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Greta Gerwig: Holly Golightly 2015?

Greta Gerwig’s star turn as a madcap nutter in modern day New York City provides one of the weekend’s cinematic highlights. A more serious star performance comes from Nina Hoss in a tale of deception and betrayal in post-World War II Berlin. The high testosterone crowd can choose from either a portrait of 1970s motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel or the account of three expert climbers pitting themselves once again against a notorious Himalayan mountain.

After Words

Aging, frumpy, and bookish librarian Jane (Marcia Gay Harden) travels to Costa Rica for a last hurrah. When she retains Juan (Oscar Jaenada) as a tour guide, the younger man re-kindles in his client a renewed appreciation for life.

Opens August 21 at the Roxie Theatre

All Is Well

Umesh Shukla directs this comic drama about a debt-ridden bakery owner (Rishi Kapoor) who gets into serious marital trouble after misplacing the jewelry of his wife (Supriya Pathak). To find an answer to his problem, the husband goes on a road trip with his son (Abhishek Bachchan). Unfortunately for them, they’re soon accompanied by an unwanted passenger.

Opens August 21 at the AMC Mercado 20, the Century 25 Union Landing, the Century at Pacific Commons, and the Century San Francisco Centre 9

Being Evel

To kids who grew up in the 1970s, Evel Knievel was King of the Daredevils. Death-defying motorcycle stunts beginning with a failed attempt to complete a jump of the Caesar’s Palace fountains turned Knievel into an iconic figure over the course of a decade. Director Daniel Junge tells the little-known life story of the boy from Butte, Montana whose stunts eventually inspired a generation of action sports stars.

Opens August 21 at the Roxie Theatre

The Dinner

In Ivano de Matteo’s award-winning adaptation of Herman Koch’s Dutch best-seller, two well-to-do Italian couples endure a posh monthly family dinner together. Their veneer of civility soon gets scrubbed away in this month’s dinner by security camera footage of a vicious attack on a homeless woman. The teenage son of one of the couples turns out to be the perpetrator of the attack, and both couples must deal with the repercussions of that knowledge. Cate Blanchett will be making her directorial debut with the English-language adaptation of this story.

Opens August 21 at the 4-Star Theatre

The Love Affair

Top ’90s Filipino romantic cinema couple Ricardo Gomez and Dawn Zulueta play a married couple of 24 years. Their marriage runs into serious trouble when the husband learns his wife has cheated on him. Heartbroken, the husband seeks the advice of a lawyer (Bea Alonzo) regarding annulling their marriage. But while the husband’s reaction is understandable, does that give him license to viciously retaliate against his wife?

Opens August 21 at the Century 25 Union Landing and the Century at Tanforan

Meru

In this Sundance Film Festival Documentary Audience Award-winner, a trio of professional climbers (Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk) attempt to climb to the Mount Meru peak known as the Shark’s Fin. The trio previously tried and failed to reach the summit of this difficult and incredibly dangerous Himalayan peak. This new attempt is filmed by the three climbers and is an amazing true-life adventure.

Opens August 21 at the Shattuck Cinemas, Smith Rafael Film Center and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas. Climber Jimmy Chin will hold a Q&A after the 4:15 PM screening at the Smith Rafael.

Mistress America

Noah Baumbach’s newest comedy stars co-writer Greta Gerwig as Brooke Cardinas, a hyperactive nutter from New Jersey surviving in New York City. Brooke is the sort of person who does everything from teaching a spinning class to conceiving a new comic book heroine. Into Brooke’s frenetic life comes her future step-sister Tracy, a first-year Barnard student. The two women begin with a symbiotic relationship, but age and ambition soon threaten their bond.

Opens August 21 at the AMC Metreon 16, the Aquarius Theatre, the California Theatre, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Phoenix

Christian Petzold reunites with actress Nina Hoss (Barbara) for this mystery set in the chaos of post-World War II Berlin. Nelly (Hoss) is a German-Jewish ex-nightclub singer who survives the death camps, albeit with a disfiguring bullet wound. Thanks to reconstructive surgery, Nelly’s new features are similar to, yet different enough from, her old face that ex-husband Johnny does not recognize her. But rather than reveal herself, the death camp survivor hides her identity as she attempts to discover whether Johnny betrayed her to the Nazis.

Opens August 21 at the Opera Plaza Cinemas, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

Plastic Man: The Artful Life Of Jerry Ross Barrish

Jerry Ross Barrish has led a colorful life. He had relatives with mob connections. His bail bonds business helped radical 1960s protesters arrested by the cops. He even acted in Wim Wenders’ Wings Of Desire. Now he’s found his artistic voice in sculpting. However, his medium of choice, plastic, blocks him from being appreciated by the art world. William Farley’s documentary traces Barrish’s incredible life and his search for artistic validation without compromising his talent.

Opens August 21 at the Roxie Theatre. Filmmakers and Barrish will appear August 21 in a live Q&A with ex-Chronicle film critic Edward Guthmann.

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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