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Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi: Thor Ragnarok & The Outer Limits

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, May 27, 2018 06:51pm | Post a Comment

Having A Movie Moment

By Jon Longhi

Welcome to this month’s Having A Movie Moment with Jon Longhi, where I review recent Blu-ray releases. Both of these Blu-rays came out in the past three months.

Thor Ragnarok, Marvel Studios:
What a great movie! It's pure entertainment of the type that Marvel excels at. This movie works on manyThor Ragnarok levels; it's great science fiction, action, drama, and even comedy all simultaneously. It's got a great story, good acting and pacing, and wonderful sets, costumes, and special effects. Like every recent Marvel movie, the story feeds into the Avengers: Infinity War plot line, but it also succeeds quite well on its own. My daughter and I have been watching all the Marvel shows and movies and know how every related plot thread connects together, but my wife hasn't watched any of that stuff and she enjoyed this movie just as much as me when we watched it together. That's quite a feat, because the Marvel universe has gotten really complicated these days, so it takes great skill to make a new Marvel movie that doesn't need a guidebook for one to understand it.

This is the third Thor movie but it is almost equally a sequel and a prequel to the recent Avengers movies. It picks up with Thor wandering the universe performing his usual godlike deeds of heroism and searching for the Infinity Stones. He is imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur who tells him that his father Odin is no longer in his celestial home of Asgard and that the realm of the gods itself will soon be destroyed in a cosmic armaggedon known as Ragnarok. After dispatching Surtur and a really cool dragon, Thor returns home to find that his evil brother, Loki, has stolen the throne by disguising himself as Odin. After exposing Loki, Thor takes him to earth where they locate Odin with the help of Doctor Strange. Odin is dying, and his death releases his first born daughter, Hela, who destroys Thor's hammer, conquers Asgard, and casts Thor and Loki off into space. They land on a junkyard planet ruled by Jeff Goldblum who forces Thor to fight the Incredible Hulk in an area. Do Thor, the Hulk, and Loki escape? Is Asgard saved? I'm not going to give away any more spoilers, but let's just say that answering these two questions is tons of fun and pure Marvel entertainment.

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San Francisco Silent Film Festival Returns May 30–June 3

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, May 20, 2018 06:42pm | Post a Comment

San Francisco Silent Film Fest

Soft Shoes
Soft Shoes

The 23rd San Francisco Silent Film Festival (SFSFF) returns to the beautiful Castro Theatre May 30 – June 3 for five days of masterpieces from the silent film era set to glorious live music. Several of the films are SFSFF restorations, which will be having their world premieres, including The Other Woman's Story (1925), Richard Oswald's German version of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1929), the San Francisco-set Soft Shoes (1925), and the Soviet masterpiece Fragment of an Empire. Additionally, SFSFF has restored recently-discovered footage of San Francisco in the days after the catastrophic 1906 earthquake. (The nine-minute segment will be shown on Saturday, June 2, with Trappola.)

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Mdou Moctar: Tuareg Acid Western Film & Desert Blues Performance, May 24

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, May 10, 2018 08:38pm | Post a Comment

Zerzura

The MATATU performance series presents Mdou Moctar: Tuareg Acid Western Film & Desert Blues Performance on Thursday, May 24 at 7:30pm at Oakland's Starline Social Club. The night pairs Zerzura, a feature-length film shot in the Sahara desert starring an entirely African cast, followed by a live performance featuring Nigerien musician Mdou Moctar and the film's star Ahmoudou Madassane. Tickets are available now HERE!

Zerzura is a folktale transposed into an acid western, a collaborative achievement - written and developed with a Tuareg cast, and shot in and around Agadez, Niger. Once an important stop for trans-Saharan camel caravans, it has today reestablished itself as a hub of movement, but for different reasons. Migrants from all over the continent pause here on their trek North, bound for mythic cities in Europe. Tales of riches in the desert abound, and men sell their houses for gold detectors. Young Tuareg leave home to seek their fortune in the fractured Libyan state. As people leave, their stories return, becoming wildly exaggerated versions of truth.

Taking its cues from the ethno-fiction proposed by Jean Rouch, Zerzura mixes folktales with documentary to explore Saharan dreams and imagination. The film was developed and written collaboratively on site with a local team. The images were shot over the subsequent two weeks with a cast of non-actors in improvised performances. Stylistically, Zerzura exists between cultures, an attempt at transcultural cinema. Narrated throughout with improvised instrumental guitar from protagonist Ahmoudou Madassane, the score sets the tone for a fever dream of a journey.

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The Red Baron In TV, Music, Film & Booze

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 9, 2018 02:56pm | Post a Comment

The Red Baron

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show
Red Baron pinball
"I never was good at learning things. I did just enough work to pass. In my opinion it would have been wrong to do more than was just sufficient, so I worked as little as possible."
~ Manfred von Richthofen
(Also me after four years of city college.)

Pre-flight check before take off...

Frozen Red Baron pepperoni pizza in the oven? - Check

Seagram's Red Baron cocktail from 1974 on crushed ice? - Check

Rewound VHS of the 1973 Japanese Tokusatsu series, Super Robot Red Baron? - Check

Well alright then, let's take off this airfield and shoot down some flying dog houses!

It was in my early 20s when I first became intrigued by Baron Manfred Von Richthofen and his colorful Flying Circus air squadron. With over 80 air-combat victories, the Red Baron was like the Miyamoto Musashi of WW1. The thought of knights jousting in the clouds with machine guns was how I wished I lived one of my past lives. Why is it a fantasy to want to face danger by yourself in the sky in a three-winged propeller plane?

I would soon play in a band named The Red Barons with my super-pals Mike "Tail Gunner" Cancilla, the Gas House Gorilla, and Sammy "Belly Gunner" (aka "The East Bay Snake," aka "Steak" Gutierrez of current Midnite Snaxxx fame and glory). Around that same time, I will never forget a night of smoking Cuban cigars and watching Los Rockin' Devils play at El Baron Rojo bar in Mexico City, one of my many adventures with Mike Lucas.

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Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi: Endless Poetry, The Projected Man & Blade Runner 2049

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 8, 2018 07:20pm | Post a Comment

Movie Moment

By Jon Longhi

Welcome to the second Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi, where I review new releases on Blu-ray and DVD. This month I review a new movie by surrealist wild man Alejandro Jodorowsky, a classic monster movie from the sixties, and the stylish new sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner 2049. Everything reviewed in this column came out in the past four months. So here we go:

Endless Poetry, Alejandro JodorowskyEndless Poetry, ABKCO:
Alejandro Jodorowsky is in his late eighties but he's still making movies. Cinema's arguably greatest maverick is not going quietly into that great night. In fact, this is the second film he's put out in the past five years. Both films have been biographical in nature although, like the rest of Jodorosky's films, reality is often just a launch pad for his surrealist flights of fantasy. Just like Federico Fellini, in Jodorowsky's movies it's hard to tell where reality ends and fantasy begins. In fact, this movie has some obvious nods to Fellini films such as 8 1/2 and Juliette of The Spirits. But make no mistake, this movie is pure Jodorosky and goes to places Fellini could never imagine. Just like the rest of his films, there are things in this movie you'll never be able to unsee. There is one scene that depicts a performance art piece where an armless man enlists audience participation to help him caress and make love to his wife that is one of the more disturbing things I've seen in years. Let's make a check list for this film: Random disemboweling? Check. Love triangle with a dwarf? Check. A mother whose only way to communicate is by singing opera? Check. A parade of skeletons? Check. Weird Freudian sex? Check. Strange orgies of psychedelic art? Check. In fact, this checklist could go on almost forever, because on one level this is a mere biography and on another this is a movie about life, the universe, and everything. This film and it's predecessor are the works of an artist at the end of his life trying to teach us the lessons he has learned and what it all means. On a certain level, this is one of the drawbacks of the film. Endless Poetry is not as good as The Holy Mountain, El Topo, and Santa Sangre because those films were delirious searches for the truth, whereas this film is made by a man who has his answers and wants to explain them to us. It's a calmer more controlled work. That difference in tone makes this a more, dare we say, "traditional" film than Jodorosky's early deranged masterpieces. But that is no slight against this picture; the only one Jodorosky is in competition with is the earlier version of himself. This is probably the most crazed and surreal movie that will be released this year. Jodorosky is still in a category unto himself.

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