As always, here's a list of some of the finest films currently in rotation at a San Francisco indie theater near you.
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Isolation and an early-life epiphany await Miguel "Sugar" Santos (Algenis Perez Soto), a Dominican pitching prospect who comes to question the limited scope of his professional ambition during a minor-league stint in rural Iowa. Written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (2006’s Half Nelson), Sugar is a moving, unflinchingly honest take on the immigrant experience, infused with an obvious passion for America’s pastime.
John Cena may be a four-time W.W.E. world champion and an accomplished hip-hop star – his 2005 debut, You Can’t See Me, was certified gold, and helped earn him the distinction of being the only professional wrestler ever to perform on BBC’s Top of the Pops – but that’s hardly sapped his seemingly boundless ambition.
By now, it’s hardly news that Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is a potential casualty of a bitter dispute between rival studios - ts March 6 release date in jeopardy as Twentieth Century Fox attempts to prove that the Warner Bros. project infringes on Fox’s copyright, first acquired in 1986. But the biggest surprise in a case that has already inspired some Web-savvy fans to call for boycotts of upcoming Fox tent-poles including May’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine is that neither studio appears willing to back down, whatever the cost.
Fresh off his disappointment at the tepid reception that greeted The Fountain, his 2006 tale of immortal love starring fiancée Rachel Weisz, director Darren Aronofsky went back to the drawing board and perused a list of ideas he’d come up with in film school. It was there that The Wrestler, his astonishing new drama about a W.W.E.-style ring warrior sputtering down the stretch of a hard life and punishing career, was born.
Aronofsky, who admits to being the furthest thing from a wrestling aficionado, found himself struck by the countless stories of men who rose to fame in the sport by mercilessly abusing their bodies with performance-enhancing drugs and acts of pure physical torture. He was stunned that nobody had tackled the subject in a movie.