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Amy Winehouse Rocks Your Weekend

A good number of this weekend’s openings deal with the subject of music and/or musicians. The must-sees will probably be a previously unreleased documentary from late local filmmaker Les Blank and Asif Kapadia’s portrait of the late Amy Winehouse. Micah Whitehouse and Blake Fielder will definitely not praise Kapadia’s film, though.

Other worthwhile films this weekend feature Timothy Leary and Ram Dass talking about death and dying, the first part of an epic Bollywood fantasy adventure, and the blurring of the good vs. evil lines in battles against Mexican drug cartels.

10,000 KM

Alexandra and Sergi are a Barcelona couple who want to have a baby together. However, when Alexandra is offered a one-year artistic residency in Los Angeles, she takes it in a last-ditch effort to re-start her photgraphy career. The couple pledge to keep in constant touch via virtual communication during that year. But with a growing lack of shared experiences or even physical contact, will the duo drift apart?

Opens July 10 at the 4-Star Theatre

Amy

Senna director Asif Kapadia’s new film is a portrait of the tragically short life of singer Amy Winehouse. Incredible moments remind viewers of the enormity of Winehouse’s talent. But footage also captures moments from the toxic relationships that contributed to Amy Winehouse’s destruction, paticularly those with father Mitch Winehouse and husband Blake Fielder.

Opens July 10 at the CineArts Sequoia, the Embarcadero Center Cinema, the Piedmont Theatre, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Baahubali

The first half of this Bollywood fantasy epic tells the story of Shivudu’s adventures in returning to the hill top land of his parents. However, the young adventurer slowly learns about Bhalladeva, the villain who forced Shivudu to be separated from his elders.

Opens July 10 at the Century 20 Daly City

The Breakup Playlist

Gino and Trixie are members of the band Pencil Grip. They’re also lovers, but early in the film they break up. Flashbacks show the roots of and rifts in their romance. But as the film alternates between past and present, is there a chance that the duo will reunite?

Opens July 10 at the Century At Tanforan

Cartel Land

Matthew Heineman’s disturbing documentary looks at two divergent efforts to fight the Mexican drug cartels. In the US, veteran Tim “Nailer” Foley’s paramilitary group Arizona Border Recon hunts drug smugglers and human traffickers in the desert area nicknamed Cocaine Alley. In Mexico, Dr. Jose Mireles’ Autodefensas citizen group has taken up arms against the Knights Templar drug cartel. But as the battles between citizens and cartel members goes on, it soon becomes difficult to say who the heroes and the villains are.

Opnes July 10 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Dying To Know: Ram Dass & Timothy Leary

In 1995, LSD guru Timothy Leary learned he was dying of cancer. The first person he called was famed spiritual teacher Ram Dass, an old friend Leary had become estranged from. The resulting conversation between the two old friends on the subject of death and the dying process is captured by director Gay Dillingham. But the film also captures the story of how two Harvard professors became famed counterculture icons.

Opens July 10 at the Roxie Theater and the Smith Rafael Film Center

Felt

In this semi-autobiographical psychological thriller, Amy (writer/star Amy Everson) copes with past sexual trauma and present-day male aggression by creating and acting out in grotesque male costumes. What begins as therapeutic role play turns problematic thanks to a combination of overdoing the playing and a relationship with a possibly decent guy.

Opens July 10 at the Roxie Theater

Forever Young

Xu and Yan are a college couple with artistic dreams. Xu wants to become a professional musician with his Gardenia Band. Yan wants to become a professional dancer with her friends. As problems arise the closer they get to success, the couple soon finds their relationship severely strained. Xu prepares a surprise for Yan when she becomes badly discouraged. But is the price of this surprise too high?

Opens July 10 at the AMC Metreon 16

Jimmy’s Hall

In 1921 Ireland, Jimmy Gralton’s Pearse-Connolly Hall offered the young a chance to dance, to argue, and even to dream of a better life. Politicians and clergy unamused by Gralton’s den of socialist hedonism soon drive him out of town. A decade later, Gralton returns to town to take care of his mother and live quietly. But seeing the town’s grinding poverty and increasing cultural oppression spurs the former activist to re-open the hall. The Wind That Shakes The Barley team of director Ken Loach and writer Paul Laverty adapt this true story for the screen.

Opens July 10 at the Embarcadero Center Cinema

Meet Me In Montenegro

In this globe-trotting romantic comedy, a Berlin visit leads to a chance encounter between ex-lovers Lina (a Norwegian dancer) and Anderson (an American filmmaker). The romance between the two gets re-kindled despite the reality that both of them will be moving to opposite ends of the earth in 48 hours. Meanwhile, Anderson’s friends Stephen and Friederike take an interest in seeing how far they can go sexually with their long-term relationship. Both couples’ resulting travels take them to the cliffs of Montenegro, the underground clubbing scene of Berlin, and beyond.

Opens July 10 at the 4-Star Theatre

A Poem Is A Naked Person

After forty years, a legendary Les Blank documentary finally gets a theatrical release. Blank’s film offers a portrait of singer-songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell. The camera catches Russell casually hanging out with fellow artists as well as sizzling performances by Russell and his band. Definitely make time for this film.

Opens July 10 at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck 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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