The Fairy Tale Of Princess Shaw

The real-life fairy tale of Princess Shaw provides the crowd-pleasing standout among the new theatrical releases on the foreign and art house side. Princess Shaw is the stage name of a New Orleans resident who basically lives paycheck to paycheck. This resident didn’t know that her Princess Shaw YouTube channel would catch the interest of a very unusual fan thousands of miles away.

Other releases aren’t exactly slouches. There are two films from Cannes. One is a Palme d’Or winner while the other is a much buzzed-about Korean police procedural/horror film. There’s a restoration of the first collaboration by the creative geniuses behind The Third Man. And there’s a highly acclaimed Terence Davies film about a Scottish woman’s efforts to forge a future for herself in the social maelstrom brought by World War One.


Jacques Audiard’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner concerns Dheepan, a Tamil freedom fighter desperate to reach Europe because he founght on the losing side of his country’s civil war. To improve his chances of receiving political asylum, he forms a makeshift family with a woman and a little girl he’s never met before. In Paris, the former freedom fighter becomes a custodian at a rundown housing block. But Dheepan’s hopes for a fresh start are threatened by acts of daily violence in the neighborhood. Now, to protect his “family,” the Tamil freedom fighter must draw on his old combat skills.

Now at the Embarcadero Center Cinema

The Fallen Idol

Catch the digital restoration of this first collaboration between writer Graham Greene and director Carol Reed. Philippe is the 8-year-old son of a foreign ambassador. Left at loose ends one weekend while his parents are away, the boy follows butler Baines (Sir Ralph Richardson) while the servant has an extramarital affair with an embassy secretary. But Philippe’s curiosity soon leads to secrets, lies, and Baines’ being suspected of murder.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

The Final Master

Xu Haofeng (scriptwriter for The Grandmaster) adapts his martial arts short story for the screen. In 1930s Tianjin, wing chun master Chen (Liao Fen) wants to establish his own southern martial arts academy in the northern city’s already crowded martial arts scene. To do so, he takes on an apprentice (Song Yang) who will be trained to challenge all 19 of Tianjin’s existing martial arts schools. However, Master Chen can’t bring himself to ultimately abandon his apprentice once his northern martial arts rivals have been defeated.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16

Housefull 3

The inexplicably successful Indian film franchise returns with a third installment. Three deadbeat buffoons gain entry to the London home of rich businessman Batook Patel by pretending to have such disabilities as speaking in malapropisms. The buffoons’ aim is to marry the businessman’s three beautiful daughters. But Patel refuses to consent to the marriages thanks to an old family curse. No guesses on whether Patel changes his mind. This film is only for those who love laughing at racist jokes and people with disabilities.

Now at the Century San Francisco Centre 9 and the Century 25 Union Landing

Love Me Tomorrow

Housewife Christy is now both a widow and an empty nester. At a loss for a new direction, she tries reconnecting with her old friends “The Titas of Manila.” During one such excursion, club DJ JC takes an instant liking to her, and it soon blossoms into something more. But JC is 14 years Christy’s junior. Can two people from two very different phases of life and two different worlds really stay in love?

Now at the Century At Tanforan and the Century 25 Union Landing

Ma Ma

International star Penelope Cruz stars in Julio Medem’s (Lovers of the Arctic Circle) melodrama. Shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Magda (Cruz) meets devoted husband and father Arturo. The man’s dealing with his own terrible trauma. But it is what happens to Magda and Arturo after that first encounter that could help restart their lives.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas

Presenting Princess Shaw

Ido Haar’s delightful documentary offers a charming fable for the Internet age. New Orleans resident Samantha Montgomery has a hard life. She works at an elderly care facility, worries about paying the car repair bills, and has middle-of-the-night anxiety attacks. What gets her through the day is recording videos as Princess Shaw for her YouTube channel. On that channel, Princess Shaw performs song snippets, autobiography, and monologues. Unknown to Montgomery, a complete stranger living in Israel is a fan of her videos. What this fan will do will make Montgomery much better known.

Now at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Sunset Song

Veteran director Terence Davies adapts for the screen Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s classic novel about the clash between tradition and change. The story’s set in a rural Scottish village in the years before The Great War. In this village lives Chris (Agyness Deyn), a fiercely passionate woman who loves life, the disturbing Ewan, and the harsh land she lives on. With the Great War seriously impacting even Chris’ village, can the young woman find strength to move on from tragedy and face the future?

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas

The Wailing

Na Hong-jin (The Chaser) directs this Cannes sensation which mixes police procedural, supernatural horror, and very dark comedy. Jong-gu is an inept police sergeant operating in the rural Korean mountain village of Goksung. The sergeant’s uneventful life gets overturned after a series of gruesome murders hits Goksung, spiced with the chaser of ghostly visitations and a growing number of cases of sudden bloodlust. Suspicion eventually settles on an old Japanese hermit who lives alone in the woods. But is the old man really the culprit, or is there a cause that’s more supernatural in nature?

Now at the AMC Van Ness 14

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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