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.
The San Francisco Film Festival's fourth annual Midnight Awards will be presented Saturday night at the W Hotel, with Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Avatar) and Clifton Collins Jr (Star Trek, TV's The Event) on hand to receive the honors. The awards presentation is open to the public, and will be fashioned after the format of a late-night talk show, with New York Times bestselling author Beth Lisick playing Johnny Carson and the Darren Johnston Trio providing live musical accompaniment.
Jake Gyllenhaal is no stranger to working with mad scientists – or, at least, mad science. It was a decade ago that he played schizophrenic teen Donnie Darko in Richard Kelly’s memorably offbeat feature about wormholes, time travel, a diabolical rabbit and an impending apocalypse.
Now Gyllenhaal, 30, is back on semi-familiar ground, playing Air Force Colonel Colter Stevens, badly wounded in the Middle East but kept alive as the star guinea pig in a top-secret – aren’t they all? – government experiment. The movie is Source Code, the second offering (after 2009’s Moon) from sci-fi surrealist Duncan Jones.
Daly City's Sam Rockwell Talks 'Conviction,' Movies Overlooked and His Unwavering Passion for Acting
What if you made a movie and nobody saw it? The studios didn’t promote it. The theaters didn’t play it. It died a quiet and overlooked death. Sam Rockwell knows the feeling too well.
That didn’t happen to a surefire juggernaut like this spring’s Iron Man 2, in which the Daly City native played a corporate rival to the unsinkable Tony Stark. And it probably won’t happen to Conviction, directed by onetime Ghost star Tony Goldwyn and inspired by the true story of Betty Anne Waters, a Massachusetts wife and mother who put herself through law school in a desperate bid to overturn her brother’s conviction for murder.
The 33rd Mill Valley Film Festival begins tonight with a star-studded Opening Gala at the Mill Valley Community Center and screenings of Tom Hooper's The King's Speech and Tony Goldwyn's Conviction. For a complete list of featured selections, showtimes and tickets, visit the festival's official site.
The 33rd Mill Valley Film Festival kicks off Thursday with two opening-night films: The King’s Speech, winner of the Audience Award at last month’s Toronto Film Festival, starring A Single Man Oscar nominee Colin Firth as King George VI, who conquers his humiliating stutter with the help of Geoffrey Rush’s unconventional speech therapist; and Conviction, Tony Goldwyn’s chronicle of a high-school dropout (Hilary Swank) who earns a law degree to free her brother (Sam Rockwell) from prison.
Tony Stark may be self-obsessed and troubled by mortal thoughts – rightly so, considering the mechanical heart that’s keeping him alive is slowly polluting his body with lethal toxins – but he’s no Bruce Wayne. As played by Robert Downey Jr., he combines a sly sense of humor with natural showmanship. He enjoys being a superhero, and soaks up the spotlight with a narcissist’s glee.
It’s refreshing. Stark has a dark side, well-watered with cocktails, but he is hardly morose. He is intoxicated by the adoration of his fans, and tickled by the trappings of fame and obscene wealth. And he’s not afraid to toot his own horn. As he brags to a less-than-smitten Senate committee, “I have successfully privatized world peace.”
A pair of anti-corporate celebrations of muckraking arrive at the Roxie this week, where The Yes Men Fix the World documents a series of elaborate pranks aimed at exposing hypocrisy and "unmasking global injustice," and Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story takes its final bow before exiting theaters. Elsewhere:
With the Mill Valley and Cinema by the Bay film festivals fast approaching, October promises to be one of the year's most exciting months for Bay Area moviegoers. Until then, there's no shortage of vital, engaging films awaiting you at the local indie theaters. Among them: