Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week


If you've never seen Dr. Strangelove or the original Nosferatu, here's your chance – both are returning to the big screen this week in extremely limited engagements. Elsewhere, Roy Andersson's acclaimed comedy You, the Living (currently boasting a perfect score on the Rotten Tomatometer) arrives at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, making this week a fine time to visit the Bay Area's indie theaters.

1. You, the Living
Where:Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: All Week
Why: Swedish director Roy Andersson (Songs from the Second Floor) has released just four features in three decades, but time has hardly dulled his instincts. You, the Living is like nothing you've ever seen, a refreshingly unique cinematic experience comprised of 50 vignettes about people leading empty, miserable lives in a bleak, unforgiving city. Yet Andersson, who seems to delight in torturing his sad-sack subjects at every turn, keeps the tone surprisingly light: In failure he finds humor, albeit of the blackest variety, and affirmation that life, for all its bitter disappointments, remains a thing of beauty.

2. Dr. Strangelove,or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Where:Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Sept. 28-29
Why: Featuring the incomparable Peter Sellers in three separate roles and an appropriately cartoonish turn from George C. Scott, Stanley Kubrick's dark political satire seems as relevant today as it did in 1964. The prospect of nuclear annihilation casts a terrifying pall over the proceedings, but Kubrick's goal – to make America's hyper-reactive war machine look preposterous as Cold War hostilities escalate at an astonishing pace – is achieved brilliantly, and the downfall of humanity has never been funnier.

3. Nosferatu
Where:Clay Theatre, 2261 Fillmore St., 415-346-1124
When: Sept. 25
Why: Nosferatumay not appeal to those who prefer their vampires young, dashing and blessed with smooth, pale skin, but it should. F.W. Murnau's silent, unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula remains, more than 80 years after its premiere at the Berlin Zoological Garden, a haunting, masterfully shot depiction of evil lurking in the shadows, in the form of a classic villain whose appetite for death can never be sated.

4. The Informant!
Where:Bridge Theatre, 3010 Geary Blvd., 415-751-3213
When: All Week
Why: Steven Soderbergh's highly stylized farce is never boring, and the humor resonates more often than not, but watching inept corporate whistleblower Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) bury himself in ludicrous deceptions is a chore; at some point, his madness becomes maddening. What makes the movie work is Damon’s inspired performance: His manic, unflagging energy is appealing at first, but seems finally like the last recourse of a man desperate to escape the voices in his head.

5. No Impact Man
Where: Lumiere Theatre, 1572 California St., 415-885-3201
When: All Week
Why: Fueled by his newfound concern for the environment, author Colin Beavan (Fingerprints) started the No Impact Project in November 2006. His mission? To raise awareness about the dangers of overconsumption by eschewing electricity, motorized transportation and nonlocal foods for a year. The resulting drama, however, stems from the strain put on his family by an experiment whose merits begin to seem increasingly dubious as Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein's cameras continue to roll.

6. Amreeka
Where:Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Cherien Dabis' feature-length directorial debut, winner of the Director's Fortnight prize at Cannes, finds subtle, heartfelt humor in the journeys of Muna (Nisreen Faour), a single mother, and Fadi (Melkar Muallem), her teenage son, who leave the West Bank for small-town Illinois. Once there, they face a considerable adjustments – Fadi to American high school, and Muna to her job at the local White Castle. Dabis handles both with the deft touch of a veteran filmmaker.

7. Humpday
Where:Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Sept. 30 - Oct. 1
Why: If Lynn Shelton’s dialogue-rich comedy seems intent on upping the ante presented by this spring’s I Love You, Man, that’s no accident. The movie, about a pair of straight friends – Ben (Mark Duplass), married and seemingly domesticated, and Andrew (Joshua Leonard), a laid-back bohemian type – who decide it would be the pinnacle of high-concept art (or something like that) to make their own gay porn flick, isn’t really about the sex so much as the bond that unites two men laughably unsuited to taking their relationship to the next level.

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