Films

Bad company

Stage hit 'August: Osage County' loses potency on the big screen
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New movies! Including a few scary ones (no thanks to Hollywood)!

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Incredibly, Hollywood is allowing this hallowed weekend to pass without releasing a single horror movie. (Unless you count Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, which I don't.) Frights galore exist in local rep houses, however (right this way for a calendar), and for those who'd simply like turn off the lights, pretend nobody's home, and eat all the Fun Size Snickers themselves, there's some non-seasonal fare worth checking out (plus, two of those rep-house chillers!) in the below reviews.

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The young master

'The Hitchcock 9' spotlights newly restored versions of the director's silents

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM After a banner 2012 and early 2013 — in which his 1958 Vertigo was named the best film of all time by Sight and Sound magazine; a critically-panned but still entertaining-enough biopic hit theaters; and a months-long career retrospective, "The Shape of Suspense," played the Pacific Film Archive — Alfred Hitchcock's revival continues. Next up is "The Hitchcock 9," a San Francisco Silent Film Festival showcase of nine silent films — nearly his entire 1920s output, all made before he turned 30.Read more »

'Holy Motors' and everything else: new movies

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This week: Keira Knightley takes on a classic, but Jennifer Lawrence proves more worthy of leading-lady praise in a decidedly contemporary tale. Also, The Twilight Saga takes its fangs and goes home (at last), and HOLY MOTORS HOLY MOTORS HOLY MOTORS.

Anna Karenina Joe Wright broke out of British TV with the 9,000th filmed Pride and Prejudice (2005), unnecessary but quite good. Too bad it immediately went to his head. His increasing showiness as director enlivened the silly teenage-superspy avenger fantasy Hanna (2011), but it started to get in the way of Atonement (2007), a fine book didn't need camera gymnastics to make a great movie. Now it's completely sunk a certified literary masterpiece still waiting for a worthy film adaptation. Keira Knightley plays the titular 19th century St. Petersburg aristocrat whose staid, happy-enough existence as a doting mother and dutiful wife (to deglammed Jude Law's honorable but neglectful Karenin) is upended when she enters a mutually passionate affair with dashing military officer Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, miscast). Scandal and tragedy ensue.

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Frenemies in this life, enemies in the next: 'The Master' and other new films

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It's here at last! Clear your mind and join the Cause!

Yep, The Master opens today, along with a pair of cop movies (one set in gritty LA, the other set in an even grittier megacity of the future). Already in progress is the 3rd i's San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival. Check out my take on all of the above right herre.

The most excellent Caitlin Donohue takes on Stephen Elliott's porn-themed About Cherry (screening at the Castro tonight!) here.

As-yet unreviewed due to various reasons (two being: aversions to PG-13 horror flicks, and Channing Tatum overload ... seriously, guy, take a vacation!), but most certainly opening today, are House At the End of the Street (alas, not the House Hunters suspense thriller we've all been waiting for) and high-school reunion comedy 10 Years. I didn't make it to my 10-year reunion but I feel confident saying that NOBODY in my class (go Tigers!) showed up with Magic Mike-style abs.

But wait, there's more! Read on for the rest of the best (and meh-st) of the week.

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Tiger woods

A lone tracker probes a troubled wilderness in The Hunter

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM The Tasmanian tiger wasn't a cat at all, but a pouched marsupial resembling a ring-tailed dog, with the most fearsome steel-trap jaws imaginable. It was hunted out of existence as a menace to domestic livestock; the last one died in captivity in 1936. Nonetheless, alleged sightings persist. Like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, the tiger is kept alive at least in the imagination by the fervency of stubborn believers.Read more »

Barbed wire love

'Pretty Poison' slays with Tuesday Wells, Anthony Perkins at Castro Theatre

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TRASH In 1968, Pretty Poison, which plays the Castro Theatre this Thursday in a new 35mm print, arrived a bit early. The next year Easy Rider would suddenly make young American directors seem like "the future" of an industry then hobbling on the same now-arthritic legs that had supported its Golden Age decades earlier. By 1970 and for several years afterward small, idiosyncratic, independent (both within and outside studio funding) films would flourish, in number and frequent quality if not commercially.Read more »