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2012 San Francisco International Film Festival program notes

April 5, 2012

Here are a couple short reviews I wrote for the San Francisco Film Society’s upcoming SF International Film Festival (April 19- May 3).

Somebody Up There Likes Me (2012)

Somebody Up There Likes Me chronicles the unremarkable yet ageless waiter Max Youngman through more than 25 years of failed marriages, betrayals and unlikely success. Part sedentary Candide, part shiftless Dorian Gray, with a mysterious blue suitcase in place of a portrait, Youngman bumbles through life’s follies with dispassionate ease. Acclaimed independent writer/director Bob Byington delivers another sardonically offbeat comedy, backed with original music by Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio and a strong supporting role by Nick Offerman (of Parks and Recreation fame). Read more…

Dead Again (1991)

Split between black-and-white sequences that take place in 1948 and full-color passages set in a present-day 1991, Dead Again is the neo-noir thriller that helped propel director/star Kenneth Branagh’s crossover from Shakespearean renown into movie stardom. Mike Church (Branagh), a brassy Los Angeles private investigator, takes the case of “Grace” (Emma Thompson), an amnesiac haunted by nightmares. Hypnotist Franklyn Madson (Derek Jacobi) claims Grace’s nightmares are actually flashbacks to a past life in which she was brutally murdered. Read more…

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