0

Kate Winslet Does Couture Revenge

Kate Winslet stars in a new film that will draw the proverbial butts to seats. But the set up, a prodigal citizen played by Kate Winslet returning to her old home town to exact some payback, has been done quite a few times.

The more interesting new art films now in theaters don’t star Kate Winslet. But they have unique and attractive qualities. One film stars people who’ve never seen a film or encountered film-making technology until now. Another treats as fact (sort of) the old conspiracy theory about the 1969 Moon landing being faked. The most intriguing of the lot adapts a stage musical whose central story-telling technique was previously seen in Clio Barnard’s amazing The Arbor.

Noted for weird coincidence is a historical Korean thriller. Two of the film’s stars previously appeared in train-bound Korean films whose titles will be familiar to certain American viewers. The big set-piece for their new film is also a train. The vehicle may not have Kate Winslet, but it does have lots of explosives.

The Age Of Shadows

Director Kim Jee-woon (The Good, The Bad, and the Weird) returns with a spy thriller set in 1920s Korea. Lee Jung-chool (Song Kang-ho, Snowpiercer) leads police forces aiding the Japanese occupiers in crushing the Korean resistance fighters. Kim Woo-jin (Gong Yoo, Train To Busan) is the new Korean resistance leader. Hashimoto is the Japanese agent willing to go to any extremes to stop the Korean resistance. The paths of these three men will eventually converge on an explosives-laden train heading towards Seoul.

Now at the Century 20 Daly City

Antibirth

Lou (Natasha Lyonne) lives in a podunk town with best friend Sadie (Chloe Sevigny). She generally wants to get high and enjoy life. However, a mysterious blackout leaves Lou with unusual health issues. Nasty skin lesions and foot blisters leaking gross liquid are one thing. But an accelerated and unexplained pregnancy has Lou in near freak-out mode.

Now at the Roxie Theatre

Barcelona: A Love Untold

In this Filipino romantic drama, Ely still mourns the death of his lover Celine. A chance encounter with Mia, who reminds him of Celine, sparks the possibility of romantic rebirth. But Mia has problems of her own, such as worrying about losing her apartment.

Now at the Century 20 Daly City and the Century at Tanforan

Best Fake Friends

Career woman Joy (Lauren Bowles) regrets giving up her career to become a supportive but lonely suburban housewife. Things seem to turn around when she gets befriended by Nikki (Victoria Smurfit), leader of the neighborhood’s in-crowd. But maintaining her friendship with Nikki’s clique requires Joy to cross more than a few personal lines and become somebody she doesn’t recognize.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas

The Dressmaker

It’s been years since beautiful Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet) left her Australian outback home town. In that time, Tilly became a dressmaker to some of Paris’ most exclusive fashion houses. Now the talented dressmaker has come home. She partly wants to reconcile with her eccentric mother Molly (Judy Davis). But she also wants to use her haute couture skills to exact payback against the town women who did her wrong.

Now at the Albany Twin Theater, the Guild Theatre, the Piedmont Theatre, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Goat

Brad enters college traumatized by an assault. Brother Brett (Nick Jonas), also at the same college, belongs to a fraternity that promises to provide protection to Brad. But Brad must first endure the fraternity’s “hell week,” a series of torturous and humiliating events that soon tests the brothers’ bond. Produced by and co-starring James Franco.

Now at the Smith Rafael Film Center and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Kampai! For The Love Of Sake

This globe-trotting documentary introduces viewers to the Japanese fermented rice wine gaining increased popularity around the world. Three subjects provide the film’s focus. They are Japan’s first foreign master brewer, an American journalist, and a fifth-generation Japanese brewer planning to shake up the industry.

Now at the 4-Star Theatre

London Road

Rufus Norris’ verbatim theatrical film traces the effects of a string of prostitute murders on the Ipswich community. Drawing from interviews with Ipswich residents, the real-life events and their impact on the residents gets turned into an audacious musical. Adapted by Norris from his English stage hit.

Now at the Vogue Theatre

Operation Avalanche

In 1967, two young CIA agents (one played by writer/director Matt Johnson) impersonate documentary filmmakers to search for a possible Russian mole inside NASA. While there, they uncover NASA’s conspiracy to fake the Moon landing. This faux documentary captures the agents’ next steps, which include a visit to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey movie set.

Now at the Shattuck Cinemas

Tanna

Tanna is a South Pacific island on which live two warring tribes. Dain, the chief’s handsome grandson, has fallen in love with the free-spirited Wawa. However, a peace treaty with another tribe requires Wawa to be married into that other tribe. The lovers must choose between their feelings and the tribe’s future. But the tribe’s members must also wrestle with preserving traditions versus the pull of individual freedom. Amazingly, the people of the Yakel, who perform as the film’s characters, had neither seen a movie nor worked with filmmaking technology before. The resulting film took the Venice Film Festival Audience Award.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas

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.