fred armisen

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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… in which our intrepid California-bred Senior Film Reviewer defies an epic winter storm and a fierce chest cold to bring you highlights from this year’s famous Park City fest.

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival ended last Saturday evening after ten days of showcasing over 200 films from around the globe; you can see all the winners here.

For the third year in a row, Spinning Platters was on the (snow-covered) ground trying to take in as many movies as our limited time and budget would allow. And so we bring you the first of our posts spotlighting the 17 films we managed to squeeze in to just over five days.

Many of these may receive distribution deals (if they haven’t already), so you can know what to watch for in the coming year with these handy capsule reviews, which use our patented Sundance Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide:

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Film Review: Zoolander 2

by Gordon Elgart on February 12, 2016

Yet another piece of evidence that comedy sequels don’t work.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson tell it like it is in Zoolander 2.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson telling it like it is in Zoolander 2.

Zoolander 2 (also seen in some advertising as 2oolander or Zoolander No. 2) starts with an exciting chase scene. Some mysterious figures on motorcycles are chasing a man in a hooded sweatshirt. They catch up to him in an alleyway, and riddle him with bullets. As he takes bullet after bullet in a shot that continues for 10-15 seconds, the audience goes from laughter to applause. Why? Because it’s Justin Bieber. That’s the comedic currency of this entire movie: celebrity cameos as punch lines.

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A variety show on acid: Imperfect but fun documentary considers Saturday Night Live

The official movie poster for Bao Nguyen’s new documentary.

In 1975, a new variety show premiered on NBC that was unlike anything that had come before it; it was, according to Laraine Newman, one of the show’s original cast members, a cross between 60 Minutes and Monty Python. Despite its ups and downs, after 40 years on the air, Saturday Night Live (or SNL, as it’s more commonly known in the pop culture lexicon), shows no sign of slowing down, and continues to both reflect and influence American culture. Director Bao Nguyen’s new film, Live from New York!, which takes its title from the show’s opening introduction, explores the history and impact of the storied comedy program in a documentary that is both highly entertaining and slightly frustrating.

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Sleater-Kinney

Sleater-Kinney

The last time Sleater-Kinney played a show in San Francisco, it was a two-night stand at the Great American Music Hall that ran May 2nd and 3rd, 2006. Exactly nine years to the day, they returned to San Francisco, only instead of returning to that intimate, 600-seat club, they played nine blocks away at the newly-restored Masonic Theater. The fact that they put so much care and thought into the tour routing meant that this was going to be a special event; the fact that these shows both sold out in milliseconds proved that San Francisco cared just as much about their return as the band does.

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sketchfest

The good people of Sketchfest have decided to grace our Summer with another weekend of epic programming at The Castro Theater. Thus proving that you can, indeed, laugh in the Summer as well as the Winter. These four events at The Castro Theater are all going to be wonderful, joyful affairs. (Note: All events are at The Castro Theatre) [read the whole post]

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A Nerd’s Guide To SF Sketchfest 2013

January 21, 2013

Spinning Platters loves Sketchfest. San Franciscans are generally really lucky, but for two and a half weeks every year, our lives get even brighter and more chaotic, because the best live comedy programming one could imagine is here, in the greatest place on Earth. Of course, it can be awfully intimidating. Hence this guide, to help you […]

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