FILM Ah, the mid-1990s: a time when two big-budget movies on the same subject were regularly released within months of each other (1997's Volcano and Dante's Peak; 1998's Armageddon and Deep Impact). When a director named Roland Emmerich ascended into the blockbuster pantheon with Independence Day (1996), a film that's best-remembered for transforming Will Smith into an action star — and for that iconic shot of the White House exploding under alien death rays.Read more »
FRAMELINE FILM FEST In 1985, a new family moved into Nancy Thompson's house on Elm Street. Though the stairs no longer had the consistency of sloppy oatmeal, the window bars remained — and a certain razor-fingered fellow still lurked in the shadows. Teen hunk Jesse soon encountered Freddy Krueger in, where else, a nightmare — though this time, the murderous Freddy had a high-concept scheme: "You've got the body, and I've got the brains!"Read more »
Pit Stop (Yen Tan, US) One of the very best narrative features at Sundance this year, Yen Tan's drama nonetheless completely flew under the radar of media attention. It's a beautifully low-key tale of two 40-ish gay men in a Texas small town. Neither are closeted, but they aren't exactly fulfilled, either, both being in awkward domestic situations. Gabe (Bill Heck) is still living with angry ex-wife Shannon (Amy Seimetz) for the sake of their six year-old daughter. Read more »
FRAMELINE Each year Frameline's program vividly reflects issues that of late have seemed most urgent in the LGBT community — for many years, for instance, there was an understandably overwhelming amount of films about AIDS. Most recently, the fights for gay marriage and trans rights have dominated many a dramatic and documentary selection.Read more »
FILM After a banner 2012 and early 2013 — in which his 1958 Vertigo was named the best film of all time by Sight and Sound magazine; a critically-panned but still entertaining-enough biopic hit theaters; and a months-long career retrospective, "The Shape of Suspense," played the Pacific Film Archive — Alfred Hitchcock's revival continues. Next up is "The Hitchcock 9," a San Francisco Silent Film Festival showcase of nine silent films — nearly his entire 1920s output, all made before he turned 30.Read more »
FILM It's a typical day in Los Angeles for Seth Rogen as This Is the End begins. Playing a version of himself, the comedian picks up longtime pal and frequent co-star Jay Baruchel at the airport. Since Jay hates LA, Seth welcomes him with weed and candy, but all good vibes fizzle when Rogen suggests hitting up a party at James Franco's new mansion. Wait, ugh, Franco? And Jonah Hill will be there? Nooo!Read more »
FILM Austrian Ulrich Seidl has been making films since the early 1980s, but didn't get much attention internationally until 2001's Dog Days, a bleak and nasty ensemble piece about some seemingly ordinary — but all variably pathetic, ugly and/or perverse — Viennese suburbanites sweating through a heat wave. It was the sort of movie that demanded attention, being grotesque, funny, surprising, meticulously crafted, and arguably just plain mean.Read more »
Happy 80th birthday to the drive-in movie theater! We <3 you as much as Danny Zuko. And now that we're on the subject -- and not to be a total commercial or anything -- but this promo deal from ZipCar hyping Dexter via drive-in actually looks like fair compensation for becoming part of a network television hype machine if you have a gore-oriented date on your hands.