Tag Archives: San Francisco International Film Festival

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…

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…

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