Film Features

Bubblin' crude

There Will Be Blood — and auteur geysers
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johnny@sfbg.com

The Kodak Theatre is no country for old women — or for young women, based on the most archetypal American movies of this awards season. A few months after a Coen brothers' bro-down brought the silencer heard 'round the world and the bowl cut seen 'round the world, Paul Thomas Anderson returns with There Will Be Blood, an even more male-dominated, United States–is–his story. Read more »

The Year in Film: Rest in pieces

Our monument to cinema in 2007
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Good-bye, movies of 2007, we hardly knew you. Auteurs to ashes, digital to dust. Read more »

Year in Film: Johnny Ray Huston's Top 12

A dozen keepers from 2007
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1. En la Ciudad de Sylvia (José Luis Guerín, Spain). Pure cinema, and perhaps even lovelier than the women it watches and to whom it pays tribute.

2. You and I, Horizontal (Anthony McCall, UK) and Relaxation One and Relaxation Two (Sarah Enid, US). McCall's installation at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was once-in-a-lifetime-visionary; Yayoi Kusama would be wowed. Read more »

Year in Film: Cinema 2007

A bevy of top 10s, rants, and raves
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COVER STAR RICHARD WONG'S VIEW OF 2007

I feel like I've only seen about 10 films this year, so my list would basically be No Country For Old Men, I'm Not There, and Beowulf (two of those movies were painful, they were so aesthetically pleasing — guess which ones). But I'm going to say Paranoid Park was a huge influence on me this year. The risks it took and its loose narrative and utter disregard for convention were extremely inspiring. Read more »

Year in Film: Tonight we dine in hell

A look back at 2007, for better and mostly worse
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cheryl@sfbg.com

Ah, 2007: as of this writing, the five top-grossing movies of the year were three-quels (Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End), a chunk of Harry Potter's golden calf (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), and the world's flashiest ad for eBay (Transformers). That the biggest box office hit (Spidey raked in more than $336 million) was also the biggest disappointment is only fitting in a year that was characterized by new heights of hype. Read more »

Year in Film: The other side of the mirror

The year the rock biopic swelled with self-awareness
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Is defining I'm Not There the same thing as defending it? Todd Haynes's kaleidoscopic antibiography of, to quote the tagline, "the music and many lives of Bob Dylan" has inspired all sorts of platitudes since it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, so many that it's hard not to feel late for the party only a few months after. Read more »

Year in Film: Cartooning the war

Transformers and 300 turn the conflict into comic book blockbusters
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kimberly@sfbg.com

Oh! What a lovely war! At least that's the overall tone of the most popular movies reflecting our current conflict, surge, or however we're marketing it this week as it conveniently combusts so far from all of the happy $3.50 a gallon gas-guzzling Best Buy shoppers, out of ear- and eyeshot on the other side of the world.

Moviegoers have been avoiding Iraq's realities in droves — this much the producers of The Kingdom, Lions for Lambs, In the Valley of Elah, Redacted, and others can attest. Read more »

Year in Film: Things we lost in the theater

Score one for escapism, zero for political reality
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The economy: Apocalypse Now — or at least soon. Iraq: No End in Sight. Israel: "Putting Out Fire with Gasoline (Theme from Cat People)." China, in its role as the principal backer of our colossal national debt: I Spit on Your Grave. Read more »

Year in Film: Number nine -- with a bullet

At least the fourth-best article ever about the folly of top 10 lists
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There is something pretty silly, it seems to me, about knocking the concept of the top 10 list. Not in the way that it's silly to knock year-end awards and nominations, which is kind of like taking the bold position that Joseph Stalin was a prick. No, top 10 lists, being the choices of individuals (sort of — I know I at least can be easily influenced), are not nearly worthless enough for that. Read more »

Year in Film: Western promises

Back from pasture -- cinema's cowboys of 2007
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Though it's been pronounced dead so often and for so many years, the western lived again in 2007, sprouting like a gnarly weed through a cracked desert shelf. These new-millennium westerns, however, are a little tougher, a little wiser, and more prone to fits of sadness and moments of darkness.

It is said that most, if not all, American presidents since 1952 have screened High Noon (1952), one of the old model westerns, at the White House, and some have claimed it as their favorite movie. Read more »