Hungry for something new? Head to the Roxie this weekend for San Francisco's annual International Festival of Short Films, featuring dozens of cutting-edge documentaries, music videos and animations representing 20 countries. Otherwise, check yourself into the Castro for a week of bona-fide American classics, including:
1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: Sept. 9
As high-concept adventures go, Cowboys & Aliens is a slick, efficient piece of filmmaking that delivers exactly what its title promises, and never aspires to anything more. It coasts on the rogue appeal of two leading men, Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, whose chaps are as leathery as their furrowed brows.
If the goal of every screenwriter – for Cowboys, producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard assembled a small army of them – is to grab our attention in the very first frame, well, mission accomplished. Here, we find a bloodied stranger, unarmed and alone in the Arizona badlands. An elaborate device, possibly alien in nature, clings to his forearm like a parasite.
Harrison Ford could have retired decades ago, living quite comfortably off the royalties he earned from the first Star Wars trilogy. Instead, he’s holding court in a chilly conference room at the Ritz Carlton, promoting Extraordinary Measures, in which he stars opposite Brendan Fraser as a brilliant but socially maladroit doctor devising a groundbreaking treatment for Pompe disease.
The San Francisco International Animation Festival continues through Sunday at the Embarcadero Center Cinema, featuring some of Walt Disney's earliest shorts and Tarik Saleh's futuristic thriller Metropia, in which a call-center drone (voiced by Vincent Gallo) breaks from his drab routine to become a wannabe spy. Elsewhere:
Sacha Baron Cohen, the spectacularly uninhibited gonzo master of put-ons, has been called “the pure, untamed id of movie comedy” and “a genuine comic guerrilla charging right to the front lines of the war against prejudice and sanctimony.” The term “genius” has been applied liberally since Baron Cohen’s Borat (2006) skillfully skewered racism, anti-Semitism and America’s over-developed sense of national pride. Yet his second feature, Brüno, leaves me cold. As social satire, it is boorish and scattershot; as farce, it is obvious and erratic.