Fresh from the San Francisco International Film Festival, Sarah Polley’s third film as director, “Stories We Tell,” is unlike her previous feature films, the superb “Away from Her” and “Take This Waltz.”
But “Stories We Tell” is not just any documentary. It’s a unique, emotional and surprising ride about a powerful event in Polley’s life.
Instead of facts, Polley deals with memory, doubt and a host of other tenuous concepts. As the movie begins, she interviews her sister, who poses the very good question, “Who cares about our family?” Read More
Very few — if any — TV shows have had the lasting cultural impact of “Star Trek,” which first aired in 1966.
Since then, there have been five other “Star Trek” TV series as well as games, toys, books and 12 movies, including the new “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
Three of its stars weren’t alive when the first TV series aired.
John Cho (“Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle”), who returns as Sulu, loves hearing stories from fans, especially those about fathers and sons bonding over the show. Read More
Thanks to the brilliant casting of Robert Downey Jr., Tony Stark — aka Iron Man — is the most fun of all movie superheroes.
Unlike the army of muscular pretty boys, Downey brings incredible talent, charisma and personality to his roles. He has gifted Stark with an infectious, devil-may-care attitude and an array of ready wisecracks.
In “Iron Man 3,” however, Stark is a little skittish from his experiences in last summer’s “The Avengers.” He can’t sleep, and he doesn’t want to talk about it. Also, he’s begun to experience panic attacks. Read More
Born in Little Rock, Ark., writer-director Jeff Nichols has slowly established himself as a strong force in independent film with his first two features, “Shotgun Stories” and “Take Shelter,” which took place in rural, working-class communities and starred the serpent-eyed Michael Shannon.
In his third film, the new “Mud,” a slightly bigger star, Matthew McConaughey, takes over the lead; Shannon gets a potent little supporting role. Read More
Many documentaries have been made about the movies, but none of them are quite like “Room 237.”The film is a work of criticism, scholarship, obsession and paranoia — all devoted to one movie: Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”
Director Rodney Ascher interviews five people — journalist Bill Blakemore, professor Geoffrey Cocks, author and playwright Juli Kearns, performer and musician John Fell Ryan, and hermetic scholar Jay Weidner — who have one thing in common: an unhealthy obsession with “The Shining.” Read More
“To the Wonder,” Terrence Malick’s sixth film in 40 years, has much in common with his last film, 2011’s “The Tree of Life.”
Dealing with some of the same themes, including a father who can’t open his heart, it also is more intimate and more immediate, without the dinosaurs or outer-space scenes of “Tree of Life.” Read More
A wonder of an independent film, Adam Leon’s “Gimme the Loot” — opening today — is quick, lean and economical.
It gets great performances out of newcomers and uses natural locations to brilliant effect. It’s not precious or gimmicky. Above all, it’s highly entertaining.
The determined Leon, who wanted to be a filmmaker since he was 4, didn’t go to film school: “At my college, there was this great DVD library, so I’d watch a movie every night and did my own cinema studies,” he says. Read More
Derek Cianfrance’s new film, “The Place Beyond the Pines,” is going to mess with people’s expectations.
In his followup to the powerful “Blue Valentine,” which went back and forth between two timelines, Cianfrance again plays with structure.
“I was conscious not to repeat the same structure, but I’m still a structuralist,” says Cianfrance, recently in The City to promote the movie.
“I’m fascinated by the shape of things. Whereas ‘Blue’ was a duet, this is a triptych. It’s also a film about lineage, so I felt it needed to be linear,” he says. Read More
“Spring Breakers” director Harmony Korine made a rambunctious, daring debut at age 22 with his screenplay for the notorious 1995 movie “Kids.”
Two years later, he directed his first feature, the astounding “Gummo.” Although The New York Times called it “the worst film of the year,” it is considered a masterpiece by many others.
Sixteen years and a handful of films later, Korine, 40, hasn’t lost his edge. Read More
Complete details of legendary filmmaker Roman Polanski’s Roxie Theater event April 6 in San Francisco remain a bit fuzzy, but we do know he’s scheduled to do a live Skype interview.
What exactly will be discussed is unknown.
Fans of the director of “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown” and “The Pianist” might be just as interested in hearing about Polanski’s controversial personal life as they are his filmmaking
sensibilities. Read More
In the mid-1980s, actor and stand-up comedian Charles Fleischer, who had appeared on “Welcome Back Kotter” in the 1970s, landed a job as the voice of a cartoon character in a major motion picture.
He became synonymous with Roger Rabbit, the character that interacted so effortlessly with Bob Hoskins in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” The groundbreaking movie is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new Disney Blu-ray Disc release. Read More
“The Croods” continues DreamWorks Animation’s winning streak.
Even though DreamWorks’ movies historically have employed a chunky look that’s not as smooth or warm as some other studios’ animated offerings, and crude humor has taken precedence over strong narratives, lately things have changed. The sequel “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” and spinoff “Puss in Boots” were far better than their obnoxious predecessors.
Like last fall’s “Rise of the Guardians,” “The Croods” takes the blocky look and runs with it. The movie looks great in motion. Read More
“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” starts with a flashback. On his birthday, young Burt is chased and harassed by bullies and left alone by a busy, absent mom.
He opens his present, a Rance Holloway magic kit, and gapes, wide-eyed with wonder, at the illusions he will learn.
He grows up to be a supremely successful and arrogant Las Vegas headliner, forgetting that moment of wonder. Read More
Director Sam Raimi has managed to hang on to his joyous enthusiasm for movement and shock throughout his career, from his $375,000 feature debut “The Evil Dead” to the new $200 million “Oz the Great and Powerful.”
Some might describe his directorial touches as surface-level, or call his movies shallow. Read More
While spooky fairy tales once were intended to entertain and teach children life lessons, thanks to a current cinematic trend, they have become big, loud, explosive and curiously innocuous.
The new “Jack the Giant Slayer” is like a giant itself — dull, slow-moving and slow-witted.
Packed with rampaging special effects, it mostly forgoes simple themes in the 200-year-old “Jack and the Beanstalk” story. Read More