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Film, Film Feature The Esseffies 2014:  Our Unexpected, Unnecessary Film Awards

The Esseffies 2014: Our Unexpected, Unnecessary Film Awards

Nothing in or around film underwhelms so completely as the Oscars. The hype is too great, the surprises too few. So, for a second year, we offer our own awards for cinematic merit with no hype and practically nothing you…
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Film, "On the Job": Filipino Cops and Robbers Flick Gets Complicated

"On the Job": Filipino Cops and Robbers Flick Gets Complicated

On the Job Clearly this gritty fatalistic crime drama is not the place to go for a flattering portrait of the Filipino justice system. While adept at giving off genre thrills, director Erik Matti evidently takes little delight in his…
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Film, "Ain’t Them Bodies Saints": Lovely People on a Crime Spree

"Ain’t Them Bodies Saints": Lovely People on a Crime Spree

A leading contender for overrated indie of the year, writer-director David Lowery's preciously '70s-set crime romance is a beautiful bore. The pretentious title should be your tip-off; for all its pseudo-poetic twang, Ain't Them Bodies Saints doesn't really mean much.…
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Film, "To the Wonder": Terrence Malick's Beautiful Pondering

"To the Wonder": Terrence Malick's Beautiful Pondering

"The magic hour" is a cinematography term for the day's final stretch of sunlight, when the light has certain glowy emotionality. Terence Malick made extensive use of the magic hour in 1973's Badlands, 1978's Days of Heaven, 2005's The New…
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Film, Rep Showtimes

Arthouse Movie Listings January 9-15, 2013

The Castro Theatre. Samsara and Beau Travail: A double feature on the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders; and a French Foreign Legion outpost in Africa. Wed., Jan. 9; Thu., Jan. 10. $8.50-$11. Man-Children…
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Film, "Argo": Ben Affleck Asks Us to Love Hollywood Again

"Argo": Ben Affleck Asks Us to Love Hollywood Again

Perhaps more than any other male American star of his generation, Ben Affleck understands the narrative advantage of having Hollywood on your side. The Good Will Hunting co-screenwriter and co-star won an Oscar at age 25 in large part because…
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Film, Feature TIFF Report: A Glimpse of This Year's Most Bracing Films

TIFF Report: A Glimpse of This Year's Most Bracing Films

A critic's report from a film festival like Toronto, where something like 300 features were unveiled from Sept. 6 through 16, can be something like a Rorschach test — or, at least, it can be something like the Rorschach test…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist

Ben Affleck in Terrence Malick's To The Wonder at the Toronto Film Festival

Film critic Karina Longworth is reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival this week. As the summer of self-plagiarism comes to a close, add Terrence Malick to the list of those accused of this debatable crime: The auteur's quick follow-up…
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Music, All Shook Down How To Be in Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend's Music Video (Without Looking Like an Idiot)

How To Be in Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend's Music Video (Without Looking Like an Idiot)

We've all been there. You're at home, doing the dishes or washing the dog, and in swans your famous partner and demands that you be in their latest music video. Nightmare, eh? We understand that this is a really common…
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News, The Snitch Dennis Herrera Implies Homosexuality Is a Choice, Upsets Gays

Dennis Herrera Implies Homosexuality Is a Choice, Upsets Gays

The gay-friendly, Dennis Herrera, San Francisco's city attorney who last year filed a lawsuit challenging the state's ban on gay marriage, "accidentally" referred to homosexuality as a sexual preference rather than an orientation. In other words, he made it sound…
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Film, “The Town”: Ben Affleck is a bank robber seeking redemption

“The Town”: Ben Affleck is a bank robber seeking redemption

Directing himself as a verifiable big-movie lead after some time in supporting-actor Triple-A ball, director and star Ben Affleck models a full line of warm-up suits to play Doug MacRay, a second-generation blue-collar stickup man, brains of his four-man bank…
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Film, Political thriller <i>State of Play</i> is adrenaline for a dying industry: ours.

Political thriller State of Play is adrenaline for a dying industry: ours.

Kevin Macdonald's Washington thriller is a bellows designed to puff up the most beaten-down reporter's chest. Compressed from the highly regarded BBC miniseries first telecast in 2003, State of Play is an effectively involving journalism-cum-conspiracy yarn with a bang-bang opening…
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Culture, Stagecap

Coronado

Dennis Lehane is the current go-to guy for gritty drama soaked in family tragedy. He wrote books that were adapted for the screen for Ben Affleck's Gone Baby Gone and Clint Eastwood's Mystic River. In 2004, he joined the writing…
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Calendar, Night&Day Down in the Valley

Down in the Valley

If it’s true that you’ve got to suffer if you want to sing the blues, as David Bromberg proposed in one his best tunes, then how to explain the Mill Valley Film Festival? The living is easy in Mill Valley…
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Film, Detective Comics

Detective Comics

If Superman Returns attempted to resurrect the Man of Steel as mythic hero, the season's other Superman movie wants to disabuse us of any such childish illusions. Glamorously adult, Hollywoodland purports to part the veil on the circumstances by which…
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Home Entertainment, Game On "Imperfect" Is Right

"Imperfect" Is Right

We've all been kicked in the junk by Marvel superheroes before. Watching Elektra was like two hours of nut-pummeling by a relentless, sac-hating donkey. But superhero films -- even bad ones -- gross bazillions of dollars. So it's no surprise…
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Film, Mother Courage

Mother Courage

The first exceptional drama of 2004 is here, and it only took, what, five months? Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Mother comes from British writer Hanif Kureishi, who penned the gritty, South Asian-in-London marvels My Beautiful Laundrette and My Son the Fanatic.…
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Culture, Stuff Jersey Gurgle

Jersey Gurgle

Full disclosure: I like precisely one and a half Kevin Smith movies. There's the one everyone else hates, the John Hughes homage Mallrats, and the first hour of the one everyone else loves, Chasing Amy, which dries up around the…
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Calendar, Sports/Outdoors Love-In

Love-In

SAT 8/30 Shakespeare wrote, "The play's the thing," and those looking to escape this summer's movie schlock may realize he was never more right when Free Shakespeare in the Park brings its newest production to town. Love's Labour's Lost follows…
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Film, White Dopes on Dope

White Dopes on Dope

Beware the filmmaker who looks through the camera's lens and sees only himself on the other side, blowing kisses. He's the fool who confuses "personal vision" with "jacking off," and he'll try every time to convince you there's something meaningful…
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