The Rough Cut: This Month’s Best in Local Cinema

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Sausage Party Sucked, So Here Are Some Awesome Cheese & Film Pairings

We saw Seth Rogen’s Sausage Party—an R-rated film about sentient food items—with THC high hopes, but unfortunately it had all the appeal of taking a desperation resin hit. To salvage the situation, we’ve asked Rose Owens, the Head Cheesemonger at Bi-Rite Market on 18th Street, to help us pick some of the best cheeses to go with a few of our favorite films. Here’s what she put on the menu:

Sister Act meets Wilde Weide (Holland Cow)

“Sister Dolores comes to the convent of Poor Clares in San Francisco with more than a few surprises tucked away, and this gouda with flavors of sweet grass and pineapple (yeah, I said it) might as well be one of them. Bright yellow like a Reno stage light, and as much fun as the Sisters joyously reinventing ‘I Will Follow Him’.”

Wayne’s World meets Locarno (California Cow)

“Locarno and Wayne’s World are both modern classics: the bloomy-rinded cow’s milk using centuries of tradition to make a gorgeously unique California “brie” that satiates and surprises, the movie a rollicking ride through the hedonism of 90’s SNL spin-offs as well as a perfect retelling of the Hero’s Journey. Follow your dreams, make the show, get the girl, eat the cheese, and party on!”

The Witch meets Red Hawk (California Cow)

“Red Hawk is robust and speaks of the thick wilderness, driving you mad with its sensational texture and flavor, and being a triple-creme, would definitely fulfill Black Phillips’ promise of the taste of butter.”

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane meets Taupiniere (California Goat)

“Here’s Taupiniere, all dressed up to sing to your fans in your ash-ripened rind, and decadent creamline! Baby Jane would never let Blanche eat this crown jewel of the north, instead savoring it downstairs while her sister pushes away another plate.”


 timburtonbookCOMING SOON

“SEPTEMBURTON”
Tim Burton Celebration

Beetlejuice (Sept. 2), Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (Sept. 3), Edward Scissorhands (Sept. 4), Batman (Sept. 10), Corpse Bride (Sept. 19)
Alamo Drafthouse
2550 Mission St, San Francisco, CA
drafthouse.com/sf

Tim Burton’s career has taken a beating, and deservedly so. How someone goes from Ed Wood to Alice in Wonderland, we’ll never know. That said, there’s no one who can channel the charm of the occult quite like Burton. In celebration of his latest film, a live-action adaptation of the bestselling graphic novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the New Mission Alamo Drafthouse will celebrate “SEPTEMBURTON” with select screenings of Burton classics like Beetlejuice, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and Edward Scissorhands. Because it’s the Drafthouse, there will also be enamel pins, a “Scissor Chopped Salad,” and alcoholic Oreo shakes. Dust off your Handbook for the Recently Deceased and oil up your red bicycle. It’s Burton time.


Lo And Behold: Reveries Of The Connected World

Opera Plaza Cinema
601 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA
Starts August 19
landmarktheatres.com

If you’ve ever wanted to see iconic documentarian Werner Herzog try to convince SpaceX founder Elon Musk to send him to Mars, you’ve found your movie. Lo and Behold follows Herzog as he seeks to understand whether the virtual world has brought us closer together or actually left us more alone than ever before. It’s hard to find a Herzog film that doesn’t have some appeal, but the timely subject matter and the prospect of the German filmmaker bringing his wisdom and wonderful accent to a rehab center for Internet addiction should be more than enough to make this another memorable entry in his formidable filmography.


IN REVIEW

For this month’s reviews, we’re highlighting two films from this summer’s 36th Annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, one of the world’s most highly-regarded film festivals specializing in Jewish cinema.


A German Life

Documentary. Directed by Christian Krönes, Olaf S. Müller, Roland Schrotthofer, and Florian Weigensamer.
(Unrated, 113 minutes)

The concept of A German Life is remarkably simple: close up shots of the 103 year-old Brunhilde Pomsel as she recalls the years she spent serving as a secretary for the Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. But that is the only simple thing about this remarkably timely documentary. Shot in black and white and featuring small segments of archival footage, A German Life is the story of Germany and of Pomsel, who despite being old enough to remember the onset of World War I is an incredibly lucid and candid subject.

  Where things grow difficult is in Pomsel’s ambiguous feelings towards her own involvement in the Third Reich. Despite having intimate access to Goebbels and his inner office, Pomsel claims ignorance when it comes to the atrocities that were actually happening away from Berlin. Perhaps most chilling is the running story of Pomsel’s Jewish friend, who she recalls meeting for lunches periodically throughout World War II until one day she simply vanishes. Pomsel’s inability to connect the dots in her personal life to the world at large is a stark reminder of the fleeting comfort willful ignorance can offer.

Where A German Life truly succeeds is in transcending the growing pool of films dedicated solely to the Holocaust (certainly important in their own right) to become a documentary with a wider scope: a survey of a century from someone who remembers nearly all of it.  One can only hope that the lessons Pomsel refuses to see are not mistakes we are doomed to repeat.

Grade: A-

Kindred Spirits: “The Fog of War,” “The Act of Killing”


A Tale of Love and Darkness

History-drama. Starring Natalie Portman. Directed by Natalie Portman. (PG-13, 99 minutes)

Natalie Portman has come a long way from telling Zach Braff just how much The Shins will change his life. In her directorial debut, she has taken on the weighty material of Amos Oz’s autobiographical novel of growing up in 1940s Jerusalem. Portman not only wrote and directed the film, but also co-stars in it as Oz’s mother, a troubled woman who educates her son with magical stories. Shot entirely in Hebrew, A Tale of Love and Darkness, ultimately becomes two films: a warm and touching story of a mother and her son, and an ambiguous, surface-deep examination of the politics surrounding the establishment of the state of Israel.

Boasting strong cinematography, a faithful script, and an excellent performance from Amir Tessler as the young Amos, the film gets dicey when it tries to explain the complex underpinnings and socio-economic conditions present in a land claimed as home by so many. Oftentimes context is sacrificed for character, and the audience is left to fill in gaps from a history that many most likely do not know.

Flaws aside, Portman should be lauded for taking on such challenging subject matter for her inaugural voyage behind the camera. There is a lot to like in A Tale of Love and Darkness, and if nothing else, it speaks to Portman’s talents as a filmmaker and her willingness to make the film she wanted, rather than one with the most commercial appeal.

Grade: B-

Kindred Spirits: “Big Fish”, “Waltz with Bashir”


Zack Ruskin is a staff writer for Consequence of Sound and a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the SF Chronicle, Paste, Malibu Magazine, SF Weekly, and The Believer.

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