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Wendy Whelan Fights To Return To Dancing

Famed ballerina Wendy Whelan is the subject of one of two strong documentaries now in theaters. The other film looks at the prosecution of a small Chinese-American bank that was the only bank prosecuted for the 2008 financial meltdown.

If your interests don’t lean towards Wendy Whelan and the world of dance, you could try the sophomore film from the director of Krista. It’s a post-apocalyptic suspense film where the real monsters may live among the survivors.

Out there film of the week honors, though, go to a truly outre Japanese New Wave film about a gay love triangle.

Abacus: Small Enough To Jail

Meet the only bank prosecuted for alleged involvement in the 2008 financial meltdown. It’s New York City’s Abacus Federal Savings, the Sung family-owned bank that serves the NYC Chinese-American immigrant community. When Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. decides to prosecute the bank for fraud, a five-year legal battle ensues between the DA and the close-knit owners of Abacus. Director Steve James (Life Itself) captures the suspenseful efforts of the Sung family to defend their bank’s legacy.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas.

Band Aid

Actress Zoe Lister-Jones makes her directorial debut with this comedy which mixes marriage counseling with rock music. Anna (Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally) are a married couple who continually fight with one another. A therapist’s suggests taking unconventional approaches to save their marriage. Remembering their shared love of music, Anna and Ben decide to turn all their fights into songs. And with the help of neighbor Dave (Fred Armisen), they become a band.

Now at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

Funeral Parade Of Roses

The long unavailable 1960s Japanese gay film that directly influenced Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange gets restored for its return to American screens. Eddie (Peter, RAN) is a hot hostess at Bar Genet. Her fabulousness ignites a love triangle. Leading drag queen Lola is Eddie’s romantic rival for the attentions of club owner Gonda (Yushio Tsuchida, Seven Samurai). This portrait of an underground drag queen community mixes everything from documentary interviews to on-screen cartoon balloons. Catch one of the queer cinema milestones of the Japanese New Wave.

Now at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

It Comes At Night

Paul (Joel Edgerton), wife Sarah, and teen son Travis are mostly surviving an unknown plague that’s wiped out much of humanity. Into this tense world comes Will (Christopher Abbott) who’s also fleeing the apocalypse with his young chic family. At first, the two families get along. But mounting tensions and paranoia starting with the disappearance of Travis’ dog soon endanger this refuge. The sophomore film from director Trey Shults (Krista).

Now at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the AMC Bay Street 16, the AMC Dine-In Kabuki 8, the AMC Van Ness 14, the California Theatre, the Century 12 San Mateo, the Century 20 Daly City, the Century at Tanforan, the Century San Francisco Centre 9, the Presidio Theatre, the Redwood Downtown 20, and the Regal Jack London Stadium 9

Megan Leavey

After a disciplinary hearing, Marine Corporal Megan Leavey (Kate Mara) is assigned to clean up the K9 unit. There, she bonds with the spectacularly aggressive dog Rex and gets the chance to train him. The duo wind up performing over 100 life-saving missions together during their Iraq deployment. But when an IED explosion injures them, Megan and Rex’s fate together is put in jeopardy. Based on a true story.

Now at the AMC Bay Street 16, the AMC Metreon 16, the AMC Van Ness 14, the Century 20 Daly City, the Century at Tanforan, the Redwood Downtown 20, and the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood

My Cousin Rachel

In the mid-19th century, Philip Ashley (Sam Claflin) learns that the beloved guardian who raised him has died overseas. His chief suspect is Rachel (Rachel Weisz), the mysterious woman who married the deceased cousin in Italy. But thoughts of revenge fly from Philip’s mind when he meets Rachel and starts falling for her charms. Based on the Daphne Du Maurier novel.

Now at the Albany Twin, the AMC Dine-In Kabuki 8, the Century 12 San Mateo, the Piedmont Theatre, the Redwood Downtown 20, the Smith Rafael Film Center, and the UA Stonestown Twin

Past Life

In West Berlin 1977, singer and aspiring composer Sephi has a post-concert encounter with a Polish woman who accuses Sephi’s gynecologist father of being a murderer. Sephi’s sister Nana is a liberal magazine editor who wants to know the truth about their father’s past. A trans-European odyssey begins for the sisters to find answers. Can learning whatever sin lurks in their father’s past lead the two sisters to reconcile with him?

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan

Wendy Whelan has been a principal ballerina for three decades for the New York City Ballet. But as this documentary portrait opens, Whelan has been absent from the stage thanks to a painful injury. An upcoming surgery offers hope for a return. But at 46, it may be time for Whelan to leave the ballet and explore the world of contemporary dance.

Now 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.

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