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Anna Kendrick At The Rejects’ Table

A nice week of openings include a comedy/drama starring Anna Kendrick. The Duplass Brothers wrote the film in question. It’s the story of a socially humiliated woman (Anna Kendrick) finding unexpected allies in utter strangers.

Compared to the travails of the Anna Kendrick character, the German prisoners in an Academy Award nominee face literal life-and-death situations. Clearing landmines without benefit of proper training or equipment is a recipe for injury and death.

It’s not all gloom and doom this weekend. A charming stop-motion animated film about an orphan boy learning to trust and love again comes fresh off the Academy Award nominations. Travelers and cat-lovers will get a kick out of a cinematic love letter to Istanbul and the cats that roam its streets.

But for those who want their cinema high on the discomfort level, the new drama from the director of Stranger By The Lake should fit the bill. It caused an uproar at its Cannes Film Festival screening.

Catfight

Former college friends Veronica (Sandra Oh) and Ashley (Anne Heche) meet again at a posh party years after their falling out. Veronica’s now the well-to-do wife of a heartless war profiteer. Ashley’s struggling with both artistic ambition and partner (Alicia Silverstone) relationship issues. The tense meeting eventually leads to a brawl which leaves one of the women in a two year-long coma. When that woman wakes up, America has changed for the worse. Years pass and these two women continue their fight. Yet they fail to notice the country’s going to pot and their previously privileged existences gets vaporized. Director Onur Tukel delivers in-your-face satire along with his bone-crunching action.

Opens March 3 at the Vogue Theatre

Kedi

For thousands of years, cats have roamed freely through the streets of Istanbul. They’re neither wild nor tame. But for the humans the cats adopt, these felines bring them joy and even purpose. Director Ceyda Torun’s love letter to both Istanbul and its cats observes seven felines’ daily activities and the humans whose lives have changed with their cat interactions.

Opens March 3 at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

Land Of Mine

This recent Academy Award nominee is set during the dying days of World War II. It’s May 1945, and Nazi Germany has just surrendered. Allied forces decide to put German POWs held in Denmark to work. The prisoners’ job: remove over two million land mines planted by the Nazis along Denmark’s west coast. But these prisoners are given little or no training in safely defusing explosives, and the inevitable happens. So where is the line between justice and vengeance?

Opens March 3 at the Clay Theatre

My Life As A Zucchini

This recent Academy Award stop-motion animation nominee features a script by director Celine Sciamma (Girlhood). Nine-year-old Icare (aka Zucchini) has been left orphaned by his mother’s death. Taken to a foster home, Zucchini feels at first as if he’s trapped among hostiles. But gradually, he learns to make new friends and even trust and love others. Can he find a new family?

Opens March 3 in dubbed and subtitled versions at the Opera Plaza Cinema and the Shattuck Cinemas

Staying Vertical

Catch the Bay Area debut of the film that shocked audiences at this year’s Cannes Film Festival if you dare. Leo is a filmmaker wandering thropugh the South of France searching for “the wolf.” A seduction by free-spirited shepherdess Marie leads to the couple having a child. Marie’s abandonment of Leo forces him to raise their baby alone. Can his encounters with French rural folk inspire him to finish the screenplay for his next film? This new film from Alain Guiraudie (Stranger By The Lake) will be for viewers who can handle lingering shots of female genitalia and a very graphic birth scene. Appropriately, it debuts the week of the Roxie’s 41st birthday celebration.

Opens March 3 at the Roxie Theatre

Table 19

Eloise (Anna Kendrick) humiliatingly gets relieved of maid of honor duties before her oldest friend’s wedding. Despite the setback, she proudly shows up at the wedding. At the reception, Eloise gets assigned to table 19. That’s the “random” table at the back of the ballroom filled with socially rejected strangers. But as the table’s denizens learn each other’s secrets, Eloise gleans a thing or two about friendship and even romance. The script’s written by Jay and Mark Duplass.

Opens March 3 at the AMC Metreon 16, the Century 20 Daly City, the Century at Tanforan, the Presidio Theatre, the Redwood Downtown 20, 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.

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