Who was William Shakespeare? Was he the Bard of Avon, the poet and playwright of humble beginnings whose command of the language gave us Hamlet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Or was he a drunk, a fraud and a shameless opportunist?
Anonymous, Roland Emmerich’s sure-to-be controversial (at least in academic circles) historical epic, espouses the Oxfordian theory of Shakespearean authorship, attributing all those masterworks to Edward de Vere (Rhys Ifans), the 17th Earl of Oxford. Shakespeare (Rafe Spall), functionally illiterate and fulfilled more by gold and mead than the joy of artistic expression, is seem as a contemptible fool.
Can you feel the electricity in the air, the faint buzz of anticipation gradually building to a deafening roar? That's right – the world is just a week away from the arrival of Happy Madison's Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, directed by Tom Brady (no, not that one) and produced by Adam Sandler, who charitably prolongs the careers of former SNL co-stars with his endless reserve of fart jokes. Until then, try to contain your excitement with any of these fine offerings, now showing at an indie theater near you.
Pedro Almodóvar takes over the Castro starting Wednesday, as Spain's most internationally acclaimed auteur (whose latest offering, The Skin I Live In, arrives in October) is honored with three double-features, featuring Bad Education, Talk to Her, All About My Mother and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Elsewhere:
1. Grease Sing-Along
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: Aug. 12-14
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
It's that time again. The 54th San Francisco International Film Festival is underway, bringing with it an eclectic mix of groundbreaking documentaries, riveting dramas and innovative shorts from around the globe. Among them:
1. Life, Above All
Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650
When: April 23, 4 p.m., April 28, 6 p.m.
Who is Henry Jaglom?
The answer is complicated enough to have inspired a 1995 documentary, in which conflicting portraits of the London-born director are offered. Is he “the worst filmmaker in America,” as one magazine editor suggested then? Or is he the daring auteur whose work has been described by Roger Ebert as “smart” and “sophisticated”? Do his films suggest a subconscious hatred of women, as a female sociologist once alleged, or do they reflect the “feminine, observant nature” some of his leading ladies profess to admire?