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Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

San Francisco Indiefest's Another Hole in the Head festival soldiers on at the Roxie and Viz theaters, while Christopher Nolan's Inception, the brightest and boldest of the year's big-ticket attractions, arrives at the Sundance Kabuki. As always, here's a list of some of the finest films currently playing at an indie theater near you.

1. Inception

Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: All Week

Why: Rarely is a story this ambitious brought to the screen. Inspired at times by movie classics, modern and otherwise – Dark City and Minority Report, but also Metropolis and Citizen KaneChristopher Nolan's latest earns its place in the same conversation. Those anticipating a thriller as relentless as his The Dark Knight (2008) won’t be disappointed, but even Stephen Hawking might need a second viewing to figure out a labyrinth this cleverly constructed.

2. Lolita
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: July 18-19
Why: Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 adaptation of Nabokov’s dark comedy stars James Mason (North by Northwest) as Humbert Humbert, a smooth-talking professor taken with young Lolita (Sue Lyon), is a gum-chewing, flirtatious teen. Also featuring the peerless Peter Sellers as Clare Quilty and Shelley Winters as Lolita’s sexually frustrated mother, the movie, a favorite among Red Vic patrons, tones down the novel's most perverse passages, coyly leaving the dirtiest bits to our imaginations.

3. RoboGeisha
Where: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When: July 15, 20

Why: Noboru Iguchi (Machine Girl) takes sibling rivalry to deliberately preposterous extremes in his tale of two sisters competing for the attentions of a wealthy steel baron. That he plans to wipe out Japan with his trained army of brainwashed cyborgs barely puts the brakes on their ever-escalating feud.

4. Restrepo

Where:
Clay Theatre, 2261 Fillmore St., 415-346-1124
When: All Week

Why: America’s military efforts in Afghanistan have inspired their own cinematic subgenre, most prominently highlighted by this year's Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker. But Restrepo, the riveting new documentary from Tim Hetherington and The Perfect Storm author Sebastian Junger, brings something unique to the table: a tense, often harrowing depiction of soldiers whose 14-month stay in one of the country’s most dangerous regions illustrates the unforgiving realities of front-line combat.



5. Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives
Where: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087; Viz Cinema, 1746 Post St., 415-525-8600
When: July 22 at the Roxie; July 23 at the Viz

Why: Israel Luna’s controversial homage to the grind-house cinema of the ’70s finds Bubbles (Krystal Summers) and her crew of blade-wielding divas out to avenge a savage beating. The resulting mayhem is delightfully dirty, gratuitously gruesome and definitely not for the faint of heart.

6. Cyrus
Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: All Week
Why: The performances of John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei feel as intimate as everything else in the delightfully unsettling new comedy Cyrus, perhaps because directors Mark and Jay Duplass entrusted their actors to speak in their own voices – the dialogue is almost entirely improvised. It’s a choice that has served the Duplass brothers well in past productions, and here, with a gifted, exceptionally observant cast , it works again.

7. I Am Love
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week

Why: Tilda Swinton stars in Luca Guadagnino's seductive Italian drama as a Russian immigrant married into a wealthy Milanese family, awakened, fulfilled and, finally, ruined by her affair with a young chef. Rather than condemn her infidelity, though, Guadagnino seems to celebrate her submission to long-neglected desire; his is an astutely observed portrait of passion in conflict with tradition, and the lengths Swinton's unhappy heroine will go to find the intimacy she craves.