There’s a storm coming. Curtis LaForche can sense it. More ominously, he can see the dark clouds gathering, hear the deafening claps of thunder, feel the torrential downpours as they drench him with an oily rain. Is he the only one who can? Curtis has every right to wonder. Around the same age, his mother was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.
Curtis suspects he’s headed down the same path. He is given sleeping pills to ward off his nightmares, in which everyone – his neighbors, his wife, even the family dog – tries to tear him to shreds. He recounts his fears to a counselor at the free clinic, but even at his most lucid he believes the visions are no mere delusions. Why else would he get rid of his dog and part with his closest friend?
The Mill Valley Film Festival is in full swing, Napa Valley's first is just around the corner, and with the arrival of Take Shelter and George Clooney's Ides of March, the season of Oscar has begun in earnest. Here's a look at what's playing this week at an indie theater near you.
1. Take Shelter
Summer is officially over, but Hollywood is still churning out enough remakes (Footloose, The Thing), tech-savvy adventures (Real Steel) and physics-defying thrillers (In Time) to make the adjustment that much smoother. With the first weekend of October about to begin, let's take a look at what the month has to offer.
Real Steel (Oct. 7)
The fighters: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Kevin Durand, Anthony Mackie
Calling the shots: Shawn Levy
When Jeff Nichols began writing Take Shelter, his prize-winning selection at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the young, recently married director was enjoying a banner year. It was the summer of 2008, just weeks after his movie debut, Shotgun Stories, opened to wide critical acclaim, and he was content with his career and his family.
But something was amiss. “Anxiety is born out of having something to lose,” he says, reflecting on the uncertainty that permeates Shelter, his searing family drama, opening Friday, about a father tortured by visions of an apocalyptic storm. “I had a nagging feeling that the world was heading for harder times.”
The San Francisco International LGBT Festival enters its first weekend with a full slate of screenings scheduled at the Castro, Roxie and Victoria theaters. Elsewhere, two of the year's strongest offerings to date – Winter's Bone and The Oath – arrive at the city's Landmark cinemas. As always, here's a list of some of the finest films currently playing at an indie theater near you.
1. Winter's Bone
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
North America's longest-running celebration of cinema is over, but the city's indie theaters have a cure for your post-festival blues. So if you're disinclined to fight the crowds flocking to this weekend's hottest new release, Iron Man 2, there are plenty of worthy alternatives currently in rotation at a big screen near you.
With more rain on the horizon and thousands of comic-book fans descending on the city for this weekend's Wondercon at Moscone Center South, it might be an ideal time to curl up with a good book or escape to your local indie theater for a cinematic escape. Here's a sampling of the best movies currently in rotation.
At 67, Werner Herzog shows no sign of slowing down. If anything, the famously feisty German auteur, an Oscar nominee for Encounters at the End of the World, his 2008 documentary about Antarctica’s rarely seen landscape, is doing his best impression of a workaholic.
Thanks to Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, the vicious political satire In the Loop and provocative documentaries like The Cove and Food, Inc., it's already been a terrific year for dedicated moviegoers. Based on the impressively strong selection of films on display at the 34th annual Toronto Film Festival, which drew to a close Sept. 19, there's plenty to look forward to in the months to come.
You may not have heard of Michael Shannon, but it would be impossible to walk away from the Eisenhower-era marital drama Revolutionary Road without being shaken by his blistering performance as John Givings, a recovering psych-ward patient who might just be the sanest inhabitant of a Connecticut suburb where desperation and malaise seem almost universal.