Film Review

Spaghetti eastern

Johnnie To's Exiled (John) Woos Leone
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cheryl@sfbg.com

How many times am I gonna have to rave about Exiled before you go see it? It's been a year since I first caught it at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival; the 2007 TIFF starts Sept. 6 and features Mad Detective, Johnnie To's latest collaboration with Wai Ka Fai (Fulltime Killer). Needless to say, I'll be first in line at that flick — and perhaps, like Exiled, it'll play the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival before finally opening in theaters. Read more »

Bedsit cinema of '60s England

"The British New Wave" at Pacific Film Archives
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The early '60s French new wave gets imitations and retrospectives and books galore, but in terms of homage, the British new wave of roughly the same era hasn't been gifted with much more than a number of Smiths 7- and 12-inch singles covers and some Morrissey lyrics. Read more »

Domestic disturbance

Emotion trumps class in Live-In Maid
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When Argentine director Jorge Gaggero's first feature opened theatrically in New York about a month ago, East Coast film critics responded very enthusiastically. Read more »

Fall Arts: Before and after Halloween

A killer croc, a sultan of suave, and eight other reasons to look at movie screens this fall
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cheryl@sfbg.com

1. Death Sentence Not to be confused with The Brave One (see "Popcorn — and Human Pies"), but you're forgiven if you do: old-school vigilantes are the new hotness. Splat packer James Wan (Saw) directs this adaptation of Brian Garfield's novel — the sequel to Death Wish — in which a brush with violence turns a mild-mannered dude (Kevin Bacon) into the human equivalent of Judas Priest's Screaming for Vengeance. (Aug. 31)

2. Read more »

Fall Arts: I screen, you screen

58 ways to rep Bay Area film this fall
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johnny@sfbg.com

"Switching Schools Sucks" Jesse Hawthorne Ficks serves up a triple dose of teen alienation: Pump Up the Volume, Footloose, and the Andrew Stevens–starring, Heathers-influenced Massacre at Central High.

Aug. 31. Castro Theatre (info below)

"Rebels with a Cause: The Cinema of East Germany" Perhaps the most expansive retrospective of East German film in the United States, spanning from the early 1960s to 1990.

Sept. 1–Oct. 27. Read more »

Fall Arts: Popcorn -- and human pies

Fresh Coppola and eternal winter in a fall new-movie top 10
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

1. Across the Universe Stage visionary (The Lion King) turned occasional film director (Titus, Frida) Julie Taymor's latest attracted advance attention of the wrong kind. Revolution Studios found her final cut of this Vietnam War–<\d>era musical drama — whose characters break into Beatles songs — too surreal and abstract, reediting it without her consent. Read more »

Faithfully unfaithful

Love and friendship in Melville's Le Doulos
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The world of Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Doulos (a.k.a. The Stoolie, 1963) is an incredibly complicated one. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that its inhabitants are ex-cons, petty thieves, snitches, and ambiguous lovers, all of whom are as loyal as they're unfaithful. Or maybe the complexity emerges from the strong sense of honor and morality that these underground characters share.

Maurice (Serge Reggiani), a robber, is sent to prison because somebody snitches on him. He's willing to believe that it was his best friend, Silien (Jean-Paul Belmondo), who betrayed him. Read more »

Arcade fire

Who is the true King of Kong?
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cheryl@sfbg.com

"That ape is very cunning, and he will do what he needs to, to stop you." This nugget of wisdom, tossed off by a spectator who's hoping to witness a record-setting Donkey Kong score, is at once simple and poignant — much like The King of Kong, which chronicles the rivalry between two of the game's elite players, both men in their 30s who take the pursuit of arcade excellence very, very seriously. Read more »

Might makes wrong

War Made Easy and No End in Sight
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A couple of years ago, filmmaker Thom Anderson remarked to me that all films about war, even those that aim to show its injustice, are prowar.Read more »

New! Odd! Fantastic!

Dead Channels film fest goes Postal
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Cheryl@sfbg.com

Rampaging genitalia, families of half-wits, towns shielding deadly secrets, and the end of the world — yep, there are good times to be had with the selection of new films in Dead Channels: The San Francisco Festival of Fantastic Film. The most buzzed-about title, Uwe Boll's Postal (it's a war-on-terror comedy that pokes fun at Sept. 11, among other topics; Seinfeld's Soup Nazi plays fun guy Osama bin Laden), wasn't available for prescreening. Read more »