Dennis Harvey

Cruel stories of youth

'Rich Hill' and 'Me and You' offer very different (but equally compelling) coming-of-age tales

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FILM Richard Linklater's Boyhood is so popular that by now it's acquired the seemingly inevitable backlash against such overwhelming critical support — god forbid "the critics," that mysterious, possibly secret-handshaking Masonic elite, should tell anyone what to think. It's a lucky movie that invites hostility by being so widely (and, admittedly, a bit hyperbolically) considered a masterpiece. Whatever your parade, someone will always be dying to rain on it.Read more »

Ye of little faith

A priest struggles with his flock in John Michael McDonagh's tasteful, frustrating 'Calvary'

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FILM While I'm sure they don't enjoy being lumped together — one imagines them ornery, if not just bratty — the brothers McDonagh share an extremely like-minded sensibility. Not least among numerous overlaps is possessing the kind of talent that is undeniable and suspect. Just because they're frequently as clever as they think they are, need they be quite such show-offs about it?Read more »

Inglorious bastards

'The Kill Team' brings an ugly chapter in US military history to light

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FILM It is a conundrum of modern life that we encourage aggression in our heroes of the battlefield and playing field, then are shocked when they fail to act like gentlemen. The comparison may be forced in some ways — especially in the wildly unequal compensation given people who risk their lives in uniform, versus those who risk a broken bone or concussion at worst. But both arenas are last bastions in which we celebrate unabashed machismo, physical strength, and daring in real-life as opposed to fictive form.Read more »

Framing fame

Entertainers take center stage in SF Jewish Film Festival docs

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Blurry portrait

'Llyn Foulkes One Man Band' takes on an inscrutable artist

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Endless Don

The Roxie celebrates the roller-coaster career of an erstwhile Hollywood hunk

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FILM "Introducing Hollywood's newest hunk-a-man!" crowed the ads for 1956's Bus Stop, in which Don Murray made his film debut as the cowpoke besotted with Marilyn Monroe's movie-mad hick — a plum role in a big hit opposite the reigning box-office queen. The actor even got an Oscar nomination for this start at the tippy-top. But he didn't stay there long.Read more »

It's alive!

The Vortex Room keeps on keepin' on — for now — with the weirdest flicks you'll see all summer

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Puff piece

Music-manager doc 'Supermensch' doth gush too much

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Sometimes a movie can only be called a gift — a gift intended for somebody other than the viewer. Clearly a film is a vanity project if its primary intent seems to flatter its maker. But what about when it's a love letter from one rich, entitled celebrity to another? Then the vanity grows complicated, not least by the fact that we're expected to pay for the privilege of watching one ass kiss another.Read more »

Anxious art

Striking 'Masterpieces of Polish Cinema' at the PFA -- with a strange Jerry Garcia(!) twist

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FILM Poland had not been a major hub of film production in the early decades of the medium, and its industry stabilized without getting very interesting in the years after World War II, when a Soviet-backed Stalinist regime founded state-controlled Film Polski. This shotgun wedding of art and bureaucracy wasn't ideally conducive to creative expression, however. By the mid-1950s younger filmmakers, many graduates from the recently founded National Film School in Lodz, agitated for more independence — which, surprisingly, they won.Read more »

Peculiar thrills

Barbie art, wicker kittens, Harry Who, and jingle bells at DocFest 13

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