Cheryl Eddy

SFIFF 52: Opening night

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The scene: the Castro Theatre. The event: opening night of the 52nd annual San Francisco International Film Festival. The crowd: mob-sized.

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Benjamin Bratt prefers it slow and low.

Before I say anything else, I know what you're really wondering: what was in the gift bag? Read more »

SFIFF: Shots in the dark

Short takes on SFIFF
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THURS/23

La Mission (Peter Bratt, USA, 2009) A veteran S.F. vato turned responsible — if still muy macho — widower, father, and Muni driver, 46-year-old Che (Benjamin Bratt) isn't the type for mushy displays of sentiment. But it's clear his pride and joy is son Jess (Jeremy Ray Valdez), a straight-A high school grad bound for UCLA. Read more »

SFIFF: 52 pick-up

SFIFF rides again -- and features a quietly terrifying North Korea doc
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cheryl@sfbg.com

In early April, a long-range rocket blasted off from deepest, darkest North Korea; according to a Reuters.com news report, the communist country claimed that its satellite was "launched into orbit and [is now] circling the Earth transmitting revolutionary songs." Um, yeah. Most folks say the rocket failed — and that its real purpose was to test North Korea's dropping-warheads-on-our-enemies capabilities. Read more »

Carolina blues

Goodbye Solo, hello filmmaking triumph. Director Ramin Bahrani outdoes himself
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cheryl@sfbg.com

Ramin Bahrani is a young filmmaker who's beloved by critics and whatever arthouse-type audiences have been lucky enough to catch his work, thus far 2005's Man Push Cart and 2007's Chop Shop. Born in America to Iranian parents, Bahrani was educated at Columbia University and set both of those films — minimalist marvels that racked up kudos galore at global fests — in New York City. His latest, Goodbye Solo, shifts from gritty NY to depressed Winston-Salem, N.C., where Bahrani was raised. Read more »

RIP, Parkway Speakeasy Theater

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Say it ain't so! Oakland's Parkway Theater announced this week that its doors will close Sunday, March 22. Read more »

Home suite home

SFIAAFF: Tokyo Sonata and the stark, striking cinema of Kiyoshi Kurosawa
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cheryl@sfbg.com

How's this for lowest common denominator? The first sentence of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Wikipedia entry explains that he is a "Japanese filmmaker best known for his many contributions to the J-horror genre." With his latest film, family drama Tokyo Sonata, particularly fresh in my mind, I'd nearly forgotten he was even part of that late-1990s trend. Read more »

A cure for the Mondays (maybe)

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Haul your ass over to this world o' internet adorability: ZooBorns: "the newest and cutest exotic animal babies from zoos and aquariums around the world!"

Seriously. Read more »

News: flash!

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Body art-averse parents are allegedly up in arms over the Totally Stylin' Tattoo Barbie, who is clearly totally styling with her totally stylin', tiny butterfly tattoo (my prediction: if they make a Ken version, he'll have something tribal).

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Don't worry, Mom and Dad! Read more »

Hail Bale

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Zomg, the new Terminator Salvation trailer is out today. We've all listened to star Christian Bale's awesomely vitriolic rant, and we've all seen The Dark Knight (some of us more than once, apparently, since the movie's box-office haul was somewhere in the bajillions). Read more »

"Gomorrah"

A world where everyone is in cahoots with the bad guys - whether they choose to be or not
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REVIEW In the giant, rundown apartment buildings of Naples and Caserta, organized crime doesn't run afoul of the law — it is the law. Based on the best seller of the same name by Roberto Saviano (who co-scripted), Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah has already hauled in European laurels galore, including the Grand Prize at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Inexplicably not nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (not uplifting enough? Read more »