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A Feature-Length Gun Battle With Brie Larson

Brie Larson participating in a feature-length shootout is just one of the cinematic delights available this weekend. The shootout takes place in the new film from the director of High Rise. But it doesn’t look from the trailer that Brie Larson will have a full-on Rambo moment.

For those seeking good films not starring Brie Larson, you’re in luck. Anne Hathaway stars in a film showing relationship comedy can mix with kaiju action. Cristian Mungiu returns with an award-winning film about a father facing a moral dilemma. And graphic novelist Dash Shaw’s directorial debut mixes high school comedy with a disaster film.

Alive And Kicking

Go inside the modern swing dance world with this lively and high-kicking documentary. Not only do you get to see energetic performers, but you’ll also get a history of swing dancing’s Great Depression roots as well as what swing dancing can tell us about American society today.

Opens April 21 at the Smith Rafael Film Center

Can’t Help Falling In Love

Financial planner Gab de la Cuesta is used to solving her client’s problems and living a well-planned life. When her long-time boyfriend proposes marriage, Gab is happy to accept. But her plans get derailed when she learns she’s already married to happy-go-lucky trip leader Dos Gonzales…a perfect stranger. As the financial planner tries to untangle this mess, her bigger problem might well be whether she chooses to stay married to Dos.

Opens April 21 at the Century 20 Daly City, the Century at Tanforan, and the Century San Francisco Centre 9

Colossal

Director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes) returns with an unusual monster movie. After losing her job and getting kicked out of her boyfriend’s apartment, Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is forced to leave New York City and return to her home town. Off in Seoul, a giant monster has appeared and is wreaking havoc. As crazier and crazier events occur, Gloria comes to realize her insignificant existence of excessive drinking and partying is perversely linked to these odd happenings. But how?

Now at the Alamo Drafthouse, the Aquarius Theatre, the California Theatre, and the Embarcadero Center Cinemas

Free Fire

You know that old NRA canard about how arming everybody with guns would somehow create a safer society? Brie Larson stars in a dark comedy-thriller directed by Ben Wheatley (High Rise) that puts that idea to the test. Justine (Brie Larson) and Ord (Armie Hammer) have arranged an illicit gun sale in an abandoned Boston warehouse. Chris (Cillian Murphy) is an IRA operative who’s planning to buy a load of M16s from South African gunrunner Vern (Sharlto Copley). But things go south after 1) Vern deliberately brings the wrong type of assault rifle and 2) one of Chris’ underlings wants to settle a score with one of Vern’s underlings. Soon the guns come out and the bullets start flying everywhere. Don’t look for Brie Larson to become the new NRA poster girl.

Now at the Alamo Drafthouse, the AMC Dine-In Kabuki 8, the Century 20 Daly City, the Century at Tanforan, the Redwood Downtown 20, the Regal Jack London Stadium 9, and the UA Berkeley 7

Graduation

Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days) returns with this Cannes Film Festival award-winning tale of a conscientious father’s moral dilemma. Romeo has dedicated himself to helping teenage daughter Eliza have a chance at a better life for herself. The key is her passing one final exam to qualify for a scholarship to an English university. However, a complication arises and Romeo finds himself trapped in an increasingly sticky web of corruption. But his biggest challenge may well be convincing the idealistic daughter he raised to be honest to “bend the rules just this once.”

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

The Lost City of Z

In this dramatization of David Grann’s nonfiction book, British explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) discovers evidence of a previously unknown advanced civilization which existed in the Amazon. But the turn of the century scientific establishment ridicules Fawcett’s discovery. That rejection leads Fawcett to make repeated returns to the Amazonian jungle to prove his theory…up until his disappearance in 1925.

Opens April 21 at the AMC Bay Street 16, the AMC Dine-In Kabuki 8, the AMC Metreon 16, the Century 12 San Mateo, the Century 20 Daly City, the Piedmont Theatre, the Redwood Downtown 20, and the Shattuck Cinemas

My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea

Graphic novelist Dash Shaw makes his directorial debut with this animated mix of disaster film and high school comedy. Nerdy Dash (Jason Schwartzman) and Aasaf (Reggie Watts) are best friends and muckraking reporters for Tides High School’s little read school paper. A supposedly uneventful year becomes something else entirely when Dash discovers the school administration is covering up a life-threatening secret. When that secret leads to disaster, Dash and his friends must race for the roof of the school to reach safety.

Opens April 21 at the Embarcadero Center Cinema and the Shattuck Cinemas

Noor

In this coming-of-age tale set in contemporary Mumbai, Noor is an impatient young woman searching for meaning in her life. Will meaning be found in a handsome and intelligent man? Or can it be found in Noor’s TV reporter fluff coverage job at Daily News Channel. Keeping her sane are best friends restauranteur Saab and nightclub DJ Zaara. But when an important chance to right a wrong lands in Noor’s lap, her efforts to be true to her word helps give her a new appreciation for Mumbai and the people in her life.

Opens April 21 at the Century San Francisco Centre 9

Norman: The Moderate Rise & Tragic Fall Of A NY Fixer

Joseph Cedar (Footnote) tells the story of a little man brought down by a need to matter. Would-be political/financial operator Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere) looks for someone to pay attention to him. When he encounters Israeli politician Micha Eshel at a career low, Norman sends him a pair of expensive shoes. Eshel remembers Norman’s gift after he becomes Israeli Prime Mininster. A now-admired Norman tries to use his connection to Eshel to leverage his biggest deal ever. But things soon go badly awry.

Now at the Clay Theatre

The Student

Teenage Venya has become a newfound religious zealot. At school, he engages in a battle of wills with his teacher Elena, who rebuts his scriptural arguments with facts and logic. As far as Elena’s colleagues are concerned, the boy is expressing sincerely held faith. But the teacher rightly suspects Venya is mentally unstable. Unfortunately, nobody listens to Elena. Venya’s madness starts changing school policy for the worse.

Opens April 21 at the 4-Star Theatre

Their Finest

Lone Schefrig (An Education) directs this dramatic comedy set in World War II London. Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) gets hired as a screenwriter to bring a “woman’s touch” to morale boosting propaganda films. When Catrin displays a natural flair for screenwriting, she attracts handsome producer Buckley’s attention. Even though Catrin’s artist husband looks down on her job, the young screenwriter soon finds behind the camera cameraderie while the bombs are dropping.

Opens April 21 at the Embarcadero Center Cinema

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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