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The Entire 20th Century and Beyond: An Epic List of Movies from the Years in Which They Take Place

If cinema can be looked at as a gateway into time, then why has nobody put together a timelined map outlining which movies have taken place during which year? Not ...

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Yep, Another “Best of” List: The Best and Worst of 2014

Well, it’s time once again for me to share with the movie nerds webwide what I thought was the best that 2014 had to offer in cinema. This is not our Top 15 ...

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18 Nights of Dario Argento Films (1970 – 2012)

Thanks to our residential expert on all-things-Dario Argento we now have a trustworthy place to visit in order to weed out the good Argento films from the awful ones. Writer, ...

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Coming to This Year’s 58th SF Intl Film Festival: J.P. Sniadecki’s “The Iron Ministry”

The Iron Ministry
(Director J.P. Sniadecki)

Iron_Ministry_01three-stars15In 2011 the SFIFF screened J.P. Sniadecki‘s Foreign Parts. It was the first film I’ve seen by Sniadecki, and it made quite an impression (still in my top 5 of the decade). The film easily eclipsed other notable releases that year from such documentarian titans as Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten Dreams)Patricio Guzman (Position Among the Stars), and Errol Morris (Tabloid). Since then Sniadecki has made three other films, two of which I have not seen, and the third being this one, The Iron Ministry. Needless to say given my immense love for Foreign Parts I couldn’t help but make the all-too-human rookie mistake of not leaving my expectations at the door. Disappointment was inevitable. So the question I ask myself now is, other than my setting of the bar so unreachably high, what else was it about this train ride (the entire doc takes place on a train) that I didn’t enjoy? Read More…

Coming to This Year’s 58th SF Intl Film Festival: “T-Rex”, “Sunday Ball” and “Democrats”

“T-Rex”
(Directed by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper)

T_Rex_02five-starsCondolences to Rocky, Raging Bull, Million Dollar Baby, When We Were Kings, or whatever other boxing movie people consider top dog, because at the risk of sounding hyperbolic I’d be doing myself a great injustice were I not to enthusiastically declare T-rex as the best damn boxing movie, as well as the quintessential American movie of the entire 21st century, and perhaps even the 19th as well. Yes, it’s that good!

The movie is an intimate year-in-the-life portrait of 17-year-old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields and her struggles inside the ring and out. What sets this movie apart from anyone else attempting to elevate the sports drama genre is the masterful ability of the filmmakers to reveal so many facets surrounding Claressa in such a seamless and non-saturated fashion. An impressive feat for sure, and one that warrants the label of “epic” as well.

Showtimes for T-Rex:
Saturday, May 2nd – 7:00pm (Sundance Kabuki Cinemas)
Monday, May 4th – 6:30pm (Landmark’s Clay Theatre)
Thursday, May 7th – 6:30pm (Pacific Film Archive – Berkeley)

Hit the jump to read reviews on Sunday Ball and Democrats Read More…

Podcast Episode #12: “While We’re Young”

1211229_while-were-young-trailerAnother exciting podcast coming at you. This time out we touch on the state of cinema, our theatre rituals, Rock’s movie eating habits, and oh yeah, Noah Baumbach’s latest movie, “While We’re Young”. Like every podcast we do, there will be spoilers, so consider yourself warned. Enjoy.

Visit our Soundcloud page (by clicking here) to download this episode, and other episodes as well.

Show Notes:
:01 Intro Music – “Buggin Out” by A Tribe Called Quest
:49 Movie review – While We’re Young
29:13 The State of Cinema
40:00 Theatre rituals
48:27 Closing Music – “Golden Years” by David Bowie

Kriv Stenders’ “Kill Me Three Times”

simon_pegg_kriv_stenders_kill_me_three_timesCongratulations are in order to first time screenwriter James McFarland, and the director, Mr. IBroughtNnothingNewOrOriginalToThatCrimeSub-genreOfHitmenSituationsGoneAwry Kriv Stenders. I mean what the hell kind of topsy-turvy world are we living in where the two of you can receive worldwide theatrical distribution for this piece of unimaginative and pointlessly trite mess, while other vastly superior talents have to succumb to the reality of watching their movies go straight-to-VOD and/or DVD? Oh, now I’m pissed! Listen, just about the only thing this movie got right is its swift 90 minute run time. At least too much of my life wasn’t wasted. Read More…

Kenneth Branagh’s “Cinderella”

CINDERELLAOne of the more interesting aspects of film criticism is swimming against the current. Case in point, the latest entry in the post-Alice in Wonderland live-action cash-grab sweepstakes: Kenneth Branagh’s take on yet another Disney production of Cinderella. Sure, it made a killing in its opening weekend ($131 million worldwide), but that was a given. The head-scratcher is that it somehow has an 84% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. After seeing that Cinderella has been collectively praised for its acting, faithful script, and allegedly empowered heroine, I could only wonder if I’d sat through a different print of the movie. Read More…

Filmbalaya Ranks the “Fast & Furious” Movies

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It’s time for me to come out of the closet. I love the Fast & Furious movies. Why, you ask? I really don’t know.

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Monthly Poll: Which Sequel Are You Most Excited To See This Summer?

ted-2-TED-2-Teaser-One-Sheet_rgbWhy is it that every time a movie turns a significant profit it is then followed by either a sequel or an attempt to expand its universe, via the spinoff film? Okay, maybe not every movie, but it sure does feel that way an awful lot lately. With that being said, film history has proven that sequels and spinoffs have indeed made some quality everlasting impressions, and in some circumstances even gone on to surpass their predecessors – both in terms of the critical vote, as well as the popular vote.

With a total of eight sequels and two spinoffs being released in North America this summer (May – Aug), I’m curious to see how many of these, if any, will go on to surpass their previous installment. I’m also curious to see which one of these our readers are most excited to go see, hence this poll.

My apologies to all you fans of reboots, but for the obvious reason of not wanting to see Mad Max dominate the poll with 100% of the vote I chose to omit this year’s reboots from the poll. Same goes for you, Fantastic Four. Click the jump, or look to our sidebar to cast your vote.

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March’s Poll Results: The Best Alejandro González Iñárritu Movie is…

amoresperros14-2png_650Even though Iñárritu’s latest film, Birdman, earned him Oscar statues for Best Director, Best Movie, and Best Screenplay, according to our readers it’s still not his best movie. That distinguished honor goes to his debut feature from 2000, Amores Perros. Sadly, absolutely nobody voted for 21 Grams, Babel couldn’t even reach the double digit percentile, earning only 5.26% of the votes, and Biutiful landed in the middle of the pack. Check out the full results after the jump, and let us know if you agree or not on how it all turned out. Read More…

Podcast Episode #11: “It Follows”

1420461195_ouvertureitfollowsAside from our usual critiquing, cheering, booing, and debating over whatever film it is we’re currently discussing, we also take some time to somewhat seriously contemplate what each of our strategic plans would be should this movie’s thematic universe become a reality. As always, if you don’t want anything to be spoiled for you, go see the movie before listening.

Visit our Soundcloud page (by clicking here) to download this episode, and other episodes as well.

SHOW NOTES:
Opening and Closing music – “Heels” from the It Follows Soundtrack