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Colin Firth

'King's Speech' Director Tom Hooper Ready for Oscar Hype to End This Sunday

It was over five months ago that Tom Hooper put the finishing touches on The King’s Speech, a fan favorite at last year’s Mill Valley and Toronto film festivals, and now an Oscar nominee in 12 categories including Best Picture. Today, the London-born director is counting the hours until the Feb. 27 awards ceremony – not because he’s expecting a statuette, but because he wants to go back to work.
 

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

With the city's 13th Independent Film Festival set to kick off next week, now is the time to catch up on all the major players in this year's Oscar sweepstakes, including Best Actor favorite Colin Firth (The King's Speech, playing at the Embarcadero) and Best Actress favorite Natalie Portman, whose tour-de-force performance in Black Swan is currently the featured attraction at the Balboa.

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

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

The new year has arrived, and with it the promise of long-awaited sequels to The Hangover, Kung Fu Panda and Pixar's Cars, the distressing inevitability of Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and the mind-numbing realization that Little Fockers sits lazily atop the box-office charts. The good news: Bay Area moviegoers have plenty of worthwhile alternatives, including:

1. Blue Valentine

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

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

'Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the flat, not a creature was stirring... except for me (with my mom's cat), hastily posting this week's Theater Roundup before returning to wrapping presents, re-watching some of the year's best movies (currently playing: The Tillman Story) and sipping on low-fat egg nog. Happy holidays!

1. True Grit

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

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Sure, you've only got eight days of Christmas shopping left, but rather than subject yourself to the bustle of the department stores, take refuge in a theater. Happy holidays!

1. Vincent: A Life in Color

Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Dec. 16

Mill Valley Film Festival Opens Thursday with Latest from Colin Firth, Hilary Swank

The 33rd Mill Valley Film Festival kicks off Thursday with two opening-night films: The King’s Speech, winner of the Audience Award at last month’s Toronto Film Festival, starring A Single Man Oscar nominee Colin Firth as King George VI, who conquers his humiliating stutter with the help of Geoffrey Rush’s unconventional speech therapist; and Conviction, Tony Goldwyn’s chronicle of a high-school dropout (Hilary Swank) who earns a law degree to free her brother (Sam Rockwell) from prison.

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

It's last call for The Most Dangerous Man in America, a richly deserving Oscar nominee for Best Documentary at this year's Oscars, and opening weekend for The Greatest, Steve Carell and Tina Fey's underwhelming Date Night, and When You're Strange, Tom DiCillo's enlightening new chronicle of The Doors and their depressing, addiction-fueled demise. Here is what's playing at an indie theater near you.

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

January is traditionally a time for Hollywood studios to empty their storage lockers, tossing out the trash (like last winter's Bride Wars) and dusting off movies previously unreleased due to scheduling conflicts. No matter. The city's indie theaters remain a premier destination for cinephiles in search of top-flight documentaries (What's the Matter with Kansas?), cheerfully twisted fantasies (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) and Oscar front-runners like The Hurt Locker and A Serious Man.

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring... except yours truly, wrapping last-minute presents, watching Iron Chef America reruns, and writing blurbs for the final Indie Theater Roundup of 2009. Please put them to good use (the blurbs, that is) and have a safe, happy holiday.

1. The Bicycle Thief

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

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