Film Review

Rare and juicy

"Loads of Curt McDowell" pays tribute to an underground legend

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FILM Longtime San Francisco resident George Kuchar's death this September was a reminder of how many had been influenced by his loveably eccentric movies, from famous early fans like Andy Warhol and John Waters to the hundreds of students who passed through his San Francisco Art Institute courses over the decades. Read more »

No bombshell

Williams works hard, but My Week With Marilyn is a hollow tribute

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I don't want to grow up

Punk-poppin' in The Other F Word

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TRASH The 1980s U.S. hardcore punk scene was one refreshing bastion of opposition in the Reagan era of militaristic, monetary, and quasi-"family values" conformism. But it was also increasingly a turn-off for folks who liked the music and the message but not the violence at shows.Read more »

Let's get lost

Skateboarding doc Dragonslayer coasts to a pretty picture of wasted youth

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FILM Dragonslayer tags along with Josh "Skreech" Sandoval, a Fullerton, Calif. skater celebrated for shredding pools and living a vagabond's life. First-time director Tristan Patterson fronts with the kind of side-winding portraiture that prizes sensory impressions instead of back-story, but whittle away Dragonslayer's loose ends and you end up with an unremarkable lost generation romance, a Bonnie and Clyde with lower stakes. Read more »

Blue Hawaii

A downbeat George Clooney shines in Alexander Payne's wry, restrained Descendants

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Alexander Payne turned 50 this year, and surely ranks somewhere on the list of American directors (and scenarists) whose efforts are counted on as a reliable plus. Yet he's only been at it for 15 years, making just five features — a decent number, until you realize it's been seven years since the last one. By contrast, since 2004 Woody Allen has made eight features, a couple his best in some time. Still, not one of those is as good as Sideways.Read more »

A decade of DocFest

Gamers, rappers, heroes, and more at SF's quirkiest festival

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A new England

Weekend's gay romance is remarkably unremarkable

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Recent urban unrest in London and elsewhere induced the same shocked response England has rolled out some years now at signs of what's been termed "Broken Britain" — as if it were a complete surprise that the poor won't always be content to suffer in polite near-silence. Propriety and gentility may be shrinking in the U.K., but they still have a powerful grip on the nation's sense of itself.Read more »

Twang on

Prepare to giggle (and gag) at Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Hillbilly horror is nothing new. Some might mark its heyday as the 1970s, a decade containing Deliverance (1972), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), The Hills Have Eyes (1977), and I Spit On Your Grave (1978). Others might point to Herschell Gordon Lewis' immortal Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964), probably cinema's most persuasive example of why Yankees road-tripping below the Mason-Dixon Line should never, for any reason, detour off the main highway.Read more »

Difficult loves

In praise of Raúl Ruiz's elaborate Mysteries of Lisbon

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Twee of life

Gus Van Sant's Restless delivers cute overload

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM For a while there it looked like Gus Van Sant, one of the most interesting U.S. directorial sensibilities of the last quarter-century, was going to settle for cashing the checks that have lured many an "edgy" artist over to the dull dark side. His mainstreaming began with the mixed rewards of 1995's To Die For, peaking commercially with 1997's Good Will Hunting; Finding Forrester (2000) and Psycho (1998) weren't justifiable choices on any terms.Read more »