Film

Once upon a time in Oakland

Director Ryan Coogler talks about Fruitvale Station, his acclaimed new film about Oscar Grant

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cheryl@sfbg.com

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 »

Depp stinks but Death rules: new movies!

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By now you've heard how much The Lone Ranger sucks (for more on that, my review here), so what else should you be spending your weekly movie-theater budget on? Well, the Roxie just opened a doc about Detroit band Death (Dennis Harvey breaks it down here), plus there's a new Pedro Almodóvar joint, a coming-of-age summer flick starring Sam Rockwell and Steve Carell as cool and not-so-cool father figures, and (since one Carell movie ain't enough) Despicable Me 2  — just the thing for the kidz who've already seen Monsters University.

Read on for our takes on these films, and more! Read more »

Hi-yo, stinker

The Lone Ranger: WTF happened to Johnny Depp's career?

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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 »

Live to tell

A new doc unearths long-lost Detroit band Death

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Buddy cops, a one-man army, a boozy doc, and more: new movies!

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This week: two music docs, 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.

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Still beating

Laura Albert and the ballad of JT LeRoy
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cheryl@sfbg.com

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 »

Embarcadero Center Cinema closing (temporarily) for renovations

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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.

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It's Frameline time! Plus Brad Pitt vs. zombies, robbin' Paris Hilton, and more in new movies

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Frameline37 is underway! Check out our coverage of the country's biggest, oldest LGBT film festival: Dennis Harvey's rundown of five docs about great gay men (including Gore Vidal and Divine); my interview with A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge star/"scream queen" Mark Patton; and a host of short takes by Harvey and Lynn Rapoport.

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.

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Elm Street state of mind

FRAMELINE 2013: Gay horror icon Mark Patton revisits 'Nightmare 2'

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FRAMELINE FILM FEST In 1985, a new family moved into Nancy Thompson's house on Elm Street. Though the stairs no longer had the consistency of sloppy oatmeal, the window bars remained — and a certain razor-fingered fellow still lurked in the shadows. Teen hunk Jesse soon encountered Freddy Krueger in, where else, a nightmare — though this time, the murderous Freddy had a high-concept scheme: "You've got the body, and I've got the brains!"Read more »

More to grow on

FRAMELINE 2013: Short takes and highlights from Frameline37

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Pit Stop (Yen Tan, US) One of the very best narrative features at Sundance this year, Yen Tan's drama nonetheless completely flew under the radar of media attention. It's a beautifully low-key tale of two 40-ish gay men in a Texas small town. Neither are closeted, but they aren't exactly fulfilled, either, both being in awkward domestic situations. Gabe (Bill Heck) is still living with angry ex-wife Shannon (Amy Seimetz) for the sake of their six year-old daughter. Read more »