John C. Reilly

Kong delivers without monkeying around.

This guy really needs to hold on tighter.

I’ll admit that I was more than skeptical when Kong: Skull Island was first announced. A new King Kong movie, really? Peter Jackson’s 2005 version still felt fresh in my mind, perhaps because it’s been playing on TV so often. But Kong: Skull Island was supposedly a different type of Kong movie. It was gonna be more modern, more action-oriented, and part of a larger monster movie series (see MonsterVerse). That all sounded nice and dandy but I wasn’t going to believe it until I saw it. Then, I saw it. I saw it in IMAX 3D. And whaddya know, it’s really good. Kong: Skull Island delivers just about everything you’d expect from its marketing campaign and PR promises. The action is exciting, the special effects are fantastic, the acting is non-distractingly serviceable, and there’s nothing else to it. As pure cinematic escapism, Kong: Skull Island reigns king. 

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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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An utterly unique (surrealist) romantic comedy that inadvertently subverts all other romantic comedies.

Name the defining characteristic of each of these three.

Name the defining characteristic of each of these three.

To all you single folks — do you feel the pressure of finding a partner? Well, imagine that you have 45 days to do so otherwise you’ll be turned into an animal. How’s that for pressure? That’s the boiled-down premise of Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster, a fascinatingly bizarre and dark dramedy romance (you could say it transcends multiple genres). Of course, there’s a lot more to The Lobster than just the 45 day ultimatum tidbit. The film eschews most everything that remotely resembles normal storytelling yet manages to convey a uniquely human story within its dystopian setting. The Lobster is a sharp satirical look at the oppressive nature of our societal coupledom, maintaining a steady level of surrealist humor even as it descends into darker and darker territory and an appropriately uneven finish.

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Sundance 2015 Spotlights: Five Feature Films

Sundance

Braving the chill, the dry air, and the self-importance of the L.A. film industry folks who don’t turn off their cell phones during screenings, Senior Film Reviewer Carrie Kahn brings you these first spotlights (more to follow) from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT, which closes this Sunday, February 1st.

From the good, the mediocre, to the downright horrific, some of these films may receive distribution deals and be widely released in the coming year. Lucky for you, we here at Spinning Platters are ready and willing to let you know which films to see and which to miss. We’ll start with five feature films, and our handy Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide will steer you in the right direction. [read the whole post]

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Playing Thursday Night at The Regency Ballroom

We’ve got another full week of shows, and this one is chock full of some truly interesting and experimental music. Open your mind and your ears and go out this week!

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