bill hader

Even with a few stumbles, this is an ultimately fun return of a classic franchise.

Saban's new Power Rangers

Saban’s new Power Rangers

Remaking a story like that of Power Rangers requires a great deal of care on two fronts. On the one hand, preserving the world, the characters, and the essential plotlines, is important in order to make the new film appeal in the first place (brand new characters, names, etc., simply wouldn’t fly), but also requires being modernized to fit the sheen and shine of big-budget motion pictures. However, there’s also the concern of keeping a lot of the original charm — which isn’t without its strong sense of extreme camp and over-the-top flashiness — and not having that clash strongly with a modern sense of acting and drama. Thankfully, Lionsgate’s new attempt at rebooting the Power Rangers franchise is ultimately a very fun effort, despite its occasional awkward moments that stumble slightly before the big, explosive finishes arrive. [read the whole post]


Sundance 2016-2

Spinning Platters continues its coverage of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, which ended last Saturday, Jan. 30th with its evening awards presentation (all the winners can be found here).

We’re highlighting 18 of the nearly 200 films shown at the Fest, so you can know what to look for in the coming year – and what to avoid – as many of these titles are purchased and widely distributed.

As a reminder, we are using our patented Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide to advise you accordingly:

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Film Review: Trainwreck

by Carrie Kahn on July 17, 2015

Schumer/Apatow collaboration delivers lots of laughs

Sports medicine doctor Aaron (Bill Hader) is intrigued by magazine writer Amy (Amy Schumer).

Amy Schumer, who in the past year has become comedy’s reigning it girl, breaks on to the big screen today with Trainwreck, the Judd Apatow-directed film that she both wrote and stars in. The Apatow-Schumer combination is as powerful as comedy fans would hope; the film is filled with Schumer’s no-holds-barred, brilliantly edgy funny bits, tempered by the same down-to-earth sweetness Apatow brought to pictures like The 40-Year-Old Virgin. The result is a refreshing, raw romantic comedy that will charm and delight even the most jaded rom-com fans.

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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

Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane are outstanding as a mother and son who grow and change together.

Filmed intermittently over 12 years, Richard Linklater’s film chronicling a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from ages six to 18 in real time is both a technical marvel and a cinematic masterpiece. There has been nothing like it before on screen, and there will no doubt be nothing like it again. Utterly unique in scope and vision, the film lets us watch a life develop in front of our very eyes, with all of its attendant hopes, dreams, achievements, and disappointments. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke play Mason’s parents, changing and growing right alongside him and his older sister (Lorelei Linklater). An absolutely dazzling achievement that will leave you breathless and awed, Linklater’s picture is sure to be the one to beat for Best Picture come Oscar time. (You can also read Gordon’s full-length review here).

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Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 9.47.23 PM

At the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, I sit with a group of other writers around a table as the audible antics begin approaching outside the door.  SNL veterans Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, along with director Craig Johnson, are splitting each others’ sides with jokes and voices.  They are tired and somewhat giddy from a day of press, supporting their incredible new film, The Skeleton Twins, and they loosely greet us with smiles and how ya dos.  Bill chucks a muffin from that morning down the hallway, comically screaming ‘This BETTER BE GOOD!’.  Bill and Kristen feed off each other’s energy, a polite and friendly Craig Johnson between them, and they all take a deep breath and search around the table for who’s first to dive in…


Craig, you co-wrote the script with Mark Heyman, and I heard he’d been working on the script for eight years.  How did the final cut of the film differentiate from the original script?

Craig Johnson:  Well, we actually had a couple versions of it that were unfinished that were all over the place.  We had one where Milo was a drag queen. (To Bill) I haven’t even told you about these versions of it.  There was a road trip element.

Kristen Wiig: Maggie was a cat. (laughing)

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A raunchy two-joke movie that keeps the humor flowing.

Aubrey Plaza demonstrates her (acting) skills.

Aubrey Plaza demonstrates her (acting) skills.

If you’re old enough to remember growing up in the 90’s, then The To Do List will supply you with a healthy dose of nostalgia.  If you like sexual humor and gross-out comedies, then The To Do List will surely entertain you.  If you find the combination of 90’s culture and sexual humor appealing, then this movie is basically a cinematic orgasm.  It’s also a coming-out party for Aubrey Plaza, if Parks & Recreation hasn’t yet done the trick.  The To Do List turns the stereotypical preachy message that you’d find in most romantic comedies (even the gross ones) over on its head, instead delivering the truth about teenage sexual curiosity and pressures…the unabashed, awkward, and honest truth.

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Film Review: Turbo

July 17, 2013

A cute, formulaic, one-joke movie…but at least it’s not sluggish! Low expectations commonly yield better-than-expected results.  In the case of Turbo, a charming result emerges from an incredibly lackluster premise.  ‘A snail that goes fast!‘…Okay, not really piquing my interest.  ‘And, he races in the Indy 500!’  Snails and racing?  No thank you, I’d rather […]

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