Film Review

Brawl opera

It's only April, but The Raid 2 is the action movie of the year

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM There are action films. And then there's The Raid 2. One need not have seen 2011's The Raid: Redemption to appreciate this latest collaboration between Welsh director Gareth Evans and Indonesian actor, martial artist, and fight choreographer Iko Uwais — it's recommended, of course, but the sequel stands alone on its own merits.Read more »

Freedom of expression

A PFA series pays tribute to Czech New Wave filmmaker Jan Nemec

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Cinemagic

The dark, entrancing 'A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness' and other Crossroads experimental film fest standouts

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM It's Crossroads time again — the annual San Francisco Cinematheque festival of experimental, avant-garde, abstract, and otherwise difficult-to-easily-categorize works carefully curated for adventurous, open-minded filmgoers.Read more »

Life through the lens

Ross McElwee brings 'Photographic Memory' to the PFA

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Lost in space

A new doc reveals 'the greatest film never made' -- Jodorowsky's 'Dune'

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FILM It's so seldom a film of major scale and budget is made without at least some standard commercial aspirations — however misguided — that the rare exceptions seem as curious, improbable, and wonderful as unicorns. (And about as useless, any bottom-line-oriented producer might say.) We're not talking Heaven's Gate (1980), Ishtar (1987), or Battlefield EarthRead more »

Smotherly love

The twisted family dynamics of Romanian film 'Child's Pose' -- complete with its very own, original, terrifying monster

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Sturm und drang

German mini-series 'Generation War' offers a sudsy look back at WWII

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Constructing change

Despite bureaucratic frustrations, an innovative high-school program elevates lives in 'If You Build It'

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Two of the most deep-rooted national-character-defining American tropes are a) that we are a profoundly self-reliant people, and b) the Horatio Alger myth that anyone can go from "rags to riches" if they have a good heart and a tireless work ethic.Read more »

Masterpiece theater

In 'Tim's Vermeer,' an inventor re-creates a priceless artwork using paint — and technology

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM "I'm not a painter," admits Tim Jenison at the start of Tim's Vermeer. He is, however, an inventor, a technology whiz specializing in video engineering, a self-made multimillionaire, and possessed of astonishing amounts of determination and focus. Add a bone-dry sense of humor and he's the perfect documentary subject for magicians and noted skeptics Penn & Teller (longtime Jenison pal Penn "hosts," while Teller directs), who capture his multi-year quest to "paint a Vermeer."Read more »