Movies

Golden doodles

Oscar predictions (and wishful thinking) for 2013

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Still the fairest

Heigh-ho to 'Snow White' on her 75th birthday

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM One of the few upbeat by-products of the increasing infantilization of popular movies is that the same impulse to dumb down live action for permanently adolescent tastes also raises the bar for animation, which no longer has to target grade schoolers as its primary audience. Even not-so-special 2012 had more sophisticated and interesting animated features than you'd find in any given year a couple decades or more ago. Wreck-It Ralph won't win the Best Picture Oscar. But it will almost certainly be better than whatever movie does.Read more »

Bigger than Bigelow

Bin Laden thriller 'Zero Dark Thirty' courts controversy — and acclaim

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM There was hella hoopla over Kathryn Bigelow being the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director, for 2010's The Hurt Locker. It's a good possibility she'll soon be the first woman to win two directing Oscars, if Zero Dark Thirty's remarkable haul of critical kudos continues into statuette season.Read more »

No headbutting?

A Lee Child fan follows Jack Reacher to the big screen

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tredmond@sfbg.com

LIT/FILM The folding travel toothbrush is a central element in every Jack Reacher novel. It's his only possession, the only thing the wandering ex-military cop takes with him when he throws away his old clothes and buys new ones, the only thing that ties him directly to his old life in the U.S. Army. It's part of the Reacher formula, one that consistently works through 17 books by Lee Child.

It's not in the Jack Reacher movie.Read more »

Of grumpy cats and Kony kings

YEAR IN FILM 2012: The video memes we couldn't get off our screens

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YEAR IN FILM Welcome to "Shit Year-in-Film Writers Say"! This was a swag/YOLO year for video memes (vemes?): they helped take down a major presidential candidate (47 percent, baby), helped elect another presidential candidate (Obama hugging Sandy victims), made sure "Call Me Maybe" and "Somebody That I Used To Know" popped up in some form or other on our feeds all year. Also, if .GIFs count as videos — and 2012 was surely the year of the .GIF revival — then even McKayla Maroney is impressed. Forget Angelina Jolie's leg, texting Hillary, botched Ecce Homo, and stingray photobomb. Read more »

Respect your elders

YEAR IN FILM 2012: Step aside, Spidey: old dudes were the real superheroes of 2012

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By Sara Maria Vizcarrondo

arts@sfbg.com

YEAR IN FILM Before Bruce Willis saved Bonnie Bedelia at Nakatomi Plaza, he was David Addison, detective-agency foil to Cybill Shepherd on Moonlighting. Then, after some multi-genre foreplay (1987's high pedigree rom-com Blind Date, an iffy pop album), Willis charmed the pants off America in 1988's Die Hard, sliding — gritty and glistening — down an air duct to escape the film's fiery climax.Read more »

They see me rollin'

YEAR IN FILM 2012: The "limo operas" of 2012: 'Cosmopolis' and 'Holy Motors'

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arts@sfbg.com

YEAR IN FILM Two of 2012's finest, most philosophical, and most frustrating movies share a setting of sorts. Although one film takes place in New York, the other in Paris, both films' protagonists spend a lot of time in their white stretch limousines. The limo: an ostentatious symbol of status and wealth, a home away from home.Read more »

Chick it out

YEAR IN FILM 2012: A new wave of female screenwriters emerged in 2012

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arts@sfbg.com

YEAR IN FILM Cluck as you may, it was only a matter of time before the chicks started rewriting those chick flicks. Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, and their peers represent the girls — how politically incorrect — in all their messy, sexy, oozy, frizzy-haired, fallible, flabby, and unflappable glory. And this year saw a major meeting in the ladies room, films out real soon, that poked fun at women's work, relationships, identities, and insecurities.Read more »

This ain't a wrap

An unexpectedly controversial German film about skaters challenges the establishment in more ways than one.

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YEAR IN FILM Perhaps the backlash was inevitable. Any film that so flawlessly wows its initial audience in turn begins to receive a lot more scrutiny down the line, and there are definitely things about This Ain't California to scrutinize. Billed as a documentary, yet centered around a character who may not actually exist, This Ain't California details the unlikely rise of a rebellious East German skateboarding scene hidden from view behind the Iron Curtain.Read more »

Harvey's list

YEAR IN FILM 2012: Dennis Harvey's top narrative films and documentaries

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DENNIS HARVEY'S TOP 25 NARRATIVE FILMS OF 2012

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, US)

Bernie (Richard Linklater, US, 2011)

The Eye of the Storm (Fred Schepisi, Australia)

Fat Kid Rules the World (Matthew Lillard, US)

Footnote (Joseph Cedar, Israel, 2011)

Girl Walk//All Day (Jacob Krupnick, US)

Hermano (Marcel Rasquin, Venezuela, 2010)

Holy Motors (Leos Carax, France/Germany)

The Hunter (David Nettheim, Australia, 2011) Read more »