A Legendary Ramen Western Returns

Opening this week is a digital restoration of a famed Japanese comedy about the search for the perfect ramen noodle. That premise goes beyond ramen to offer humorous looks at the relationship between people and food.

For viewers who are not ramen fans, there are films based on real-life stories. One’s about a boxer who makes the most amazing comeback in sports history. Another is about a heroin addict who turns his life around with the help of a stray orange tomcat.

But must-see honors of the week goes to Paul Verhoeven’s taboo-busting new film. Isabelle Huppert takes the rape/revenge story in directions which will disconcert the jaded viewer.

Bleed For This

Vinnie “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza (Miles Teller) rocketed to boxing world stardom after winning two world title fights. But a near-fatal car accident halts his ascent after it leaves his spine severed. Instead of obeying doctor’s orders, Pazienza decides to stage a comeback with the help of legendary trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart). But will this comeback become Pazienza’s last fight?

Opens November 18 at the AMC Bay Street 16, the AMC Van Ness 14, the Century 20 Daly City, the Century at Tanforan, the Redwood Downtown 20, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Don’t Call Me Son

Pierre is an androgynous bisexual heartbreaking teen. After Pierre’s mother gets arrested for kidnapping the child at birth, Pierre’s biological parents reclaim the teen. However, said biological parents happen to be strait-laced bourgeois sorts. Pierre scandalizes them by appearing at a bowling alley in a zebra-print mini-dress. Further acts by Pierre start making the biological mother and father regret bringing Pierre into the family fold.

Opens November 18 at the Roxie Theatre


Michele (the amazing Isabelle Huppert) seems in utter control of her life. She runs a successful violent erotic video game company. Her love life is just as equally ruthless. Then one day an assailant attacks Michele in her home and makes her aware of her utter powerlessness. To reclaim her former confident life, the businesswoman begins a cat and mouse game to track down her unknown assailant and exact retribution. But will Michele’s game spiral badly out of control? Director Paul Verhoeven rattles a few viewers’ cages with this film.

Opens November 18 at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas

I Am Not Madame Bovary

Married couple Li (Fan Bingbing) and Qin stage a fake divorce to score an apartment reserved by the government for single people. The plan calls for Li and Qin to remarry in six months. However, Qin double-crosses his ex-wife by marrying a different woman. A furious Li pursues a court case through as many levels of government as she can, especially after Qin slanders her reputation. But can Li prevail when over a decade has passed without victory?

Opens November 18 at the AMC Van Ness 14

National Bird

What is it like working in the US drone program? Until now, the work has been shrouded in secrecy. Sonia Kennebeck’s documentary introduces viewers to three military veterans who seek personal redemption for killing faceless people in foreign countries, regardless of the consequences. The subjects’ journeys take them to such places as Afghanistan, where horror mingles with the possibility of peace of mind.

Opens November 18 at the Roxie Theatre

Nocturnal Animals

Director Tom Ford (A Single Man) helms this twisty thriller. An Los Angeles avant-garde art gallery owner (Amy Adams) receives an unpublished novel from her writer ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal). Her gradual reading of the novel sparks both memories of life with her first husband and ruminations on her marriage to her handsome but materialistic second husband. But why is she affected so personally by this thriller entitled Nocturnal Animals?

Opens November 18 at the Aquarius Theatre and the Century San Francisco Centre 9

Officer Downe

Director Shawn “Clown” Crahan (Slipknot) adapts Joe Casey and Chris Burnham’s graphic novel about a savage Los Angeles super-cop. Officer Downe is a super-cop who’s repeatedly killed then brought back to life via dark science technology. As new back-up Officer Gable soon learns, there’s more to his partner than his being a savage killing machine. But when you’re fighting such weirdos as an army of machine gun-toting killer nuns it’s hard to be surprised.

Opens November 18 at the Roxie Theatre

A Street Cat Named Bob

James Bowen’s international best-selling memoir gets adapted for the screen. Bowen is a homeless and struggling busker living in London who’s trying to fight heroin addiction. The arrival of an injured orange tom cat turns Bowen’s life around. Naming the cat Bob, the musician nurses the feline back to health. But instead of leaving him, Bob sticks by Bowen. The street cat’s loyalty leads the human to face the challenges in his life.

Opens November 18 at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas


Juzo Itami’s famed noodle western gets digitally restored for a new generation to appreciate. A widowed ramen shop owner named Tampopo is desperate to turn her failing business around. She beseeches the cowboy hat-wearing truck driver Goro to help her improve the quality of her noodles. Goro’s decision to help the struggling cook leads to a quest to discover the secrets of creating the perfect ramen noodle. While this is a set-up for a series of comic sketches about people and food, the mouth-watering results can’t be disputed.

Opens November 18 at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck 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.