Film

C'mon inside "Silent House" with co-director Laura Lau

|
(0)

Yep, it's another remake of a foreign horror movie — but Uruguay's La casa muda is obscure enough that Silent House, which recycles its plot and filming style, feels like a brand-new experience. Co-directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, last seen bobbing in shark-infested waves for 2003's similarly bare-bones Open Water, apply another technical gimmick here: Silent House appears to be shot in one continuous take.

Though it's not actually made this way, each shot is extraordinarily long — way longer than you'd expect in a horror film, since the genre often relies on quick edits to build tension. Instead, the film's aim is "real fear captured in real time" (per its tag line), and there's no denying this is one shriek-filled experience.

Read more »

Green Film Fest shorts: Just Do It

|
(0)

Activist ire need a jump start? The Green Film Festival takes over Japantown's San Francisco Film Society Cinema now through Wed/7. Go for tidings on the fight for our planet around the world -- documentaries, expert panel presentations, and short films will be taking place. Check out Ali Lane's previous reviews from the festival here.

Just Do ItRead more »

Green Film Fest shorts: The Global Catch

|
(0)

Chins up, enviros -- this week there's a slew of movies showing that prove that you're not alone in fighting the good fight. The Green Film Festival takes over Japantown's San Francisco Film Society Cinema now through Wed/7, and includes looks at exciting new forms of activism, as well as the film work from intrepid whistleblowers the earth over. Drop through for tidings on the fight for our planet around the world -- documentaries, expert panel presentations, and short films. And be sure to check out the rest of Ali Lane's reviews of Green Fest flicks.

Sushi: The Global Catch

The opening of this film shows Tokyo chef Mamoru Sugiyama carefully placing gorgeous transparent and artistically sliced pieces of nigiri atop perfectly formed mounds of vinegar rice, in his Michelin-starred restaurant kitchen. If you’re the kind of person who loves sushi, this scene makes your mouth water. It’s such a cruel tease. The film proceeds to tell you all the reasons why your San Franciscan appetite for sushi, so geographically remote from the land of its creation, is actually a very destructive thing. Read more »

Green Film Fest shorts: You've Been Trumped

|
(0)

Activist ire need a jump start? The Green Film Festival takes over Japantown's San Francisco Film Society Cinema now through Wed/7. Go for tidings on the fight for our planet around the world -- documentaries, expert panel presentations, and short films will be taking place for the next six days. Check out Ali Lane's review of Blood in the Mobile (screening Sun/4), and stay tuned for more Green Film Fest reviews next week. 

You’ve Been Trumped

If you needed another reason to hate Donald Trump, besides the crazy hair and enormous ego, this is the film to watch. Turns out he’s destroying Scotland! The documentary follows the land preservation efforts of the town of Aberdeen in Scotland, in the face of the development of Trump’s new multi-million dollar golf resort. The entire project is based on international tourism, bound to generate huge carbon costs associated with jetting people to what Trump claims will be the “world’s greatest golf course.” Read more »

Awesome explosion

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim get a billion to make a movie — and promptly blow it all — in Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie.

|
(0)

FILM It's almost impossible to describe Adult Swim hit Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, but "cable access on acid" comes pretty close. It's awkward, gross, repetitive, and quotable; it features unsettling characters portrayed by famous comedians and unknowns who may not actually be actors. Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, who are much more low-key than the amplified versions of themselves they play on the show and in the new Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, discussed the spoils of cult fame the morning after a recent screening in San Francisco.Read more »

Green Film Fest shorts: Blood in the Mobile

|
(0)

San Francisco is, famously, home to film festivals that wanna make a difference. The Transgender Film Festival, the Anti-Corporate Film Festival, the Bicycle Film Festival -- the list and cameras roll on. There's a reason for all these cinematic communes. The power of a film festival to make people sit down and hang out with open eyes and enough snacks to keep them in one place is formidable. It's prime time to absorb information -- or just catch that activist flame that the whipping winds of a presidential election year can threaten to extinguish. 

This week, the second annual Green Film Festival hits the big screen starting today, from Thu/1-Wed/7, taking over the must-see-if-you-haven't-yet SF Film Society Cinema in the basement of Japantown's New People mall. So thrilled were we by its enviro-conscious, better world-making fervor (and its capable, enjoyable program of films) that we will be running brief reviews of its offerings for the next four -- business, c'mon now -- days. Here's the first of these, a Sun/4 screening that explains the connection between conflict and Africa and your cell phone. Read more »

Dame good fun

Seedy delights from the 1930s sleaze up the Roxie in "Hollywood Before the Code: Nasty-Ass Films for a Nasty-Ass World" 

|
(0)

arts@sfbg.com

FILM What with the internet, the paparazzi, Rupert Murdoch's CIA-level spy techniques, and the general displacement of actual news by "celebrity news," it's pretty hard these days for a star of any sort to keep their debauchery private. Not like the good old days, when Hollywood carefully stage-managed publicity and only those who'd become a real liability risked having their peccadilloes exposed.Read more »

Son burn: "We Need to Talk About Kevin" review

|
(1)

It's inevitable — whenever a seemingly preventable tragedy occurs, there's public outcry to the tune of "How could this happen?" (Exhibit A: recent events in Ohio.) But after the school shooting in We Need to Talk About Kevin, the more apt question is "How could this not happen?"

Lynne Ramsay (2002's Morvern Callar) — directing from the script she co-adapted from Lionel Shriver's novel — uses near-subliminal techniques to stir up atmospheric unease from the very start, with layered sound design and a significant, symbolic use of the color red. While other Columbine-inspired films, including Elephant and Zero Day (both 2003), have focused on their adolescent characters, Kevin revolves almost entirely around Eva Khatchadourian (a potent Tilda Swinton) — grief-stricken, guilt-riddled mother of a very bad seed (played as a teen by Ezra Miller, at age seven-ish by Jasper Newell, and as a baby by Rocky Duer).

Read more »

Talking with "We Need to Talk About Kevin" director Lynne Ramsay

|
(0)

As I sat in a hallway at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, waiting for director Lynne Ramsay to finish a photo shoot with We Need to Talk About Kevin star Tilda Swinton, I realized that Kirsten Dunst was stepping over me. I quickly stood up, apologetically, just in time to let a sunglasses-wearing Kiefer Sutherland pass by. They were both doing interviews for Lars Von Trier's Melancholia.

But there was no time for stargazing: I was about to chat with one of cinema's most important filmmakers, the creator of Ratcatcher (1999) and Morvern Callar (2002). As Swinton, Ramsay, and I headed down the hallway, passing paparazzi, I reached out for Ramsay's coat and said, "Don't lose me!" Ramsay grabbed my arm, pulled me into the crowd and said, "We're sticking together."

Read more »

The war at home

A veteran filmmaker returns with the Oscar-nominated In Darkness

|
(0)

FILM Agnieszka Holland is that kind of filmmaker who can become a well known, respectable veteran without anyone being quite sure what those decades have added up to. Her mentor was Andrzej Wadja, the last half-century's leading Polish director (among those who never left). He helped shape a penchant for heavy historical drama and a sometimes clunky style not far from his own.Read more »