The Price of Sugar

Documentary Written by Bill Haney and Peter Rhodes Directed by Bill Haney Catch this film if you need another reason to feel guilty about eating sweets. In fact, catch this film if you care about basic human decency. It's one of the best documentaries of the year. Billy Haney’s expose of the Dominican Republic’s sugar … Continue reading The Price of Sugar

Global Lens Series

Somehow I entirely missed the Global Lens series. It opens Thursday at St. John's with the Indonesian family comedy Of Love and Egg, and runs at various locations--including the Balboa and the Roxie--through November 15. The Global Film Initiative attempts to build understanding between cultures by presenting films from developing countries to American audiences. I’m … Continue reading Global Lens Series

Niles International Film Festival

This weekend the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum runs its three-day Niles International Film Festival. Actually, it would be more accurately titled the Niles European Film Festival, since the six features and seven shorts are all from that particular semi-continent. All films are silent, of course, with piano accompaniment. The George Melies short, "The Impossible … Continue reading Niles International Film Festival

How to Cook Your Life

Documentary Written and directed by Doris Dörrie Cooking and Buddhism make a tasty combination in Doris Dörrie’s documentary. And in the world view of its subject, Edward Espe Brown--Zen master, gourmet chef, and author of The Tassajara Bread Book. The camera does little more than follow Brown as he gives cooking classes, discusses the importance … Continue reading How to Cook Your Life

Lust, Caution

Period thriller Written by James Schamus and Hui-Ling Wang, from a story by Eileen Chang Directed by Ang Lee For an independent filmmaker, Ang Lee sure knows his basic commercial genres--knows them well enough to shake them up, spin them around, and turn them on their head. He’s turned the kung fu flick into romantic … Continue reading Lust, Caution

The Valley of This Week’s Recommendations and Warnings

Presenting my first weekly Recommendations & Warnings Report created without benefit of weekly schedules. New rule: I will no longer list films in wide release--even art-house wide release. This list will only include calendar screenings (a day to a week in one theater) very limited releases playing in only a couple of theaters. Valley of … Continue reading The Valley of This Week’s Recommendations and Warnings

Al Gore Alert

I just found this out: Oakland's Grand Lake Theater will screen An Inconvenient Truth all day today as a benefit for I'm not sure how I feel about the draft Gore campaign, but when a guy wins an Oscar, Emmy, and Noble Prize in the same year, he probably should win the Presidency, as … Continue reading Al Gore Alert

Valley of the Heart Fails to Delight

Valley of the Heart's Delight Historical Drama Writer: John Miles Murphy Director: Tim Boxell There's nothing worse than panning a locally-made independent film about a fascinating but little remembered piece of Bay Area history--especially when that film is struggling to get national distribution. And it doesn't make it any easier when the film looks beautiful, … Continue reading Valley of the Heart Fails to Delight