Cheryl Eddy

'Neighbors,' 'Belle,' and more new movies!

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Not to detract from the drawing power of Seth Rogen's comic chops (or Zac Efron's abs, pecs, etc.) in this week's Neighbors, but it seems Hollywood is taking a little blockbuster breather between last week's Spider-Man cash grab and next week's Godzilla onslaught. So now's a great time to catch up on some smaller films that might've otherwise escaped your radar, including brains-and-beauty costume drama Belle, opening theatrically after its recent bow at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Reviews, trailers, and links below!

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Needs salt

'Tasting Menu' is a bland addition to the foodie-movie trend

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Foodie movies — a perennially popular genre, thanks to standard-bearers like 1996's Big Night and 1994's Eat Drink Man Woman — are having a particularly heady moment. There's Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon's travelogue The Trip to Italy — as full of hilarious impressions as it is delectable pasta dishes — which screened to appreciative crowds at the San Francisco International Film Festival; and Jon Favreau's food-truck comedy, Chef, poised to open locally May 16 after taking the audience award at Tribeca.Read more »

Spider-Man and other men (some more amazing than others...) in new movies!

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It won't be summer according to the calendar for another month or so, but it's already summer at the movies. We're already on our second superhero movie of the season! Our second Stan Lee cameo in as many months, people! Read on for reviews of everything that's opening this week, from the obvious (see: Slinger, Web) to the blink-and-you'll-miss-it-but-you-really-shouldn't (Singaporean drama Ilo Ilo, for one). And confidential to late arrivals: the San Francisco International Film Festival is heading into its second weekend; check out our coverage from last week's paper here.

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Live review: Mastodon at the Fox Theater

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They still exist: big metal bands that go on old-fashioned tours, rather than exclusively playing festivals or headlining package tours (aka shows that start at 4pm and are comprised of two bands you actually want to see and five others the label shoehorns in because that's the only way they'll get exposure). Also still in existence: a band that will tour between albums, in fact hitting the road less than two months before a new album drops, and play a set that contains two new songs (to give fans a taste of what's to come), but is mostly composed of familiar back-catalogue tunes. 

Not, however, still around: actual Mastodons.

No worries, dudes — Mastodon the band shows no sign of going anywhere, and based on what drummer Brann Dailor said at the end of last night's show at Oakland's Fox Theater, they'll soon be back in the Bay Area, pumping their sixth studio release, Once More 'Round the Sun, which arrives in late June. Based on the two new songs heard last night ("Chimes at Midnight" and "High Road;" stream the latter via the band's Soundcloud page, or check out the "Audio Visualizer" below the jump), your sludgy summer soundtrack awaits.

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Mr. Nice Guy

'Super Duper Alice Cooper' goes through the looking glass with a rock legend

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Reel-ality

Around the world with SF International Film Festival documentaries

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cheryl@sfbg.com

SFIFF "I'm the wrong kind of person to be really big and famous," Elliott Smith admits in Heaven Adores You, Nickolas Rossi's moving portrait of the late indie musician, who went from regional star to superstar after his Oscar nomination for 1997's Good Will Hunting. "It was fun ... for a day," Smith reflects — and anyone who saw Smith's hushed Academy Awards performance, on a night that also included Celine Dion's chest-thumping rendition of "My Heart Will Go On," has likely never forgotten it.Read more »

New direction

SF Film Society head Noah Cowan settles into the job — and eagerly awaits his first SFIFF

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cheryl@sfbg.com

SFIFF First things first: Brand-new San Francisco Film Society Executive Director Noah Cowan's two favorite movies are 1942 Preston Sturges screwball comedy The Palm Beach Story and 1974 disaster drama The Towering Inferno. Appropriately, our first meeting takes place in downtown San Francisco, where that fictional world's tallest building (containing Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, and O.J. Simpson, among others) went up in flames.Read more »

Blood lush

Three decades into his career, indie stalwart Jim Jarmusch delivers one of his best films yet

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Aliens, haunted mirrors, photographic mysteries, and isolated islands: new movies!

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It's Friday, which means only one thing: new movies R herrre! Though Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier will probably keep body-slamming all the box-office competition, there are some not-to-be-missed flicks just arriving in theaters, including two fascinating docs and two eerie tales, including the remarkable Under the Skin. Read on! 

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The hunger

Jonathan Glazer on his eerie, haunting alien tale 'Under the Skin'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM At the moment, Scarlett Johansson is playing a superhero in the world's top blockbuster. Her concurrent role in Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin — the gorgeously crafted tale of an alien who comes to earth to capture men, but goes rogue once her curiosity about the human world gets the better of her — could not be more different in story or scope. There's also the matter of its edgy presentation of its usually glamorous star.Read more »