Chad Liffmann

A lovely night with Williams’s score, Ford’s performance, iconic scenes… there are no bad dates here!

Face melting, Nazi punching fun!

Raiders of the Lost Ark is the quintessential action-adventure film. One could confidently claim that it is the greatest action-adventure film of all time! There is nothing about Steven Spielberg’s 1981 classic that isn’t famous — the giant boulder, the snakes, the hat & whip, every single line of dialogue, Marion’s alcohol tolerance, the airfield fist fight, the melting faces, poisoned dates, and so on. Yet, one component of the film is arguably more iconic than all the rest: John Williams’s score. The awe-inspiring, galloping main theme that nearly all humans can identify is a benchmark against which all other adventure film music is compared, and it is the basis for which this amazing night at the San Francisco Symphony exists!

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(Films #31-#40 of Chad’s goal of seeing 60 films to commemorate SF Film Festival’s 60th anniversary! #60for60th)

The 60th SFFILM Festival is HALFWAY through! Be sure to get your tickets now — visit http://www.sffilm.org/festival for tickets and info. Also, be sure to check back here frequently, or follow along at our Facebook page and on Twitter (or follow film critics Carrie Kahn- @CKCinephile / Chad Liffmann- @chadcarsten). And now, time for 10 more spotlights:

The Paris Opera
(France/Switzerland 2017, 110 min; French/English with English subtitles)

A scene from THE PARIS OPERA, screening at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5-19, 2017.

This documentary is fascinating! The Paris Opera takes audiences behind the scenes of the legendary Palais Garnier and the newer Opéra Bastille, both in Paris. We meet a few veterans and some new members of the venues’ onstage talent for their show season, as well as some of the organizational heads. Director Jean-Stéphane Bron keeps the film tight and fluid, ensuring the excess fat is cut and leaving only the most interesting aspects of the run-of-show. To be honest, even the presumably mundane operations are more engaging than I’d imagine. From auditions and prop-finding to administrative tasks and marketing, this charming inside look is entertaining for fans of ballet, opera, and fans of interesting subject matters in general! 

No more screenings at SFFILM Festival.

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(Films #21-#30 of Chad’s goal of seeing 60 films to commemorate SF Film Festival’s 60th anniversary! #60for60th)

The 60th SFFILM Festival is in full swing! Be sure to get your tickets now — visit http://www.sffilm.org/festival for tickets and info. Also, be sure to check back here frequently, or follow along at our Facebook page and on Twitter (or follow film critics Carrie Kahn- @CKCinephile / Chad Liffmann- @chadcarsten). And now, time for 10 more spotlights:

Bending the Arc
(USA 2017, 102 min; in English, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Kinyarwanda with English subtitles)

A scene from BENDING THE ARC, playing at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5-19, 2017.

This incredible documentary follows the origination and long-lasting impact of a few medical students (Paul Farmer, Ophelia Dahl, Jim Yong Kim) who cared so deeply for universal health care that they were willing to take the emotional, financial, and life-threatening plunge into war torn and disease stricken countries to defend and advance it. Bending the Arc can be both infuriating and inspiring as it brings to light some of the most wonderful humanitarian efforts that challenge the systemic greed and social inequality that has greatly influenced the health of the world for far too long.

Screenings:
(click here for tickets)

  • Friday, April 14th, 5:00 pm, Castro Theatre

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A chat with the singer/songwriter the week of her debut album release!

If you were a frequent client of Green Apple Books in the Inner Richmond, and especially if you attended their live music series, then perhaps you’re already familiar with singer/songwriter Ronnie Carrier. Though she moved to Portland last year, her guitar twangin’, foot stompin’ music, filled with literary depths, can now flood your home/phone/computer speakers via her full-length album debut, Lost In The Eclectic, which comes out Friday, April 7th (with an upcoming SF show on 4/14). I had the fantastic opportunity to ask her a few questions after listening to the new album:

First of all, it’s so great to see (and hear) your first full length album, “Lost In The Eclectic”, come to fruition. How do you feel now that it’s completed?

Thank you! The first word that comes to mind is “relieved”, but also there’s a side of nervous excitement. I’m very proud of this album – now that I’m presenting it, I get to find out how the story translates to the people who listen to my music. I’m excited to hear what listeners get out of this, and I hope it is something worthwhile.

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(Films #11-#20 of Chad’s goal of seeing 60 films to commemorate SF Film Festival’s 60th anniversary! #60for60th)

Our preview coverage of the 60th SFFILM Festival continues! Be sure to get your tickets now — visit http://www.sffilm.org/festival for tickets and info. Also, be sure to check back here frequently, or follow along at our Facebook page and on Twitter (or follow film critics Carrie Kahn- @CKCinephile / Chad Liffmann- @chadcarsten). And now, time for 10 more spotlights:

Heaven Sent
(France/Lebanon 2016, 70 min; in Lebanese with English subtitles)

A scene from HEAVEN SENT, playing at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5-19, 2017.

Uproariously absurd and twistedly entertaining, Heaven Sent is a rewarding dark comedy from the Middle East. It features a tight script and talented actors with superb comedic timing. The story revolves around a celebrity’s bodyguard, Omar, whose life is turned upside down when his presumed dead soldier brother returns out-of-the-blue. Even with some political jabs, director Wissam Charaf still invites the audience to laugh with solid slapstick and visual gags. Much of the film’s biting satire stems from the audience’s pre-existing knowledge of the ongoing war in the Middle East, and thus to contrast that knowledge with the hilariously trivial annoyances of Omar’s life become more and more comedically pronounced as the film unfolds. Definitely see Heaven Sent with a full house, since laughter is infectious!

Screenings:
(click here for tickets)

  • Thursday, April 13th, 9:00 pm, YBCA Screening Room
  • Friday, April 14th, 6:00 pm, Alamo Drafthouse
  • Tuesday, April 18th, 6:30 pm, Alamo Drafthouse

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(Films #1-#10 of Chad’s goal of seeing 60 films to commemorate SF Film Festival’s 60th anniversary! #60for60th)

The SF Film Festival is back and celebrating its 60th year! It’ll be taking place at venues in San Francisco and the East Bay from April 5-19. Once again, Spinning Platters is thrilled to provide you extensive coverage of the films, special events, and award ceremonies. Check back here frequently, or follow along at our Facebook page and on Twitter (or follow film critics Carrie Kahn- @CKCinephile / Chad Liffmann- @chadcarsten). Without further ado, let’s take a look at ten titles:

A Date for Mad Mary
(Ireland 2016, 82 min; in English)

Tara Lee and Seána Kerslake in Darren Thornton’s A DATE FOR MAD MARY, playing at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5 – April 19, 2017.

I loved A Date for Mad Mary! It’s a funny, heartfelt, coming-of-age comedy filled with real characters and even realer interactions. Adapted from a stage play, the script by Darren Thornton and his brother Colin is clever and well-balanced, dealing with serious subject matters (bullying, prison, sexual identity) while also poking fun at classic comedy targets like dating, weddings, and sex. Throughout the story, complex emotions are expressed in subtle and delightfully informal ways. The cast is a powerhouse of strong Irish actresses, led by Seána Kerslake in a star making turn as the ostracized Mary. Bring a date to see A Date for Mad Mary, since it’s destined to be the feel-good sleeper hit of the year.

Screenings:
(click here for tickets)

  • Sunday, April 9th, 6:00 pm, BAMPFA
  • Saturday, April 15th, 7:00 pm, Alamo Drafthouse

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Film Review: Beauty and the Beast

March 17, 2017
www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvW_L8sTu5E

Still magical. Yet, there’s something there that wasn’t there before, and that something is meh. If you’ve seen the 1991 Disney animated classic Beauty and the Beast as much as I have, you’re probably just as nervously excited for the live-action version as I was. The 1991 film was the first animated feature to ever be […]

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Film Review: Kong: Skull Island

March 10, 2017
www.youtube.com/watch?v=44LdLqgOpjo

Kong delivers without monkeying around. I’ll admit that I was more than skeptical when Kong: Skull Island was first announced. A new King Kong movie, really? Peter Jackson’s 2005 version still felt fresh in my mind, perhaps because it’s been playing on TV so often. But Kong: Skull Island was supposedly a different type of Kong movie. It […]

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Film Review: Logan

March 3, 2017
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Div0iP65aZo

Dark and gritty and a proper sendoff for Jackman and Stewart. Logan will be Hugh Jackman’s ninth (and final) appearance as the comic hero, Wolverine. Nine. Films. <<pause for effect>> In. Seventeen. Years. That’s two more movies than either Sean Connery or Roger Moore played James Bond. That’s two more than there are live action Star Wars movies, and one […]

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Film Review: My Life as a Zucchini (Ma vie de Courgette)

February 24, 2017
www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nRwYWVxjRU

A perfectly crafted, poignant charmer. My Life as a Zucchini is one of the most wonderful films of the year, which has resulted in its much deserved Oscar nomination this year for Best Animated Film. Zucchini is a stop motion animated feature from France and Switzerland about a nine year-old boy, Courgette (which is French for zucchini), who loses his mother […]

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