Elizabeth Olsen

2018 San Francisco International Film Festival ends this week

If you haven’t made it out to the SF International Film Festival yet, don’t worry – you still have one more day to catch some great films. The Festival ends tomorrow, Tuesday, April 17th, and tickets to remaining screenings can be found here.

Spinning Platters continues its coverage by taking a look at four films that screened at the Fest that will be opening soon here in the Bay Area (we note each film’s opening date below), so if you had hoped to see some of these at the Fest and missed them, you’ve got a second chance. And even though the Fest ends soon, stay tuned to Spinning Platters; we’ll have some wrap up coverage after the Fest concludes.

1.) Kodachrome
(Canada/USA 2017, 105 min. Marquee Presentations)

Matt (Jason Sudeikis, l.), Zoe, (Elizabeth Olsen), and Ben (Ed Harris) have some fun.

Upon hearing the title of director Mark Raso’s new film, you would be forgiven for thinking it might have something to do with Paul Simon’s 1973 single of the same name. That song is referenced in the film, but never played, which is for the best, since the last film to take its title from a Paul Simon song was a huge flop. Raso fares better here, working from a script by the author and screenwriter Jonathan Tropper (This is Where I Leave You). Based loosely on a 2010 article in the New York Times about the closing of the last photo lab in the country to develop Kodak’s famed color film, Kodachrome is a father-son redemption story that calls to mind Sam Shepard, and not just because Shepard stalwart Ed Harris plays Ben, the estranged, terminally ill famous photographer father to Jason Sudeikis’s wounded music producer son Matt. The actors are believable as a father and son with a complicated history, which helps detract from the cliché of their road trip from New York to Kansas to drop off old Kodachrome rolls of Ben’s before the lab closes. Accompanying the duo is Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen), Ben’s nurse and assistant and, of course, love interest for Matt. Olsen’s likable presence and her chemistry with Sudeikis also help keep the story from feeling too obvious, and you find yourself wanting to spend more time with them. The film does occasionally succumb to the hackneyed, though, as when Matt and Zoe finally look at Ben’s developed slides (you’ll have long since guessed what’s on them), in a somewhat cloying scene that may remind some viewers of the famous “The Wheel” episode of Mad Men. But with its nostalgic look at how our analog world has given way to digital, Raso and Tropper manage to pull off a charming narrative that would have felt derivative with a lesser cast at the helm.

Kodachrome will open in the Bay Area this Friday, April 20th.

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If you didn’t get out to the movies as much as you’d hoped in 2017, it’s not too late to catch up on these worthy titles!

Spinning Platters Film Editor Carrie Kahn shares her ten favorite films of 2017, presented in descending rank order. You can also check out her list from last year here

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Tonally uneven film obscures provocative premise   

Social media obsessed Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) moves to L.A. with a plan to befriend her Instagram idol.

If you sometimes worry you may be checking your Facebook and Instagram feeds just a little too frequently, rest assured that you’ve got nothing on Ingrid Thorburn. As portrayed by an exceptional Audrey Plaza, the social media obsessed heroine of Ingrid Goes West becomes a poster child for smart phone restraint. Unfortunately, first time feature writer/director Matt Spicer and his co-writer David Branson Smith run into tone problems, turning what could have been a brilliant satire into something mildly amusing but ultimately unsatisfying, almost to the point of troubling.
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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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Roaring (and lumbering) back into action!

Godzilla's so vain, he probably thinks this movie's about him.

Godzilla’s so vain, he probably thinks this movie’s about him.

In comparison to 1998’s embarrassing excuse for a blockbuster, Godzilla (directed by Roland Emmerich), most popcorn flicks look Oscar worthy.  What’s refreshing about 2014’s Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters), is that it shows off some remarkably cool modern sequences while embracing the traditional look and feel of the classic Godzilla films and the summer movies of the late 70’s that established the blockbuster sub-genre.  After the overload of monsters and CG destruction we see in movies these days, it’s a relief to know that there’s still room for a film to embrace the origins of both and still surprise us.  Welcome back, Godzilla.

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Cillian Murphy in RED LIGHTS

In the dramatic thriller Red Lights, Cillian Murphy and Sigourney Weaver star as the world’s foremost investigators of paranormal phenomena. Professional skeptics, they have debunked dozens of fraudulent mind readers, ghost hunters, and faith healers by detecting “red lights”, subtle clues to the trickery behind each of these “supernatural” occurrences. But when a world-renowned psychic (Robert De Niro) suddenly resurfaces after a lengthy exile — and the death of his biggest critic — they begin to investigate him, despite increasingly bizarre and dangerous incidents the closer they get. Co-starring Elizabeth Olsen and Joely Richardson, Red Lights is the second English-language film by Spanish writer/director Rodrigo Cortés, who previously created the acclaimed Ryan Reynolds thriller Buried. Below, Spinning Platters talks with Murphy and Cortés about manipulating the human brain, Murphy’s reflections on 28 Days Later and Inception, and how profoundly unamused he is by my phone’s autocorrect.

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Film Review: “Silent House”

March 9, 2012

starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens, Julia Taylor Ross written by: Laura Lau directed by: Chris Kentis and Laura Lau MPAA: Rated R for disturbing violent content and terror

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Spinning Platters Interview: Elizabeth Olsen and Sean Durkin on “Martha Marcy May Marlene”

October 26, 2011

Every year at the Sundance Film Festival, there are inevitably a crop of star-is-born moments where little-known or unknown actors and filmmakers are suddenly catapulted to fame and acclaim thanks to a particularly well-received film. But surely one of the most surprising Sundance discoveries in recent memory is Elizabeth Olsen, 22, younger sister of Mary-Kate […]

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The Spinning Platters Guide to the 34th Mill Valley Film Festival

September 26, 2011

The Mill Valley Film Festival, one of the Bay Area’s most esteemed and prestigious film events, is returning for its 34th installment October 6-16. The MVFF has come to represent the first opportunity for Bay Area film buffs to check out festival favorites from the likes of Toronto, Venice, and Telluride before their theatrical releases, […]

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