Juancho Hernangomez as Bo Cruz, Beanie Sigel and Tierra Whack in “Hustle.”
Summer movie season is upon us. Long-delayed blockbusters are finally arriving in megaplexes; meanwhile, streaming services are doing their best to stay relevant as in-person activities resume to levels approaching normalcy. But even as concerts return and travel becomes less risky, there’s few joys quite like sitting in a dark theater with a fantastic film.
This list isn’t necessarily a rundown of this year’s Oscar contenders, but rather a selection of the movies that interested the SFGATE staff enough to write about. From animated films with roots in San Francisco’s Mission District to documentaries on controversial clothing brands, here are our favorite movies that we’ve written about in 2022 so far.
Juancho Hernangomez as Bo Cruz and Adam Sandler as Stanley Sugerman in “Hustle.”
“With ‘Uncut Gems,’ Adam Sandler introduced us to a different version of himself that’s captivating without being goofy. If ‘Uncut Gems’ showed us that Sandler has another speed, ‘Hustle’ on Netflix is Sandler driving comfortably in that gear. His character is Stanley Sugarman, a failed Philadelphia hooper turned NBA scout who finds a prospect with a troubled past on the streets of Spain. Sandler plays it like he’s on the brink of a heart attack the entire time, but despite all the praise I just heaped on him, the best thing about ‘Hustle’ is … wait for it … the basketball.” — Rod Benson, read more
Jade and Nikita Ramsey in “All About Evil.”
“‘All About Evil,’ a movie that was once lost to the public, is back in a big way.
“Filmed in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, the campy horror comedy follows timid librarian Deborah Tennis (Lyonne) on her crusade to save her family’s single-screen theater from redevelopment by churning out a series of low-budget horror movies to drive attendance — even if she has to terrorize the city of San Francisco to make the films happen.” — Amanda Bartlett, read more
The Belcher family, the animated stars of Bob’s Burgers.
Only in theaters
“Thousands of visitors fly into Lake Tahoe every year, but very few arrive in a F/A-18E Super Hornet. That was Tom Cruise’s ride in ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ the blockbuster sequel to the 1986 classic directed by Tony Scott, which shot much of its climax sequence in the South Lake Tahoe area. Filming took place nearly four years ago in December 2018, with pandemic-related delays repeatedly pushing back the movie’s release until May 27.
“The movie used military bases all over the west coast, including North Island in San Diego, Lemoore in Fresno and Kings counties, China Lake in Ridgecrest and Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada, where the real life top gun aviation school is located. Each of those locations offered unique qualities, but none were quite right for the film’s climax.” — Dan Gentile, read more
Only in theaters
“‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ takes the typical beats of a 20-minute-long episode and kicks them up a notch in a musical comedy-meets-murder mystery that asks what would happen if Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts) Belcher were faced with the closure of their restaurant — a fate all too familiar to the industry, especially during the pandemic. But if Gene (Eugene Mirman), Louise (Kristen Schaal) and Tina (Dan Mintz) have anything to say about it, they could save the family burger joint just in time for the summer.
“While the animated series has garnered a cult-like fandom that spans the globe, [‘Bob’s Burgers’ creator Loren] Bouchard said ‘Bob’s Burgers’ has ‘deep San Francisco roots’ — namely in the Mission District, where Bouchard used to live and work, and a neighborhood he never planned on leaving.” — Amanda Bartlett, read more
A deadhead poses in front of Grateful Dead posters at a Haight Ashbury apartment in January 1980 in San Francisco, California.
“Directed by Bay Area filmmaker Lonnie Frazier, ‘Box of Rain’ provides an affectionate, thoughtful view of the world Grateful Dead fans made. With an array of narrators, including well-known authorities such as writer Peter Conners as well as the director and her friends, the film presents a range of perspectives on the ways that fans of the band — nicknamed Deadheads — view their experience with the band, music and scene. The results cast a wide net, commenting on both well-known Deadhead practices like dance, dress and touring, as well as more sub rosa activities, such as drug use.” — Nicholas G. Meriwether, read more
A still from the short film “Mud Water.”
Playing at festivals
“Having premiered at SFFILM last month and screening at the Center for Asian American Media Fest on May 22, ‘Mud Water’ is a 30-minute film that spotlights the unique culture of Oakland turf dancers, while combining elements of surrealism and contemporary choreography. Director My-Linh Le, a 35-year-old with an MFA in dance, drew from both her studies as well as time living in the Bay Area and participating in the dance community. A grant from the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation supplied much of the funding for the film, which looks far sleeker than its $18,000 budget would suggest.” — Dan Gentile, read more
A still promotional image from the Netflix documentary “White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch.”
“The new Netflix documentary ‘White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch’ dissects both the aspirational nature of the brand and pulls back the curtain on the lawsuits and public relations disasters that tarnished its otherwise pristine image. According to the employees, journalists and activists who appear in the film, the overwhelming theme is that discrimination was actually a feature rather than a bug.” — Dan Gentile, read more
Robert Pattinson as Batman in “The Batman.”
“Speaking of reboots, here now is Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman,’ which clocks in at a hefty 170 minutes and stars Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader. If you’re a Batfan — and the Census Bureau tells me you very much are — you’re already waiting in line to see the movie, even though we have Fandango for that kinda s—t now. Perhaps you have questions about ‘The Batman’ or, more likely, you’re a deranged asshat who wants to yell at me for writing about the movie before you’ve even had the chance to see it. I respect your intentions either way, so let’s ditch this already lengthy intro and get down to business.” — Drew Magary, read more
“The Tinder Swindler” chronicles a fraudulent romance scammer.
“The documentary revolves around several European women who share the details of their relationships with Leviev, an Israeli man who claimed to be the son of a diamond mogul. They believed their relationships to be monogamous, but unbeknownst to them, Leviev was juggling multiple relationships at once. His glamorous lifestyle wasn’t necessarily a mirage, he did indeed jetset around Europe spending frivolously on expensive dinners and at bottle service nightclubs. He’d gain each woman’s trust with his generosity, then suddenly claim his business enemies were tracing his transactions and threatening his life. He needed to borrow just a few thousand dollars. Then a few thousand more.” — Dan Gentile, read more
“Marcel The Shell With Shoes On” screened at SFFILM 2022.
In theaters on June 24
“Back in the early aughts, a viral short titled ‘Marcel the Shell With Shoes On’ took YouTube by storm. Directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp, the mockumentary about the life of an anthropomorphized shell won over viewers for its mix of child-like humor, playful stop motion filmmaking and introspective undertones. Marcel’s quivering but confident personality was written and voiced by Jenny Slate, fresh off one season of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and just beginning her run as Mona-Lisa Saperstein on ‘Parks and Recreation.’ To date, the first Marcel short has 32 million views, with the third and final installment of the web series released in 2014.
“Rumors of a TV show never developed, and it seemed like Marcel’s story might have been over. But the beloved shell returns for a full-length feature that screened at the Castro Theater during the SFFILM festival, including an extended interview with Slate onstage before the movie. The movie will be released by A24 in theaters on June 24.” — Dan Gentile, read more
Featuring Rosalie Chiang as the voice of Meilin Lee, “Turning Red” debuted exclusively on Disney Plus on March 11.
“Mei is voiced by 16-year-old Fremont resident Rosalie Chiang, who, in a stroke of coincidence, once gave a presentation about red pandas to her fifth grade class (she notes that they are indeed related to raccoons). Chiang was just beginning her acting journey four years ago when she received an opportunity to try out for the role. ‘I didn’t think anything would come of it,’ Chiang said, speaking to SFGATE a few feet from the pandas at the SF Zoo.” — Dan Gentile, read more
Writer/director Joel Coen and Frances McDormand behind the scenes of “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”
“This is an impeccably made film, if a touch cold. The cinematography is predictably breathtaking, even if at times it feels like you’re watching the world’s most expensive music video. The acting is on point, especially now that [Joel] Coen finally listened to his critics and actually hired nonwhite actors to fill out the playbill (Corey Hawkins, playing Macduff, is excellent). The witches are spookier than your great-aunt’s house. And the violence is, true to Coen form, visceral enough to make you gasp.” — Drew Magary, read more
Adam Kalina, 5, has his arms full of Beanie Babies while shopping with his mother at the Zany Brainy Toy Store in Brentwood, Mo., on Sept. 2, 1999. At the time, Ty, Inc. said it would retire the plush toys at the end of the year, resulting in customers swarming gift shops. This toy store reportedly allowed just 12 Beanie Babies to be purchased per customer.
“The documentary shows adults shoving past one another in crowded gift shops, calling out the names of their desired Beanie Babies as the plastic pellet-filled toys catapult through the air. An eBay reseller who calls herself the Queenie Beanie sells her collection to a man for $20,000 — at least quadruple the original cost. Families besiege a local McDonald’s drive-thru, tossing out their uneaten Happy Meals in favor of the Teeny Beanies inside. A former FBI employee, still entrenched in credit card debt because of her Beanie Baby purchases from decades ago, sings a ‘Beanie Rap.'” — Amanda Bartlett, read more
Jackass Forever star Chris Pontius poses fully clothed at the movie’s premiere. Pontius, a San Luis Obispo native, took an outsider’s route from suburban skate rat, to controversial contributor, to Big Brother magazine, to becoming one of the original Jackass crew.
Only in theaters
“Nothing is quite as magnificent as middle-aged men in tighty whities getting shot out of cannons with angel wings on, and audiences seem to agree. Early returns indicate that it will be the No. 1 box office hit of 2022. The film’s teasers look tantalizingly familiar (exploding musical chairs, strapped into a seat and covered in honey while a bear sniffs around, getting bitten by a venomous snake while remaining silent in mime costumes), but it’s [Chris] Pontius, 47, who maintains he’s playing the hits while still trying to stretch his and his co-stars’ limits.” — Andrew Pridgen, read more
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Nico Madrigal-Yankowski is a food reporter for SFGATE. He is a born and bred San Franciscan. Email him tips at [email protected]
Dan Gentile is the culture editor at SFGATE. He moved to San Francisco from Austin, TX where he worked as a vinyl DJ and freelance writer covering food and music. His writing has been featured in Texas Monthly, American Way, Rolling Stone, Roads & Kingdoms, VICE, Thrillist and more. Email: [email protected]
These are the best movies of 2022 so far – SFGATE
Juancho Hernangomez as Bo Cruz, Beanie Sigel and Tierra Whack in “Hustle.”