Reports are flooding in about sold-out Hunger Games woes. Don't worry, you won't have to hit up John Carter again for your cinematic fix -- here's a list of some great new films opening this weekend, from mad action to tender realism. For even more, hit up this week's Film Listings. All films open Fri/23.
The Kid with a Bike Slippery as an eel, Cyril (Thomas Doret) is the bane of authorities as he tries to run away at any opportunity from school and a youth home — being convinced that the whole adult world is conspiring to keep his father away from him. During one such chase he literally runs into hair-salon proprietor Samantha (Cécile De France), who proves willing to host him on weekends away from his public facility, and is a patient, steadying influence despite his still somewhat exasperating behavior.
It's she who orchestrates a meeting with his dad (Jerémié Renier, who played the child in the Dardennes' 1996 breakthrough La Promesse), so Cyril can confront the hard fact that his pa not only can't take care of him, he doesn't much want to. Still looking for some kind of older male approval, Cyril falls too easily under the sway of Wes (Egon Di Mateo), a teenage thug whom everyone in Samantha's neighborhood knows is bad news. This latest neorealist-style drama from Belgium's Dardenne Brothers treads on very familiar ground for them, both in themes and terse execution. It's well-acted, potent stuff, if less resonant in sum impact than their best work. (1:27) Embarcadero, Shattuck. (Dennis Harvey)
Drama not your thing? Hold onto your butts for this one...
The Raid: Redemption As rip-roaring as they come, Indonesian import The Raid: Redemption (from, oddly, a Welsh writer-director, Gareth Huw Evans) arrives to reassure genre fans that action films are still being made without CG-embellished stunts, choppy editing, and gratuitous 3D. Fists, feet, and gnarly weapons do the heavy lifting in this otherwise simple tale of a taciturn special-forces cop (Iko Uwais) who's part of a raid on a run-down, high-rise apartment building where all the tenants are crooks and the landlord is a penthouse-dwelling crime boss (Ray Sahetapy). Naturally, things go awry almost immediately, and floor-to-floor brawls (choreographed by Uwais and co-star Yayan Ruhian, whose character is aptly named "Mad Dog") comprise nearly the entirety of the film; of particular interest is The Raid's focus on pencak silat, an indigenous Indonesian fighting style — though there are also plenty of thrilling gun battles, machete-thwackings, and other dangerous delights. Even better: Redemption is the first in a planned trilogy of films starring Uwais' badass (yet morally rock-solid) character. Bring it! (1:40) Sundance Kabuki. (Cheryl Eddy)
Just looking for a feel-good movie (with added bonuses: cute cop, insane musicians)?
Sound of Noise The ingenious 2001 short Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers expands to feature length — and blankets an entire (unnamed) Scandinavian city in anarchic soundscapes — in Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson's eccentric, engaging comedy. A cop (Bengt Nilsson) on the anti-terrorism squad also happens to be the only tone-deaf member of his musical-genius family; the fact that his name is Amadeus only makes his hatred of music all the more potent. When a mysterious band of percussionists begin holding disruptive performance-art "concerts" in odd places (a hospital, a bank), Amadeus becomes obsessed with the case — though, in a nifty bit of fantasy, once an object has been played on by the group, he can no longer hear the sound it makes. Sound of Noise is worth seeing just for the toe-tapping musical interludes, played on objects both commonplace and ridiculous, but Nilsson and the musicians (especially ringleader and lone female Sanna Persson Halapi) are also deadpan delights. (1:38) SF Film Society Cinema. (Cheryl Eddy)
Plus, at rep houses:
A tribute to William Shatner Thurs/22 at the Vortex Room: "Deep Shat"
And some seriously sick, twisted (read: amazing) B- and Z-movie finds Fri/23-Sun/25 at the Roxie: "Cinemadness"