FIRE IN PARADISE: Questioning the New Normal

by C.J. Hirschfield

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The new Netflix documentary Fire in Paradise was planned for release near the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire in Butte County, the country’s deadliest wildfire in over a century. The fire killed 85 people in the town of Paradise. As the film’s November 1st release date approached, Oakland-based co-director Drea Cooper recalls feeling good that the 2019 fire season was not as bad as last year. But by the time the actual date arrived, the entire state of California had endured three weeks of flames, and causing millions of people to be without power–including Drea and his family. “Surreal,” is how he puts it. Surreal, but as the film suggests, also the new normal.

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Watch ARENA’s “Night and Day”

(updated April 21, 2019)
The San Francisco Film Festival gave the Mel Novikoff Award  to the great BBC series ARENA and its producer Anthony Wall. 
The award is named after the much loved San Francisco art cinema owner whose Surf Theatre was legendary. Novikoff saw the potential of taking the run down and all-but-forgotten Castro Theatre and making it a true destination for movie lovers. The Award is given “to an individual or institution whose work has enhanced the film-going public’s appreciation of world cinema.” Image result for arena bbc video logo

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SPACE ODYSSEY: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece 

An excerpt by Michael Benson

Space Odyssey.jpgMy own lifelong engagement with 2001 started in the spring of 1968 at the age of six. My mom, a confirmed Clarke fan, took me to an afternoon matinee within weeks of the film’s premiere. Whether it was in Washington (where we then lived) or New York (as I remember it) is unclear. While I was already excited by the jump into space as then best represented by the Apollo program—which had already launched two of its towering Saturn V Moon rockets on unmanned test flights—it was no preparation for my first exposure to such a powerfully ambiguous, visually stunning work.

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THE FRENZY OF FRENCH 5 AND ITS FABULOUS FIXATION ON THE FRENETIC FIFTIES (part one)

A two-part exoneration by Anastasia Lin 

including conversation snippets with Don Malcolm

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  1. JUST WHAT IS HE DOING TO US THIS TIME?

Is there such a “thing” as “too much of a good thing?” Devotees (and I use that term, er, charitably) of internet porn might disagree, but even cinephiles (who also like to watch…) may feel that the inestimable Don Malcolm, he of the flashlight and the Lost Continent, just might have had his pith helmet too tightly affixed with his latest Roxie extravaganza: a 20-film collection of forgotten French film noir that moth-flames the 1950s with a heightened level of relentlessness. Continue reading