Film Review

Tale of two Valley Girls

Can they remake the totally tubular original?
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THE ORIGINAL It starts as a joke, but it rarely ends well. You pick up a piece of slang to make fun of it and then, at some point far too late down the line, realize you are physically incapable of putting it down. Read more »

SFIAAFF: Got fangs?

Why I like Finishing the Game director Justin Lin
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kimberly@sfbg.com

What a difference an indie blockbuster makes. The last time I spoke to Better Luck Tomorrow writer and director Justin Lin, he was energetically doing the grassroots festival rounds, beating the shrubbery on the importance of Asian Americans making Asian Pacific Islander films with empowered, complex characters. Yet judging from the craft, ideas, humor, and humanity that went into Lin's compelling final product, luck was only one part of it. Read more »

SFIAAFF: Freedom isn't free

Docs in competition at the SF International Asian American Film Festival explore the hell of war's aftermath
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cheryl@sfbg.com

Aside from one upbeat depiction of Hawaii's only all-male hula school (Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula), the nominees in the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival's documentary competition are nearly as similar in execution as they are in theme. Immigration tales, filmed in high-definition video from a first-person perspective, abound. Though homelands (Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, and Korea) differ, there's remarkable commonality among the subjects, who display the kind of internal scars only great suffering can inflict. Read more »

SFIAAFF: These monsters are real

Soju, bad sex, and deja vu in the films of Hong Sang-soo
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"Even though it's difficult to be human, let's not turn into monsters." This is said as a reprimand to Gyung-soo (Kim Sang-kyung), a mildly successful stage actor, by one of his colleagues early in South Korean director Hong Sang-soo's Turning Gate (2002). Read more »

SFIAAFF: 25 Alive: SF International Asian American Film Festival

A few good bets or better
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Blood money

Three movies explore why the US is broke
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Most Americans are fairly sure they are being screwed where it hurts most: in the wallet. But if they think they know why, it's usually a red herring, while the actual primary causes of shrinking financial stability remain obscured by propaganda, media inattention, and institutional stonewalling. By timely coincidence, three worthwhile documentaries opening this week shine some light on the matter. Read more »

Quite an interview: a talk with Judy Stone

The respected journalist dishes her views on film, books, and imbeciles
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"There's no craft. I'm just curious." To which I respond, "Are you sure?" as if this respected journalist could be putting me on. I've just read Judy Stone's new book of interviews, Not Quite a Memoir: Of Films, Books, the World (Silman-James Press). "How do you prepare your questions?" I ask. "I don't," she replies as I stare down at my list of prepared questions. Read more »

It came from San Francisco

Or, the creature from the deep Presidio: how to make the beast at the heart of The Host, the best monster movie of the 21st century
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Crazed sea lizard terrorizes Seoul! US military negligence spawns bloodthirsty mutant! Breaking news: beast came from San Francisco!

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's The Host is just a movie, so the red, white, and blue can't really be blamed for unleashing a monster on his country's populace. But Bong's beast came to life in a part of San Francisco steeped in military history. Read more »

We are going to eat you!

America ain't "The Host" with the most
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By Cheryl Eddy

cheryl@sfbg.com

Director and cowriter Bong Joon-ho insists that The Host is not really anti-American, and I'd agree. More accurately, it offers an incisive take on US foreign policy, echoing 2004's double punch of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Team America: World Police. The key difference is that The Host isn't homegrown, so it's not dabbling in self-satire. Read more »

Bong hits the mainstream

The antiestablishment answer to Spielberg arrives
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johnny@sfbg.com

When I first saw Bong [Joon-ho]'s new film, The Host ... I recovered a long-dissolving hope for the future of movies.... I had heard about this Korean monster flick ... Read more »