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The Father And Mothers Of Wonder Woman

The story of how Wonder Woman came to be is probably the most widely released of this week’s openings. Key to that tale is the growing relationship between the two women who would provide the models for the Wonder Woman character.

For book lovers, Frederick Wiseman’s documentary portrait of the New York Public Library will be a must-see. By the end, viewers may wish the film was longer.

In feature dramas, three great performances anchor Sean Baker’s indelible portrait of childhood. Those missing an Adam Sandler to rival his work in Punch Drunk Love need to check out his lead performance in the new Noah Baumbach film.

Under the regular filmgoer radar will be Nanfu Wang’s new film. It begins by considering whether homelessness is an act of freedom before taking an unexpected turn.

Como Cortar A Tu Patan (How To Break Up With Your Douchebag)

Therapist Amanda helps women end destructive relationships with men. Work and protecting her sister Natalia are her main concerns in life. But when Amanda’s sister falls for a jerk, the therapist’s plan to break up the relationship involves facing her own fear of falling in love.

Now showing at the Century At Tanforan

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

Legendary documentarian shows a public library is more than just a place where books are kept. His new film takes viewers into the world of the New York Public Library, a 92-branch institution which does everything from providing job fairs to hosting appearances by Elvis Costello and Ta-Nehisi Coates. But the library’s greatest challenge may be reconfiguring itself for the digital age.

Now at the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood and the Roxie Theatre

The Florida Project

Sean Baker’s follow-up to Tangerine takes viewers to the land of the Magic Kingdom. The Magic Inn is a cheap Orlando motel that’s home for those barely hanging on below the poverty line. Six-year-old Moonee (amazing newcomer Brooklynn Prince) lives here with her rebellious 22-year-old mother Halley (Bria Vinaite, another amazing newcomer). Over the course of a single summer, Moonee and her friends turn their harsh surroundings into a place of adventure and discovery. But Halley is slowly being forced to take increasingly desperate measures to provide for Moonnee. Willem Dafoe gives an Oscar buzzworthy performance as gruff but caring motel manager Bobby.

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

I Am Another You

Documentarian Nanfu Wang (Hooligan Sparrow) decides to tag along with the charismatic but homeless Dylan and film him. This process includes dumpster diving for food. But is Dylan’s homeless state a form of freedom or a reflection of his past substance abuse and present alcoholism? That’s the question that will soon nag at viewers’ minds.

Now at the 4-Star Theatre

The Meyerowitz Stories (New And Selected)

Harold Meyerowitz (Dustin Hoffman) is a minor sculptor with an enormous snobbish streak. Oldest son Danny (Adam Sandler), daughter Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), and half-brother Matthew (Ben Stiller) reluctantly come back together at first to celebrate a retrospective of Harold’s work. But the father’s aging issues and the legacy of his bad parenting soon complicate the festivities. Noah Baumbach directs his new comedy of family dysfunction.

Now at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas

The Pathological Optimist

Dr. Andrew Wakefield was one of the 13 authors of a medical journal study claiming the MMR vaccine was linked to autism. He eventually became the face of the controversial anti-vaccination crusade. Filmmaker Miranda Bailey follows Wakefield and his family around for five years while her subject pursues a defamation lawsuit against journalist Brian Deer and the medical journal The Lancet. Is this film hagiography for Wakefield because it won’t challenge him or one that casts him in an honest but unflattering light?

Now at the 4-Star Theatre

Professor Marston And The Wonder Women

Psychologist William Marston is best known for inventing the lie detector and creating the immortal comics character Wonder Woman. Far less well-known is his unconventional polyamorous relationship with psychologist wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and research assistant Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote). But while we learn about how Marston came up with Wonder Woman, how Elizabeth and Olive became lovers turns out to be the real story here.

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

Take Every Wave: The Life Of Laird Hamilton

The new film from director Rory Kennedy (Last Days In Vietnam) is a portrait of legendary big wave surfer Laird Hamilton. Despite a refusal to compete professionally and being ignored by the surf industry, Hamilton has managed to earn public admiration and dominate big wave surfing. Keeping this sports icon going is a constant desire to always challenge and re-invent himself. Aside from interviews with Hamilton’s friends, enemies, and family, there will be plenty of jaw-dropping footage of big wave surfing.

Now at the Embarcadero Center 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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