Film Review

Lights, Jolie, action

In the Land of Blood and Honey is a respectable war movie — despite the superstar behind the camera

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The grudging, occasionally outright hostile tone some critics, culture vultures, and fan types have taken toward In the Land of Blood and Honey points toward a fundamental problem most of them have, though few admit it: the belief that Angelina Jolie is just too damn famous, too much a figure of public speculation and private fantasy, to be taken seriously — let alone to make a movie about rape and genocide during the War in the Balkans.Read more »

The unbearable triteness of being

Obnoxious I Melt With You is not destined for any top 10 lists

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FILM A lamentation frequently heard is that men don't know how to express their feelings. At least not the theoretically less "manly" ones of vulnerability, self-doubt, weepiness, affection, "do these board shorts make me look fat?," etc. Every once in a while, however, there comes an entertainment that makes you think: better to keep those feelings unexpressed, bud. Read more »

Silence is golden

Michel Hazanavicius triumphs beyond homage with The Artist

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FILM With the charisma-oozing agility of Douglas Fairbanks swashbuckling his way past opponents and the supreme confidence of Rudolph Valentino leaning, mid-swoon, into a maiden, French director-writer Michel Hazanavicius hits a sweet spot, or beauty mark of sorts, with his radiant new film The Artist.Read more »

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 »