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Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Another year is drawing to a close, but the Oscar season is just heating up, with early favorites The Artist, The Descendants and Hugo all playing this week at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas on Post Street. Elsewhere:

1
. Pariah

Steven Spielberg, Tom Hiddleston on Leading 'War Horse' to the Big Screen

It’s nearly 9:30 on a frigid New York morning, and Tom Hiddleston is running late for the day’s first interview. On arrival, the tall, lean Londoner apologizes profusely, blaming an itinerary that has him rushing from the set of his latest venture – a TV production of Henry V – to press day for Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, opening Christmas day.
 
All of which is perfectly acceptable – schedules at events like this are made to be broken – but what in god’s name is in that monstrous glass of olive-green sludge he’s waving about? “This is rocket fuel,” explains Hiddleston, 30.



Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

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

Patton Oswalt on Charlize Theron, the Best Response to Bullying and 'Young Adult'

In Young Adult, Jason Reitman’s unsentimental portrait of a mean girl who clings to the memory of her high-school glory days – even in her late 30s – Patton Oswalt plays Matt, a misfit permanently scarred (literally and physically) by a run-in with homophobic bullies.



He’s just the sort that Mavis, Charize Theron’s aging beauty, would have ignored back in school, and she’d probably keep ignoring him, if not for her own desperate neediness. Returning to her small-town Minnesota home after a modestly successful stint as a ghost writer in the “Mini Apple,” Mavis finds companionship where she can, leading her time and again back to Matt’s nerdy man-cave.



San Francisco's Matthew Leutwyler Searches for 'Answers,' Finds Dane Cook

Growing up in San Francisco, armed with a Super 8 camera to document his youthful forays into pyrotechnic mayhem, director Matthew Leutwyler’s journey to Hollywood is more than vaguely reminiscent of the trail blazed by so many innovators – guys with names like Scorsese, Lucas and Spielberg.

“I was always making little movies with my friends and stuff, even when I was at the Town School,” says Leutwyler, 42, whose new drama, Answers to Nothing, opened Friday at the AMC Metreon. “I was 8 or 9, and my brother and a couple friends, Robert and Alexander, we did stupid thing like put a tripod with a camera on it in the middle of our backyard.

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Hungry for something new? Head to the Roxie this weekend for San Francisco's annual International Festival of Short Films, featuring dozens of cutting-edge documentaries, music videos and animations representing 20 countries. Otherwise, check yourself into the Castro for a week of bona-fide American classics, including:

1.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Where:
Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: Sept. 9

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Need a hot shower to rinse off the filth of this weekend's Peaches Christ-produced Showgirls extravaganza at the Castro? Not a problem. Return to the theater Wednesday for a weeklong tribute to the great Cary Grant, with nightly double-features highlighting classics including The Philadelphia Story, North by Northwest, Bringing Up Baby and His Girl Friday. But first things first:

1. Showgirls

Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: Aug. 27

A Cell's Eye View of San Diego Comic-Con

It’s a freeloader’s delight, if you charitably overlook the extravagant cost of room and board: San Diego’s Comic-Con International – founded in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention, by a fanatical crew of forward-thinking nerds – is a celebration of advertising slyly disguised as something like philanthropy. It is a unique opportunity for toy manufacturers, movie studios and publishing houses to give back to the fans, often in the form of complimentary t-shirts, posters, key chains and other disposable keepsakes.

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Ever wanted to rub elbows with a TV icon? I Dream of Jeannie star Barbara Eden, who wore the Miss San Francisco crown in 1951, will receive a homecoming fit for a queen this Sunday at the Castro. The evening's entertainment will include an on-stage interview with Eden, a Jeannie Look-A-Like Contest, a career highlight reel, performances by the Garden of Eden Belly Dancing Superstars, and a special screen surprise. Following those festivities, Eden will host an autograph and book signing. For tickets, click here. Elsewhere:

1. The Big Uneasy
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087

Abrams, Spielberg Pay Riveting Homage to B-Movies of Their Youths with 'Super 8'

The childlike sense of wonder so evident in Super 8 might well spring from director J.J. Abrams’ memories of an adolescent infatuation with monster movies, and his filmmaking as a boy on the long-obsolete Eastman Kodak cameras from which his latest work takes its name.
 
But try telling that to anyone weaned on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goonies and E.T. Whether Abrams is channeling the spirit of producer Steven Spielberg or paying tribute to his mentor’s most audacious fantasies, Spielberg’s influence on Super 8 is impossible to miss.
 

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