Michael Haneke's Funny Games (credit: Nicole Rivelli)
Of the movies in theaters and newly available on DVD this weekend, here's what I like, with links to my reviews, if any.
Opening and Expanding This Weekend
- Funny Games — Michael Haneke remade his own film, virtually shot-for-shot, this time with Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, and Brady Corbet. He hates us, and I'm not sure what we did to provoke him.
[trailer, review (link soon)]
- Snow Angels — It may be my favorite of David Gordon Green's films, although it took me some time to come to that realization. It's his most conventional in structure, but it's still an odd mix of elements.
[trailer, listen to my chat with Green on this weekend's podcast, see also: my review in the March Paste]
Continuing, in Preferential Order
- 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days [trailer]
- The Unforeseen [trailer, see also: my review in the April issue of Paste]
- There Will Be Blood [trailer, brief comments on the podcast]
- Taxi to the Dark Side [trailer]
- Paranoid Park — [trailer, my podcast comments from New York and J. Robert's from TIFF, see also: my chat with Van Sant in the March issue of Paste Magazine]
- Honeydripper — John Sayles' best film in years [trailer]
- Chicago 10 [trailer, capsule review]
- Persepolis [trailer, J. Robert's interview with the director on the podcast]
- Be Kind Rewind [trailer, review]
New on DVD
Nothing particularly interesting this week, although I had high hopes for Summer Palace, having liked Lou Ye's previous two films (Suzhou River and Purple Butterfly). But I agree with Hoberman who calls it "a fascinating mess".
Where I'll Be This Week (Bay Area)
One of my favorite San Francisco film festivals starts tonight, the San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival. I'm attending only a few programs this year, but I'm especially looking forward to a mini-retrospective in honor of Edward Yang who passed away in 2007.
I'll be at some combination of the following:
- March 14: The Terrorizer (Yang, SFIAAFF) at the PFA
- March 15: A Girl Is a Gun (Moullet) at SFMOMA, repeated on the 20th. Clarence Carter says, "Calling A Girl Is a Gun (1971) an acid western is to do a movie that finds Jean-Pierre Léaud alternately, playing gunslinger, raving with lovesickness, mad with dehydration, eating dirt and grass, attempting to hang himself with the stump of a noose, scalped, betrayed, and married to a young Native American girl who looked suspiciously French to these eyes, little justice. Keystone Cops+The Searchers+Zabriskie Point+Twentynine Palms — I'll be damned if I know exactly what to call A Girl Is a Gun besides one of the most wickedly funny, willfully bizarre films I've seen in ages. It's also dubbed poorly into English and features a totally disconcerting droney krautrock score. Both are compliments in this case. Moullet's third film is most assuredly for aficionados of outré singularities like Rohmer's Perceval and Malle's Black Moon."
- March 15: Shorts by Jennifer Reeves including Light Work Mood Disorder, an SF Cinematheque screening at the Artists' Television Access
- March 16: I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (Park, SFIAAFF) at the Castro
- March 16 (alternate): Flight of the Red Balloon (Hou, SFIAAFF) at the Kabuki. Hou Hsiao-hsien is among my very favorite filmmakers, and his latest film is wonderful. I'd love to see again, but it's sold out.
- March 16: More shorts by Jennifer Reeves including Light Work I, an SF Cinematheque screening at the Yerba Buena
- March 17: Ping Pong Playa (Yu, SFIAAFF) at the Kabuki. I'm curious about Jessica Yu's new film since her previous one, Protagonist, is a favorite of 2007, but I have mixed feelings about her films in general and don't have high expectations for what looks like a major departure. It's a comedy about ping-pong.
- March 18: The Time We Killed (Reeves), even more Jennifer Reeves, an SF Cinematheque screening at the Yerba Buena
- March 19 (maybe): Wild Strawberries (Bergman), a film often cited as one of Bergman's best, but I'm not crazy about it. Wouldn't hurt me to give it another chance, though.
- March 19: A Brighter Summer Day (Yang, SFIAAFF) at the Clay, the full four-hour version
- March 19 (alternate): Young Frankenstein (Brooks) at the Castro, with Gene Wilder appearing in person
- March 20 (maybe): A Girl Is a Gun (Moullet) at SFMOMA, also on the 15th
- March 20: Yi-Yi: A One and a Two (Yang, SFIAAFF) at the PFA, Yang's best-known film and the only of his that I've seen
UPDATE: I just found out that Rithy Panh has a film in the SFIAAFF called Paper Cannot Wrap Up Embers. His documentary about the S21 prison in Cambodia is great and his theatrical experiment called The Burnt Theatre was also interesting, although it didn't knock me out like S21 did. Unfortunately, I'll need to choose between his new one and Jessica Yu's film, since they conflict — unless I can somehow race from the Kabuki to Berkeley at 8:45. Hmm. (Thanks, Brian.)