Film Review

Out of the fog

TURF dancing, God's country, Korean War musicals: this weekend's Cinema By the Bay festival showcases films with local ties

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Eternal spring

Chris Marker's 'Le Joli Mai' remains relevant 50 years later

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arts@sfbg.com

Chris Marker did not seem to see a hard distinction between cities and their people. The cat-loving leftist documentarian, whose distinctly poetic outlook we sadly lost last year, is probably best known for his experimental sci-fi short La Jetée (1962) and his ethnography-cum fictionalized-travel-memoir Sans Soleil (1983), film-school favorites both available through the Criterion Collection.Read more »

The great pretender

A legend crashes and burns in 'The Armstrong Lie'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

If something appears too good to be true, the saying goes, it probably is. Take Lance Armstrong, who beat cancer to become a cycling superstar, winning the grueling Tour de France a record seven consecutive times. He vehemently denied using performance-enhancing drugs until January 2013, when he 'fessed up during a tastefully choreographed sit-down with Oprah. By that point, the big reveal wasn't that he'd doped his way to athletic glory — it was that he was finally admitting to it.Read more »

Keep it reel

Docs from India highlight the SF International South Asian Film Fest

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Life's work

Desperation breeds determination in 'Dallas Buyers Club'

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Beware Canadians — they may walk softly, but they carry a big hockey stick. The country next door has always had a bigger influence on American life than generally thought, especially at the movies. Mary Pickford, the medium's first superstar, was Canadian; so, a century later, are Ryans Gosling and Reynolds, Jim Carrey, Ellen Page, Rachel McAdams, and Seth Rogen. Canadians have directed a lot of seemingly very American films, from 1982's Porky's to this year's Prisoners.Read more »

Hot and cool

Love story 'Blue is the Warmest Color' courts acclaim — and controversy

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The stars say the director was brutal. The director says he wishes the film had never been released (but he might make a sequel). The graphic novelist is uncomfortable with the explicit 10-minute sex scene. And most of the state of Idaho will have to wait to see the film on Netflix.Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST DEFENDER OF INDIE AISLES

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Along with closely-affiliated nonprofit San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation, CinemaSF has stepped up to keep a pair of historic theaters located in non-trendy neighborhoods — the Vogue and the Balboa — alive and thriving, especially after a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year raised dough to ease the Balboa's digital-upgrade costs. Read more »

Exile on Main St. USA

'Escape From Tomorrow' creeps inside the Mouse House

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Escape From Tomorrow acquired cachet at Sundance this year as a movie you ought to see because it probably wouldn't surface again — not because it was that bad, but because any regular release seemed sure to be legally blocked. The reason was its setting, which composites two of the most photographed (and "happiest") places on Earth. They're also among the most heavily guarded from any commercial usage not of their own choosing.Read more »

Survival mode

'The Summit' and 'Captain Phillips' offer authentic thrills

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cheryl@sfbg.com.

FILM Eye of the tiger, baby. The fight for survival is a dominant theme this season at the movies, with astronaut Sandra Bullock grappling for her life in Gravity; lone sailor Robert Redford piloting a leaky boat in All Is Lost; and Tom Hanks battling Somali pirates in Captain Phillips. (More on that film — directed with trademark urgency by Paul Greengrass — in a moment.)Read more »