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Congolese Director Djo Munga Aims to Revitalize a Nation's Film Industry with the Gripping Gangster Thriller 'Viva Riva!'

Djo Tunda Wa Munga didn’t have to return to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was born and spent the first nine years of his life, to make his terrifically entertaining feature debut, Viva Riva! In fact, filming the erotically charged film noir, which he likens to the movies of Quentin Tarantino and True Romance director Tony Scott, might have been easier if he’d stayed in Belgium, where a cinema workshop Munga attended in 1993 inspired him to enroll in film school.
 

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World: Western Stand-ups Mine the Middle East for Laughs in 'Just Like Us'

It was during his whirlwind stint with Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show – a tumultuous 30-city tour unfolding over 30 days and nights, captured for posterity in Ari Sandel’s 2006 documentary – that Egyptian-born comedian Ahmed Ahmed first dreamed up Just Like Us, his chronicle of Western comics (including In Living Color’s Tommy Davidson and Chelsea Lately regular Whitney Cummings) performing to crowds in Dubai, Lebanon, Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

André Øvredal Reveals the Genesis of His Acclaimed Mockumentary 'Trollhunter'

For most Internet-savvy Americans, encounters with trolls are little more than incidental run-ins with online provocateurs whose only mission is to annoy. But for first-time feature director André Øvredal and his fellow Norwegians, trolls – forest-dwelling monsters of fairy-tale lore who sniff out Christian blood and turn to stone when exposed to sunlight – have inspired a series of popular myths, detailed in books like The Fairy Tales of Asbjørnsen and Moe.
 

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Looking to avoid the crowds flocking to bask in Green Lantern's faint afterglow this weekend? Not a problem. Frameline35 is currently in full swing at the Castro, Roxie and Victoria theaters, proudly showcasing the world's best LGBT cinema through June 26. Meanwhile, Terrence Malick's critically lauded Tree of Life continues its run at the Embarcadero.

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. Trollhunter

Love in the Aftermath of an American Nightmare: Shawn Ku's 'Beautiful Boy'

To neighbors and casual acquaintances, they always seem to have come across as loners, quiet types who kept to themselves. Were they depressed? Lonely? Or just burning with rage? Nobody can say for sure, but campus gunmen who open fire on their classmates remain frustratingly enigmatic to an obsessed public searching for motives.
 
In the wake of such carnage, our hearts go out to the victims and their families, but how do we respond to the parents of the perpetrator? Do we acknowledge their loss, and pity them for their unexpected brush with infamy? Or do we blame them for raising a monster?
 

IndieFest's Another Hole in the Head to Close Thursday with a Trifecta of Chillers

It's time to close the casket on the eighth Another Hole in the Head Festival, IndieFest's annual celebration of horror and the occult, and how better to do it than with the mortifying savagery of Philip Gelatt's The Bleeding House, Calvin Lee Reeder's Sundance oddity The Oregonian, and the Bay Area debut of Grave Encounters, the first feature offering from so-called "Vicious Brothers" Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz?

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

With IndieFest's Another Hole in the Head Festival continuing through Friday at the Roxie and Frameline35 arriving at the Castro this Thursday, Bay Area moviegoers should have little trouble satisfying their appetites for something slightly more cutting-edge than, say, the upcoming Mr. Popper's Penguins. And if you'd rather steer clear of the festival crowds? No problem.

Frameline's LGBT Film Festival Kicks Off 35th Anniversary on June 16 at the Castro

Frameline, the world’s largest resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender media and film, will celebrate the 35th anniversary of San Francisco's International LGBT Film Festival beginning June 16 at the Castro Theatre. An 11-day showcase for more than 200 cutting-edge films from countries including Iran, Algeria, South Africa and Thailand, Frameline35 will also hold screenings at the Roxie Theater, the Victoria Theatre and Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley.

Rick Bayless on Celebrity Chefs, Mexican Avocados and the Perfect Shrimp Cocktail

Born in Oklahoma City, to a family of grocers and restaurateurs best known for their down-home barbecue, Top Chef Masters season-one winner Rick Bayless has established himself as one of America’s foremost authorities on Mexican cuisine, translating more than three decades of research and in-kitchen experience into a multimedia culinary empire, locally represented by the Frontera Fresco restaurant in Union Square.

This past weekend, Bayless, the more soft-spoken brother of former San Jose Mercury News sports columnist Skip, visited the Sunset Magazine campus in Menlo Park to share cooking tips and samples of his award-winning dishes with Chase Sapphire cardholders attending the 14th annual Sunset Celebration Weekend, two days of gourmet foods and fine wines.

Abrams, Spielberg Pay Riveting Homage to B-Movies of Their Youths with 'Super 8'

The childlike sense of wonder so evident in Super 8 might well spring from director J.J. Abrams’ memories of an adolescent infatuation with monster movies, and his filmmaking as a boy on the long-obsolete Eastman Kodak cameras from which his latest work takes its name.
 
But try telling that to anyone weaned on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goonies and E.T. Whether Abrams is channeling the spirit of producer Steven Spielberg or paying tribute to his mentor’s most audacious fantasies, Spielberg’s influence on Super 8 is impossible to miss.
 

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