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Janis Joplin Remembered Anew

A bisexuality-free documentary about Janis Joplin is just one of the notable openings this weekend. Veteran documentarian Patricio Guzman considers water and Chile’s past. Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard headline a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Scottish Play. An acclaimed semi-autobiographical drama from Sundance makes its theatrical debut. And a documentary looks at clashes around the world between bicyclists and car drivers.

Sadly, this post can’t be accompanied by Janis Joplin performing her unforgettable song Piece Of My Heart.

A Second Chance

The Philippine box office blockbuster follows a married couple played by John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo as they traverse the highs and lows of married life.

Opens December 4 at the Century at Tanforan

Bikes Vs. Cars

Just in time to cheese off San Francisco’s haters of Critical Mass comes this new documentary from Fredrik Gertten (Big Boys Gone Bananas!). Gertten’s globe-hopping film follows citizens’ efforts to initiate and defend efforts to make bicycling a viable urban transportation option. Among the people featured are Aline, an activist involved with Sao Paolo’s weekly Ciclofaxia ride, and the guerilla Urban Repair Squad, who fight odious Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s elimination of bicycle lanes. Co-presented by the San Francisco Green Film Festival and sponsored by the Consulate General Of Sweden.

Now at the Rafael Film Center and the Roxie Theater

Fall In Love Like A Star

In Tony Chan’s romantic drama, a struggling young musician and a rookie assistant become friends. When they get separated by distance, they don’t see each other again for five years. Now he’s a hot rock star. She’s a “plain jane” agent. They begin a covert romance. But can their love survive his rabid fan base and the pressures of stardom?

Opens December 4 at the Century San Francisco Centre 9

James White

Borderline Films producer Josh Mond makes his directorial debut with a semi-autobiographical drama based on his dealing with his mother’s passing. Footloose and unemployed James White (Christopher Abbott, taking on his first film lead role) dodges his responsibilities by heading off to Mexico to find himself. But when his mother (Cynthia Nixon) informs him that her cancer has returned and she needs emotional support during treatment, the young man reluctantly returns to New York City. As White’s mother slowly dies, the film protagonist soon finds his own mental stability starting to slip away. Where can he find some place for himself in a world where he’s parentless? This film is a Sundance Film Festival Audience Award winner.

Opens December 4 at the Rafael Film Center and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Janis: Little Girl Blue

45 years ago, rock singer Janis Joplin died at age 27 after overdosing on heroin. Yet the world never really stopped mourning her passing. Documentarian Amy J. Berg’s (Deliver Us From Evil) new film movingly draws from Janis’ letters and some incredible old footage (among other things) to re-tell Joplin’s life story. Caveat emptor: At least one reviewer felt Berg’s film gives short shrift to the late rock icon’s bisexuality.

Opens December 4 at the Rafael Film Center and the Roxie Theater. Roxie after film Q&A on December 4 moderated by legendary rock journalist Ben Fong-Torres. Big Brother Jazz Drummer David Getz to appear at Q&A.

Macbeth

One of Shakespeare’s greatest and frequently adapted tragedies gets a new action-packed cinematic interpretation. Michael Fassbender takes on the title role of an ambitious Scottish general obsessed with fulfilling a prophecy that he will become King of Scotland. Marion Cotillard plays Lady Macbeth, who urges her husband to use foul means to realize the prophecy.

Opens December 4 at the Clay Theater

The Pearl Button

Veteran documentarian Patricio Guzman (The Battle of Chile) considers water and Chile in this companion film to his earlier documentary Nostalgia For The Light. Part of the film concerns the Patagonian water tribe known as the Kawesqar. This Chilean indigenous tribe could ride out 100 mph storms in their boats. Yet they ultimately weren’t strong enough to resist colonialist settlement. The other part of the film concerns a pearl button found in a watery grave, and the chilling story behind the button. Winner of the 2015 Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear for Best Script.

Opens December 4 at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

She Remembers, He Forgets

A married middle-age woman is unhappy with both her professional and marital lives. Attending her high school reunion, she starts remembering the joys of her younger days. 20 years ago, she and a couple of boy friends were inseparable. But one critical incident would change all three of their lives forever.

Opens December 4 at the AMC Metreon 16

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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