Tag Archives: San Francisco International Film Festival

SFIFF57: Josef Wladyka’s “Manos Sucias”

ManosSucias_03three-stars15At the risk of coming across as a jaded and cynical curmudgeon, Manos Sucias, whose translation means Dirty Hands (meant here literally and figuratively), is yet another one of those movies with a been-there done-that storyline – in this case, poor Colombians doing illegal and dangerous things (smuggling drugs) in order to try to get ahead in life – whose effect on me amounts to one of complacency and just plain boredom. Yet that doesn’t mean there aren’t aspects of the film I can’t recognize as being noteworthy, regardless of whether or not they worked for me. Read More…

SFIFF57 Report: Mark Cousins’ “A Story of Children in Film”

Palle alene i verden (Astrid Henning-Jensen, DK, 1949)Rating this documentary would be like trying to rate a conversation with a fellow cinephile. It feels silly and I just won’t do it.

It’s clear through the poetically strung together stream of conscious narrating that Cousins’ love of film – more particularly, his love of film moments – is genuine. Any lover of film, or anyone who has ever uttered the words “I love this scene” at least once inside a movie house should go see Mark Cousins‘ visual essay on children in film. You’d be doing your soul a great injustice if you didn’t. Read More…

SFIFF57 Report: Hong Sang-soo’s “Our Sunhi” and Benedikt Erlingsson’s “Of Horses and Men”

Of_Horses_and_Men_02Not too often do I have the pleasure of watching back-to-back new releases, both of them being five-star studs. Speaking of studs, by the end of the day I was happier than a colt humping a mare with a human on top. And on that strange analogy let’s get to the reviews, shall we. Read More…

SFIFF57 Report: Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”



Richard Linklater has a penchant for playing with time. From the “Sunrise” series we saw this embracing of time and life, as each film was made six or seven years apart when the main two actors had grown physically seven years older and their characters had followed suit. This playing with time is not, however, a manipulation of time, or a “sculpting in time” as has been discussed in the past; rather, it is more of an embracing of the human potential that time offers. It is letting time occur, and working within time’s passing.

Boyhood is exactly that – it is constructed through the passing of time. If each film in the “Sunrise” series is a moment in time, “Boyhood” is a collage of consecutive moments in time. The result is a resounding success. Read More…

SFIFF57 Report: Nobuhiro Yamashita’s “Tamako in Moratorium” and David Zellner’s “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”

fargo-staurTurning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so” – The Vapors

Yesterday, while in Japan Town – more specifically, the Kabuki theatre (named after the 17th Century classical Japanese dance-drama) – I was both joyously treated to and irritatingly subjected to a couple of Japanese subtitled films, both of which – surprise, surprise – starred Japanese actors. And in keeping in line with my all-things-Japan theme, and as if to perfectly mirror the day’s movie-watching experiences, I was also both joyously treated to and irritatingly subjected to my evening’s food choices; cheap Pocky and even cheaper sushi – I’ll let you guess which one of the two irritated me, more specifically, irritated my stomach. Read More…

SFIFF57 Report: Ti West’s “The Sacrament”

SACRAMENT_01three-stars15With his 2009 film, The House of the Devil, Ti West proved, that when done correctly, it is possible to make inspired horror that is authentic and sincere while still unabashedly paying homage to the subgenre for which it is targeting. Bluntly put, his homage to the 1980s teenagers-in-danger-of-being-hacked-to-shit films was, and still is, five-fucking-star awesome!

With his latest, The Sacrament, West is again paying homage to the horror subgenre, only this time out it’s of the found-footage ilk, and although it doesn’t fall under the status of being fucking awesome, there is still enough moody unease, and at least one sweet as bear meat performance to warrant the classification of being righteously rad. FYI, righteously rad is about 2 levels below fucking awesome. It’s a good thing. Read More…

SFIFF57 Report: Hossein Amini’s “The Two Faces of January”

TwoFacesOfJanuary_01It is not wise to judge a book by its cover. Likewise, one should not judge a film festival on its Opening Night movie, or even on its 35 second seizure-inducing trailer for that matter.

Career screenwriter Hossein Amini‘s directorial debut starts off promising but quickly loses its traction, turning any hope for surefooted and slow building intrigue, via winks and nods to the noir of yesteryear, into something more suitable for forty winks and/or a lesson on how to race through one’s script as fast as possible. Read More…

A Handful of Must-sees at San Francisco’s 57th International Film Festival

SFIFF55_GoboStill trying to choose which films to see at this year’s International Film Festival? Well, perhaps I can help.

Regardless of where your particular tastes in cinema may lie, this festival will usually have at least one film catered just for you. Sadly, if your catered cup of tea happens to be animated features, tough noogies. Other than the animated block of shorts you’re shit out of luck when it comes to cinematic animation. Oh well, I guess you’ll have to get satisfy your animated jones elsewhere. Anyway, animated film or not, one can take solace in knowing there are still a fair amount of films to look forward to this year. Let’s get down to it shall we? Follow the jump to see 8 films that I have deemed absolute cant-be-miss essentials.

This year’s International Film Festival takes place from Thursday April 24th through Thursday, May 8th Read More…

Coming to SFIFF 2014: “Manakamana” and “Burt’s Buzz”


MANAKAMANA_02three-stars15Ever wonder what it would be like to sit in a sky tram for an hour-and-a-half and stare at whomever or whatever got on board every 10 minutes? Wonder no more. This movie is a great way to satisfy your people staring addiction without being perceived as being a creep.

Manakamana┬áis a perfect example of the difference between a motion picture performance art piece and a more conventional fly-on-the-wall documentary, with this being the former. It’s also a very fun film to pronounce. So yeah, there’s that too.

Showtimes for Manakamana:
Friday, April 25th 6:00pm (New People Cinema)
Sunday,April 27th 1:00pm (New People Cinema)
Monday, May 5th 2:00pm (Sundance Kabuki) Read More…

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