Coming to This Year’s 58th SF Intl Film Festival: “T-Rex”, “Sunday Ball” and “Democrats”

(Directed by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper)

T_Rex_02five-starsCondolences to Rocky, Raging Bull, Million Dollar Baby, When We Were Kings, or whatever other boxing movie people consider top dog, because at the risk of sounding hyperbolic I’d be doing myself a great injustice were I not to enthusiastically declare T-rex as the best damn boxing movie, as well as the quintessential American movie of the entire 21st century, and perhaps even the 19th as well. Yes, it’s that good!

The movie is an intimate year-in-the-life portrait of 17-year-old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields and her struggles inside the ring and out. What sets this movie apart from anyone else attempting to elevate the sports drama genre is the masterful ability of the filmmakers to reveal so many facets surrounding Claressa in such a seamless and non-saturated fashion. An impressive feat for sure, and one that warrants the label of “epic” as well.

Showtimes for T-Rex:
Saturday, May 2nd – 7:00pm (Sundance Kabuki Cinemas)
Monday, May 4th – 6:30pm (Landmark’s Clay Theatre)
Thursday, May 7th – 6:30pm (Pacific Film Archive – Berkeley)

Hit the jump to read reviews on Sunday Ball and Democrats

“Sunday Ball”
(Directed by Eryk Rocha)

four-stars4The sport – football (AKA soccer).
The teams – players from two dueling favelas (Brazilian slums).
The stakes – the league’s championship trophy.
The execution – Well let’s just say this is a movie for anyone who has ever watched a sporting event and wished it were drastically more cinematic.

Those of you looking for an unavoidably immersive viewing experience void of any commentators, talking heads, or voiceovers, and one that is choc full of interesting auteurish flourishes reminiscent of trademarks associated with the works of Jean-Luc Godard, Terrence Malick, Lars von Trier, and even Fernando Meirelles, you’ll surely get a kick out of this one. (Try as I may, I just couldn’t resist the soccer pun)

Showtimes for Sunday Ball:
Sunday, May 3rd – 6:30pm (Sundance Kabuki Cinemas)
Tuesday, May 5th – 6:30pm (Pacific Film Archive – Berkeley)
Thursday, May 7th – 8:30pm (Sundance Kabuki Cinemas)

(Directed by Camilla Nielsson)

Democrats_01four-stars4As fortunate as I am to be treated to a comprehensive three-year-in-the-making account of something as monumental as the drafting of one country’s constitution – in this case, Zimbabwe’s – I find myself even more fortunate to have it presented to me as if I were watching a great piece of procedural fiction. With this documentary I was able to experience the same pleasures that I got after having first seen such dramatic and suspenseful procedure themed masterworks as Kurosawa‘s High and Low, Mann‘s The Insider, and Fincher‘s Zodiac.

Go ahead, watch this movie then tell me politics are boring. Just imagine watching a very well edited documentary about the drafting of The United States’ constitution as it was actually happening with no talking heads, or archival footage overlayed with narration. I’m talking about a realtime account of events here. Perhaps John Hancock gets up and storms out of the room after a shouting match with Benjamin Franklin, or crowds of people discouraged in how the draft is coming along threaten to kill Thomas Jefferson. Now I ask you, does that sound like boring documentary stuff to you? Well, neither is this.

Showtimes for Democrats:
Saturday, May 2nd – 3:15pm (Pacific Film Archive – Berkeley)
Monday, May 4th – 6:30pm (Sundance Kabuki Cinemas)
Wednesday, May 6th – 9:30pm(Landmark’s Clay Theatre)


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Categories: Reviews, San Francisco International Film Festival

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