Sexual jealousy, filial betrayal, and bloodshed amid a civilization’s ruins. The SF International Film Festival began on these cheerful notes, with Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac, and Kirsten Dunst tensely keeping company in opening-night film The Two Faces of January, Hossein Amini’s adaptation of the 1964 Patricia Highsmith novel. Mortensen plays Chester MacFarland, a New York con artist who, having bilked investors out of large wads of cash back in the States, is on the lam in Greece with his pretty young wife, Colette (Dunst).
FILM The stars say the director was brutal. The director says he wishes the film had never been released (but he might make a sequel). The graphic novelist is uncomfortable with the explicit 10-minute sex scene. And most of the state of Idaho will have to wait to see the film on Netflix.Read more »
At the outset of Friday evening’s SFIFF screening of the ’50s-set French film Populaire, director Régis Roinsard offered two hints as to what lay ahead — noting that his SF sightseeing agenda had included a visit to Jimmy Stewart’s Lombard Street Vertigo residence, and encouraging the audience to stick around for a Q&A sampling of his Borat-level English proficiency. As it turned out, Roinsard handled the post-screening questions with slightly awkward but un-Borat-like charm (and occasional interpreter assistance). And the film itself — while featuring a man gripped by a daffy obsession involving a beautiful blond, who, come to think of it, is often seen sporting an updo — has a considerably lighter mood than the Hitchcock thriller, finding its tense plot turns and clacking rhythms within the fast-paced world of competitive typing.
FRAMELINE It was Blue (1993) and Swoon (1992) and Frisk (1995), or My Own Private Idaho (1991) and The Hours and Times (1991). Paris Is Burning (1990). The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love (1995).Read more »
It’s been a week since the San Francisco International Film Festival ended, but after 15 days largely spent sitting in the dark at the Kabuki, submerged in a flood of cinematic storytelling, the afterimages are still taking up considerable space in my brain.
And questions remain, like: Why didn’t anyone from Lauren Greenfield’s crew on the documentary The Queen of Versailles report time-share mogul David Siegel or his wife, Jackie, to the Orlando-area SPCA for casually sitting down to brunch and letting their family’s pet python roam unchaperoned through a house filled with fluffy white purse dogs?
YEAR IN FILM We ask depressingly little of our romantic comedies, particularly considering that they're meant, one guesses, to cheer us up. While genres like the action thriller and the disaster film engage in an arms race of catastrophe that, while riddled with clichés, requires some amount of ingenuity to orchestrate, when it comes to the rom-com, the studios display fierce loyalty to a formula of marquee names, charming emotional baggage, foolish misunderstandings, and final-boarding-call epiphanies.Read more »
FILM The central characters in Nicole Holofcener's new film, Please Give, Manhattan couple Kate (Catherine Keener) and Alex (Oliver Platt), display a fluency in the language of large round numbers that is occasionally disturbed by bouts of self-inflicted sticker shock. Read more »