Keegan-Michael Key Hits It Big

Will a new film starring Keegan-Michael Key suck viewer attention from James Schamus’ directorial debut? Key plays an aspiring comedian whose buddies have to deal with the consequences of his big break. Legendary producer Schamus, on the other hand, is directing an adaptation of a Philip Roth story.

For viewers looking for opening films not starring Keegan-Michael Key, a charming documentary about a New York City video arcade fighting gentrification might be worth a look. Genre fans going through The Walking Dead withdrawal should check out a South Korean box office hit about a zombie plague.

The comedy that helped legendary TV creator Norman Lear make his mark may be far different from the styles of Keegan-Michael Key. But that consideration shouldn’t stop viewers from seeing a film which shows why such folks as Amy Poehler and Jon Stewart swear by Lear’s works.

All Of Me

A country-crossing freight train known as “The Beast” is the primary transport for migrants making the dangerous journey between Mexico and the United States. Since 1995, the Mexican women known as The Patronas make and toss bags of food to these Beast-riding migrants. Arturo Gonzalez Villasenor’s documentary shows how this small gesture offers a much-needed message of love to people Trump and his supporters openly despise.

Opens August 5 at the Roxie Theatre

Don’t Think Twice

Mike Birbiglia (director, Sleepwalk With Me) and Ira Glass (creator, This American Life) pool their talents on this acclaimed comedy-drama. When one member (Keegan-Michael Key) of a popular NYC improv group gets cast on a popular TV show, his friends and fellow members are happy for him. But that sense of happiness tapers off as the remaining group members slowly realize not all of them will become successful comedians.

Opens August 5 at the Embarcadero Center Cinema, the Guild Theatre, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Five Nights In Maine

Sherwin (David Oyelowo, Selma) gets called to Maine by his terminally ill mother-in-law Lucinda (Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest). Both of them are grieving over the tragic car accident that killed a mutual loved one. But their lifetime of clashes makes achieving emotional healing a challenge.

Opens August 5 at the 4-Star Theatre

How To Be Yours

Anj (Bea Alonzo) is a self-taught cook who dreams of working in a high-end restaurant someday. But she works in a food stall thanks to her lack of confidence. Nino (Gerald Anderson) is an unpretentious sales agent who just wants stability in his life. One Chinese New Year, Anj and Nino meet and eventually fall in love. Anj soon gains the confidence to secure a world-changing spot on famed chef Pocholo Padilla’s kitchen team. Nino is stuck in his simple life. Eventually the duo’s relationship is threatened by the possibility that what brought them together no longer exists.

Opens August 5 at the Century at Tanforan


Legendary producer James Schamus makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel of the same name. In 1951, a scholarship allows smart working class Jewish boy Marcus Messner to leave New Jersey for a conservative Ohio college. The college scholarship also prevents Messner from getting drafted for the Korean War. At the college, the Jewish student becomes infatuated with beautiful Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon). But his clashes with college Dean Hawes Caudwell (Tracy Letts) threaten his future.

Opens August 5 at the Albany Twin, the Aquarius Theatre, the Embarcadero Center Cinema, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

The Lost Arcade

Chinatown Fair was the last of New York City’s old school video arcades. Opened in the 1940s, the gaming place survived decades of rent increases and gang wars to become a haven for kids from the city’s five boroughs. Having a tic-tac-toe playing chicken also helped. But now gentrification has so changed Chinatown Fair’s neighborhood that the arcade’s existence is threatened. However, Chinatown Fair’s denizens aren’t giving up without a fight.

Opens August 5 at the Roxie Theatre

Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You

In the 1970s, writer/producer Norman Lear changed the face of television comedy. Such shows as All In The Family, Maude, and The Jeffersons blended both unforgettable characters and sociopolitical issues into entertaining TV hits. But a personal tragedy forced Lear to walk away from television. It would be the rise of the Religious Right that made Lear’s second act in life possible. Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp) recount Lear’s life with a mix of humor and admiration.

Opens August 5 at the Clay Theatre, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

Train To Busan

In this South Korean box office smash, a country-wide viral outbreak results in a zombie plague befalling the populace. Some people are lucky enough to escape onto a bullet train heading towards Busan. The southern resort city has supposedly become a safe haven from the zombie hordes. But as terror and suspicion mount among the passengers, it’s not clear whether any safe haven from the zombie apocalypse actually exists.

Opens August 5 at the AMC Van Ness 14 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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