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Photos: Opening Night at the San Francisco International Film Festival

Jean-Pierre Jeunet, director of Delicatessen (1991), Alien: Resurrection (1997) and Amélie (2001), helped open the 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival with his latest comedy, Micmacs, on Thursday night at the Castro. The festival continues through May 6. For tickets, showtimes and more information, visit its official site.

Stuntman Nash Edgerton Breaks Into Directing with the Acclaimed Thriller ‘The Square’

When Nash and Joel Edgerton’s father brought his sons a video camera – Nash was 10 at the time, Joel 8 – little did he realize what a profound impact it would have on the course of their personal and professional lives.

Nearly three decades later, Nash, 37, is a well-respected stuntman, having played Ewan McGregor’s double in two Star Wars sequels, and the director of the acclaimed new noir drama The Square; Joel, 35, who most notably co-starred in Star Wars: Episode II and III as Anakin Skywalker’s stepbrother, wrote The Square’s hard-edged script and plays the movie’s most fearsome heavy.

San Francisco International Film Festival to Honor Animator Don Hertzfeldt

The 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival will present its coveted Persistence of Vision Award to Academy Award–nominated animator Don Hertzfeldt tonight at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas. Tickets are $10 for San Francisco Film Society members and $12.50 for general admission.

Fremont's Hertzfeldt, 33, whose work frequently features hand-drawn stick figures, received a 2001 Oscar nomination for his short comedy film Rejected. His films have earned more than 150 awards from festivals worldwide. He will be in attendance for an onstage interview at this evening's presentation of Life, Death and Very Large Utensils at the Sundance, with a collection of short films to follow.

Disorganized Crime Turns Deadly in ‘The Square’

The most recognizable hallmark of classic film noir – the corruptible protagonist, driven by greed, lust and ambition into a series of mistakes, each more damning than the last – is embodied in The Square by Ray Yale (David Roberts), who plans to ditch his wife and run away with the lovely Carla (Claire van der Boom), also married.

They’ve concocted a plan (foolproof, they imagine) to torch Carla’s home and make off with her husband’s hidden cash. They’ve even hired an arsonist – a mad dog named Billy (Joel Edgerton) – to do the job right.

‘Kick-Ass’ Joins the Superhero Elite

Why, among the millions of children and adults who grew up idolizing superheroes, has nobody ever tried to become one? That’s the question troubling Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a nerdy teenager determined to take a bite out of crime in the Big Apple.

Dave doesn’t seem suicidal, though his mission certainly does. Armed only with a green-and-yellow jumpsuit and a modicum of protective gear – intimidating he isn’t – he sets out to live the fantasy and gets a knife in his gut for his troubles. But thanks to a viral video, captured via cell phone and rebroadcast, YouTube-style, to a world of tickled witnesses, his alter ego, Kick-Ass, is an instant Web sensation.

Take that, Spider-Man.

Oscar-Nominated Bay Area Filmmakers Track Down America's ‘Most Dangerous Man’

Daniel Ellsberg was derided in 1971 by President Richard Nixon as a man who “gave aid and comfort to the enemy … putting himself above the President of the United States, above Congress, above our whole system of government” by revealing a secret Pentagon study of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. His remarkable story arrives at the Red Vic this week in Rick Goldsmith and Judith Ehrlich’s Oscar-nominated documentary, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.

Reunited with Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin Tackles a Different Challenge: Child Actors

Cheech Marin, who spent much of the 1970s and ’80s swathed in a cloud of fragrant smoke as America’s lady-loving stoner-in-chief, never claimed to be an angel. But that doesn’t mean he can’t play a man of the cloth, as he does in his latest movie, The Perfect Game. In fact, he’s used to it.

“You know, I’m on a run of playing priests,” says the Mexican-American comedian, 63, born Richard Anthony Marin in Los Angeles. “This is my second or third. People must see something in me, something holy. But I was raised Catholic, so I know that riff. Frankly, it’s more comforting to me than ironic.”

‘Avatar’ Star Sam Worthington Hopes to Make a Titanic Splash

Sam Worthington can’t compare his latest effects-heavy blockbuster, a bruising, 3-D remake of stop-motion innovator Ray Harryhausen’s Clash of the Titans (1981), to the one that made him the star of the biggest movie of all time – James Cameron’s Avatar. But playing Perseus, the fearless Greek warrior charged with saving humanity from the wrath of vengeful gods, presented its own set of challenges.

“Nothing compares to Avatar, and you can see that at the box office,” says the English-born actor, 33, who spent his formative years in Western Australia. “It is its own beast, its own juggernaut. For all I know, filming hasn’t stopped. James is probably still working on it.

Steve Carell and Tina Fey's Disappointing ‘Date Night’

There will be no shortage of apologists for Date Night, the new farce starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey that leans heavily on its very hot stars to sell a very tired plot.

Atom Egoyan Fancies San Francisco from Afar

When producer Ivan Reitman first approached Atom Egoyan, the Oscar-nominated director of The Sweet Hereafter (1997) and last year’s Adoration, with the script for the erotically charged drama Chloe, it was a story set in author Erin Cressida Wilson’s hometown, San Francisco. Egoyan, born to an Armenian family in Egypt but raised from early childhood in Victoria, British Columbia, knew immediately that had to change.

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