Jenny Slate

Five More Spotlights as SFFILM Enters Final Week

The 60th San Francisco International Film Festival wraps up this week, but there’s still time to catch a few screenings before closing day on Thursday; you can browse the schedule and buy tickets here. Stay tuned to Spinning Platters for our final spotlight posts to help finish up the Fest: we’ve got five more here (and you can read Chad’s previous posts here, here, here, and here).

1.) Maudie and Ethan Hawke Tribute
(Canada/Ireland 2016, 115 min. Awards and Tributes)

Everett (Ethan Hawke) and Maud (Sally Hawkins) on their wedding day.

In a true coup for cinephiles, SFFilm presented a tribute to actor Ethan Hawke at the YBCA Theater on April 8th. Following a delightful clip reel of Hawke’s career highlights, Michael Almereyda, Hawke’s director in 2000’s Hamlet, interviewed the actor. Hawke came across as smart, charming, modest, and immensely likable. In a conversation that ranged from Hawke’s start in high school plays to his embodiment of Gen X angst in 1994’s Reality Bites (“It’s a strange feeling to touch the zeitgeist,” he told us), Hawke gamely opened up on topics both professional and personal. His distaste for violence in films drew a round of applause. “It’s very hard to have a career in professional movies and not kill people,” he said, mentioning that Roger Ebert once toasted him for not killing anyone on screen until Hamlet. Movies that deal with connecting with other people are what he’s most drawn to, he told us, which helps explain his continuing collaboration with Richard Linklater, who memorably cast Hawke in the critically acclaimed Before Sunrise trilogy and Boyhood.

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Film Review: Gifted

by Carrie Kahn on April 7, 2017

Talented cast is the real gift in otherwise predictable family drama

Young Mary (Mckenna Grace) embodies the title with her exceptional math prowess.

Director Marc Webb’s new film Gifted asks us to not only buy a 7-year-old girl as an MIT-level math genius, but also hunky Captain America star Chris Evans as a former Boston University philosophy professor; I’m not sure which characterization requires the greater suspension of disbelief, but there’s a post-film discussion point for you. While somewhat predictable, Webb’s picture pleasantly surprises by not being nearly as hokey as the trailer would lead you to believe, and by actually offering up some emotionally heartfelt sincerity.
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Sundance Photo 3

With this third and final post, Spinning Platters completes its coverage of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, which ended on Jan. 30th.  All the winners can be found here (and our other two posts about this year’s Festival can be found here and here).

Our coverage concludes with a look at four more feature films and two more documentaries. As a reminder, we are using our patented Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide to advise you accordingly: [read the whole post]

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Photo by Jakob Mosur

Photo by Jakob Mosur

Sketchfest really killed it this year, as usual. A lot of shows sold out quickly. However, the quickest sell out was Jenny Slate & Friends at The Brava Theater. Jenny Slate’s star seems to be on the rise swiftly. She starred in Obvious Child, my favorite film of 2014. Her web series Marcel The Shell With Shoes On and Catherine are both works of epic genius. It seems that everything she touches turns to gold. However, I’ve never seen her do stand up. Even a cursory YouTube search proved difficult in terms of finding any clips of her doing live comedy. It seems tonight was a very special and somewhat rare experience.

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A San Francisco Sketch

A San Francisco Sketch

Every year, the good folks at SF Sketchfest program three weeks of live comedy in the Bay Area. They program it so well that it can get exhausting to determine which shows to go to. Well, here at Spinning Platters, a forum for Bay Area music, film, and comedy nerds, we’ll be helping you determine which shows you should be going to. It wasn’t easy, but I think you’ll get sufficient enough chuckles for handling the post-holiday blues if you follow these guidelines.

Don’t like my suggestions? You can always pick for yourself! You can find the schedule here!

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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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