After concluding an exciting and celebrity-filled first half, the San Francisco International Film Festival is only getting started as it kicks into high gear for its last few days. Celebrating its 56th anniversary and put on by the San Francisco Film Society, the massive event is currently running through May 9 where it will conclude its run with the Bay Area premiere of Richard Linklater’s “Before Midnight.”

Movie lovers have had plenty of great films to choose from this year and the lineup continues to impress even as the festival winds down. The following is an alphabetical list of my top recommendations if you’re heading out to the festivities. Keep in mind that tickets go fast (purchasing info is below) but even if shows are technically sold out, there’s always a rush line for dedicated fans.

‘Before Midnight’

A movie nine years in the making, this is the continuation of the beloved Before series from director Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Fans have been begging for this follow-up since the last chapter (Before Sunset) hit screens and for the most part, the film doesn’t disappoint. The truthful and witty banter that has sustained two features continues into the third with endless possibilities should the trio continue this journey in another nine years.

‘Before You Know It’

This powerful documentary examines the much neglected topic of aging gay men and how their lives progress under changing surroundings. Conversation with the subjects is frank and the film never manages to be anything short of riveting and eye opening. The world glimpsed in Before You Know It is far from the Hollywood clichés we’re used to seeing when it comes to exploring gay lifestyle onscreen, making this one of the best films of the festival.

‘Prince Avalanche’

David Gordon Green’s return to smaller storytelling is a breath of fresh air, especially since his last few Hollywood spectacles (Your Highness and The Sitter) were anything but memorable. Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch play highway workers in the late 80s whose summer job involves painting centerlines on a long, desolate Texas road. The work is monotonous so to pass the time these two polar opposites attempt to bond, the first of many awkward surprises the film has in store for the duo. The idea of sitting through a movie where two guys paint lines in the road may sound monotonous too but I’ve seen Prince Avalanche twice. The fun and clever journey this film has in store for you is anything but dull.

‘The Spectacular Now’

Lead actor Miles Teller received many justified accolades at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for his breakout performance in this film, playing an alcoholic teenager who gets by on charm without realizing his effect on others. To convincingly play a drunk high school kid is one thing but to also make him sympathetic is something else entirely. It’s a wonderful center to a heartbreaking movie from director James Ponsoldt (Smashed, Off the Black).

‘The Way, Way Back’

Nat Faxon and Jim Rash were last seen at the Oscars winning screenplay awards for The Descendants. In addition to writing, their follow-up also has them stepping behind the director’s chair for a coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of teenage angst and a water park. The ensemble cast includes Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Amanda Peet, Toni Collette and Liam James, who steals the show as our tour guide through this charming story.

Editor’s Note: Read Part 1 of our San Francisco International Film Festival report where we review five other films.

Quiz: What is your pet’s Ilvermorny house?

Why should you be the only one who gets a second wizarding house?

1:00 pm EDT, July 29, 2016

Will your pet be sorted into the same Ilvermorny house as you, or will you have to disown them for joining your rival?

Step aside Hogwarts, there’s a new wizarding school in town (or rather, across the sea)! With a new school comes new houses, and a new sorting test. You might’ve gone through an identity crisis after taking the test for yourself, but you’re not the only one who needs sorting. That furry, scaly, or feathery friend needs to know where they belong too, and we’re here to do just that! Last time we helped you find out what Hogwarts house your pet would be sorted into, so now we’ll help you figure out what Ilvermorny house they belong in.

It’s typical for pets to have similar personalities to their owners, so maybe your pet will end up in the same house as you. But to those who have house rivalries, brace yourselves: It’s also possible your pet will end up in a different house than you, maybe even your rival house! Will you be saying ‘bye bye birdie,’ or do you thrive in competition? That probably depends on your Hogwarts and Ilvermorny house.

Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, or reptile, all pets are welcome at Hypable’s Ilvermorny sorting ceremony! Take the quiz below and let us know where your pet’s loyalties lie, and be sure to take it for each of your pets (unless they’re a squib. Is there an American name for squib?). Don’t want any of them to feel left out!


Now that you know your pet’s Ilvermorny house, maybe you’ll want to decorate their bed with their house crest (shoutout to the Hufflepuffs)! Or maybe you’ll forbid them from entering your room if they’re in a different house (shoutout to the Slytherins)!

Did your pet get the same Ilvermorny house as you?

Forget seeing Luke Cage and Daisy Johnson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to Jeph Loeb, it’s simply too hard to plan.

Although the Marvel movies and TV series ostensibly exist in the same universe, and although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does its best to include Avengers references whenever possible, TV show characters are unlikely to ever show up in the movies.

This despite Chloe Bennet’s continued efforts to remind people that she is, in fact, Marvel’s first on-screen female Asian superhero, and the awesome crossover possibilities the Marvel Netflix series have opened up.

Marvel fans have long been aware of the difficulties of bringing TV characters into the movie ‘verse, but at the 2016 TCAs, Jeph Loeb provided a few more reasons for why it’s practically impossible to coordinate.

“Part of the challenge of doing this sort of thing is that the movies are planned out years in advance of what it is that we are doing,” Loeb says, as quoted by SlashFilm. “Television moves at an incredible speed. The other part of the problem is that when you stop and think about it, if I’m shooting a television series and that’s going to go on over a six-month or eight-month period, how am I going to get Mike [Colter] to be able to go be in a movie? I need Mike to be in a television show.”

In terms of planning out the character arcs, this makes a lot of sense. A Marvel movie might be mapped out years in advance of production, for not to mention release, which means any character scheduled to appear would need to have their stories planned for many seasons in advance. The continuity would certainly be hard to keep track of.

Of course they could still throw in cameos, which fans would probably really appreciate — and crossovers from movies-TV are much more doable, as evidenced by Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander)’s multiple appearances on AoS.

But Marvel is wary of doing that too much, too, because “we never want to be known as an Easter egg farm. It has to work within the story. We never want to do Luke Cage gets into a cab as Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock are getting out of the cab,” Loeb says, referencing The Man From U.N.C.L.E..

However, don’t lose hope yet. “Anything is possible,” says Loeb. “As I often get reported by you folks for saying #ItsAllConnected, our feeling is that the connection isn’t just whether or not somebody is walking into a movie or walking out of a television show. It’s connected in the way that the shows come from the same place, that they are real, that they are grounded.”

Would you like to see Marvel TV and movie characters cross over more?

If Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda weren’t enough to get you excited about Mary Poppins Returns, maybe Meryl Streep’s name on the roster will do the trick.

Mary Poppins Returns is not a remake of the original 1964 classic but rather a sequel to the Julie Andrews-led musical. As such, it stands to reason that we’ll be getting some new characters this time around. One of those characters will be Miranda’s Jack, who will be a street lamplighter.

And, according to Variety, another one of those new characters will also be portrayed by none other than Meryl Streep, who will be taking on the role of Mary Poppins’ cousin, Topsy. And, yes, the legendary actress will be taking on a singing role for the film.

This will also reunite Streep with her Into the Woods co-star Blunt, as well as Director Rob Marshall and Producer Marc Platt. Streep played the Witch in Into the Woods, while Blunt portrayed the Baker’s Wife opposite James Corden.

Disney’s official synopsis for Mary Poppins Returns reads:

Blunt has been cast as Mary Poppins and Miranda will play a new character, a street lamplighter named Jack. Drawing from the wealth of material in P.L. Travers’ seven additional novels, the story will take place in Depression-era London (when the books were originally written) and follows a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, who, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

Mary Poppins Returns and will hit theaters December 25, 2018.

Are you on board with ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ now that Meryl Streep has joined the cast?