Elvis Presley Meets Frank Underwood

A fictionalization of the meeting between Elvis Presley and old Tricky Dick is the subject of one of two high-profile films opening this weekend. Tom Hanks stars in the other high-profile opening of the week, an adaptation of a Dave Eggers novel about culture clash in Saudi Arabia.

The unsuspecting punk rock band in a new Alamo Drafthouse-label thriller may not be in the Elvis Presley league music-wise. But as far as staying alive is concerned, they will surprise you and the baddies led by Sir Patrick Stewart’s character.

Also worth a look is the English language debut of director Joachim Trier, a tale of a family still haunted by a tragic death ten years later.

Elvis And Nixon

On a December morning in 1970, Elvis Presley actually appeared on the White House lawn to request a personal meeting with then-President Richard M. Nixon. Liza Johnson’s film dramatizes what happened when the King of Rock and Roll chatted with the corrupt president. Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon (Midnight Special) stars as Elvis Presley, while two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) plays Nixon.

Opens April 22 at the AMC Bay Street 16, the AMC Metreon 16, the Century at Tanforan, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the UA Twin Stonestown

Green Room

Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) goes for horror and thrills in his new film. The Ain’t Rights, a punk band on the verge of breaking up, gets a surprise gig at a venue in the Oregon wilderness. It’s a run-down club operated by Darcy Banker (Sir Patrick Stewart). When the band accidentally witnesses a backstage murder, they wind up being trapped in the club’s Green Room and targeted for elimination by Banker’s gang of white power skinheads. But Banker and his goons soon discover that The Ain’t Rights are far more resilient and cunning than they anticipated. The stage is soon set for a battle to the death.

Opens April 22 at the AMC Metreon 16 and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

A Hologram For The King

Tom Tykwer directs this drama about a desperate salesman (Tom Hanks) who travels to Saudi Arabia to close the IT contract for a complex being built in the desert. Unfortunately for him, culture clashes and bureaucratic opacity threatens to undermine his mission. But a friendly taxi driver and a beautiful doctor (Sarita Chodhury) help him adjust to Saudi Arabian life. Based on the novel by San Francisco’s Dave Eggers.

Opens April 22 at the AMC Van Ness 14, the Century San Francisco Centre 9, the CineArts Sequoia, the Piedmont Theatre, the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, and the UA Twin Stonestown

Louder Than Bombs

Joachim Trier (Oslo, August 31) makes his American directorial debut with this drama about a family still shattered by personal loss. A major retrospective of late war photographer Isabelle Reed’s (Isabelle Huppert) work forces her surviving sons and husband to confront the traumas arising in the wake of Reed’s death. After ten years, those reflections may finally answer the questions of how Reed actually died and how they can go forward with their lives.

Opens April 22 at the Clay Theatre and the Shattuck Cinemas

Sing Street

John Carney’s (Once) new semi-autobiographical musical takes the viewer back to 1980s Dublin. Teenage Conor hates life both at home and at his new inner-city school. The only thing he does like is the beautiful and mysterious Raphina. To win the girl’s heart, Conor asks her to star in his band’s music videos. Raphina agrees, but Conor has one big problem: he’s not part of a band…yet.

Opens April 22 at the Embarcadero Center Cinema

The Winding Stream

American country music as we know it today owes its existence to the Original Carter Family. Thanks to the work of song collector and composer A.P. Carter, guitarist Maybelle Carter, and singer Sara Carter, many of the conventions of country music got laid by them. Yet despite their musical legacy, the Carters faced the strong possibility of being reduced to obscurity. Then a renegade up-and-coming singer named Johnny Cash met Mother Maybelle and the girls. Cash’s long-time love for the Carters’ music would lift the family back to the musical spotlight. Beth Harrington’s film relates this amazing story.

Opens April 22 at the Balboa Theatre and the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood

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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