Film

Noodles, street dancers, and more from the Tribeca Film Fesival

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The only-in-Noo Yawk perks of the Tribeca Film Festival? The proximity of theaters like AMC Loews Village 7 to repositories of ramen deliciousity like Momofuku Noodle Bar, a scant two blocks away. You can keep the free ketchup-flavored popcorn distributed by sponsors in front of other theaters. I’ll take Momofuku’s house ramen, which overwhelms with porky goodness (a.k.a. pork belly, pork shoulder) and comes with a soft poached egg and gotta-have-it fish cake, cabbage, and nori.

Momofuku’s mini mason jar of flavorful kimchi also makes an ideal spicy side to such Tribeca talkies as The Broken Circle Breakdown, Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton, and Flex Is Kings. Read more »

SFIFF + Hollywood = your weekend movie plans

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The San Francisco International Film Festival kicked off its 56th year last night; it continues through May 9 at venues around San Francisco and Berkeley. Read my take on standout docs here; Dennis Harvey's appreciation of Finnish cinema here; and short takes by both of us (plus Kimberly Chun) here.

Meanwhile, down in Hollywood, Michael Bay's musclebound latest opens today, along with a wedding comedy starring Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, and always-the-bride Amanda Seyfried. Reviews of both below, along with François Ozon's new film, a martial-arts slo-mo-stravaganza, and, yes, even more. Read more »

Nordic track

SFIFF offers an all-too-rare opportunity to appreciate Finnish cinema

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arts@sfbg.com

SFIFF "The greatest Finnish movie ever made" — drop that phrase on someone (at least a non-Finn) and they will most likely make some crack suggesting there can't possibly be enough of them for the distinction to matter. But Finland has had a rich and idiosyncratic filmmaking history stretching back to 1907. It hardly begins and ends with Aki Kaurismäki, the droll minimalist who was the first (and still only) Finnish director to regularly win international distribution.Read more »

Screening is believing

Five must-see documentaries at the huge San Francisco International Film Festival. Plus: Rare Finnish movies and a ton of SFIFF previews.

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Short takes: SFIFF week one

You're Next, Rosie, The Kill Team, The Patience Stone, and more reviews of film fest features

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SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

April 25-May 9, most shows $10-15

Various venues

festival.sffs.orgRead more »

Help fund Goldie winner Jamie Meltzer's latest doc!

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When I last spoke with filmmaker and Stanford assistant professor Jamie Meltzer, it was at the 2012 Guardian Local Outstanding Discovery (a.k.a. Goldie) awards ceremony. I selected him for that honor — the Goldies are meant to recognize up-and-coming artists who are making impressive work but haven't yet gotten widespread recognition — based on the two documentaries of his I'd seen: 2003's cult favorite Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story, and 2012's Informant, about a prickly activist-turned-FBI-informant-turned-Tea-Partier, which premiered at the 2012 San Francisco International Film Festival.

Well, chances are, that widespread recognition is soon to come Meltzer's way. Informant was picked up by Music Box Films for distribution (look for it late summer or early fall in the Bay Area), and his latest project, Freedom Fighters, sounds highly promising: "The film follows three exonerated men from Dallas, with 57 years in prison served between them, as they start their own detective agency to look for innocent people who are still behind bars," Meltzer wrote in an email late last week. "It's a documentary detective film — a documentary noir, if you will." (NPR broadcast a story about the men on April 16; listen here.)

I called him up to learn more, including details on the Kickstarter he just launched to help fund the next phase of shooting.

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Cruisin', obsessin', and drinkin': new movies!

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Hollywood is clearly bowing down to the power of Tom Cruise this week, opening no other contenders (sorry, Rob Zombie, The Lords of Salem doesn't count) to compete with what's sure to be an Oblivion-ated weekend box office. (And to be honest, the movie's big and dumb, but actually pretty entertaining. My review after the jump.)

Elsewhere, the must-see movie-obsessive doc Room 237 opens at the Roxie (check out my interview with director Rodney Ascher here; he'll be at the Roxie in person this weekend), and Dennis Harvey takes on a pair of imports that actually do fairy-tale adaptations proud: Blancanieves and Let My People Go! Also worth checking out is the latest from Ken Loach, a comedy about crime and whiskey ... what's not to love? My review follows.

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Things that make you go hmmm: new movies!

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Better order your popcorn with a side of open-mindedness this week, what with To the Wonder (meh) and Upstream Color (woo!) launching themselves at audiences. Less experimental types can settle for ensemble drama Disconnect or Scary Movie 5, the latest in the pop-culture parody series.

Read on for the rest of this week's new films, including the latest from Danny Boyle and Robert Redford, plus a perfectly-timed-to-maximize-on-the-start-of-baseball-season Jackie Robinson biopic.

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Stop making sense

'Upstream Color' is a head-scratcher — but it's worth it

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM A woman, a man, a pig, a worm, Walden — what? If you enter into Shane Carruth's Upstream Color expecting things like a linear plot, exposition, and character development, you will exit baffled and distressed. Best to understand in advance that these elements are not part of Carruth's master plan. In fact, based on my own experiences watching the film twice, I'm fairly certain that not really understanding what's going on in Upstream Color is part of its loopy allure.Read more »

All killer, no filler: new movies!

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Deadites, dino-junkies, indie supporters, doc watchers, foreign-film fans, "Hey Girl" lovers ... there's a little something for all y'all this week. (If you'd prefer to avoid the multiplex, check out the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' Pen-ek Ratanaruang series and/or the San Francisco Cinematheque's Crossroads fest.)

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