Film Features

Looking over the Overlook

Filmmaker Rodney Ascher entices viewers into 'Room 237'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Though he's now living in Los Angeles, Rodney Ascher was a San Franciscan "for years and years," he says, adding that he used to spend "a lot of time at Craig Baldwin's Other Cinema." He also has praise for the Roxie, the venue that'll be hosting the local premiere of his Room 237 — a fascinating, kinda disturbing documentary that burrows deep down the rabbit hole with people who are obsessed with Stanley Kubrick's 1980 horror masterpiece The Shining.Read more »

Able fables

Fairy-tale inspiration done right, in two delightful imports

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The weak recent likes of Jack the Giant Slayer and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters revealed the extent of expensive, formulaic action-movie lameness with which Hollywood is now determined to treat every story of universal familiarity (and conveniently, no pesky copyright). No doubt there will be a Cinderella: Bitch is Goin' Postal somewhere in our future before the cycle spins out, if it ever does.Read more »

Ennui and I

Pen-ek Ratanaruang's 'Thai Dreams' screen at YBCA

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FILM Thai filmmaker Pen-ek Ratanaruang's international breakthrough, Last Life in the Universe, came out 10 years ago, but its themes of isolation and loneliness still feel very much of the moment. Eternally cool Japanese star Tadanobu Asano plays librarian Kenji, whose Better Off Dead-style existential turmoil leads him to attempt suicide, or at least think long and hard about it, multiple times. Read more »

Are you experimental?

SF Cinematheque unleashes Crossroads 2013

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM At 52, the San Francisco Cinematheque is nearly the same age as the San Francisco International Film Festival, which kicks off its 56th incarnation later this month. And though there's bound to be some filmmaker overlap between SFIFF and SF Cinematheque's fourth annual Crossroads festival,

fans of avant-garde, experimental, and non-commercial films won't want to miss the latter, a weekend packed with works by 48 artists across eight esoterically-titled programs.Read more »

In the blood

CAAMFest's family-focused (but not necessarily family-friendly) films

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Even Fukushima Daiichi-style nuclear meltdowns can't sever the blood ties that bind a brood of CAAMFest films that focus on family. Modernity nevertheless ushers in a set of unique struggles in these films, not exactly family-friendly fare, though most are fulsome with empathy for these clans under pressure and in the viewfinder.Read more »

Truth and daring

Must-see docs highlight the newly renamed CAAMFest

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The Nonconformist

'And God Created Jean-Louis Trintignant' celebrates a legendary career

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If you're nasty

Exotic terrors and fast women abound in the Roxie's latest 'pre-Code' series

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The current hand-wringing over whether an irresponsible entertainment industry corrupts our youth is notable for being such a blatant diversionary tactic by gun-control foes — their argument being a little beside the point, of course, since incidents are rather few of people being shot dead by a copy of Grand Theft Auto or a Saw flick.Read more »

Go South

San Jose's Cinequest unleashes stars, docs, dramas, and zombies -- plus Harrison Ford, Salman Rushdie, and Chuck Palahniuk

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM San Francisco is a town of many film festivals: SF IndieFest wraps up Thu/21, and the Center for Asian American Media Festival (formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival) kicks off March 14. Lest you suffer fest withdrawal, the gap between is filled nearly end-to-end by Cinequest — San Jose's 23rd annual salute to cinema that has a Silicon Valley-appropriate focus on technological innovations.Read more »

No talking

Vintage stars shine at Silent Winter

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The 2013 San Francisco Silent Film Festival isn't until July, but the fest's Silent Winter offshoot offers a day packed full of classic delights to tide over its legions of fans until summer. The Castro Theatre plays host to four features and one shorts program, all of which boast live musical accompaniment.Read more »