Maggie Smith, Eastern European Treasure

Maggie Smith stars in a delightful adaptation of playwright Alan Bennett’s memoir about his relationship with a homeless woman who lived in a van on his driveway.

If you’re not in the mood for seeing an amazing performance by Maggie Smith, there are delights from Eastern Europe and China also opening this weekend. The offerings include a tale of a treasure hunt from the director of Police, Adjective and Donnie Yen facing off against Mike Tyson.

Aferim! (Bravo!)

Lawman Constandin and his son cross rural Romania in 1835 in search of escaped gypsy slave Carfim. The fugitive is also suspected of having seduced his noble master’s wife. The two riders encounter Russians, Christians, and others on their journey, all bound by mutual suspicion of those unlike them. Even when Carfim is found, the adventure isn’t over… Director Radu Jude took a Best Director prize for this film at the Berlin Film Festival.

Opens January 22 at the Opera Plaza Cinemas

All Mistakes Buried

Sonny is a Southern meth addict who used to be a business owner. Now he thinks he can fix his relationship with his estranged wife Gale by stealing a particular pendant from a pawnshop. But when the necklace gets stolen from him, the meth addict must venture into his town’s underworld to recover it. Yet all is not what it seems.

Opens January 22 at the Roxie Theater

Ip Man 3

Donnie Yen once again takes on the role of Ip Man, the real-life kung fu mentor of Bruce Lee. In this installment, the sifu faces a crooked property developer (Mike Tyson) who plans with his gang of thugs to take over the city. Tons of righteous ass-kicking results.

Opens January 22 at the 4-Star Theatre, the AMC Metreon 16, the Century 20 Daly City, and the Shattuck Cinemas

The Lady In The Van

This “mostly true” story directed by Nicholas Hytner adapts playwright Alan Bennett’s memoir of the same name. Miss Shepherd (Maggie Smith in an award-winning performance) is a homeless woman of uncertain origin who “temporarily” parks her van in the driveway of the North London home of playwright Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings). At first, the homeless woman gets on the playwright’s nerves with her hygiene problems and aversion to classical music. But the two eventually develop a friendship, with Miss Shepherd’s stay lasting 15 years.

Opens January 22 at the Century San Francisco Centre 9 and the Clay Theatre

Monster Hunt

Raman Hui directed this Chinese blockbuster fantasy set in a world where humans have forgotten that they co-exist with monsters. When a coup occurs in the monster world, the hunt is on for the prospective half-monster/half-human child of the fugitive queen Fat Ying.

Opens January 22 at the AMC Metreon 16

The Treasure

The new film from Corneliu Porumboiu (Police, Adjective) concerns Costi, a father who fancies himself a hero. One day, his neighbor pays him a surprise visit. He needs Costi’s help to find a treasure that he’s certain is buried in his grandparents’ backyard. In exchange, the two men will split whatever they discover 50-50. However, they only have one weekend to search for the treasure. When Costi gets on board, he’s determined to not let any mishap stop him from discovering the loot. The film won Cannes’ Prix Un Certain Talent.

Opens January 22 at the Roxie Theater

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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