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Mill Valley Reveals 2011 Festival Lineup

Organizers of the 34th Mill Valley Film Festival, an 11-day celebration of independent and international cinema that kicked off last year with the Northern California premiere of eventual Best Picture winner The King's Speech, have unveiled this year's lineup, including festival openers Albert Nobbs and Jeff Who Lives at Home.

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

Steven Soderbergh's 'Contagion' Presents Chillingly Plausible Doomsday Scenario

Maybe this is how the world ends – not with a bang but a wheeze. Paranoia seems almost sensible under certain circumstances – a late-night stroll through a dark, deserted alley, perhaps – but what about riding the bus to work, where killers could be sitting beside us, polluting our space with their germs?
 

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Can you feel the electricity in the air, the faint buzz of anticipation gradually building to a deafening roar? That's right – the world is just a week away from the arrival of Happy Madison's Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, directed by Tom Brady (no, not that one) and produced by Adam Sandler, who charitably prolongs the careers of former SNL co-stars with his endless reserve of fart jokes. Until then, try to contain your excitement with any of these fine offerings, now showing at an indie theater near you.

1. Bellflower

John Madden's 'The Debt' Benefits from the Sudden Ascent of Its Young Stars

During an era when so many new directors come from the worlds of advertising and music video, catering to increasingly shorter attention spans and relying on gaudy visuals to engage audiences for seconds at a time, Oscar winner John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, not Monday Night Football) is a throwback to a time when dramas drew their strength from the spoken word.

Unphased by Arnold's Legacy, New 'Conan' Jason Momoa Embraces R-Rated Savagery

San Francisco might be Jason Momoa’s favorite city, but don’t ask if he’s running for governor. The tall, bronze-skinned Honolulu native, who stars in Marcus Nispel’s new Conan the Barbarian, is well aware that comparisons to the screen’s most famous conquering Cimmerian, Arnold Schwarzenegger, are inevitable. And, thank you, he’s heard all the jokes.
 
Could he care less? Apparently not. He never sought Arnold’s blessing, nor does he seem concerned whether Schwarzenegger enjoys the movie. If he does, great. If not, Momoa won’t be quitting the business.
 

Former San Francisco Film Society Director Graham Leggat Dead at 51

Former executive director of the San Francisco Film Society Graham Leggat, who stepped down in July citing health concerns, died at his San Francisco home on Thursday, Aug. 25, after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 51.

"For nearly six exciting and transformative years, Graham Leggat led the San Francisco Film Society with irrepressible determination, dash and design," said Pat McBaine, president of the Film Society's board of directors. "His vision, leadership, passion, work ethic, tenacity, imagination and daring, along with his colorful language and wicked Scottish sense of humor, have indelibly marked our organization with a valuable legacy and left it in the best shape – artistically, organizationally and financially – in its 54-year history.

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

Elizabeth Banks Relates to Dysfunctional Siblings of 'Our Idiot Brother'

It comes as little surprise that Our Idiot Brother, Jesse Peretz’s low-key comedy about three crisis-prone sisters perpetually irritated by their free-spirited brother, is at least partially autobiographical.

Written by his sister, Evgenia, and her husband David Schisgall, the movie features bits and pieces of real life sprinkled into the fiction: Career-driven sister Miranda – a dirt-digging Vanity Fair writer played by Elizabeth Banks – works at the same magazine where Evgenia has served as a contributing editor since 1999. (Her only concession to VF, mandated by editor Graydon Carter, was that Miranda adhere to some degree of journalistic integrity.)
 

Welcome to 'Fright Night'... Again

The casting of Fright Night, Craig Gillespie’s mostly faithful 3-D take on the 1985 cult favorite starring Chris Sarandon and the late Roddy McDowall, is so spot-on that it’s almost enough to justify the movie’s existence. Yet once again we find ourselves frustrated by the shortcomings of second-hand goods, in the too-familiar form of a remake that never needed to be made.
 

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