Max Goldberg

Bigger than life

In praise of the overabundant films of Frank Tashlin
|
()

> a&eletters@sfbg.com

How would you define an improbable Tilt-A-Whirl Technicolor or Vistavision or Cinemascope view of American virtue and vice? Jean-Luc Godard's term for it was Tashlinesque. Watching the feverish films in the Pacific Film Archive's short Frank Tashlin retrospective, we see an artist pushing the outermost limits of cinematic realism, gorging 1950s America on its desire for bigger, better, and faster.

The Tashlinesque land of excess encompasses Jayne Mansfield's breasts, Kool Aid-red convertibles, and bubblegum teenagers. Read more »

Deja vu, times two

Last Year at Marienbad continues to bewitch and bewilder
|
()

TAKE ONE With his short film Night and Fog (1955), Alain Resnais introduced the world to his idiosyncratic and esoteric filmmaking, while offering an initial glance at his obsessions with memory, time, and space. He would further elaborate on this trio of fixations in his extraordinary debut feature, Hiroshima mon Amour (1959). But his second feature, Last Year in Marienbad (1961), is where Resnais truly allowed himself to grapple with these issues, as well as with cinematic form.Read more »

Desperately seeking cinema

On the many looking glasses of Jennifer Reeves
|
()

> a&eletters@sfbg.com

Jennifer Reeves's movies are personal wishing wells, each a repository of dreams and worries. As we see ourselves reflected in the water's surface after tossing in a coin, so too is Reeves's presence apparent in the handmade, fussed-over quality of her moving pictures. I use that broad designation pointedly, as her films are as varied in material and form as they are prosaic in mood and temperament. Read more »

Reveille in reverb

Baltimore duo Beach House show Devotion can be a dream
|
()

› a&eletters@sfbg.com

The first thing fans will notice about Beach House's second album, Devotion (Carpark), is that it hews to the same gauzy sonic architecture of their 2006 eponymous debut. An elegant combination of keyboard beats, organ drones, apparitional electric slide guitar, and Victoria Legrand's molasses vocals gave Beach House a golden glow that sent music scribes running to their thesaurus for "autumnal" synonyms. Read more »

Beautiful losers

Gus Van Sant soliloquizes the life of a skateboarder in Paranoid Park
|
()

Great movies stay with you in the oddest ways. In the days after I first saw Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park, I was preternaturally attuned to the sound of skateboards dragging the street outside my bedroom window—the slow tug of concrete, the bumping waves of wheels. This ambient strain surrounds Paranoid Park's cherubic point of focus: Alex (Gabe Nevins), a sleepy-eyed skater waiting out his parents' divorce in a Portland, Ore., suburb. Read more »

"My Name is Albert Ayler"

A broad story about the strange currents of American avant-garde music
|
()

REVIEW My Name Is Albert Ayler offers a close reading of the titular musician, a saxophone colossus who pushed the emotional limits of free jazz, but it also tells a broader story about the strange currents of American avant-garde music. Interviews with Ayler's churchgoing Ohio family, New York City compatriots, and Scandinavian admirers trace a particular, though by no means atypical, passage. Read more »

World of echo

Deerhunter's Bradford Cox takes a solo flight as Atlas Sound
|
()

It's been 20 years since My Bloody Valentine released their breakthrough album, Isn't Anything (Creation) — long enough for it to be wound up in a younger generation's musical DNA. Read more »

"From San Francisco to Silicon Valley"

Many viewers may recognize the city as they know it: construction, do-not-enter road signs, and a distant skyline
|
()

REVIEW The camera loves San Francisco. Weather, light, hills, and landmarks all make it primary fodder for photographers, too many of whom hew to the postcard views. Known for his architectural documentation of the industrial outer rings of Europe's cities, Italian photographer Gabriele Basilico came to the Bay Area to capture its transitional developments: Silicon Valley and the San Francisco of strange buildings and telephone wires. Read more »

Elastic band

Cryptacize dials up cosmic sing-alongs on Dig that Treasure
|
()

After struggling to settle into a listening routine with Dig That Treasure (Asthmatic Kitty), the sprightly debut from Bay Area trio Cryptacize, I decided to take the recording for a walk. Buoyed by the sudden spring weather, I floated down Harrison to the candy-striped fuzz of "Heaven Is Human," and before long, found certain street noises complementarily weaving their way into the track. Read more »

Noise Pop: Joy Rides and Darby Crash test dummies

Noise Pop's film program encompasses labors of love and cheap shots
|
()

› a&eletters@sfbg.com

In the current glut of music biopics and documentaries, it seems any band or scene worth its salt in influence and innovation is fair game for the big screen. Chalk it up to corporate tie-ins or affordable filmmaking equipment, Behind the Music or DIY videozines, but chances are your favorite group will someday make it to a theater near you. Read more »