All photos by Kelly Hoffer unless otherwise noted.

All photos by Kelly Hoffer unless otherwise noted.

I love a good music festival. Especially one where you can bask in the sun in October. It was another gorgeous day on the island. With even better music than the day before, if you could possibly believe that.

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Film Review: Birdman

by Carrie Kahn on October 24, 2014

What We Talk About When We Talk About Birdman

Riggan (Michael Keaton) is shadowed by his alter ego, BIRDMAN!

Riggan (Michael Keaton) is shadowed by his alter ego, BIRDMAN!

Much of the recent press coverage of writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s new film Birdman has focused on the film’s meta aspects concerning the casting of actor Michael Keaton in the lead role as a former big screen superhero trying to restart his career. Keaton himself famously played Batman in two films over 20 years ago, only to find his star fading as new actors assumed the role. In interviews, Keaton has been asked repeatedly about being cast in a role so close to his own reality, and he has steadfastly distanced himself from speculating on any deeper meaning of the coincidence. I think it’s important, then, to look at the film on its own terms, and not just as some sort of reflection of Keaton’s career arc. And, indeed, the movie is one of the fall season’s best so far – a highly entertaining, wickedly funny, brilliant black comedy.

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All Photos by Kelly Hoffer

All Photos by Kelly Hoffer. She’s got a bunch more on her Flickr page.

Treasure Island Music Festival is always a good time. This year marks what may have been the biggest year ever for the event! Outkast are, arguably, the biggest name to ever play this event. It was also a blissfully sunny weekend, with temperatures staying in the low 70’s with just a subtle breeze throughout the affair. And, despite some of the biggest crowds ever, the event never felt “too crowded.”

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Film Review: Fury

by Chad Liffmann on October 17, 2014

Aptly titled with a gutsy delivery.

The Furious Five

The Furious Five

It’s hard to imagine much originality stemming from any new or forthcoming World War II movies.  This was my thought back in 2009 before Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds was released, offering audiences a completely new vision of the second world war and delivering never-before-seen perspectives with style.  This isn’t to say that that film revitalized the genre, but it kinda did.  The newest World War II tale, Fury, starring Basterds alum Brad Pitt, offers a focus we haven’t seen much of (tank vs. tank battles), but otherwise a lot of the same gruesomeness and gritty warfare and dehumanized soldiers we’ve seen before.  If it weren’t for a lack of strong character development, Fury could have been a war classic.  Fury is a strong entry into the World War II genre, focusing on a much-passed over yet crucial deadly type of war machine (again, tanks), yet still overtly showcasing the horrors and disturbing nature of war.

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Film Review: St. Vincent

by Gordon Elgart on October 17, 2014

Evidently, a movie can be both completely predictable and completely enjoyable at the same time.

Melissa McCarthy sets up Bill Murray for the best line of the entire movie.

Melissa McCarthy sets up Bill Murray for the best line of the entire movie.

Before seeing St. Vincent, the debut feature from Theodore Melfi, I knew very little about it. I knew that Bill Murray plays a cranky old man who lives next door to a single mother, and he develops a relationship with this woman’s young son. That’s it. I knew it was an indie movie, so I predicted to anyone who’d listen that the movie would definitely have a scene featuring an indie rock song punctuating an important uplifting moment. About this, I was wrong. The song by The National, “Start a War,” is used to punctuate an emotionally sad moment. How predictable was the rest of the film, you ask?

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The Best of Me offers the near-worst in its genre.

Eye candy, yes.  Chemistry, no.  James Marsden look-alike, absolutely not.

Eye candy, yes. Chemistry, no. James Marsden look-alike, absolutely not.

Take a close look at the picture above.  Does Mr. Shirtless look anything like a high school version of James Marsden?  If you answered ‘yes’, then this movie is absolutely the movie for you.  If you answered ‘no’, then you’re completely normal and will understand what I say when I say that the part of young Dawson was completely miscast.  This was the biggest failure of The Best of Me, but there were other failures as well, including a overly complicated third act.  Based on the book by Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, A Walk to Remember), The Best of Me is obviously catering to the same audiences that have contributed a whopping ton of money to previous Sparks adaptations.  But this movie fails as an inspiring story and fails to provide compelling characters.  I haven’t read the book so I can’t say for sure whether or not it was the source material’s fault.  But either way, its unpredictability and distractions ruin the chance for emotional connectivity.

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Show Review: Gerard Way at the Fillmore 10/12/14

October 17, 2014

To be honest, I don’t think anything has made me feel older than waiting in line to get into a Gerard Way show, all alone, on a chilly San Francisco night. So many teenage girls with their moms who are closer to my age than they are. All pumped up with teenager energy and hormones. […]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts: 10/16/14-10/22/14

October 16, 2014
www.youtube.com/watch?v=39mUEE3_xS8

Treasure Island Music Festival is coming up this weekend. Which is the best music festival in America. Nonetheless, there are still a bunch of other great shows, too!

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MVFF Spotlights #4: Wild/St. Vincent/After the Fall

October 14, 2014

We’ve got three final spotlights from the 37th Mill Valley Film Festival, which closed Sunday night after ten days of showcasing dozens of fresh and exciting titles. Festival highlights, photos, and videos are available at: http://mvff.com. We’ll see you at the Fest next year! Wild (USA 2014, 120 min) Director Jean-Mark Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) […]

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Aftershock Music Festival – September 13-14, 2014

October 13, 2014

Across the Midwest and Southeast United States, from the last weekend of April through May 31, were seven Monster Energy Drink sponsored rock music festivals dubbed “The World’s Loudest Month”.  Rock on the Range, Carolina Rebellion, Welcome to Rockville, Fort Rock, RockFest, River City Rockfest, and Rocklahoma collectively entertained hundreds of thousands of hard rock […]

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