Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

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:

1. Fresh
Where:Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Oct. 1-7
Why: Featuring sustainable farmer Joel Salatin and 2008 MacArthur genius grant recipient Will Allen, Generation Meds documentarian Ana Joanes' latest celebrates healthier, sustainable alternatives to mass-produced, chemically enhanced foods, as well as the progressive activists promoting them. For conscientious foodies, it's required viewing.

2. A Film Unfinished
Where: Opera Plaza Cinema, 601 Van Ness Ave., 415-771-0183
When: All Week
Why: At the end of World War II, 60 minutes of raw footage, shot by Hitler's S.S. videographers in Warsaw and labeled "Ghetto," was discovered in an East German archive. Yael Hersonski's haunting, essential new documentary exposes the film's fraudulent depiction of life in the ghetto for what it is – staged propaganda, an elaborate ruse comprised of carefully choreographed scenes intended to mask the horrifying realities of life during the Nazi occupation.

3. The Social Network
Where: Balboa Theater, 3630 Balboa St., 415-221-8184
When: All Week
Why: WhatDavid Fincher's Social Network makes clear is that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s former business partners, like the girls he alienates, see him as a condescending, 
status-obsessed geek who holds a grudge. And in some ways Fincher, who has portrayed serial killers both fictional (Seven) and real (Zodiac), has never presented a character as remorselessly vicious as the implacable cyberpunk. Whether the portrait is accurate is hard to know, but Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin have stated their case.

4. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Woody Allen returns to London for this wryly humorous drama in which sparring married couples – Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) and Helena (Gemma Jones, brilliant); their daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) and flash-in-the-pan novelist Roy (Josh Brolin) – retreat from reality to chase foolhardy fantasies. Allen's potent ensemble cast invigorates the director's sharp writing, but Stranger seems a slight addition to his ever-expanding oeuvre.

5. Jack Goes Boating
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Philip Seymour Hoffman directs and stars opposite Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone) in this slow-burning romantic comedy, a loving adaptation of Robert Glaudini's off-Broadway hit, also featuring Hoffman and co-stars John Ortiz (Public Enemies) and Daphne Rubin-Vega. Hoffman's behind-the-camera debut is promising, a deftly nuanced showcase for the towering performances of its four leads.

6. Never Let Me Go
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
Why: Mark Romanek's adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's dystopian coming-of-age fantasy contains scenes of such raw emotion that it's no wonder some have hailed it a masterpiece. And the powerfully plaintive performances of Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Spider-Man-to-be Andrew Garfield, heighten the illusion. Yet what we're left with, in this story of clones raised to donate their vital organs to the point of "completion" – a cold euphemism for death – is a clinical melodrama that raises more questions than it answers.

7. Mademoiselle Chambon
Where:Clay Theatre, 2261 Fillmore St., 415-346-1124
When: All Week
Why: The Clay soldiers on with Stéphane Brizé's Chambon, an affecting romance about a happily married contractor who falls for his son's schoolteacher, played by César nominee Sandrine Kiberlain. A modern-day Brief Encounter, their love story is, at times, too restrained for its own good, but the subtleties of Brizé's screenplay are integral to its understated charm.

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