Cheryl Eddy

SFIAAFF: Freedom isn't free

Docs in competition at the SF International Asian American Film Festival explore the hell of war's aftermath

Aside from one upbeat depiction of Hawaii's only all-male hula school (Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula), the nominees in the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival's documentary competition are nearly as similar in execution as they are in theme. Immigration tales, filmed in high-definition video from a first-person perspective, abound. Though homelands (Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, and Korea) differ, there's remarkable commonality among the subjects, who display the kind of internal scars only great suffering can inflict. Read more »

We are going to eat you!

America ain't "The Host" with the most

By Cheryl Eddy

Director and cowriter Bong Joon-ho insists that The Host is not really anti-American, and I'd agree. More accurately, it offers an incisive take on US foreign policy, echoing 2004's double punch of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Team America: World Police. The key difference is that The Host isn't homegrown, so it's not dabbling in self-satire. Read more »

God of monster

An interview with Boon Joon-ho

At the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival — blissfully far from any rivers concealing flesh-eating aquatic life forms — I spoke (through a translator) with Bong Joon-ho, director and cowriter of The Host.

SFBG I've read that you make films you yourself want to see. Are you a fan of monster movies, and have you always been?

BONG JOON-HO I'm a fan of several monster films, but I was not necessarily fascinated exclusively by them. Read more »

A party pooper's thoughts on 'Inland Empire'


by Jason Shamai

Sitting in the theater the other night, it was with both great relief and great sadness that I realized I felt zero obligation to work out what was going on in David Lynch's Inland Empire. The movie practically dares you to be stupid enough to try, so I didn't. At first all I felt was the relief -- what a pleasure to let the movie's New Orleans funeral procession of words, sounds, images, and performances roll along without having to ask the left side of my brain to do anything. Read more »

Academy fight song

Our Oscar dreams

First things fuckin' first: I know I'm not the only film fan who's still pissed about Crash winning over Brokeback Mountain in 2006's Best Picture race. In fact, let's change the subject before I punch the nearest preachy ensemble drama (look out, Babel!). Cinemaniacs actually have a bigger problem this year, with the prospect of an Academy Awards ceremony chockablock with predetermined winners. Read more »

Make your own toothpaste in Iowa, shave your armpits in San Francisco


Tonight's episode of ABC's Wife Swap pits Iowa farm family the Haigwoods (apocalypse-fixated and obsessed with raw food, they even eat raw meat; the kids are home-schooled and spend all day working on the farm; they don't clean their home because they think germs are helpful -- and that manure can cure cancer) and San Francisco sophisticates the Hess-Webbs (neat freaks who eat out several times a week and put great emphasis on their clothing and appearance).

Naturally, the sparks (essential in Wife Swap, which tee Read more »

Brutal fucking movie

An exquisite corpse review of Inland Empire

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A corpse is a corpse, of course, of course. And no one can talk to a corpse, of course. Unless, of course, that corpse is brought to you by the famous Mr. David Lynch. Read more »

Your life is calling

IndieFest films investigate senses of place -- earthly, cosmic, and otherwise

Just outside Las Vegas sits a solitary phone booth, as isolated as the restaurant at the end of the universe. Despite its unlikely location, it's a magnet for lost souls; they appear at odd hours to pounce on the ringing receiver and chat with Greta (Shani Wallis), a mysterious, husky-voiced dispenser of advice and moral support. Read more »

Abandoned planet

Werner Herzog's The Wild Blue Yonder trips out

Read Kimberly Chun's interview with Werner Herzog here.

I thought for sure the next Werner Herzog movie I'd be writing about would be Rescue Dawn, a harrowing POW drama (and a remake of his 1997 documentary, Little Dieter Needs to Fly) due out in late March. Read more »

The devil wears Nolan Miller

Or, why we love That Girl and Phil

TRASH TALKING BIO, TAKE ONE There are so many exquisite moments in steward Desmond Atholl's tell-all that tells all. This ain't no roman à clef, in other words; it's a cutting, richly detailed, tension-filled diary of overseeing the Marlo Thomas–Phil Donahue household. Neither my favorite chapter title ("Free to Be ... Read more »