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Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

The Jewish Film Festival is entering its first weekend, the Red Vic is celebrating its 29th birthday, and David Byrne's Talking Heads are taking the stage (in a manner of speaking) for two nights only. It's looking like a promising week for moviegoers seeking an alternative to the mindless savagery of Orphan and the magical incantations of Harry Potter. Here's a list of some of the finest films arriving at an indie theater near you.

1. Stop Making Sense
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: July 28-29
Why: Jonathan Demme’s landmark concert film, filmed over the course of three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater, captures the Talking Heads at the peak of their powers as stage performers. The sound is crisp and the music brilliant. Even more electrifying than rousing renditions of the band’s best-known hits (“Psycho Killer,” “Once in a Lifetime”) is the frenetic energy of lead singer David Byrne.

2. Adam
Where: The Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: July 25
Why: Max Mayer's tender drama about the complicated romance that arises between a young man with Asperger syndrome (Hugh Dancy) and his pretty Jewish neighbor (Rose Byrne) is credible, moving and slyly amusing, buoyed by terrific performances from its stars.

3. In the Loop
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Armando Iannucci’s scathing political comedy, a Sundance darling that's drawn comparisons to Dr. Strangelove and Thank You for Smoking, has arrived, bringing with it an all-star cast including Tom Hollander, Steve Coogan, James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky and Peter Capaldi of BBC’s Torchwood.

4. Humpday

Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Lynn Shelton’s dialogue-rich comedy ups the ante presented by last spring’s I Love You, Man. The movie, about a pair of straight friends – Ben (Mark Duplass), married and seemingly domesticated, and Andrew (Joshua Leonard), a laid-back bohemian type – who decide it would be the pinnacle of high-concept art (or something like that) to make their own gay porn flick, isn’t really about the sex so much as the bond that unites two men laughably unsuited to taking their relationship to the next level.

5. The Hurt Locker
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Americans have cast their ballots at the polls and the box office, and the message is clear: Our military presence in the Middle East is only slightly less popular than the movies inspired by it. The Hurt Locker may not change that aversion, which felled recent offerings like Ridley Scott’s underrated Body of Lies and the equally overlooked Rendition, but that takes nothing away from Kathryn Bigelow’s most gripping thriller to date. It’s not only as emotionally involving an action movie as you’re likely to find this year, but also a tense, forceful meditation on the addictive nature of combat.



6. Julia
Where: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When: All Week

Why: The incomparable, chameleonic Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) returns, this time as a self-loathing alcoholic hitting rock bottom in French filmmaker Erick Zonca’s relentlessly downbeat story of an ill-fated kidnapping. Effective, but no walk in the park.

7. Harold and Maude
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: July 24-27
Why: Far be it from me to understand the appeal of Hal Ashby’s widely adored cult comedy, which straddles an uncomfortable line between precious and creepy. But those who swear by it – you know who you are – will surely be pleased to catch it on the big screen during a four-night run at the Red Vic. Special treats will be distributed on Saturday night in celebration of the theater’s 29th birthday.