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Home Movies: Adam Sandler's Regressive Foray into Adulthood, Michael Cera's Bruising Video-Game Romance

Based on an original story by Adam Sandler and former Saturday Night Live writer Fred Wolf, Grown Ups contains not a single imaginative minute. It is as lazily conceived as anything Sandler has done.
 
But it must have been a blast to make. Judging by the fact that Sandler and his fellow SNL alum, with King of Queens star Kevin James gamely filling in for the late Chris Farley, spend so much time laughing at their own jokes, we might reasonably suspect something funny is afoot. Just try and find it.

Prelude to a Kill: Rob Zombie Gives the Bogeyman a Backstory in 'Halloween'

Give Rob Zombie his due. Asked to remake one of the most influential horror films in history – one of the few that remains as effectively jarring today as it was at the time of its 1978 release, when an up-and-coming director named John Carpenter reinvented the slasher genre with his stark portrayal of a lunatic killer loosed on suburbia – and the White Zombie singer has done so in a way that is unique and, surprisingly, still shocking.

Carpenter, recruited to direct Halloween, his third feature, on the heels of his similarly unrelenting 1976 thriller Assault on Precinct 13, may have raised the bar too high, but Zombie offers a broader yet compelling take on the mythology that has made Michael Myers one of the big screen's creepiest bogeymen.



Horror Movie Roundup: 7 Movies to See for Halloween

Normally this space is reserved for the latest features to arrive at the local indie theaters, but for one week, in the mischievous spirit of Halloween, we're going to mix it up. If you're looking for a good scare, you've come to the right place. Rather than recommend the genre's best-known titles – Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and the original Nightmare on Elm Street, to name three personal favorites – I've tried to compile a list of less obvious shockers, all available at your local video store or via Netflix. Enjoy.

At Sea or Back in the Saddle, 'Red' Star Morgan Freeman Knows Virtue of Solitude

Morgan Freeman knows this isn’t his defining role. Mention the five-time Oscar nominee – he won once, for his supporting turn in 2004’s Million Dollar Baby – and most people are reminded of the 1994 prison drama The Shawshank Redemption, or maybe Driving Miss Daisy (1989), the role that elevated him from respected character actor to household name.
 

San Francisco Docfest in Review: 'American: The Bill Hicks Story'

Whether you think Bill Hicks was the greatest comedian America has ever produced or you simply know of him as the mythic stand-up performer whose act was co-opted by Denis Leary, you will gain a new appreciation of his life and dogged dedication to his work after watching Paul Thomas and Matt Harlock’s American: The Bill Hicks Story.

Home Movies: Hugo Chávez, Raúl Castro Host Oliver Stone's 'Border' Vacation

The primary theme of Oliver Stone’s South of the Border, in which the JFK director checks his trademark paranoia at the door to interview South American heads of state including Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, Argentina’s Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is distrust of the U.S.-controlled International Monetary Fund. While only Chávez is openly contemptuous of Washington, none of those interviewed seem much interested in bending to America’s will.
 

A Sopranos Reunion, Sort Of

David Chase, creator of HBO’s dearly departed The Sopranos, is planning to reunite with one of his best-known stars from the New Jersey-based mob drama, but no need to choke on your Cannoli – it’s not James Gandolfini. 

Longtime E Street Band guitarist and Sopranos co-star Steven Van Zandt will produce the music for the director’s feature debut, an as-yet-untitled music-driven coming-of-age story set in 1960s suburbia.
Production is set to begin in January 2011.


Also a creative force behind the 1990 CBS comedy series Northern Exposure, Chase revealed that actors John Magaro (Wes Craven's My Soul to Take) and Jack Huston (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) will star, with the first-time director working from an original script.

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See at Docfest

If you're looking for an alternative to sports bars and postgame traffic jams – not that there's anything wrong with them, mind you – San Francisco's ninth annual Documentary Festival is in full swing at the Roxie through Thursday. Catch it while you can. For tickets, click here.

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.

33rd Mill Valley Film Festival Draws to a Triumphantly Starry Close

The 33rd Mill Valley Film Festival, 11 days of movies, music and celebrity sightings sponsored by the California Film Institute, wrapped Sunday following more than 87 sold-out screenings and attendance totaling approximately 40,000. 

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