Film listings

|
()

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.

OPENING

The Box Donnie Darko (2001) director Richard Kelly's latest is an adaptation of the Richard Matheson story about a mysterious box causes both riches and destruction. Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella star. (1:56) California, Four Star, Presidio.

Disney's A Christmas Carol Jim Carrey plays multiple roles in this 3-D animated take on the Dickens classic, directed by Robert Zemeckis (2004's The Polar Express). (1:36) Presidio.

The Fourth Kind Milla Jovovich stars as an Alaska doctor investigating alien abductions. (1:38)

Gentlemen Broncos The latest from Napoleon Dynamite (2004) director Jared Hess is about a Utah teen (Michael Angarano) who is obsessed with science fiction. (1:51) Embarcadero.

The Men Who Stare at Goats Jon Ronson's nonfiction book about government psy-ops gets the lighthearted screen treatment, with George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, and Ewan McGregor. (1:28) Cerrito, Presidio, Shattuck.

*Skin This is one of those movies that works in large part because you know it's a true story –- its truth is almost too strange to be credible as fiction. In 1955 the Laings, a white Afrikaner couple (played by the blond and blue-eyed likes of Sam Neill and Alice Krige) gave birth to a second child quite unlike their first, or themselves. Indeed, Sandra (Ella Ramangwane) was, by all appearances, black. Mrs. Laing insisted she hadn't been unfaithful –- further, the couple were firm believers in the apartheid system –- and it was eventually determined Sandra's looks were the result of a rare but not-unheard-of flashback to some "colored" genes no doubt well-buried far in their colonialist ancestry. Living in rural isolation, the well-intentioned Laings were able to keep Sandra oblivious to her being at all "different." But when time came to send her off to boarding school, she got a rude awakening in matters of race and class, resulting in court battles and myriad humiliations. Sophie Okonedo (2004's Hotel Rwanda) plays the rebellious adult Sandra, who must reject her upbringing to find an identity she can live with –- as opposed to the wishful-thinking one her parents insist upon. Based on the real protagonist's memoir, Anthony Fabian's first feature observes the institutional cruelty and eventual fall of apartheid from the uniquely vivid perspective of someone yanked from privilege to prejudice. It's a sprawling, involving story that affords excellent opportunities for its very good lead actors (also including Tony Kgoroge as Sandra's abusive eventual husband). (1:47) Clay, Shattuck, Smith Rafael. (Harvey)

(Untitled) The sometimes absurd pretensions of the modern art world have –- for many decades –- been so easily, condescendingly ridiculed that its intelligently knowing satire is hard to come by. (How much harder still would it be for a fictive film to convey the genius of, say Anselm Kiefer? Even Ed Harris' 2000 Pollock less vividly captured the art or its creation –- better done by Francis Ford Coppola and Nick Nolte in their 1989 New York Stories segment –- than the usual tortured-artist histrionics.) Bay Arean Jonathan Parker attempts to correct that with this perhaps overly low-key witticism. Erstwhile Hebrew Hammer Adam Goldberg plays a composer of painfully retro, plink-plunk 1950s avant-gardism.