VIZ Cinema in San Francisco closes 2010 with “Mifune x Kurosawa,” a festival celebrating the work of iconic director Akira Kurosawa and actor Toshiro Mifune. The lineup runs through Jan. 6 at 1746 Post St., and a special Sunday reception features the classic action masterpiece “Seven Samurai.” Tickets are $10. Visit www.vizcinema.com for more information. Here’s the remainder of the programming: Read More
A trigger-unhappy lawman realizes both his macho potential and his moral mettle while pursuing a vengeful killer with a dark backstory across a rugged landscape beneath a Gothic sky — among other ingredients from the cupboard — in “Red Hill.”
Clearly, originality and profundity do not figure into this Australian Western and police-suspense film. Still, first-time feature-filmmaker Patrick Hughes delivers impressively unsentimental drama and numerous genre pleasures in this mixture of art house and grind house. Read More
When “Rabbit Hole” opened on Broadway in 2006, The New York Times review advised the theater to have its flood insurance in good order.“The wrenching new play by David Lindsay-Abaire inspires such copious weeping among its audience that you wonder early on if you should have taken a life jacket,” wrote Ben Brantley, who went on to praise the play for its “honesty, accuracy and humor.” Read More
Fifteen minutes after Josh Brolin met 13-year-old Hailee Steinfeld for the first time, he was pinning her down with a blade to her throat.No, this was not another shocking case of “When Celebrities Attack.” Brolin and Steinfeld were on the set of Joel and Ethan Coen’s “True Grit” remake, which opened Wednesday, and their introduction preceded the rehearsal of one of the movie’s tensest scenes. Read More
The stars of “Rabbit Hole,” Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, play mourning parents eight months removed from the death of their son, each so consumed by individual grief that neither is attuned to the other’s emotional and physical needs.It is the kind of domestic melodrama Hollywood studios rarely make anymore, and perhaps the last man you would expect to direct it is John Cameron Mitchell, best known for 2001’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” his seminal comedy about a transsexual punk rocker, and the 2006 bohemians-in-heat drama “Shortbus.” Read More
You might need subtitles to understand Jeff Bridges’ mutterings in “True Grit,” Joel and Ethan Coen’s adaptation of the 1968 Charles Portis novel.Reprising John Wayne’s 1969 role as irascible U.S. marshal “Rooster” Cogburn, Bridges does not try to fill The Duke’s boots, his whiskey-voiced grumblings a far cry from Wayne’s unmistakable drawl. A character actor rather than a Hollywood monument, Bridges so thoroughly cloaks himself in Cogburn’s darkness that he threatens to disappear altogether. Read More
It is hard to imagine a story much slighter than Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere,” a running diary in the life of a Hollywood star — a life rife with malaise, superficial encounters and the occasional, inconvenient reminder that he is something more than the sum of his celebrity.
Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is a dad, just not a very attentive one. Yet when he invites daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) over for lunch, he cares enough about her feelings to kick one of his many anonymous conquests to the curb — at least for the afternoon. Cleo is the first to sign the cast on his arm. Read More
Frederick Wiseman makes immersing films that transpire inside societal institutions — capturing clockwork, rituals and random sparks with adeptness, and offering observations that leave viewers feeling enriched at the end.
“Boxing Gym,” a nonfiction flick with all the trimmings — along with a keen, graceful mediation on human aggression — is the latest such success by the veteran documentarian. Read More
Sofia Coppola is sometimes chided for having it too easy, and born into Hollywood royalty — she’s the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola — but it’s evident she’s a unique filmmaker, and one of the most interesting working today. Despite the perceived glitz and glamour behind her life, the 39-year-old director makes the most breathtakingly delicate movies imaginable, from her acclaimed Bill Murray comedy “Lost in Translation” in 2003, to the misunderstood costume epic “Marie Antoinette” from 2006. Read More
Anna Faris is free to speak her mind.The 34-year-old Baltimore native, who earned High Times magazine’s coveted Stoner of the Year award in 2007 for her star turn in the comedy “Smiley Face,” knows the drill when it comes to televised interviews — smile for the camera, stay peppy and keep the tone light.But at press day for the live-action “Yogi Bear,” in which she stars opposite Tom Cavanagh, Justin Timberlake’s animated Boo-Boo Bear and Dan Aykroyd’s even more animated Yogi, she’s free to be candid. Read More