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Dec 21st
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Reviews and Times

Film - Reviews and Times

Ace of Lies

Ace of Lies

Abramoff exploits eroding democracy in trenchant ‘Casino Jack’
Just in case you’re not outraged enough over the stranglehold by which corporate interests have crippled the American political process, along comes Casino Jack And The United States Of Money to make it all perfectly clear. Alex Gibney’s new documentary is densely packed with information, but persuasive and eye-opening; it charts the course of “uber-lobbyist” Jack Abramoff, from ultra-conservative Young Republican with a James Bond complex in the Reagan ’80s to the most influential political power broker in America—and the disintegrating fabric of American democracy that permitted it to happen.

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Film - Reviews and Times

Movies & Film Events: Week of May 13

Movies & Film Events: Week of May 13

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.

 

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Film - Reviews and Times

Pregcellent

Pregcellent

There’s plenty to go gaga over in ‘Babies’
It took director Thomas Balmès four years to give birth to Babies—talk about labor pains—so here’s hoping local audiences consider the new film a bundle of joy. Chance are they will.

The engaging documentary (HHH1/2 out of four), which opens Friday at The Nick, chronicles the offspring of four couples from different parts of the world, tracking a year of their baby’s life—from birth to first steps. There’s a boy from Mongolia, a girl from Namibia and a feisty gal from Tokyo. Best of all is San Francisco’s Hattie Bradshaw.

Naturally, her parents, Frazer Bradshaw and Susie Wise, couldn’t be more proud. Bradshaw is a cinematographer. He actually shot a good portion of Hattie’s footage whenever Balmès was in other parts of the globe filming the other babies. Wise teaches “design thinking” at Stanford.

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Film - Reviews and Times

Hip To Be Square

Hip To Be Square

Australian brothers craft a punchy noir debut
Film noir is alive and thriving in Australia. The proof is in The Square, an edgy thriller from the appropriately named Edgerton brothers, director Nash and co-writer/co-star Joel, whose raw, invigorating morality play captures the spirit of noir in all its gritty intensity—then ratchets the whole thing up that one outrageous step further. Twisty, smart, epic in its themes, but absolutely life-sized and credible in its characterizations, this is the kind of fast and furious thrill ride Quentin Tarantino can only dream of making.

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Film - Reviews and Times

Movies & Film Events: Week of May 6

Movies & Film Events: Week of May 6

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.

Santa Cruz Film Festival
through May 15

 

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Film - Reviews and Times

Sea Span

Sea Span

Undersea kingdoms explored in poetic eco-doc 'Oceans'
A few years ago, French documentary filmmaker Jacques Perrin astonished the world with Winged Migration, an extraordinary you-are-there look at bird life in which cameras seemed to soar in the air alongside geese, gulls, and other migrating flocks. Perrin now sets the bar for wildlife documentaries, so it's no surprse it took him and his intrepid team some seven years to complete filming for his new release, Oceans. Although this time Perrin's cameras delve deep—often straight to the sandy bottom—of the world's seven seas, Oceans too soars in its own poetic way. Particularly when sea creatures huge and small are performing lazy aerial ballets in the vastness of blue aquatic space.

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Film - Reviews and Times

11 Films Not To Miss at SCFF IX

11 Films Not To Miss at SCFF IX

THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS
The engrossing story of the brainy Rand Corp. employee who smuggled out the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times is told by filmmakers Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith in this lively, coherent and informative Oscar-nominated documentary. Fri., May 14, 2:15 p.m., at the Del Mar.

 

 

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Film - Reviews and Times

On With The Show

On With The Show

New leadership preserves intrepid, independent vision in Santa Cruz Film Festival IX
One-woman human dynamo Jane Sullivan may be out of the picture, but the show will go on next week for the ninth annual Santa Cruz Film Festival. While Sullivan enjoys a much-deserved sabbatical, the festival's intrepid board of directors has risen to the challenge of producing SCFF IX, which begins Thursday, May 6, and runs through Sunday, May 15. Under the guidance of a newly created leadership team made up of longtime board members and festival veterans, SCFF IX will feature 133 films from 33 countries (40 of them locally produced) at multiple venues around town, along with a full slate of panels, workshops, parties, live music, gala receptions, and a demonstration of extreme hula-hooping.

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Film - Reviews and Times

Movies & Film Events: week of April. 29

Movies & Film Events: week of April. 29

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.

 

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Film - Reviews and Times

Culture Shock

Culture Shock

Vibrant Latino culture, family drama, explode in 'La Mission'
It may be Benjamin Bratt's name above the title, but the Latino community in San Francisco's Mission District is the real star of La Mission. As viewed through the camera eye of writer-director Peter Bratt (the star's older brother), the Mission is an E-Ticket ride of cultural vitality: vibrant, colorful murals sprawl across every wall, Aztec dance troupes and Mariachi bands are out performing on the street at all hours, and a sleek parade of extravagantly restored, airbrushed and detailed lowrider cars prowls the neighborhood seemingly every night, winding up with a fiesta of music and dancing. Every interior is painted in vivid, sun-drenched colors and decorated with altars and family photos.

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

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Guitar or surfboard?

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Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire