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Enjoying The French Countryside And Cuisine With Diane Lane

Diane Lane stars this week in a debut film directed by an 81-year-old woman. But the director in question happens to be part of the Coppola clan. And the setup will make reasonable viewers wonder if Diane Lane plays a character loosely based on a person or two the director knows very well.

Matching Diane Lane this week for art film star power is Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi. She plays a motormouth crazy who escapes with her new friend from a mental institution.

But the weekend’s most interesting opening is a film Diane Lane is unlikely to appear in. It’s a horror comedy involving a homicidal fetus.

Angkor Awakens: An Inside Look At Cambodia

This documentary looks at the possibility of possible political and cultural change in Cambodia. On the one hand, Cambodia has been devastated by the Vietnam War, the Khmer Rouge genocide, and present day political repression. Cambodian culture and history have been lost in the wake of those traumatic events. On the other hand, the country’s new young generation hope to finally leave the worst parts of their country’s past behind and rebuild. Features stunning footage of the Cambodian countryside and even an interview with strongman/Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Now at the Clay Theatre and the Shattuck Cinemas

Half Girlfriend

Madhva Jha, a streetwise Bihari Boy, falls in love with upper class Delhi high society girl Riya Somani and sets out to woo her. Can love blossom between Madhva and Riya despite their class and linguistic differences? More importantly, what sort of relationship does one call Riya’s declaration of being Madhva’s “half girlfriend?”

Now at the AMC Van Ness 14 and the Century 12 San Mateo

Like Crazy

In this multiple David di Donatello Award-winner, two women escape from the Villa Blondi, an enlightened mental institution. Beatrice (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) is a social whirlwind who’s a non-stop talker and also an adept liar. Fragile introvert Donatella is emotionally trapped in her own tragic past. When the duo impulsively wander away during a day trip, they set out on the road searching for love and happiness.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

Paris Can Wait

Eleanor Coppola makes her directing debut at age 81 with this light-hearted comedy. Anne (Diane Lane) has a movie producer husband (Alec Baldwin) who’s both successful and inattentive to her. During an unexpected drive from Cannes to Paris with a business associate of her husband’s, she re-discovers a reason to enjoy life thanks to really seeing the French countryside and loving fine food and wine.

Now at the AMC Dine-In Kabuki 8, the Embarcadero Center Cinemas

Prevenge

This dark British comedy comes from Sightseers‘ Alice Lowe. She directed, wrote, and acted in this film…while seven months pregnant. Ruth’s unborn baby is a misanthrope who eggs her pregnant mother to become a serial killer. Yet as the bodies of sleazeball men and even a few women pile up, Ruth’s relationship with her homicidal fetus tugs at her conscience and even her sanity.

Now at the Roxie Theatre

Radio Dreams

It’s a particularly hectic day at San Francisco-based Farsi radio station PARS-FM. Station program manager Hamid is gearing up to broadcast a live performance pairing Metallica with Kabul Dreams, Afghanistan’s first rock band. However, such crises as flaky on-air talent and the owner’s plans to wrest control of the station threaten to turn Hamid’s day into a disaster. Winner of the 45th Rotterdam Film Festival’s Tiger Award.

Now at the Roxie Theatre. Kabul Dreams, actress Bella Warda, and producer Marjaneh Moghimi are among the guests who will appear for post-screening Q&A opening weekend.

Soul On A String

When Tibetan wanderer Taibei discovers a sacred stone in the mouth of a slain deer, he sets out to return the stone to the mountain of Buddha’s handprint. Accompanying Taibei on his mission are the stubborn Joan and the psychic elf Pu. But two different earthly forces conspire to block Taibei’s mission. Black market traders want the stone for themselves. Brothers Kodi and Guori seek revenge for their father’s murder. And then there are the strange mystical events befalling Taibei’s party…

Now at the 4-Star Theatre

This Is Not What I Expected

Uptight billionaire CEO Lu Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) runs a company that specializes in hotel acquisitions. High-strung eccentric sous chef Gu Shengnan works at the Shanghai hotel that Lu’s currently considering acquiring. Slapstick run-ins cause Lu and Gu to find each other insufferable. But their relationship seriously changes once Lu realizes Gu’s responsible for his incredible room service meals. Will their shared love of fine food leads to romance? Don’t think too hard before answering.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16

The Wedding Plan

Bride-to-be Michal gets blindsided after her fiance pulls out of their upcoming marriage. But instead of cancelling her wedding preparations, she keeps soldiering on. Her gamble is that by the wedding date one month away, fate will make Mr. Right available to her. Yet Michal’s blind faith clashes with days of failure and the worries of friends and relatives.

Now at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

What A Wonderful Family

In this Yoji Yamada comedy, a wife’s birthday present request upends a supposedly stable family. A stick-in-the-mud husband gets utterly surprised by the birthday present his wife wants. Despite their long-marriage, the woman asks her husband to sign her divorce papers. The ripple effects of that request will affect the lives of their children and grandchildren.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16

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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