YEAR IN FILM Before Bruce Willis saved Bonnie Bedelia at Nakatomi Plaza, he was David Addison, detective-agency foil to Cybill Shepherd on Moonlighting. Then, after some multi-genre foreplay (1987's high pedigree rom-com Blind Date, an iffy pop album), Willis charmed the pants off America in 1988's Die Hard, sliding — gritty and glistening — down an air duct to escape the film's fiery climax.Read more »
YEAR IN FILM Two of 2012's finest, most philosophical, and most frustrating movies share a setting of sorts. Although one film takes place in New York, the other in Paris, both films' protagonists spend a lot of time in their white stretch limousines. The limo: an ostentatious symbol of status and wealth, a home away from home.Read more »
YEAR IN FILM Cluck as you may, it was only a matter of time before the chicks started rewriting those chick flicks. Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, and their peers represent the girls — how politically incorrect — in all their messy, sexy, oozy, frizzy-haired, fallible, flabby, and unflappable glory. And this year saw a major meeting in the ladies room, films out real soon, that poked fun at women's work, relationships, identities, and insecurities.Read more »
YEAR IN FILM Perhaps the backlash was inevitable. Any film that so flawlessly wows its initial audience in turn begins to receive a lot more scrutiny down the line, and there are definitely things about This Ain't California to scrutinize. Billed as a documentary, yet centered around a character who may not actually exist, This Ain't California details the unlikely rise of a rebellious East German skateboarding scene hidden from view behind the Iron Curtain.Read more »
1. Cosmopolis(David Cronenberg, Canada/France/Portugal/Italy) During the five times I watched this brilliantly slow-burning, transcendental flick, I saw dozens of audience members fall asleep, walk out early, and complain all the way down the corridor of the Embarcadero Center Cinema hallways. I had to watch it that many times (plus read the book and have countless late-night discussions) just to try and wrap my brain around this era-defining exploration of what it means to be a (hu)man in the Y2Ks. Read more »
YEAR IN FILM "Oh — ninjas." "Argo-fuckyourself!" Any number of unprintable exclamations from Django Unchained. After a silent beginning to 2012 — courtesy of Best Picture winner The Artist — the year in film has proven to be quite quotable, not to mention memorable and even celebration-worthy.Read more »
FILM To paraphrase Christmas Vacation (1989), 2012 is poised to deliver the biggest late-December film glut since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Fucking Kaye. From Wednesday, December 19 to Tuesday, December 25, no less than 12 new movies are opening in the Bay Area, doomsday be damned.Read more »
Oscars and Golden Globes are one breed of animal — critics' groups are another beast entirely (hopefully, of the more free-thinking, out-of-the-box type). At the lively annual meeting of the San Francisco Film Critics' Circle Sun/16, several races came down to just one or two votes' difference. But we muddled through (there was wine, there were cookies) and came up with a slate of winners I'm proud to report here.
One more week until Hollywood unleashes a mighty flood of new films, in honor of noted multiplex fan Baby Jesus. This week's only big release is Peter Jackson's return to Middle-earth, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which at two hours and 46 minutes is definitely a pee-before, bring-snacks-to-eat-during experience. My review below the jump, along with takes on the Alan Cumming showcase Any Day Now and Israeli coming-of-age drama The Matchmaker.