Film

Batman approacheth...but what to see THIS weekend?

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You already have your tickets for The Dark Knight Rises (opens July 20) — if not, you might want to get on that — but there's an entire week between then and now. Parental types are already locked into Ice Age: Continental Drift, which, in addition to Ray Romano and company, features teenage mammoths voiced by Nicki Minaj and Drake and a baboon pirate captain voiced by Peter Dinklage. So there's that. Cineastes won't want to miss the San Francisco Silent Film Festival (check out Dennis Harvey's tribute to featured filmmaker William Beaudine here).

The best of the rest includes an eye-opening doc about teen athletes being groomed for MLB in the Dominican Republic; a doc about a rebellious Tibetan Buddhist; a lush Marie Antoinette drama; a family drama set against the backdrop of a kite festival in India; and an Australian import about a dog whose scruffy brio united a hardscrabble community. Which one made me sob like a tween Belieber? Hint: its star has four legs and very pointy ears.

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How they do it in New York: 'Brooklyn Boheme' premieres, SFNY goes out with a bang

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Do people within a "scene" ever recognize it at the time? Does that self-awareness kill the vibe, or is it essential in forming a group identity? Perhaps the answers can be gleaned at the Thu/12 Bay Area premiere of hip-hop writer Nelson George's latest flick Brooklyn Boheme -- a documentary filled with glimpses of baby Rosie Perez, Erykah Badu, and Talib Kweli in the thick of their Fort Greene, Brooklyn heyday. The show's being thrown down by SFNY,  the three-year event series concluding this week that has connected SF and NYC with promises of slick DJs in fancy hotels and bicoastal culture swap.  Read more »

Abs! Abs! Abs! And a few other new movies...

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As a nation reacts with faux-surprise to the news of TomKat's demise, one question remains: what movie to see this weekend to ease the faux-pain? You could ogle Magic Mike's ludicrously luscious abs (review below); guffaw in spite of yourself at Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane's big-screen leap, Ted; or suffer through Woody Allen's latest, To Rome With Love (a big reason I won't be seeing it: Dennis Harvey's review).

You could get in line for The Amazing Spider-Man, which I have seen but am not allowed to whisper a word about until its opening Tuesday, July 3. Ahem.

Or, you could hit up the Roxie, which is opening both a strange nugget of sci-fi-ish weirdness and a Beat-gen classic (and while you're there, pick up tickets for the theater's July 6 kung-fu double feature). Also of note: Canadian Léa Pool's eye-opening documentary about "breast cancer culture." Reviews below.

OR, you could get a jump start on the holiday by watching the most patriotic movie of all time, probably screening on a basic cable channel as you read this. Welcome to Earth!

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DO go in the basement! Lost Weekend's new Cinecave opens this week

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Exciting news rumbling from beneath Valencia Street's staunchly independent Lost Weekend Video: the micro-theater Cinecave is opening this week with events Thu/29 and Fri/30, after an awesomely successful Kickstarter campaign. The 25-seat screening room, available for members of Lost Weekend's Cineclub (join at the store), boasts real movie theater seats, a brand-new screen, and kickin' sound system.

So, what-all's gonna go down in the Cinecave? According to Lost Weekend's Kickstarter page:

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Pixar! Vampires! And more new movies to tide you over 'till the return of a certain web-slinger...

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This week: Frameline continues. Where have you been?

Hollywood's great hopes this week involve, as Game of Thrones would say, "the pointy end": the arrow-slingin' grrl rebel (a character type that's all the rage lately) in Pixar's Brave and and the monster-staking activities of the 16th prez in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. (Let's be honest, Abe: mash-ups are kinda 2001, and vampires are so 2008.) Our reviews below.

Also from the factory of mass-marketed dreams is Steve Carell's uninspiring road trip into the apocalypse, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Read Dennis Harvey's review here.

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In case you have time between Frameline screenings: new movies!

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This week: Frameline, Frameline, Frameline! Our coverage here. Ticket and schedule info here.

Hollywood's two big releases are the Adam Sandler-Andy Samberg arrested-development yukfest That's My Boy, and the Tom Cruise hair metal musical Rock of Ages. If you're excited about either, you probably aren't the type of person who gives two shits what movie critics say. Just a guess. So, enjoy. As you were.

Also of note for movie fans: the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society opens "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: San Francisco and the Movies" this weekend. It features work by Madeleine Ellster herself, Kim Novak, plus:

"The exhibition paints a picture of the amazing breadth of the Bay Area’s film history and filmmaking community, using educational text panels, photographs, posters, vintage cameras, movie props and other objects. Slide shows, lectures, book signings, oral history recordings, screenings, and multimedia will also be part of the exhibition."

(I can't confirm there will be a Harry Callahan street shootin' simulator, but that would be pretty awesome, no?)

But back to the movie theater:

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Zombies are so last week. This week: ALIENS RULE!

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Prometheus, fuck yeah! Finally, after way too many spoiler-y trailers, Ridley Scott's new sci-fi epic reaches theaters. My review below, along with a few others this week worth seeing, if aliens and such don't float your boat. (But seriously, Prometheus! Worth seeing, even if aliens don't float your boat.)

Also worth checking out: the Pacific Film Archive's series highlighting local experimental talent Nathaniel Dorsky (Max Goldberg's write-up here) and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' exciting "New Filipino Cinema" programming (Dennis Harvey reports here, with a bonus midnight-movie DVD recommendation here).

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Demand and ye shall receive: Wolfe enters the realm of VOD

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Good news for fans of the watch-movies-at-home lifestyle (stay tuned for tomorrow's post aimed at new-movies-in-the-theater junkies): just in time for Pride season (and just a week ahead of Frameline 36, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival), Wolfe — "the largest exclusive distributor of gay and lesbian films" — launched a worldwide video-on-demand service.

Zip on over to Wolfeondemand.com to check out the 30 titles available for instant streaming (kind of like Netflix, you "rent" the film for viewing via home computer, iPad, iPhone, or even iPodTouch). The company plans to have its entire library of features and docs available eventually, but for now, check out films like Tomboy, which spent just a brief time in Bay Area theaters last year but was among Guardian critic Lynn Rapoport's top three of 2011 (read her review here).

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Rites of passage

Three consecutive Sundays of Nathaniel Dorsky's resplendent films at the Pacific Film Archive

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the theater: new movies!

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Admit it: you've already searched showtimes for Piranha 3DD (I totally did). It wasn't screened for critics (duh). There's plenty more to report on in the world o'cinema, however, including buzzed-about indie The Color Wheel at the Roxie and Smith Rafael (check out Ryan Lattanzio's review/interview here) and the latest from Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom (Michelle Devereaux has mixed feelings here).

By dint of its cast (which includes an Oscar winner, a vampire baby mama, a superhero, and a cocksucker), Snow White and the Huntsman will probably rake in the most of any new movie. But is it worth seeing?

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