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Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

From left: Rory Cochrane, Jason London and Sasha Jenson star in Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused, playing this week at the Red Vic.

With roughly 120 films to complement its delectable menu of musical performances and interactive-art exhibits, the 29th International Asian American Film Festival is now underway, through March 20, in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Jose. For tickets, click here. Elsewhere:

1. Dazed and Confused

Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: March 15-16
Why:
Relive the last day of high school circa 1976 with Richard Linklater's cult favorite about stoners, geeks, jocks and cheerleaders gone wild. Perhaps more memorable for its star-studded soundtrack (featuring seminal hits by Aerosmith, Alice Cooper and KISS) and cast (Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey) than its aimless narrative thrust, Dazed isn't sunny, but its portrait of restless youth at play seems effortlessly authentic.

2. Jane Eyre

Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: All Week
Why: Rarely before has a director seemed so eager to explore the darkness lurking in the subtext of Charlotte Brontë’s already grim early-Victorian novel, but Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) dives right in, with an adaptation that is stylishly shot and, thanks in part to impassioned performances by Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska, deeply moving.

3. Cedar Rapids
Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: All Week
Why: Miguel Arteta's latest observes the re-education of Tim (Ed Helms), an overgrown child content to idle away his days as the least valued salesman at a small-town insurance company. Rapids tells the often-hilarious story of his initiation into a cynical world of backroom deals and soul-crushing compromises. If Tim threatens briefly to become a device – at first he seems too much of a rube to be anything more than a screenwriter’s mean-spirited parody of a Midwestern everyman – it is his unflagging idealism that makes his rite of passage endearing.

4. Happythankyoumoreplease
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: From first-time writer-director Josh Radnor, best known as the luckless-in-love hero of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, comes Happy, the unabashedly earnest slice of feel-good philosophy that created a small sensation at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The movie, about a tight-knit group of New Yorkers wrestling with misgivings about their personal and professional lives, is talky and occasionally precious, but the performances, like Radnor's slyly humorous riffs on the unpredictability of big-city living, are sharply observed.

5. The Seventh Seal
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: March 17
Why:
Bill and Ted weren't the first to challenge Death to a strategic battle of wits. Exhausted after a decade of combat and roaming a countryside terrorized by the Black Death, a knight (Max von Sydow) discovers the Reaper on a deserted beach and engages him in a fateful game of chess. Ingmar Bergman’s riveting contemplation of man’s search for meaning, bested by William Wyler's Friendly Persuasion for the Cannes Film Festival's 1957 Golden Palm award, returns to the big screen Thursday, as part of a must-see double feature with Jean Cocteau's 1946 adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

6. The Last Lions
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: National Geographic documentarians Dereck and Beverly Joubert follow a lioness named Ma di Tau ("Mother of Lions") through the wetlands of Botswana's Okavango Delta, where an epic battle to survive unfolds as a proud mother struggles to defend her cubs from a roaming herd of fierce buffalo; a river infested by hungry crocodiles; and fellow lions on the prowl for fresh meat to conquer. The photography in Last Lions is stunning, but more than that, the drama the Jouberts capture, training their cameras on Ma di Tau through a series of fleeting victories and heartbreaking setbacks, is thoroughly compelling.

7. Oscar-Nominated Shorts
Where: Opera Plaza Cinema, 601 Van Ness Ave., 415-771-0183
When: All Week
Why:
Enjoy a rare opportunity to see all five Academy Award nominees in the category of Best Live Action and Animated Shorts. This year's live program includes The Confession (UK), the story of a quiet 9-year-old boy who is worried about making his first confession; The Crush (Ireland), the story of an schoolboy, in love with his Second Class teacher; and the American God of Love, in which a lounge-singing darts champion receives a package of passion-inducing darts.