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John Kerry and the Obama Foreign Policy Team’s Last Hurrah

The prestige documentary of the week hops the globe with John Kerry and other key members of Barack Obama’s foreign policy team. The result may either spur nostalgia or spur depression for how things used to be before Baby Caligula entered the White House.

Otherwise, the more high-minded may flock to a drama about a Congo-based club singer. The more low-minded by contrast will check out a jaw-dropping collection of actual Russian dash-cam footage.

A Better Tomorrow 2018

This new take on John Woo’s classic heroic bloodshed movie comes from director Ding Sheng (Railroad Tigers). Kai and Chao are brothers on opposite sides of the law. They become estranged after one of Kai’s drug smuggling deals goes badly wrong, ending with their father’s death. Having served his time in prison, Kai hopes to use his release to rebuild his relationship with the younger brother who used to worship him. But Chao has become a rising star in the police Narcotics division, and Kai is slowly slipping back into the underworld…

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

Felicite

Felicite works as a singer at a street club in Kinshasha. But when her son’s leg gets seriously injured in a motorbike accident, the singer must somehow quickly raise money to pay for the operation. The stress of this crisis affects Felicite’s singing ability. Alain Gomis’ film won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

Now at the Roxie Theatre

The Final Year

Greg Barker’s documentary delivers a behind-the-scenes portrait of John Kerry and the rest of Obama’s foreign policy team during Obama’s last year as President. The film hops around the globe as Obama’s foreign policy legacy is established by Secretary of State John Kerry, U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, and Assistant National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes. This dizzying year includes everything from the high of the Paris Climate Agreement to the low of John Kerry making a long-shot attempt at a cease-fire in the Syrian Civil War.

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

PGS – Intuition Is Your Personal Guidance System

Director Bill Bennett’s life was saved after hearing a mysterious voice tell him to slow down while driving. Determined to find the source of that voice, Bennett set out on an international three year journey talking to experts on intuition, holy men, and quantum physicists. This film synthesizes the results of his quest to discover the nature of intuition. Bennett hopes to use the insights he gleaned to help the viewer harness their own Personal Guidance System.

Now at the Smith Rafael Film Center

The Road Movie

Dmitrii Kalashnikov’s dash-cam video compilation may make viewers forswear driving on Russia’s roads. This collection of actual dash-cam footage captures drivers zipping through forest fires, facing road rage situations turned up to 11, broad daylight thefts, and more than a few trucks jack-knifing. Needless to say, this film is the first “holy crap” documentary of 2018.

Now at the Roxie Theatre

Small Town Crime

Mike Kendall (John Hawkes) is an alcoholic ex-cop used to mornings waking up in an empty field after getting thrown out of a bar the previous night. But this particular morning’s routine gets disturbed by his discovery of a young woman’s corpse. He teams up with the victim’s grandfather (Robert Forster) to try taking down the prostitution ring that the woman was involved in. However, Kendall underestimates the dangers involved and winds up putting his adopted sister (Octavia Spencer) and her husband (Anthony Anderson) in danger.

Now at the Presidio Theatre

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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