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Thompson on Hollywood

Jonathan Lethem's State of Cinema Address at San Francisco Int'l Film Festival

Check out Jonathan Lethem's State of Cinema address from April 21 at the San Francisco Int'l Film Festival:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 26, 2012 11:59 AM
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San Francisco International Film Festival: 'Vivan las Antipodas!,' "Wu Xia'

A day of happy accidents. I knew that I wanted to see “Wu Xia,” a martial arts movie that had been extremely successful in its homeland and which the Weinstein Company had acquired with some fanfare at Cannes last year, at 3:45.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 26, 2012 2:02 AM
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SFIFF 55 Update: From Jonathan Lethem to 'Oslo, August 21st,' 'Queen of Versailles,' 'The Sheik and I'

I’ve seen quite a few of SFIFF's State of the Cinema lectures, the tenth in fest's series of inviting a “prominent thinker to discuss the intersecting worlds of contemporary cinema, culture, and society.” Highlights that spring to mind include the erudite sound designer and film editor Walter Murch, complete with Power Point presentation; the irrepressible and charming director/animator/voice actor Brad Bird; and Tilda Swinton, easily the most stylishly attired and poetically, delightfully incoherent.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 25, 2012 6:00 AM
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SFIFF Review: World Premiere of Terrorist-Savvy 'Informant'

"Informant" has timing on its side. The documentary by Jamie Meltzer, told mostly in the voice of Brandon Darby, is an activist’s journey from the post-Katrina ruins of New Orleans, to Venezuela and Colombia, and back the United States, where Darby sours on his former comrades and ends up working for the FBI.
  • By David D'Arcy
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  • April 23, 2012 4:02 PM
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SFIFF 55 Reviews: 'Goodbye,' 'Robot & Frank,' 'How to Survive a Plague,' 'Fourth Dimension'

Only two films into the day and I’ve already been confronted with political repression, abuse, Down syndrome, and Alzheimer’s. I go to see “The Fourth Dimension,” a trilogy of films created around a set of instructions that sound Dogme-esque but more specific (stuffed animals and bad jokes must be included) by Harmony Korine...
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 22, 2012 3:52 PM
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  • 2 Comments

SFIFF Review: Peter Nicks' Doc 'The Waiting Room'

"The Waiting Room" is edited to give the range of emotions observed and experienced in that space, and that range is vast. This is documentary as distilled observation. It’s also as strong an argument for universal health care that I’ve seen in years.
  • By David D'Arcy
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  • April 22, 2012 1:41 PM
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55th San Francisco International Film Festival Gets Under Way: 'Farewell My Queen,' 'Trishna,' 'Twixt'

Among the fiction films, famed auteurs are not in abundance, having seen the Coppola, Winterbottom, and Johnie To films: the new Kassovitz and Guedigian appeal to the Francophile in me, but those are not exactly marquee names. Star power seemed reserved for the tributes to Judy Davis and Kenneth Branagh, but even those names are somewhat subdued in celebrity culture terms.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 21, 2012 12:15 PM
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SFIFF Review: 'Tokyo Waka: A City Poem'

Would someone please summon Alfred Hitchcock? "Tokyo Waka; A City Poem" is, among other things, an ode to the crows that seem everywhere in that Japanese city. They attack people, they eat anything available, and they raid the city’s zoo to steal baby prairie dogs and other small animals that they can carry away.
  • By David D'Arcy
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  • April 20, 2012 3:38 PM
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San Francisco Fest Opener: Lush French Period Drama 'Farewell, My Queen,' Starring Kruger and Seydoux

The San Francisco International Film Festival will open with "Farewell, My Queen" on April 19 at the Castro Theatre. The historical drama, from director Benoît Jacquot, stars Diane Kruger ("Inglourious Basterds," "National Treasure") as Queen Marie Antoinette and Léa Seydoux...
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • March 20, 2012 12:36 PM
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Kenneth Branagh to Receive San Francisco Fest's Founder's Directing Award

Kenneth Branagh, who was recently nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Sir Laurence Olivier in "My Week with Marilyn" and directed Marvel's "Thor," will be honored with the San Francisco International Film Festival's Founder's Directing Award...
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • March 19, 2012 1:20 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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