Film Features

Turn up the dark

SUMMER MOVIE PREVIEW: Movie stars, superheroes, and movie stars playing superheroes battle for summer supremacy

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FILM So far, 2012 has been a year of mixed blessings for Hollywood, contrasting mega-hits like The Hunger Games and The Avengers with one of the biggest mega-flops of all time, John Carter. But summer's really when show-biz turns deadly serious. Each week, there's a new wannabe blockbuster — pasteurized, processed, film-like products so huge they have the ability to make or break entire movie studios — hoping for returns big enough to make all involved even richer, and insure sequels and spin-offs for summers to come.Read more »

Hard to be a filmmaker

Aleksei Guerman's five films (from the past 45 years) screen at YBCA

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM In 1987, Soviet critics were polled to create a list of the nation's greatest films. Landing on top was a movie still little-known abroad, whose maker has completed just five features in 45 years — one of which he doesn't even consider truly his own work.Read more »

How dark was my alley

Flick-packed Film Noir fest "I Wake up Dreaming" returns to the Roxie

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The word that comes to mind when thinking of Elliot Lavine's semiannual film noir programs at the Roxie is inexhaustible. With 30 films packed into 14 days, "I Wake up Dreaming" wisely takes a pass on questions of noir's quintessence in favor of open-ended research into the mutations and paroxysms of mid-century malaise.Read more »

This is your brain on Zulawski

YBCA feeds the Possession obsession with a tribute to the Polish director

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Truth or consequences

Solid-gold lifestyles and agents provocateurs: SFIFF's documentary highlights

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arts@sfbg.com

SFIFF It's possible to have an almost perfect Sundance Film Festival viewing experience if you hew to one simple rule: only go to the documentaries. Sure, see some of the dramatic entries too, after the 40th person has told you such-and-such title is great. But you can rarely go far wrong with the documentaries. Sundance has its pick of the annual crème de la crème in that genre (among U.S. if not necessarily international films).Read more »

A hundred visions and revisions

SFIFF: Sam Green explores the geodesic world of R. Buckminster Fuller in new documentary

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arts@sfbg.com

SFIFF R. Buckminster Fuller was born before the turn of the last century, and died before the start of this one. But place his philosophical and practical output next to any contemporary thinker, and something seems a bit off.

"He was totally out of sync with his time," says SF-based documentarian Sam Green (2004's The Weather Underground). "He was talking about green building in the 1930s or '40s."Read more »

Into new territory

SFIFF: Sailing off the map with Patience, Found Memories, It's the Earth Not the Moon, more at San Francisco International Film Festival

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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 »