Film Review

Occult classic

Tapping into the magic of Harry Smith
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Harry Smith is a folk hero. Smith's masterwork, the definitive, meticulously edited Anthology of American Folk Music (1952), was the bible of the ’60s folk movement that spawned Dylan, Baez, Fahey, and others. To discover it is to stumble into a forgotten, marginalized world, a portal to — as Greil Marcus put it in his book about Dylan's Basement Tapes — "a weird but clearly recognizable America."Read more »

After the Revolution

In Regular Lovers, it's 1968 all over again
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Mapping The Descent

Seeking scream therapy at the festival? Search no further
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cheryl@sfbg.com

What's worse than being trapped underground? How about being trapped underground with creepy cave dwellers — creepy, hungry cave dwellers? And maybe, just maybe, losing your mind at the same time? Believe the hype: British import The Descent is the scariest movie since The Blair Witch Project, thanks to a killer premise, flawless pacing and casting, and writer-director Neil Marshall's unconcealed love for the horror genre. Here we present a flowchart of The Descent's predecessors and influences.Read more »

Week one

Critics' short takes on the first week of SFIFF films
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Thurs/20Read more »

Cocky bull story

The Outsider pays tribute to the legendary ... James Toback?
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Erich von Stroheim and Orson Welles were early, defining examples of the film director living like a work of art larger than life, a wee bit self-destructive, and as entertaining as their movies. Yet looking, acting, and smelling like a great filmmaker doesn't necessarily mean you are one.Read more »

28 years later

Matt Gonzalez and director Stanley Nelson ponder the fate and impact of Peoples Temple and the truth behind the powerful new doc Jonestown
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If you live in or truly love San Francisco, you’ve seen The Times of Harvey Milk. Rob Epstein’s 1984 movie is one of the best nonfiction features ever made. It’s also one of the greatest movies about this city. Read more »

Un certain regard

L'Enfant is perfection as usual for the Dardenne brothers
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Like Bresson and Renoir did before them, the Dardenne brothers tend to inspire reviews using vaguely Christian words like transcendence from critics trying to describe the way a transparent film style can result in such fully formed, singular movies. At least one such reviewer has already referred to their newest masterpiece, L'Enfant, as a miracle, but, alas, it is not so. Read more »

Doomsday dream believer

A documentary uncovers Jim Jones's bad faith and the how behind the Guyana tragedy
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"We didn't commit suicide," Jim Jones gravely intones in an audiotape capturing the final moments of Jonestown. "We committed an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world."Read more »

Getting to know T.I.

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One thing to like about Clifford "T.I." Harris Jr.'s truthful intelligence is the fact that the straight-outta–West Atlanta MC chose XXL, not Entertainment Weekly, as the place to compare himself (in an interview) to Jennifer Lopez and Barbra Streisand. Anyone who's heard T.I.'s music or seen his videos may wonder where the hell that comparison comes from. This weekend will provide the answer — by the end of it, he hopes to have the number one movie (with the Chris Robinson–directed drama ATL) and album (with King) in the country. Read more »