Film

Pointy ears and freaky eyebrows: this week's new movies

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In Hollywood, summer starts in May, or even earlier ... give it a few more years and there'll be an Avengers tie-in movie ringing in the season in early February. This weekend's "summer" blockbuster is Star Trek Into Darkness, directed by J. J. Abrams, who was recently tapped to helm at least the first film in the "Star Wars sequel trilogy." Lotta stars in J.J.'s eyes these days. At least he's having fun with it so far (my review of Darkness after the jump).

Also this week: he'll soon be playing the villain in Man of Steel, speaking of summer blockbusters, but Michael Shannon first appears as a based-on-truth hitman in the very fine Iceman, reviewed here by Dennis Harvey. Also of interest, the first Himalayan Film Festival is now underway in various Bay Area theaters; I take a look at the doc-heavy line-up here.

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No justice, no piece

This weekend's Sex Worker Film and Arts Fest whores itself for social change

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caitlin@sfbg.com

SEX Speaking as a media professional who has been subject the past month to her PR push for this year's Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival (Sat/18-May 26), let me tell you that Carol "Scarlet Harlot" Leigh will stop at nothing to raise awareness about sex worker's rights.Read more »

Get high

A brand-new festival highlights Himalayan films

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM San Francisco has a lot of film festivals (understatement of the millennium), but none until now can claim to show "films from the roof of the world." The first annual Himalayan Film Festival kicks off this week with screenings in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. Opening night features the West Coast premiere of Leon Stuparich's Road to Peace, a doc that follows the Dalai Lama on his 2008 tour of the UK. Read more »

Assassination character

Michael Shannon is stone-cold stellar in 'The Iceman'

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The Performant: Forever young

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Rocky Horror turns 40, still crazy after all these years.

Who doesn’t have fond memories of their first Rocky Horror Picture Show experience? Ok, mine are mixed since the first time I saw it was on an old black-and-white television with my father, avoiding eye contact and trying not to laugh too hard at the ribald bits. It wasn’t until I finally saw it on the big screen in the company of peers -- armed with rice, noisemakers, and snarky quips -- that the full potential of its subversive pleasures revealed themselves more fully.

Part of the fun of repeated viewings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show is emulating the character you most want to be, and for a curly-haired, goth-inclined teenager, the clear choice was Magenta, whose stone-faced cool and extraterrestrial sensuality were so beyond the straitjacket of smalltown teenhood, that to walk an evening in her spike-heeled shoes was akin to a declaration of, well, something. Call it freedom. Peaches Christ does.

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Pick-up bball legends tell the tale of the game outside

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We're talking about basketball, NYC pick-up announcer legend Bobbitio "Kool Bob Love" and I, but our conversation is hardly hinging on the Warriors-Spurs match-up or LeBron James' shot at MVP this year. Rather, we're discussing the power of the men and women ballers on the playground -- a culture that Garcia and French filmmaker Kevin Couliau painstakingly documented for their film Doin' it in the Park, which begins its Bay Area run at the Clay Theatre on Thu/16. 

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Gatsby who? Check out these cool rep flicks instead! Plus: more new movies.

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This week: two, count 'em two, series dedicated to oft-overlooked films produced outside the mainstream, dedicated to the seamier things in life: "I Wake Up Dreaming 2013" at the Roxie (Dennis Harvey's take here), and "Girls! Guns! Ghosts! The Sensational Films of Shintoho" at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (I drool here.)

Short takes on wider releases below, including The Great Gatsby, a film adaptation that finally realizes F. Scott Fitzgerald's deathbed wish: that one day, his most beloved work would be shot in garish 3D. Clearly, only suckers read books anymore. Read more »

Crazy sexy cruel

"Girls! Guns! Ghosts!" spotlights Japanese cult studio Shintoho

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FILM Long before VHS demon Sadako glared one eye through a tent of tangled black hair in 1998's Ring (American viewers may switch that to "Samara" and "2002"), another angry, swampy-coiffed dame was doing her best to scare the bejesus out of ticket buyers. The year was 1825, and the kabuki play was called Yotsuya Kaidan. Ghost Story of Yotsuya, the 1959 version of that oft-filmed tale — which contains visual motifs made famous by J-horror — kicks off the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' titillatingly-titled "Girls! Guns! Ghosts! Read more »

Man up

Tough guys rule at "I Wake Up Dreaming 2013" noir film fest

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'Iron Man 3' and everything else: new movies!

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This week: the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival continues (our second week picks here); hippie cult doc The Source Family opens at the Roxie (my interview with the filmmakers, who were able to access vast amounts of archival footage shot by the group itself, here); and Iron Man 3 follows the exploits of Tony Stark, Lord of Winterfell. My review of that low-budget indie that you probably haven't heard of below, plus more! Read more »