Film

Tony Scott: a tribute in trailers

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Director Tony Scott — the man who brought us fast cars and fighter planes piloted by Tom Cruise, runaway trains, vengeance (Denzel-style and Anthony Quinn-style), and magical spirit-guide Elvis in the bathroom mirror — died yesterday in an apparent suicide.

Though he never achieved the critical-darling status of his Oscar-nominated brother Ridley, Tony Scott's contributions to that most entertaining of movie genres, the popcorn blockbuster, cannot be overstated (unsuprisingly, many of his films were produced by the like-minded Jerry Bruckheimer). Herewith, a tribute in trailers. Explosions ahoy!

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Late-summer new movies: whole lotta eh (but T minus one month 'till 'The Master' opens!)

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A pair of new Asian films about demons, real and figural, open today: Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai and Painted Skin: The Resurrection. Dual review here. The San Francisco Film Society screens 1953 Italian omnibus Love in the City; review here.

Hollywood urges you to spend your dollah dollah bills on creaky action heroes (The Expendables 2); mystical, twee garden-children (The Odd Life of Timothy Green); stop-motion kids who see dead people (ParaNorman); and girl-group melodrama (Sparkle; review and trailer below). A few more options, too, after the jump. Read more »

Shall we dance? Our review of Naked Sword's SF sex party

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“At this San Francisco sex party, service comes with a smile”

I watched his engorged, throbbing penis emerge at the opening of the glory hole. Staring felt awkward, but I couldn’t peel my eyes away. Men were all over the room, some casually looking on, some men lounging naked on the couch. One guy was doing a nude figure drawing of his next conquest.   Read more »

"Bourne" again and other new movies!

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Big news this week out of the San Francisco Film Society: the Executive Director post, empty since the January passing of Bingham Ray (himself a replacement for the late Graham Leggat), has been filled. According to the organization's official press release:

"Ted Hope, one of the film industry's most respected and prolific figures, has been named executive director of the San Francisco Film Society (SFFS), effective September 1, 2012. In a surprise move, the veteran film producer and one of the most influential individuals in independent film will embark upon a new chapter in his professional life, leaving New York City, where he produced independent films through his companies Good Machine, This is that corporation and Double Hope Films, to lead the Film Society into the future."

This happy announcement comes on the heels of two pretty depressing ones: longtime SFFS publicity head Hilary Hart, one of the most beloved film PR figures in San Francisco (or any film community, I'd wager), was let go; and the organization opted not to renew its SF Film Society Cinema lease at Japantown's New People. However, "We'll still have plenty of one-off screenings and events at various locations, and our Fall Season festival programming is completely unaffected," says publicity manager Bill Proctor. (Speaking of, hot tip: killer-kid classic Battle Royale is up at SF Film Society Cinema through August 16.)

New movies? We got 'em. One more oldie-but-oh-so-goodie recommendation, plus, yeah, The Bourne Legacy and the rest, after the jump.

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When in Venice

An author struggles with his relationships in André Téchiné's casually intense 'Unforgivable'
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You, too, can win a gold medal in popcorn eating: new movies!

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This weekend, it's all about the Women's Marathon at the London Olympics! If my calculations are correct, I will have to basically stay up all night Saturday to catch the race (11am London time is uggghhhh our time), or descend into a spoiler-free cave where no NBC-borne spoilers can find me before the highlight reel.

Anyone needing a break from gorging on Olympic track and field coverage, however, has an array of options at the movie theater, including two standout docs about mystery men (The Imposter and Searching for Sugar Man) and William Friedkin's rip-roaring (and NC-17) latest, Killer Joe. Plus, Lovecraft!

Hollywood's big money is on the Total Recall remake, which stars an agreeable Colin Farrell and is directed with reasonable amounts of style by Len Wiseman (of Underworld series fame; naturally, wife Kate Beckinsale has a juicy part). But if you really want to see Total Recall, stick with the 1990 Verhoeven-Schwarzenegger version. The do-over adds nothing and contains zero quotable lines on par with "Get your AHH-SS to Mars!"

Short takes on other notable releases this week (including a Bresson revival, ooh la la) after the jump.

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Queens, aliens, isles of wonder, and more: what to watch this week

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My pick for movie of the week is The Queen of Versailles, a likely (I'm callin' it in July) inclusion on my top 10 list for 2012. Seriously, this doc is revealing, timely, surprising, beautifully lensed (by photographer-turned-director Lauren Greenfield), and affords an insidery peek into the mysterious borderlands between extreme weath and excessive tackiness.

Hollywood would like you to see either an alien-invasion comedy with Ben Stiller or the fourth Step Up entry ... you could do worse, but you could do better. Frankly, I'd pencil in The Queen of Versailles for your Saturday night, and settle in tonight for the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony, which comes complete with the amusement park-ish title "Isles of Wonder." All the buzz indicates that the extravaganza, directed by Danny Boyle (not known for his subtlety), will be one for the ages, or at least supply some juicy fodder for the meme generation.

Reviews of everything opening this week (spoiler: there's a lot) below the jump.

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Cell phone radiation documentary screens tomorrow

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The pre-screening wine bar won't erase the sinister implications of tomorrow's Artist's Television Access showing of Reconnect. On Sat/28, filmmaker Kevin Kunze will show a rough cut of the film that will make you think twice about answering your next phone call. Read more »

Batman and beyond: new movies

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Yep. It's here.

But THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN THE LATEST BATMAN MOVIE, PEOPLE! (Especially when this entry ain't even the best in the series. See my review below. And to those who would jump all over a critic for being a critic ... why so serious?)

First of all, the very excellent San Francisco Jewish Film Festival begins tonight. Check out our takes here (docs) and here (music docs).

Todd Solondz has a new one. Dennis Harvey reviews Dark Horse right herrre.

And the Lumiere is screening a digitally-remastered Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), complete with all the lines you love to quote and featuring a new 12-minute short, Terry Gilliam's Lost Animations. Read more »

Do not disturb

Todd Solondz's latest, the slight 'Dark Horse,' is not his greatest

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Todd Solondz elicits a variety of responses, nearly all of them extreme, and nearly all reasonable enough. You can look at his work and find it brilliant, savage, challenging; or show-offy, contrived, fraudulent. The circles of interpersonal (especially familial) hell he describes are simultaneously brutal, banal, and baroque.Read more »