Cheryl Eddy

Toronto International Film Festival: Days 1-2

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If you ask me, there's no better way to start your Toronto International Film Festival experience than with a film that contains a money shot revolving around a shredded set of intestines. Ohhh yeah, I knew the France-UK-Belgium co-production Vinyan was gonna be intense when I noted the director, Fabrice Du Welz, had also helmed 2004's Calvaire -- one of those don't-get-off-the-main-road horror flicks that rang more depraved than most. Read more »

Ballin'

Ping Pong Playa brings new talent to the tables
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Best known for her career as a documentarian (she won an Oscar for 1997's Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien), Jessica Yu makes her narrative feature debut with Ping Pong Playa, an often gut-busting sports fable about a wannabe NBA star who becomes the unlikely hero of his ping-pong-crazed family.

Lead actor Jimmy Tsai's performance as Christopher "C-Dub" Wang is so dead-on hilarious, I assumed he was a stand-up comedian. Read more »

Hell bent for Metal Masters

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Can't lie: I've had Sunday, August 31 circled on my metal-show calendar for months. Judas Priest, Motorhead, Heaven and Hell (aka Black Sabbath as fronted by Dio), and Testament rocking the same bill? It's worth the drive down the peninsula to the Shoreline Amphitheater, where even sweaty mullets and overpriced fried grub won't be enough to dampen the awesomeness of Metal Masters. Read more »

Autumn reels

Fall Arts Preview: 10 big-screen release dates to remember — for better and worse
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cheryl@sfbg.com

As summer dwindles into, well, Indian summer (this is San Francisco, after all), film fans are all asking the same thing: will The Dark Knight be nominated for Best Picture, or what? Like, what other 2008 release has even come close? As the temperature tries to make up its mind between freezing fog and freaky heat, the only thing to do is haul ass to the movieplex and let Hollywood deplete your brain cells as painlessly as possible. Who knows, there might be some awards-season contenders in the following list of fall movie picks. Read more »

A passage to everywhere

Crossing the Border film series illuminates treacherous corners
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On the current season of Weeds, the brother-in-law and erstwhile accountant of pot-dealing MILF Mary-Louise Parker hatch a moneymaking scheme they're convinced can't miss: becoming "coyotes," guiding illegal immigrants across the US-Mexico border. Weeds is, of course, a comedy, but its characters' recent relocation to the San Diego area has made border-crossing (Parker drives across to pick up a shipment ... ) and immigration ( ... and, unknowingly, brings back a man in the trunk of her Prius) among the show's focal themes. Read more »

Oh snap!

The Photography Issue: Not just like us! The pre-stalkerazzi celeb shots of Gary Lee Boas
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CELEBRITY PHOTOGRAPHY Before "stalkerazzi" was a word, before the first images of the Brangelina twins fetched a reported $14 million, and before the Internet spawned sites like tmz.com (stuffed with candid pictures of famous-ish trainwrecks like Kim Kardashian and Shauna Sand), there was a way of life that involved not knowing intimate details of every celebrity who dared to leave his or her house. Movie stars had a certain air of mystery and inaccessibility. But in 2008, there's no privacy anymore. Read more »

Hard as an anvil

Heavy metal hits the Jewish Film Festival
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Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Sacha Gervasi, USA, 2008) Screw you if you compare Anvil to Spinal Tap. Yeah, there are moments of eerie similarity (and Anvil's drummer is named Robb Reiner — how's that for a coincidence?), but this heartfelt doc at the Jewish Film Festival doesn't mock. Read more »

Poultrygeist

Filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman isn't afraid to get his nose bitten off by a zombie chicken
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WINGIN' IT Veteran filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman spoke to me from Troma Entertainment's Long Island City, N.Y., headquarters about Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead — a scathing and explosive (as in "explosive diarrhea") look at the fast-food industry. He calls this hilarious, stomach-turning epic "the first chicken-Indian-zombie movie that has singing and dancing." He also had quite a bit to say about the state of the media and cinema today. Read more »

Darkest hour

A psycho in face paint, a pile of money, and unsettling similarity to the real world in The Dark Knight.
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>>Click here for more Guardian film reviews

So much of what will be written about The Dark Knight will focus on Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker, and rightfully so. Every time the character appears onscreen — robbing a bank, crashing a party, gleefully explaining the origins of his perma-smile — the movie veers into supremely sinister territory. Read more »

Youth gone wild: Black Tide

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Who better to embody the spirit of mayhem than a posse of rock-crazed teenaged boys? Especially if it's capital-M Mayhem, which happens to be the name of a package tour of metal bands sponsored by crack-tastic Rockstar Energy Drink? Read more »