Buster Keaton Weekend

Movie audiences first saw Buster Keaton on the big screen in 1917, with the premiere of Fatty Arbuckle's short The Butcher Boy. To celebrate the centenary of Keaton's first cinematic appearance, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum turns its theater over to the Great Stoneface with a mini festival of 11 shorts and four feature-length … Continue reading Buster Keaton Weekend

SF Intl Film Fest Preview, Part 1

Here's my first collection of San Francisco International Film Festival mini-reviews: five movies appraised from best to worst. Three of them are narratives. The two documentaries, which happen to be the two best in the lot, deal with Haiti, and cover the horrible 2010 earthquake. A Bending the Arc If this documentary doesn't make you … Continue reading SF Intl Film Fest Preview, Part 1

What’s Screening: March 17 – 23

Howard Hawks, Spike Lee, Ernst Lubitsch, dangerously violent Jews, and a chance to make fun of Tom Cruise grace Bay Area film theaters this week. Festivals CAAMfest continues through Sunday. You can still check out my recommendations. The Albany Film Festival - the only film festival in easy walking distance from my home - opens … Continue reading What’s Screening: March 17 – 23

San Francisco International Film Festival turns 60

We don't have Sundance or Toronto in the Bay Area, but we do have the oldest film festival in the Americas. The San Francisco International Film Festival turns 60 this year, and the organization that runs it is now it's called SFFILM. This year, it's running 181 separate films (104 of them feature length) from April 5 through … Continue reading San Francisco International Film Festival turns 60

What’s Screening: March 10 – 16

Scorsese, Jerry Lewis, Laurel and Hardy, Greta Garbo, man-eating worms, a man-eating alien, and five film festivals grace Bay Area movie theaters this week. Festivals Cinequest closes Sunday The East Bay International Jewish Film Festival also closes Sunday CAAMfest continues through this week and beyond. Check out my reports on this festival. The Bay Area … Continue reading What’s Screening: March 10 – 16

It’s still real if it’s digital

Last January, I finally saw an early Cinemascope movie the way it was meant to be seen: on a big theater screen, with the original 4-track stereo soundtrack, and the full 2.55x1 aspect ratio (2.35x1 didn't become the official Cinemascope standard until 1957). And there was no physical film involved. The movie was projected digitally … Continue reading It’s still real if it’s digital

Lubitsch at the Stanford

Believe it or not, I went more than 15 years without visiting the Stanford. The problem is geographical; it's a long drive, often in horrible traffic. I don't remember when I last visited David Packard's personal movie palace, but it was before I started writing this blog in 2004. Saturday afternoon, my wife and I … Continue reading Lubitsch at the Stanford