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Will Harry Dean Stanton Find Enlightenment In The Desert?

The late actor Harry Dean Stanton leads one of the week’s best pictures. It’s a tale of a man reaching enlightenment after outliving his contemporaries. Viewers used to seeing Harry Dean Stanton in supporting roles will be warmly amused by this film.

The other must-see film of the week doesn’t star Harry Dean Stanton. Instead, it’s about one of Donald Trump’s nightmares: a fiery Mexican lesbian ranchera singer.

Then again, none of the other openings have a Harry Dean Stanton appearance. But of the rest, a debut thriller set in the mid-1990s promises to quietly chill you.

Architects Of Denial

Could denying a genocide’s occurrence lead to history repeating itself? David Lee George’s documentary looks at the Ottoman Empire’s 1915-1918 extermination of Armenians. Despite the historical record, Turkey and now its ally Azerbaijan have denied to the present day the Armenian genocide occurred. Sadly, George captures how Turkish political pressure has ensured the silence of the US government among others regarding this historic crime.

Now at the Roxie Theatre

Better Watch Out

12-year-old Luke has the hots for his babysitter Ashley. When Luke’s parents leave their son and best friend Garrett in Ashley’s care for the evening, the boy figures it’s his chance to woo Ashley with champagne and horror movies. But Luke’s plans go south. And that’s before the home invasion happens… Think Home Alone with unexpected levels of gore.

Now at the 4-Star Theatre

Chasing The Dragon

HK director/producer Wong Jing raids 1990s HK gangster movies Lee Rock and To Be Number One. Lee Rock (Andy Lau) is an ambitious if corrupt cop determined to rise in the Hong Kong police ranks. Drug kingpin Crippled Ho (Donnie Yen) becomes Rock’s blood brother. Their bond gets shattered after Rock wants Ho to make nice with the gangster who crippled him. Trouble naturally follows.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16

Chavela

Chavela Vargas broke Mexican barriers by dressing in pants and poncho, singing ranchera songs of heartbreak addressed to women. Behind the stage, Vargas was a legendary seducer of such women as Frida Kahlo and Ava Gardner. Alcoholism and social conservatism would derail Chavela’s career. But as filmmakers Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi show, Chavela would eventually mount an amazing second stage comeback, partly thanks to the support of filmmaker Pedro Almodovar.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

City Of Rock

Corporate interests have set their eyes on re-developing Rock Park, a tribute to American rock and roll. Ardent rock fan Hu Liang (director Da Peng) partners with music agent Cheng Gong to create a charity concert to save the park. For good measure, Hu also assembles his own ragtag band to headline the event. But will the lure of big money tempt Hu to sell out the music he loves?

Now at the AMC Metreon 16

Cold Moon

Jerry Larkin worries about the financial plight of the family’s Florida blueberry farm. Sister Margaret is murdered while bicycling one night by a mysterious hearse-driving figure. Why is Margaret four months pregnant? Why does a vengeful snake-spirit possess Margaret’s corpse? And what sort of rodeo has a snake-charmer played by Tommy Wiseau (The Room)?

Now at the Roxie Theatre

Judwaa 2

Twins Raja and Prem are accidentally separated at birth after their father exposes a criminal kingpin. Raja becomes Mumbai street-smart. Prem becomes a music student who lives with his parents in London. Circumstances force Raja and his sidekick to head to London. There follows a comedy of mistaken identities which might end with love and maybe Prem’s parents finally learning about Raja’s existence.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16

Last Night

Mark and Carmina accidentally meet on Jones Bridge after they both fail at suicide attempts. They decide to plan a mutual suicide attempt. But as they bond, they start seeing life as mixing both sweetness and bitterness. Which is when something unexpected happens…

Now at the Century at Tanforan

Literally, Right Before Aaron

Adam (Justin Long) had dated Allison (Cobie Smulders) for literally years before they broke up. Now Allison is planning to marry Aaron. When she invites Adam to the wedding, he decides to attend in hopes of winning Allison back.

Now at the 4-Star Theatre

Loving Vincent

In 1890, tortured artist Vincent van Gogh died of complications occurring during his recuperation from a gunshot wound to his stomach. Postman’s son and van Gogh painting subject Armand Roulin plays amateur detective to understand why the painter got shot. The story is told via a mix of rotoscoping live actors and animated renderings of van Gogh’s impasto oil paintings, a process that took seven years.

Now at the Aquarius Theatre, the Clay Theatre, and the Shattuck Cinemas

Lucky

Harry Dean Stanton plays the titular character in one of his last film roles. In a small desert town, 90-year-old Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton) follows a simple daily routine of home-diner-bodega-bar, one untarnished by small talk. Then he falls down one day. That incident causes this lifelong atheist to reflect on the weight of his life and even contemplate enlightenment.

Now at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas, the Guild Theatre, and the Shattuck Cinemas

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House

FBI Deputy Associate Director Mark Felt (Liam Neeson) learns the Watergate break-in was performed by ex-CIA and FBI operatives connected with President Nixon’s re-election campaign. His hopes that the FBI will deeply investigate the crime get undermined by Nixon. Felt will take drastic steps to save the agency he reveres, earning a place in history as the informant Deep Throat.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16

Never Say Die

Sports reporter Xiao records MMA fighter Edison planning with his manager to throw a fight. But the fighter’s chase after the reporter ends with an accident that lands them both in the hospital…and each waking up in the other’s body. The two try adjusting to what seems like a permanent situation, with Xiao training to be a real fighter while Edison refuses to accept being a woman.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16

Super Dark Times

Horny teens Zach and Josh live in boring mid-1990s small town New York. The discovery of a samurai sword, some weed, and a stupid argument leads to a death that Zach and Josh cover up. Add to the mix mutual crush Allison’s interest in Zach and the boys’ steadily unraveling mental state. By the end, death will strike again.

Now at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas

Victoria And Abdul

Dame Judi Dench plays Queen Victoria again in another story about the Queen’s relationship with a man far below her station. This time, handsome Indian Muslim functionary Abdul Karim comes to Victoria’s court to deliver a ceremonial coin. But the Queen’s fascination with Abdul leads to private audiences and Urdu tutorials with him. The rest of Victoria’s court, particularly son and heir Edward VII (Eddie Izzard), is spectacularly unamused.

Now at the Albany Twin, the AMC Bay Street 16, the AMC Dine-In Kabuki 8, the Embarcadero Center Cinemas, the Piedmont Theatre, the Redwood Downtown 20,
and the UA Stonestown Twin

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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