Those long, well-dressed lines wrapping around the Castro Theatre signal the advent of the annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, now in its 18th year and popular as ever. Though the fest opened last night, programming continues through the weekend; check out my take on some of the films (including one of tonight's selections, 1928 rom-com The Patsy) here.
Elsewhere, in first-run and rep theaters, it's a robust week for openings. There's something for nearly every age and appetite (plus a few recommendations on what to avoid) in the short reviews below.
This week marks the opening of Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale Station, a moving look at Oscar Grant's final hours; it's an especially important film for Bay Area residents, but will likely have nationwide impact. Check out my interview with rookie writer-director Ryan Coogler here.
And, as always, there's more. SO MUCH MORE. Emily Savage writes about Peaches Christ's campy, vampy, celeb-filled tribute (Sat/13 at the Castro!) to 1996 cult classic The Crafthere.
FILM By now you've heard of Fruitvale Station, the debut feature from Oakland-born filmmaker Ryan Coogler. With a cast that includes Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer and rising star Michael B. Jordan (The Wire, Friday Night Lights), the film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, winning both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize en route to being scooped up for distribition by the Weinstein Company. A few months later, Coogler, a USC film school grad who just turned 27, won Best First Film at Cannes.Read more »
FILM Pop-culture historians who study 2005's top movies will remember Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the so-so action flick that birthed Brangelina; Batman Begins, which ushered in a moodier flavor of superhero; and Tim Burton's shrill Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.Read more »
This week: two musicdocs, a buddy-cop movie starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, and America's Sweetmeat Channing Tatum saves the White House and, ergo, the world. Plus, more! Read on for takes from our critics.
FILM/LIT A few weeks before our scheduled interview, Laura Albert mails me copies of 2000's Sarah and 2001's The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. Inscribed on Heart's title page is a note: "Thanks for being available to revelation." The volumes are signed "Yours, LA and JT" — the latter, of course, referring to JT LeRoy, the identity under which Albert penned both books.Read more »
Don't panic, art-house fans: you can still get your subtitle fix at Landmark's other San Francisco theaters (the Clay, the Opera Plaza) or at any of the chain's East Bay outposts (the Shattuck has the most screens, and it shows mainstream Hollywood stuff, too).
The 18-year-old Embarcadero is one of Landmark's busiest and most-profitable theaters, according to the chain. It will close starting June 28, with a targeted return of "early November" — so it'll be dark during much of the summer movie craze, but ready to receive any and all Oscar-type movies in the fall.
This weekend, Hollywood would ask you to choose between zombies vs. Brad Pitt, and spoiled teens who live by the mantra "I wanna rob!" (also, if you have younger kids, there's a new Pixar joint, too). Reviews for all after the jump, with special shout-outs to the very cool, very strange Berberian Sound Studio (essential viewing for fans of 1970s Italian horror films), and the tense Danish thriller A Hijacking.