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
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.
Anna Kendrick doesn’t expect to win an Oscar for her ferociously perky supporting turn as a corporate terminator in Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air. That, she says, is an honor earmarked for another actress, though she coyly declines to reveal the mystery winner’s identity.
Even if Kendrick, 24, is right, it would take nothing away from her remarkable breakthrough starring opposite George Clooney in Reitman’s meditation on the value of human contact in an age of digital communication. Nor would it diminish the impact of her scene-stealing performance as a vapid, shopping-obsessed teen in one of the year’s biggest blockbusters, New Moon.
If there remains any doubt that Jason Reitman has arrived as one of Hollywood’s most gifted young directors, Up in the Air, his incisive new comedy about a corporate hatchet man who flies the friendly skies from one soul-crushing gig to the next, should put it to rest.
Reitman, 32, was determined early on to follow in the footsteps of his father Ivan, who directed hit ’80s comedies including Stripes and Ghostbusters. He was equally determined not to hitch a ride on dad’s coattails.
So by the time he got to college he’d made a difficult choice.
Ryan Bingham is suave and effortlessly self-assured, a masterful manipulator of even the messiest situations. It would be tempting to dismiss him as a soulless corporate mercenary, but there is real human feeling behind his veil of calm. That he can divorce himself from it to excel at his job – he’s a hatchet man, charged with handing out pink slips and preconditioning his victims for unemployment – is his gift and his curse.