The Barnesyard’s Sacto/SF Power Rankings (August 18-24, 2017)

Click the links to read my reviews.

* = playing in SF Bay Area only

OFFICIALLY BUMPED

*1) Good Time
*2) A Ghost Story
3) Dunkirk
4) Logan Lucky
*5) The Little Hours
6) Step
7) Detroit
*8) Whose Streets?
*9) Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
*10) Endless Poetry
11) Spider-Man: Homecoming

MIXED-POSITIVE

12) War for the Planet of the Apes
13) In This Corner of the World
*14) Lady Macbeth
*15) Cars 3
16) Atomic Blonde
*17) Beatriz at Dinner

MIXED-NEGATIVE

*18) Columbus
19) The Big Sick
20) Wonder Woman

OFFICIALLY DUMPED

21) Menashe
22) Transformers: The Last Knight
23) An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
24) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

HAVEN’T SEEN

Annabelle: Creation
Baby Driver
*Brigsby Bear
The Dark Tower
Despicable Me 3
The Emoji Movie
*Escapes
47 Meters Down
Girls Trip
The Glass Castle
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
The Hitman’s Bodyguard
*Ingrid Goes West
Kidnap
*Marjorie Prime
*Nocturama
The Nut Job 2
*The Only Living Boy in NY
*The Trip to Spain
Valerian and the City…
Wind River

These rankings are updated every Thursday, and are only intended to reflect the opinion of Daniel Barnes. All films playing in Sacramento area theaters are listed, as well as most films playing exclusively in the S.F. Bay Area.  Repertory showings are excluded, because they are obviously the superior option wherever available.  Underlined films are on my catchup list.

The Barnesyard’s Sacto/SF Now Playing Power Rankings (August 11-17, 2017)

Click the links to read my reviews.

* = playing in SF Bay Area only

OFFICIALLY BUMPED

*1) A Ghost Story
2) Dunkirk
*3) The Little Hours
*4) Step
5) Detroit
*6) Whose Streets?
*7) Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
*8) Endless Poetry
9) Spider-Man: Homecoming
*10) Maudie

MIXED-POSITIVE

11) War for the Planet of the Apes
*12) In This Corner of the World
*13) Landline
14) Lady Macbeth
*15) The Beguiled
*16) Cars 3
17) Atomic Blonde
*18) Beatriz at Dinner

MIXED-NEGATIVE

*19) Columbus
20) The Big Sick
21) Wonder Woman
*22) The Hero
*23) Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story
*24) The Untamed

OFFICIALLY DUMPED

25) Transformers: The Last Knight
26) An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
*27) Letters from Baghdad
28) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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HAVEN’T SEEN

Annabelle: Creation
Baby Driver
*Brigsby Bear
The Dark Tower
Despicable Me 3
The Emoji Movie
*The Exception
*False Confessions
47 Meters Down
Girls Trip
The Glass Castle
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
Kidnap
*Lost in Paris
*Menashe
*The Midwife
The Nut Job 2
*The Only Living Boy in NY
Valerian and the City…
*Wind River

These rankings are updated every Thursday, and are only intended to reflect the opinion of Daniel Barnes. All films playing in Sacramento area theaters are listed, as well as most films playing exclusively in the S.F. Bay Area.  Repertory showings are excluded, because they are obviously the superior option wherever available.  Underlined films are on my catchup list.

IN THEATERS (SF) – “Whose Streets?”

Whose Streets? (2017; Dir.: Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis)

GRADE: B

By Daniel Barnes

*Opens Friday, August 11, at the Landmark Embarcadero in San Francisco and the Landmark California in Berkeley.

A portrait of activism captured by activists, mostly focusing on street-level views of the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, which were held in response to the police murder of African-American teenager Michael Brown.  The sickeningly violent and dehumanizing police and military actions against peaceful protesters in Ferguson eventually sparked riots, but they also galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement into a literal life or death cause.  Naturally, the compliant mainstream media stood behind the lines and reported on looters instead of investigating police brutality, but Whose Streets? was largely assembled through various cell phone videos, giving us a powerfully intimate look inside a city under occupation and a people under siege.  Black Lives Matter leaders are understandably wary about their portrayal in the media, and even though the activist credentials of the directors allowed them unique access, background details and personal arcs are still reduced to a bare minimum.  While the result is less coherent and lacerating than last year’s Do Not Resist, as a horrifyingly immediate compilation of battle footage from the American war on black people, and as a snapshot of activism in flux, Whose Streets? is utterly indispensable.

IN THEATERS (SF) – “Columbus”

Columbus (2017; Dir.: Kogonada)

GRADE: C+

By Daniel Barnes

*Opens Friday, August 11, at the Landmark Opera Plaza in San Francisco and the Landmark Shattuck in Berkeley.

An auspicious but arid directing debut from video essayist Kogonada, with a rare showcase role for John Cho and a potential breakout performance from Haley Lu Richardson (she played Hailee Steinfeld’s best friend in The Edge of Seventeen, as well as one of the kidnapped teens in Split).  The film takes place in Columbus, Indiana, a small mid-western town with an unusual concentration of modern architecture landmarks, and Kogonada makes stunning (if annoyingly on-the-nose) visual and symbolic use of the buildings.  Cho plays an American-born man living in Korea who travels to Columbus to attend to his estranged father, a world-renowned architecture expert on the verge of death; Richardson plays a teenage dropout and architecture buff still over-caring for her ex-addict mother.  These two lost souls connect over their mutual alienation, leading to long nights spent discussing architecture, ambitions, families and cultural differences, and there are superficial resemblances to Lost in Translation and Before Sunrise.  Unfortunately, the novelty of actors posing in front of architectural marvels evaporates fast, leaving us with an all-too-familiar festival film about a messed-up adult returning home to deal with family problems, and a privileged teenager summoning the courage to accept a paid internship at Yale.  Kogonada shows some promise, but the film is positively listless by the end, and fairly lacking in substance given the intelligentsia trappings and novel-like tone.

The Barnesyard’s Sacto/SF Now Playing Power Rankings (August 4-10, 2017)

Click the links to read my reviews.

* = playing in SF Bay Area only

OFFICIALLY BUMPED

1) A Ghost Story
2) Dunkirk
*3) The Little Hours
4) Detroit
*5) Person to Person
6) Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
*7) Endless Poetry
8) Spider-Man: Homecoming
*9) Maudie

MIXED-POSITIVE

10) War for the Planet of the Apes
*11) Landline
12) Lady Macbeth
*13) The Beguiled
14) Cars 3
15) Atomic Blonde
*16) Beatriz at Dinner

MIXED-NEGATIVE

17) The Big Sick
18) Wonder Woman
*19) The Hero
*20) The Untamed

OFFICIALLY DUMPED

21) An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
22) The Mummy
*23) Letters from Baghdad
24) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

HAVEN’T SEEN

Baby Driver
*Brigsby Bear
The Dark Tower
Despicable Me 3
The Emoji Movie
*The Exception
47 Meters Down
*From the Land of the Moon
Girls Trip
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
Kidnap
*Lost in Paris
Megan Leavey
*The Midwife
*Some Freaks
*Step
Valerian and the City…
Wish Upon

These rankings are updated every Thursday, and are only intended to reflect the opinion of Daniel Barnes. All films playing in Sacramento area theaters are listed, as well as most films playing exclusively in the S.F. Bay Area.  Repertory showings are excluded, because they are obviously the superior option wherever available.  Underlined films are on my catchup list.

IN THEATERS (SF) – “The Untamed”

The Untamed (2017; Dir.: Amat Escalante)

GRADE: C+

By Daniel Barnes

*Opens Friday, August 4, at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.

More dreary provocation from Heli director Escalante, this time an intriguing but no less deadening blend of sexually charged sci-fi and kitchen-sink social drama.  Impressive newcomer Ruth Ramos stars as Alejandra, the flustered and unsatisfied wife to Ángel, a macho scumbag who is secretly sleeping with Alejandra’s gay brother Fabián.  Creeping in from the margins comes Verónica (Simone Bucio), a strangely soothing outsider who worms her way into Fabián’s life, eventually enticing him to a cabin in the woods that houses a strange presence.  When Fabián is found dead, Ángel is accused of the murder, but Alejandra finds herself drawn towards that same strange presence in the woods…with sexy results!  (Not really, it’s super gross.)  The film earns maximum points for sheer “What-the-shit?!”-ness, offering an unholy blend of Cronenberg-ian body horror and domestic misery porn, and yet it all feels unusually empty.  As was the case with Heli, there is a potentially fascinating and wholly original film flickering on the fringes of The Untamed, but Escalante’s navel-gazing sadism still takes center stage.