The casting of Fright Night, Craig Gillespie’s mostly faithful 3-D take on the 1985 cult favorite starring Chris Sarandon and the late Roddy McDowall, is so spot-on that it’s almost enough to justify the movie’s existence. Yet once again we find ourselves frustrated by the shortcomings of second-hand goods, in the too-familiar form of a remake that never needed to be made.
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
What has Jason Bateman done to deserve this? So often cast as the lone voice of reason in a world of hysterical nitwits, the Arrested Development star is rarely given roles that take advantage of his exceptional comic timing and his uncommon ability to engage audiences even when trapped in movies as brainless as last year’s Couples Retreat.
The San Francisco International LGBT Festival enters its first weekend with a full slate of screenings scheduled at the Castro, Roxie and Victoria theaters. Elsewhere, two of the year's strongest offerings to date – Winter's Bone and The Oath – arrive at the city's Landmark cinemas. As always, here's a list of some of the finest films currently playing at an indie theater near you.
1. Winter's Bone
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835
When: All Week
No need to pity the fool. If spending your weekend with B.A. Baracus and the rest of the reconstituted A-Team doesn't strike your fancy, you still have time to catch Michael Douglas' mesmerizing turn in Solitary Man, or Noomi Rapace's astonishing coming-out party in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Here, as always, are some of the finest films currently playing at an indie theater near you.
1. Burning Man Film Festival
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: June 12-13
"You expect us to believe in fairy tales?” It’s the most telling question posed in Neil Jordan’s winsome fable about an Irish fisherman who catches a pale young beauty in his net, and the answer is yes. Jordan, whose last fantasy, The Brave One (2007), was a sleazy celebration of vigilantism masquerading as something more, returns here asking us to suspend disbelief, and this time we’re happy to comply.
One of the year's best films arrives this weekend in the form of Hot Tub Time Machine, a delightfully inane, raunchy comedy that puts the movies it will inevitably be compared to – last year's The Hangover, for instance – to shame. Elsewhere:
Same story, different week: The weather outside remains frightful, but the movies playing at your local indie theaters are delightful enough to justify the trip. Among them:
The weekend forecast calls for cloudy skies and scattered showers, but you can always take refuge at the city's indie theaters, where Peter Jackson's Lovely Bones makes its long-awaited debut and former Saturday Night Live star Chris Rock investigates the lifestyles of the rich and follically fashionable.
January is traditionally a time for Hollywood studios to empty their storage lockers, tossing out the trash (like last winter's Bride Wars) and dusting off movies previously unreleased due to scheduling conflicts. No matter. The city's indie theaters remain a premier destination for cinephiles in search of top-flight documentaries (What's the Matter with Kansas?), cheerfully twisted fantasies (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) and Oscar front-runners like The Hurt Locker and A Serious Man.