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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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Rock’s Report From The 58th SF Intl Film Festival: David Oelhoffen’s “Far From Men” & Rick Alverson’s “Entertainment”

Far From Men

FarFromMen_Filmpage_476x286Far From Men is a western dealing with once tried themes of fraternity and the resilience to live, but please don’t let that deter you from seeing a well crafted, sparse film. Starring Viggo Mortensen as Daru, the main protagonist, and Reda Kateb as his new side kick, Mohamed, the film takes place during the Algerian war and is a loose adaptation of the story, “The Guest”.

This subtle (and for majority of the film, atmospheric) movie paints a picture of brotherhood, loyalty, and youth with all its lack of experience. This film reaches what modern cinema has seldom achieved, and you only experience it if keen to director David Oelhoffen‘s subtle brushstrokes. His juxtaposition of sparse natural landscape with modern soundscapes thrusted me you into his world. Read More…

The 58th SF Intl Film Festival: Day 4 – Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence”

Look_of_Silence_01The Look of Silence is Joshua Oppenheimer‘s companion piece to his 2012 documentary, The Act of Killing, with the key word here being “companion piece”. Because this is not a sequel one’s entry point into examining the psyche of those involved in the 1960s Government approved genocide of over a million supposed evil ‘communists’ in Indonesia can begin here. This time out, rather than focus his camera on members of the death squad as they reenact their crimes he shifts his aim on one of the victim’s family. The results are equally haunting as they are engrossing. Read More…

Rock’s Report From The 58th SF Intl Film Festival: Tsui Hark’s “The Taking of Tiger Mountain” and Hong Sang-soo’s “Hill of Freedom”

The Taking of Tiger Mountain

The_Taking_of_Tiger_Mountain_02Nope, nope, nope. Can’t do it. I was so looking forward to seeing this film, like pumped up, but alas I’ve been deflated. You guys know that I salute any filmmaker for getting the chance to craft one of the greatest art forms ever made/discovered. I especially like love the cinema made outside of America because it gives and allows us to see stories outside of the great American pantheon. They often show us new ways to tell a story etc. Now imagine my disappointment with this film. I will not say that I am a huge Hong Kong cinema fan (one of these days I will leave the cinematic streets of Paris), but I want to be, and I’ve seen great Chinese cinema, for ex., A Touch of Zen via Shaw Brothers Studio, but this film was a huge let down. Read More…

The 58th SF Intl Film Festival: Day 3 – Barbara Loden’s “Wanda”

wanda11It’s back to the Castro Theatre for day 3 with a 35mm transfer of Barbara Loden‘s shot on 16mm film from 1970, “Wanda”. On hand to give a special introduction of the film, and to oversell it as well, was the Telluride Film Festival’s 2015 guest director and highly acclaimed author Rachel Kushner. Rachel likes this movie so much she even paid homage to it in her latest book, which she read aloud to us, spoilers and all. Thanks, Rachel. She then proceeded to tell us that we were about to watch “the greatest American film”. Geesh, talk about hyperbole. Needless to say, this film did not live up to the hype. Not even close. Read More…

Rock’s Report From The 58th SF Intl Film Festival: Liz Garbus’ “What Happened, Miss Simone?”

WhatHappenedMissSimone_byPamelaGentile_003“What Happened, Miss Simone?” is a beautiful documentary piece on the catastrophe of genius, raw beauty, and being a black woman in a time were these things are (still) seen as negatives. Here is a film that held back no punches, and told through the eyes of her daughter we are welcomed to a parallel universe of glitz and tragedy, joy and anger, abuse, and pure release. Read More…

The 58th SF Intl Film Festival: Day 2 – Dave McKean’s “Luna” & Jon watts’ “Cop Car”

Cop_Car_03I was originally planning on only seeing one movie yesterday, but in typical dum-dum fashion I left my snare drumie drum at home. With band being cancelled I now had to watch two movies. Life is tough sometimes, I know. First up was the movie Luna. Actually first up was a complimentary IPA in the press lounge where I bumped into the filmmakers of Plamen, Andre Andreev and Dan Covert. I never heard of these guys or their movie before, but after one drink and a gentlemanly mini debate over whether or not Inherent Vice was actually a good movie or not it’s the least I could do to give them a plug. Their movie plays in the Shorts 1 program, which I will try to attend later in the festival. So having had my beer I moseyed across the street to my first Kabuki Theatre screening of the festival and watched Luna. Read More…

The 58th SF Intl Film Festival: Opening Night – Alex Gibney’s “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine”

Steve_Jobs_The_Man_in_the_Machine_01iHoles. That’s the word used by my father-in-law to describe those who are always fidgeting with their smartphones. It’s also the first word I thought of while in the still darkened Castro Theatre while scanning last night’s audience during closing credits. Apparently, that part in the movie where you were supposed to feel guilty for all the times you’ve acted all iHoley did not resonate with everyone, for scattered around me were the glowing emittance of personal internet chat devices. Seeing this, it was all I could do just to muster up the strength not to become a symbol of irony and tweet about it. Instead I skipped the Q&A with the director, decided to skip the after party as well (I live in the East Bay and did not want to be stranded in SF), walked to the 16th Street BART, took a seat on the train behind a young drunk couple who were heavily making out, grabbed my non-iPen pen and non-iPad pad and began to write down my thoughts on the film, which I have now transcribed for you below. Read More…

Coming to This Year’s 58th SF Intl Film Festival: “Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno Live!” and “Theory of Obscurity: a film about The Residents”

Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno Live
(Director Jody Shapiro)

Green_Porno_Live_01two-stars1Want to see Isabella Rossellini dress up in artsy animal costumes and explain their sex lives? Who wouldn’t? To do so simply go to Youtube.com, type in “Isabella Rossellini bug sex”, and bang, there ya go. Insightful and humorous enjoyment right at your fingertips.

Want to watch Ms. Rossellini act if she is putting on aires (intentional or not) in a movie documenting the behind-the-scenes happenings of her adapted one-woman stage show of her bug perspective monologues? Well if fluffy movies that seem more like an extended lackluster DVD bonus feature is your thing, I say go for it. Sadly, this movie does not live up to the expectations I had after watching the far superior Youtube short films. But hey, to each their own.

Showtimes for Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno Live:
Sunday, April 26th – 8:00pm (Sundance Kabuki Cinemas)
Monday, April 27th – 2:30pm (Sundance Kabuki Cinemas) Read More…

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…