Film Features

It came from San Francisco

Or, the creature from the deep Presidio: how to make the beast at the heart of The Host, the best monster movie of the 21st century
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Crazed sea lizard terrorizes Seoul! US military negligence spawns bloodthirsty mutant! Breaking news: beast came from San Francisco!

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's The Host is just a movie, so the red, white, and blue can't really be blamed for unleashing a monster on his country's populace. But Bong's beast came to life in a part of San Francisco steeped in military history. Read more »

We are going to eat you!

America ain't "The Host" with the most
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By Cheryl Eddy

cheryl@sfbg.com

Director and cowriter Bong Joon-ho insists that The Host is not really anti-American, and I'd agree. More accurately, it offers an incisive take on US foreign policy, echoing 2004's double punch of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Team America: World Police. The key difference is that The Host isn't homegrown, so it's not dabbling in self-satire. Read more »

Bong hits the mainstream

The antiestablishment answer to Spielberg arrives
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johnny@sfbg.com

When I first saw Bong [Joon-ho]'s new film, The Host ... I recovered a long-dissolving hope for the future of movies.... I had heard about this Korean monster flick ... Read more »

God of monster

An interview with Boon Joon-ho
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At the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival — blissfully far from any rivers concealing flesh-eating aquatic life forms — I spoke (through a translator) with Bong Joon-ho, director and cowriter of The Host.

SFBG I've read that you make films you yourself want to see. Are you a fan of monster movies, and have you always been?

BONG JOON-HO I'm a fan of several monster films, but I was not necessarily fascinated exclusively by them. Read more »

Views of Iwo Jima

Japanese responses to Clint Eastwood's Oscar contender
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Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima has been met with near-unanimous stateside praise for its humanistic portrayal of the infamous 1945 battle. It became the first film primarily in the Japanese language to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar — on Feb. 25 it vies for an Academy Award in that category and three others. Read more »

Academy fight song

Our Oscar dreams
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First things fuckin' first: I know I'm not the only film fan who's still pissed about Crash winning over Brokeback Mountain in 2006's Best Picture race. In fact, let's change the subject before I punch the nearest preachy ensemble drama (look out, Babel!). Cinemaniacs actually have a bigger problem this year, with the prospect of an Academy Awards ceremony chockablock with predetermined winners. Read more »

Underworld meets underground

William E. Jones uncovers hidden stories in porn's dark edges
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johnny@sfbg.com

A freeway is viewed from a distance in pitch-black night as oncoming white dots (the fronts of cars) and retreating red dots (their backs) hop like tiny Lite-Brites from one spot to another. It's a cinematic atmosphere as potent as a dream; this first shot from William E. Jones's Film Montages (for Peter Roehr) isn't the kind of image one might associate with porn. In fact, highly poetic urban documentary was commonplace in '70s and early '80s gay porn. Read more »

Snoop on the East side

The Lives of Others looks at peepers
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"Christmas on Earth" in February

Forbidden and Taboo
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The pull quote snagged by most critics from John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus was Justin Bond's quip "It's like the '60s, only with less hope," delivered while surveying the myriad sexual couplings and groupings in his salon's back room. Bond's pithy line encapsulated the film's ideal of community through polymorphous perversity, even if that vision is tempered by an awareness of the initial sexual revolution's blind spots and a hangover from the 20 years of sexual-identity politicking in its wake. Read more »

Brutal fucking movie

An exquisite corpse review of Inland Empire

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A corpse is a corpse, of course, of course. And no one can talk to a corpse, of course. Unless, of course, that corpse is brought to you by the famous Mr. David Lynch. Read more »