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Jordan Peele Debuts With Horror And Laughter

Comedian Jordan Peele, it turns out, is a big horror film fan. His directorial debut, which opens this weekend, blends horror with dark comedy and even a bit of social satire. Now audiences can catch the film which wowed critics at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

For viewers who might be turned off by the Jordan Peele brand of comedy, Gael Garcia Bernal’s new film deals with a perennial comic theme. It’s the husband trying to persuade his unamused wife to return home. But for Bernal’s character, his task is complicated by such problems as really cold weather and culture clash.

Bitter Harvest

In the 1930s, Joseph Stalin imposed the Holodomor policy on Ukraine’s citizenry. This genocidal death-by-starvation program would ultimately kill millions of Ukrainians. In this terrible time, two lovers struggle to survive. Young artist Yuri breaks out of a Soviet prison. He joins the anti-Bolshevik resistance in hopes of being eventually reunited with childhood sweetheart Natalka.

Opens February 24 at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

Dying Laughing

What’s it like working as a stand-up comedian? Directors Lloyd Stanton and Paul Toogood answer that question with this documentary. Over 50 working comedians, both famous and obscure, recount stories about life on the road, heckling, and personal stress. Among the interviewees are Garry Shandling, Jamie Foxx, Jerry Seinfeld, and Sarah Silverman.

Opens February 24 at the Roxie Theatre

Get Out

Comedian Jordan Peele makes his directorial debut with this horror-comedy-social justice hybrid. Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is taken by girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) to meet her suburban parents Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener). Since Chris is black and Rose is white, he worries that Rose’s parents will let their racist flag fly. Life seems sort-of normal. Yet Dean and Missy’s black servants, groundskeeper Walter and housekeeper Georgina, sound like they stepped out of The Stepford Wives. As the off-kilter occurrences accumulate, Chris starts suspecting he hasn’t feared white America enough.

Opens February 24 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the AMC Bay Street 16, the AMC Van Ness 14, the Century 12 San Mateo, the Century 20 Daly City, the Century at Tanforan, the Century San Francisco Centre 9, the Marina Theatre, the Regal Jack London Stadium 9, and the UA Berkeley 7

Punching Henry

Henry Phillips, a 40-ish journeyman folk singer/comedian, plies his comic art despite fleapit bookings and audience indifference. A trip to Los Angeles seems to promise a possible career-changing audition with a TV producer (J.K. Simmons). But his life-changing visit turns into a series of comic humiliations and telling small disasters, including difficult dealings with a taxicab dispatcher and the disappearance of his car.

Opens February 24 at the 4-Star Theatre

You’re Killing Me, Susana

Eligio (Gael Garcia Bernal) is a narcissistic Mexican soap opera actor. Perhaps that’s why he’s surprised when wife Susana ups and leaves him without a word. A break comes when the actor discovers Susana has enrolled in an Iowa university writing program. Eligio figures he can use his boyish charm to persuade his estranged wife to return. However, culture clash and Susana’s obvious moving on with her life suggest Eligio’s task is more difficult than expected.

Opens February 24 at the Roxie Theatre, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center. Director Roberto Sneider appears in person at the Smith Rafael’s February 25 screening at 4:15 PM, and the Shattuck Cinema’s February 25 screenings at 7:05 PM and 9:45 PM.

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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