Hollywood's two big releases are the Adam Sandler-Andy Samberg arrested-development yukfest That's My Boy, and the Tom Cruise hair metal musical Rock of Ages. If you're excited about either, you probably aren't the type of person who gives two shits what movie critics say. Just a guess. So, enjoy. As you were.
Also of note for movie fans: the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society opens "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: San Francisco and the Movies" this weekend. It features work by Madeleine Ellster herself, Kim Novak, plus:
"The exhibition paints a picture of the amazing breadth of the Bay Area’s film history and filmmaking community, using educational text panels, photographs, posters, vintage cameras, movie props and other objects. Slide shows, lectures, book signings, oral history recordings, screenings, and multimedia will also be part of the exhibition."
(I can't confirm there will be a Harry Callahan street shootin' simulator, but that would be pretty awesome, no?)
But back to the movie theater:
This weekend, it's a Duplass-a-thon, as Dennis Harvey reviews mumblecore's first sex symbol in Safety Not Guaranteed and Your Sister's Sister. Below, you'll find our takes on another mumblecore overachiever, Greta Gerwig, who less success with the wee-bit-twee Lola Versus; handcuffed-together-at-a-music-festival (don't ya hate when that happens?) rom-rom Tonight You're Mine, featuring Natalie Tena (Osha for all my fellow Game of Thrones devotees also going through withdrawals); delightful coming-of-age Norwegian import Turn Me On, Dammit!; and The Woman in the Fifth, the latest movie to remind us that yes, Kristin Scott Thomas can totally speak French! And maybe the first to let us know that Ethan Hawke can, too.
Lola Versus Greta Gerwig’s embattled late-twentysomething, the titular Lola, apologetically invokes the Saturn return to explain the chaos that enters her life when her emotionally underdeveloped boyfriend proposes, panics, and dumps her. Workaday elements of the industry-standard romantic comedy surface, lightly revised: a crass, loopy BFF (co-writer Zoe Lister Jones) who can’t find true love and says things like “I have to go wash my vagina”; a vaguely soulful male friend (Hamish Linklater, 2011's The Future) who’s secretly harboring nonplatonic feelings (or maybe just an opportunistic streak); wacky yet vaguely successful Age of Aquarius parents (a somewhat toneless Debra Winger and a nicely gone-to-seed Bill Pullman). One can see why it would be tempting to blame a planet’s galactic travels for the solipsistic meandering that Lola engages in, bemusedly lurching, often under chemical influences, from one bout of poor decision-making to the next. She claims to be searching for a path out of the chaos into some calmer place (fittingly, she’s a comp lit Ph.D. candidate who’s writing her dissertation on silence), but as the movie transports us mercilessly from one scene of turmoil to the next, we have little reason to believe her. The script has funny moments, and Gerwig sometimes succeeds in making Lola feel like a charming disaster, but her personal discoveries, while certainly valuable, feel false and forced. (1:26) (Lynn Rapoport)
Tonight You're Mine Ah, the old chained-together gimmick, so effective in creating conflict in movies like 1973 women-in-prison classic Black Mama, White Mama. Alas, Tonight You're Mine contains zero escaped cons, and is instead a pretty contrived love story about two rockers who're inexplicably handcuffed together, mid-argument, by a mysterious man prowling the grounds at Scotland's massive T in the Park music festival. Whether or not Adam (Luke Treadaway, last seen getting very stoned mid-alien invasion in 2011's Attack the Block) and Morello (Game of Thrones' Natalie Tena) will ditch their clearly-wrong-for-them partners and fall for each other is hardly up for debate. What saves Tonight You're Mine is its authentic rock-festival atmosphere; director David Mackenzie filmed amid the actual chaos of the 2010 T in the Park fest, so there's plenty of mud, inebriated extras, and background music swirling around the budding romance. Also, though her character is underdeveloped here, Tena has a punky appeal that suggests a star on the rise. (1:20) (Cheryl Eddy)
Turn Me On, Dammit! The 15-year-old heroine of writer-director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen’s Turn Me On, Dammit! is first heard in voice-over, flatly cataloging the over familiar elements of the small town in rural Norway where she lives — and first seen lying on the kitchen floor of her house sharing an intimate moment with a phone sex operator named Stig (Per Kjerstad). Largely ruled by her hormones and longing to get it on with someone other than herself and the disembodied Stig, Alma (Helene Bergsholm) spends large segments of her life unspooling sexual fantasies starring Artur (Matias Myren), the boy she has a crush on, and Sebjorn (Jon Bleiklie Devik), who runs the grocery store where she works and is the father of her two closest friends: burgeoning political activist Sara (Malin Bjorhovde) and full-fledged mean girl Ingrid (Beate Stofring). Back in real life, a strange and awkward physical interaction with Artur leads Alma, excited and confused, to describe the experience to her friends, a mistake that precipitously leads to total social ostracism among her peers. With the possible exception of some unnecessary dog reaction shots during the aforementioned opening scene, documentary maker Jacobsen’s first narrative feature film is an engaging and impressive debut, presenting a sympathetic and uncoy depiction of a young girl’s sexuality and exploiting the rich contrast between Alma’s gauzier fantasies and the realities of her waking world to poignantly comic effect. (1:16) (Rapoport)
The Woman in the Fifth A rumpled American writer with a hinted-at dark past (Ethan Hawke) shows up in Paris, to the horror of his French ex-wife and confused delight of his six-year-old daughter. An ill-advised nap on public transportation results in all of his bags being stolen; broke and out of sorts, he takes a grimy room above a café and a gig monitoring the surveillance-cam feed at what's obviously some kind of illegal enterprise. During the day he stalks his daughter and romances both sophisticated Margit (Kristen Scott Thomas) and nubile Ania (Joanna Kulig); he also dodges his hostile neighbor (Mamadou Minte) and shady boss (Samir Guesmi). Based on Douglas Kennedy's novel, the latest from Pawel Pawlikowski (2004's My Summer of Love), offers some third-act twists (gory, distressing ones) that suggest Hawke's character (and, by extension, the viewer) may not be perceiving reality with 100 percent accuracy. Moody, melancholy, not-entirely-satisfying stuff. (1:23) SF Film Society Cinema. (Eddy)