This movie goes for Big Dumb Fun, and is certainly big and dumb

             Sir Anthony Hopkins about to chew some scenery in Transformers: The Last Knight

A few years back, I wrote a “live blog” of Transformers 4: I Can’t Remember the Subtitle, the first in the Michael Bay x Hasbro series of films to star Mark Wahlberg. It was a pretty silly movie, but looked amazing in IMAX 3-D, as many scenes were shot natively with IMAX 3-D cameras. This time around, nearly every shot in the final film comes from IMAX 3-D cameras, so of course I had to head out to the theater to provide another Transformers live blog!

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Several different movies, crashing together; in other words, it’s a multi-car pile-up

                                    The Book of Henry is not a Wes Anderson movie.

What if veteran comic book writer Gregg Hurwitz wrote a superhero origin story about a single mom, combined it with a treacly family drama about a cancer-stricken kid, and crossed that with a darkly comedic satire about cinematic depictions of gifted children? Well, you don’t have to guess what if, because this movie is playing in movie theaters now, although I’m guessing not for long. It may, however, play forever in the rotation of classic film fiascos. 

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Film Review: Cars 3

by Chris Piper on June 16, 2017

Horsepower and happy endings

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), center, tries to run down past glory, with Storm Jackson (Armie Hammer), left, and Cruz Ramirez, right (Cristela Alonzo).

Oh how quickly the young become old, the strong become weak, and the fresh, young, star becomes the stale, old, has-been. In the age of computer-generated animated features, oh how long ten years can be.

Sadly, Cars 3 proves this old axiom, as it leans heavily on the achievements of the first two films, and mostly settles on telling a very basic story in a fairly predictable way. Cars “purists” (wherever they are) will no doubt be satisfied, but the rest of us will leave the theater nostalgic for the spectacular achievements of Pixar’s earlier efforts.

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It’s hard to keep ya head up when you have ambitions az a ridah

Demetrius Shipp, Jr. as Tupac Shakur, with Kat Graham as Jada Pinkett. Yes, they really were best friends!

The full name of the film is All Eyez On Me: The Untold Story of Tupac Shakur. It’s an ambitious premise for a film about one of the single most well documented figures of the last 30 years. There may have been superstar rappers before 2pac, but 2pac was the first superstar rapper since the dawn of the 24 hour news cycle. All of the highs and lows of his career were narrated by Kurt Loder on MTV News. So, really, how much of his story is actually “untold”? How will director Benny Boom find a new story to tell about one of the most talked about figures in modern history?

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Imperfect shark tale still has some bite  

Cage diving with sharks is fun…  until the rope breaks and the cage plummets.

Spinning Platters recently hosted its first music trivia event at SOMA StrEat Food Park, but if you missed it, have no fear – others are on the horizon. And to (ahem) tide you over, here’s a brief little summer movie quiz: match the tagline with its corresponding shark attack movie:

TAGLINES                                                          MOVIES

1.) Don’t go in the water                                  a.) Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014)

2.) Pray that you drown first                             b.) The Shallows (2016)

3.) Stay out of the water                                  c.) Jaws (1975)                       

4.) Shark happens!                                           d.) The Reef (2010)

5.) Who will save you?                                     e.) 47 Meters Down (2017)

6.) Not just another day at the beach               f.) Open Water (2003)

Answers are at the bottom of the review*, but, in the meantime, let’s take a look at letter “e”, the newest shark movie on our list. In the pantheon of shark movies, British horror director Johannes Roberts’s 47 Meters Down ranks somewhere above Sharknado 2 and last year’s Blake Lively-Talks-to-A-Seagull picture (AKA The Shallows), but well below the 1975 standard bearer Jaws and the chilling Sundance indie hit Open Water. [read the whole post]


It’s a tale full of idiots, told with sound and fury, signifying nothing

There’s a scene in The Mummy, Universal Pictures’s latest movie with this much-used title, where zombie Knights Templar are swimming furiously at Tom Cruise. If this sounds like the kind of movie you would like, you might like this one. You would, however, not be me. This scene, like most of what occurs in this film, is utter nonsense.

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Film Review: My Cousin Rachel

June 9, 2017

Hitchcockian thriller will leave you guessing  If you find yourself left edgy and itchy when the film you’re watching doesn’t wrap up nice and neat and tidy, then you’d do well to avoid My Cousin Rachel, a period drama that raises more questions than it answers, and leaves its viewers in a state of ambiguity. […]

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Film Review: Wonder Woman

June 2, 2017

Wonder no more: It’s really good   After witnessing the total failure that was Zack Snyder’s bloated Batman v Superman last year, fans and critics alike have been understandably skeptical about the future of the DC comics’ film franchise. The one bright spot in Snyder’s otherwise paint-by-numbers action flick, was, of course, the brief introduction of […]

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Film Review: Churchill

June 2, 2017″>

It’s never too late to grow up In Churchill, opening in Bay Area theaters today, we’re asked to see the old English bulldog in a new and unflattering light as he attempts to bend the tide of history to his will. The film suffers from too narrow a focus, and an approach to story that is […]

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Film Review: The Commune

May 26, 2017

Come on and join together: Communal living, for better or worse  Reuniting for the first time since their excellent 2013 Oscar-nominated picture The Hunt, the Danish directing/writing team of Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm have collaborated again on The Commune, a smart, sensitive, and well-acted picture based on Vinterberg’s 2011 play of the same name. […]

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