Film listings

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Film listings are edited by Cheryl Eddy. Reviewers are Kimberly Chun, Michelle Devereaux, Max Goldberg, Dennis Harvey, Johnny Ray Huston, Louis Peitzman, Lynn Rapoport, Ben Richardson, Matt Sussman, and Laura Swanbeck. The film intern is Fernando F. Croce. For rep house showtimes, see Rep Clock. For first-run showtimes, see Movie Guide.

SF DOCFEST

The eighth annual San Francisco Documentary Film Festival runs through Oct 29 at the Roxie, 3117 16th St, SF. Tickets ($11) are available by visiting www.sfindie.com. All times p.m.

WED/28

American Artifact: The Rise of American Rock Poster Art 7. The Great Contemporary Art Bubble 7. The Philosopher Kings 9:15. Pop Star on Ice 9:15.

THURS/20

Nursery University 7. Speaking in Code 7. Trimpin: The Sound of Invention 9:15. Cropsey 9:15.

OPENING

*The Beaches of Agnès Director's commentaries are par for the course in the DVD age, but few filmmakers posses the élan to warrant a feature length auto-exegesis. Agnès Varda is one, and her most recent memory machine — she claims it's her last — cheerfully dissolves the boundaries between memoir, retrospective, and installation. We begin on the beach, with the 80-year old Varda spryly instructing her young assistants on the placement of various mirrors. "If we opened people up, we'd find landscapes," she explains of her motivation for filmmaking, before embarking on an unclassifiable daisy chain of reenactment and reminiscence. The film moves at the leisurely pace of the flâneur's walk, the better to relish Varda's joie de vivre and sweet bawdiness. Her chameleon colored bowl cut dares us to keep abreast of her quicksilver digressions on the past (fact or fiction matters less than then and now). As with 2000's The Gleaners and I, she's most free with the things she adores: blurry foregrounds, old photographs, heart-shaped potatoes, ancient frescoes, the human body and neighbors. "All the dead lead me back to Jacques," she says, referring to her great love, Jacques Demy, and their life together loops The Beaches of Agnès with a beauty not soon forgotten. (1:40) Opera Plaza. (Goldberg)

Brain Dead With the zombedy combedy genre — I'm sick of "zomcom," aren't you? — having reached mass impact via Zombietown, you might be hungry if not chalk-facedly ravenous for more of the same. In which case you'll enjoy this Thrillville-presented West Coast theatrical debut of 1980s horror fave (1986's Witchboard) Kevin Tenney's own more modestly scaled mixup of undead mayhem and laughs. When a tiny asteroid lands in a rural area — instantly turning one unlucky fisherman into green-faced chomper and his buddy into lunch — it's not long before shambling carnivores are imperiling the requisite cabinful of ill-matched strandees. Their number include a televangelist, lost sorority sisters, and two escaped convicts, one nice and one psycho-mean. While the latter takes everyone hostage at gunpoint, those carnivorous ghouls gathering outside have a strictly take-no-hostages policy. They'll take brains, though. BRAAAAAAAAINS!!! Brain Dead is fun — if kinda dumb fun, compared to Shaun of the Dead or even Zombieland. (Let alone Peter Jackson's 1992 splatsterpiece Braindead, or the 1990 Bill Paxton-Bill Pullman non-zom horror faceoff also called Brain Dead). But if it lacks that special edge of originality and/or wit, it's still a whole lot better than 2008's Zombie Strippers, of which we shall never speak again.