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Apr 24th
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Film

Reviews and Times

Patti Smith: Dream of Life

Patti Smith: Dream of Life

The legend's past comes to life in a moving doc

Steven Sebring's film took more than a decade to make

But patience has served the filmmaker well. Dream of Life is one of the most captivating documentaries of the year. And, like its subject, quite hypnotic. It’s a work that sits with you long after you leave the theater. Smith, the outspoken rocker/poet/spoken word artist, has been in the limelight for decades. She stormed onto the music scene in the ’70s, hung out with the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe and William S. Burroughs and made a name for herself the seminal album Horses, among others. The film, like Smith’s own creativity, seems to wander through an esoteric, emotionally rich mine field.

Through archival concert footage and first-hand interviews, we’re taken into Smith’s life and times. But Sebring avoids the linear approach. Instead, we’re treated to a lyrical, stream of consciousness. Among the many musings, the rocker shares her pain over the early

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Reviews and Times

The Swede Hereafter

The Swede Hereafter

‘Let the Right One In’ a moody, poignant Swedish vampire thriller

What better place for a vampire than the almost eternal night of a Swedish winter? Welcome to Let The Right One In, a dark, achingly sweet, deeply subversive genre-busting thriller from Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson. The flip side to the eagerly awaited Twilight, due out later this month, Alfredson’s film hews to the same basic idea as the Stephanie Meyer cult novel: young loner meets dazzling new friend with scary but alluring powers. But there’s far less romance and more runaway id in Alfredson’s story, dealing as it does with the fragile tween years; no longer children, its protagonists are hovering on the precipitous cusp of everything.

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Reviews and Times

Climb a Rock

Climb a Rock

The REEL ROCK film tour scales new heights with a bevy of shorts and one feature-length offering

The life of a ‘rock star’ is typically adventurous, often living on the edge of sanity, scaling every bump along the way with fearlessness. There are two types: The musical ‘rock stars’ and the stars in the rock climbing sport—those who scale the earth one handhold at a time, risking injury and even sometimes their lives.

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Reviews and Times

Don Bachardy: Perfect Portrait

Don Bachardy: Perfect Portrait

The Del Mar Theatre’s benefit screening of ‘Chris and Don’ delivers one of the year’s more illuminating documentaries
If there is one movie you must see this year to convince you of the incredible power of love, and how it can transform those captured by its magical prowess, it would have to be Chris and Don … a love story. The heartwarming documentary, which enjoyed a healthy run and critical praise within the film festival circuit, hits Santa Cruz on Sept. 11 with a special screening and fundraiser at the Del Mar Theatre for the Santa Cruz Cultural Council. This imaginative film chronicles the against-all-odds relationship between British writer Christopher Isherwood and portrait painter Don Bachardy, whose memorable works grace the halls of the Met and The Smithsonian. But Chris and Don (****) unveils a portrait of another kind. It seems to illuminate the unending depths love can take two people, and with vivid strokes of its artistic brush—so wonderfully executed by director Guido Santi—manages to convey the unlimited possibilities of what something real can offer. Isherwood

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Reviews and Times

Pure Cinema Alchemy

Pure Cinema Alchemy

Take ‘The Fall’ and prepare to be spellbound

In big, expensive studio movies, the entire budget may go into a star’s bank account, or noisy special effects, while no-budget independent movies often struggle to make up in integrity what they lack in production values. And then there’s The Fall, the kind of unclassifiable virtuoso performance that happens when a filmmaker has an extraordinary vision and pursues it with relentless drive, focus and imagination, come what may. Part fairy tale, and part coming-of-age drama, it combines stunning visual beauty and a beguiling storyline in a witty and artful homage to both the early days of moviemaking and the power of storytelling itself.

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Reviews and Times

Belgian Wafflers

Belgian Wafflers

Irish gangsters re-examine their career choices in smart, violent, perversely funny ‘In Bruges’

In one respect, Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges is a marvelous travelogue for the medieval Old Town in the Belgian city of Bruges. The urge to join the migration of international tourists who will no doubt be flocking there in the wake of this film’s release may be irresistible. Just don’t forget to pack your bulletproof vest.

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Reviews and Times

Primal Screen

Primal Screen

Signs and portents, plus the best, worst and weirdest of the 2007 movie year

What if they gave a movie and nobody came? A lot of theater-owners wrestled with this dilemma in 2007. Box office returns were up this year, since it now costs half your kingdom and your first-born male for a couple of tickets to the multiplex, but the incredible shrinking audience became a factor to reckon with at smaller venues.

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Reviews and Times

Nature of the Beast

Nature of the Beast

   Emile Hirsch explores inner landscapes in ‘Wild’

“Besides his outstanding intellect and creativity, his willpower, strength and integrity stood out,” says “Into the Wild” star Emile Hirsch. “He really is a tremendous spirit.”

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Reviews and Times

Peter Fonda: Still on Track

Peter Fonda: Still on Track

He’s not done yet. Why Peter Fonda hopped on the testosterone train in ‘3:10 to Yuma’

Morality, courage, honor and family may be the themes explored in the riveting, re-imagined 3:10 to Yuma, but for Peter Fonda, the shoot-’em-up extravaganza by director James Mangold (“Walk The Line”) was a reminder of how well westerns can illuminate real-life political dramas.

“The best way to discuss what’s going on right now is through a western—and in the past tense,” Fonda says. “If you talk in the ‘right now,’ you’re going to force people to go one way or another in an ideology they may not like, but in a western, that idiom gives you the chance of encompass all sides of the political spectrum.”

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Reviews and Times

Somewhere North of Up

Somewhere North of Up

The adventurous Chris Sharma on tough rock climbs and what life looks like on top of the world
Chris Sharma has a firm grip on life. He needs the tight handhold because he’s often dangling by just a few fingers, death or injury close by. Such is the life of the world’s best rock climber. At 26, the Santa Cruz native, who now spends more time away from his hometown than in it, is the type of daredevil that will scour the world, hunting for the most challenging climb that planet Earth can offer.

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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 24

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Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management