FILM It's been a zzz summer at the multiplex. The number one movie of the year is Iron Man 3, a highly unmemorable blockbuster. (Quick: Who played the villain? Had to think about it for a second, didn't you?) With the exception of The Heat and The Conjuring, most everything that's grossed a crap-ton of dollars recently is either a sequel or based on some well-worn property.Read more »
FILM What does Anwar Congo — a man who has brutally strangled hundreds of people with piano wire — dream about?
As Joshua Oppenheimer's Indonesia-set documentary The Act of Killing discovers, there's a thin line between a guilty conscience and a haunted psyche, especially for an admitted killer who's never been held accountable for anything. In fact, Congo has lived as a hero in North Sumatra for decades — along with hundreds of others who participated in the country's ruthless anti-communist purge in the mid-1960s.Read more »
Calling all boozehounds! Tomorrow night, Comedy Central's popular Drunk History series takes on the great, liquid courage-infused city of San Francisco.
Host Derek Waters — a veteran guest of the San Francisco International Film Festival, with this past year's "Inside the Drunken Mind of Derek Waters" and 2010's "A Drunken Evening with Derek Waters" (sense the theme?) — guides this weekly stumble through history, which features sloshed, slurring storytellers narrating re-enactments of great (or not-so-great) moments in time. Read more »
Remember that brief, exciting period last year when Woody Allen sightings were being breathlessly reportedon 'round town, particularly in the Mission? Here's your chance to see Allen's take on San Francisco (it ain't exactly glossy) in Blue Jasmine, which boasts a stellar performance by likely Oscar nominee Cate Blanchett as someone you would not want to have as a houseguest. Dennis Harvey's take on the film here.
Also opening today: a doc about Napster, a so-so biopic of political theorist Hannah "Banality of Evil" Arendt, an action flick for Denzel Washington completists, and likely Oscar nominee (um...) Smurfs 2. What can I say...if you're not a Woody Allen fan, it's kind of a slower week. Read on for short reviews.
FILMBefore Nancy Grace and 24-hour news channels turned every vaguely salacious story into a screaming headline — and before TMZ.com and Twitter captured and exploded every dark urge in the American heart — there was a more innocently lurid time. Proudly sordid news shows like Hard Copy and A Current Affair zeroed in on names like "Menendez" and "Bobbitt." Sally Jessy Raphael investigated "Satanic baby breeders." A white supremacist threw a chair into Geraldo Rivera's face. Read more »
This week: the 33rd San Francisco Jewish Film Festival takes off with screenings all over the Bay Area; check out my take on some of the documentary selections here. Also, the harrowing documentary Blackfish opens, a film that will make you never want to visit SeaWorld again (with good reason). My interview with the film's director, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, here.
Elsewhere, Hollywood hopes you're ready for yet more claw-bearing Hugh Jackman (in The Wolverine), Danish actor Mads Mikklesen shines as a falsely-accused man in The Hunt; indie darling Andrew Bujalski delivers what may be his finest film to date with Computer Chess; a majorly great/bad/quotable/mind-blowing cult film plays the Clay's midnight series; and more. Read on for our short takes.
FILM The 911 call placed from SeaWorld Orlando on February 24, 2010 imparted a uniquely horrific emergency: "A whale has eaten one of the trainers." That revelation opens Gabriela Cowperthwaite's Blackfish, a powerful doc that puts forth a compelling argument against keeping orcas in captivity, much less making them do choreographed tricks in front of tourists at Shamu Stadium.Read more »
Those long, well-dressed lines wrapping around the Castro Theatre signal the advent of the annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, now in its 18th year and popular as ever. Though the fest opened last night, programming continues through the weekend; check out my take on some of the films (including one of tonight's selections, 1928 rom-com The Patsy) here.
Elsewhere, in first-run and rep theaters, it's a robust week for openings. There's something for nearly every age and appetite (plus a few recommendations on what to avoid) in the short reviews below.