Pegg’s performance is high point of mostly unoriginal travel tale

Hector (Simon Pegg) tries to find happiness in China... will he succeed!?

Hector (Simon Pegg) tries to find happiness in China… will he succeed!?

Hector and the Search for Happiness is a curious movie. Based on the trailer alone, you might think you’re in for a lighthearted, feel-good, seize-the-day picture, wherein the lead character Learns and Grows by ditching his staid life in search of adventure, à la Eat, Pray, Love or last year’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. But the surprising thing about director Peter Chelsom’s film, based on a popular French novel by François Lelord, is that while it certainly contains its fair share of clichés and groan-inducing scenes, it is both darker and more sensitive than you might expect. [read the whole post]

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Film Review: Tracks

by Chad Liffmann on September 26, 2014

Life is a journey– make sure you have enough camels.

Mia Wasikowska and camels in John Curran's Tracks.

Mia Wasikowska and camels in John Curran’s Tracks.

Tracks is based on the true story and National Geographic article (and subsequent memoir) of Robyn Davidson, the Australian woman who made a nine month journey on foot across the Australian desert in 1977 — a distance of about 1700 miles.  Throughout her journey, accompanied only by four load-carrying camels and her dog, but occasionally visited by photographer Rick Smolan and aided by a few indigenous folks and country residents, Robyn wrestles with the pressure to remove herself from civilization while fighting to complete her epic journey.  The film is a fantastic re-enactment of Robyn’s story.  The acting, editing, stunning cinematography, music, and all other aspects of the film work harmoniously to deliver a remarkable tale of individual strength and determination, and about humankind’s companionship with nature.

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Playing The Indy on Wednesday

Playing The Indy on Wednesday

This week is a pretty epic week if you are in the mood for some classic rock. Or new music. Or just like being alive. [read the whole post]

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Jeff Zamaria

Photo by Caity Quinn

 

Jeff Zamaria seems chipper in the face of increasing pressure. My computer is glitching from a hastily assembled Facebook video chat, but I’m sure he’s friendly as ever (if not a bit distracted). As crazy as it seems, and under the most creative-license laymen’s terms possible, Zamaria is the new “Mr. Comedy” of San Francisco—there’s always a new one—and it’s kicking his ass. His free time has evaporated and he’s answering “every e-mail”. Previously working on a food truck, and even more previously working at Punch Line San Francisco, has led him to organizing comedy at Doc’s Lab, an entertainment venue below restaurant Doc Rickett’s, which open last week. Its calendar is chocked with comedy nerd credibility: national headliners, stacked weekly showcases, chummy open mics, all costing less than $20 and having no two-drink minimum (i.e. an incredible deal). And yes, it used to be the legendary Purple Onion. [read the whole post]

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All Photos by Michelle Viray

All Photos by Michelle Viray

A few songs into Beck’s opening night performance at the remodeled SF Masonic, he asked the crowd “How does it sound out there? Does it sound good?” A resounding chorus of yes and yes equivalents was heard back. Yes, the SF Masonic sounds good.  It also looks good. Was the first show a promise of many glorious nights to come?
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This family puts the fun in ‘dysfunction’

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Sister and brother Wendy and Judd (Tina Fey and Jason Bateman) take a time-out together.

Director Shawn Levy, whose previous efforts include the funny but lightweight Night at the Museum and the mediocre Google commercial (er, film) The Internship might not seem like an obvious choice to bring Jonathan Tropper’s more literary serio-comic novel This is Where I Leave You to the big screen. But Levy has the good fortune to be working with a screenplay written by Tropper himself, as well as an extraordinary cast of both up and coming and tried and true talent. This collaboration has yielded one of the year’s most highly enjoyable pictures. [read the whole post]

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Film Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones

September 19, 2014
www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6Ttj9tXzCA

(see Liam Neeson threaten more people!) A Walk Among the Tombstones isn’t the first time I’ve had the chance to observe, critique, and celebrate Liam Neeson’s second life in cinema as an action star (see Non-Stop).  It won’t be the last, either (see Taken 3).  It doesn’t matter which film the imposing Irish actor stars in […]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts: 9/18/14-9/24/14

September 18, 2014

90’s Pop goodness, a remodeled theater and no less than three chances to see The Airborne Toxic Event. All this and more in a week of music in the Bay Area

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Album Review: Ty Segall – Manipulator

September 17, 2014

Rating: Silver It’s been two weeks but the drug rug of “Manipulator” is still a hidden metaphor. Deeper and denser, though rarely as listenable as before, Segall deflects his past while finding solace in the past. “Tall Man Skinny Lady” is as much T. Rex as it is T. Segall: falsetto hooks and acoustic guitars […]

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Film Review: God Help the Girl

September 12, 2014
www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zYFJHaZO_Y

Beautifully executed music videos wrapped inside of a disastrous framing device makes this a good film to watch on fast forward. Fans of Belle & Sebastian, such as myself, have been hearing about Stuart Murdoch’s film project, God Help the Girl, for several years. From a giant online competition to find female singers to sing […]

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