Dudes! The (lucky) 13th San Francisco Documentary Film Festival, aka DocFest to those in the know, is underway now, running through June 19 with all kinds of weird and wonderful docs. Check out Dennis Harvey's recommendations here.
From the spangly tentacles of Hollywood, we've got Shailene "I Am Not the Poor Man's Jennifer Lawrence" Woodley in a certified tearjerker, and Tom "Still a Big Enough Star to Avoid Being Cast in an Expendables Flick Just Yet" Cruise fighting aliens (and, surprisingly, his own ego). Plus: indie picks, including the latest from Kelly Reichardt and Lukas Moodysson. Read on for more.
Breathe easy, halfling: the middle installment in Peter Jackson's Hobbittrilogy is a huge improvement over the first film. Also new this week: Emma Thompson turns in a cranky-yet-lovable performance as the woman who wrote Mary Poppins in Saving Mr. Banks (with Tom Hanks playing Walt Disney); Liev Schreiber battles oddly familiar space monsters in The Last Days on Mars; and Tyler Perry celebrates the holidays as only he can, with A Madea Christmas. Read on for reviews and trailers.
This weekend, it's all about the Women's Marathon at the London Olympics! If my calculations are correct, I will have to basically stay up all night Saturday to catch the race (11am London time is uggghhhh our time), or descend into a spoiler-free cave where no NBC-borne spoilers can find me before the highlight reel.
Anyone needing a break from gorging on Olympic track and field coverage, however, has an array of options at the movie theater, including two standout docs about mystery men (The Imposterand Searching for Sugar Man) and William Friedkin's rip-roaring (and NC-17) latest, Killer Joe. Plus, Lovecraft!
Hollywood's big money is on the Total Recall remake, which stars an agreeable Colin Farrell and is directed with reasonable amounts of style by Len Wiseman (of Underworld series fame; naturally, wife Kate Beckinsale has a juicy part). But if you really want to see Total Recall, stick with the 1990 Verhoeven-Schwarzenegger version. The do-over adds nothing and contains zero quotable lines on par with "Get your AHH-SS to Mars!"
Short takes on other notable releases this week (including a Bresson revival, ooh la la) after the jump.