Elizabeth Olsen

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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Elizabeth Olsen in SILENT HOUSE

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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John Hawkes, Elizabeth Olsen, Louisa Krause and Christopher Abbott in MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

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 and Ashley Olsen. After growing up on the sets of her sisters’ projects, Olsen studied acting at NYU (she recently graduated), and is now making her feature-film debut in Martha Marcy May Marlene, a tense character study that also marks the incredibly promising feature-length debut of writer/director Sean Durkin.

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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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