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David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle

  1. Child's Pose 2014 Netzer crafts not only a chilling story of family dysfunction, but also an illuminating look into the corruption and decay of the Romanian bourgeoisie - without ever overplaying his hand. It all appears so effortless, when in fact it's so skillful. full review
  2. G.B.F. 2014 At first, it appears that "G.B.F." is going to be a gay send-up of "Mean Girls." But this cleverly scripted, crowd-pleasing teen comedy proves to be more than that. full review
  3. After Tiller 2013 What makes this well-edited film compelling are the stories of the patients and the agonizing moral quandaries that the doctors express in doing their work. full review
  4. Berberian Sound Studio 2013 A sometimes interesting, sometimes head-scratching movie that pays homage to the old ways of the sound mixing world and to the "giallo" genre of horror that was prominent in Italy during the 1970s. full review
  5. Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me 2013 "Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me" is no doubt going to please fans of the cult rock band, but the rest of us may feel like outsiders - not put off by the proceedings, really, but somewhat mystified as to what all the fuss is about. full review
  6. Blackfish 2013 It not only delivers astonishing, suspenseful footage that makes it a legitimate thriller, but also serves up thoughtful meditations about using wild animals for our own entertainment. full review
  7. C.O.G. 2013 a dramedy that keeps you guessing where the main character is going (emotionally and physically) as he drifts from one odd situation to the next. full review
  8. God Loves Uganda 2013 Watching this film will leave you with some dispiriting questions about America and its values. full review
  9. Informant 2013 This is a multilayered film that not only exposes a man's contradictions - a do-gooder narcissist; a thoughtful, delusional activist - but also speaks volumes about the fringes on both sides of the political spectrum. full review
  10. Interior. Leather Bar. 2013 "Interior. Leather Bar." is a Rubik's Cube of a movie, an intriguing, layered puzzle that isn't easily solved. full review
  11. The Jeffrey Dahmer Files 2013 Different - and chillingly effective. full review
  12. Laurence Anyways 2013 "Laurence Anyways" is a formidable display of French Canadian director Xavier Dolan's prodigious talents, but also a case study of a young talent still finding his way to greatness.He'll get there one day, soon, but this film doesn't quite do it. full review
  13. Let The Fire Burn 2013 Uses no narrators, talking heads or fancy graphics to tell its devastating story. It doesn't need to. full review
  14. Maniac 2013 The sadistic proceedings here are pointless, and not very scary. full review
  15. Somebody Up There Likes Me 2013 American cinema has been churning out slacker movies for what seems like eons, so it's refreshing to report that Somebody Up There Likes Me enlivens the genre with a welcome breath of imagination, wit and charm. full review
  16. Somm 2013 "Somm," an inside look at wine stewards, attempts to unveil the secrecy of the master sommelier exam, and though the results aren't always vintage, there is some pleasant tasting to be had here. full review
  17. Sweetwater 2013 A revenge-fantasy Western that wants to luxuriate in its B-movie roots but suffers from dull direction and an even duller central performance. full review
  18. White Reindeer 2013 A film about grief and Christmas cheer that reveals a big heart without pulling its darkly comic punches. full review
  19. Alps 2012 A strange story. A strange world. And strange characters doing even stranger things. full review
  20. The Awakening 2012 A lot of tension and buildup leads us to ... well, it's hard to say. full review
  21. Beware Of Mr. Baker 2012 This is warts and all, with the emphasis on the warts. full review
  22. Detropia 2012 Artfully - perhaps too artfully - illustrates the transformation of the Motor City from a middle-class utopia to an urban nightmare of blight, crime and fleeing residents. full review
  23. North Sea Texas 2012 It's a story that's been told countless times, but first-time director Bavo Defurne has such an assured hand and visual flair (much credit also belongs to cinematographer Anton Mertens) that everything seems fresh and new. full review
  24. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 2011 It is mostly impressionistic - but, wow, some of those impressions really pack a punch. full review
  25. Crime After Crime 2011 This emotionally affecting documentary will move you like few films this year, thanks to a luminous heroine and an unlikely but appealing trio who work tirelessly to release her from prison. full review
  26. Forks Over Knives 2011 A must-see movie that could have used a sharper edge. full review
  27. Gun Hill Road 2011 In writer-director Rashaad Ernesto Green's assured hands, "Gun Hill Road" manages somehow to be gritty, delicate, in your face and nuanced at the same time. full review
  28. Keep the Lights On 2011 A harsh yet delicate tale of two New Yorkers whose co-dependent relationship is fueled by sex, drugs and complex longings for companionship. full review
  29. City of Life and Death 2010 Lu Chuan makes this feature film soar by telling the story both through the eyes of the Japanese occupiers and the defenseless Chinese civilians in the ancient capital. It makes the savagery all the more senseless. full review
  30. Cairo Time 2009 Confirms two things that hardly need confirming: The Egyptian capital is a breathtaking metropolis, and Patricia Clarkson is one of the best actors in the world. full review
  31. Nightmares in Red, White and Blue 2009 full review
  32. The Oxford Murders 2008 This purported whodunit thriller never solves its main mystery: How and why did this film get made in the first place? full review
  33. /titles/197215 The namesake of the wacky, yet substantial documentary "Cane Toads: The Conquest" is not a creature to be taken lightly, even if the film (and the audience) has plenty of fun at his expense. full review
  34. /titles/197089 As you watch the film, you'll be amazed how the world of the Internet turns the recent into the ancient: In a matter of only a few years, a world-changing digital event like Napster has become so last century. full review
  35. /titles/197607 It's hard to go wrong with a movie about famed drag queen Divine, and director Jeffrey Schwarz certainly doesn't in "I Am Divine," a serious documentary about this gloriously trashy trailblazer. full review
  36. /titles/197222 Perhaps most surprising, even the festival footage is ho-hum. We feel a distance, instead of being flies on the wall. (Or should we say, on the desert floor?) full review
  37. /titles/197412 This is a creative, ambitious project that delivers, thanks in no small part to a director who knows about dance - and to a cast that can both dance and act. full review

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