Now Playing at the Embarcadero Center Cinema


In his second outing as director after The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, actor/co-writer Tommy Lee Jones returns to the West with The Homesman. Three women living on the edge of the American frontier are driven mad by harsh pioneer life, and the task of saving them falls to the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank, Academy Award winner for Million Dollar Baby and Boys Don't Cry). Transporting the women by covered wagon to Iowa, she is desperate for help on the daunting journey, and forces a low-life drifter, George Briggs (Jones), to join her. The unlikely pair and the three troublesome women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) head east, where a waiting minister and his wife (Meryl Streep) have offered to take the women in. But the group first must traverse the harsh Nebraska Territories marked by stark beauty, psychological peril and constant threat. Official Web Site
Roger Moore's RogersMovieNation.com review...


Now Playing at the Embarcadero Center Cinema

The Theory of Everything tells the extraordinary story of one of the world's greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking (Eddie Redmayne, Les Misérables, My Week With Marilyn) received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21 years of age. With Jane (Felicity Jones, Like Crazy, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of—time. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science, and achieving more than they could ever have dreamed. The film is based on the memoir "Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen," by Jane Hawking, and is directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh (Man on Wire). Official Web Site
Mick LaSalle's San Francisco Chronicle review...


Now Playing at the Embarcadero Center Cinema

The critically-acclaimed black comedy Birdman tells the story of a washed-up actor (Michael Keaton)—famous for portraying an iconic superhero—as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself. Also starring Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Edward Norton, Birdman is directed and co-written by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Biutiful, Babel, 21 Grams, Amores Perros). Official Web Site
Mick LaSalle's San Francisco Chronicle review...


Now Playing at the Opera Plaza Cinema
Must End Thursday, November 27!


From writer/director A.J. Edwards, a protégé of Terrence Malick (who produced the film), comes the story of young Abraham Lincoln's difficult childhood. The film is set in the Indiana woods, 1817, when Abe (Braydon Denney, in a striking performance) was eight. The entire nation, only 40 years old and a few years removed from a second war of independence, is raw. Men, women and children alike must battle nature and disease to survive in remote log cabins. The Better Angels explores Abe's family, the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him forever, and the two women who guided him to immortality. Edwards creates breathtaking visual and narrative poetry to express the Lincolns' world. The stark wilderness they inhabit comes alive in stunning black-and-white cinematography, portraying the physical and emotional struggle of the characters. With an elegant touch and extreme attention to historical accuracy, Edwards shows the austerity of the era and reveals what shaped one of history's most distinctive leaders. Jason Clarke, Brit Marling, Diane Kruger and Wes Bentley also star. Official Web Site




Now Playing at the Opera Plaza Cinema

In January 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras was in the process of constructing a film about abuses of national security in post-9/11 America when she started receiving encrypted e-mails from someone identifying himself as "citizen four," who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. In June 2013, she and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her. The film that resulted from this series of tense encounters is absolutely sui generis in the history of cinema: a 100% real-life thriller unfolding minute by minute before our eyes. Poitras is a masterful storyteller: she compresses the many days of questioning, waiting, confirming, watching the world's reaction and agonizing over the next move, into both a great character study of Snowden and a narrative that will leave you on the edge of your seat as it inexorably moves toward its conclusion. Official Web Site
Thomas Lee's San Francisco Chronicle review...


Now Playing at the Clay Theatre

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, the gripping drama Whiplash stars Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) as Andrew Neiman, a 19-year-old jazz drummer determined to rise to the top of the country's most elite music conservatory. One night, Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), a conductor equally known for his talent for teaching as he is for the terrifying method of his instruction, discovers Andrew practicing the drums, and the next day requests that he be transferred into his band. At first, Andrew is an "alternate," confined to turning the pages of the "core" drummer, but at the band's next competition, the core drummer's sheet music is misplaced and Andrew gets the opportunity to play. Though the act further alienates him from his fellow musicians, the band nonetheless wins the competition, and he seems poised to become Fletcher's new "favorite son." Andrew's maniacal effort to achieve perfection is further fueled by Fletcher's psychological brinksmanship. The nearer to perfection Andrew gets, the narrower his circle of intimates becomes until he is left only with Fletcher—and even that relationship is jeopardized by the ferocity of Andrew's ambitions. A journey that can be seen alternately as a descent into madness or an ascent to greatness comes to a crescendo on the biggest platform for Andrew's talents—the unforgiving stage of Carnegie Hall. Official Web Site
Mick LaSalle's San Francisco Chronicle review...


Now Playing at the Opera Plaza Cinema

This wickedly funny and precisely observed psychodrama tells the story of a model Swedish family—handsome businessman Tomas, his willowy wife Ebba and their two blond children—on a skiing holiday in the French Alps. The sun is shining and the slopes are spectacular but, during a lunch at a mountainside restaurant, an avalanche suddenly bears down on the happy diners. With people fleeing in all directions and his wife and children in a state of panic, Tomas makes a decision that will shake his marriage to its core and leave him struggling to reclaim his role as family patriarch. A critical favorite at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where it took the Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard. Written and directed by Ruben Östlund. Official Web Site
Chris Nashawaty's Entertainment Weekly review...


Now Playing at the Opera Plaza Cinema


Not every love happens at first sight. Set against the music of Belle and Sebastian, writer/director Daniel Ribeiro’s coming of age tale is a fun, endearing and tender story about friendship and the complications of young love. Handsome Leonardo (Ghilherme Lobo) is a blind teenager who’s fed up with his overprotective mother and the bullies at school. Looking to assert his independence, he decides to study abroad to the dismay of his best friend, Giovana (Tess Amorim). When Gabriel (Fabio Audi), the new kid in town, teams with Leo on a school project, new feelings blossom in him that make him reconsider his plans. Meanwhile, Giovana grows jealous of this newfound companionship. Winner of a dozen international awards, including the Teddy Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Berlin International Film Festival and Audience Awards for Best Film at both Frameline and Outfest. Official Brazilian entry for Best Foreign Language Film consideration at 87th Academy Awards. Official Web Site
David Lewis's San Francisco Chronicle review...


One Week Only! Starts Friday, November 28
at the Opera Plaza Cinema


Although only a few scientists and researchers brave the extreme conditions of Antarctica year-round, the continent hosts a close-knit international population of base workers, chefs, technicians and tradespeople who keep everything running. Antarctica: A Year on Ice is their story. Completely isolated from the rest of the world, enduring months of unending darkness, Antarctic residents experience firsthand the beauty and brutality of the most severe environment on Earth. From everyday moments of work and laughter to holiday celebrations and even the filmmaker's own wedding, Antarctica: A Year on Ice shows a determined community thriving in a world most people will never know. Boasting footage gathered over 15 years, including nine winters spent in 24-hour darkness, this unique documentary speaks to the planet's natural wonders, humanity's thirst for adventure and the emotional journey that accompanies a year spent on the ice. Intrepid filmmaker/photographer Anthony Powell gives testament to both the spirit of Antarctic culture and the breathtaking splendor contained within the last pristine wilderness left on the planet. Official Web Site


Sat, Nov 29 at Midnight at the Clay Theatre! With The Bawdy Caste LIVE!

The longest-running midnight movie of all time stars Tim Curry as the kinky yet endearing “transsexual from Transylvania” Dr. Frank N. Furter, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick as his hapless guests Brad and Janet, Meat Loaf as motorcycle-riding rough trade and author Richard O’Brien as the hunchbacked butler Riff Raff. It’s harmless musical fun—a delightful spoof of Hollywood horror movies and Old Dark House melodramas. The Rocky Horror Picture was the first—and is still the best—interactive movie experience! Official Web Site


Midnight Movies at the Clay Theatre!
Download PDF

Sat, Nov 29: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with The Bawdy Caste live!
Dec 5 & 6: Blade Runner (The Final Cut), starring Harrison Ford!
Sat, Dec 13: The Room, "You are tearing me apart, Lisa!"
Dec 19 & 20: The Shining, Stanley Kubrick's spooky classic!
No Midnight Shows December 26-27.
Wed, Dec 31: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with live shadow cast The Bawdy Caste!
Jan 2 & 3: Batman, a film by Tim Burton, starring Michael Keaton!
Sat, Jan 10: The Room, can you ever really trust anyone?
Jan 16 & 17: The Game, starring Michael Douglas & Sean Penn. Players wanted!
Jan 23 & 24: Princess Mononoke, in Japanese with English subtitles!


One Show Only! Tue, December 2 at 7:00pm
at the Clay Theatre

The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, holding over 3 million treasures and boasting more curators than any other art institution. To mark the momentous occasion of its 250th anniversary, the museum opened its doors for the filming of Hermitage Revealed—a cinematic event that is a must-see for all fans of art, architecture and the culture and history of Russia. Hermitage Revealed takes audiences on a thrilling journey through the museum's tumultuous history from imperial palace to state museum, and offers unprecedented access to special collections and exclusive areas that remain hidden from the public eye. The production brings together the oldest, the rarest, the most precious and the most closely guarded of Russia's greatest treasures; items bought with great wealth or acquired by other means, items hoarded and saved from violent revolutionaries, items thought lost and later re-found—all works and their unique stories presented with an intimacy and immediacy that no museum or gallery experience can match. From Rembrandt to Russian masterpieces, from prehistoric artifacts to the private gemstone collection of Catherine The Great, from Michelangelo to Matisse and much, much more, the exquisite treasures the Hermitage has to offer are seemingly endless. Hermitage Revealed puts you right there amongst it all—exploring the art and revealing the human stories behind this great institution. Official Web Site


One Show Only! Thu, December 4 at 7:00pm
at the Clay Theatre

Hermia loves Lysander and Helena loves Demetrius—but Demetrius is supposed to be marrying Hermia. When the Duke of Athens tries to enforce the marriage, the lovers take refuge in the woods and wander into the midst of a dispute between the king and queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania. Shakespeare put some of his most dazzling dramatic poetry at the service of this teasing, glittering, hilarious and amazingly inventive play, whose seriousness is only fleetingly glimpsed beneath its dreamlike surface. Michelle Terry (Titania/Hippolyta) won the 2011 Olivier Best Actress Award for her portrayal of Sylvia in Tribes (Royal Court). Ticketing Information


Starts Friday, December 5 at the Clay Theatre

Miss Julie, writer/director Liv Ullmann's adaptation of the classic August Strindberg play, is set during the course of a midsummer night in Ireland in 1890. It centers around the unsettled daughter (Jessica Chastain, The Help, Zero Dark Thirty) of Anglo-Irish aristocracy, who encourages her father's valet (Colin Farrell) to seduce her. The valet is already engaged to the cook (Samantha Morton), which complicates matters even more. Official Web Site


One Week Only! Starts Friday, December 5
at the Opera Plaza Cinema


Strange things are afoot in Bad City, the Iranian ghost town, home to prostitutes, pimps and other sordid souls. A lonely and alluring female vampire (Sheila Vand) stalks the town's most unsavory inhabitants. Her path also crosses that of a hunky, perhaps honest guy, and an unusual love story begins to blossom... blood red. Cinema's first Iranian Vampire Western basks in the pleasure of pulp, a joyful mashup of genre, archetype and iconography spanning spaghetti westerns and comic books, and amped by an electric soundtrack mixed with Iranian rock, techno and Ennio Morricone-inspired riffs. If Sergio Leone and David Lynch had an Iranian rock 'n' roll baby, and then Nosferatu came and babysat for them.... Written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. Official Web Site


One Week Only! Starts Friday, December 5
at the Opera Plaza Cinema


Point and Shoot follows Matt VanDyke, a timid 26-year-old with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, who left home in Baltimore in 2006 and set off on a self-described "crash course in manhood." He bought a motorcycle and a video camera and began a three-year, 35,000-mile motorcycle trip through Northern Africa and the Middle East. While traveling, he struck up an unlikely friendship with a Libyan hippie, and when revolution broke out in Libya, Matt joined his friend in the fight against dictator Muammar Gaddafi. With a gun in one hand and a camera in the other, Matt fought in—and filmed—the war until he was captured by Gaddafi forces and held in solitary confinement for six months. Two-time Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker Marshall Curry (Street Fight, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front) tells this harrowing and sometimes humorous story of a young man's struggle for political revolution and personal transformation. Winner of the Best Documentary Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. Official Web Site


Fri & Sat, Dec 5 & 6 at Midnight at the Clay Theatre!

Visually spectacular, intensely action-packed and powerfully prophetic since its debut, director Ridley Scott's sci-fi noir thriller returns in a definitive Final Cut, including extended scenes and never-before-seen special effects. In a future of high-tech possibility soured by urban and social decay, 21st-century detective Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) hunts for fugitive, muderous replicants—and is drawn to a mystery woman (Sean Young) whose secrets may undermine his soul. Based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Co-starring Rutger Hauer, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh and Daryl Hannah. Music by Vangelis. Official Web Site


Starts Friday, December 12
at the Embarcadero Center Cinema

The Imitation Game is a dramatic portrayal of the life and work of one of Britain's most extraordinary unsung heroes, Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch, The Fifth Estate, Star Trek Into Darkness, TV’s "Sherlock"). Leading a motley crew of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, the loner mathematical genius was instrumental in cracking the code for Germany’s World War II Enigma Machine, a seemingly impossible code that changed daily, and in the process became a pioneer of modern-day computing. Keira Knightley co-stars as a supportive friend on the code-breaking team who tries (but fails) to help him lead a more normal social life. Intercut with the life-and-death struggle to break the code are scenes from Turing’s past, as an outcast at boarding school befriended by an older boy, and of the future and his disastrous encounter with the police in 1952, charged with the crime of homosexuality. An intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man, The Imitation Game follows a genius who under nail-biting pressure helped to shorten the war and, in turn, save thousands of lives. Also starring Charles Dance, Mark Strong and Matthew Goode. Directed by Morten Tyldum (Headhunters). Official Web Site


One Week Only! Starts Friday, December 12
at the Opera Plaza Cinema


Zero Motivation is a unique, sharply observed, sometimes dark and often hilarious portrait of everyday life for a unit of young female soldiers in a remote Israeli desert outpost. Playing out like M*A*S*H meets "Orange is the New Black," writer/director Talya Lavie's brilliant debut details the power struggles of three women with different agendas and very little to do. Pencil-pushers in the Human Resources Office, best friends Zohar (Dana Ivgy) and Daffi (Nelly Tagar) spend their time playing video games, singing pop songs, jousting with stationery and dreaming of Tel Aviv. The indolent twosome are watched over by their aspiring senior officer, Rama (Shani Klein), who dreams of a higher position and a significant military career, but with a platoon of unskilled, idle female soldiers without any drive under her charge, her ambitions for promotion are constantly thwarted. With shifts of tone that go from slapstick to satiric to horrifying with fluid ease, and with a superb supporting cast of characters, Zero Motivation is destined to be one of the most talked about films of the year. Winner of the Best Narrative Feature Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. Official Web Site


Sat, December 13 at Midnight at the Clay Theatre!

The Room is an electrifying American black comedy about love, passion, betrayal and lies, starring writer/director Tommy Wiseau as a successful banker with a great respect for—and dedication to—the people in his life, especially his future wife Lisa (Juliette Danielle). As the film depicts friendships and relationships in the lives of its five major characters, it raises life's real and most-asked question: "Can you really trust anyone?" A midnight cult sensation, this quirky black comedy has been running for over 10 years in Los Angeles and has now taken the rest of the country by storm. You'll want to be there for the devastation it will leave in its wake! Official Web Site


One Show Only! Sun, January 18 at 11:00am
at the Clay Theatre

L'Elisir D'Amore is Donizetti's romantic comedy of rural life which comes up trumps in director Laurent Pelly's staging, matching the piece's perfect blend of sentiment and tomfoolery. Italian conductor Daniele Rustioni conducts this star-studded cast revival. Lucy Crowe takes the soprano lead as Adina, the most sophisticated woman in the village, loved from afar by Vittorio Grigolo's dashing but shy Nemorino, with Bryn Terfel as the larger-than-life travelling quack, Doctor Dulcamara. L'Elisir D'Amore, to be recorded live from the Royal Opera House stage in late 2014, is one of the most frequently performed of all Donizetti's operas, combining a touching love story and hilarious comedy with beautiful music, including the much-loved aria "Una furtiva lagrima." The opera's premiere in Milan in 1832 was a triumph and secured Donizetti's place as one of the leading Italian opera composers of his day. The Royal Opera's charming production is set in the sun-drenched countryside of 1950s Italy, complete with haystacks, Vespas and even a stray dog. It is injected with lively, visual humour, from Nemorino's tipsy clowning to Dulcamara's lumbering truck from which he sells his quack remedies. Donizetti deftly brings his characters alive with a sparkling score: Nemorino's love for Adina is expressed through lyrical arias; Adina's animated, flamboyant style softens as her feelings towards Nemorino begin to change—and all the while Dulcamara endlessly chatters away with irrepressible self-belief. Ticketing Information


One Show Only! Sun, February 22 at 11:00am
at the Clay Theatre

Andrea Chénier is the best-known opera by Umberto Giordano, one of Puccini's leading rivals. It presents a fictionalized account of the life of the pre-Romantic French poet who was guillotined during the Reign of Terror in 1794. Chénier and the servant Carlo Gérard both love the young aristocrat Maddalena. When Maddalena loses everything in the French Revolution, Chénier offers her protection, and so incites the envy of Gérard, now a powerful official. Tenor Jonas Kaufmann stars; his three arias provide highlights on an evening that also offers major opportunities to Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek as his beloved Maddalena. Andrea Chénier, to be recorded live in the UK in early 2015, has become celebrated for the lyrical music it offers the tenor who takes the leading role, with the off-the-cuff Improvviso of Act I and his final aria "Come un bel dì di maggio" particular highlights. But there are thrilling moments for the whole cast, including Maddalena's ardent aria "La mamma morta," Gérard's "Nemico della patria!" and a host of dramatic duets and characterful ensembles. With a string of successes for The Royal Opera to his name, director David McVicar brings Giordano's thrilling historical drama back to the iconic Covent Garden stage for the first time since 1985. Ticketing Information


One Show Only! Sun, March 29 at 11:00am
at the Clay Theatre

Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), Wagner's early opera, explores the themes of damnation and redemption that continued to fascinate the librettist and composer throughout his career. In this tale of a sea captain forced to sail the seven seas for eternity until released by the faithful love of a good woman, Wagner created two unforgettable characters operating near the limits of human emotion. Tim Albery's Olivier-nominated production for The Royal Opera, to be recorded live on stage early in 2015, delves deep into the psychology of Wagner's cursed wandering Dutchman (Bryn Terfel) and his beloved Senta, detailing the monomania and uncompromising idealism that finally drives them apart. Michael Levine's elemental single set is dominated by a rolling metal hull that represents the Dutchman's phantom ship, the poverty of Senta's home and the treacherous sea. Ticketing Information


One Show Only! Sun, May 3 at 11:00am
at the Clay Theatre

Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, a major work created by the unique partnership of playwright Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill receives its first ever Royal Opera production in spring 2015 and will be recorded live on stage at that time. One of the great epic operas of the 20th century, Mahagonny is a satire on money, morality and pleasure-seeking among the dubious citizens of a fictional city. Three criminals on the run find they can go no further and found a city—Mahagonny, city of gold. The destitute and the disenchanted flock to Mahagonny, among them the prostitute Jenny and the lumberjack Jim Mahoney with his three friends. This exhilarating new staging is by John Fulljames, The Royal Opera's Associate Director of Opera, with a new English translation by Jeremy Sams. The starry cast includes Anne Sofie von Otter as the great survivor Leokadja Begbick, Christine Rice as Jenny (who leads the opera's best-known number the "Alabama Song"), and Willard White as the fugitive Trinity Moses. The Royal Opera's Associate Director of Opera John Fulljames directs The Royal Opera's first production of the work in collaboration with designer Es Devlin (Don Giovanni, Les Troyens). They focus on Brecht and Weill's stinging critique of consumerism while finding new relevance in our insatiable depletion of the earth's resources. Mark Wigglesworth conducts. Ticketing Information


One Show Only! Sun, June 28 at 11:00am
at the Clay Theatre

Join The Royal Opera for one of the most popular operas of all time as John Copley's timeless production of La Bohème returns to the Covent Garden stage for the very last time. To be recorded live in mid-2015, the tender and ultimately tragic love story is given moving expression through Puccini's beautiful and memorable score. Cinema audiences will be treated to a world-class cast including Anna Netrebko as Mimi and Joseph Calleja as Rudolfo. The captivating story unfolds against the colourful spectacle of the Café Momus and brings the noise and vibrancy of bohemian 19th century Paris to life in stunning detail. Dan Ettinger conducts the stunning score in what promises to be a revival that goes down in Royal Opera history. Sung in Italian with English subtitles. Ticketing Information


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