THRILLS AND ROMANCE AT “THE SIGNAL TOWER”

By Warren Haack

Signal Tower lobby.jpg

At first glance this Classic of Silent Cinema would seem to appear as a nostalgic step back into the 1920s, when the Railroads of America dominated many people’s lives. However as the story unfolds, it is imbued with the classic icons of Silent Cinema including jealous lovers, family values and harrowing train wrecks, and is both entertaining and well written. Beautifully photographed on location along the Noyo River in the redwood forests of Northern California with excellent acting, this long lost treasure of Silent Cinema was carefully restored by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s Robert Byrne in collaboration with Kevin Brownlow and Patrick Stanbury of Photoplay Productions. It bears repeated viewing.

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Feast on Gold; he’s the real thing

goldfolderart6by Patricia Unterman

[Read Gaetano Kazuo Maida’s review here.]

There aren’t very many of us who actually have worked as food critics for print publications. I did it for 15 years at the San Francisco Chronicle and for about 15 more at the San Francisco Examiner. Way back when I started, no editorial wall stood between advertising and criticism, at least when it came to restaurants. If a restaurant advertised, it got written up.

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Critics Corner: EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT

Embrace_of_the_Serpent-863726984-largeBeautifully shot in black and white – a rarity these days – Ciro Guerro’s Embrace of the Serpent is Columbia’s nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, and deservedly so. An “elegy for lost cultures and an indictment of exploitation,” this saga of human endurance in the wilderness – also the theme of fellow Oscar nominee The Revenant – plays like “a rainforest fever dream.” Critics Daniel Barnes and Dennis Harvey present their takes on this vivid physical adventure, which opens  across North America in February and March.

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Critics Corner: A WAR

The Danes think enough of Tobias Lindholm’s A War to nominate it for best foreign-language film in this year’s Oscars. See how Bay Area reviewers Daniel Barnes and Richard von Busack view Lindholm’s “… look at the burden of leadership and the psychological toll of living through hell” in this week’s Critics Corner.

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