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Jennifer Lawrence & The OPD Will Piss You Off

Jennifer Lawrence plays the title character in the new Darren Aronofsky film. But audience members expecting yet another safe or pre-packaged Jennifer Lawrence film product will be in for a shock.

A new film about the Oakland Police Department (OPD) will piss off viewers in a different way than the new Jennifer Lawrence film. This cinema verite portrait of the OPD will either be seen as not being critical enough or not raising some serious questions about police-public relations.

The sleeper of the week is an animated adaptation of a Brothers Grimm story. It’s a tale of greed, temptation, mutilation, and more. It may not have Jennifer Lawrence, but its simple visuals have a power of their own.

First They Killed My Father

Angelina Jolie co-writes and directs this adaptation of Loung Ung’s memoir of a childhood under the Khmer Rouge dictatorship. Young Loung lives a comfortable middle class existence in Cambodia thanks to her military police captain father. But after the Khmer Rouge take over Cambodia, Loung and her family are forced out into the countryside and become slave laborers. Even worse, the Ungs will struggle to stay together as a family.

Now at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas

The Force

Peter Nicks (The Waiting Room) follows the Oakland Police Department for two years. A long history of racism and civil rights abuses has resulted in the department being placed under federal oversight. Under new reform-minded Chief Sean Whent, things are looking up. But Black Lives Matter is becoming a potent political force. And a sex scandal threatens to roil the Oakland P.D.

Now at the California Theatre, the Embarcadero Center Cinemas, the Grand Lake Theatre, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

The Girl Without Hands

Acclaimed shorts director Sebastien Laudenbach’s feature film debut is this animated adaptation of a Grimm Brothers tale. A poor miller unwittingly sells his daughter to the Devil for an unending river of gold. However, the girl’s moral purity prevents Satan from even touching her. When the Devil gets the miller to chop off his own daughter’s hands, she leaves him to make her way alone in the world. Happiness comes with a kindly prince’s protection. But the Devil has not stopped pursuing her…

Now at the Roxie Theatre

mother!

Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) is happily married to writer-blocked poet Him (Javier Bardem). Her days are spent happily refurbishing their country house single-handedly and tending to her husband’s needs. Then one day the couple have a pair of unexpected house guests: Man (Ed Harris) and Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer). Despite the guests’ severe boundary issues, egotistical and adoration-hungry Him encourages their antics, even if the price is a constantly terrorized Mother. Yet there’s something odd about the relationship between Mother and the house. Darren Aronofsky’s new film will either impress you with its audacity or leave you wanting to punch him out for misusing the talents of Jennifer Lawrence.

Now at the Alamo Drafthouse, the AMC Bay Street 16, the AMC Dine-In Kabuki 8, the AMC Metreon 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 CineArts Sequoia, the Presidio Theatre, the Redwood Downtown 20, the Regal Jack London Stadium 9, the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, and the UA Berkeley 7

Polina

Young hard-working Russian ballet student Polina has been accepted by the Bolshoi Ballet. Yet after French boyfriend Adrien exposes her to a more liberated style of dance, Polina goes with him to the South of France to join a dance company. The company’s brilliant choreographer (Juliette Binoche) is interested in creating challenging new works. The young Russian’s efforts to become part of this company clashes with her realization that hard work and determination aren’t always recipes for success.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

Rebel In The Rye

Nicholas Hoult plays reclusive novelist J.D. Salinger in this biopic of his life. Director Danny Strong follows Salinger from his college days, when Columbia University professor Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey) sees potential in Salinger’s idea for Holden Caulfield. However, before Salinger can get his Holden Caulfield book Catcher In The Rye into the literary canon, there lies for Salinger the PTSD-inducing horrors of World War II and a long road to success.

Now at the Albany Twin, the AMC Dine-In Kabuki 8, the Embarcadero Center Cinemas and the Smith Rafael Film Center

Sidemen: Long Road To Glory

Meet piano player Pinetop Perkins, drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and guitarist Hubert Sumlin. All three have been sidemen for blues legends Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. These three men are also the last living links to the origins of the blues, and they tell stories both personal and historic about those days. But this film’s more than just talking heads. It also features footage of these subjects’ final live performances accompanied by such musicians as Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

Now at the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood and the Smith Rafael Film Center

Simran

Despite working as a maid for seven or eight years at a large Atlanta hotel, divorcee Praful Patel seems destined to be a permanent FOB in America. She wants to change her situation by moving into her own apartment. But that act is part of her larger effort to distance herself from her parent’s traditional values. A trip to Las Vegas with her soon-to-be-married cousin Amber puts Praful on the road to gambling and further raunchiness.

Now at the AMC Van Ness 14

The Sinking City: Capsule Odyssey

This adaptation of XXharuki’s novel parodies post-Handover Hong Kong social values. Chi-hin is a paid Internet troll who moves into a subdivided flat decorated as a space capsule as part of a scheme to repay his debts. The fellow flatmates are a weird lot. They are a mentally unstable landlord, an ex-con who’s an inept robber, a deluded gangster, and a van driver who just needs a place to make out with his girlfriend. The film’s jabs at Hong Kong society culminate in an insane shootout at a country park.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16

Viceroy’s House

Gurinder Chadha (Bride and Prejudice) helms this historical drama. Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey) has come with wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) to Viceroy’s House to direct proceedings to hand India back to its people. Yet a plan to partition the country to create Pakistan runs into controversy. Lord Mountbatten’s caught between the divergent demands of All-India Muslim league head Muhammad Ali Jennah and Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Meanwhile, the folks “downstairs” are caught in these world-changing events. Young Hindu servant Jeet and his Muslim bride-to-be Aalia find their relationship threatened by the partition discussions.

Now at the Aquarius Theatre, the Clay Theatre, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

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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