Movies and TV

Linda May and Frances McDormand in the film “Nomadland.” (Courtesy Searchlight Pictures/TNS)

Oscars 2021: How ‘Nomadland’ won best picture

Glenn Whipp Los Angeles Times Eight months ago, Chloé Zhao drove from…

Linda May and Frances McDormand in the film “Nomadland.” (Courtesy Searchlight Pictures/TNS)
Model Chase Oma, in a custom silver lace hood and illustrated jacket by <a href="https://www.etsy.com/listing/1002021795/silver-lace-face-mask-hood-face-mask-emf" target="_blank">Paul Gallo</a>, poses at the Lone Star Saloon.<ins> (Saul Sugarman/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>

Fully-vaccinated date night

A movie in a socially-distanced theater proves satisfying

Model Chase Oma, in a custom silver lace hood and illustrated jacket by <a href="https://www.etsy.com/listing/1002021795/silver-lace-face-mask-hood-face-mask-emf" target="_blank">Paul Gallo</a>, poses at the Lone Star Saloon.<ins> (Saul Sugarman/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Lewis Tan plays the hero in “Mortal Kombat.” <ins>(Courtesy Warner Bros.)</ins>

‘Mortal Kombat’ is surprising dumb fun

Gory reboot is a rare fresh film based on a video game

Lewis Tan plays the hero in “Mortal Kombat.” <ins>(Courtesy Warner Bros.)</ins>
Chrissie Fit, left, and Lorenza Izzo appear in the San Francisco-set “Women is Losers.” (Courtesy Look at the Moon Pictures)

‘Women Is Losers’ underscores bias toward females of color

Lissette Feliciano’s feature debut is set in 1960s San Francisco

  • Apr 22, 2021
Chrissie Fit, left, and Lorenza Izzo appear in the San Francisco-set “Women is Losers.” (Courtesy Look at the Moon Pictures)
Ed Helms and Patti Harrison star in “Together Together,” a comedy about a man and the surrogate he hires to have a baby. (Courtesy Bleecker Street)

‘Together Together’ an uneven look at unconventionally conceived familes

‘Downstream to Kinshasa’ illustrates effects of Congo’s Six Day War

Ed Helms and Patti Harrison star in “Together Together,” a comedy about a man and the surrogate he hires to have a baby. (Courtesy Bleecker Street)
“Gunda” is director Victor Kossakovsky’s moving film about a pig on a Norwegian farm.<ins> (Courtesy Neon)</ins>

Two enlightening docs: ‘Gunda,’ ‘The Last Animals’

Films show how humans wreak havoc in natural world

“Gunda” is director Victor Kossakovsky’s moving film about a pig on a Norwegian farm.<ins> (Courtesy Neon)</ins>
The often great Morgan Freeman, seemingly inexplicably, stars in “Vanquish.” <ins>(Courtesy Lionsgate)</ins>

Action flick ‘Vanquish’ is bafflingly awful

Morgan Freeman-Ruby Rose vehicle might be worth viewing for a laugh

The often great Morgan Freeman, seemingly inexplicably, stars in “Vanquish.” <ins>(Courtesy Lionsgate)</ins>
“Occupy The Farm,” premiering on PBS on April 20, details efforts of activist urban farmers in the East Bay.<ins> Johnson)</ins>

Urban farming activism a timely theme in ‘Occupy The Farm’

Issues in 2014 doc about contested UC Berkeley land relevant today

“Occupy The Farm,” premiering on PBS on April 20, details efforts of activist urban farmers in the East Bay.<ins> Johnson)</ins>
Keith Zwölfer, director of education for SFFILM, stays busy connecting filmmakers and studios with public, private and home schools<ins>. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner) </ins>

Streamlined SF film festival focuses on family features

SFFILM Director of Education Keith Zwölfer finds movies that appeal to kids

Keith Zwölfer, director of education for SFFILM, stays busy connecting filmmakers and studios with public, private and home schools<ins>. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner) </ins>
Noée Abita is excellent as a competitive teen skier who is sexually abused by her coach in “Slalom.” (Courtesy Kino Lorber)

‘Slalom’ a vivid psychodrama for the #MeToo era

Syrian refugee crisis meets Western art market in ‘Man Who Sold His Skin’

Noée Abita is excellent as a competitive teen skier who is sexually abused by her coach in “Slalom.” (Courtesy Kino Lorber)
A shot of a pole fisherman in Sri Lanka is among many striking images in “Awaken,” a film by Tom Lowe. ( (Courtesy DUST)

Life savor: Beautiful ‘Awaken’ meditates on human beings and life on earth

“Awaken,” debuting Friday on major Video On Demand platforms, is the latest…

A shot of a pole fisherman in Sri Lanka is among many striking images in “Awaken,” a film by Tom Lowe. ( (Courtesy DUST)
John Boyega stars in “Naked Singularlity,” the opening presentation of the 2021 SFFILM Film Festival.<ins> (Courtesy SFFILM)</ins>

2021 SFFILM Festival is online and at the drive-in

Program offers 103 films, including 42 features and 13 premieres, from 41 countries

John Boyega stars in “Naked Singularlity,” the opening presentation of the 2021 SFFILM Film Festival.<ins> (Courtesy SFFILM)</ins>
Oscar Isaac appears in “The Letter Room,” a 2020 short drama directed by Elvira Lind. (Courtesy ShortsTV)

Oscar-nominated short films online and in theaters

Live-action lineup, with three U.S. entries, particularly strong

Oscar Isaac appears in “The Letter Room,” a 2020 short drama directed by Elvira Lind. (Courtesy ShortsTV)
Michelle Pfeiffer is terrific as a quirky socialite in “French Exit.” <ins>(Courtesy Lou Scamble/Sony Pictures Classics)</ins>

Michelle Pfeiffer shines in uneven ‘French Exit’

Eccentricity overwhelms what could be effective social satire

Michelle Pfeiffer is terrific as a quirky socialite in “French Exit.” <ins>(Courtesy Lou Scamble/Sony Pictures Classics)</ins>
Godzilla battles Kong in in the fun action-adventure “Godzilla vs. Kong.” (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

Smash of the titans: ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’

Dumb and fun flick delivers everything you want from a giant monster movie

Godzilla battles Kong in in the fun action-adventure “Godzilla vs. Kong.” (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)
Angelo Gagliardi appears in “The Truffle Hunters,” a feel-good documentary about the passion of some old Italian villagers. (Courtesy Michael Dweck and Gregory Kersha/Sony Pictures Classics)

‘Truffle Hunters’ an uplifting film about men and dogs

‘Father’ a fascinating exploration of dementia

Angelo Gagliardi appears in “The Truffle Hunters,” a feel-good documentary about the passion of some old Italian villagers. (Courtesy Michael Dweck and Gregory Kersha/Sony Pictures Classics)
Bob Odenkirk is an appealing regular-guy action hero in “Nobody.” 
Courtesy Universal

Bob Odenkirk makes ‘Nobody’ a human story

Everyman hero appeals in adrenaline-fueled film by Ilya Naishuller

Bob Odenkirk is an appealing regular-guy action hero in “Nobody.” 
Courtesy Universal
Neo-soul singer-songwriter Celeste has been nominated for an Oscar for “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” <ins>(Courtesy Sophie Jones)</ins>

Celeste’s impressive recording debut earns Oscar nod

Singer’s appealing retro-R&B attracts notice of A-listers and more

Neo-soul singer-songwriter Celeste has been nominated for an Oscar for “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” <ins>(Courtesy Sophie Jones)</ins>
Cinequest’s closing Spotlight event includes a conversation with the Bay Area-based directors of “Boys State,” a documentary about teens tasked with creating a government under a program sponsored by the American Legion. (Courtesy A24)

Cinequest offers spotlight screenings with filmmaker chats

South Bay film-VR fest offers dozens of movies and special programs

Cinequest’s closing Spotlight event includes a conversation with the Bay Area-based directors of “Boys State,” a documentary about teens tasked with creating a government under a program sponsored by the American Legion. (Courtesy A24)
“Martha: A Picture Story,” joyously showcases photographer Martha Cooper and her affinity for street art. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>

‘Martha: A Picture Story’ celebrates street art

‘Groomed’ an in-depth look at how child abusers work

“Martha: A Picture Story,” joyously showcases photographer Martha Cooper and her affinity for street art. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>