When Let Me In — the film which dares an Americanized do-over of 2008 Swedish import Let the Right One In — was first announced, fans of the original film let rip synchronized screeches of "Whyyyyy?", shortly followed by angry, ten-point arguments as to why Hollywood is really sucking balls lately. Consensus was that Let the Right One In, which picked up armloads of festival and critical awards (including the San Francisco Film Critics' Circle's Best Foreign Language Film honors), was not a film that deserved to be put through the remake machine. Sure, it only made a couple of million bucks stateside, but maybe it wasn't the kind of film (unlike 2008's similarly vampire-themed Twilight) that the masses were supposed to gobble up. After all, it had subtitles. Such a drag.
Matt Reeves, he of Cloverfield (2008) and Felicity fame, is aware of the fanboy-hater contingent that awaits his latest release. His Let Me In is a largely faithful retread, with some recognizable kid actors — Kodi Smit-McPhee (stronger here than he was in last year's The Road) and tween It Girl Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick Ass) — and the lure of legendary British horror house Hammer (back in the producing biz after decades) helping him attract audiences. I suspect many people who'll go see Let Me In may not have seen Let the Right One In — either because the original's release wasn't wide or lengthy enough, or because of that whole foreign-film bias. (Also, diehard fans of the first film may boycott the new version, just on principle. Hey, I did it with the recent A Nightmare on Elm Street, which in my mind NEVER HAPPENED).
Gotta say, though, Let Me In could have been worse than "faithful," which is way better than "redundant" or "totally offensive." Reeves, who penned the script from John Ajvide Lingqvist's novel (Lindqvist himself wrote the script for the 2008 film) stays true to the material, shifting the action to the snowy New Mexico mountains and injecting some Cold War and new wave flair into the 80s setting. I spoke with him recently, just after the film's screening at Austin, TX's Fantastic Fest — coincidentally the very festival where Let the Right One In won the Jury Prize for Best Horror Feature in 2008. He kindly put up with my many remake-themed queries.
San Francisco Bay Guardian: How was Fantastic Fest? Read more »
District 2 supervisorial candidate Janet Reilly is running to represent San Francisco's most conservative political district, and even though she has the support of many progressive groups and the local Democratic Party, she's running on a platform of mostly conservative positions. She opposes all the revenue measures on the November ballot and argues that closing the big budget deficits the city faces in coming years should involve “more fiscal discipline” and making cuts to wasteful city programs and the city money going to nonprofit groups.
But when asked how she'd be an improvement on incumbent Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier, an uncompromising conservative who consistently votes against the board's progressive majority, Reilly says that she has good relationships with local leaders off all political stripes and will therefore be able to play a key role in facilitating good policy discussions and compromises.
By this time it's old news that Lynette Sweet, current BART Board Budget Committee chair and District 10 supervisorial candidate, has some issues with the Internal Revenue Service. She owed the IRS taxes going back to the year 2000, and the consequent lien on her property exceeded $20,000 in 2007.
Every time a new Woody Allen film arrives (a near-annual event since 1969) the same old, lazy complaints (“It’s not one of his best”) arrive faster than you can say “pontificate.” Yet 10 or 20 years later it seems that somehow many of those uncelebrated films seem to become “one of his best.” See Broadway Danny Rose (1984), Husbands and Wives (1992), or Sweet and Lowdown (1999).
With his latest entry, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (opening locally Fri/1), Allen delivers another pitch-perfect mini-guide to the hilarious horrors of growing old … something Allen (according to the director himself, speaking at his Toronto International Film Festival press conference) wouldn’t wish on anyone. What looks and feels like a whimsical rom-com about aging is, in fact, a sobering and even paralyzing blueprint of what exists in most relationships or marriages. Don’t let the fun and breezy vibe of quirky narration deter you. Not only is there more of a bittersweet edge to Allen’s familiar archetypes, but the UK-produced film works as a perfect counterpart to Mike Leigh’s latest monument Another Year (2010). I wouldn't be surprised if Stranger's Gemma Jones earns an Oscar nomination for her performance in what will surely be one of the year's most truthful films.
In 2008, San Francisco voters elected Chris Jackson to the Community College Board, where he serves as Budget Chair. And from 2007 until spring 2010, Jackson worked as a policy analyst for the San Francisco Labor Council. Those experiences helped convince Jackson, whose grandfather came from Mississippi to work at Hunters Point Shipyard, of the pressing need for the next D10 supervisor to promote progressive policies that help working class families remain in San Francisco. Read more »
Ah! The sun! Would that I weren't typing this in a cafe with an excessive amount of windows. Or that I was in one of San Francisco's last stalwart salons to eschew the wired world. That's right, there are still cafes out there that don't have wireless Internet. Spots where you can sit your sweet self down and feel absolutely no urge to chain-check your Facebook newsfeed.
These are places where you're still keeping up with your double soy latte joneses, but are forced to devote your attention to finishing (continuing, starting, rueing) your multi-dimensional wade through Gravity's Rainbow. Or to eavesdropping on your neighbors' conversation about the recent spate of cats on leashes sightings. Or even – gasp! – have a conversation of your own. And should all the actual reality get to be to much don't fret, I don't believe these places are confiscating iPhones. Yet.
OK there are like a million parties going one this week -- and I'm just getting started. (Hurray first hangover of Folsom Street Fair weekend! That means I'm over the hump now, right?) Here are a few more good ones I couldn't squeeze in to this week's issue ....Whip it up!
Kele (formerly Kele Okereke) played an invigorating, dance-oriented, and quite tipsy set at Mezzanine, mixing songs from new album The Boxer with hits from his other act, Bloc Party. Best of all, he stripped down quite early in the set, leaving the mixed crowd panting for more.
Under the benevolent neon rainbow of Twin Peaks Tavern, a bearded man with a battered trunk strolls up and addresses a group of people seated at café tables in the little plaza tucked beside the F-Market turnaround at Castro and 17’th. It’s the sort of thing that happens a lot in San Francisco, the difference in this case being that the figure is none other than Walt Whitman (robustly channeled by No Nude Men’s Ryan Hayes), and the assembled crowd a diverse group of Fringe Festival patrons,
Castro habitués, and curious bystanders sucked in by the moment. Average of build yet bold of purpose, this is not the “Old Father Graybeard” of Allen Ginsberg’s “A Supermarket in California”—but rather a younger, lustier Whitman, who perambulates easily about the crowd and speaks desire to the bustle of passerby and impatient streetcars.
No one was really surprised when the Redevelopment Commission voted 4-0 not to renew Arc Ecology’s contract to provide environmental information services regarding remediation plans at Hunters Point Shipyard and award it to Circle Point. Read more »
The Janet Reilly for District 2 Supervisor campaign today announced its endorsement by Angela Alioto, the former supervisor, mayoral candidate, and aunt of the current incumbent, Michela Alioto-Pier, who endorsed Reilly rival Mark Farrell in the race. Hmm, I wonder how this will go over at the next family gathering.Read more »
Not all of us are brave enough to face up to a future of robots farming vast high rises of our fruits and veggies. But Tim Donohue is. And not only does he have the same last name as me, but he's also started a think tank called Key4Hope, which is mainly comprised of friends and family and examines just how we can solve all these bothersome social-environment-economic-psychological kerfuffles we find ourselves in these days.
Yes indeed – and you can see the surprisingly technical (Donohue has a master's in international relations from San Francisco State) results of these down home solutions on the group's website. Fancy a close-knit cabal from Mountain View solving such quandries! Of course this interview is not to endorse what they've come up with. But the point is that they're talking about change. And as Donohue told us in a recent phone interview, it's really more about getting the conversation started.
Boiling outrage over the city's boundary-pushing crackdown on San Francisco nightlife may have slowed to a simmer since the spring, when overzealous enforcement efforts (harassing club owners, confiscating computers from DJs, dumping booze down the drain like Prohibition Era agents, etc.) prompted back-and-back cover stories in the Bay Guardian and SF Weekly. But the fallout is still unfolding in ways that could eventually cause real problems for the city.Read more »
Multiple Mary and Invisible Jane Aerial dance company Flyaway Productions uses an 80-foot wall offered up by the UC Hastings College of the Law to perform its new, site-specific dance created for the Tenderloin. If you’ve never seen aerial dance before, get ready to hold your breath as you watch dancers careen, tumble, and pirouette some seven stories up into the stratosphere. But the social justice themes for this performance keep its spirit on the streets, while dancers soar through the air: Multiple Mary and Invisible Jane was choreographed by Jo Kreiter to narrate the experience of homeless women in San Francisco, in a neighborhood where extreme privilege and poverty collide. Today and Thu/18 at noon and 8pm; Fri/19-Sat/20 at 8 and 9pm; free. UC Hastings School of the Law, 333 Golden Gate, SF. www.flyawayproductions.com
ATA Lives! - Gallery and screening venue Artists' Television Access marks its 30th anniversary with a month of events honoring a long track record of unique, boundary-pushing, subversive programming. Tonight, the ball gets rolling with a program of works by current and past ATA staffers; tomorrow afternoon, buckle up for a 30-hour marathon curated by Other Cinema programmer and ATA co-founder Craig Baldwin, among others. The weekend closes out with a special edition of Mission Eye & Ear, a live-cinema series that facilitates collaborations between experimental filmmakers and composers. 8pm, $7-10. Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, SF. www.atasite.org
The Sam Chase - "The Sam Chase has a voice like a nun on the lam with a mouthful of cigarettes and curse words," according to the unconventional folk band's bio. Singer Sam Chase and his cast of five to seven backup players (on vocals, guitars, strings, horns, percussion, you name it) have been starting dance parties all over the Bay Area for the past half-decade, alternating whiskey-drinkin' party songs with rough-around-the-edges lullabies. Equal parts sweet and salty (and just as addictive as that sounds), with fellow local fave Rin Tin Tiger as an opener, this lineup is a solid choice to kick off the Mission Creek Oakland Music & Arts Festival. 8pm, free. Uptown Nightclub, 1928 Telegraph, Oakl. www.mcofest.org
The Bruce Lee Band - Mike Park has been one of the most important figures in the Bay Area music scene since founding ska band Skankin' Pickle in 1989. Since then, he's been in countless other groups, organized the Ska Against Racism tour, and started one of America's most respected DIY labels, Asian Man Records. The Bruce Lee Band is an all-star outlet for Park's musical ambitions, featuring members of several of his former bands in addition to members of MU330 and Bomb the Music Industry! The band has only been active sporadically, so its Bottom of the Hill show is a can't-miss occasion. 9pm, $12. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St, SF. www.bottomofthehill.com
Haight Street Music and Merchants Street Festival - Yep, it's another street fair on Haight — but this brand-new event has a highly local focus, since it's sponsored by neighborhood merchants. Expect three stages of music, kids' activities, a skate ramp, and more. Noon-6pm, free, Haight between Masonic and Stanyan, SF; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rentals - Despite being best known as a Weezer side project (singer Matt Sharp was the early-era bassist for the indie titans), the Rentals have a quietly devoted — and large — fan base of their own, who've been eating up sweet melodies and goofy Moog-heavy tendencies since the band re-formed in 2005. After a slew of well-received EPs, this year's Lost in Alphaville marks the band's first full-length since 1999, and it basically overflows with guest stars — among them, Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney and Lucius' Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig. One should expect to see a slew of diehards at this show, for good reason. With openers Ozma. 8pm, $20. Slim's, 333 11th St, SF. www.slimspresents.com
Rapture, Blister, Burn Aurora Theatre Company opens its 23rd season with Gina Gionfriddo's drama about three generations of women "struggling with feminism's foibles." Tue and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm); Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Sept 28. $32-50. Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk. www.auroratheatre.org