san francisco

The Barnesyard’s Sacto/SF Now Playing Power Rankings (Dec. 15-21, 2017)

Click the links to read my reviews.

* = playing in SF Bay Area only

OFFICIALLY BUMPED

*1) The Florida Project
2) Lady Bird
3) Coco
*4) Faces Places
5) Roman J. Israel, Esq.
*6) Call Me by Your Name
*7) Loving Vincent

MIXED-POSITIVE

*8) Jane
9) The Disaster Artist
*10) Thelma
*11) The Shape of Water
12) Star Wars – The Last Jedi
*13) The Breadwinner

MIXED-NEGATIVE

*14) The Square
*15) The Killing of a Sacred Deer
*16) Thank You for Your Service
*17) The Other Side of Hope
*18) God’s Own Country
19) The Man Who Invented Christmas
20) Justice League

OFFICIALLY DUMPED

*21) Novitiate
22) Blade Runner 2049
23) Wonder Wheel
24) Darkest Hour
25) It
26) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
*27) Victoria & Abdul

HAVEN’T SEEN

*Aida’s Secrets
A Bad Moms Christmas
Daddy’s Home 2
Ferdinand
Geostorm
Just Getting Started
The Lego Ninjago Movie
Murder on the Orient Express
*My Friend Dahmer
*Rebels on Pointe
The Star
Thor: Ragnarok
Wonder

These rankings are updated every week 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, as they are obviously the superior option wherever available.  Underlined films are on my catchup list.

The Barnesyard’s Sacto/SF Now Playing Power Rankings (Dec. 8-14, 2017)

Click the links to read my reviews.

* = playing in SF Bay Area only

OFFICIALLY BUMPED

*1) The Florida Project
2) Lady Bird
3) Coco
4) Dunkirk
*5) Faces Places
6) Roman J. Israel, Esq.
7) Last Flag Flying
*8) Loving Vincent

MIXED-POSITIVE

*9) Jane
10) The Disaster Artist
*11) Thelma
*12) The Shape of Water
*13) The Breadwinner

MIXED-NEGATIVE

*14) The Square
*15) The Killing of a Sacred Deer
*16) Marshall
*17) The Other Side of Hope
*18) God’s Own Country
19) The Man Who Invented Christmas
20) Justice League

OFFICIALLY DUMPED

*21) Novitiate
22) Blade Runner 2049
*23) Wonder Wheel
*24) The Foreigner
*25) Darkest Hour
26) It
27) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
*28) Victoria & Abdul

HAVEN’T SEEN

A Bad Moms Christmas
Daddy’s Home 2
Geostorm
Just Getting Started
The Lego Ninjago Movie
Murder on the Orient Express
*My Friend Dahmer
The Star
Thor: Ragnarok
Wonder

These rankings are updated every week 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, as they are obviously the superior option wherever available.  Underlined films are on my catchup list.

The Barnesyard’s Sacto/SF Now Playing Power Rankings (Dec. 1-7, 2017)

Click the links to read my reviews.

* = playing in SF Bay Area only

OFFICIALLY BUMPED

*1) The Florida Project
2) Dunkirk
*3) Faces Places
*4) Detroit
5) Roman J. Israel, Esq.
6) Last Flag Flying
7) Loving Vincent

MIXED-POSITIVE

*8) Jane
*9) The Disaster Artist
*10) Thelma
*11) The Breadwinner
*12) Lucky

MIXED-NEGATIVE

*13) The Square
*14) The Killing of a Sacred Deer
*15) Marshall
16) Justice League
17) The Man Who Invented Christmas
*18) God’s Own Country

OFFICIALLY DUMPED

*19) Novitiate
20) Blade Runner 2049
*21) Battle of the Sexes
22) It
23) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
24) Victoria & Abdul

HAVEN’T SEEN

A Bad Moms Christmas
Coco
Daddy’s Home 2
*Dealt
Geostorm
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Lady Bird
The Lego Ninjago Movie
Murder on the Orient Express
*My Friend Dahmer
*On the Beach at Night Alone
The Star
Thor: Ragnarok
*Tom of Finland
*Una
Wonder

These rankings are updated every week 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, as they are obviously the superior option wherever available.  Underlined films are on my catchup list.

The Barnesyard’s Sacto/SF Now Playing Power Rankings (Nov. 22-30, 2017)

Click the links to read my reviews.

* = playing in SF Bay Area only

OFFICIALLY BUMPED

*1) The Florida Project
*2) LA 92
*3) Faces Places
*4) Whose Streets?
5) Last Flag Flying
6) Loving Vincent
*7) Stronger

MIXED-POSITIVE

*8) Jane
*9) The Divine Order
*10) Chavela
*11) Lucky

MIXED-NEGATIVE

*12) Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
*13) The Square
*14) The Killing of a Sacred Deer
*15) Marshall
16) Justice League
17) The Man Who Invented Christmas
*18) God’s Own Country

OFFICIALLY DUMPED

*19) Novitiate
20) Blade Runner 2049
*21) Battle of the Sexes
*22) Wonderstruck
*23) Tragedy Girls
24) It
25) Victoria & Abdul

HAVEN’T SEEN

A Bad Moms Christmas
*Bill Nye: Science Guy
*Blade of the Immortal
Coco
Daddy’s Home 2
Geostorm
*Jigsaw
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Lady Bird
LBJ
The Lego Ninjago Movie
*Mudbound
Murder on the Orient Express
My Friend Dahmer
Roman Israel, Esq.
The Star
Thor: Ragnarok
Three Billboards…
Wonder

These rankings are updated every week 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, as they are obviously the superior option wherever available.  Underlined films are on my catchup list.

The Year in Barnesyard – 2016 Mid-Year Review

rsz_the-witch-movie-reviewTOP 10 FILMS OF 2016 SO FAR

1) Three

MY TAKE: “A genre-hopping blast, the anonymously named Three works as part solemn morality play and part gonzo white-knuckle thriller, part huge-hearted ensemble dramedy and part pitiless three-hander, with an almost unbearable escalation of tension that explodes into one of the most insane action sequences you’ll ever see.”

2) The Witch

MY TAKE: “Undeniably disturbing and strangely elegant, The Witch creates its horror with such care that the film may be over before you realize it’s a tour-de-force genre classic.”

3) 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

MY TAKE: “I always suspected that the Transformers movies might be kind of great if you just removed Shia LeBeouf and all of the sass-backing robots. Suspicions confirmed.”

4) Love & Friendship

rsz_11maxresdefaultMY TAKE: “There is an almost perfect overlap between the sensibilities of Stillman and Austen, to the point that all of Stillman’s previous New York-based films now feel like reverse-engineered Austen adaptations.”

5) April and the Extraordinary World

MY TAKE: “Pure enjoyment, but then I’ve always been in the bag for humanist sci-fi, lizards wearing robot armor, unusual and meticulous production design, and adventure stories where one of the heroes is a brainy woman and the other is a talking cat.”

6) High-Rise

MY TAKE: “High-Rise slices forward fearlessly, relentless in its narrative thrust and yet overflowing with show-stopping setpieces.  The effect is dazzling, although I should be noted that I’m a sucker for this sort of heavily stylized decadence and decay.”

7) Rams

MY TAKE: “Hákonarson’s last film was a documentary about an Icelandic country priest, and he brings the observational eye of a documentarian to Rams while exuding the quiet confidence of a natural storyteller.”

rsz_love-friendship-600x3738) My Golden Days

MY TAKE: “The details of the story aren’t particularly compelling, but Desplechin’s telling casts a spell that’s curiously thrilling, as the film seems to be constantly reinventing itself as it goes, mutating and evolving like an unpleasant memory.”

9) The Lobster

10) The Measure of a Man

MY TAKE: “Impotent resistance versus soul-sucking compliance in the bloody coliseum of capitalism; human dignity loses either way. ”

10 MORE GOOD ONES

Aferim!

Dheepan

Embrace of the Serpentrsz_johnnie-to-three-2016-zhao-wei-louis-koo

Fireworks Wednesday

The Jungle Book

Mountains May Depart

Neon Bull

Swiss Army Man

10 Cloverfield Lane

Tickled

TOP 10 2016 RELEASES THAT I STILL NEED TO SEE

rsz_960Cemetery of Splendor (GRADE: B+)

De Palma (GRADE: B)

Everybody Wants Some!! (GRADE: B)

Finding Dory (GRADE: B)

Knight of Cups (GRADE: B-)

Krisha (GRADE: A-)

O.J.: Made in America (GRADE: A-)

Only Yesterday (GRADE: A)

Right Now, Wrong Then (GRADE: B+)

Weiner (GRADE: B+)

rsz_hiddleston-xlarge_trans--3hvejul2wvjxejb3jwusshndml-fnbpvlkwcwvkdhwuAWARD-WORTHY PERFORMANCES

Teodor Corban, Aferim!

Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton, A Bigger Splash

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Brothers Grimsby

Antonythasan Jesuthasan, Dheepan

Lea Seydoux, Diary of a Chambermaid

Antonio Bolívar, Embrace of the Serpent

Hedye Tehrani and Hami Farokhnezhad, Fireworks Wednesday

Geoffrey Rush, Gods of Egypt

Channing Tatum and Alden Ehrenreich, Hail, Caesar!

Sally Field, Hello, My Name is Doris

rsz_rams-cannes-film-festival-2Tom Hiddleston and Luke Evans, High-Rise

Tom Hanks, A Hologram for the King

Noah Emmerich, Jane Got a Gun

Ross Partridge and Oona Laurence, Lamb

Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Angeliki Papoulia and John C. Reilly, The Lobster

Kate Beckinsale and Tom Bennett, Love & Friendship

Greta Gerwig, Maggie’s Plan

Kalki Koechlin, Margarita, with a Straw

Catherine Frot, Marguerite

rsz_the-lobsterVincent Lindon, The Measure of a Man

Susan Sarandon and J.K. Simmons, The Meddler

Michael Shannon and Kirsten Dunst, Midnight Special

Zhao Tao and Sylvia Chang, Mountains May Depart

Juliano Cazarré, Neon Bull

Keanu Reeves, The Neon Demon

Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Rams

Christopher Plummer, Remember

Agyness Deyn and Peter Mullan, Sunset Song

Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe, Swiss Army Man

Salma Hayek, Tale of Tales

John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, 10 Cloverfield Lanersz_my-golden-years-cannes-film-festival-4

James Badge Dale and John Krasinski, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Wallace Chung, Wei Zhao and Louis Koo, Three

Woody Harrelson, Triple 9

Pilou Asbaek, A War

Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie and Harvey Scrimshaw, The Witch

RELATED LETTERBOXD LISTS AND LINKS

Top 10 of 2016 Power Rankings

2016 Unranked

2016 Catchup

The Barnesyard’s 2015 Mid-Year Review

Hollywood Before the Code – “Three on a Match” (3/2) and “Safe in Hell” (3/9)

safe_in_hell1Three on a Match (1932; Dir.: Mervyn LeRoy)

GRADE: B

Safe in Hell (1931; Dir.: William Wellman)

GRADE: B+

By Daniel Barnes

*The Hollywood Before the Code series runs every Wednesday night through March 30 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.

Safe in Hell is one of the five films that William Wellman directed in 1931, along with The Public Enemy. Three on a Match is one of the six films that Mervyn LeRoy directed in 1932, along with I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. They worked on breakneck schedules for relatively small salaries. The cameras were heavy and difficult to wield; the lamps were blazing hot; the sound equipment restricted movements. Contract employees were borderline indentured servants, and could get loaned out to other studios at any time. But I’m sorry, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, I interrupted your story…you were telling us about the time that you got cold and had to put on an extra sweater?

The Motion Picture Production Code was adopted in 1930 (it just wasn’t enforced until 1934), so “Hollywood Before the Code” is a somewhat misleading name for this Elliott Lavine-programmed series, which started last Wednesday and runs through March 30 at the world-famous Castro Theatre. Most of the films in the series come from the early 1930s, so they’re not so much “pre-Code” as they are the dying gasps of a cinematic era.

indexBut what dying gasps! Shot and edited with Wellman’s usual violent economy, Safe in Hell follows Gilda (an excellent Dorothy Mackaill), a career girl turned prostitute turned accidental murderess from sultry New Orleans to an even sultrier South Pacific island immune to extradition laws. On this island of the damned, she attracts the attention of the white-suited lawman sadist who runs the place (“So they say my jail is worse than my gallows, eh?”), as well as every male gargoyle and sex addict living there. It’s a film of great faces, but for all of its seedy atmosphere and leering grandeur, it’s really about the limited options of women in a male-dominated world: Gilda can be a wife or she can be a prostitute, end of list.

Mervyn LeRoy’s Three on a Match boasts a much more recognizable cast, with Joan Blondell and Ann Dvorak in the leads and Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart in supporting roles, although the 65-minute runtime indicates it was intended to be program filler. A sweeping epic condensed to an hour, Three on a Match opens in 1919 on the eve of Prohibition, and tracks the swerving fates of bad girl Mary (Blondell) and good girl Vivian (Dvorak) over the next dozen years. It’s soapier and squarer and less atmospheric than Safe in Hell, but it comes with that same level of visual efficiency. A typical LeRoy sequence moves from object to person to environment with brutal fluidity. And holy shit, what an ending!

Three on a Match screens Wednesday, March 2 at 7:45pm, while Safe in Hell plays on March 9 at 6:15pm and 9:30pm. These two directors get paired up by Lavine on March 16, when the Castro will screen two of their best films, Wellman’s Wild Boys of the Road and LeRoy’s I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. I can also highly recommend the March 30 horror triple feature of Island of Lost Souls, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Freaks.