Subscribe: SFGate: Movie Reviews
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
comedy  days  death  dogs  family  good  iphone  it’s  made  movie  movies  neeson formula  new  story  zoey deutch     
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: SFGate: Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews


Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs’ is true to our canine friends

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 18:14:01 UT

“Isle of Dogs,” the latest from Wes Anderson, is a stop-action animation that the director says was inspired by animated holiday specials of the 1960s (such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”) and the movies of Akira Kurosawa. That’s an eccentric combination, and the result is a movie so unusual and so the product of a singular imagination, that it’s easy to appreciate, respect and mostly enjoy it, even through some long, dull stretches. At its best, the movie expresses an affection for dogs and is very much attuned to what is wonderful about dogs and what’s funny about them — their sincerity, their credulousness, their odd tendency to get nervous over nothing and yet to occasionally remain oblivious to real threats.

Angry monsters are back, but Guillermo del Toro isn’t, in ‘Pacific Rim’ sequel

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 21:22:33 UT

There are breaches in the Pacific Ocean, and out of it can come really humongous monsters, and there’s no pleasing any of them. They show up angry, and all they want to do is walk into office buildings. Last time — as depicted in “Pacific Rim” — they made a mess out of San Francisco and some other less-interesting places before the breaches could be closed and monsters defeated. In “Pacific Rim Uprising,” it’s 10 years later, and so far, no monsters.

French drama ‘Back to Burgundy’ is rich, full-bodied look at winemaking family

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 20:27:52 UT

Wine helps the emotions flow, but so, apparently, does winemaking in Cédric Klapisch’s absorbing family drama, “Back to Burgundy,” a film so rich and pleasurable you’d be forgiven if you thought about it each time you have a glass of red. Set in the picturesque winemaking region of France with a lot of time spent among the vines, the film recounts the uneasy reunification of three siblings after their father’s death and their efforts to keep the winery going under the threat of a hefty inheritance tax that might force them to sell. Jean (Pio Marmaï), who hated his father, has been away for 10 years, starting a family and a winery of his own in Australia.

‘Keep the Change’ a love story between self-defined ‘weirdos’

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 20:27:16 UT

If one were to insist that “Keep the Change” is a romantic comedy, that description — sorry, young lovers — might make a lot of us think that it would be insipid, shallow, predictable. You might be expecting that it would begin with a couple meeting cute, over spilled groceries perhaps, then exchanging heartfelt glances while reaching for the rolling oranges, and finally, a week later, holding hands as preconceptions have melted away and they’re both leaning into the job of pushing one cart down the supermarket aisle. But “Keep the Change,” the story of two young people who, despite the quotidian challenges of living with autism, have pushed through their lives and are hungry for relationships, is free of such cliches.

Which movies to watch this weekend, March 23

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 19:59:12 UT

The Death of Stalin: Hilarious, but not in a laugh-out-loud way, this comic retelling of Stalin’s death and the ensuing power struggle is told from the standpoint of the Central Committee, with a fretting, befuddled Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) going up against the ruthless, depraved Beria (Simon Russell Beale). It’s a very original and successful comedy from director Armando Iannucci. Rated R. 106 minutes.

Zoey Deutch dazzles in dark comedy ‘Flower,’a tale of adolescent sexuality

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 19:57:00 UT

The dark comedy “Flower,” about a teenage girl who’s too sexually advanced for her own good, opens memorably with the 17-year-old Erica servicing the local sheriff in his car, wherein she cheerfully blackmails him for cash in return for her not posting incriminating photos on the Internet. How else is she supposed to raise money to bail her deadbeat dad out of jail? It’s an audacious start to this often-smart movie, which doesn’t have a dull frame in it, thanks mainly to the star-making performance of Zoey Deutch, who dazzles the screen as Erica with her mix of humor, sensuality, volatility and vulnerability.

Claire Foy in Soderbergh’s ‘Unsane’ — a terrific thriller shot on an iPhone

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:44:14 UT

“I’m an artist, man,” John Lennon once said. “Give me a tuba, and I’ll get you something out of it.” Lennon never actually made good on the tuba promise, but with “Unsane,” director Steven Soderbergh has done something along those lines. He has shot an entire movie — a nerve-racking, gripping, artistically composed thriller — using an iPhone 7 Plus. And because Soderbergh is an artist, he not only made a good movie, but he even made the case for using an iPhone in this way. Obviously, you wouldn’t shoot “Gravity” with it, but the iPhone lends a certain roughness to the film, which is appropriate here, as well as a kind of hyper-reality. Long shots are a bit fuzzy, but close-ups are intense and unflattering in the best way.

Japanese documentary ‘Ramen Heads’ extols the joy of slurping

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:33:28 UT

Ramen is just noodles and broth, right? Well, no, it’s actually much more, as we learn in the entertaining Japanese documentary “Ramen Heads.” The dish has a fanatical following in Japan, where the movie’s central figure, Chef Osamu Tomita, is celebrated as the king of ramen. He’s a tireless perfectionist who cooks up an incredibly rich — and unexpectedly thick — broth of many high-quality ingredients, which may include pig’s heads and several kinds of dried fish, boiling the concoction sometimes for days. The mixture of flours used in his handmade noodles varies by season, and the goal is “slurpability” — making noise while eating ramen is de rigueur.

Movies opening Friday, March 23

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 20:58:01 UT

Back to Burgundy: Cédric Klapisch directs this French film about three siblings who try to save the family vineyard after their father dies. The Flower: Kathryn Hahn (Laurie) and Zoey Deutch (Erica) star as mother and teenage daughter in this black comedy about how the pair handle Laurie’s new boyfriend and his mentally unstable son. Isle of Dogs: The latest from Wes Anderson, this animated adventure/comedy deals with a boy looking for his dog in Japan. The voice talent includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Greta Gerwig, Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum. Courtney B. Vance is the narrator.

‘7 Days in Entebbe’ completely fumbles the finish

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 07:01:00 UT

Movies go bad in all kinds of ways, but in “7 Days in Entebbe” the filmmakers found a brand-new way for their movie to commit suicide. It happens, remarkably, in the movie’s last 10 minutes, in a jaw-dropping flameout unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. Until then, “7 Days in Entebbe” is a tense and gripping historical thriller, re-creating the terrorist hijacking of an Air France airliner in 1976 and the hostage drama that followed. As anyone who buys a ticket to this movie will know, the drama culminated in a stunning rescue operation by Israeli commandos. So this is not a movie that people watch while wondering how it will turn out.

Though better than Jolie, Vikander a ‘Tomb Raider’ who doesn’t want to find a tomb

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 21:48:21 UT

Almost 15 years have passsed since the last “Tomb Raider” movie, and that’s more than enough time for Hollywood types to figure out what was wrong with the original franchise (everything) and to start building a new one. By casting Alicia Vikander, the series takes a first step in the right direction. Instead of going for the robot-superhero vibe cultivated by Angelina Jolie, Vikander seems human, vulnerable and refreshingly normal. The new movie also cuts down on a lot of the computer-generated action that made half the scenes in the original movies look like something blown-up from a computer screen. That’s an improvement, too.

‘The Death of Stalin’ by creator of ‘Veep’ is a hilarious comedy. Really!

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 21:07:37 UT

“The Death of Stalin” is a unique and hilarious British comedy from Armando Iannucci, best known as the creator of HBO’s “Veep” and the British TV series “The Thick of It.” The movie is absolutely worth seeing, but it won’t appeal to everybody, so you should know what to expect. It’s the story of the Central Committee of the Communist party in a period spanning from a few days before Josef Stalin’s death to the day of his funeral. It conflates events that took weeks and months, but otherwise it stays close to the facts in depicting the power struggle between Lavrentiy Beria, the ruthless head of the secret police, and Nikita Khrushchev.

Teens will kinda ‘Love, Simon’ at least

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 20:14:54 UT

Greg Berlanti’s movie about a teenager’s coming out is nothing if not sincere. More to the point, it’s not very much except sincere. “Love, Simon” is the story of a sweet-natured 17-year-old named Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), the elder child in a picture-perfect family that includes a dad (Josh Duhamel) who’s a loving and lovable doofus, a therapist mom (Jennifer Garner) who’s as nurturing as Bambi’s mother, and a younger sister (Talitha Bateman) who dotes on her older brother and enjoys cooking. They live in an “Ozzie and Harriet” house in a charming suburb where Simon goes to high school and hangs around with three other kids, including Leah (Katherine Langford), his best friend since he was 4.

‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ is 142 minutes that you can never get back

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 21:44:40 UT

So things really aren’t going well, not one bit. The apocalypse has more or less happened — or worse, it’s in the process of happening. There’s a virus going around, and three-quarters of the people on Earth are infected. Most cities are destroyed. Oh, yes, and about that virus? It turns people into zombies — not literally, in a textbook definition sense, but zombie-like: A lust for flesh, poor dental hygiene, a tendency to attack in packs, and to walk funny, have jerky movements and to show a certain exuberance in destruction. This is the world of “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” the third installment in the “Maze Runner” trilogy, a kind of destitute man’s impoverished cousin’s answer to the “Divergent” series.

‘The Commuter’ a gripping thriller in that winning Liam Neeson formula

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 21:09:32 UT

Liam Neeson’s action movies have a built-in appeal, whether good (“Taken,” “Run All Night”) or only so-so (“Taken 3”), but “The Commuter” is securely in the good category. It weds all the winning aspects of the Neeson formula to a ticking-clock plot, full of tense moments and gripping sequences. The big innovation of the Neeson formula — the eureka discovery of “Taken” — is that action can work in a big way when presented as a traditional rags to riches story: Guy starts off down, mistreated, misunderstood. Then there’s a horrible crisis, and he rises to it. He finds complete redemption. Everyone understands that this is one heck of a man.