Cheryl Eddy

Call the docs

The Clinton 12, Silences , and the Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes doc at the San Francisco Black Film Festival
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Now in its ninth year, the San Francisco Black Film Festival continues to expand its scope, with two long weekends of narrative films and documentaries plus several shorts programs. If you didn't catch The Last Days of Left Eye during one of its recent VH-1 airings, it's well worth a look on the big screen. Read more »

Return to the sixth dimension

Richard Elfman on his freaky, fabulous Forbidden Zone
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cheryl@sfbg.com

It's nearly impossible to describe Forbidden Zone to the uninitiated. It's a musical, a surreal fairy tale, an avant-garde live-action cartoon, and a strangely alluring jab at the boundaries of good taste. It's black-and-white and nutty all over — and has become a cult sensation since its 1980 release. A film as singularly odd as Forbidden Zone obviously has one hell of a backstory. Fortunately, I didn't have to sneak through any basement portals to track down director and coscripter Richard Elfman. Read more »

Some kind of monster!

Midnites for Maniacs: Vertically challenged monsters triple feature
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CULT FILM It's fitting that Troll 2 is playing at Midnites for Maniacs — it's truly a film only a maniac could love. This 1990 masterpiece (sorry, Julia Louis-Dreyfus fans — it's a sequel to 1986's Troll in name only) was made by an Italian crew (director Drake Floyd's real name: Claudio Fragasso), starring a cast of Salt Lake City locals. Read more »

Occupational hazards

How can we be coworkers if we can't be friends; or survive an attack by masked Eastern European Rambos? Find out in Severance.
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You think your job sucks? Imagine working as an office drone for multinational corporation Palisade Defence, whose slogan is "We're hitting a home run for freedom and a time-out for terror!" In Christopher Smith's black comedy Severance, a team-building weekend (shades of The Office) in Eastern Europe (shades of Hostel) goes gruesomely, satirically awry (shades of Shaun of the Dead). Read more »

Vote or die

Party lines get bloody in Johnnie To's Triad Election
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cheryl@sfbg.com

Now that the wave of Asian horror films (and subsequent American remakes) seems to have crashed under the weight of too many spooky kids and ladies with long, wet hair, are Asian gangster flicks the new hotness? Practically everyone in the United States has now seen a Hong Kong cops 'n' robbers thriller or at least a film once removed from such, thanks to Martin Scorsese and his Best Picture–winning Infernal Affairs remake. Read more »

Now with reel cheese!

One critic's opinionated guide to summer movies
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cheryl@sfbg.com

By the time you read this, Spider-Man 3 will have already raked in approximately a kajillion dollars. But in a summer packed with superheroes, pirates, robots, and teen wizards, only one selection is destined to be the Best. Movie. Ever. (Hint: it's animated, smells like a steak, and seats 35!) Still, what are you gonna do at the multiplex — or the rep house — on every other day that isn't July 27? Read more »

Stalk tips

Andrea Arnold's stellar film "Red Road" scrutinizes grief and reconciliation
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> cheryl@sfbg.com

Nothing is what it seems in Red Road, a wonderfully restrained thriller that marks the feature debut of British writer-director Andrea Arnold. Jackie (a fierce Kate Dickie) works as a surveillance camera operator, studying closed-circuit feeds streaming from Glasgow's streets. Her life is mysterious without being spectacular; for one thing, she lives alone but wears a wedding ring. Clearly, she's had a tragic past, and her present is haunted by the specter of unfinished business - but what, exactly? Read more »

Bubblegum bandits

HK hottie Daniel Wu spoofs boy bands (and himself) in directorial debut The Heavenly Kings
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> cheryl@sfbg.com

I'm only a little bit ashamed to admit that I loved Making the Band. No, not the acceptably addictive, Diddy-produced Danity Kane version. I'm talking about the one that birthed O-Town, baby - the quintet of preppy dudes united by boy-band Svengali Lou Pearlmen for three seasons of semi-emotive crooning, thrusting choreography, manufactured drama, and all the *NSYNC coattail riding instant fame could buy. Read more »

A dancer until the end.

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By Rita Felciano

Michael.jpg
Michael Smuin photo courtesy of Smuin Ballet.

Michael Smuin, artistic director and founder of Smuin Ballet, died today of a heart attack while rehearsing a new ballet. He was 68.

Like few others, Smuin’s choreography reached far and wide. In addition to choreographing ballets, he also worked on movies, television, and Broadway. Read more »

The pigs are alright

A convo with the creators of Hot Fuzz
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FILM Rejoice, fans of smart, sharp, genre-tweaking comedy: Hot Fuzz — the latest from Shaun of the Dead writer-director Edgar Wright, cowriter-star Simon Pegg, and costar–slacker extraordinaire Nick Frost — has arrived. Pegg plays a London supercop whose makes-everyone-else-look-bad ways get him shunted to a small town where policing is limited to underage drinking and escaped swans. Or is it? Read more »