- This Week
11.18.09 - 1:41 am |
Film listings are edited by Cheryl Eddy. Reviewers are Kimberly Chun, Michelle Devereaux, Max Goldberg, Dennis Harvey, Johnny Ray Huston, Louis Peitzman, Lynn Rapoport, Ben Richardson, Matt Sussman, and Laura Swanbeck. The film intern is Fernando F. Croce. For rep house showtimes, see Rep Clock. For first-run showtimes, see Movie Guide.
*Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans See "Call of the Weird." (2:01) Embarcadero, Shattuck, Smith Rafael.
*Black Dynamite A lot of movies have spoofed in passing the cliches and excesses of 70s blaxploitation movies. But this collaboration between director Scott Sanders and coscenarist-star Michael Jai White makes you realize they only scratched the surface. It takes real love to meticulously reproduce not just the obvious retro pimp-wear, but every cheesy 70s graphic, wah-wah soundtrack riff, arbitrary plot development, and horrendous interior decoration tip the genre once offered up with a straight face. The brawny White plays our titular hero, a one-man ghetto militia out to avenge the inevitable death of the inevitable kid brother, in the process naturally exposing The Man's latest heinous plot to keep the Black Man down. Between dealings with the CIA, the mob, pushers, narcs, and righteous soul sisters, B.D. of course finds plenty of time to satisfy a rainbow coalition of topless foxes. (There are also sidekicks like Arsenio Hall as Tasty Freeze and comedian Tommy Davison as Cream Corn.) Every ludicrous yet deadpan detail here is perfect, such that you could take any few seconds here and pass them off as snipped from a real grindhouse relic circa 1975. It's in the bigger picture that Black Dynamite eventually flags a bit when the movie ought to be getting its second wind, instead it begins to run out of steam, with a White House finale that's just too silly. Nonetheless, this is easily one of the year's best comedies. After inexplicably bombing in limited theatrical release elsewhere last month, it's finally reaching the Bay Area in midnight-only showings, and is not to be missed. (1:28) Castro, Grand Lake. (Harvey)
The Blind Side When the New York Times Magazine published Michael Lewis' article "The Ballad of Big Mike" which he expanded into the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game nobody could have predicated the cultural windfall it would spawn. Lewis told the incredible story of Michael Oher a 6'4, 350-pound 16-year-old, who grew up functionally parentless, splitting time between friends' couches and the streets of one of Memphis' poorest neighborhoods. As a Sophomore with a 0.4 GPA, Oher serendipitously hitched a ride with a friend's father to a ritzy private school across town and embarked on an unbelievable journey that led him into a upper-class, white family; the Dean's List at Ole Miss; and, finally, the NFL. The film itself effectively focuses on Oher's indomitable spirit and big heart, and the fearless devotion of Leigh Anne Tuohy, the matriarch of the family who adopted him (masterfully played by Sandra Bullock). While the movie will delight and touch moviegoers, its greatest success is that it will likely spur its viewers on to read Lewis' brilliant book. (2:06) Cerrito, Grand Lake, Presidio. (Daniel Alvarez)
Defamation See "What's Hate Got to Do With It?" (1:33) Roxie.
*The House of the Devil Ti West's The House of the Devil is a retro thrillfest quite happy to sacrifice the babysitter to the Dark Lord. "Based on true unexplained events" (uh-huh), the buzzed-about indie horror has fanboy casting both old school (Dee Wallace, Mary Woronov, Tom Noonan all performing seriously rather than campily) and new (AJ Bowen of 2007's The Signal and mumblecore regular Greta Gerwig).