Seeking an antidote to the holiday season's traditional tidings of great joy? Director Takeshi Kitano (1997's Fireworks) returns this week at the Lumiere Theatre with Outrage, a bloody, deliriously eccentric gangland drama about rival yakuza clans competing for the favor of their head family in the Japanese underworld. Elsewhere:
1. Noir City Xmas
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: Dec. 14
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.