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.
Beautifully 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.
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.
The Coen Brothers love the movies—making them and watching them. Their films often pay homage to classics from The Man Who Wasn’t There with its direct links to Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (both black and white murder stories set in Santa Rosa) to O Brother Where Art Thou filled with references to Sullivan’s Travels (a movie about making movies). And now they return with a new behind-the-scenes look at the cinematic creative process so darkly explored with Barton Fink—but this time it is an all-star farce. Read what our film buff critics think about Hail, Caesar!
At last year’s Cannes Film Festival there was a strong selection of films to consider but one movie made a lasting impression with images and a story people cannot forget. László Nemes‘ Son of Saul won the coveted Grand Prix award and has been the film “you must not miss” at Toronto, Telluride and New York Film Festivals. Continue reading →