Smells Like Teen Spirit: Q&A with Teenage Director Matt Wolf

Categories: Film, Interview

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Courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories
Still image from Teenage

It's hard to imagine that there was ever a time when teenagers weren't the center of the universe.

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The Great Quake of '06 and The Great Film About It

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P.O.V. shot from W.S. Van Dyke's San Francisco (1936) which recreates the Great Quake of 1906 and the subsequent fires.

On April 18, 1906, at 5:12 a.m., a 7.8 quake struck the City. Much of the city was destroyed during an era when retro-fitting wasn't an option. Thousands died as buildings collapsed on them. Fires raged for days. Archival photographs recall the magnitude of the devastation: block after block of rubble.

And 30 years after the great quake of 1906 destroyed much of San Francisco, Hollywood produced a romantic drama about the catastrophic event.

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Mrs. Doubtfire Sequel in the Works

Categories: Film

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20th Century Fox

Everyone's favorite cross-dressing nanny is readying to return to the big screen with a sequel.

The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report that there's officially a sequel in the works, and Robin Williams is involved -- but it hasn't been confirmed if he'll reprise the role of Euphegenia Doubtfire.

David Berenbaum (Elf) is writing the script and Mrs. Doubtfire director Chris Columbus is also said to be involved in the sequel.

We're hoping, that after 20 years, Williams' ex-wife (played by Sally Field in the movie) held onto the house at 2640 Steiner, because we doubt she'd ever be able to afford to move back there on an interior decorator's salary. We're also curious to see how Williams' three children turned out. But if we'll find out seems up in the air, as Perez Hilton pointed out this morning, Mara Wilson (who plays youngest daughter Natalie) has no interest in returning to reprise her role. She says sequels usually suck, and we have to agree -- so they better not mess this up.

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Le Video Strikes Back: A Sequel for the Awesome Video Store

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Things are looking up for Le Video. The store, which carries an estimated 80-100,000 titles and was expected to close by the end of April, is now planning to stay open. This is thanks to a successful Indiegogo campaign, a recent uptick in customer support, and the addition of Green Apple Books as a tenant.

Le Video owner and founder Catherine Tchen recently explained her plan to SF Weekly. While the store is going stay open, it won't look exactly the same.

Green Apple Books will take over the bottom floor of the building, and Le Video will move into the mezzanine upstairs. All of the films will be added to an online database that customers can search from home or at a kiosk in the store, and then pick up their movie at the counter. The upstairs area will have a smaller browsing selection than the current store, but the entire collection will still be available. Tchen promises to keep as many movies on display as possible, and is much more upbeat about Le Video's future than she was in March.

"The mezzanine space will be awesome," Tchen says. "We'll still be able to display way more movies than the average video store; at least 25,000."


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San Francisco Animator's Work Appears in Major Films

Categories: Film

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YouTube
Mr. Hublot

The Oscars are two months old, which basically means they're ancient, but we just learned that the animation director of Mr. Hublot, the winner for Best Animated Short, is a San Francisco resident.

Inspired by the artwork of artist Stephane Halleux, Mr. Hublot is set in a futuristic, robotic world, following an obsessive-compulsive robot-man whose life changes when he makes a new friend.

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Under the Skin Director Jonathan Glazer on Hidden-Camera Sociology, Circling Scarlett Johansson, and How Humanity Is Like a Virus

Categories: Film

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In some ways, Jonathan Glazer's new film Under the Skin is quite straightforward. It involves Scarlett Johansson, an alien, cruising around Glasgow in a little white van, picking up men. In other ways it's less straightforward: You should see what she does with the men.

In any case, this oblique sci-fi allegory is a welcome return to the big screen for Glazer, who's sort of a cult filmmaker if only for the infrequency of his films. (But also for their excellence). His career began at around the turn of the last century: a great Guinness ad here, a Radiohead video there, and then in 2000 the movie Sexy Beast, with an adorable Ray Winstone as an ex-gangster having his cozy retirement shattered by a batshit-crazy Ben Kingsley. After that came 2004's Birth, in which a boy announces to a Manhattan widow played by Nicole Kidman that he's her late husband reincarnated. Now after too long a wait here Glazer is again with another strange and amazing interloper story, this one told entirely from the interloper's point of view. Recently, he met to discuss it.


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Cult Classics: The Swimmer is a Strange 1960s Drama

Categories: Film, Movies

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Hunky Burt Lancaster on The Swimmer's box cover.

Frank Perry's The Swimmer (1968) is a somewhat forgotten film. Acclaimed at the time of it's release, it never found a sizable audience due to it's unusual subject matter. Now, after a few recent showings on TCM, it comes to DVD/Blu Ray courtesy of Grindhouse Releasing.

Frank Perry (1930-95) was a filmmaker who excelled at darkly intense character studies. His David and Lisa (1962) is a highly regarded love story set in a mental institution. Similarly, Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970) and Play It As It Lays (1972), are about deeply unhappy people struggling to hold onto their sanity -- the former is set in the wealthy condos of the Upper East Side in New York City, the latter in Hollywood.

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Cesar Chavez Film from Diego Luna Hits Theaters Just in Time for Cesar Chavez Day

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Pantelion Films
Diego Luna directs "Cesar Chavez"

Actor and director Diego Luna's first introduction to Cesar Chavez was seeing the union activist's funeral on T.V. The 13-year-old Luna was impressed by all the people walking with his body and that Chavez was being buried in a wooden box. Then while working in California, Luna started seeing Chavez's image on murals and his name on streets and got curious about what Chavez had done. When Luna's son was born in Los Angeles, that really made him want to tell the story of Chavez, a Mexican American born in Arizona. Luna says he remembers when he got to be 9 or 10, noticing the income inequality in Mexico and struggling to make sense of things.

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Love and Demons: J.P. Allen is In Love with San Francisco

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J.P. Allen
Writer/director J.P. Allen plays Mr. D in Love and Demons

Love and Demons, J.P. Allen's dark, quirky, Woody Allen-ish romantic comedy, is a love letter to San Francisco. The City resident, a dancer turned filmmaker, offers a stylish, sophisticated look at neurotic love by the bay.

An unnamed couple, billed only as Man and Woman (Chris Pflueger, Lucia Frangione) navigate their way through a stormy, dysfunctional relationship as two demons, Mr. D (Allen) and Ms. D (Arnica Skulstad Brown) pull all manner of devilish strings along the way.

The writer/director chatted with SF Weekly about his unusual, wildly original, and ultimately insightful little movie.

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Filmmakers To Produce Unbiased Immigration Documentary

Categories: Film, Immigration

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Handrawn Pictures
A family hanging out by the border between Mexico and the U.S.

Almost everyone you will ever talk to has a strong opinion about illegal immigration. Whether they're for or against it, everyone is biased toward one side or another. Married documentary filmmaker duo Jacob and Jennifer Tapia, of Handrawn Pictures LLC, have created a documentary that isn't.

Citizens* is not pro or anti immigration, and does not have any sort of bias toward any nationality, culture, or political stance.

"The film shows the benefits of both sides [of the immigration debate], how [immigration] works in some areas, and how it's causing problems in others," Jacob Tapia said. "The film is about what's happening and how it affects those who experience it daily. The message is that we as humans need to work together and take care of each other."

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