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Return Of The Blair Witch And The Beatles

This weekend sees two supernatural films opening. One is Adam Wingard’s much anticipated reboot of The Blair Witch Project, which acknowledges its predecessor while taking its found footage aesthetic into the present. The other, more lo-fi shocker tells of a Polish Jewish wedding that goes down the tubes thanks to demonic possession.

For those who don’t care for frights involving a Blair Witch, a Richmond-set film which takes The Bicycle Thief set-up and applies it to a pair of stolen Air Jordans has gotten a fair amount of praise.

The other high-profile openings of the week share a “your mileage may vary” warning. There’s a documentary covering The Beatles’ years on the road. The other involves a privileged college student trying to save her drug dealer boyfriend. Critical reaction vary for both films, so be warned.

The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years

Ron Howard’s highly anticipated documentary follows the Fab Four from their early days working at Liverpool’s Cavern Club to their final Candlestick Park concert in 1966. Rare footage shows the inner workings of the super-group, from their decision-making process to their song creation work. Made with the cooperation of such luminaries as Paul Mc Cartney and Ringo Starr, this film comes fresh off its London premiere.

Now at the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, the Smith Rafael Film Center and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas. The Smith Rafael screening also includes a film capturing The Beatles’ 1965 concert at Shea Stadium.

Blair Witch

Adam Wingard delivers a sequel to the found footage horror classic The Blair Witch Project. It’s seventeen years since Heather Donahue went missing in the Maryland woods while searching for the Blair Witch. Her kid brother James wants to find out what happened to her. He convinces his college friend Lisa to make a graduate documentary project out of his search. Accompanied by a couple of friends and lots of modern camera and video equipment, the quartet head for Maryland’s Black Hills. Hooking up with local guides and disturbing Blair Witch geeks Lane and Talia turns out to be a questionable decision. But the bigger terrors arrive with the coming of nightfall.

Now at the AMC Bay Street 16, the AMC Metreon 16, the AMC Van Ness 14, the Century 20 Daly City, the Century at Tanforan, the Regal Jack London Stadium 9, and the Shattuck Cinemas

Cock And Bull

In contemporary Western China, stubborn but honest mechanic Song Laoer (Liu Ye) is the chief suspect in the disappearance of Cat. The mechanic is short-tempered and had some bad history with Cat. Lack of evidence leads the cops to release Song, but he’s still under a cloud of suspicion. Determined to clear his name, the mechanic’s own investigation leads him to the dodgy criminal Wang Youquan. But unbeknownst to Song, there’s a third player out there.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16

Demon

Peter (Itay Tiran) has arrived in Poland to marry fiancee Zaneta. While inspecting the country fixer-upper given as a wedding gift by his in-laws-to-be, the groom-to-be falls into a pile of skeletal remains. During the wedding ceremony itself, Peter’s behavior turns increasingly erratic. It becomes clear he’s been possessed by a dybbuk, a dead woman who has unfinished business left on earth. The spirit’s concluding of that business turns Peter and Zaneta’s wedding into a shambles.

Now at the Embarcadero Center Cinema and the Shattuck Cinemas

Kicks

Brandon is a teenager and bully target living in the East Bay city of Richmond. Socially invisible, the boy’s convinced that buying a pair of expensive red-and-black Air Jordans will confer him instant social status. He’s right…until neighborhood thug Flaco steals Brandon’s shoes and give them to his son Jeremiah. Accompanied by best friends Rico and Albert, Brandon attempts to retrieve the shoes. But will the boy need to use the gun he took from his Uncle Marlon? Director Justin Tipping makes an impressive debut with this film.

Now at the AMC Bay Street 16, the AMC Metreon 16 and the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood. It’s also still playing at the Grand Lake Theatre

Max Rose

Max Rose (legendary Jerry Lewis) is a retired jazz musician whose career was far less successful than he wanted. His only comfort came from the love and support of his wife of sixty years Eva (Claire Bloom). But when Max discovers a love note to Eva from another man, the discovery spurs Max to confront the man who “stole” his wife and made his whole life a lie.

Now at the Albany Twin and the Opera Plaza Cinemas

Racing To Zero

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee pledged that The City would achieve zero waste by 2020. Meet the behind-the-scenes inventors and enthusiasts who are determined to turn trash into resources. Perhaps your local town will be inspired to race towards zero waste after watching this film.

Now at the Roxie Theatre.

Silicon Cowboys

In 1982, Compaq Computers was launched by three friends in a Houston diner. The trio wanted to develop a portable personal computer that would be a commercial alternative to IBM. The PC Compaq developed became immensely popular, and shook the entire computing industry. This documentary charts the rise of Compaq and its eventual fall.

Now at the 4-Star Theatre and the Roxie Theatre. Director Jason Cohen appears in person at the September 17 screening at 7:00 PM at the 4-Star Theatre and after the 8:30 PM screening at the Roxie Theatre.

The Vessel

46 schoolchildren in an unidentified Puerto Rican coastal village die after a huge wave sweeps their schoolhouse out to sea. Ten years later, the village residents still mourn those young deaths. No new children have been born and Father Douglas (Martin Sheen) waits for some celestial sign. That sign arrives when the supposedly fatally drowned Leo (actor/writer/director Lucas Quintana) comes back to life. Leo’s sudden interest in creating a makeshift boat leads to the possibility of the village’s spiritual rebirth. Executive produced by Terrence Malick.

Now at the AMC Van Ness 14

White Girl

Hedonistic college girl Leah (Morgan Saylor, Homeland) falls in love with corner drug dealer Blue. Their high-living life collapses when Blue gets arrested. However, Leah is left with a large bag of Blue’s cocaine. The titular girl gets deeper in debt as she goes to any lengths necessary to get Blue back. The film that shocked Sundance 2016 audiences will probably be in the running for most shocking film of 2016.

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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