Chris Pine

Wonder no more: It’s really good  

Brave, fierce, and mighty, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is on a mission to rid the world of war and evil. 

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 Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. DC Universe die-hards and the movie-going public at large can now breathe a sigh of relief, however. With Wonder Woman, the next installment in the DC cinematic series, director Patty Jenkins has created a thoroughly entertaining, thoughtful, and just plain fun film that should please both DC comics purists as well as those totally new to the Wonder Woman story.
[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

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.)

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

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.)

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

Bridges, Pine anchor riveting western crime drama

Brothers Tanner (Ben Foster, l.) and Toby (Chris Pine) come up with a plan to save their family’s West Texas farm.

Actor turned screenwriter Taylor Sheridan proved he had a knack for conveying the rhythms and feeling of the American southwest with his award-nominated debut feature screenplay for last year’s gritty drug smuggling crime drama Sicario. The success of that debut was no fluke, as we see here in Hell or High Water, Sheridan’s new, follow up screenplay. A similarly southwest-set blend of western and crime drama, the picture rivals the Coen Brothers’ Best Picture winner No Country for Old Men as a modern day, quintessentially American morality tale.
[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

The dullest hours are spent with this rote seafaring rescue tale

Is Chris Pine screaming because of the CGI wave he’s encountering?  Or because he’s in this dismal movie? We’ll never know for sure.

T.S. Eliot famously wrote that “April is the cruelest month,” but, for the movie-going public, January is the harshest. The embarrassment of riches that is the late fall quality Oscar contender rush is now just a faint memory, and theaters are filled instead with middling fare that studios don’t know what to do with. Case in point is director Craig Gillespie’s The Finest Hours, which had two previously scheduled release dates before finally opening nationally today – never a good sign. A dull, paint-by-numbers mess, the picture’s suitability as a January wasteland offering makes perfect sense, but the fact that it boasts a wealth of talent both in front of and behind the camera is both puzzling and disappointing.

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

Film Review: Into the Woods

by Carrie Kahn on December 25, 2014

The cast is great/The film is good/Into the woods/To go to the movies!

The Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt) venture Into the Woods.

The Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt) venture Into the Woods.

Director Rob Marshall, who was nominated for an Oscar for his film version of the musical “Chicago” back in 2003, returns this holiday season with another big screen adaptation of a Broadway hit musical. This time he takes on Steven Sondheim’s storied (pun intended) 1987 mega-hit Into the Woods, an extraordinarily entertaining mishmash of several of the Grimm Brothers classic fairy tales. Produced by Disney, the film had been the subject of widespread speculation that the darker edges of the Sondheim/James Lapine fantasy might be smoothed too much. Purists need not worry, however; Marshall’s version retains the mature themes and disquieting tone of the original, and has the added benefit of a terrific cast.

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

Film Review: Horrible Bosses 2

November 26, 2014
www.youtube.com/watch?v=utriEZFno0E

A solid second ride thanks to great chemistry From the co-writers of Dumb and Dumber To, the disappointing comedy sequel, comes Horrible Bosses 2, the slightly-less disappointing and still quite funny comedy sequel.  Yes, we know that comedy sequels rarely work since the humor isn’t as fresh and the jokes are often forced.  Horrible Bosses […]

Read the full article →

Film Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

January 17, 2014
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9KAnx4EvaE

A hell of a ride: Branagh, Pine infuse Clancy franchise with new energy With Oscar nominations announced yesterday and the slate of Serious Award-Worthy films soon to be on their way out of theaters, it’s time to make way for some rousing old-fashioned movie-going fun. Kenneth Branagh has helped us on that front with the […]

Read the full article →

Film Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

May 16, 2013

In 2009, J.J. Abrams jumpstarted a dulling Star Trek franchise by instilling youthful energy and adrenaline into a familiar cast of characters.  The universe was the “same” but the feel was different.  It was shinier and faster paced, and took advantage of modern computer technology to produce visual effects in a way that the original […]

Read the full article →

Spinning Platters Interview: Chris Pine and Alex Kurtzman on “People Like Us”

June 27, 2012

If I were to tell you that one of this summer’s most character-driven and emotionally mature dramas comes to you from the writing team responsible for three of Michael Bay’s last four films, you’d accuse me of being hopped up on bath salts and run away covering your face and screaming. And yet, such is […]

Read the full article →