“Pandora’s Box” – A Stunning Film on the Big Screen at the Spectacular Paramount

By Nancy Friedman

(April 25, 2023)

Maligned, misunderstood, and mercilessly censored when it was released in 1929 – and virtually forgotten for the next three decades – Pandora’s Box (Die Büchse der Pandora) is today acknowledged as one of the masterpieces of silent cinema. That honor is attributable in part to the artistry of director Georg Wilhelm Pabst and cinematographer Günther Krampf, two giants of German film. But the film’s real magic resides in the indelible performance of its American star, Louise Brooks, whom the film historian David Thomson has called “one of the most mysterious and potent figures in the history of the cinema.” The British film critic Pamela Hutchinson has said that Brooks – with her impish smile, dancer’s lithe body, and gleaming black helmet of bobbed hair – “both defines the Roaring Twenties and stands outside it. She is timeless.” 

Continue reading


by Julie Lindow

(Updated October 30,2022)

One would never expect such real-life horror to happen at the gorgeous, historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco. That fateful night, I was slinging candy and popcorn. The air was thick with that hot buttery scent as I salted the last bag of popcorn and patrons scurried into the theater. The manager clunked the heavy double doors closed. The calm after the storm. It was also the calm before the storm of Hallows’ Eve that was a few nights off.


Continue reading

GHOSTS ON THE LOOSE- A brief history of Spooky Stage Shows and a Personal Encounter

by Gary Meyer

Magic and “live” ghosts, goblins and other creatures of the night go back a long way. What we refer to as “augmented reality” today is hundreds of years old.  In 1584 Reginald Scot wrote in his study to debunk beliefs in witchcraft, magic and other superstitions, The Discoverie of Witchcraft, that people dressed in sheets had fooled believers certain they had seen ghosts.

Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 2.09.02 PM.png

Interpretation of Robertson’s Fantasmagorie from F. Marion’s L’Optique (1867)

Continue reading

FINALLY FEELING FESTIVE – Looking Forward to the 2022 Mill Valley Film Festival, October 6 through 16

By Meredith Brody

October 6, 2022

In the past I have written, once or twice, thinking it was something of a joke, that if you wanted to see a movie beautifully projected on huge big screens with a full attentive audience who were all watching the BIG screen instead of their little screens, you had to go to a film festival.

Sir Ian McKellen’s 2015 Tribute; Photo by Drew Altizer Photography

And now, after nearly three years of not going to movies, whether in theaters or at festivals, and becoming increasingly used to – but not happy about — seeing movies via streaming services at home, I find that my little joke rings increasingly true.

Continue reading

Welcome To My Movie, Won’t You Come In?

By Steve Segal

May 23, 2022

Ever since audiences fled for their lives seeing the Lumière’s Train Entering the Station in 1895, filmmakers have been trying to bring cinema audiences into the action. I recently saw two such examples. 

Gone Gone Beyond is a one-hour 360-degree cinema collage presented by Recombinant Media Labs CineChamber. It is showing in San Francisco at the Gray Area through Friday, May 27.

Continue reading