FILM Prison should be the most natural setting for film noir, as that's where most of the genre's protagonists are headed (if they don't get bumped off first), and where many of them have already been. But it's had spotty representation onscreen, with time served either skipped over in the narrative (how many pulp fictions start with a hard-luck protagonist just getting out of long-term for what's sure to be short-term freedom?), or dominating entirely.Read more »
FILM The current hand-wringing over whether an irresponsible entertainment industry corrupts our youth is notable for being such a blatant diversionary tactic by gun-control foes — their argument being a little beside the point, of course, since incidents are rather few of people being shot dead by a copy of Grand Theft Auto or a Saw flick.Read more »
Celebrating romance with power ballads, Spandex leggings, fancy panties
Although there are about 364 days of the year when I can do without it—one day of the year seems custom-made to celebrate the ignoble rise of hair metal and its greatest contribution to the musical landscape -- the power ballad. From “Love Bites” to “Is This Love,” “(I Can’t Live Without) Your Love and Affection,” to “The Power of Love” -- all the saccharine sentiment of brooding, pouty millionaires in ripped jeans, tight leather, and all those glorious manes -- power ballads can and probably should form the soundtrack to Saint Valentine’s Day now and forever. They so perfectly tap into both the cynicism of the single person facing “the dread VD” alone, as well as offering a soaring guitar-solo boost to the cuddly nostalgia of the happily coupled.
While innamorati for hundreds of years have used February 14 as a date to shower their beloved in flowers and cards, Jeff Ross and the SF IndieFest team have used it as another excuse to party, with an annual Power Ballad Sing-along at the Roxie Theatre. Just three years after its San Francisco debut (a similar party tears it up each year in Brooklyn), PBS pours its sugar and motors through the packed house, screening subtitled MTV videos turned up to 11 of all the best bands you’d love to forget to a theatre full of eager inebriates, cutting loose in a veritable bacchanalia of communal song.
FILM It is one of those hard truths one must learn to live with: Quentin Tarantino will always have seen more obscure exploitation movies than you. His new Django Unchained will arrive just in time for Christmas like a gift wrapped severed limb, leaving dedicated fanboy/fangirl types just weeks yet to immerse themselves in the world of spaghetti westerns to which it pays homage.Read more »
FILM It's not easy being a repertory cinema these days, even when you're the coolest (or only, or both) one in town. Hoping that this town is big enough for more than just one, at least for a few days, the Roxie this weekend is hosting a kind of cult cinema smackdown between itself and two more of the nation's finest such emporiums. Under the blanket title "Cinemadness!," the three-day marathon of rarities, oddities, and unbilled surprises challenges you to look away, or stay away — either way, your sanity will surely be shakier come Monday.Read more »
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 »