Latest Entries
‘Seymour: An Introduction': A moving, thought-provoking portrait of the artist as a humble teacher
Documentary / Film Reviews / Highly Recommended

‘Seymour: An Introduction': A moving, thought-provoking portrait of the artist as a humble teacher

“When my practicing went well, everything else in life seemed to be harmonized by that. When my practicing didn’t go well, I was out of sorts with people, with my parents. So I concluded that the real essence of who we are resides in our talent and whatever talent that there is.” – Seymour Bernstein … Continue reading

‘Merchants of Doubt': an inside look at the climate change denial industry that doesn’t delve deep enough
Documentary / Film Reviews / Recommended

‘Merchants of Doubt': an inside look at the climate change denial industry that doesn’t delve deep enough

In 2004, Harvard Professor of the History of Science, Naomi Oreskes, set out to read 928 scientific, peer-reviewed journal articles about climate change, to determine if there were a scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. She expected to find at least some dissenters. But not one of these papers disagreed with the consensus position. Yet … Continue reading

Director Yann Demange talks shooting ‘ ’71’ on both 16 mm and digital
Film Festivals / Film Interviews / Interviews

Director Yann Demange talks shooting ‘ ’71’ on both 16 mm and digital

After a year-long tour on the festival circuit following its premiere at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival to rave reviews, British director Yann Demange’s political thriller “ ’71” is finally opening cinemas. Set in 1971 at the height of The Troubles, the film follows neophyte British soldier Gary Hook (Jack O’Connell in another star-making turn) … Continue reading

‘Queen and Country’ director John Boorman’s 8 directing insights
Film Interviews / Interviews

‘Queen and Country’ director John Boorman’s 8 directing insights

British writer-director John Boorman has been making films since the 1960s, and has said that “Queen and Country” — a sequel to his autobiographical World War II-era story of childhood, “Hope and Glory” (1987) — which opened on Friday, will be his last. Set nine years after “Hope and Glory” in 1952, our hero Bill … Continue reading

‘Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem': Will she ever get her Gett?
Film Reviews / Foreign film / Highly Recommended / Independent film / New this week / Now playing

‘Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem': Will she ever get her Gett?

“Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” opens in a courtroom; we mostly won’t leave it for the next two hours, which span five years. Only subtle changes in costumes and demeanor give us a window into what has happened in the world outside. This courtroom is some kind of cruel purgatory. At the front of … Continue reading

‘What We Do in the Shadows': a hilarious vampire mockumentary
Film Reviews / Highly Recommended / Independent film / New this week / Now playing

‘What We Do in the Shadows': a hilarious vampire mockumentary

“Vampires have had a really bad rep. We’re not these mopey old creatures who live in castles — well, most of us are, a lot of us are — but there are also those of us who like to flat together in really small countries like New Zealand.” With these words, the 18th century dandy … Continue reading

SFFS Artist-in-Residence Sally El Hosaini on writing and directing ‘My Brother the Devil’
Bay Area / Film / Film Interviews / Interviews

SFFS Artist-in-Residence Sally El Hosaini on writing and directing ‘My Brother the Devil’

Sally El Hosaini’s directorial debut, “My Brother the Devil” is a touching and sensitive story of two Arab brothers in Hackney, London. The eldest, Rashid (James Floyd) is already ensconced in gang life, and he wants desperately to keep he younger brother Mo (Fady Elsayed), who idolizes him, from making the same mistake. Just when … Continue reading

Don’t be fooled by the title, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is Anastasia’s film
Film Reviews / New this week / Now playing / Recommended

Don’t be fooled by the title, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is Anastasia’s film

The image of Anastasia’s hands being bound during sex — whether with a silk tie or leather cuffs — is not a degrading one: physically unable to participate, to give him pleasure, means everything is about her ecstasy, as she throws her head back and bites her lip. Even when not bound, he won’t let her do so much as caress his back, so deep-rooted are his intimacy issues. Then again, this spares her having to do any work — another part of the fantasy. Although how she can ever fall in love with him, given there’s nothing two-sided about this relationship is a little hard to swallow — no matter how many orgasms he magically gives her without instruction or serious feedback. Their relationship seems to involve little more than frequent sex and expensive dinners: they never actually talk, even as Anastasia begs Christian to open up….And it’s a shame, because what Johnson brings to the part is not just a believable innocence and pluck, but playfulness and emotional maturity. When Christian first ties up her hands with one of his grey silk ties, she giggles at the role-playing: she’s submitting on her terms, aware that she’s still got control even though Christian is such an insufferably emotionally controlling guy.
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Sundance interview: ‘H.’ directors Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia discuss their sci-fi film for the digital-age, creating ordered chaos, and glitch art
Film Festivals / Film Interviews / Independent film / Recommended

Sundance interview: ‘H.’ directors Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia discuss their sci-fi film for the digital-age, creating ordered chaos, and glitch art

The new film from co-directors Daniel Garcia and Rania Attieh, “H.,” which premiered in the NEXT section at Sundance and is now screening at Berlin, is an unconventional science fiction thriller — one of the most inventive and unique films I saw at the festival. Structured almost like a classical, Greek tragedy, it explores mass … Continue reading

Sundance Review: ‘Take Me to the River’ is creepy, unsettling, and a tad thin
Film Festivals / Film Reviews / Recommended

Sundance Review: ‘Take Me to the River’ is creepy, unsettling, and a tad thin

Perhaps the most polarizing film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, writer-director Matt Sobel’s “Take Me To The River” has left some critics grossed out and others fascinated with this evocative, probing mood piece that winds up a bit thin. It’s certainly eerie and creepy, but it’s well worth a watch for its excavation of family … Continue reading