Old Stone finds drama and violence from society’s inhumanity

B Drama turned thriller Written and directed by Johnny Ma Intended as a critique of Chinese society, Johnny Ma's first feature shows us a man economically trapped for committing a good deed. But Old Stone loses its way in the third act, when it shifts from serious social drama to attempted thriller. In the confusing … Continue reading Old Stone finds drama and violence from society’s inhumanity

Salt Flats and Music: Tuesday at the San Francisco International Film Festival

I saw two films, both documentaries, at the San Francisco International Film Festival on Tuesday. One was about the world coming to a previously isolated stretch of Bolivia. The other was about music of the world. B+ Salero Before the screening, Director Mike Plunkett told us that the film was "a passion project of mine. It … Continue reading Salt Flats and Music: Tuesday at the San Francisco International Film Festival

Wesley Morris, Sidney Poitier, and the San Francisco International Film Festival’s State of the Cinema Address

Wesley Morris, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Critic at Large for the New York Times, gave this year's State of the Cinema Address. His theme: The Radicalization of Sidney Poitier. It was in the Victoria Theatre on Saturday afternoon, and it was wonderful. Coming on stage in a snappy red suit, he warned that he would give spoilers … Continue reading Wesley Morris, Sidney Poitier, and the San Francisco International Film Festival’s State of the Cinema Address

Bicycle Thieves as great as ever on Blu-ray

If the point of cinema is to create empathy, both for the characters on the screen and for real people, Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves is the greatest film ever made. It's about desperate poverty, and how the desperately poor feed on the desperately poor because they have no other options. I wrote about this … Continue reading Bicycle Thieves as great as ever on Blu-ray

My Thoughts on Night of the Living Dead

Tuesday night, in the seasonal holiday spirit, I finally saw the original Night of the Living Dead. It really is one of the greatest horror films ever made. This is fear without compromise. The terror and suspense never let up. There's absolutely no room for a happy ending. The slow, nearly unstoppable ghouls (no one … Continue reading My Thoughts on Night of the Living Dead

Violence as Light Entertainment–The Moral Question

I love a good turn-off-the-brain action movie--one where the hero gets to dispatch multiple bad guys without remorse but with plenty of clever quips. But the older I get, the more I begin to wonder if there's something inherently wrong with these pictures. Do they teach us that we can solve our problems by killing … Continue reading Violence as Light Entertainment–The Moral Question