Films

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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Film Review: Fist Fight

by Carrie Kahn on February 17, 2017

Run, don’t walk, away from this fight

Mr. Campbell (Charlie Day) and Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube) moments before they get into a… wait for it… fist fight.

I’m going to try and keep this review short, since you, gentle Spinning Platters readers, deserve better than even to have to read about this painfully awful, joyless, and unfunny new “film.” And I use that term loosely. Suffice to say I sat through 90 minutes of the most mean-spirited, petty, and demoralizing material ever presented as comedy on screen just to bring you this warning: Do. Not. Go. See. This. Movie. It hurts me to even say its title, but in the spirit of educating you so you know what to avoid, the picture in question is called Fist Fight; if you see it on your local theater marquee, now you know to instead choose to see literally anything else that’s playing.
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Film Review: The Great Wall

by Chad Liffmann on February 17, 2017

White male hero leads dumpster fire movie to a forgettable fate.

Do we LOOK like we’re having fun?

I chose the above picture for very specific reasons. I could’ve chosen a more beautiful shot of a heroic looking Matt Damon atop The Great Wall of China. But no, I preferred this one for the way it captures the feeling one has while watching The Great Wall — the feeling of trudging through the sewer, acting unfazed while knowing deep down that the journey will result in nothing but a sh*tty mess. If you were considering watching The Great Wall as a fun activity this weekend (or at some point), let me save you the two hours you’d never get back. First, The Great Wall is offensive for its white savior narrative. Second, it’s poorly shot and edited. And third, it features cartoonish special effects and thus can’t even manage to string together two minutes of respectable cinema without an embarrassing element restarting the clock.

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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 and those to avoid. Enjoy, and we’ll hope to see you in Park City next year!

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Fifty Shades Darker: A movie for people who like their boyfriends to be creepy stalkers

Another scene where Christian Grey is creepy as fuck.

I’m not crazy; I think you already know if you want to watch Fifty Shades Darker, and I would be surprised if anything I could say would change your mind. However, I’m sure there are some people who are just curious about exactly how disgusting of a commentary it is on our current sad culture, and I’m happy to satisfy your curiosity on that point. [read the whole post]

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John Wick proves once again that style can be substantive

Baba Yaga is coming!

In 2014, John Wick combined a Taken-esque simplistic revenge tale with the unrelenting action of Korean and Indonesian action films like The Raid and doused it in stylized modernity. Directed by first-timer Chad Stahelski, who was the stunt coordinator and choreographer for dozens of action titles including multiple Keanu Reeves films like The Matrix trilogy, the film was highly regarded for its action sequences and instantly iconic central protagonist — a solemn hitman with an uncanny ability to kill. John Wick: Chapter Two continues mere hours after the first story left off, if not a day, and it maintains the same action sensibilities of the first film, including the knack for avoiding action cliches like checking bullet proof vests in the middle of gun fights and disregarding armed baddies after “offing” them with a single punch or non-fatal shot. The sequel also expands upon the original’s soft intro to an alternate world in which a secret society of assassins exists, with assassin currency and assassin leadership. This element may be exciting to some and a bit boring to others who prefer the franchise’s most prominent strength—lavishly choreographed action sequences. And still, John Wick: Chapter Two is a stellar sequel that packs a slick punch, in which carefully staged gun fights transcend violent skirmishes to become blood-splattered works of escapist art scored by cool electronic thumps.

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Film Review: The LEGO Batman Movie

February 9, 2017
www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGQUKzSDhrg

BLAP! ZLOTT! KAPOW! LEGO Batman punches its way to be one of the most entertaining DC movies yet Fresh off the disappointing start to the expanded DC cinematic universe with Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, in swings The LEGO Batman Movie, a refreshingly funny meta action flick. Will Arnett reprises his vocal role as the caped crusader, his second feature film […]

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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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Show Review: Silence! The Musical

February 5, 2017
www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP6RI7jDF8M

A biting, hilariously crude musical parody. I don’t believe there’d be many folks who’d argue that Silence of the Lambs isn’t ripe for parody. The distinct characters, the famous lines, the bone-chilling seriousness of it all — all primed for spoofing. The good news is that the feat has been accomplished in a fun, shockingly crude way […]

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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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