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Naomi Watts

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

What better way to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas than with two blood-curdling chillers – The Birds and The Shining – playing this weekend at the Castro? Elsewhere, Paul McCartney: The Love We Make, which follows the onetime Beatle around New York in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, arrives Friday at the Roxie Theater.

1. The Birds

Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: Dec. 16

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Sure, you've only got eight days of Christmas shopping left, but rather than subject yourself to the bustle of the department stores, take refuge in a theater. Happy holidays!

1. Vincent: A Life in Color

Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Dec. 16

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

The fifth San Francisco International Animation Festival kicks off tonight at the Embarcadero with Here Comes the Waves: The Hazards of Love Visualized, a colorfully eccentric interpretation (by four different artists) of the acclaimed 2009 album by indie-rock stalwarts The Decemberists. The festivities wind to a close Sunday with Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, Brent Green's moving tribute to a Kentucky hardware-store clerk who, during the 1970s, built a crazy-quilt house to cure his wife's cancer. Elsewhere:

With 'Fair Game,' Doug Liman, Naomi Watts Get to the Heart of Valerie Plame's CIA Nightmare

Actors usually feel an elevated sense of responsibility when playing real-life characters, a desire to do them justice without pulling any dramatic punches. Especially when their living alter egos are monitoring them on the set.
 
Just ask Naomi Watts, who stars as ex-CIA officer Valerie Plame in Doug Liman’s new thriller Fair Game. Watts first met Plame during filming, long after her cover with the agency had been blown as the result of a White House leak following her husband's public discrediting of the Bush administration's claim that Saddam Hussein had obtained weapons-grade uranium from the African nation of Niger. Getting to know the onetime covert operative presented a unique challenge.

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Six rogue filmmakers, including Oscar winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) and Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), question the logic of conventional wisdom and human behavior – often with riotous results – in Freakonomics, the new documentary opening today at Embarcadero. Elsewhere:

Woody Allen Struggles with the Agony of Creation and the Perils of Wish Fulfillment with 'You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger'

Perhaps old dogs can’t be taught new tricks, but many veteran directors are learning to adapt in a Hollywood where sequels, remakes and treatments of popular comics are very much in season.
 
This fall, Stephen Frears, 69, will unveil his first take on a graphic novel, the romantic comedy Tamara Drewe, before tentatively laying the groundwork for a remake of his 1984 thriller The Hit. Oliver Stone, 64, has returned to Wall Street. And, at 67, Martin Scorsese is busy directing his first 3-D fantasy – next winter’s Hugo Cabret – and planning a Taxi Driver sequel.
 

The International: Breaking the Bank

It would be easy to mock The International for its self-important approach to material that’s far too silly to be taken as a serious indictment of a banking system dominated by the interests of murder-minded powerbrokers. Yet I must resist that urge (for the most part, at least) because the movie is so cleverly crafted, unfolding at a dizzying pace before arriving at conclusions that defy logic as you watch them in real-time and make even less sense when you think about them afterward. In other words, it’s a solid little thriller, no more but definitely no less.

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