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

Keaton great and mediocre: My Blu-ray review of The General and The Three Ages

Between 1920 and 1928 - the only years where he had complete control of his own films - Buster Keaton created one of the greatest bodies of work in silent movies. All his comedies from that period have been available on Blu-ray for quite some time, but that doesn't mean they can't be reissued with … Continue reading Keaton great and mediocre: My Blu-ray review of The General and The Three Ages

3 Views of America: What I saw in theaters this weekend

I saw three movies in theaters this weekend. Free State of Jones at the Elmwood Being a history buff, and particularly one interested in the Civil War and reconstruction, I couldn't help rushing out to see Gary Ross' Free State of Jones. I caught it at the Elmwood. Matthew McConaughey stars as an actual historical … Continue reading 3 Views of America: What I saw in theaters this weekend

Spellbound with music: Surviving and enjoying the 2016 San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Nothing really beats the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. For three days (plus an opening night), you're immersed in an art form that was born, matured, reached extraordinary heights, and then suddenly died--all within the space of 20 to 40 years (depending on how to you define its birth and death). All told, this year's … Continue reading Spellbound with music: Surviving and enjoying the 2016 San Francisco Silent Film Festival

The New Buster Keaton Shorts Collection on Blu-ray

How can anyone describe the beauty, grace, and breathtaking hilarity of Buster Keaton in his silent film prime? An actor, an acrobat, and a brilliant filmmaker, he spent the 1920s making some of the funniest and technically sophisticated comedies ever preserved on film. Since I can't describe him, here's a highlight reel of some of … Continue reading The New Buster Keaton Shorts Collection on Blu-ray

Live Music for the Undead: Monday at the San Francisco International Film Festival

I only went to one San Francisco International Film Festival event on Monday, and that was Carl Theodore Dreyer's 1932 classic, Vampyre, with musical accompaniment by Mercury Rev and Simon Raymonde. It was at the Castro. Vampyre belongs on any list of great horror films. Todd Brown's Dracula, made the previous year, is stagy and … Continue reading Live Music for the Undead: Monday at the San Francisco International Film Festival