RANT/FILM I'm all for the current bicycle renaissance in San Francisco. As the Indian summer heats up, you'll notice the bike lanes will be nose to tail with bikers — like a line of baby elephants. This is a good thing. Maybe the notoriously free-form, Tijuana driving style of SF residents will ease up a notch and they'll return to mowing down pedestrians exclusively. There's safety in numbers.
Of course, every revolution has its drawbacks. There's always going to be that crew that wants to convince the world they're that much more revolutionary, devoted, and pure than everyone else. Read more »
(1) Sarah Polley makes her public debut as a director in the glitzy embrace of a Roy Thompson Hall gala for Away from Her, with the seats packed to the rafters, and gives the audience a manifesto on the importance of government funding and support for Canadian cinema. Yeah! Sarah Polley for cultural ambassador. Read more »
FEST REPORT I'm writing hours after the start of the Toronto International Film Festival's 31st edition. Opening nights are a ritual for film festivals, and this one is no exception. The big show is always a Canadian feature: this year it's Norman Cohn and Zacharias Kunuk's The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, the follow-up to the same team's hit from five years ago, Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner. Read more »
ACTION HERO Soft-spoken and dare I say, petite, Tony Jaa hardly looks like the kind of guy who could annihilate a room full of underground pit fighters. Of course, anyone who's seen Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior knows this appearance is deceiving. The 30-year-old Thai superstar's latest film, The Protector, features elephants and a one-take sequence of, as Jaa describes it, "me fighting the bad guys from the ground floor to the fourth floor" — but, as in Ong-Bak, there are no CG, wires, or Jaa stunt doubles during the fight scenes. Read more »
HAIRY SITUATION "Trog has a beautiful Victorian," Matthew Martin says after giving me the address of the house where he and his castmates are rehearsing their upcoming stage production. A day later I arrive at said residence and am ushered through the front door, where cast members from Trog! Read more »
Playing with his balls
MLB 06: The Show
(Sony; Sony PSP)
GAMER This was supposed to be a review of the FIFA World Cup game, but I hate soccer. So instead I am covering this totally awesome baseball game. The Show is something like the 10th generation of these games from Sony. So if you've been keeping up, there are few changes in the playing of the game itself. Instead there are some cool new features.
First of all, when custom-creating a player, you can load in personal photos and put your own face or someone else's on the player's head. Read more »
ACTRESS AND AUTHOR If you love to watch cult movies and pay tribute to the stars that make them great (and in San Francisco, who doesn't?), Peaches Christ's Midnight Mass screening of Death Race 2000, featuring a live appearance by Mary Woronov, is something special. Woronov isn't your average actor — she's a painter, great writer, and performer whose roots in the Playhouse of the Ridiculous are often unjustly obscured by her Warhol-era exploits, both of which predate her Roger Corman–produced bouts with Hollywood. And Death Race 2000? Read more »
TV Based on the preview episode and the season debut, here is our handy racing form for the new season of Project Runway. Whether or not they rhymed fashion with passion in their video auditions, all the contestants better pray that Nina Garcia finds their work "aesthetically pleasing." Michael Kors? He looks like he fell into a vat at Orange Julius.
Bradley Baumkirchner Whimsically flying below the radar: 8-1
Laura Bennett Megarich Manhattan mother-of-five with architectural experience and a possible unholy diva streak. Wendy Pepper with posh accent? Read more »
MOVIE STAR "You can tell that it's cheap by the smell of the fabric!" Veda Pierce says, wrinkling her nose when her mother, Mildred, gives her a dress.
You can tell 1945's Mildred Pierce is a classic film by the depth of its shadows. And you can tell that Ann Blyth — however Veda-rific and villainous — is the kind of class act Hollywood doesn't make anymore, the no-nonsense type who doesn't have an unkind word to say about anyone. Particularly when you ask about Joan Crawford.
"I can only speak from my own experience," Blyth says. "She was terrific to work with and very kind to me. Read more »