Cheryl Eddy

SFIFF + Hollywood = your weekend movie plans

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The San Francisco International Film Festival kicked off its 56th year last night; it continues through May 9 at venues around San Francisco and Berkeley. Read my take on standout docs here; Dennis Harvey's appreciation of Finnish cinema here; and short takes by both of us (plus Kimberly Chun) here.

Meanwhile, down in Hollywood, Michael Bay's musclebound latest opens today, along with a wedding comedy starring Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, and always-the-bride Amanda Seyfried. Reviews of both below, along with François Ozon's new film, a martial-arts slo-mo-stravaganza, and, yes, even more. Read more »

Rep Clock

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Schedules are for Wed/24-Tue/30 except where noted. Director and year are given when available. Double and triple features marked with a •. All times pm unless otherwise specified.

ARTISTS' TELEVISION ACCESS 992 Valencia, SF; www.atasite.org. $6-10. "Free Form Film Festival presents Transcomic Geometry," Thu, 8. "San Francisco Global Vietnamese Film Festival Opening Night Gala," Fri, 7:30. Other Cinema: "Animation in Action," Sat, 8:30.Read more »

Screening is believing

Five must-see documentaries at the huge San Francisco International Film Festival. Plus: Rare Finnish movies and a ton of SFIFF previews.

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Help fund Goldie winner Jamie Meltzer's latest doc!

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When I last spoke with filmmaker and Stanford assistant professor Jamie Meltzer, it was at the 2012 Guardian Local Outstanding Discovery (a.k.a. Goldie) awards ceremony. I selected him for that honor — the Goldies are meant to recognize up-and-coming artists who are making impressive work but haven't yet gotten widespread recognition — based on the two documentaries of his I'd seen: 2003's cult favorite Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story, and 2012's Informant, about a prickly activist-turned-FBI-informant-turned-Tea-Partier, which premiered at the 2012 San Francisco International Film Festival.

Well, chances are, that widespread recognition is soon to come Meltzer's way. Informant was picked up by Music Box Films for distribution (look for it late summer or early fall in the Bay Area), and his latest project, Freedom Fighters, sounds highly promising: "The film follows three exonerated men from Dallas, with 57 years in prison served between them, as they start their own detective agency to look for innocent people who are still behind bars," Meltzer wrote in an email late last week. "It's a documentary detective film — a documentary noir, if you will." (NPR broadcast a story about the men on April 16; listen here.)

I called him up to learn more, including details on the Kickstarter he just launched to help fund the next phase of shooting.

Read more »

Cruisin', obsessin', and drinkin': new movies!

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Hollywood is clearly bowing down to the power of Tom Cruise this week, opening no other contenders (sorry, Rob Zombie, The Lords of Salem doesn't count) to compete with what's sure to be an Oblivion-ated weekend box office. (And to be honest, the movie's big and dumb, but actually pretty entertaining. My review after the jump.)

Elsewhere, the must-see movie-obsessive doc Room 237 opens at the Roxie (check out my interview with director Rodney Ascher here; he'll be at the Roxie in person this weekend), and Dennis Harvey takes on a pair of imports that actually do fairy-tale adaptations proud: Blancanieves and Let My People Go! Also worth checking out is the latest from Ken Loach, a comedy about crime and whiskey ... what's not to love? My review follows.

Read more »

Rep Clock

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Schedules are for Wed/17-Tue/23 except where noted. Director and year are given when available. Double and triple features marked with a •. All times pm unless otherwise specified.

ARTISTS' TELEVISION ACCESS 992 Valencia, SF; www.atasite.org. $6-10. "We Are Winning, Don't Forget: Short Works by Jean-Gabriel Périot," Fri, 8. Filmmaker in person. "Other Cinema: Optronica," works by sound artist John Davis and others, Sat, 8:30. Read more »

Film listings

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Film listings are edited by Cheryl Eddy. Reviewers are Kimberly Chun, Dennis Harvey, Lynn Rapoport, and Sara Maria Vizcarrondo. For rep house showtimes, see Rep Clock.

OPENINGRead more »

Looking over the Overlook

Filmmaker Rodney Ascher entices viewers into 'Room 237'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Though he's now living in Los Angeles, Rodney Ascher was a San Franciscan "for years and years," he says, adding that he used to spend "a lot of time at Craig Baldwin's Other Cinema." He also has praise for the Roxie, the venue that'll be hosting the local premiere of his Room 237 — a fascinating, kinda disturbing documentary that burrows deep down the rabbit hole with people who are obsessed with Stanley Kubrick's 1980 horror masterpiece The Shining.Read more »

Things that make you go hmmm: new movies!

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Better order your popcorn with a side of open-mindedness this week, what with To the Wonder (meh) and Upstream Color (woo!) launching themselves at audiences. Less experimental types can settle for ensemble drama Disconnect or Scary Movie 5, the latest in the pop-culture parody series.

Read on for the rest of this week's new films, including the latest from Danny Boyle and Robert Redford, plus a perfectly-timed-to-maximize-on-the-start-of-baseball-season Jackie Robinson biopic.

Read more »

Rep Clock

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Schedules are for Wed/10-Tue/16 except where noted. Director and year are given when available. Double features marked with a •. All times pm unless otherwise specified.

ANSWER COALITION 2969 Mission, SF; www.answersf.org. $5-10 donation (no one turned away for lack of funds). With the Poor of the Earth, Wed, 7. Read more »