Latest Entries
A foreign exchange student quickens the breath of a middle-aged aspiring musician: Review of “Breathe In”
Film Reviews

A foreign exchange student quickens the breath of a middle-aged aspiring musician: Review of “Breathe In”

Writer-director Drake Doremus’s new meditation on marital infidelity, “Breathe In”, is a puzzling combination of emotional resonance and frustratingly lazy, on-the-nose directing. When it works, it’s usually thanks to the strong performances of its leads, eighteen-year-old British exchange student Sophie (Felicity Jones, playing a character ten years younger than herself) and the dissatisfied high school … Continue reading

What to expect at the 57th annual San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF)
Bay Area / Film Festivals / Recommended

What to expect at the 57th annual San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF)

  The 57th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) runs from April 24 to May 8, and it is already shaping up to be a must-attend event for cinephiles. The festival will screen 168 films, including 29 documentary features, from 56 different countries, and in 40 different languages. The festival expects 200 filmmakers and industry … Continue reading

Review of “Le Week-End”: a late middle-age “Before Midnight” in Paris
Film Festivals / Film Reviews / Highly Recommended

Review of “Le Week-End”: a late middle-age “Before Midnight” in Paris

Imagine picking up with Jesse and Celine of “Before Midnight” in their sixties, and you’ll get an idea of what’s in store in “Le Week-End”, Roger Michell’s intelligent new film about a middle-aged British couple spending a weekend in Paris. They are Meg (Lindsay Duncan), a teacher who is still gorgeous and vivacious at sixty-three, … Continue reading

Review of “Enemy”: Dangerous doppelgängers meet in Toronto
Film Reviews / Independent film / Recommended

Review of “Enemy”: Dangerous doppelgängers meet in Toronto

The Toronto in Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy” is always covered in a thick, oppressive layer of smog, making the otherwise beautiful city feel eerie and uninviting. Aerial shots reveal a city under constant construction; the numerous tall buildings create a lonely place where you can easily get lost or go unnoticed. Despite the gorgeous shots of … Continue reading

Review of “Veronica Mars”: the gumshoe is back and in fine form
Film Reviews / Highly Recommended / Movies / TV reviews

Review of “Veronica Mars”: the gumshoe is back and in fine form

If you’ve ever watched an episode of “Veronica Mars”, the fantastic teenage noir show that was cancelled too soon, you would know that Veronica (Kristen Bell) and her on-again-off-again flame, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), were the lifeblood of the series. Although Veronica was never defined by her romantic relationships – she was always too smart, … Continue reading

Chilean director Sebastian Silva discusses his psychological thriller “Magic Magic”, directing actors, and finding the right way to use music in a film
Interviews / Movies

Chilean director Sebastian Silva discusses his psychological thriller “Magic Magic”, directing actors, and finding the right way to use music in a film

For the last two weeks, Chilean writer-director Sebastian Silva has been in San Francisco as the Winter 2014 Artist in Residence with the San Francisco Film Society, talking about his craft with high school and college students, as well as other filmmakers. He also gave a Q&A at a special screening of his most recent … Continue reading

Led by mandolinist Chris Thile, The Punch Brothers reinvent bluegrass in “How to Grow a Band”
Documentary / Film Reviews / Music / Recommended / What to watch on Netflix

Led by mandolinist Chris Thile, The Punch Brothers reinvent bluegrass in “How to Grow a Band”

Is it possible to have a successful band when its members may not be musical equals, even if they are all very talented virtuosos? It was a central question in Cameron Crowe’s film “Almost Famous” about the often bickering, fictional band Stillwater, which had a guitarist who had musically surpassed his peers. Since it was … Continue reading

There were never too many notes from solo mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile at the SFJAZZ Centre
Bay Area / Highly Recommended / Music

There were never too many notes from solo mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile at the SFJAZZ Centre

In the encore to Chris Thile’s fantastic sold out show at the SFJAZZ Centre on Friday, the refrain went: “I’ll play you a song on the mandolin. There’ll be too many notes, but then again…There ain’t too many folks can play too many notes on the mandolin”. And many notes there were – although never … Continue reading

Review of “Tim’s Vermeer”: Did using lenses and mirrors make Johannes Vermeer a master painter?
Movies / Recommended

Review of “Tim’s Vermeer”: Did using lenses and mirrors make Johannes Vermeer a master painter?

In a time when painters were rigourously trained, how did the untrained Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) create such luminous, lasting masterpieces? According to inventor-techie Tim Jenison, he may have been equally adept at tinkering and made use of optical devices to help create a realistic look. Jenison sets out to prove this theory in Teller’s new … Continue reading

Sundance Review of “Frank”: Getting inside his (gigantic cartoon paper mâché) head
Film Festivals / Film Reviews / Highly Recommended / Movies

Sundance Review of “Frank”: Getting inside his (gigantic cartoon paper mâché) head

Irish director Lenny Abrahamson’s charming, offbeat comedy, “Frank”, about a talented musician (Michael Fassbender) who has chosen to live his life inside a paper mâché head, had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. We see Frank through the eyes of Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), an aspiring musician, who starts the film trying and failing to … Continue reading