This has been heralded as the year of the animated movie, and with good reason: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline and Up, among others, proved as engaging for adults as for children, validating a genre unfairly dismissed as kiddie fare by some critics and too many Oscar voters.
To me, 2009 was most memorable for its documentaries. Tyson, Capitalism: A Love Story, The Beaches of Agnes and The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers entertained as well as informed, and all remain worthy candidates for end-of-the-year accolades. Consider them (as well as Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are) runners-up to my list of the year’s best films.
Adapted from a dark children’s novella by British author Neil Gaiman and directed by Henry Selick, who played a pivotal role in crafting the look of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline is a visual achievement of the highest order, an endlessly inventive spectacle that represents the first stop-motion animation feature ever filmed in 3-D. Judging by the results, it will not be the last.
SF Indie's Another Hole in the Head festival is entering its second week. Frameline 33, San Francisco's International LGBT Film Festival, kicks off Thursday with Richard Laxton's An Englishman in New York. Put simply, it's a great time to be a Bay Area movie buff. As always, here's a list of some of the films currently in rotation at an indie theater near you.
The year is 1985. Nixon is entering his fifth term as president after leading the U.S. to victory in Vietnam, the Cold War has led us to the brink of nuclear destruction, and the masked superheroes of the world have been forced into early retirement by order of the government. So goes the premise of Watchmen, director Zack Snyder’s messy but often fascinating take on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ celebrated graphic novel.
Even as rabid fans and Warner Bros. executives are at long last celebrating the arrival of the Watchmen movie, one of the men most responsible for the Hugo Award-winning tale of fallen superheroes living in an age of impending nuclear war – author Alan Moore – couldn’t care less.
Just ask his partner in creation, artist Dave Gibbons.
By now, it’s hardly news that Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is a potential casualty of a bitter dispute between rival studios - ts March 6 release date in jeopardy as Twentieth Century Fox attempts to prove that the Warner Bros. project infringes on Fox’s copyright, first acquired in 1986. But the biggest surprise in a case that has already inspired some Web-savvy fans to call for boycotts of upcoming Fox tent-poles including May’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine is that neither studio appears willing to back down, whatever the cost.