If your idea of a good time at the movies requires a three-act narrative consisting of the hook, the conflict, and the climax, followed by a quick resolution, then Amateurs of the Impossible is not for you. Filmmakers Margaret Rorison and Zach Iannnazzi are like painters — or, as Orson Welles suggested, poets with camera lenses for eyes. They reach beyond the presentational to build film-loop elegies, plein air panoplies, and celluloid sonatas that whip up dreams, memories, emotions, and musings. Rorison, co-founder of Baltimore's much-loved roaming experimental film series Sight Unseen, contributes six shorts, including a handmade study of Danish wind power, a collaboration with the Effervescent Dance Collective, a landscape portrait of Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, and a 16-mm tribute to her grandfather that is saturated by field recordings of oil rigs and fishing lines on the Louisiana bayou. Iannazzi offers three shorts, including a found-footage scrapbook of fading Northern California and a superimposed diptych of home movies that explores "mid-century male bonding and the hubris of hunting culture."
"Amateurs of the Impossible" begins at 7:30 p.m. at Artists Television Access, 992 Valencia St., S.F. $10; 415-824-3890 or sfcinematheque.org. More
Scientists used to consider it balderdash, but the belief that humans can cause earthquakes has recently been validated by a significant increase in tremors occurring in the Central United States. Nearly twice as many quakes, magnitude 3 and up, have happened there in the last six years than in the previous 36 years; in 2014, more strong earthquakes jolted Oklahoma than California. Justin Rubinstein, a U.S. Geological Survey research geophysicist, believes oil and gas extraction is responsible for this. Hydraulic fracturing is part of the problem, but Rubinstein says the top culprit is the injection of wastewater from oil and gas operations into permanent storage areas underground. He believes that human activity of this sort could trigger a magnitude 7 shaker. All agree that San Francisco's expected Big One will be an act of nature, not industry, but anyone earthquake-curious should find Rubinstein's talk ("Yes, Humans Really Are Causing Earthquakes") of interest. The event is part of a USGS series of free lectures for non-experts.
Justin Rubinstein’s lecture, “Yes, Humans Really Are Causing Earthquakes,” is set for 7 p.m. at USGS, Building 3, Rambo Auditorium, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park. Free; online.wr.usgs.gov/calendar.More
20 Yerba Buena Lane, 415-744-5000
San Francisco is the gateway to California wine country and for those who can’t seem to find a designated driver to schlep them up for a round of tastings, the luxurious Press Club converts a day trip to Napa or Sonoma into an evening of liquid bliss.
Tired of being mugged by high school thugs in a Manhattan that's notably scummier than the real thing, the teen hero of Kick-Ass wonders, in a hilariously put-on and intermittent Brit's New Yawk accent, "How come nobaddy's eva tried to become a suppahero?" Dave (Aaron Johnson) soon learns the hard way that trying to intimidate thieves while wearing a ridiculous green wetsuit/superhero getup elicits first laughter, and then a beat down. But as soon as he's back on his feetthis time with damaged nerve endings and steel bone reinforcementshe's back on the street. His bumbling attempt to battle a four-man crew attracts a cell-phone camwielding crowdwhich in turn scares off the bad guys. "Who are you?!?" asks an amateur videographer. Ready for his close-up, Dave sneers, "I'm Kick-Ass!" With that phrase and Dave's heroic antics catapulted into the memespace, Kick-Ass is real. In its first half, Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass offers a fairly astute, if light, assessment of how new media has given fresh outlets for the age-old instincts of both heroism and hero worship. Dave seems to be in the crime-fighting game less to save lives, and more for the MySpace glory. But no hero (and no would-be franchise-kickstarter) gets off that easy, and thus Kick-Ass launches into its second hour, a mess of random source cues and progressively brutal action setpieces. Kick-Ass devolves into a show reel for its own ancillary characters; expect to see a lot of slutty Hit Girls toting mock bazookas this Halloween.
July 2-3, 7 & 9:25 p.m.; Sat., July 3, 2, 4:30, 7 & 9:25 p.m.; Mon., July 5, 7 & 9:25 p.m., 2010