So many directors describe their movies as “personal” that the sentiment becomes commonplace, even cliché. Not so with Mike Mills – the Thumbsucker director, not the R.E.M. bassist – who drew on intimate details from his private life as the starting point for his powerful new drama Beginners, which opens Friday.
Sure, he changed the names and embellished the timeline – Mills, 45, says he never intended to make an autobiography, much less portray close friends on screen without their blessing. But in his real-life story, fraught with unexpected revelations and profound self-realizations, the director saw a unique opportunity to connect with wider audiences.
The 54th San Francisco International Film Festival opens tomorrow with Beginners, writer-director Mike Mills' hopeful meditation on family and how our formative experiences inevitably influence our choices in life and love, featuring powerful performances by Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Inglourious Basterds' Mélanie Laurent. The lights go down promptly at 7 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, with the festival's Opening Night party to follow at 9:30 at the Terra Gallery on Harrison Street.
It's that time of the year again when filmmakers, film connoisseurs, and everyday movie lovers come together to celebrate the artistry of the motion picture industry. The longest-running film festival in the Americas is in its 54th year, and is opening with a world-class cinematic event, special guests, and a convivial celebration with live entertainment, dancing, food and drinks. Head to the opening night at The Castro Theatre on April 21 to catch "Beginners," starring Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge) and Christopher Plummer (think Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music).
The San Francisco Film Festival begins Thursday, April 21, with Mike Mills and Ewan McGregor hosting a screening of the terrific new drama Beginners at the Castro, but until then, moviegoers can feast on this Saturday's "Heavy Metal Monster Mash" festival, featuring five rockin' adventures including Heavy Metal (1981), The Monster Squad (1987), Trick or Treat
Steven Russell is living a lie – several of them, in fact. Given up for adoption in his infancy by an indifferent mother, he is living a Norman Rockwell version of the American dream, with a worshipful, Jesus-loving wife, an adoring daughter and a quaint home in the Georgia suburbs. He even plays piano for the church choir.
But Steven is no angel, nor does he aspire to be. The family, the job, the evangelical zeal – it’s all a front for a shifty, rudderless man searching for an identity, bored by the simple life and hiding his homosexuality behind a studied veneer of old-fashioned American values.
Sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society, the city's fifth International Animation Festival, a four-day celebration of innovative artistry and visionary storytelling, opens tonight at the Embarcadero Center Cinema.
This year's selections include the Decemberists-inspired Here Come the Waves: The Hazards of Love Visualized; animated music videos featuring the music of Rage Against the Machine, Paul Oakenfold and Gorillaz; and brothers Edward and Rory McHenry's Jackboots on Whitehall, in which puppets, voiced by the likes of Ewan McGregor and Tom Wilkinson, reveal what might have transpired if the Third Reich had occupied Buckingham Palace during World War II.
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.
This past weekend, I declared it last call for local moviegoers hoping to discover The Most Dangerous Man in America, but what do I know? It's back this week at the Roxie, along with Jennifer Kroot's fascinating new documentary about filmmaking twins George and Mike Kuchar. For those partial to superhero adventures, Kick-Ass arrives at the Sundance Kabuki.
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:
Rarely before has wordy exposition been employed more excessively and to lesser effect than in Angels & Demons, Ron Howard’s middling follow-up to The Da Vinci Code.
For those craving action and suspense, there’s little to be found here, despite a whirlwind denouement that sees our hero, Harvard professor and renowned symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), racing around Rome in search of an Illuminati killer. (More on that later.) Instead, screenwriters David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman subject us to a heavy-handed history lesson about the Catholic church that owes much to author Dan Brown’s tendentiously researched novel.