Film

Gimme Moors

Andrea Arnold offers a raw take on 'Wuthering Heights'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights has inspired multiple films, as varied in quality as the 1939 Best Picture nominee starring Sir Laurence Olivier — and the 2003 made-for-MTV adaptation, in which "Heath" is a pouty, motorcycle-riding himbo. The source material may seem an odd choice for acclaimed British director Andrea Arnold, best-known for 2006's Red Road and 2009's Fish Tank, both gritty films about working-class people, unfussily shot using hand-held cameras.Read more »

Darker than dark

'Not Necessarily Noir III' film fest roars into the Roxie

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM It is one of those hard truths one must learn to live with: Quentin Tarantino will always have seen more obscure exploitation movies than you. His new Django Unchained will arrive just in time for Christmas like a gift wrapped severed limb, leaving dedicated fanboy/fangirl types just weeks yet to immerse themselves in the world of spaghetti westerns to which it pays homage.Read more »

The rescuer

'Gigli' is forgiven: 70s thriller 'Argo' is Ben Affleck's best yet

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM A decade or so ago, Ben Affleck was drowning in Bennifer mania and starring in schlock like Daredevil (2003) and Gigli (2003). Rumors percolated that Affleck and Matt Damon hadn't really written that Oscar-winning script for 1997's Good Will Hunting — though Damon's career was bearing more fruit at the time (see: 2002's The Bourne Identity), the "Jenny From the Block" video was nauseating enough to make anyone question the authenticity of anything Affleck-associated up to that point.Read more »

The big show

Pioneering producer Irwin Yablans talks baseball, disco, and his favorite holiday
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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM/LIT Any horror fan can tell you that John Carpenter directed and co-wrote 1978's Halloween. But it would require a slightly more credits-obsessed moviegoer to recognize the name of behind-the-scenes maestro Irwin Yablans.Read more »

Zombie dogs! Neeson! Southern-fried jail tales! And more, in this week's new movies

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It's finally Halloweentime! (Though Walgreens would have you believe that season started in August.) Hollywood prepares appropriately with a few spookier picks (for kids, Frankenweenie, reviewed below; for older crowds, found-footage anthology V/H/S, discussed in my interview with some of the filmmakers here.) For good measure, you can check out my interview with Dee Wallace, star of some horror classics but making the press rounds for the 30th anniversary Blu-ray release of E.T. The Extraterrestrial.

Of local interest, the Mill Valley Film Festival is up and running, with some stellar picks noted here (HOLY MOTORS!) and an interview with indie pioneer Allison Anders, who debuts her new Strutter at the fest, here.

And, as always, there's more. Read on for takes on films like The Paperboy and Taken 2, which each define "trashy entertainment" in their own special ways.

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Gruesome discovery

'V/H/S' filmmakers discuss the bros and cons of found-footage horror
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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM In the summer of 1999, horror fans hungered for something, anything, that wasn't a Scream-inspired self-aware slasher.

Though it had no stars, a microscopic budget, and was filmed in nausea-inducing shaky-cam, The Blair Witch Project burst into cinemas with a novel set-up — filmmakers lost in the woods record supernatural goings-on before falling victim to evil themselves — and scares galore. Towering box-office receipts, a Time magazine cover, and legions of rip-offs ensued.Read more »

Northern promises

MILL VALLEY FILM FEST: Our picks of the litter

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On the Road (Walter Salles, US/France/UK/Brazil, 2012) Walter Salles (2004's The Motorcycle Diaries) engages Diaries screenwriter Jose Rivera to adapt Jack Kerouac's Beat classic; it's translated to the screen in a streamlined version, albeit one rife with parties, drugs, jazz, danger, reckless driving, sex, philosophical conversations, soul-searching, and "kicks" galore. Brit Sam Riley (2007's Control) plays Kerouac stand-in Sal Paradise, observing (and scribbling down) his gritty adventures as they unfold. Read more »

Indie indeed

MILL VALLEY FILM FEST: Allison Anders stays true to her roots with lo-fi 'Strutter'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM The 35th Mill Valley Film Festival is a star-studded affair, with tributes to Dustin Hoffman and 1977's Star Wars and celebrity guests (Ben Affleck! Ang Lee! Stevie Nicks!), but indie cinema fans won't want to miss Strutter. It doesn't have any movie stars, but it comes courtesy of indie heroes Allison Anders (1992's Gas Food Lodging, 1993's Mi vida loca) and Kurt Voss, Anders' co-director and co-writer on 1987's Border Radio and 1999's Sugar Town.Read more »

To be Dee

Ms. Wallace talks aliens and zombies
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We were here

Detropia chronicles urban decline in a fresh light

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FILM "I feel like I was maybe here, a while back. Or I'm older than I really am, and I just have this young body and spirit and mind — but I have a memory of this place when it was bangin'," says video blogger Crystal Starr in new doc Detropia, gazing at the Detroit skyline from an abandoned building somewhere on the West Side, puffing a little joint.Read more »