Features

(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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Exciting evening of noise and rhythm in a new addition to Oakland’s vibrant live music scene

Daveed Diggs of Clipping.

Daveed Diggs of clipping.

It’s hard to find a more jarring juxtaposition of talents and roles than those that Oakland-born hip-hop star Daveed Diggs has possessed as of late. After half a decade building a steady underground following as the MC of noise trio clipping., he became a household name after taking on the role of Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in the original production (and first Broadway run) of the massive hit musical Hamilton. Finishing his theatrical run in mid-2016, Diggs hurtled right back into his work with the experimental outfit, knocking out two releases in the latter half of the year and continuing a heavy schedule of touring. The group’s Noise Pop gig at Oakland’s young-but-blossoming Starline Social Club was one of the first in the festival to sell out, and even with three openers on the bill and a long, rainy night to greet them at the end of it, rabid fans of the three-piece packed the walls of the bright ballroom and celebrated the return of their heroes, in the hometown of the man at their helm.

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Engaging new doc brings us back to rock criticism’s glory days

Last Sunday night, thanks to co-presenters Noise Pop and KQED, a crowd of music aficionados at the Swedish American Hall was treated to a viewing of writer/director Raul Sandelin’s documentary Ticket to Write: The Golden Age of Rock Music Journalism, followed by an engaging Q&A with rock critics Robert Duncan (Creem) and Joel Selvin (San Francisco Chronicle). Sandelin’s film had been making the festival rounds, but has just become available on Amazon Prime, which should please ardent rock history fans everywhere.
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Film critics Carrie and Chad on who will – and who should – win the 89th Academy Awards

The 89th Academy Awards air this Sunday, February 26th on ABC at 5:30pm PST (tune in an hour or so earlier if you want to see any of the red carpet glitz). Once again, Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann share their annual predictions – and hopes – for the major categories. Follow along and see how we – and you – do on the big night!
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Noise Pop 2017 is upon us. For eleven straight days, we will be enjoying the finest in film and music that the scene has to offer. There is literally too much to do, and there is no way you can be everywhere at once, so here is a quick guide to the best of the fest. Of course, you may disagree with my choices, and if so, there’s the full schedule to choose from.

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Film Feature: 2017 Sundance Film Festival Spotlights #3

February 12, 2017

With this final spotlights post, we bring our coverage of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to a close (you can read the previous posts here and here). We conclude by taking a look at six more feature films, once again using our world famous Sundance Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide to discern those films to seek out […]

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Film Feature: 2017 Sundance Film Festival Spotlights #2

February 8, 2017

Our coverage of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival continues with this look at five documentaries that premiered at the Fest a few weeks ago. Many of these may receive distribution or television deals (if they haven’t already; see our notes below), so you can know what to watch for in the coming year with these handy […]

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Black History Month Artist Series: Miles Davis

February 5, 2017

In celebration of Black History Month, we are running a series of short articles featuring influential black musicians.    His raspy voice, his intense and mercurial personality, and possibly, his personal tumult – all of these made Miles Davis “The Prince of Darkness” in the jazz scene.  Davis had enormous influence on the world of […]

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Film Feature: 2017 Sundance Film Festival Spotlights #1

February 4, 2017

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival ended last Saturday evening after ten days of showcasing over 200 films from around the globe; you can see all the winners here. For the third year in a row, Spinning Platters was on the (snow-covered) ground trying to take in as many movies as our limited time and budget would […]

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