When I planned for Friday’s moviegoing at the SFFilm Festival, I failed to consider geography. I started at a movie at the Roxie – in the Mission. Then I had to dash to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts – in the financial district. Then to the Castro. BART and Muni Metro made a profit on me that day. I miss the days when almost everything was in one multiplex.
Here’s what I saw between commuting.
This quiet, calm, comic drama keeps everything very calm. Rare flashes of anger disappear quickly. An Argentinian family go to a Brazilian beach resort for a vacation. The parents no longer sleep together (although they have sex in the bathroom), and they’re relatively calm about each other’s extracurricular activities. They make new friends. Everyone enjoys the beach. Some emotional issues never quite bubble up. The movie is kind of enjoyable, but you may find yourself wondering if anything is going to happen.
I give this film a C+.
There was no Q&A after the film, which, considering my frantic schedule, was a good thing.
I’m not generally a fan of foodie movies. I decided to watch this one because it fit into my schedule. I’m very glad I did.
Ramen Shop isn’t really about food. It’s about family, history, and redemption. A young Japanese man in Singapore wants to learn about his family. His parents are gone, and he knows that his mother had a very sad life. Through cooking, and especially through the art of cooking ramen, he makes connections to great cooks and more importantly, his past. Yes, it’s a feel-good movie, but one that feels true.
I give this film an A-.
Again, there was no Q&A.
You have one more chance to see Ramen Shop at the Festival. It plays on Sunday, April 14 (tomorrow), at 1:30 at the Children’s Creativity Museum. But don’t fret if you miss it. This film opens in Bay Area theaters on April 26.
John C. Reilly Tribute with The Sisters Brothers
John C. Reilly has never quite gained star status, although he has played a handful of leading roles. Mostly he supports better-known actors and is almost always brilliant – both in drama and comedy. You may have seen him in Boogie Nights, Hoffa, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Chicago, The Thin Red Line, Magnolia, Gangs of New York, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and Stan & Ollie.
Friday night, Cara Buckley of the New York Times interviewed Reilly at the Castro. Here are some highlights, edited for brevity and clarity:
- I’ve done maybe 80 movies [IMDB lists 103], but the matrix that controls the world hasn’t noticed me yet.
- I never planned on being famous. I never planned on being an actor. I just kept doing it because I enjoyed it. I told my dad I was going to business school.
- On his first film, Brian De Palma’s Casualties of War: War movies are a great rite of passage for young male actors.
- Advice for actors: Don’t be a dick and work with the other actors.
- The greatest sin on the Chicago stage is to be pretentious.
- I didn’t expect to get well-known or to make a lot of money.
- On working with Roman Polanski: I really wasn’t knowledgeable about what he had done. I don’t think I’d work with him again.
- Paul Anderson was the first director to write a script for me.
- We should get that prime minister from New Zealand to be our president.
After the Q&A and a short break, they screened Reilly’s 2018 western, The Sisters Brothers. This dark, dirty, violent, gruesome western succeeds in being dark, dirty, violent, and gruesome. A lot of good actors work around a weak script. There’s a slight environmental message, but that doesn’t add up too much. I should mention that I’m in the minority here. A lot of people love this film.
There was another Q&A after the movie, but I didn’t stay for it.