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Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

The weekend forecast calls for cloudy skies and scattered showers, but you can always take refuge at the city's indie theaters, where Peter Jackson's Lovely Bones makes its long-awaited debut and former Saturday Night Live star Chris Rock investigates the lifestyles of the rich and follically fashionable.

1. The White Ribbon
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Michael Haneke's latest assault comes billed as a children’s story, in the same way that Children of the Corn was a movie for Nebraska farmers. Set in Germany on the eve of the First World War, his story takes place within the suffocating confines of the director’s own village of the damned, where a series of suspicious accidents threatens the harmony of a seemingly tight-knit Protestant community. As always, he bombards us with images ranging from the vaguely unsettling to the downright appalling, and our discomfort is his reward.

2. Good Hair
Where:
Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Jan. 17-18
Why: Billed as "a documentary for anybody who has had a bad hair day," director Jeff Stilson's acclaimed debut follows comedian Chris Rock as he visits barber shops and salons throughout the country, evaluating the importance of a stylish 'do. What he discovers, from conversations with everyday people as well as celebrities including Maya Angelou, Ice-T and Eve, might surprise you.

3. The Lovely Bones
Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: All Week
Why: Peter Jackson's colorful adaptation of the bestselling novel by Alice Sebold has already incensed some readers, and understandably so: Those hoping for a strictly faithful take on the story of Susie Salmon, a teenager raped, murdered and set adrift in her own personal purgatory, will not find it here. Yet Bones remains chilling enough, thanks to Stanley Tucci's sinister turn as a calculating predator.

4. Conart Confidential: The Great Contemporary Art Bubble
Where: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When: All Week
Why: Art critic Ben Lewis traces the rise and fall of the contemporary art market in Conart Confidential, visiting auction houses, galleries and art fairs around the world before and after the great economic collapse. Lewis, who directed, will introduce the Roxie's Friday and Saturday screenings, with question-and-answer sessions to follow.

5. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: All Week
Why: Terry Gilliam's 12th feature, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, will be remembered as Heath Ledger’s last film – he brings manic intensity to his role as Tony, an amnesiac on the lam – and also for the spirited performances of the men who replaced him after his death: Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. Depp, who shot his scenes in a single day, is particularly effective here, bringing an appealing sense of mischief to the fantastical world of Parnassus.

6. Gentlemen Broncos
Where:
Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Jan. 19-20
Why: The latest from Jared and Jerusha Hess (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre) finds the proudly offbeat filmmakers teaming up with Jemaine Clement (HBO's Flight of the Conchords), who co-stars as Ronald Chevalier, a famous fantasy novelist and intolerably pompous hack.

7. Crazy Heart
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Best known as The Dude to Lebowski lovers worldwide, Jeff Bridges delivers one of his most memorable performances as Bad Blake, the hard-living country singer stumbling toward a shot at redemption in writer-director Scott Cooper's promising feature debut. Maggie Gyllenhaal co-stars as a journalist and single mother who gently encourages him to clean up his act.