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Sarah Silverman & Other Troubled Women

Comedian Sarah Silverman takes on a dramatic role as a destructively depressed suburban housewife in one of several new films now out this weekend which feature troubled women. Toni Collette plays a woman dealing with breast cancer in a story of deep friendship. But the most important of the troubled woman films opening this weekend concerns a kindergarten teacher whose determination to protect a young charge’s poetic talent turns into boundary-crossing obsession.

For those who want to get an early jump on foreign films submitted for the Oscar, two of them open this weekend. One is a biopic of a controversial anti-imperialist military man. The other concerns a grandfather helping his granddaughter reconnect with the natural world. Plotwise, neither film can claim a corner on the originality market. But then the Oscars aren’t exactly about honoring button-pushing films.

Everyday I Love You

Beautiful Audrey records everything she does on video for the sake of comatose boyfriend Tristan. In the course of her activities, she meets and falls in love with quirky Ethan. Now the young woman finds herself caught between guilty loyalty to Tristan or a chance for happiness with Ethan.

Now playing at the Century at Tanforan

Ex-Files 2: The Backup Strikes Back

Yu Fei arrives late for a talent competition audition and is rejected. But sympathetic director’s assistant Yi Ze secretly allows Yu in…and he wins the talent competition. Yu parlays that victory to become a star, but there are consequences which he must face seven years later.

Now playing at the AMC Metreon 16

Heneral Luna

The Philippines’ official submission for Best Foreign Film Oscar is this historical drama directed by Jerrold Tarog. In 1898, control of the Philippines switches from Spain to America. Leading the fight against the American occupiers in the Philippine-American War is Philippine Revolutionary Army commander Antonio Luna (John Arcilla). But General Luna’s brilliance on the battlefield might not be a match for the Pilipinos’ own inability to form a united front against the American occupiers.

Now playing at the Century at Tanforan

I Smile Back

Laney (Sarah Silverman) seems to have the idyllic suburban life. She has a handsome husband (Josh Charles), two perfect little girls, a great suburban home, and a shiny SUV to ferry the family around. But underneath this glittery life, this supposedly happy housewife is actually disillusioned and depressed. Laney’s reckless answer to these dark feelings will ultimately lead her to confront those feelings’ effects on her and her loved ones.

Now playing at the Roxie Theatre

The Kindergarten Teacher

Nadav Lapid’s acclaimed new film asks how far a person should go to protect artistic creation. Nira, the titular teacher, is also an aspiring if mediocre poet. One day, she discovers that Yoav, one of her students, has a preternatural talent for creating emotionally rich poetry far beyond his five years of age. But what begins for the teacher as an effort to cultivate Yoav’s poetic talent soon becomes a boundary-breaking obsession which warps her life.

Now playing at the Roxie Theater and the Smith Rafael Film Center

Love (3D)

Cinematic provocateur Gaspar Noe returns with a very explicit sexual melodrama about a couple immersed in one of the most primal of emotions. On a long rainy New Year’s Day, Murphy finds himself alone in his apartment sans wife and child. A call from the worried mother of Electra, the greatest love of his life, sparks Murphy’s long reminiscence about his tumultuous and torrid two years with Electra.

Now playing at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Miss You Already

Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore) are best friends who have shared with each other everything about their lives since childhood. But when Milly learns that she has breast cancer, their friendship truly gets put to the test. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight).

Now playing at the Century San Francisco Centre 9 and the Shattuck Cinemas

The Nightingale

An affluent Chinese couple is forced to entrust their daughter Renxing to the temporary care of her grandfather Zhigen. But Zhigen is making a long-overdue visit to his hometown in Guangxi Province. So he reluctantly takes his city girl granddaughter along and introduces this iPad addicted child to the wonders of the natural world. This film is China’s official entry for the Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Now playing at the 4-Star Theatre and the AMC Metreon 16

Tab Hunter Confidential

Tab Hunter was the Hollywood heartthrob of 1950s America. With his handsome clean-cut looks, he quickly rocketed into the hearts of many Americans. But what those adoring fans didn’t know was that Hunter was a closeted gay. Now, long after the limelight of fame has left him, the former matinee idol candidly reflects on his life (including his covert relationship with actor Anthony Perkins) and how he eventually found happiness.

Now playing at the Clay Theatre 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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