Film Review: Hercules

by Chad Liffmann on July 25, 2014

Herculean, this movie is not.

I...AM...HERCULES! I'm kinda legendary. Sort of.

I…AM…HERCULES! I’m kinda legendary. Sort of.

Who here wants to see the “real” story of Hercules?! Anyone?…Anyone? Bueller?  Just as I expected, this was not something that needed to be told, and it’s even the second revisionist tale of Hercules to be released this year (The Legend of Hercules – 3% on Rotten Tomatoes).  This one stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and is directed by Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, X:Men: The Last Stand).  What this means is that you can expect 120 minutes of passable escapism, primarily due to Ratner’s involvement rather than The Rock’s presence.  The widely disliked Ratner is known for his surface-level entertainment films, Red Dragon the only possible exception, and his newest film is no different.  Hercules is stripped of mythology and magic, leaving us with a predictable and bland sword and sandals mini-epic.

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It's Kitten vs Poodle Tonight in the Bay Area! Who are you going to see: Kitten at Bottom Of The Hill or Pookie & The Poodlez at The Night Light?

It’s Kitten vs Poodle Tonight in the Bay Area! Who are you going to see: Kitten at Bottom Of The Hill or Pookie & The Poodlez at The Night Light?

Thursday, July 24th

Kitten, Dear Boy, Your Cannons at Bottom Of The Hill

Kitten are, hands down, one of the top 10 live bands I’ve ever seen. Frontwoman Chloe Chaidez is the most fearless woman I’ve ever seen take to the stage. Sometimes I’m amazed that she is still alive, considering the type of torture she puts her body through on stage. This is their first time in the Bay Area since the release of their first full length record (after three excellent EPs). Their eponymous debut is a fun collection of synth pop songs with infectious hooks, and I highly recommend it. Although the live show is really the bread & butter with this band.

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The 34th Annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) opens tomorrow, Thursday, July 24th, and runs until Sunday, August 10th. With 70 films from 18 countries and eight world premieres, the Festival has something for everyone. Below we spotlight a small sampling of the Fest’s offerings: three features and two documentaries. Find the full schedule, tickets, and more information at: http://sfjff.org

112 Weddings
(USA 2013, 92 min)

They’re happy now -  but what about in ten years?

Who among us hasn’t been to a wedding and thought – even for just a moment: “I wonder where this couple will be in five years?” Documentarian Doug Block apparently wondered the same thing. Having supplemented his filmmaking income as a wedding videographer, Block here interviews a few of the 112 couples whose weddings he shot five, ten, 15, even 20 years ago. The results are by turns uplifting, amusing, poignant, and wrenching, but always fascinating. By interviewing a broad range of diverse couples, Block lets us see the hopes, expectations, and realities of weddings – and, more importantly, of marriage and lifelong commitment. What happens when the party ends, and the couple is left facing issues like mental illness, financial difficulties, child rearing, or chronically ill children? “Happy weddings are a dime a dozen,” says a rabbi Block interviews; “happy marriages are much more rare.” The contrasting footage of youthful, joyous weddings and the present-day, older, more solemn couples is deeply moving and eye opening. Whether you’re married, divorced, contemplating marriage, or ardently against it, you’ll be riveted by this compelling documentary that examines the institution of marriage in a powerful and unique way. “Happily ever after is complicated,” one of the interviewees says. Indeed.

Screenings:
- Saturday, July 26th, 4:30pm, Castro Theater, SF
- Sunday, July 27th, 4:25pm, CinéArts Theater, Palo Alto
- Tuesday, August 5th, 6:15pm, California Theater, Berkeley

Tickets and trailer available here. [read the whole post]

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2014k-lg

There are a lot of great reasons to show up early to Outside Lands. It’s rather beautiful to walk around at noon, seeing the empty festival and taking in the peace before the chaos. It’s also a great time to explore the various different food vendors, especially the much more popular establishments. Instead of waiting 20 minutes in line to enjoy Farmer Brown’s amazing Chicken & Waffles, you’ll get your food in under 5, plus you can pretty much guarantee a seat at a picnic table while you get to enjoy some of the lesser known acts on the bill. This year has plenty of acts that are well worth crawling out of bed early to enjoy. (Also, the N Judah and 5 Fulton at 11am is way nicer than at 2:00, when most people show up.)

The full schedule has been released, but here are my personal Top 10 acts from the lower part of the bill. Trust me, you’ll be happy you came out and had breakfast in the park.

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Film Review: Boyhood

by Gordon Elgart on July 18, 2014

Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater in Boyhood.

Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater in Boyhood.

There are two types of people who are going to see director Richard Linklater’s newest film, Boyhood. There are those who will not know anything about, or perhaps not even care about the history of the making of the film. They may wonder what all the fuss is about. And then there are people like me who know the whole backstory, and will marvel at how this was all done, and realize that what they’re watching is an impossible movie, one that can’t exist. Yet it does, and it’s wonderful. [read the whole post]

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PixarNight

The magic of Pixar Animation Studios has produced 13 films since it debuted its first feature in 1995 with Toy Story.  These films have consistently raised the bar for animated storytelling, and with such an impressive list of titles including the Toy Story series, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Finding Nemo, and more, it’s no surprise that one of the hardest questions to ask a movie lover is ‘what’s your favorite Pixar film?’  Part of the magical formula that contributes to the wide success of the studio are the film scores, composed by four incredible talents: Randy Newman, Thomas Newman, Patrick Doyle, and (my personal favorite) Michael Giacchino.  The Pixar film scores have garnered 10 Oscar nominations and 1 win, not including original songs.  Last night, the San Francisco Symphony held the first night of its Pixar in Concert series, a fantastic musical evening featuring excerpts from each of the 14 Pixar titles accompanied by a montage of each film.

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts, 7/17/14-7/23/14

July 17, 2014

Thursday, July 17th

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Show Review: Phono Del Sol 2014

July 15, 2014

Phono del Sol is the kind of festival that the Bay Area has been sorely missing. As much as we all despise LA, there are low key, inexpensive outdoor indie rock festivals nearly every weekend. Phono del Sol (alongside Oakland’s Burger Boogaloo) have been doing an excellent job filling this void during the dog days […]

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Film Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

July 11, 2014
www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sHMCRaS3ao

It’s always darkest before the ‘Dawn’. In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the follow-up to the surprising and emotionally resonant 2011 reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we are treated to another slice of the 50-year-old Planet of the Apes universe that had, until now, only been hypothesized.  Part of the consuming mystery surrounding the original 1968 Planet of the Apes ending was […]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts, 7/10/14-7/16/14

July 10, 2014

Another weekend in July. Another excuse to hang out in some of the Bay Area’s under-appreciated parks. Last weekend’s Burger Boogaloo was amazing. This weekend brings us Phono del Sol. A one day event that brings the absolute best in indie rock to it’s natural habitat- The Mission. I’ve gone every year, and at $25, […]

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