Film Review

The great pretender

A legend crashes and burns in 'The Armstrong Lie'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

If something appears too good to be true, the saying goes, it probably is. Take Lance Armstrong, who beat cancer to become a cycling superstar, winning the grueling Tour de France a record seven consecutive times. He vehemently denied using performance-enhancing drugs until January 2013, when he 'fessed up during a tastefully choreographed sit-down with Oprah. By that point, the big reveal wasn't that he'd doped his way to athletic glory — it was that he was finally admitting to it.Read more »

Keep it reel

Docs from India highlight the SF International South Asian Film Fest

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Life's work

Desperation breeds determination in 'Dallas Buyers Club'

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Beware Canadians — they may walk softly, but they carry a big hockey stick. The country next door has always had a bigger influence on American life than generally thought, especially at the movies. Mary Pickford, the medium's first superstar, was Canadian; so, a century later, are Ryans Gosling and Reynolds, Jim Carrey, Ellen Page, Rachel McAdams, and Seth Rogen. Canadians have directed a lot of seemingly very American films, from 1982's Porky's to this year's Prisoners.Read more »

Hot and cool

Love story 'Blue is the Warmest Color' courts acclaim — and controversy

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The stars say the director was brutal. The director says he wishes the film had never been released (but he might make a sequel). The graphic novelist is uncomfortable with the explicit 10-minute sex scene. And most of the state of Idaho will have to wait to see the film on Netflix.Read more »

To hell and back

Steve McQueen's brutal, stunning '12 Years a Slave'

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Best of the Bay 2013: BEST DEFENDER OF INDIE AISLES

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Along with closely-affiliated nonprofit San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation, CinemaSF has stepped up to keep a pair of historic theaters located in non-trendy neighborhoods — the Vogue and the Balboa — alive and thriving, especially after a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year raised dough to ease the Balboa's digital-upgrade costs. Read more »

Exile on Main St. USA

'Escape From Tomorrow' creeps inside the Mouse House

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Escape From Tomorrow acquired cachet at Sundance this year as a movie you ought to see because it probably wouldn't surface again — not because it was that bad, but because any regular release seemed sure to be legally blocked. The reason was its setting, which composites two of the most photographed (and "happiest") places on Earth. They're also among the most heavily guarded from any commercial usage not of their own choosing.Read more »

Survival mode

'The Summit' and 'Captain Phillips' offer authentic thrills

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cheryl@sfbg.com.

FILM Eye of the tiger, baby. The fight for survival is a dominant theme this season at the movies, with astronaut Sandra Bullock grappling for her life in Gravity; lone sailor Robert Redford piloting a leaky boat in All Is Lost; and Tom Hanks battling Somali pirates in Captain Phillips. (More on that film — directed with trademark urgency by Paul Greengrass — in a moment.)Read more »

Eat your meat

Indie horror director Jim Mickle talks 'We Are What We Are'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM The title of Jim Mickle's latest film sums up the attitude of the Parker family: We Are What We Are. We eat people. Our human-flesh cravings go back generations. Our dietary habits have become our religion. And that's just the way it is — until teen sisters Iris (Ambyr Childers) and Rose (Julia Garner) start to have some doubts.Read more »

Go north, film fan

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If you're gonna make the journey across the Golden Gate Bridge, the movie better be worth it, right? Fortunately, the 2013 Mill Valley Film Festival boasts a stellar schedule. Read on for our top picks.
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