Dennis Harvey

Oi yay!

Destroy All Movies!!! traces punks -- and their general like -- on film

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MOVIES WITH MOHAWKS Punk and the movies met when the former was very young. When punk eventually grew up, the movies still insisted on viewing it as a child. Their union, nowadays perverted by mutual materialistic bloat, has been rather like an arranged marriage: long-lasting, with moments of real understanding, but fundamentally fraudulent.Read more »

Rock rolled

Danny Boyle's latest (127 Hours starring James Franco) is, as always, a change of pace

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Danny Boyle is a director whose projects seem chosen largely to have nothing in common with anything he's done before. Mid-career at 54, he's been good at a lot of things. But what, exactly, is his ideal fit?Read more »

The Good Shepard

The Punk'd prodigy takes another big-screen stab in The Freebie

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Noe thanks

Enter the Void is polarizing — and pretentious

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Gaspar Noé wants to share. Yet after three features, it's still unclear whether what he's got on his mind is worth sharing, let alone anywhere near as urgent as his need to share it.Read more »

Valley highs

Local docs and more at Mill Valley Film Festival 2010

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM This year's Mill Valley Film Festival, the 33rd — we'll refrain from crucifying it — brings the usual assortment of visiting celebrities starting their Oscar thumpage early at an event with a rep for anticipating next February's Academy winners. Some have local roots (Annette Bening, Sam Rockwell, James Franco), some don't (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Edward Norton, Julian Schnabel).Read more »

Winner takes it all

Sounds Like Teen Spirit: A Popumentary brings garish joy to the new International Children's Film Festival

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DOCUMENTARY Before American Idol and all subsequent parasitical imitators, there was nothing on American TV quite like the annual Eurovision Song Contest. In fact, there still isn't — that event's multinational scope and emphasis on original (or at least regional) material is eons from AI's hits regurgitated by wailing wannabes.Read more »

Peruvian twist

Undertow takes a modern, moving look at bisexuality
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arts@sfbg.com

FILM At first glance Undertow doesn't really seem a bona fide "great"
movie — time will tell. But it manages so many qualities seldom found together, or pulled off at all, that respect is due. It's sensuous and erotic without becoming puerile fantasy; renders remote, beach-y locations alluring without pandering postcard exoticism or turning the people who live there peasant-quaint. More impressive still, it seamlessly folds magic realism — that very literary quality — into an already well-in-progress narrative Read more »

The break-up artist

French import Heartbreaker is a not-so-guilty pleasure
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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Most countries crank out commercial features just as pandering as (if less expensively produced than) the majority of mainstream Hollywood product. Even sacrosanct art house supplier France manufactures plentiful dumb-and-dumber hits that attract little interest (unless it's remake interest) beyond nations where Frog is spoken. Read more »

Mellow noir

Mademoiselle Chambon offers a measured sense of scandal

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Every nation's cinema has its share of memorable contributions to the narrative category of amour fou. But since the French came up with that term in the first place, we might as well grant them a certain supremacy. They definitely tend to arrive at the madness of a self-destructive love with less high melodrama (let alone misogyny) than is the U.S. norm. Read more »

Notes on a scandal

The Tillman Story traces a family's urgent search for the truth

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM To what extent is our government prepared to lie to us? Not just on a policy level, but a personal level, perverting actual instances of heroic self-sacrifice into propagandistic pablum? The answer during our prior White House administration was clearly: as far as possible, until caught.Read more »