Film Review

The awful truth

'The Central Park Five' examines a shocking crime — and its troubling outcome

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Early last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 15-film shortlist from which the five Best Documentary nominees will be culled. There are some strong contenders — including The Waiting Room, set at Oakland's Highland Hospital — but two of 2012's highest-profile docs were oddly absent: Amy Berg's West of Memphis (which opens locally Feb. 8) and Ken Burns' The Central Park Five, which opens Friday. It might be ironic that both films are about injustice.Read more »

father and law

Make time for sensitive indie drama 'In the Family'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM With a running time of just under three hours, writer-director-star Patrick Wang's In the Family rewards patient viewers with its quietly observed tale of a man battling for custody of his son.Read more »

A hello to arms

Who, exactly, is the target audience for Red Dawn?

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The master

'Hitchcock' goes behind the scenes of Hollywood history

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Goth-hmm city

Sean Penn takes a bizarre road trip in 'This Must Be the Place'

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Staunch characters

The leading ladies of 'French Cinema Now'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Last year's The Artist is still glowing months after its multi-Oscar triumph — its canine star just released a memoir, Uggie: My Story, and its human star, Jean Dujardin, will appear in Martin Scorsese's 2013 The Wolf of Wall Street.Read more »

The rescuer

'Gigli' is forgiven: 70s thriller 'Argo' is Ben Affleck's best yet

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM A decade or so ago, Ben Affleck was drowning in Bennifer mania and starring in schlock like Daredevil (2003) and Gigli (2003). Rumors percolated that Affleck and Matt Damon hadn't really written that Oscar-winning script for 1997's Good Will Hunting — though Damon's career was bearing more fruit at the time (see: 2002's The Bourne Identity), the "Jenny From the Block" video was nauseating enough to make anyone question the authenticity of anything Affleck-associated up to that point.Read more »

We were here

Detropia chronicles urban decline in a fresh light

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FILM "I feel like I was maybe here, a while back. Or I'm older than I really am, and I just have this young body and spirit and mind — but I have a memory of this place when it was bangin'," says video blogger Crystal Starr in new doc Detropia, gazing at the Detroit skyline from an abandoned building somewhere on the West Side, puffing a little joint.Read more »

Cinetology

This week's movies: gurus, beauty queens, beat cops, and 3D super cops

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Dark and stormy

A real-life ex inspires Ira Sachs' wrenching drama 'Keep the Lights On'

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM In Ira Sachs' intensely discomfiting Keep the Lights On, Erik (Thure Lindhardt) is a Danish documentarian in late-1990s New York City, prodding his career along, spending time with friends, having casual sex with strangers. One of the latter is Paul (Zachary Booth), a publishing-house lawyer who first tells him "I have a girlfriend, so don't get your hopes up." Yet some time later they've become a tentative couple, then a live-in one.Read more »