The 58th San Francisco International Film Festival
is on...check out my evolving coverage
Mr. Turner (2014)
Revives an era in astonishing, delicate detail, then moves through the space with a documentarian's eye. Leigh takes Turner out of art history and puts him back in the world.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Pure, uncut comic-book fantasy...Whedon tames the beast into something spectacularly epic, if a bit exhausting: bursting with destructive mayhem but grounded by interesting character beats, rife with dark implications but seasoned with good humor.
The Grief of Others (2015)
While the subject matter...amounts to standard fare, audiences can all the more appreciate the thoughtful rigor applied by a team of artists working from page to screen.
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2015)
Has a smattering of effective moments and a creepy cinematographic look to it, but the sequel's redundancy to its predecessor and pulseless feints at tapping into human emotion leech the suspense out of the picture.
True Story (2015)
Does a lot of its work with its tongue-in-cheek title, a meta commentary on the not-so-broad spectrum of liar, actor, fiction writer, filmmaker and journalist.
Monkey Kingdom (2015)
Assess to what extent we're witnessing man-ufactured monkey life...[or] just pay no attention to the men and women behind the curtain and simply enjoy the underwater photography of monkeys swimming.
Big Eyes (2014)
Burton pokes fun at Keane's art, but he kids because he loves, and
productively asks the question of whether the paintings are art or kitsch (probable answer: both).
While We're Young (2015)
The obvious shots at hipster scenes...eventually sour into a complex critique of modern ambition in a changing cultural landscape.
The Longest Ride (2015)
A Nicholas Sparks movie is like cinematic Jello. It sells well, the number one ingredient is sugar, and there's always room for it.
Woman in Gold (2015)
Corny, commercial, predictably platitudinous, and tear-jerkingly weepy...also an inevitably thought-provoking dramatization of facing the "ghosts" of the past on an individual level and a national one.
A satisfying excursion, a secular but spiritual journey of self-discovery.
Winds up sawing logs...instead of locating hard truths of the human condition,
lumbers through the motions.
Another conspicuously packaged product seemingly designed to wear down an audience more than entertain it. While wee ones won't notice, they probably won't remember
by the time the car ride gets them back to the real thing.
Wild Tales (2015)
Like Tarantino's films, Wild Tales will rub some the wrong way by taking glee in the violence that comes from our worst selves, but the catharses have a positive social function...there's no doubt Szifron intends cautionary
Lean, mean...Director Yann Demange and screenwriter Gregory Burke (the prominent Scottish playwright of
) twist the knife by serving Gary with constant reminders of boyish innocence corrupted...
A lavish, classy affair...But while long on beauty, Branagh's film falls short on whimsy...[and] the film's most affecting emotional moments...stand apart from the story's central conflict.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)
Shows little strain in maintaining its cute factor, thanks to the drily winning personalities of the likes of Smith, Dench, Nighy, and the comic ebullience of Patel.
What We Do in the Shadows (2015)
Taps a fresh vein of humor to transfuse the horrific and the mundane.
McFarland, USA (2015)
What could be an inspirational teacher-student, coach-player story keeps playing the race card of simple non-whites not being able to see their own way to prosperity without a guiding white light, who in turn learns from their unsophisticated purity.
The DUFF (2015)
Will...[strike a chord] with teen girls, if they can get past the casting of the healthy, but hardly plus-sized Whitman, as well as the changes made to sanitize the book...
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The Age of Adaline
Game of Thrones
There's parts of me that can be very confident...I guess in real life I don't really dare to do that, yeah, because I don't think it's smart to do, and I'm not confident enough. But to do it in a role, it's fantastic.
Queen and Country
Hope and Glory
From its very origins, particularly when it was black-and-white filmed, film was so closely connected to dreaming. And it's probably why people connected to it so readily...
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Along comes the maid at the end, in the sleepwalking scene. And to my amazement, she’s wearing Arthur Dent’s dressing gown. Not any more, I hasten to say, because it was too big for her.
Raphael Bob-Waksberg & Lisa Hanawalt—
Staying with some friends in this big house in the Hollywood hills...I just remember looking out over the deck of this house and seeing the city below and feeling like 'Oh, I’m on top of the world. And I’ve never been more lonely or isolated.'
Love Is Strange
It’s a pretty classic kind of set-up for the love story genre because it’s two people who are in love who have to face an obstacle together. And what we reveal in the story is the depth of their love, through how they do that.
Malcolm is a totally different kind of role than I've ever played. He's a listener. And that's a really powerful thing to be able to do...Hank Jennings was a duplicitous guy...
At the end of the shoot, I would talk to the actors, like 'Okay, next year, here's what's coming.' And then I had the year to think about it, and so did they.
And So It Goes
The Case Against 8
—6/19 & 6/20/2014
I enjoy the creative process. I love the writing part of it, the editing—one of my favorites. But I also like the production process. It’s just fun to do. That’s what I’ve discovered, you know, as I’ve gotten older.
First Person, Casino Royale
Never, ever date a writer. It’s always a mistake. Just do not trust us.
Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo—
The Case Against 8
[Katami:] You know, watching the film did one thing for us. It made sense of what happened, because when you're living it, it's very odd to have to go to court and defend your life, and have to testify about your love and how that cannot change.
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