Jason LeRoy

All photos by Conan Neutron

All photos by Conan Neutron

Incendiary guitar goddess Marnie Stern returned to San Francisco on Sunday night in support of her fourth and most accessible LP, the wondrously titled The Chronicles of Marnia. The show, which transpired at the Rickshaw Stop, drew a full house of giddily enthusiastic fans, or at least what passes for “giddily enthusiastic” on a Sunday night in San Francisco. By which I mean we all pretty much stood there stone-faced for three hours. But we were into it! Honest! I think Marnie might actually prefer our notoriously chill style of audience participation; when she noticed that the only overtly expressive dancers in the entire club had positioned themselves directly in front of her, she actually ordered them to go dance in front of her bassist, Nithin Kalvakota. “It’s distracting! And confusing! And it’s making me dizzy!” she protested in that vaguely “It’s Pat” voice of hers. And what the lady wants, the lady gets.

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the_binge_larger

Well guys, the time has come for me to give the world what it so desperately needs: another blog! After much soul-searching, I’ve decided to venture out on my own and start my own pop culture blog. It’s called The Binge, and I’ll be writing about film, music, and television. It’s live now, so you should visit it! And like it on Facebook! And what the hell, follow me on Twitter. If you’d like to continue reading the movie reviews and interviews I’ve been writing for Spinning Platters these last few years, you’ll find them there. Hell, I’ve already started! I may still pop up on this excellent website from time to time, but The Binge will be my home now. I can honestly say that covering film for Spinning Platters has changed my life, and I’m so grateful for having had the opportunity to share my completely unqualified opinions about movies with you. So let’s keep going, shall we?

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Film Review: Safe Haven

by Jason LeRoy on February 14, 2013

Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough frolic in SAFE HAVEN

Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough frolic in SAFE HAVEN

starring: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, David Lyons, Cobie Smulders

screenplay: Leslie Bohem and Dana Stevens

directed by: Lasse Hallström

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving threatening behavior, and for violence and sexuality.

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Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert in BEAUTIFUL CREATURES

Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert in BEAUTIFUL CREATURES

On paper, Beautiful Creatures may look like just another film adaptation of a bestselling YA series about a supernatural romance. Alden Ehrenreich stars as Ethan, a restless high schooler in podunk Gatlin, South Carolina, who yearns to break free from the oppressive small-mindedness and cultural atrophy of his hometown. Ethan is charming enough to seem like a standard-issue popular guy, but in private his tastes lean toward the cerebral (he is a voracious reader of banned books) and he dreams of the day he’ll leave Gatlin for good. Ethan’s thirst for something different is what attracts him to new girl Lena (Alice Englert), the quiet and witchy-looking descendent of one of Gatlin’s most notorious families. Lena is immediately targeted as a dangerous freak by the town’s many gossipy Bible-thumpers, and while Ethan rushes to defend her from their attacks, it turns out that Lena does present a very real threat: she comes from a family of Casters (read: Southern witches), and on her rapidly-approaching 16th birthday, she will be “claimed” for either good or evil – with potentially catastrophic consequences.

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Film Review: Identity Thief

by Jason LeRoy on February 8, 2013

Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman in IDENTITY THIEF

Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman in IDENTITY THIEF

starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Bateman, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau, T.I., Genesis Rodriguez, John Cho, Robert Patrick, Eric Stonestreet

screenplay: Craig Mazin

directed by: Seth Gordon

MPAA: Rated R for sexual content and language

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billy_eichner

Confrontation comic Billy Eichner, the screamingest queen to ever brandish a microphone in a bewildered stranger’s face, curated a comedy showcase called Billy Eichner and Friends at Cobb’s on Saturday night as part of SF Sketchfest 2013.  Eichner has been a rising star on the New York comedy scene for several years, building his uniquely abrasive brand through popular YouTube clips that gradually led to getting his own show, the Funny or Die production Billy on the Street, currently airing its second season on Fuse. The vast majority of the show’s content features Eichner and a cameraman running up to strangers on the streets of New York and screaming at them; sometimes it’s pop culture opinion/trivia, and occasionally it’s something absurdly basic that somehow proves challenging given the intense nature of the situation (he once famously stymied Rachel Dratch by asking her to name 20 white people; a clip he showed on Saturday showed a young woman failing to meet Eichner’s command to “name any woman”). He has become a talk show staple, and is turning into a regular on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, on which his gay-leaning cultural obsessions seem to find the most receptive audience. So given all this, what kind of performance did Eichner have in mind for Sketchfest?

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Spinning Platters Interview: Dave Franco, Analeigh Tipton & Jonathan Levine on Warm Bodies

February 1, 2013

2013 is off to a pleasantly promising start when it comes to genre films. Just a few weeks after the soulfully spooky Mama, we are now treated to Jonathan Levine’s thoroughly delightful adaptation of Isaac Marion’s beloved novel Warm Bodies. A hilariously self-aware and surprisingly sweet reimagining of the overly familiar “love transforms a monster” […]

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Film Review: Mama

January 18, 2013

starring: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Jane Moffat written by: Andrés Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti, Neil Cross directed by: Andrés Muschietti MPAA: Rated PG-13 for violence and terror, some disturbing images and thematic elements

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Film Review: Gangster Squad

January 10, 2013

starring: Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte, Anthony Mackie, Robert Patrick, Michael Peña, Mireille Enos, Giovanni Ribisi screenplay: Will Beall directed by: Ruben Fleischer MPAA: Rated R for strong violence and language

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The Spinning Platters Guide to the Best Films of 2012

January 8, 2013
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-M5Qx57_UU”

It’s list time! 2012 marked my second full year serving as Spinning Platters’ movie editor, and I once again had the kinda-privilege of seeing nearly every theatrical release. But I have to say, and maybe it’s just because I’m already jaded and embittered after only two years of full-fledged film criticism: I was rather disappointed […]

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