Jonathan L. Knapp

Have another Soju

Hong Sang-soo loosens up with Woman on the Beach
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Drinking with Hong Sang-soo is an intense experience. Supremely awkward conversations transpire over tables littered with empty soju bottles. The primary topic is sex — and the details quickly get personal. It's exactly like a scene from one of his films. Or so it seemed during a group dinner honoring Hong at last year's San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. Drinks vanished. Secrets were told. Read more »

It came from San Francisco

Or, the creature from the deep Presidio: how to make the beast at the heart of The Host, the best monster movie of the 21st century
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Crazed sea lizard terrorizes Seoul! US military negligence spawns bloodthirsty mutant! Breaking news: beast came from San Francisco!

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's The Host is just a movie, so the red, white, and blue can't really be blamed for unleashing a monster on his country's populace. But Bong's beast came to life in a part of San Francisco steeped in military history. Read more »

The Architect

Well-built, but hollow
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REVIEW Writer-director Matt Tauber has clearly taken his debut movie's title to heart. Each streamlined scene has been carefully laid out to maximize character and plot development, seemingly creating the beginnings of a rich, thoughtful film. The strong cast — led by Anthony LaPaglia, Isabella Rossellini, and Viola Davis — provides ample reason to remain hopeful. Tauber, with playwright and coscreenwriter David Greig, gives us a movie full of multifaceted characters, but as the plot progresses, these characters seem increasingly stereotypical and each facet feels calculated. Read more »

Occult classic

SFIFF taps into the magic of Harry
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Harry Smith is a folk hero. Smith's masterwork, the definitive, meticulously edited Anthology of American Folk Music (1952), was the bible of the ’60s folk movement that spawned Dylan, Baez, Fahey, and others. To discover it is to stumble into a forgotten, marginalized world, a portal to as Greil Marcus put it in his book about Dylan's Basement Tapes "a weird but clearly recognizable America."Read more »

Occult classic

Tapping into the magic of Harry Smith
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Harry Smith is a folk hero. Smith's masterwork, the definitive, meticulously edited Anthology of American Folk Music (1952), was the bible of the ’60s folk movement that spawned Dylan, Baez, Fahey, and others. To discover it is to stumble into a forgotten, marginalized world, a portal to — as Greil Marcus put it in his book about Dylan's Basement Tapes — "a weird but clearly recognizable America."Read more »