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The Wild Life Of Dennis Hopper

Late Hollywood rebel Dennis Hopper provides the grist for a new documentary biography. This week, meet the man whose cinematic notoriety includes directing The Last Movie and playing the unforgettable Blue Velvet villain Frank Booth.

This week’s art film openings also sees the tripling of the gay-themed film count. There’s the still-playing God’s Own Country. Now it’s joined by a portrait of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo as well as one of the most highly anticipated tales of first gay love.

Veteran wuxia action fans will jump for joy at a historical fantasy actioner from HK film legends Tsui Hark and Yuen Woo-ping. Their new film mixes a kung fu film with Men In Black. Hopefully, American audiences will like the result.

Aida’s Secrets

67-year-old Izak (aka filmmakers Alon and Shaul Schwarz’ uncle) always believed that the Holocaust’s devastation made him an only child. But a search for the identity of Izak’s father reveals the existence of Izak’s long-lost brother Shep. The siblings’ joyfully reunite with their mother Aida. Yet Aida obviously prefers Izak. More importantly, Shep and Izak turn out to have different fathers. So who is Izak’s real father?

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Smith Rafael Film Center

Along For The Ride

Satya de la Manitou, aka the right hand man of Dennis Hopper, anchors this documentary portrait of the late actor and counterculture rebel. The long-time assistant acts as the viewer’s guide to the life of Dennis Hopper from his making the contentious The Last Movie to his death in 2010. Dennis Hopper turns out to be a multi-faceted personality. Some of those facets include: the machine gun fetishist, the great black-and-white photographer, the flaky actor, and the sleep-deprived acid freak.

Now at the Roxie Theatre

Call Me By Your Name

Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) adapts Andre Aciman’s acclaimed novel for the screen. Precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothee Chalamet) spends the summer of 1983 with his family in their Northern Italian countryside home. Joining the Perlman clan is whoever is Professor Perlman’s favored graduate student that year. This year’s honor falls to the 24-year-old graduate student Oliver (Armie Hammer). Initial hostility between Elio and Oliver soon gives way to a very passionate romance between the duo. But will their affair survive the summer?

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

Rebels On Pointe

Bobbi Jo Hart’s documentary introduces viewers to New York’s Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (aka “The Trocks”). This all gay troupe of professional ballet dancers undermine the art’s stuffiness and exclusivity with humor and the troupe’s inclusive membership. Hart’s film follows the Trocks as they prepare for their new season. Aside from the usual backstage drama, the film shows how the dance company’s very existence provides a marvelously out queer space.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas and the Shattuck Cinemas

The Thousand Faces Of Dunjia

Legendary HK director Tsui Hark wrote and produced this remake of The Miracle Fighters. Yuen Woo Ping, who handled the martial arts scenes in the Matrix movies and Kill Bill, directs. In 12th century China, policeman Dao discovers the existence of the Wuyin Clan, a secret society of martial artists who’ve protected humanity for centuries. The clan fights unfriendly outer space aliens hiding among the populace. Both sides fight for possession of the Dunjia, a powerful cosmic device which could look like anything.

Now at the AMC Metreon 16 and the Century 20 Daly City

Youth

He Xiaoping belongs to a provincial People’s Liberation Army dance troupe. Her troupe promotes culture, revolutionary values, and dance. Her father was condemned as an enemy of the party and sent to a labor camp. That fact, along with her innocence, makes He the troupe’s scapegoat and laughing stock. But as the troupe splinters apart, unexpected turns arrive for Xiaoping, including involvement in 1979’s Sino-Vietnamese War. Out of these travails, she will emerge as a true heroine.

Now at the 4-Star Theatre and the AMC Metreon 16

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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