TRAP Laws Are Anti-Abortion Crap

TRAP laws and drone warfare are subjects of two ripped-from-the-headline films now in theaters. Dawn Porter’s timely documentary shows how TRAP laws are to the right to abortion services what Voter ID laws are to the right to vote. Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman head a thriller about a race against time and a decision that could cost an innocent girl’s life.

Elsewhere in the theaters, there are films about the 1960s and 1970s predecessors of YouTube, a drama partly set in the Koreatown nightlife scene, and Sally Field reversing the May-December romance equation.

The Automatic Hate

Successful chef Davis has his bumpy personal life unmoored when he gets stalked by the mysterious Alexis. But the supposed stalker introduces herself as Davis’ cousin. This is news to a man who didn’t know he had cousins until now. When Davis finds some evidence to support Alexis’ claim, he sets out to find out more about this secret family. But as Davis and Alexis get emotionally closer, the two also come closer to learning the shocking secret that tore both families apart.

Now at the 4-Star Theatre

Creative Control

Benjamin Dickinson’s SXSW Jury Award-winning narrative feature is set in a very near future Brooklyn, New York. David (Dickinson) is an ad director trying to develop a high-profile marketing campaign for a less-douchey type of Google Glass. An unsatisfactory relationship with yoga teacher Juliette leads to Ben’s fascination with best friend Wim’s girlfriend Sophie. Ben’s technical solution to his problem is to tinker with the Augmented Reality eyeglasses he’s marketing to create a life-like avatar of Sophie. However, when Ben’s fantasy and reality lives start blurring together, things get increasingly messy.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

Ella Es Ramona (She’s Ramona)

In this Mexican comic import, Andrea Ortega Lee plays Ramona, a vibrant 30-ish woman who works for the boss of a beauty products corporation. However, in the eyes of her mother and sister, Ramona’s a failure because she’s still unmarried and she’s noticeably plus-sized. Things get worse when Ramona gets fired for not looking svelte. Meanwhile, her mother and sister face family crises. Can Ramona turn her life and the lives of her family around?

Now at the Roxie Theater

Eye In The Sky

In this thriller directed by Gavin Hood (Tsotsi), Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) helms a secret drone mission to capture Kenyan terrorists. That mission gets elevated to a kill mission after she learns that the terrorists her team has been following are planning a lethal bombing attack. However, because there’s a nine-year-old girl who’s within the kill zone, the decision to strike has to go further up the kill chain. But the more decision-makers avoid making a decision, the less time there are for available options.

Now at the Embarcadero Center Cinema and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Hello, My Name Is Doris

Sally Field plays the titular character, an older woman who’s been treated as invisible for most of her life. Things change after she meets her company’s hip new art director John (Josh Greenfield). Doris is convinced she and John were meant for each other, even though the latter is half her age. Doris’ determination to ingratiate herself into John’s world creates a thrilling new life for her. But it also opens a rift between Doris and her old friends, who feel she’s acting like a fool.

Now at the Albany Twin, the Embarcadero Center Cinema, the Piedmont Theatre, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Here Come The Videofreex

This must-see film is a portrait of the 1960s and 1970s renegade journalist group known as the Videofreex. They used then-new handheld video cameras to capture the era’s counterculture as it was unfolding. Their coups include rare interviews with activists Abbie Hoffman and Fred Hampton. But when the Videofreex’ working relationship with CBS News fizzled, the group took an unusual step to continue their work. The film features lots of restored footage of Videofreex material.

Now at the Roxie Theater

Kapoor & Sons – Since 1921

In this Hindi romantic comedy, brothers Rahul and Arjun return to their hometown of Coonoor to see their 90-year-old grandfather before he (supposedly) dies. But their supposedly perfect family is roiled by tensions beyond the rivalry between the perfect Rahul and the neglected Arjun. These problems include a growing estrangement between father and mother as well as severe money difficulties. Add to the mix a love triangle that develops among Arjun, Rahul, and the beautiful Tia. Now the stage is set for the brothers’ struggle to bring normality back to the family home and to claim Tia’s heart.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16

K-Town Cowboys

Daniel Park directs the film adaptation of his successful web series of the same name. This ensemble comedy-drama concerns five male Korean-American friends who club and carouse in Los Angeles’ Koreatown district. They regularly check out nightspots not generally known outside Koreatown, such as speed-dating style “booking clubs” or venues for semi-erotic entertainment for both sexes. However, the five friends soon have to deal with major crises in their personal lives. These problems include arranging long-term care for a dementia-afflicted father, unresolved anger over a father’s death, and a struggle to save a family company from financial ruin in the wake of an embezzlement scandal.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16

Love Is Blind

In this Pilipino romantic comedy, spoiled bachelor Wade dumps his girlfriend Maggie for hotel intern Fe because the latter looks like a prettier version of Maggie. Fe enjoys Wade’s attentions thanks to her tricking the bachelor into drinking a love potion that makes him see her as Maggie’s spitting image. But no love potion lasts forever, and eventually there must be a reckoning.

Now at the Century at Tanforan


In this Chinese comedy, a bumbling talent manager named Huang (Xia Yu) heads to Los Angeles to convince his #1 singer to return home after eloping mid-tour. However, instead of getting his singer back, Huang accidentally falls into an arranged marriage which leaves him as legal guardian for five adopted teen and pre-teen children. The kids want to keep their unconventional family together, and their efforts work a wondrous transformation on Huang.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16 and the Century 20 Daly City


The proliferation of TRAP laws demonstrate that even Republicans love government regulation when it serves their political goals. The goal in this case is seriously undermining a woman’s ability to access abortion services. Dawn Porter’s infuriating documentary asks whether a right can be said to exist if state governments methodically block its exercise? Since 2010, conservative state governments have passed hundreds of TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws. Justice Anthony Kennedy may refuse to see it, but TRAP laws have effectively shut down abortion clinics. They impose onerous regulations making it impossible for clinics to stay open. Abortion providers and their attorneys struggle to fight these unjust laws and continue serving their poor and uninsured clientele. Now the fight over TRAP laws has gone to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Opens March 18 at the Clay Theatre, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

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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