H.R. Giger Nightmares And Other Fears

Fears from various causes provide the impetus for several of this week’s openings. But the best nightmarish film opening this week is probably a documentary about the late artist H.R. Giger.

For those who can do without the H.R. Giger-induced freakouts, there is lighter fare also opening this week. Choices include a documentary about the man who brings both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch to life; an explosives expert who accidentally witnessed 20th century historical milestones; and a crime caper featuring Sir Patrick Stewart.

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared

Former explosives expert Allan Karlsson has been present at such defining 20th century moments as the Manhattan Project and the Spanish Civil War. His pre-100th birthday decision to escape the nursing home he’s currently cooped up in leads him on a wild adventure involving a suitcase of cash and an elephant named Sonya. In addition, Karlsson starts reminiscing about his youthful adventures. This Audience Award winner at the Mill Valley Film Festival was also the highest grossing Swedish movie of all time.

Opens May 15 at the Smith Rafael Film Center and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story

This feature film is set some time after the current events of the YouTube horror series Marble Hornets, based on the mythos of Slenderman. A TV news crew investigating a local family’s disappearance discover a box of tapes which might hold a clue to what happened to the family. But the tapes soon bring the hapless crew into unwanted contact with Slenderman, a faceless man able to possess his victims before he gets them to kill those around them.

Opens May 15 at the Roxie Theater

Bombay Velvet

Anurag Kashyap (Gangs of Wasseypur) melds Bollywood with the American gangster movies of Coppola and Scorsese. Nightclub owner and petty gangster Johnny Balraj wants a piece of the real estate development pie available in 1969 Bombay. But his love for aspiring jazz singer Rosie clashes with the dirty dealings he needs to make to carve out his slice of Bombay.

Opens May 15 at the Century San Francisco Centre 9

Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World

Surrealist artist H.R. Giger is most commonly known for designing the xenomorphs of Alien. But as this documentary filmed during the last few years of his life reveals, the imagination that created that terrifying pop culture phenomenon had deep roots. Director Belinda Sallin takes viewers on a tour of Giger’s oeuvre, which encompasses everything from architecture to commercial projects for Debbie Harry and the Dead Kennedys.

Opens May 15 at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

Every Secret Thing

OOH, you’ve got documentarian Amy Berg (West Of Memphis)’s first feature film. Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said) wrote the adaptation of Laura Lippman’s novel. Frances Mc Dormand (Olive Kittredge) is the first-time producer. The cast includes Diane Lane, Elizabeth Banks, and Dakota Fanning. The plot is a serviceable one of a policewoman (Banks), haunted by a decade-old child kidnapping, who suspects a new child kidnapping has been performed by the recently released perpetrators of the earlier crime.

OTOH, if this Variety review is right, you’re way better off spending your entertainment dollars elsewhere.

Opens May 15 at the 4-Star Theatre

Hunting Elephants

Precocious Jonathan’s father dies at his bank guard job, but the bank owner refuses to have any insurance money paid out. Jonathan decides to team up with his grandfather, his grandfather’s best friend, and a penniless English lord (Patrick Stewart) to rob the bank that killed Jonathan’s father. Needless to say, in this comedy caper directed by Reshef Levi (The Band’s Visit) things do not go according to plan even with Jonathan’s knowledge of the bank security system. The overt sexism doesn’t help either.

Opens May 15 at the 4-Star Theatre

I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story

If you grew up watching Sesame Street, then you’re probably familiar with Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch. Those two iconic Muppets were the product of the performances of one man, Caroll Spinney. The puppeteer has been playing both the big yellow bird and the trashcan-inhabitant for over four decades, and he has little interest in slowing down even at age 81. This documentary tells Spinney’s life from his early days as a bullied child to how he caught Muppet master Jim Henson’s eye to the present day.

Opens May 15 at the Balboa Theatre

Saint Laurent

Bertrand Bonello’s biographical drama offers a portrait of iconic fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. The film follows the title character from 1967 to 1976. That was the period of both his greatest freedom and his career peak. Unsurprisingly, Bonello’s film won a Cesar Award for Best Costume Design.

Opens May 15 at the Embarcadero Center 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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