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This Week In Theaters (1/16/15)

This week’s premieres include a highly-praised crime tale set in 1981 New York City, an award-winning tale of greed and callousness set among Italy’s well-off and rich people wannabes, and a well-regarded tale of recovery from a romantic breakup from a never-before-seen perspective.   Or you could go light and get a crash course on the roots of General Tso’s Chicken.

Opening This Week

A Most Violent Year

Writer-director J.C. Chandor (All Is Lost) directs Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in a searing crime drama that one reviewer feels channels 1980s-era Sidney Lumet.  Abel Morales (Isaac) is a heating oil distributor in 1981 New York City whose plans to expand his business are threatened by hijackings of his trucks on one hand and a possible D.A. indictment on the other hand.  Anna (Chastain), Abel’s wife, wants to both support her husband and use any means to protect the business Abel bought from her gangster father.  Needless to say, things soon get spectacularly messy.

Opens January 16 at the Embarcadero Center Cinema and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Appropriate Behavior

Desiree Akhavian writes, directs and stars in this funny and sometimes painful romantic comedy/drama.  Shirin (Akhavian) is a  bisexual Iranian-American who’s closeted to her family.  Her humiliation at having to teach video-making to 6-year-olds reinforces her sense of a stalled life.  But the biggest anchor in Shirin’s life is her obsession with figuring out what went wrong with her relationship with now ex-girlfriend Maxine.

Opens January 16 at the Roxie Theater.  The January 21 7:00 PM screening will feature a post-film Q&A with Akhavian via Skype.

Human Capital

Paolo Virzi’s award-winning drama of the ultra-rich and the wannabe rich swept the Italian Academy Awards.  Small-time real estate dealer Gino gets persuaded by hedge fund bigwig Giovanni to make a spectacularly risky investment.  However, the real estate man doesn’t tell his pregnant wife about his mortgaging their house to fund the financial gamble.

  Opens January 16 at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Rafael Film Center

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Bollywood superstar Vikram plays a villager whose dream of being a model becomes a reality after he’s injected with an experimental beauty formula.  However, thanks to the formula’s side effects, he slowly turns more and more grotesque.

Opens January 16 at the AMC Metreon 16  

The Search For General Tso

General Tso’s Chicken is a popular Chinese restaurant takeout item.  But who was General Tso?  Director Ian Cheney’s documentary investigation takes him from New York City to Hunan province to answer that question.  Viewers will learn about the titular real-life 19th century Qing dynasty military leader.  But their minds will truly be blown by the real origin of the dish and its age.

Opens January 16 at the 4-Star Theater

Still Alice

Julianne Moore stars in this adaptation of Lisa Genova’s novel.  The Oscar-nominated actress is renowned linguistics professor Alice Howland, whose happy family life is upended by her developing early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  While Alice struggles to stay connected to who she used to be, the other members of her family each respond to the crisis in their own unique manner.

Opens January 16 at the Clay Theater 

Still In Theaters

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night at the Opera Plaza Cinemas

The Babadook at the Roxie Theater

Birdman at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas, the Shattuck Cinemas, the Century 20 Daly City, the Presidio Theater, the Piedmont Theater, the Century at Tanforan, the AMC Van Ness 14, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Boyhood at the Rafael Film Center and the Opera Plaza Cinemas

Citizenfour at the Opera Plaza Cinemas, the Shattuck Cinemas

Foxcatcher at the AMC Metreon 16, the Shattuck Cinemas, the Century 20 Daly City, CineArts at the Empire, the CineArts Marin, the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, and the Aquarius Theater

The Imitation Game at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas, the AMC  Van Ness 14, the AMC Bay Street 16, the Century at Tanforan, the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, the Presidio Theatre, and the Albany Twin

Inherent Vice at the California Theater, the AMC Van Ness 14, the Century San Francisco Centre 9, the CineArts Marin, the Century at Tanforan, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Selma at the Balboa Theatre, the Shattuck Cinemas, the AMC Metreon 16, the AMC Van Ness 14, the Century 20 Daly City, the CineArts Marin, the Century at Tanforan, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Mr. Turner at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas, the Albany Twin, the Rafael Film Center

The Theory Of Everything at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas,  the Shattuck Cinemas, the Presidio Theater, and the Piedmont Theater

Whiplash at the AMC Metreon 16, and the Shattuck Cinemas

Wild at the California Theater, the AMC Van Ness 14, the AMC Bay Street 16, the Piedmont Theater, the Guild Theater, the Presidio Theater, the Century San Francisco Centre 9, CineArts at the Empire, the CineArts Marin, the Century 20 Daly City, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

About the Author

I'm a film reviewer for the Beyond Chron blog. Agnes Varda and Hirokazu Kore-eda are among my favorite filmmakers. I occasionally break down and watch a good action film...but don't tell anyone.

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