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Steve Carell And Buddies Deal With Vietnam And Iraq

Steve Carell leads an all-star cast in the new Richard Linklater film. It’s an unofficial sequel to the Jack Nicholson film The Last Detail.

But frankly, Steve Carell does not star in the best films opening this week. One honor goes to Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, a seriocomic semi-autobiographical tale of Gerwig’s adolescence. The other goes to a Cannes Film Festival award winning art world farce.

Gilbert

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried is famous as both the wisecracking parrot in Aladdin and the voice of the Aflac duck. However, he’s also notorious for creating shocking comedy out of 9/11 and the 2011 Japan tsunami. Neil Berkeley’s documentary offers a portrait of both the public boundary-testing comedian and the normal stable family man, buttressed with insights from relatives and professional comedians.

Now at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas

God’s Own Country

Johnny Saxby has been forced to take over the day-to-day running of his family’s northern England farm. The bone-breaking toil and the harsh criticism of his father and grandmother weigh heavily on Johnny’s spirit. But when handsome Romanian worker Gheorghe arrives on the farm to help with lambing season, his presence slowly re-awakens both Johnny’s love of the land and his ability to truly love another man. Francis Lee’s debut film won the Audience Award at the recent Frameline festival.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age comedy set in Sacramento, CA. High school senior Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) wants to leave the nowheresville of Sacramento for an East Coast liberal arts college. But with average grades and no hobbies, how can she hope to distinguish herself from her ordinary parents? Then again, should she try?

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

Last Flag Flying

In 2003, three former Vietnam veterans reunite: Larry “Doc” Shepard (Steve Carell), Sal Nealon (Bryan Cranston), and Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishburne). They’ve come together to reclaim the body of Doc’s son, who was killed in the Iraq War. But the hinkiness of Doc’s son’s demise leads the old man and his friends to drive the corpse to New Hampshire for burial. Richard Linklater helms this unofficial sequel to The Last Detail. No points for guessing which character from the earlier movie Steve Carell plays.

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

Nails

Athletics coach Dana (Shauna Macdonald, The Descent) winds up in the hospital after getting hit by a car. As the paralyzed woman slowly recovers and learns to communicate again, the injured coach learns the hospital’s terrible secret. Years ago, a nurse murdered children before changing after death into a gaunt Slender Man-like creature with long fingernails. And now Nails is stalking Dana.

Now at the Roxie Theatre

Paradise

In 1942, Russian aristocrat Olga gets arrested by the Gestapo for harboring two Jewish children in her apartment. She winds up getting shipped off to a brutal concentration camp where she expects the worst. But Helmut, one of the camp’s senior commanders, happens to be an old flame of Olga’s from several summers ago. As the duo’s relationship gets rekindled, Helmut’s pride in his Nazi ideals clash with Olga’s growing horror at his personality change.

Now at the 4-Star Theatre

The Square

Christian is a modern art museum curator. Two crises occupy his attentions. He wants to recover his phone and wallet from the pickpockets who swiped it. Meanwhile, his new curatorial project is the opening of the interactive conceptual art installation “The Square.” Compounded by Christian’s attempts to get into the pants of the journalist (Elizabeth Moss) interviewing him, the stage is set for hilarious disaster. Ruben Ostlund (Force Majeure) took Cannes’ top prize for this art world farce.

Now at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, the Embarcadero Center Cinemas, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

The Truth About Lies

Gilby Smalls has literally the worst day of his life. He loses his retail job, sees his apartment burn down, and gets dumped by his girlfriend. The bottom seems to be hit when Gilby moves back in with his unenthusiastic mother. But after he takes best friend Kevin’s advice to “fake it till you make it,” things start looking up for Gilby. He falls for Kevin’s attractive sister Rachel. But the attraction seems doomed as Rachel’s already married.

Now at the 4-Star Theatre

Wait For Your Laugh

Jason Wise’s affectionate documentary looks at the life of wisecracking second banana Rose Marie. Having spent nine decades in every popular performance medium, the legendary comedienne still remains mentally sharp. Her entertaining recollections include the vaudeville act that brought her fame at age 4, her being part of The Dick Van Dyke Show ensemble, and her being a mainstay on the game show The Hollywood Squares. Don’t look for putdowns of Rose Marie’s contemporaries here, just sit back and hear amazing stories about encounters with mobster Bugsy Siegel or the 4 Girls 4 revue.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas, 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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