The Independent Film Festival enters its second weekend, bringing with it Harmony and Me, this year's closing-night comedy about a slacker caught in the throes of a post-breakup malaise and seemingly incapable of snapping his way out of it. Also coming to the Roxie this Sunday afternoon: Double Take, Belgian filmmaker Johan Grimonprez's experimental rumination on Cold War paranoia featuring none other than the late Alfred Hitchcock. Elsewhere:
1. An Animated World
Where: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When: Feb. 14, 15
The weekend forecast calls for cloudy skies and scattered showers, but you can always take refuge at the city's indie theaters, where Peter Jackson's Lovely Bones makes its long-awaited debut and former Saturday Night Live star Chris Rock investigates the lifestyles of the rich and follically fashionable.
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.
Ballads of whiskey, women and heartbreak are a country music cliché, the wistful laments of road-weary troubadours resigned to lives of mistakes and regret.
Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) leads just such a life. Some country crooners sing the blues for the money, but Bad is the genuine article. He has walked away from every relationship he's ever known, drunk himself into a stupor more times than he can remember, and fathered a son, now in his 20s, that he's never met. Once he played to packed houses, but when we meet him he's preparing for his latest show – at a bowling alley, with a pickup band – by drowning himself in the hard stuff.
Happy New Year! As you all know, there is no better way to treat a holiday hangover than with an afternoon matinee. (Actually, that's not true. I recommend water, sports drinks that contain electrolytes, saltine crackers and, if possible, a full-body massage. And don't forget a healthy breakfast. Eating, like reading my columns, is fundamental.)
So once you're back on your feet and ready to venture out into the brave new world of 2010, be sure to check out these fine movies, now playing at an indie theater near you.
1. You, the Living
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Jan. 3-4