Cheryl Eddy

Countdown to the Oscars! Plus: Cinequest and new flicks

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Important: the Oscar broadcast starts at 4pm on Sunday on ABC. If tradition holds, the ceremony won't actually begin until a little later, but if you want to soak up the full awkwardness of the red carpet, with its "Who are you wearing?" and its reporters mistaking Denzel Washington's daughter for his wife (true story), you will want to tune in on time. (If you're a true fiend, E! starts their red-carpet coverage at 2:30pm.)

As far as Oscar winners go, I thought I had it figured out, but really ... it's anyone's game, unless your name is Daniel Day-Lewis. Fingers crossed for local filmmaker Sari Gilman to win Best Documentary Short for her Kings' Point.

This week, I took a look at San Jose's Cinequest festival (zombie lovers, get on this one!) Among the new releases, the Rock goes undercover for the DEA to clear his son's name in Snitch, and Keri Russell battles supernatural suburban invaders in Dark Skies. Reviews below the jump of mystical drama Bless Me, Ultima; Oscar-nominated doc The Gatekeepers; and Werner Herzog's latest doc, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga.

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Go South

San Jose's Cinequest unleashes stars, docs, dramas, and zombies -- plus Harrison Ford, Salman Rushdie, and Chuck Palahniuk

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM San Francisco is a town of many film festivals: SF IndieFest wraps up Thu/21, and the Center for Asian American Media Festival (formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival) kicks off March 14. Lest you suffer fest withdrawal, the gap between is filled nearly end-to-end by Cinequest — San Jose's 23rd annual salute to cinema that has a Silicon Valley-appropriate focus on technological innovations.Read more »

Rep Clock

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Schedules are for Wed/20-Tue/26 except where noted. Director and year are given when available. Double features marked with a •. All times pm unless otherwise specified.

ARTISTS' TELEVISION ACCESS 992 Valencia, SF; www.atasite.org. $5-10. "Stop and Go 3D: Stop Motion Animation Festival," works by 27 artists curated by Bay Area animator Sarah Klein, Fri, 8. "Small Poetry: Recent Highlights of the Chicago 8 Film Festival," Sun, 7:30.Read more »

No talking

Vintage stars shine at Silent Winter

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The 2013 San Francisco Silent Film Festival isn't until July, but the fest's Silent Winter offshoot offers a day packed full of classic delights to tide over its legions of fans until summer. The Castro Theatre plays host to four features and one shorts program, all of which boast live musical accompaniment.Read more »

Rep Clock

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Schedules are for Wed/13-Tue/19 except where noted. Director and year are given when available. Double features marked with a •. All times pm unless otherwise specified.

ARTISTS' TELEVISION ACCESS 992 Valencia, SF; www.atasite.org. $6. "Periwinkle Cinema: recLAmation with live narration by Hilary Goldberg," Wed, 8. "Dirty Looks NYC Presents:" "Pickle Surprise! The Eyes of Tom Rubnitz," Fri, 8. "Short Films About Sexuality: Fourplay," Sat, 8:30. Read more »

Silents are golden

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The 2013 San Francisco Silent Film Festival isn't until July, but the fest's Silent Winter offshoot offers a day packed full of classic delights to tide over its legions of fans until summer. Sat/16, Castro Theatre plays host to four features and one shorts program, all of which boast live musical accompaniment.

Silent Winter's earliest (1916) and latest films (1927) are both buoyed by charismatic leading ladies: Marguerite Clark, in J. Searle Dawley's Snow White, and Mary Pickford in Sam Taylor's My Best Girl. Clark, who found early fame as a Broadway star, was already in her 30s by the time film acting became a viable career option. No matter — she's believably girlish as the princess with "skin white as snow," hated by her jealous stepmother, whose own beauty comes courtesy of witchcraft. (Dig the proto-Witchiepoo who helps the conniving queen in her various evil schemes, and her giant kitty helper, too.) A teenage Walt Disney saw the film in 1917 and made animation history with the same story 20 years later — though his version of the fairy-tale heroine lacks Clark's easy effervescence.

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SF IndieFest, and a whole lot more: new movies!

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First things first: the San Francisco Independent Film Festival kicked off last night and runs through Feb. 21 at various venues (mostly the Roxie). Check out my interviews with local shorts directors here, and some top picks throughout the festival here.

Also this week: cult director Don Coscarelli's John Dies at the End (my chat with Mr. Bubba Ho-Tep here), Amy Berg's West Memphis Three doc, West of Memphis (check out Nicole Gluckstern's review here), and the Vortex Room's love-ly new series (Dennis Harvey's take here).

What's more, 1986 action classic Top Gun gets the 3D IMAX re-release treatment (because any list of things that are better when they're bigger, louder, and more in-yo-face include Soviet MiGs, Tom Cruise's teeth, and Kenny Loggins jams). Reviews of comedies Identity Thief and Shanghai Calling, plus Steven Soderbergh's maybe-swan song Side Effects, below the jump.

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Six pack

Short takes on IndieFest standouts

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Antiviral (Brandon Cronenberg, Canada, 2012) Yes, that Cronenberg. The spawn of veteran filmmaker David makes an auspicious feature debut with this, uh, Cronenberg-esque body-horror tale. In the stark, gloomy near-future, celebrity worship has become so out of control that healthy people visit special clinics to be injected with diseases gathered from superstars. Read more »

Muppets, manholes, and mayhem

Local filmmakers screen eyepopping shorts at IndieFest

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Vincent Gargiulo is originally from Stockton and lives in San Francisco, but I spoke with him over the phone from Duluth, Minn., where he's about to start filming his latest project, Duluth is Horrible. "So far, it's actually lovely," he admits. "But Duluth is Lovely, nobody wants to watch that movie."Read more »

Rep Clock

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Schedules are for Wed/6-Tue/12 except where noted. Director and year are given when available. Double features marked with a •. All times pm unless otherwise specified.

ARTISTS' TELEVISION ACCESS 992 Valencia, SF; www.atasite.org. $15-50. "Cast Shadows," sound-film performances with Barn Owl, Marielle Jakobsons, John Davis, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, and Paul Clipson, Sat, 8. Benefit for ATA. Read more »