Usually critics are one film behind. In the case of David O. Russell's American Hustle, it appears they're one film ahead for a change.
It’s no laughing matter, trying to sell a serious rumination on depression and the ways it can derail a life to Hollywood executives seeking warm-and-fuzzy romantic comedies and stories of teenage vampires in love. It’s even harder when that drama, about a man who combats his middle-aged funk by communicating through a hand puppet known only as The Beaver, stars the polarizing Mel Gibson.
With 2010 about to fade into our rearview, it's time to pay our respects to a year that produced its share of very good movies, but precious few great ones. It was a year dominated by memorable performances in supporting roles – Christian Bale as a crack-addicted burnout in The Fighter, John Hawkes as a rough-and-tumble hillbilly in Winter's Bone, Jacki Weaver as an insidious matriarch in the overlooked Australian import Animal Kingdom – and the visual bravura of Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and TRON: Legacy.
San Francisco's Latino Film Festival, featuring contributions by emerging and established filmmakers from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the U.S., runs through Sunday evening at the Roxie, while House of Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou's darkly humorous new thriller A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop arrives at the Embarcadero. Elsewhere:
Frameline34 continues through Sunday's closing-night presentation of Howl – an revealing portrait of poet Allen Ginsberg's early years, starring James Franco – with a full slate of screenings scheduled at the Castro, Roxie and Victoria theaters. As always, here's a list of some of the finest films currently playing at an indie theater near you.
1. I Am Love
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