It’s common for critics to describe one movie by comparing it to another, as if, unable to accept something new on its own terms, they must fall back on whatever pre-existing standard is most convenient. It is a practice that seems to rankle filmmakers, who usually prefer to treat their ideas as immaculate conceptions rather than share the credit with peers.
It is startling, then, that Pedro Almodóvar, the celebrated Spanish auteur whose grotesque drama The Skin I Live In is now playing at the Embarcadero Center Cinema and the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, is so quick to liken his latest to recent offerings by Terrence Malick and Danish provocateur Lars von Trier.
While Pedro Almodóvar celebrates his long-delayed reunion with Antonio Banderas in the twisted new thriller The Skin I Live In, opening this weekend at the Embarcadero, SF IndieFest's 10th Documentary Festival enters its second week at the Roxie Theater, with a mostly all-new lineup of features from some of the world's most daring nonfiction filmmakers. Here's a sampling of the festival's best.
1. Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey
Where: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
Summer is slowly winding down, giving Hollywood just a few more weeks to unload the last of its annual sequels, prequels and remakes before Oscar season begins in earnest. The bad news, for some: School will be back in session soon. The good news: August packs a promising lineup of big-screen spectacles, including:
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Aug. 5)
The primates: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis
Woody Allen Struggles with the Agony of Creation and the Perils of Wish Fulfillment with 'You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger'
Perhaps old dogs can’t be taught new tricks, but many veteran directors are learning to adapt in a Hollywood where sequels, remakes and treatments of popular comics are very much in season.
This fall, Stephen Frears, 69, will unveil his first take on a graphic novel, the romantic comedy Tamara Drewe, before tentatively laying the groundwork for a remake of his 1984 thriller The Hit. Oliver Stone, 64, has returned to Wall Street. And, at 67, Martin Scorsese is busy directing his first 3-D fantasy – next winter’s Hugo Cabret – and planning a Taxi Driver sequel.
Time has been less than kind to Shrek, the endearingly ornery ogre from the land of Far, Far Way, where the villagers who once feared his quick temper now see him as a cuddly tourist attraction.
In Shrek Forever After – billed as the fourth and final installment of a franchise that has earned more than $1.5 billion in the U.S. alone – he is mired in the malaise of monotonous routine, both as a diaper-changing father of three and as a monster who’s tired of being Mr. Nice Guy.