0

Meryl Streep Murders Classical Music

Sharon Jones and Meryl Streep feature prominently in two films about women with musical ability. However, there’s a serious talent gap between the frontwoman for The Dap Kings and the real-life socialite played by Meryl Streep. Inspiration will be found in both films, but the type of inspiration presented in the Meryl Streep film will be a matter of debate.

Among the other films not featuring Meryl Streep opening this weekend, a debut feature which first screened in the Bay Area at this year’s Cinequest is worth checking out. It’s a post-apocalyptic science fiction drama taking place in a world where humanity has lost the ability to remember.

But the opening of the week has to go to Ira Sachs’ new Brooklyn-set drama. It’s the tale of a boyhood friendship which is threatened by a rent hike dispute.

Embers

One of the best films of Cinequest 2016 gets a theatrical release. It’s a decade after a global epidemic has swept the Earth. There are human survivors, but their survival has come at a price. Thanks to the mysterious virus, the survivors lack the ability to form long-term memories or even recall the past. As a result, human civilization is slowly crumbling. Claire Carre’s moving post-apocalypse drama follows several survivors of the plague, including a pair of lovers, a professor trying to search for a cure, and a teenager chafing at social imprisonment in her rich father’s disease-free bunker. Carre’s film asks the central question: without memory, what constitutes humanity?

Opens August 12 at the Roxie Theater

Florence Foster Jenkins

Legendary actress Meryl Streep plays the titular character, a 1940s New York heiress and socialite. Jenkins is obsessed with becoming a great singer. But as “husband” and manager St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) knows, the socialite’s voice is hilariously awful. Bayfield has assiduously protected Jenkins from the truth. But when the heiress decides to give a public concert at Carnegie Hall, Jenkins’ “manager” might be unable to stave off her public humiliation. Directed by Stephen Frears (Philomena).

Opens August 12 at the AMC Van Ness 14, the Century 12 San Mateo, the Century 20 Daly City, the Century 25 Union Landing, the Century at Tanforan, the CineArts at the Empire, the Embarcadero Center Cinema, the Marina Theatre, and the Shattuck Cinemas

Hell Or High Water

Two brothers, straight-living Toby (Chris Pine) and ex-con Tanner rob branch after branch of the bank that’s foreclosing on their family’s land. The brothers hope that the robberies will help them keep the family property. However, they didn’t reckon on a retiring foul-mouthed Texas Ranger (Jeff Bridges) who hopes for one last triumph before he permanently hangs up his hat.

Opens August 12 at the AMC Metreon 16

Little Men

The new film from director Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange) concerns the friendship between two boys living in Brooklyn. 13-year-old Jake moves with his parents back to his father’s old Brooklyn home. Tony lives in his mother Leonor’s dressmaking shop downstairs. The two boys become fast friends. But when Jake’s parents steeply raise the rent on Leonor’s shop, a feud breaks out between the adults. The feud eventually threatens to undermine the boys’ friendship.

Opens August 12 at the Clay Theatre

Miss Sharon Jones!

Barbara Kopple (Shut Up And Sing!, Wild Man Blues) returns with a new documentary about a year in the life of the incredible R&B singer Sharon Jones. Frequently side-lined by the music industry for decades, Jones finally hit it big when she joined forces with the R&B group The Dap Kings. But on the eve of releasing the album Give The People What They Want, Jones was diagnosed with cancer. Kopple’s camera followed what happened next.

Opens August 12 at the Opera Plaza Cinemas, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

Mohenjo Daro

Ashutosh Gowariker (Lagaan) directs this tale set in the days of the Indus Valley civilization (ca. 2016 BC). Simple farmer Sarman (superstar Hrithik Roshan) is impelled by a dream of a one-horned deer and a mysterious tune to travel to the city of Mohenjo Daro and uncover its secrets. There, he has many adventures including falling in love with Princess Chaani and being forced into a gladiator fight.

Opens August 12 at the Century 20 Great Mall

My Best Friend’s Wedding

This is a Chinese remake of the popular Julia Roberts film. A successful fashion editor comes to London to attend her childhood best friend’s lavish wedding. However, days before the nuptials, she realizes she has romantic feelings for her old friend.

Opens August 12 at the Century 20 Great Mall

Operation Chromite

The film’s title refers to the codename for a Korean War operation planned by General Douglas MacArthur (Liam Neeson). A team of South Korean soldiers are sent into North Korea to infiltrate local North Korean operations, discover how a particular port is mined, and secure a strategic light house. However, the local North Korean commander leads the pursuit of the enemy operatives. At stake is the success or failure of what will become known as the Battle of Inchon.

Opens August 12 at the AMC Van Ness 14 and the Century 20 Daly City

Paths Of The Soul

This docudrama follows a group of Tibetans on a pilgrimage to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. The pilgrimage runs 1,200 km and is covered solely on foot. Pilgrims take two steps, prostrate themselves, get up, and repeat for all 1,200 km. This film follows a group of pilgrims over the course of ten months. Along the way, these subjects display both suffering and resolve.

Opens August 12 at the 4-Star Theatre

Rustom

This is the third cinematic attempt to dramatize the notorious real-life 1959 Nanavati case. At its center is a love triangle involving handsome naval officer Rustom, his lovely but lonely wife Cynthia, and the wife’s lover Vikram. Murder breaks this triangle, but is it a crime of passion?

Opens August 12 at the Century 20 Great Mall

Viva Activa – The Spirit Of Hannah Arendt

When philosopher Hannah Arendt covered the trial of Adolph Eichmann, she coined the controversial term “the Banality of Evil.” Arendt also drew controversy for her early love affair with philosopher and Nazi sympathizer Martin Heidegger. This award-winning and wide-ranging documentary examines the whole of Arendt’s life, as present-day interest into Arendt’s insights on totalitarianism and the nature of evil has garnered the philosopher new audiences.

Opens August 12 at the Roxie Theatre

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.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.