Film Review

Sturm und drang

German mini-series 'Generation War' offers a sudsy look back at WWII

|
(0)

Constructing change

Despite bureaucratic frustrations, an innovative high-school program elevates lives in 'If You Build It'

|
(0)

arts@sfbg.com

FILM Two of the most deep-rooted national-character-defining American tropes are a) that we are a profoundly self-reliant people, and b) the Horatio Alger myth that anyone can go from "rags to riches" if they have a good heart and a tireless work ethic.Read more »

Masterpiece theater

In 'Tim's Vermeer,' an inventor re-creates a priceless artwork using paint — and technology

|
(0)

cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM "I'm not a painter," admits Tim Jenison at the start of Tim's Vermeer. He is, however, an inventor, a technology whiz specializing in video engineering, a self-made multimillionaire, and possessed of astonishing amounts of determination and focus. Add a bone-dry sense of humor and he's the perfect documentary subject for magicians and noted skeptics Penn & Teller (longtime Jenison pal Penn "hosts," while Teller directs), who capture his multi-year quest to "paint a Vermeer."Read more »

England made him

A Michael York tribute highlights this year's Mostly British Film Festival

|
(0)

Ennui the people

Life lessons (my friend is an alien, what do I do?) abound at SF IndieFest as it turns sweet 16

|
(0)

cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM San Francisco IndieFest celebrates its Super Sweet 16 with multiple films presenting an appropriately teenage outlook on humanity: Most of the time, people suck. They suck in ways you expect, ways you don't expect, and ways you should have expected but chose not to, for your own sucky reasons.Read more »

Mann up

PFA lures Anthony Mann's crime noirs out of the shadows

|
(0)

Mumble, mumble, murder

A photographer shoots fake crime scenes in Joe Swanberg's meta-thriller '24 Exposures'

|
(0)

cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Joe Swanberg's latest film to play the Roxie, 24 Exposures, isn't actually his newest. That'd be family drama Happy Christmas, which just premiered at Sundance. Going by festival reviews, Christmas sounds like it's in the vein of Swanberg's Drinking Buddies — last year's Olivia Wilde-starring tiptoe into the mainstream, a departure for the indie writer-director-actor — with a marquee cast that includes Buddies' Anna Kendrick and hipster queen Lena Dunham.Read more »

Soft eyes

Chip Lord unearths unexpected details in urban landscapes

|
(0)

cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Chip Lord first came to public attention as a founding member of art collective Ant Farm (1968-78), which allowed him to explore his interest in alternative architecture via projects like the Cadillac Ranch installation in Amarillo, Texas. He later segued into teaching (at UC Santa Cruz) and video art, with works that include a long-running series examining city spaces. A San Francisco resident, he'll be at the Exploratorium this week screening a trio of urban-themed works.Read more »

Bee true

The documentaries of Berlin and Beyond

|
(0)

arts@sfbg.com

FILM It's January, and our premiere German language film festival, Berlin and Beyond, is back to its rightful place on the cinematic calendar after a year off for regrouping, kicking off the neues Jahr with films from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland — as well as Turkey and France.Read more »

A tale of two

Actor-director Ralph Fiennes brings Dickens' love life into focus

|
(0)

arts@sfbg.com

 

FILM No one reads Uncle Tom's Cabin today — Harriet Beecher Stowe's enormously popular novel that almost single-handedly tilted public opinion against slavery enough to support the Civil War — for anything but historical-footnote interest. Yet fellow 19th-century celebrity author Charles Dickens, who had nearly as direct and significant a reformist influence across the Atlantic, is still ubiquitous.Read more »