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SF International Film Festival Leaves....Or Does It?

"Fed Up," dubbed "F U," opens Friday.
"Fed Up," dubbed "F U," opens Friday.

The San Francisco International Film Festival comes to a close today and it will end on a high note: “Alex of Venice” has done very well and played to rave reviews at other film festivals.

Chris Messina (right) takes a stab at directing with "Alex of Venice."

“Alex,” which screens tonight at 7pm at the Castro Theatre, is the story of an attorney who seems to reach her breaking point since her husband has walked out, she’s ignoring her son and coping with her aging actor father, in what I hear is an award worthy performance from Don Johnson.

Chris Messina, who has had solid work as in actor in “Julie & Julia,” “Vicky Christina Barcelona” and the other festival film “Palo Alto,” (not to mention TV’s “The Mindy Project) seems to be Ben Afflecting it as he’s turned his attention on directing and, from the buzz, has made an impressive debut with “Alex.”

The festival leaves having left its mark with several memorable titles. Not only the GLBT movies mentioned before (see link to article below) but other titles to seek out, which are actually coming soon.

Belle,” which opens Friday, is inspired by an 18th century painting and tells of a family’s adoption of a black girl and who she becomes part of their family, even though society wants to cast her aside. While it features an all star cast of Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson and Emily Watson, early reviews rave that Gugu Mbatha-Raw gives a performance not to miss.

"Fed Up" also opens up Friday and is a documentary that blows the lead off of the food industry and the obstacles they throw in people's way for a healthier lifestyle.

Young & Beautiful” also opens Friday and is a portrait of a 17-year-old girl in four seasons and four songs. Famed writer/director François Ozon has a deserved reputation for calling forth strong female performances. His newest film showcases a terrific performance by stunning newcomer Marine Vacth as Isabelle, a teenager exploring her emerging sexuality, sizzling with youthful rebelliousness and mature seductiveness

The Double,” seems like a cousin to Charlie Kaufman’s “Adaptation,” with Jesse Eisenberg playing an ordinary man who seems to be considered extraordinary when someone who looks just like him (also Eisenberg) gets involved in his hum drum life, making a success of what the boring Eisenberg failed at. The film opens in the Bay Area Friday, May 16.

Also opening May 16 is “Palo Alto,” definitely a film of second generation Hollywood with Gia Coppola (yes from that family) making her directorial debut and starring Emma Roberts (Julia’s niece and Eric’s daughter). “Palo Alto” focuses on Roberts teen dilemma: pursuit the teacher she’s crushing on or direct her attention to the sweet stoner at school.

While focusing on movies coming out soon, it’s hard not to mention “Ping Pong Summer,” which comes out June 6. It’s a quirky, odd, throwback comedy that involves a family’s vacation and features the always wonderful Susan Sarandon.

Most of the movies opening soon can be seen at

To review the entire film festival and to get tickets for tonight’s film (and even the after party) go to

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