A young Pakistani woman named Laila (Sameena Jabeen Ahmed) lounges in a caravan with her drifter boyfriend, Aaron (Connor McCarron). A brutish gangster in a tracksuit carries his baby girl through a shopping mall. An aging cokehead wanders around a disheveled living room waiting for the sunrise. This is England.
Catch Me Daddy opens with a string of striking images that, at first glance, feel disconnected from each other. These portraits of blue-collar existence seemingly exist out of time. It's only after director Daniel Wolfe (who co-wrote the film with his brother Matthew) hints at a greater genre structure that the plot starts to unfold.
By denying the audience any exposition, Wolfe builds tension out of the mundane. This helps Catch Me Daddy gain traction in the early going. It eventually becomes clear that Laila has runaway with Aaron against her conservative father's wishes, which inspires the patriarch to send his son and a horde of gangsters out into the Yorkshire countryside to track down the young lovers.
Eventually Catch Me Daddy, which opens Friday, Sept. 4, at the Digital Gym Cinema, reveals itself to be a razor-sharp chase film, a lesson in sustained anxiety. Chase scenes are intricately cut to explore the depth of both open and cramped spaces. That it rarely transcends these thriller trappings to address the complexities behind themes of patriarchy, tradition and power is unfortunate.
Still, it's an auspicious debut from Wolfe, mostly known for his hallucinatory music videos with violent undertones. There are multiple instances of directorial restraint, where the sounds and sights of nature take on an ethereal quality. Dreary beauty like this lends credence to the more miserable aspects of the film, which feel as organic as any part of nature caught in wide angle.
A Walk in the Woods: Robert Redford plays Bill Bryson, a novelist who decided to hike the Appalachian Trail after spending two decades living in the U.K. Co-starring Nick Nolte.
Before We Go: Captain America himself Chris Evans directs and stars in this romantic comedy about a pair of strangers who find themselves stuck in Manhattan for the night and forced to address some long simmering emotional issues. Opens Friday, Sept. 4, at the Reading Gaslamp in downtown.
Catch Me Daddy: A young Pakistani woman and her boyfriend escape the city for country living, only to be hunted by gangsters working for the girl's ashamed father. Screens through Thursday, Sept. 10 at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Grandma: Lily Tomlin plays a misanthropic woman whose life is upended when her 18-year-old granddaughter shows up needing help. The two eventually embark on a raucous road trip to make amends, because it's the movies and that's what happens.
Learning to Drive: A recently divorced white lady takes driving lessons from a Sikh driving instructor played by Ben Kingsley. I mean, why wouldn't she?
Obediencia Perfecta: A young seminarian sent to live in a distant monastery tries to live the “perfect obedience,” drawing the attention of his order's founding father. Screens through Thursday, Sept. 10 at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
People, Places and Things: In this heartfelt drama, Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) plays a single father living in Brooklyn dealing with a custody battle involving his twin daughters. Screens through Thursday, Sept. 10 at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine: This intimate documentary looks at the personal and private life of the late Apple CEO. Screens through Thursday, Sept. 10, at the Ken Cinema.
Turbo Kid: This homage to 1980s post-apocalyptic schlock tells the story of an orphaned teenager who scours a wasteland looking for relics of the past. Screens at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept, 4 and 5, and at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9 at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
One Time Only
Old School: Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn start a fraternity: Do you join? The answer is undoubtedly yes. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Casablanca: Great fan theories for this film can be seen in When Harry Met Sally… Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday - Sunday, Sept. 3 - 6, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
They Live: Screens at 11:55 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, at the Ken Cinema.
A Birder's Guide to Everything: A young birding fanatic think's he's made the discovery of a lifetime, so he sets off on an adventure despite the wishes of his father. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, at the Point Loma / Hervey Branch Library.
Robin Hood: Men in Tights: Contains the only brail playboy in the history of cinema. Thank you Mel Brooks. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at The Headquarters.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High: All Sean Penn wants is some pizza. Can't you understand, Mr. Hand? Hey, that rhymed. Spicolli! Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.