Film Review

Ye of little faith

A priest struggles with his flock in John Michael McDonagh's tasteful, frustrating 'Calvary'

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM While I'm sure they don't enjoy being lumped together — one imagines them ornery, if not just bratty — the brothers McDonagh share an extremely like-minded sensibility. Not least among numerous overlaps is possessing the kind of talent that is undeniable and suspect. Just because they're frequently as clever as they think they are, need they be quite such show-offs about it?Read more »

Rise up singing

'Alive Inside' charts one man's quest to bring music to patients with memory loss

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM A remarkably effective — and remarkably simple — form of music therapy pioneered by New York social worker Dan Cohen finds a strong advocate in filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett, whose documentary Alive Inside benefits greatly from its awesomely cinematic results. The doc sprang from a 2011 YouTube video, "Man In Nursing Home Reacts to Hearing Music from His Era," a six-minute clip that went viral after a Reddit post. (It's since garnered nearly 1.5 million views.)Read more »

Shots fired

A PFA series brings World War I films into focus

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM "The First World War holds the distinction of being America's most popular conflict while it lasted, and the most hated as soon as it was over," writes Russell Merritt in the intro to his guest-curated Pacific Film Archive series "Over the Top and Into the Wire: WWI on Film." Though World War I is a much less popular cinematic subject than WWII, or even the Vietnam War, its complexities mean that the films it did inspire continue to fascinate.Read more »

Inglorious bastards

'The Kill Team' brings an ugly chapter in US military history to light

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM It is a conundrum of modern life that we encourage aggression in our heroes of the battlefield and playing field, then are shocked when they fail to act like gentlemen. The comparison may be forced in some ways — especially in the wildly unequal compensation given people who risk their lives in uniform, versus those who risk a broken bone or concussion at worst. But both arenas are last bastions in which we celebrate unabashed machismo, physical strength, and daring in real-life as opposed to fictive form.Read more »

What she sees

Truth, tears, and staple-gun battles: SFJFF's female-centric films

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cheryl@sfbg.com

SFJFF The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival opens July 24 with The Green Prince, a documentary based on the memoir of Mosab Hassan Yousef. The son of a founding member of Hamas, he worked as an undercover agent for the Israeli secret service for 10 years, sharing a profound trust with his Shin Bet handler. The closing night film is also a documentary about a conflicted childhood that paves the way for tough choices later in life — but if Little White Lie is also a personal story, it's a far less political one.Read more »

What she sees

Truth, tears, and staple-gun battles: San Francisco Jewish Film Festival's female-centric films

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Framing fame

Entertainers take center stage in SF Jewish Film Festival docs

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Moving pictures

Cinematic journeys with the Matatu Film Festival

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM As one of the Bay Area's largest film festivals prepares for its opening (that'd be the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, which runs July 24-Aug. 10), this weekend heralds several smaller fests with unique approaches to programming, including the San Francisco Frozen Film Festival at the Roxie, and Oakland's outdoor Brainwash Drive-In/Bike-In/Walk-In Movie Festival. Also in Oakland: the second annual Matatu Film Festival, which takes its name from colorfully decorated mini-buses found in Kenya and other East African countries.Read more »

Blurry portrait

'Llyn Foulkes One Man Band' takes on an inscrutable artist

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Endless Don

The Roxie celebrates the roller-coaster career of an erstwhile Hollywood hunk

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM "Introducing Hollywood's newest hunk-a-man!" crowed the ads for 1956's Bus Stop, in which Don Murray made his film debut as the cowpoke besotted with Marilyn Monroe's movie-mad hick — a plum role in a big hit opposite the reigning box-office queen. The actor even got an Oscar nomination for this start at the tippy-top. But he didn't stay there long.Read more »