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Kristen Wiig Does Twisted Oprah

Kristen Wiig stars in the fiction feature film among this weekend’s openings that has the most intriguing premise. To the comedian’s credit, she runs with the story for all she’s worth. Audience members’ mileage may vary.

From this end, the must-see films to watch this weekend are documentaries on pre-1975 Cambodian rock and roll and late 1990s-early 2000s musician Elliott Smith. Albert Maysles’ portrait of Iris Apfel is worth a look even if some reports say this last film is not his best work.

5 Flights Up

Retired artist Alex (Morgan Freeman) and retired schoolteacher Ruth (Diane Keaton) find that the once sketchy neighborhood they live in has now become a hipster enclave. Curious about the value of their apartment, they allow Ruth’s real estate agent niece Lily (Cynthia Nixon) to list the apartment on the market and see what happens next. The question is whether they’ll regret their actions.

Opens May 8 at the Presidio Theatre

Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock And Roll

John Pirozzi’s wonderful documentary captures Cambodian pop music culture before the country’s fall in 1975 to the Khmer Rouge. Cambodian stars such as Ros Serey Sothea and Yol Aularong were among the musicians who brought unique takes on everything from funk to rock and roll. Through this film, those unjustly forgotten stars live again.

Opens May 8 at the Balboa Theatre

The D Train

Dan Landsman (Jack Black) has always yearned to be the cool guy. An upcoming high school reunion provides the opportunity for Landsman’s wish to come true…if he can convince former Mr. Popular high school classmate Oliver Lawless (James Marsden) to accompany him. Landsman succeeds in persuading Lawless, but very quickly comes to regret doing so as Lawless starts usurping his life.

Opens May 8 at the AMC Bay Street 16, the AMC Van Ness 14, the Century 20 Daly City, the Century at Tanforan, the Embarcadero Center Cinemas, the Piedmont Theatre, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

ELLIOTT SMITH: Heaven Adores You

Director Nickolas Rossi takes a different approach to recount the life of 1990s-early 2000s late singer/songwriter Elliott Smith in this documentary. Structured around Smith’s music, the director weaves together material from over 30 interviews with friends, fellow musicians, and bandmates to create an intimate portrait of the Oscar nominated talent. The film’s unstuck in time structure shows larger truths about Smith’s life.

Opens May 8 at the Roxie Theater

Iris

Veteran documentarian Albert Maysles’ last film is a portrait of New York style maven Iris Apfel. Even at age 93, Apfel remains a flamboyant free spirit whose presence is felt on the New York fashion scene. But while fashion is a major part of Maysles’ film, the soul of this documentary is its paean to creativity and passion.

Opens May 8 at the Clay Theatre, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

The Left Ear

This Chinese tale of teenage romantic entanglements adapts a famed novel by Rao Xueman. The principal character is the introverted Li, who has hearing problems in her left ear. The boy she loves is in love with a more outgoing girl. Li becomes friends with the other girl and also meets the other girl’s true love. Then tragedy strikes the quartet of teens.

Opens May 8 at the AMC Metreon 16 and the Century 20 Daly City

Maggie

A deadly virus sweeps across America, turning its victims into zombies. Maggie (Abigail Breslin) becomes infected with the virus and runs away from home. Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Maggie’s father, is determined to defy the authorities and hang onto his daughter as long as he can. But Wade’s love for his daughter can’t stop her metamorphosis into one of the living dead.

Opens May 8 at the AMC Metreon 16

Piku

Piku is a woman who balances a successful architecture career with caring for her 70-year-old hypochondriac father Bhashkor (Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan). One day, Bhashkor emotionally blackmails Piku to take a road trip with him to Calcutta. Along the way, the father’s irritating behavior clashes with his daughter’s headstrong personality. But underneath the friction, the two love each other very much.

Opens May 8 at the AMC Metreon 16

Spike Island

Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Elliott Tittensor (Shameless) star in this tale of a wannabe Manchester rock band who head for the titular island to get to a concert by their idols The Stone Roses. The wannabes’ lack of tickets and their plan to deliver a demo tape to their rock idols augurs trouble for their friendships and future together.

Opens May 8 at the Roxie Theater

Tangerines

Zaza Urushadze’s Foreign Language Academy Award nominee is set in 1992 during the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. Two Estonian immigrant farmers decide to remain in their village long enough to harvest the tangerine crop. However, the war comes to the farmers’ doorstep. The resulting firefight leaves only a wounded survivor from each opposing side. Ivo, one of the farmers, takes in the two soldiers and slowly nurses them back to health. Can Ivo’s compassion help humanize the two soldiers and abandon their old hatreds?

Opens May 8 at the Opera Plaza Cinema, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

Welcome To Me

What would you do if you won a fortune in the lottery? In the case of Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig), she uses the money to buy herself a talk show. However, the talk show Klieg puts on doesn’t offer innocuous chit-chat. Klieg’s Borderline Personality Disorder, not curbed by meds, leads her to use the show to publicly exhibit her emotional dirty laundry and share her off-kilter view of the world.

Opens May 8 at the AMC Van Ness 14 and the Presidio Theatre

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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