Film Review

Stony lonesome

'I Wake Up Dreaming' unspools rare, hard-boiled tales

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Prison should be the most natural setting for film noir, as that's where most of the genre's protagonists are headed (if they don't get bumped off first), and where many of them have already been. But it's had spotty representation onscreen, with time served either skipped over in the narrative (how many pulp fictions start with a hard-luck protagonist just getting out of long-term for what's sure to be short-term freedom?), or dominating entirely.Read more »

Home brew

New docs probe where the heart is — and isn't

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Jose Antonio Vargas' grandparents — who raised him in Mountain View after he was smuggled into America at age 12 from the Philippines — expected him to grow up, blend in, and live a perfectly ordinary life in his new country. He'd work a "menial job," as both of them had, and eventually legalize his immigration status by marrying an American woman.Read more »

Needs salt

'Tasting Menu' is a bland addition to the foodie-movie trend

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Foodie movies — a perennially popular genre, thanks to standard-bearers like 1996's Big Night and 1994's Eat Drink Man Woman — are having a particularly heady moment. There's Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon's travelogue The Trip to Italy — as full of hilarious impressions as it is delectable pasta dishes — which screened to appreciative crowds at the San Francisco International Film Festival; and Jon Favreau's food-truck comedy, Chef, poised to open locally May 16 after taking the audience award at Tribeca.Read more »

Skin deep

Costume drama Belle takes on race and class in 18th century England

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Manscape

The male protagonists of 'Fading Gigolo' and 'Locke' do what they gotta do

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Mr. Nice Guy

'Super Duper Alice Cooper' goes through the looking glass with a rock legend

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Projections

A long list of short takes on SFIFF 57, in chronological order

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The 57th San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 24-May 8. Screening venues include the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, SF; New People Cinema, 1746 Post, SF; Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft, Berk; and Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post, SF. For tickets (most shows $15) and complete schedule, visit festival.sffs.org.Read more »

Reel-ality

Around the world with SF International Film Festival documentaries

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cheryl@sfbg.com

SFIFF "I'm the wrong kind of person to be really big and famous," Elliott Smith admits in Heaven Adores You, Nickolas Rossi's moving portrait of the late indie musician, who went from regional star to superstar after his Oscar nomination for 1997's Good Will Hunting. "It was fun ... for a day," Smith reflects — and anyone who saw Smith's hushed Academy Awards performance, on a night that also included Celine Dion's chest-thumping rendition of "My Heart Will Go On," has likely never forgotten it.Read more »

Blood lush

Three decades into his career, indie stalwart Jim Jarmusch delivers one of his best films yet

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Devil's advocate

Sokurov's 2011 'Faust' finally makes its local debut

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