Gordon Elgart

Film Review: Kicks

by Gordon Elgart on September 9, 2016

A promising start that never elevates to excellence during its running time.

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Kicks starts off with Brandon, our lead character, introducing us to his wishes of being in space, where he no longer gets chased around the neighborhood and can live in perfect quiet. His dreams are accompanied by visions of a man (or woman) in a space suit, and this astronaut makes many appearances throughout the movie during critical moments. It’s weird and otherworldly, and does momentarily elevate this movie into the stratosphere, but the reality keeps dragging us down.

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What an amazing movie. Parts of it may repulse you. Go see it anyway.

Elle Fanning in Nicolas Winding Refn's Neon Demon

Nicolas Winding Refn doesn’t care what you think about his movies. He makes films without traditional plots, and with a fair measure of gruesome violence. He believes himself so important that he uses a little NRW monogram under the title card of his features. He doesn’t feel the need to explain anything to the audience; instead, he deals with metaphor and buried meaning. Regardless of whether or not his movies fall under any old fashioned idea of what’s “good,” he’s awesome at making them.

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The impossibility of getting away from it all, rendered beautifully

Dinner is never just dinner in Luca Guadagnino's newest film.

Dinner is never just dinner in Luca Guadagnino’s newest film.

Sometimes you want to go to the movies and see four actors doing amazing work in a wonderful film. That’s what you’re going to get when you see Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash.  This is a movie with layers of meaning, with people saying things when they shouldn’t, and not saying things when they should. It’s a bit contrived, but very real. Let’s try to convince you to see it so we can talk about it later. Here’s my best shot.

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Oakland’s hometown heroes, indie rockers Rogue Wave released their new album, Delusions of Grand Fur, last week, and to celebrate, they’re playing a weekend of Bay Area shows. Tonight was their first one, at the relatively new venue, The Starline Social Club. It was the band’s first show in three years, and they’re first in Oakland for as long as they can remember.

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Like a bunch of cut scenes without any of that fun video game stuff

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Ratchet and Clank star in the movie based on their popular and long lasting video game series.

The Ratchet and Clank series of video games have long contained the best cut scenes and voice acting of any games of their type. From the very first game on the PS2, the strong characterizations and fun action have made for consistently entertaining games with real character arcs for both our main characters and some of the side characters as well. So how do you condense hundreds of hours of story into a 90-minute animated film?

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Parlourtricks

The album Broken Hearts/Broken Bones was a nominee for Spinning Platters album of the year in 2015. Its combination of classic girl group harmonies, soaring melodies and dance driven beats truly defies description; even the band themselves know this to be true. The band is hitting the road this month with veteran rocker Electric Six, and they’re stopping in San Francisco on Sunday, March 20th at The Independent. Lily Cato got on the phone with me as the tour was just beginning to discuss her band, their videos, and which podcast is the best to pass the time on a cross country van trip. [read the whole post]

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Film Review: Deadpool

February 12, 2016
www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vN6DHB6bJc

The Mad Libs of comic book movies. This one’s for the fans. The journey to theaters for Deadpool has been a long one. Ryan Reynolds played the titular character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as a silent but deadly killer, which misses the entire thrust of the character. This character is a wisecracking, violent character known as “The […]

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Film Review: Zoolander 2

February 12, 2016
www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CL4LNWHegk

Yet another piece of evidence that comedy sequels don’t work. Zoolander 2 (also seen in some advertising as 2oolander or Zoolander No. 2) starts with an exciting chase scene. Some mysterious figures on motorcycles are chasing a man in a hooded sweatshirt. They catch up to him in an alleyway, and riddle him with bullets. As he takes […]

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SF Sketchfest Review: We Got This With Mark and Hal

January 19, 2016

The podcast, “We Got This With Mark and Hal,” has a very simple concept. Mark Gagliardi (Drunk History, Thrilling Adventure Hour) and Hal Lublin (Welcome to Night Vale, Thrilling Adventure Hour) get on the microphone and settle the most important disputes of our times, and some other ones. Episodes include “Sweet or Sour pickles,” “Worst […]

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Film Review: The Hateful Eight

December 26, 2015
www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnRbXn4-Yis

The Hateful Great, This Ain’t.   Your typical Quentin Tarantino movie is full of scenes that are powder kegs ready to explode, full of characters you can’t trust, and smart, crackling dialogue that keeps you constantly entertained. But what if the dialog stopped being smart and crackling? You’d have The Hateful Eight.

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