello), the son of a hard-drinking Polish construction worker – as they idle away their days on the streets of London. 

6. Drag Me to Hell
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Sept. 3-5
Why: Perhaps no American director has proved more adept at playing on our fascination with the occult than Sam Raimi, whose cheerfully demented, modestly budgeted Evil Dead trilogy helped earn him the reins to the Spider-Man franchise. He’s been conspicuously absent from the horror scene since 1990’s Darkman, but Hell finds him reaching into a dusty bag of tricks and delivering surprisingly fresh, cheerfully demented results.

7. Food, Inc.
Where: Opera Plaza Cinema, 601 Van Ness Ave., 415-771-0183
When: All Week
Why: Presented with painstaking research and thoughtful, evenhanded commentary from authors and activists including Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and U.C. Berkeley’s Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma), Food, Inc. is a dispassionate appeal to common sense for those who would rather understand what they eat than blindly scarf down whatever’s cheapest and quickest. It's also a vital, visually stylish piece of filmmaking that is as informative as it is fascinating, infuriating and, at times, heartbreaking.