Film Features

Triumph of the Wiener Dog

Indie icon Heather Matarazzo talks 'Welcome to the Dollhouse'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Everyone's got a little Dawn Wiener in them. Dressed in deceptively cheerful floral prints, the tweenage heroine of 1995's Welcome to the Dollhouse trudges through the hell that is junior high, where cruel bullies lurk in the girls' room ("Why do you hate me?" "Because you're ugly"), the cafeteria is full of cold shoulders and catty cheerleaders, and parents and teachers just don't understand.Read more »

Old joy -- and pain

San Francisco filmmaker (and Oscar nominee!) Sari Gilman talks 'Kings Point'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Film editor Sari Gilman — her resume includes 2007's Ghosts of Abu Ghraib and 2002's Blue Vinyl — made her directorial debut with the 30-minute documentary Kings Point, a bittersweet exploration of a Florida retirement community. The film first screened locally as part of the 2012 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, and will air on HBO in March. In the meantime, it's been nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Short. I caught up with Gilman to talk about her film — and little gold men.Read more »

Damnation investigation

A new doc goes to hell and back

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM It's a peculiarity of our moment that the worse things get, the more people seem inclined to think everyone else is going to hell. Their interpretation of the Bible (or Quran, or whatever) is seemingly absolute, yet God seems to stay on their side no matter which way the worldly wind might blow. Righteous judgment of others has practically become the American way, not that we were ever less than an opinionated bunch.Read more »

Hardly strictly British

Classics, premieres, and a 2013 Oscar nominee at the Mostly British Film Festival

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM "In Somalia there are no such things as kid actors and stage moms," explains the trailer for Asad, an 18-minute film about a Somali boy forced to choose between fishing and piracy. "There are just survivors telling a story."Read more »

Nero worship

The original 'Django' rides again at the Castro

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Though it's much more a Southern than a Western — closer to Mandingo (1975) than Red River (1948), that's for sure — Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained nonetheless pays specific homage to spaghetti westerns in its title and some stylistic fillips.Read more »

High midnight

'The Hills Run Red' fest showcases lesser-known spaghetti westerns

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM With Django Unchained-related posts currently filling up your Facebook feed (and box-office receipts stuffing Quentin Tarantino's pockets), now seems the perfect time to amble over to Berkeley for the Pacific Film Archive's spaghetti western series.Read more »

Golden doodles

Oscar predictions (and wishful thinking) for 2013

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Bigger than Bigelow

Bin Laden thriller 'Zero Dark Thirty' courts controversy — and acclaim

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM There was hella hoopla over Kathryn Bigelow being the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director, for 2010's The Hurt Locker. It's a good possibility she'll soon be the first woman to win two directing Oscars, if Zero Dark Thirty's remarkable haul of critical kudos continues into statuette season.Read more »

No headbutting?

A Lee Child fan follows Jack Reacher to the big screen

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tredmond@sfbg.com

LIT/FILM The folding travel toothbrush is a central element in every Jack Reacher novel. It's his only possession, the only thing the wandering ex-military cop takes with him when he throws away his old clothes and buys new ones, the only thing that ties him directly to his old life in the U.S. Army. It's part of the Reacher formula, one that consistently works through 17 books by Lee Child.

It's not in the Jack Reacher movie.Read more »

Of grumpy cats and Kony kings

YEAR IN FILM 2012: The video memes we couldn't get off our screens

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YEAR IN FILM Welcome to "Shit Year-in-Film Writers Say"! This was a swag/YOLO year for video memes (vemes?): they helped take down a major presidential candidate (47 percent, baby), helped elect another presidential candidate (Obama hugging Sandy victims), made sure "Call Me Maybe" and "Somebody That I Used To Know" popped up in some form or other on our feeds all year. Also, if .GIFs count as videos — and 2012 was surely the year of the .GIF revival — then even McKayla Maroney is impressed. Forget Angelina Jolie's leg, texting Hillary, botched Ecce Homo, and stingray photobomb. Read more »