Film

The awful truth

'The Central Park Five' examines a shocking crime — and its troubling outcome

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Early last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 15-film shortlist from which the five Best Documentary nominees will be culled. There are some strong contenders — including The Waiting Room, set at Oakland's Highland Hospital — but two of 2012's highest-profile docs were oddly absent: Amy Berg's West of Memphis (which opens locally Feb. 8) and Ken Burns' The Central Park Five, which opens Friday. It might be ironic that both films are about injustice.Read more »

Dirty jokes

'Honk If You're Horny' brings retro porn to the YBCA

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TRASH It has been noted that most people didn't experience "the Sixties" until the Seventies, at least in terms of all that Free Love and chemical entertainment. But even at the latter decade's most indulgent junctures, many people's minds remained stuck in the Fifties — sniggering about the very idea of sex, using terms like "boobies," insisting women be gorgeous idiots and men perma-adolescent clods.Read more »

Le grand career

A delightful series shines a new spotlight on French comedian Pierre Étaix

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father and law

Make time for sensitive indie drama 'In the Family'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM With a running time of just under three hours, writer-director-star Patrick Wang's In the Family rewards patient viewers with its quietly observed tale of a man battling for custody of his son.Read more »

HoleHead, Brad Pitt, and more: new films!

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This week: Brad Pitt earns forgiveness for that cringe-inducing Chanel commercial with Andrew Dominik's gangster thriller Killing Them Softly, plus uncomfortable-yet-poignant drama Starlet, which just picked up the Film Independent Spirit Awards' Robert Altman Award. Both films are reviewed below the jump.

Also! Check out my rundown on the Another Hole in the Head film festival, an annual event stuffed with catnip candy for fans of horror, sci-fi, and cinema du sick 'n' wrong. (If you love Franco Nero, John Saxon, Henry Silva, and guys with 1970s mustaches fighting in junkyards like I do, don't miss my top pick: Eurocrime!)

Other movies opening this week include period detective flick Dragon (it stars Donnie Yen, so you know what that means: sweet fight scenes); and Henry Jaglom's latest, family drama Just 45 Minutes to Broadway (at the Roxie). Read more »

Chopping spree

'Tis the season for ghouls and gore at Another Hole in the Head film fest

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Unlike the San Francisco Independent Film Festival's flagship event and its popular DocFest, which more or less put roots down at the Roxie, genre fest Another Hole in the Head spreads its horror, sci-fi, and just plain weird wealth around to various venues. Yeah, the Roxie's still on its list, but HoleHead also hosts events down 16th Street at the Victoria Theater, and at SOMA's Terra Gallery and the Vortex Room — the latter an inspired addition, given the Vortex's reputation as a haven for mondo cinema.Read more »

GOLDIES 2012: Jamie Meltzer

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GOLDIES He may be a filmmaker, but the inspiration for Jamie Meltzer's first feature-length documentary came while he was flipping through the bins at a record store.

"I found this song-poem compilation," Meltzer remembers. At the time, he was a San Francisco State University MFA student. "It was such an amazing, undiscovered-to-me subculture that I started making the film that day. It took me two years to go around and meet all of these song poets and musicians, but it really started in the record store."Read more »

Presidents, secret agents, and true stories galore: new movies!

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The election is over and, thank Zeus, good defeated evil. So you can stop making snarky Romney gifs and turn your attentions to more important matters — like seeing Lincoln (yeah, he was a Republican, but as Spielberg's movie makes abundantly clear, Democrats were actually the bigger assholes back in the day). Or, you could see what ol' James Bond is up to in his 4785th film, Skyfall (just kidding — it's his 23rd, so Godzilla still has him beat). Reviews for both below the jump.

Elsewhere, DocFest opens tonight and runs through Nov. 21; check out my take on this year's programming (spoiler alert: lots o' good stuff) here; and read Dennis Harvey's review of a very strange movie starring a very strangely coiffed Sean Penn, This Must Be the Place.

And ... as if that would be everything going on in San Francisco's film scene this week? Are you new in town? There's also the San Francisco Film Society's local showcase Cinema By the Bay (my overview here) and New Italian Cinema programs; the always-popular (and now 10th annual!) San Francisco Transgender Film Festival; and Marc Huestis' multi-film tribute to the late, great Natalie Wood at the Castro.

PLUS more short takes, including the good word on Ursula Meier's acclaimed Sister, below. Read more »

Goth-hmm city

Sean Penn takes a bizarre road trip in 'This Must Be the Place'

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This much is true

Pirates, politicians, ogres, and cults: DocFest highlights

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM The San Francisco Documentary Film Festival returns for its 11th year with a typically strong program — whether you like your docs quirky, political, musical, experimental, or just plain strange, DocFest has you covered. Plus, there's an "80s New Wave Sing-a-Long," because who doesn't love screaming Spandau Ballet with a few hundred pals? Read on for more recommendations.Read more »