Sun, 07 Feb 2016 13:45:41 GMT Film/DVD reviews, interviews and features. Grandma (2015) [***] [Blu-Ray] [DVD] /reviews/4831 Tailor-made for the great Lily Tomlin...Yeah, the circumstances are contrived, but easy enough to accept as long as they’re forcing interesting dynamics into seriocomic confrontation. Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:11:00 GMT Peter Canavese Let There Be Light: John Huston‘s Wartime Documentaries (1946) [*** 1/2] [Blu-Ray] [DVD] /reviews/4881 Clearly, the breadth of Huston‘s Army Signal Corps films show a Blakian passage from innocence to experience, unquestioning jingoism to a recognition of war horrors. Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:10:00 GMT Peter Canavese The Undesirable (1914) [**] [Blu-Ray] [DVD] /reviews/4876 The cheap-looking production lacks visual flair and lines up undistinguished performances on the way to a clumsy, half-hearted resolution...And yet, to film historians and Curtiz fanatics, The Undesirable is a gift horse not to look in the mouth. Wed, 03 Feb 2016 23:44:00 GMT Peter Canavese Bridge of Spies (2015) [***] [Blu-Ray] [DVD] /reviews/4880 Steven Spielberg goes into Stanley Kramer mode for Bridge of Spies, a socially conscious tale of touch-and-go diplomacy at home, at the office, and on the global stage. Tue, 02 Feb 2016 23:51:00 GMT Peter Canavese The Oscar® Nominated Short Films…Live Action and Animated (2015) [***] /reviews/4879 The 88th Academy Awards® ceremony airs on Sunday, February 28, 2016…now you have another way to get ready. Tue, 02 Feb 2016 23:06:18 GMT Peter Canavese Truth (2015) [***] [Blu-Ray] [DVD] /reviews/4846 Though the [film]...cannot pretend to be free of its own leanings, Vanderbilt allows a reading of Mapes’ tragic errors amidst its melancholy diagnosing of TV-news’ slow, painful death march from the public trust into modern corporate product. Tue, 02 Feb 2016 22:04:00 GMT Peter Canavese 45 Years (2015) [*** 1/2] /reviews/4877 Implications, about the long odds for romance, the deeper psychology of mating, and the devastating possibility that love isn’t an absolute but a willful, occasionally mutual, delusion. Tue, 02 Feb 2016 15:22:00 GMT Peter Canavese Of Mice and Men (1992) [***] [Blu-Ray] [DVD] /reviews/4875 Classic-literature-adaptation demureness...but it‘s impeccably cast and mostly quite faithful. Mon, 01 Feb 2016 22:56:00 GMT Peter Canavese Interview: Dana Fox…How to Be Single…1/28/2016 /interviews/432 I started doing a lot of research into the science of love and sex...And I met my husband and he didn‘t check off a single box on my list. He just loved me and I loved him. Sun, 31 Jan 2016 17:31:39 GMT Peter Canavese The Finest Hours (2016) [** 1/2] /reviews/4874 One can easily understand why this story swiftly became Coast Guard legend...but its dim wall-of-grey visuals and narrative longueurs make much of the two hours a challenge to the attention span for viewers of any age. Wed, 27 Jan 2016 15:39:07 GMT Peter Canavese The New Girlfriend (2015) [*** 1/2] [Blu-Ray] [DVD] /reviews/4873 A strong thematic undercurrent pits bourgeois social conventions against authentic self-definition and ultimate freedom to live without shame or undue social limitations. Tue, 26 Jan 2016 22:23:00 GMT Peter Canavese The Lady in the Van (2015) [***] /reviews/4872 Though at times precious, Bennett’s sly script masks that deeply sentimental core with comic edge and a writer’s willful, mercenary remove. Tue, 26 Jan 2016 15:48:27 GMT Peter Canavese Chi-Raq (2015) [****] [Blu-Ray] [DVD] /reviews/4870 When Lee cooks up a stew this heady, one best recognize...the right film at the right time, Lee’s most creatively fertile and socially immediate narrative feature in years. Mon, 25 Jan 2016 15:32:00 GMT Peter Canavese Son of Saul (2015) [*** 1/2] /reviews/4869 One man’s last grasp at humanity amidst the dehumanizing horrors of Auschwitz...dramatizes those extraordinary circumstances under which even the meanings of life and death become foreign and in desperate need of rediscovery. Tue, 19 Jan 2016 17:02:50 GMT Peter Canavese The Assassin (2015) [*** 1/2] [Blu-Ray] [DVD] /reviews/4844 A Hou film and, therefore an aesthete‘s delight...The Assassin breathes more than it talks, patiently taking in its landscapes and its silk-curtained interiors. Sat, 16 Jan 2016 15:58:00 GMT Peter Canavese Ride Along 2 (2016) [ 1/2] /reviews/4868 All the blithe sexism and tin-eared comedy of a Michael Bay movie and none of the budget new meaning to ‘lazy.‘ Thu, 14 Jan 2016 18:20:00 GMT Peter Canavese Anomalisa (2015) [*** 1/2] /reviews/4867 Yet another midlife-crisis white guy on the big screen...but it’s undeniably an artful rendering of the post-millennial man adrift, in search of any port than the one he’s made for himself. Tue, 12 Jan 2016 19:20:00 GMT Peter Canavese The Hateful Eight (2015) [** 1/2] /reviews/4866 [A] general absence of something to say...Recycles the filmmaker’s own work: the leaner if no meaner dog-eat-dog plotting of Reservoir Dogs...and a roster of no-longer-shocking offenses... Wed, 06 Jan 2016 07:57:00 GMT Peter Canavese The Revenant (2015) [** 1/2] /reviews/4865 A certain breed of film geeks will snap fingers in approval, but most viewers…having been pummeled into acknowledging the film‘s muscular ‘greatness‘…will feel little more than dazed, and ready more for a nap than a conversation. Tue, 05 Jan 2016 15:37:23 GMT Peter Canavese Interview: László Nemes & Géza Röhrig…Son of Saul…12/12/2015 /interviews/430 [Nemes:] It had to be a very organic process. We wanted to rely on the imagination of the viewer. Mon, 28 Dec 2015 21:40:00 GMT Peter Canavese Feature: 2015 Top 10 /features/256 The Year‘s Best Films                     1. Chi-Raq  The right film at the right time, Spike Lee’s latest is his most creatively fertile and socially immediate narrative feature in years. A grabber from its opening sequence, a lyric video for Nick Cannon’s gut-punching... Mon, 28 Dec 2015 21:03:00 GMT Peter Canavese Joy (2015) [** 1/2] /reviews/4864 Though everything around this resilient central figure is wan sitcom, ‘Joy the Doer‘ provides a rooting interest potent enough to justify the film. Thu, 17 Dec 2015 18:40:08 GMT Peter Canavese The Big Short (2015) [*** 1/2] /reviews/4863 Elucidate[s] the fiscal rigamarole leading up to the bursting of the housing and credit bubble circa 2008, while also whipping up a palatable froth of cynicism and absurdity. Thu, 17 Dec 2015 18:34:34 GMT Peter Canavese Interview: Jay Roach…Trumbo, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery…11/12/2015 /interviews/431 We did tons of research, interviewed the daughters, and even got to talk to Kirk Douglas before we started shooting...we tried really hard to be completely authentic... Thu, 12 Nov 2015 22:01:00 GMT Peter Canavese Interview: Abi Morgan & Sarah Gavron…Suffragette…10/16/2015 /interviews/424 [Morgan:] Part of our desire was to give voice to the voiceless...these extraordinary working-class women. Mon, 19 Oct 2015 04:15:11 GMT Peter Canavese Interview: Cary Joji Fukunaga & Abraham Attah…Beasts of No Nation, True Detective…10/15/2015 /interviews/425 [Fukunaga:] I‘m not sure where I‘m headed...I still look at all these movies as an experience to learn from.   Fri, 16 Oct 2015 04:34:00 GMT Peter Canavese Feature: The 58th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 23-May 7, 2015) /features/255 SCROLL DOWN FOR THE LATEST CAPSULE REVIEWS! By my count, this year‘s San Francisco International Film Festival (April 23-May 7, 2015) features 58 narrative features, one for every year in the fest‘s history. That‘s on top of 34 documentary features, 6 shorts programs, and a panoply of awards presentations/tributes, live performance events, lectu... Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:59:00 GMT Peter Canavese Feature: 2014 Top 10 /features/254 The Year‘s Best Films                   1. Boyhood  The deceptively simple idea behind Richard Linklater‘s magnum opus was to shoot a few days a year for twelve years, and thus capture the growth and development of a middle-class Everyboy (Ellar Coltrane) and his family. Linklater‘s rest... Tue, 23 Dec 2014 23:34:27 GMT Peter Canavese Feature: The 57th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 24-May 8, 2014) /features/253 SCROLL DOWN FOR THE LATEST CAPSULE REVIEWS! No one would say that the San Francisco Film Society has had an easy time of the last few years, but its Filmmaker360 program to support and fund independent film can (and does) boast successes like Beasts of the Southern Wild and Fruitvale Station, and with new Executive Director Noah Cowan in place, st... Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:10:00 GMT Peter Canavese Feature: 2013 Top 10 /features/252 The Year‘s Best Films             1. Her  The “zeitgeist“-y American movie of the year is a slightly futuristic tale that reflects blindingly on our present. Written and directed by Spike Jonze with elegant, melancholy calm, Her functions as a sincere and most unusual romance…between a human and a f... Tue, 24 Dec 2013 14:40:59 GMT Peter Canavese