Dreaming of a white Christmas? You're probably out of luck. But for those whose holiday celebrations traditionally involve a trip to the movies – as well as those who've lost their taste for the TBS network's annual 24-hour A Christmas Story marathon – San Francisco's indie theaters are serving up a seasonal concoction of time-honored Hollywood classics and contemporary Oscar hopefuls. Among them:
1. War Horse
Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650; Balboa Theatre, 3630 Balboa St., 415-221-8184
When: All Week
What better way to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas than with two blood-curdling chillers – The Birds and The Shining – playing this weekend at the Castro? Elsewhere, Paul McCartney: The Love We Make, which follows the onetime Beatle around New York in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, arrives Friday at the Roxie Theater.
1. The Birds
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: Dec. 16
December is here, leaving critics and industry insiders to sort through the year's offerings, separating the contenders from the pretenders in the race for Oscar gold. This weekend brings to the Bay Area a popular dark horse: The Artist, a love letter to the era of silent cinema that could upset expected favorites War Horse, The Descendants and Hugo this February at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.