Cheryl Eddy

Heroic shorties return! "The Hobbit" and more new movies

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One more week until Hollywood unleashes a mighty flood of new films, in honor of noted multiplex fan Baby Jesus. This week's only big release is Peter Jackson's return to Middle-earth, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which at two hours and 46 minutes is definitely a pee-before, bring-snacks-to-eat-during experience. My review below the jump, along with takes on the Alan Cumming showcase Any Day Now and Israeli coming-of-age drama The Matchmaker.

Also worth the popcorn calories: documentarian Ken Burns' provocative look at one of New York City's most infamous crimes, The Central Park Five; less so is the FDR dramedy Hyde Park on Hudson, which does star Bill Murray, so at least it has that goin' for it, which is nice. I review both films here. Read more »

Rep Clock

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Schedules are for Wed/12-Tue/18 except where noted. Director and year are given when available. Double features marked with a •. All times pm unless otherwise specified.

ARTISTS' TELEVISION ACCESS 992 Valencia, SF; www.atasite.org. $6.66. "Other Cinema:" "Incredibly Strange Religion," Sat, 8:30. Read more »

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 »

Honk if you love movies! New releases and rep programs

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If this week's openings seem a little thin, it's because all of the studios are hoping to cash in on the holiday moviegoing spirit, releasing their films next week (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) or, more likely, the week after (Django Unchained, Les Misérables, This is 40, The Impossible, Jack Reacher, etc.) 'Tis the season, and all that.

But that doesn't mean you should ignore Friday's releases (check out my feature on custody drama In the Family), or miss out on two rep programs Dennis Harvey covers in this week's issue: retro porn-musical showcase "Honk If You're Horny" at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and a tribute to French comedian Pierre Étaix at the Smith Rafael Film Center.

Plus, more short takes below, including Harvey's preview of on the Vortex Room's weekly (and timely!) apocalypse series. Because if the world ends December 21, you won't get to see any of those Christmas releases anyway. Tres désolé, Hugh!

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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 »

HoleHead, Brad Pitt, and more: new films!

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This week: Brad Pitt earns forgiveness for that cringe-inducing Chanel commercial with Andrew Dominik's gangster thriller Killing Them Softly, plus uncomfortable-yet-poignant drama Starlet, which just picked up the Film Independent Spirit Awards' Robert Altman Award. Both films are reviewed below the jump.

Also! Check out my rundown on the Another Hole in the Head film festival, an annual event stuffed with catnip candy for fans of horror, sci-fi, and cinema du sick 'n' wrong. (If you love Franco Nero, John Saxon, Henry Silva, and guys with 1970s mustaches fighting in junkyards like I do, don't miss my top pick: Eurocrime!)

Other movies opening this week include period detective flick Dragon (it stars Donnie Yen, so you know what that means: sweet fight scenes); and Henry Jaglom's latest, family drama Just 45 Minutes to Broadway (at the Roxie). Read more »

Chopping spree

'Tis the season for ghouls and gore at Another Hole in the Head film fest

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Unlike the San Francisco Independent Film Festival's flagship event and its popular DocFest, which more or less put roots down at the Roxie, genre fest Another Hole in the Head spreads its horror, sci-fi, and just plain weird wealth around to various venues. Yeah, the Roxie's still on its list, but HoleHead also hosts events down 16th Street at the Victoria Theater, and at SOMA's Terra Gallery and the Vortex Room — the latter an inspired addition, given the Vortex's reputation as a haven for mondo cinema.Read more »

Rep Clock

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Schedules are for Wed/21-Tue/27 except where noted. Director and year are given when available. Double and triple features marked with a •. All times pm unless otherwise specified.

ARTISTS' TELEVISION ACCESS 992 Valencia, SF; www.atasite.org. $6-10. "Other Cinema: McCormick's Great Northwest," an experimental travelogue, plus works by Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, Sat, 8:30.Read more »

Film Listings

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Film listings are edited by Cheryl Eddy. Reviewers are Kimberly Chun, Dennis Harvey, Lynn Rapoport, and Sara Vizcarrondo. For rep house showtimes, see Rep Clock.

OPENING Read more »

That's a wrap

Gift ideas for your favorite film fan

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