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
She’s a classic diva, self-obsessed and desperate for attention. She’s famously voluptuous. And her first marriage lost its luster not long after the honeymoon, if even there was one.
We’re not talking about some basic-cable reality queen. We speak, of course, of Miss Piggy, the blonde, blue-eyed star of Jim Henson’s The Muppet Show who ranked 23rd on TV Guide’s 1996 list of the 50 greatest television stars ever – right behind Edward R. Murrow.
It’s the kind of snub that would normally provoke the hot-tempered swine to turn up her snout – she wanted the top spot – except that Piggy has been largely MIA since 2005, when the Muppets briefly reunited for the made-for-TV Muppets’ Wizard of Oz. But her luck is about to change.
While Pedro Almodóvar celebrates his long-delayed reunion with Antonio Banderas in the twisted new thriller The Skin I Live In, opening this weekend at the Embarcadero, SF IndieFest's 10th Documentary Festival enters its second week at the Roxie Theater, with a mostly all-new lineup of features from some of the world's most daring nonfiction filmmakers. Here's a sampling of the festival's best.
1. Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey
Where: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
Before the late, great Jim Henson was an empire, he was a person. A comic, in a sense. One who worked late-night TV spots on The Ed Sullivan Show and Saturday Night Live, riffing on anything that would make people laugh, without regard for demographics and ideas of parental guidance. “He was always doing puppetry for adults,” says son and now Jim Henson Co. producer Brian Henson. “Not exclusively adults, but that was his approach. So when he did Sesame Street, I think one reason why everyone loved it is because those are very sophisticated characters, and sometimes they’re being quite wry in a very adult way, and sort of naughty.”
Jim Henson’s Muppets would eventually go on to become one of the strongest forces in youth entertainment, capturing the imaginations of multiple generations of American kids, and the tradition continues today. The ninth feature Muppets film — starring Jason Segel — hits theaters nationwide this fall, and beginning Thursday, local audiences will be able to see the Muppets in their raunchier form, in the spirit of Jim Henson’s original puppeteer ideology, as son Brian, along with SF Sketchfest, brings his show Muppets: Stuffed and Unstrung to the Curran Theatre this week. Henson recently took a moment to chat about the project and how it fits into the Muppet canon.
'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
Don't ever let something silly like Katy Perry's cleavage distract you from the magic of Sesame Street. The wacky, educational, and sometimes psychedelic kid's show, which debuted in 1969, is getting big props from YBCA during the entire month of October (Halloween costume ideas!), celebrating the making and legacy of Jim Henson's Sesame Street with four film screenings.
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Spring has arrived, splashing the city with invigorating rays of glorious sunshine. Where better to celebrate than a dark, air-conditioned theater? As always, here's a list of some of the finest films currently in rotation at a San Francisco indie theater near you.
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: April 1-2
Sure, you could waste your weekend listening to Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories or celebrating the misguided passions of material girls with Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson in Bride Wars. But if you're in the mood for something a bit more rewarding, there are plenty of worthwhile adventures arriving at theaters near you. Among them: