Film Features

Diva in the headlights

Danish superstar Paprika Steen comes on strong in Applause
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The necessity of images

Jafar Panahi tests the limits of his filmmaking ban with This Is Not a Film

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FILM Jafar Panahi is no longer allowed to make films in Iran. So, with the help of documentarian Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, he made This Is Not a Film.

After arrests in 2009 and 2010, Panahi was sentenced to a 20-year ban from filmmaking and a six-year prison term for "assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country's national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic," as reported by the Green Voice of Freedom, a human rights website. He is also barred from leaving the country or giving interviews.Read more »

Outer outer space

From Turkish Star Wars to Phantom Planet -- "Starship Vortex" sci-fi flick series dwells in forgotten netherworlds of cosmic fantasy

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FILM Nothing dates faster than yesterday's futurism. Yet particularly at a moment when half the country seems bent on ordering us back to the past — a past that might variably be identified as the Victorian era, the Inquisition, and the Dark Ages — there is something comforting in revisiting old visions of the future. For the next seven Thursdays the Vortex Room boldly goes a few places you've probably been before, several that earn brownie points for foreknowledge, and others that separate the sci-fi nerd from the sci-fi mega scholar.Read more »

Barbed wire love

'Pretty Poison' slays with Tuesday Wells, Anthony Perkins at Castro Theatre

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TRASH In 1968, Pretty Poison, which plays the Castro Theatre this Thursday in a new 35mm print, arrived a bit early. The next year Easy Rider would suddenly make young American directors seem like "the future" of an industry then hobbling on the same now-arthritic legs that had supported its Golden Age decades earlier. By 1970 and for several years afterward small, idiosyncratic, independent (both within and outside studio funding) films would flourish, in number and frequent quality if not commercially.Read more »

You have the right to remain weird

Programmers from LA, Austin, and (duh) SF bring cult madness to the Roxie

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM It's not easy being a repertory cinema these days, even when you're the coolest (or only, or both) one in town. Hoping that this town is big enough for more than just one, at least for a few days, the Roxie this weekend is hosting a kind of cult cinema smackdown between itself and two more of the nation's finest such emporiums. Under the blanket title "Cinemadness!," the three-day marathon of rarities, oddities, and unbilled surprises challenges you to look away, or stay away — either way, your sanity will surely be shakier come Monday.Read more »

Pamalot

The divine Ms. Grier is coming to the Castro!

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Say the name "Pam Grier" and certain things come to mind: the iconic poster for her 1973 breakout, Coffy, about a nurse turned vigilante ("the baddest one-chick hit squad that ever hit town!"); or her cool-as-ice, career-reviving turn in 1997's Jackie Brown.Read more »

Where there's a Will

The comedian tries something old (nudity!) and something new (Spanish dialogue) in Casa de mi Padre

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM You gotta love a guy who is willing to poke fun at his man handles. But the consistency with which Will Ferrell is willing to drop trou has had even Terry Gross wondering, what's with the vast expanses of exposed carne asada, dude?

Ferrell's new Casa de mi Padre — a Spanish-language jab at telenovelas, spaghetti-burrito westerns, and just plain low-budget moviemaking, circa the early 1970s — is no exception. It, er, climaxes with a sweet, sweet love scene, complete with close-ups on rumps.Read more »

Here's lookin' at you, kids

San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival's youth revolution: now with breakdancing, party-rocking, and pint-sized ninja stars. Plus, film critic Cheryl Eddy's SFIAAFF picks

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Awesome explosion

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim get a billion to make a movie — and promptly blow it all — in Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie.

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FILM It's almost impossible to describe Adult Swim hit Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, but "cable access on acid" comes pretty close. It's awkward, gross, repetitive, and quotable; it features unsettling characters portrayed by famous comedians and unknowns who may not actually be actors. Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, who are much more low-key than the amplified versions of themselves they play on the show and in the new Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, discussed the spoils of cult fame the morning after a recent screening in San Francisco.Read more »

Dame good fun

Seedy delights from the 1930s sleaze up the Roxie in "Hollywood Before the Code: Nasty-Ass Films for a Nasty-Ass World" 

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM What with the internet, the paparazzi, Rupert Murdoch's CIA-level spy techniques, and the general displacement of actual news by "celebrity news," it's pretty hard these days for a star of any sort to keep their debauchery private. Not like the good old days, when Hollywood carefully stage-managed publicity and only those who'd become a real liability risked having their peccadilloes exposed.Read more »