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Going Arty In Montana With Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart is one of three strong-willed women who are the subjects of Kelly Reichardt’s new film. While a new Reichardt film is always worth celebrating, other films open this weekend and are also worthy of your attention even if they don’t star Kristen Stewart.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of a political cinema classic, which is given a new 4K restoration. Famed Japanese horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa goes back to doing a very human horror tale. An award-winning documentary delivers a chilling portrait of the militarization of America’s police.

Some readers may find Ewan Mc Gregor’s directorial debut or Rebecca Hall’s turn as doomed TV newscaster Christine Chubbick more accessible. Yet it’s safe to say Reichardt’s work will make viewers forget Kristen Stewart once acted in a film featuring sparkly vampires.

American Pastoral

Seymour “Swede” Levov (director/star Ewan Mc Gregor) has built a perfect life for himself. He has a beautiful wife (Jennifer Connelly), runs a successful manufacturing business, and lives a blissful existence. But things come crashing down as the 1950s yields to the political ferment of the 1960s. Swede’s politically radicalized daughter Merry (Dakota Fanning) has disappeared underground after being implicated in a political bombing. As the family man searches for his missing daughter, he tries to find his own meaning amidst the changed times. Mc Gregor’s directorial debut adapts Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

Opens October 21 at the Aquarius Theatre, the California Theatre, the Embarcadero Center Cinemas, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

The Battle Of Algiers

Gillo Pontecorvo’s classic of political cinema gets restored in 4K for its 50th anniversary. Shot on the streets of Algiers with many of the actual participants in the Algerian struggle, the film tells the story of the three year fight in the late 1950s between Algerian nationalists and occupying French military forces. As violence escalates, non-combatants are caught in the middle as the French resort to torture while the Algerians resort to guerrilla terrorism. A deserved winner of the 1966 Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion, this is a must-see film.

Opens October 21 at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

Certain Women

The new film from director Kelly Reichardt (Night Moves) assembles an amazing ensemble cast (which includes Kristen Stewart) to adapt a trio of intersecting Maile Meloy stories set on the open plains of the American Northwest. Laura Dern plays a lawyer dealing with office sexism and a hostage situation. Michelle Williams is a wife and mother whose determination to build her dream home leads to clashes with the men in her life. Kristen Stewart is a law student who develops a bond with a lonely ranch hand.

Opens October 21 at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas, the Rafael Film Center, and the Shattuck Cinemas

Christine

Rebecca Hall plays doomed real-life TV news reporter Christine Chubbick. It’s 1974, and socially awkward Chubbick’s life is spiraling downward. Her station manager’s diktat to embrace “if it bleeds, it leads” reporting clashes with her reporting style. The discomfort of being a virgin at 30 disturbs her. Her yearning to be transferred to a bigger TV market is not being fulfilled. And she carries a torch for handsome news anchor George (Michael C. Hall). Christine’s mounting pressures and disappointments will eventually lead to a very visible tragedy.

Opens October 21 at the Rafael Film Center, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Creepy

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s new film returns him to his J-horror roots. It’s been a year since ex-police detective Koichi took part in a disastrous hostage negotiation with a serial killer. Now the former cop and his wife have moved into a new home. But their neighbor is a real weirdo. Could what’s going on at the neighbor’s home be connected with a mysterious case that’s stumping Koichi’s former fellow cops? Get ready for a tale that throws in more than a few narrative curveballs.

Opens October 21 at the Roxie Theatre

Do Not Resist

Craig Atkinson’s chilling documentary debut looks at the present and probable future of policing in America. The film takes the viewer from a ride-along with a South Carolina SWAT team to a police training session on the concept of “righteous violence” to a Congressional hearing on the wisdom of letting small-town police departments have access to military equipment. Winner of the Best Documentary Award at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Opens October 21 at the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood and the Roxie Theatre

In A Valley Of Violence

Horror director Ti West takes a stab at doing a Western. Clyde Martin (John Travolta) is the one-legged sheriff of Denton, a former silver mining town now fallen into slow decay. Into Denton rides a mysterious stranger (Ethan Hawke) accompanied by a dog. He’s on his way to Mexico and doesn’t plan to stay long in Denton. However, in less than an hour, this stranger’s humiliation of Martin’s doofus son Gilly throws the town’s order out of whack.

Opens October 21 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

El Jeremias

Jeremias learns he is a boy genius. But rather than making his life easier, the discovery makes his attempts at success more difficult.

Opens October 21 at the AMC Van Ness 14, the Century 20 Daly City, the Century at Tanforan, and the Redwood Downtown 20

Miss Hokusai

In 1814 Edo (the former name of Tokyo), budding teenage artist O-Ei lives with her father, the famed artist Hokusai. In public, O-Ei “knows her place.” Privately, she displays her own talent with erotic art and cleans up her father’s messes. Adding to friction between father and daughter is Hokusai’s refusal to see his blind younger daughter. Yet in a land where it feels as if the supernatural co-exists with humans, life can offer unexpected pleasures.

Opens October 21 at the Clay Theatre and the Shattuck Cinemas

Tharlo

Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden helms this cinematic adaptation of his own novella. Tharlo is a Tibetan shepherd. He’s come to a Qinghai province police station to get an ID card. But the business trip takes an unexpected direction after Tharlo recites from memory a lengthy excerpt from one of Chairman Mao’s essays. However, that direction is not political but romantic.

Opens October 21 at the 4-Star Theatre

The Third Party

Andi (Angel Locsin) is an events manager who hasn’t gotten over her break-up with Max. But when she finds herself penniless and pregnant, she seeks Max’s help. The ex-boyfriend agrees to let Andi temporarily live with him and his partner. gay children’s oncologist Christian, until the baby is born. But will the three of them have reason to regret this arrangement?

Opens October 21 at the Century At Tanforan

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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