What’s Screening: August 9 – 15

Want something other than superhero movies? Here's what else is playing in Bay Area movie theaters: A Palestinian soap opera, jazz geniuses, and classics by Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Abbas Kiarostami, Sergio Leone, Masaki Kobayashid, David Lean, and Ernst Lubitsch. Also, two film festivals. Festivals Modern Cinema: Haunted! (Gothic Tales by Women) continues through the … Continue reading What’s Screening: August 9 – 15

Niles Museum celebrates the Transcontinental Railroad with movies and trains

I just discovered this mini-movie festival celebrating the Transcontinental Railroad 150 Anniversary. It's happening at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, starting tonight and running through Sunday. Some highlights: The History of Railroads in the Niles Canyon, Friday, 7:30 The event starts with Henry Baum, President of the Pacific Locomotive Association, explaining the history of … Continue reading Niles Museum celebrates the Transcontinental Railroad with movies and trains

Are donors censoring the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival?

A Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) activist claims that a powerful donor forced the Jewish Film Festival to ban JVP patriation. Is it true? I'm not sure. Let me try to unravel the story. About a week ago, as this year's San Francisco Jewish Film Festival was winding down, the Eastbay Express published an article … Continue reading Are donors censoring the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival?

Soap opera in the holy land with Tel Aviv On Fire

B+ Comedy Written by Dan Kleinman & Sameh Zoabi Directed by Sameh Zoabi The plot of this Israeli/Palestinian comedy is entirely farcical, but the actors play it straight. Therefore, you can believe in the main character and root for him, despite the absurd situation. None of this sacrifices the laughs. That main character, the young … Continue reading Soap opera in the holy land with Tel Aviv On Fire

A very young thief, a romantic triangle, & the “Black Woodstock”: What I saw this weekend at BAMPFA

I caught three very good, but very different, films at the BAMPFA this weekend. The Traveler (1974) Friday night, BAMPFA started its new series, Abbas Kiarostami: Life as Art, with this touching story reminiscent of François Truffaut's 400 Blows. Kiarostami (1940–2016) was one of Iran's most important and influential filmmakers, and this massive series will run … Continue reading A very young thief, a romantic triangle, & the “Black Woodstock”: What I saw this weekend at BAMPFA

Ethiopian Jews, a dying magician, & a Soviet stand-up comic: My Last Day at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Thursday was the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival's last day at the Albany Twin, and my last day at the festival. I saw three films. Oddly, two of them were fiction; a surprising ratio in this year's documentary-heavy lineup. None of the films I saw were followed by a Q&A. That shouldn't be surprising. Filmmakers … Continue reading Ethiopian Jews, a dying magician, & a Soviet stand-up comic: My Last Day at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Hitchcock, James Bond, Star Trek, and some other terrific double features in August at the Castro

The double bill is almost a lost art, but this month you can find many excellent examples at the Castro. Let's start with Hitchcock Wednesdays (my label). Each Wednesday in August, San Francisco's best movie theater matches a feature from the master of suspense with an appropriate non-Hitchcock title: August 7: Strangers on a Train … Continue reading Hitchcock, James Bond, Star Trek, and some other terrific double features in August at the Castro