With the 49ers headed to the Superbowl next weekend, we strongly urge you to consider this one a time of rest. Practice your Journey harmonies, clean your jersey, and if time permits, enjoy a few flicks. Here's this weekend's indie picks:
"We go together, Annie. I don't know why. Maybe like guns and ammunition go together." Like the protagonists in Joseph H. Lewis' bad-girl classic Gun Crazy, SF and Noir seemed made for each other since the first Noir City lit up the Castro 11 years ago. The biggest film noir fest in the US muscles its way into your heart this weekend, hosting 27 films in total, including a glut of newly restored prints (many executed by the locally based Film Noir Foundation, who organize the festival) and a pair of classic 3D flicks, Inferno and Man in the Dark, revived on digital. Plays at the Castro Theatre January 25–February 3.
Following a bit to soon on the heels of another similarly titled arthouse offering, A Late Quartet, Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut is an affectionate but expected cockle-warmer. A luxuriously appointed retirement home named Beecham House is in financial peril, and who better to save it than residents, musicians and singers? Not without some measure of personal drama, though nothing nasty enough to involve John Cleese, the film sails smoothly with a full crew of aging masters including Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay and a mischievous Billy Connolly doing what they all do best. Plays at Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Center, starting Saturday.
In Another Country
The notion that auteur Hong Sang-soo could make such minute adjustments to his typically Korean arrangement of seaside scenes, unfulfilled romance, and lapsed drinking buddies and generate a film that almost feels European is surprising to say the least. Yet the gravity of French diva Isabelle Huppert is so great that it seems to suck the entire film through a wormhole and–pop!–there it is. A typically nuanced arrangement of multiple stories all containing her character, Anne, In Another Country is a pleasant but light deconstruction of human relationships by a director who's built his name on such endeavors and has clearly honed his craft to a fine point. Plays at Opera Plaza Cinemas, 601 Van Ness, starting Friday.
Sneak a peek into the increasingly hermetic world of big-box advertising before it passes on into the great, jumbled beyond of internet popups, added-value marketing ploys, and exclusive social networking. The newly christened British Arrows, which once were (sensibly) titled the British Television Advertising Awards, show this weekend for anyone keen on reminiscing about when advertising was more about art that irritation. Plays at YBCA Screening Room Thursday through Saturday.
The conspicuous absence of Paul Thomas Anderson's 70mm behemoth from this year's Oscar nominations could be read as an indication that its status as a "masterpiece" may have been conferred prematurely, but there's hardly a way to deny the impact of its stunning compositions–oft compared to the paintings of American master Edward Hopper. Much like its twin powerhouses Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman the compulsive film is a cypher designed not to be unravelled, but to be gaped at in awestruck silence– and what better place to do so than in the theater? Returns to Opera Plaza Cinemas, 601 Van Ness, starting Friday.