Lists

Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2016

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2016. Here is Chad’s list, presented in descending rank order. And check out Carrie’s list!

10.) Hail, Caesar!

Tatum goes full Coen.

It takes a few viewings to fully appreciate the tremendous wit and satirical humor in Hail, Caesar! When the Coen Brothers released their latest film earlier this year, it was met with a lukewarm reception from audiences and critics, partially due to the Oscar-worthy brilliance of their previous three films — A Serious Man, True Grit, and Inside Llewyn Davis. Compared to those three, Hail, Caesar! is a silly comedy, yet it’s actually both an entertaining throwback and a salute to the unseen Hollywood players of the 1950s studio system, specifically the Hollywood fixer, played here by a confident Josh Brolin. Mix in a few Golden Age film sets, including those of an elaborate synchronized swimming musical number, and a Roman sandal epic, and cap it off with a phenomenal straight-out-of-the-’50s song and dance number with a handful of handsome seamen (led by Channing Tatum), and you’ve got a colorful, slightly absurdist take on Hollywood yesteryear that only the Coen Brothers can manage and deliver. Hail, Caesar! also puts Alden Ehrenreich on the map; here he plays a lovable typecast singin’ cowboy, and you’ll see him again soon as a young Han Solo. (You can also read my full-length review here.)

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Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2016

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2016. Here is Carrie’s list, presented, unlike last year’s alphabetized list, in descending rank order. And you can check out Chad’s list here to see which one of us you agree with more!

10.) Nocturnal Animals

Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal, middle) arrives at a possible crime scene with lawman Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon, r.).

Sometimes the story-within-the-story convention can be confusing or feel gimmicky, but in this visually stunning picture from fashion designer turned filmmaker Tom Ford, the technique works to terrific effect. Amy Adams, as a woman haunted by a decision she made years ago, reads a manuscript sent to her by her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), and that story comes alive on screen in the form of family man Tony (Gyllenhaal again) and his confrontation with some dangerous, deranged miscreants. Ford’s keen aesthetic vision and sharp performances by Adams, Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon as a tenacious lawman combine to make this brutally poetic but utterly captivating film one of the year’s most definitively unusual. (You can also read my full-length review here.)

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Yes, it’s that time of year again. Outside Lands is about to begin, and with it, a slew of great acts you love — as well as a bunch of bands you may have never heard of before. I know that your instinct is to sleep in and show up just in time to let Third Eye Blind know that you do, in fact, believe in science. However, if you do, you are going to miss some of the best music in the festival. The lower part of the poster is where the good stuff hides, so, who knows — you may just stumble across the next Black Keys or Ellie Goulding, both past lower-poster-graduates.

The schedule is out NOW, so you can start planning your weekend. I do believe it’s in your best interest to include some of these acts:

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Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2015

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2015. Here is Chad’s list, presented in reverse-awesome order. Also check out Carrie‘s top ten list!

10.) Cinderella
Lily James emerging from her pumpkin-turned-coach.

Lily James emerging from her pumpkin-turned-coach.

A lack of the classic Disney song ‘Cinderelli!’ didn’t prevent Kenneth Branagh’s live action version of Cinderella from reaching magical heights. After a plethora of disappointing “re-imaginings” and “discover the true story” versions of classics — Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland, Oz the Great and Powerful — it was time for a movie to play it straight, and Cinderella did just that. With amazing performances from Lily James and Cate Blanchett and beautiful costumes and set designs, Cinderella (hopefully) represents the first in a new series of live action Disney remakes that stick to the strong source materials without egregious silly additions. (Read my full review of Cinderella here.)

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Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2015

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2015. Here is Carrie’s list, presented in alphabetical order. (And you can find Chad’s here.)

1.) Brooklyn

Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) shares a tender moment with boyfriend Tony (Emory Cohen).

The immigrant experience in America is exquisitely captured in director John Crowley’s finely crafted film about love, loss, and longing in 1950s Brooklyn. Based on the novel by Colm Tóibín, Nick Hornby’s screenplay presents us with the intrepid young Irish woman Eilis, who leaves her family in the Irish countryside for adventure and opportunity in New York. Saoirse Ronan suberbly conveys Eilis’s gradual shift from shy newcomer to confident cosmopolitan. Called back home for a family emergency, Eilis must choose between familiar comforts and new possibilities, and Ronan depicts Eilis’s struggle with heartrending openness and aching honesty. Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson, as competing suitors on opposite sides of the Atlantic, also deliver strong, sharply drawn performances.

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The competition this year was not quite as violent as that between Wells & Coffey.  (Photo: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress))
The competition this year was not quite as violent as that between Wells & Coffey.
(Photo: George Grantham Bain Collection/Library of Congress)

2015 marks the 7th consecutive time that the collective staff of Spinning Platters have come together, selected our favorite records of the year, and then spent the following month listening to every possible contender on the list and picking the best of the best. With such an eclectic mix of music — from creative genres birthed into existence, to old artists returning to the fray, and, of course, new works by those still deftly holding fast in the tumult — it definitely made for an interesting set of choices. This year, we had a whopping 54 albums to choose from, and narrowed that list down to our ten favorites over the course of five weeks. Here are the records that made it to the final round.

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Spinning Platters’ Best Of 2014: Individual Staff Lists

January 2, 2015

2014 was a good year for music — you just had to lose yourself in something unsafe. – Staff Writer Jonathan Pirro. A lot of people seemed mighty nonplussed by 2014’s recorded music output. Sure, there was a lot of somewhat generic, unimpressive stuff. However, if you did some real hunting, you’ll find that there […]

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Film Feature: Chad’s Top 10 Films of 2014

January 1, 2015

Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2014 Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2014.  Here is Chad’s list, presented in reverse order of greatness; you can also see Carrie’s list here. 10.) Snowpiercer Snowpiercer, Bong Joon-ho’s masterful post-apocalyptic thriller, was forced to fly beneath the […]

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Film Feature: Carrie’s Top 10 Films of 2014

January 1, 2015

Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2014 Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2014. Here is Carrie’s list, presented in alphabetical order. And you can see Chad’s list here. 1.) Boyhood Filmed intermittently over 12 years, Richard Linklater’s film chronicling a […]

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The Official List of the Best Albums of 2014

December 31, 2014
www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcnQ9-qWSfc

Picking a list of our Top 10 albums has become quite the task here at Spinning Platters. Every year, we share a gigantic playlist with each other, made up of albums nominated by our entire staff. For 4-6 weeks,  it’s the only thing I listen to. Sometimes we find a new favorite album, and other […]

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