Filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard once said, "The cinema is truth at 24 frames per second," making slow-mo sports replays and sped-up Benny Hill gags nothing but cruel, cruel lies. Get the reel deal with today's Groupon: for $9, you get admission for two to 4-Star Theatre in Outer Richmond (up to an $18 value).
Established in 1919 and under the same local ownership since 1964, 4-Star Theatre specializes in independent and foreign films while also showing major studio releases. Touted by many sources as the best place to see Asian cinema in California, the quaint art house runs regular Asian film series showcasing reels old, new, and from 2067. Coming features include Echoes of the Rainbow, the winner of a Crystal Bear at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival, which tells the story of a working Hong Kong family whose eldest son becomes sick with leukemia. Legend of The Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen is a raucous martial-arts adventure, elaborating on a role made famous by Bruce Lee in Fists of Fury. You can also see documentaries such as The Future of Food and We Are Skateboarders as well as blockbusters such as the second Wall Street installment and the CGI explosion-filled remake of On Golden Pond.
A more-than-90-year-old theater with a charming vintage marquee, 4-Star boasts modern-day amenities, including dual screens and solar-powered suncatchers. Ample parking is available for attendees who convey themselves via car or riding-donkey.
Asia Pacific Arts voted 4-Star Theatre as the top place to see Asian films in California. Although some Yelpers were not satisfied with the theater's amenities, others enjoy its small art-house vibe, and more than 100 Yelpers give it a 3.5-star average:
- Though the 4 Star no longer shows first-run Chinese films -- in fact, it's for the most part become a second-run art house -- it's still the Mecca for Asian film exhibition, and distributors know it. – Brian Hu, Asia Pacific Arts
- this place is a hidden SF gem. Located off the beaten path in the Outter [sic] Richmond...the Four Star is one of the only places where you can see alternative foreign cinema and know that you are helping out the family of an independent theater. – Katy A., Yelp