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"The Big Gundown" Screens at Balboa Theatre, 1/27

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 25, 2016 06:07pm | Post a Comment

The Big Gundown

-- By Brett Stillo

The Spaghetti Western is a paradoxical film genre. Highly imitative and repetitive, hundreds of Spaghetti Westerns were blasted out by Italian movie studios in the 1960s like bullets from a Gatling Gun, carbon The Big Gundowncopies of carbon copies of Sergio Leone’s groundbreaking Dollars trilogy. And yet, the derivative nature of these films is part of what gives them their pulpy charm. We know what we’re in for -- ruthless characters with dirty clothes and sunburned faces shooting it out on dusty streets in some nameless border town (AKA Southern Spain). We not only expect all of that, we want it.

The Big Gundown, from 1966, has all those elements and more. It’s arguably the greatest Spaghetti Western without Sergio Leone’s name in the credits. Ironically, another Sergio directed this film -- veteran Italian director Sergio Solima, who crafts an epic chase film in which the bad guys are pitted against worse guys.

And in The Big Gundown, the baddest of the bad is the one and only Lee Van Cleef, arguably one of the genre’s biggest stars second only to Clint Eastwood. Van Cleef is Satan with a Six-Gun, cutting an intimidating presence with his razor-sharp face and impossibly narrow eyes. Van Cleef’s foil is the dynamic Tomas Milan as a roguish peasant-thief who prefers the knife over the gun.

Solima keeps the action moving rolling along, set to the tempo of an operatic score composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone. This is an impressive restoration of a film that had languished for decades. It will be playing for one night only, this Wednesday, January 27th at San Francisco’s historic Balboa Theatre. If you miss this one, Lee Van Cleef might come looking for you.

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Noise Pop 2016: Feb. 19 - 28

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 24, 2016 04:48pm | Post a Comment

Noise Pop 2016

Noise Pop, the Bay Area’s premiere indie music and arts festival, returns for its 24th year with events all over San Francisco and Oakland, February 19 - 28!

This year's line-up includes live shows from Kamasi Washington (2/25, Independent), Parquet Courts (2/26, The New Parish), Drive Like Jehu (2/26, Independent), Carly Rae Jepsen (2/27, The Warfield), Vince Staples (2/27, Independent), and so many more. The film portion of the festival also promises to be amazing with screenings of six films at SF's Roxie Theater, including hip-hop documentary Hustlers Convention (1/19) and a look into LA punk rock band The Skulls with Who Is Billy Bones (1/21).

Check out the full schedule of events and more HERE, where you can also get individual tickets, General Music Badges, Super Fan Badges, Music & Film Badges, and Film Series Badges.

Enter to win a pair of festival passes HERE! Contest ends February 13th.

And speaking of Kamasi Washington, here's the time he dropped by Amoeba Hollywood:

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New Year, NxWorries

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 11, 2016 06:58pm | Post a Comment

NxWorriesBy doubleay

Together, Anderson Paak and Knxwledge are NxWorries. Singer Anderson Paak and producer Knxwledge deliver one of Stones Throw Records’s final releases to close out 2015 and it may be what we’ve been waiting for all year. Their EP Link Up & Suede is a must hear.

Anderson Paak and Knwxledge are artists that ought to be on your radar in 2016. Both had big years in 2015; Anderson Paak, a soul singer out of Oxnard, California, was featured on four of the 16 tracks on Dr. Dre’s newest album, Compton, and Stones Throw producer Knwxledge landed production on Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album, To Pimp A Butterfly. Individually, both artists are pounding out music; Paak is constantly giving us new content on his SoundCloud while Knxwledge has released over 60 projects on his Bandcamp in the past five years. All of their material has been noteworthy, but the two of them coming together for Link Up & Suede has to be some of their best work yet.

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Curtis Harrington's Night Tide Screens at SF's Balboa Theatre

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 10, 2016 06:16pm | Post a Comment

Night Tide

By Brett Stillo

The early 1960s were a great time for nightmares. This was an era of surreal psycho-thrillers filmed in Night Tideeerie contrasts of black and white. One Step Beyond, Boris Karloff’s Thriller, and the one and only Twilight Zone flickered on TV screens while neighborhood movie theaters and drive-ins were haunted by low-budget creep-outs like Carnival of Souls, The Mask, Confessions of an Opium Eater, and Curtis Harrington’s eerie Night Tide.

Night Tide, which will play at San Francisco’s Balboa Theatre on Wednesday, January 13th, is less of a horror movie and more like a weird dream. Harrington, a colleague of Kenneth Anger who directed several '50s avant-garde short films, orchestrates a gothic beatnik fable set amid the crumbling ruins of a dreamland known as Venice, California. The shadows of Film Noir drape over this desolate landscape. You can almost picture the film's "hero" Dennis Hopper turning a corner and running into a haggard Tom Neal from Detour. The destinies of these two downbeat characters may be different, but they seem to be on similar paths.

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NOIR CITY 14: The Art of Darkness, 1/22 - 1/31

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 5, 2016 03:41pm | Post a Comment

Noir City 14

The Film Noir Foundation's world-famous yearly film festival NOIR CITY returns to San Francisco's majestic Peeping TomCastro Theatre for its 14th edition January 22-31. This year's theme is "The Art of Darkness," delivering 25 noir-stained films exploring the pressures, pitfalls, paranoia, and pain of being an artist in an indifferent and cruel world. This time the tortured protagonists aren't felons or fall guys, they're writers, painters, dancers, photographers, and musicians. I think we can all relate.

The festival features a fascinating line-up of films, including noir must-sees like Nicholas Ray's In A Lonely Place (1950, with Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame), Fritz Lang's Scarlet Street (1945, Edward G. Robinson, Dan Duryea, Joan Bennett), and Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954, James Stewart) to several welcomed surprises like Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960, Carl Boehm), Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966, David Hemmings), and Howard Franklin's The Public Eye (1992, Joe Pesci).

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