John Williams

Ninth installment sticks to the script

A rebel X-Wing doesn't know when to call it a day

A rebel X-Wing doesn’t know when to call it a day.

“Every once in awhile I have what I think of as an out-of-the-body experience at a movie,” wrote a rapturous Roger Ebert in the summer of 1977 of Star Wars. Later that year a more skeptical Pauline Kael, writing about the same film, said, “the loudness, the smash-and-grab editing, the relentless pacing drive every idea from your head.” Never could the duality of responses to the Star Wars series of films be better predicted. They are either the greatest experiences in a movie theater since L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat, or the biggest waste of time since Birdemic: Shock and Terror. [read the whole post]


A lovely night with Williams’s score, Ford’s performance, iconic scenes… there are no bad dates here!

Face melting, Nazi punching fun!

Raiders of the Lost Ark is the quintessential action-adventure film. One could confidently claim that it is the greatest action-adventure film of all time! There is nothing about Steven Spielberg’s 1981 classic that isn’t famous — the giant boulder, the snakes, the hat & whip, every single line of dialogue, Marion’s alcohol tolerance, the airfield fist fight, the melting faces, poisoned dates, and so on. Yet, one component of the film is arguably more iconic than all the rest: John Williams’s score. The awe-inspiring, galloping main theme that nearly all humans can identify is a benchmark against which all other adventure film music is compared, and it is the basis for which this amazing night at the San Francisco Symphony exists!

[read the whole post]



Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 10.03.14 PM

This upcoming weekend, July 16-17, the San Francisco Symphony will screen Pixar’s Oscar-winning film, Ratatouille, with the score performed live. Conducting the orchestra will be none other than the amazingly accomplished SF Symphony regular, Sarah Hicks. Sarah was gracious enough to answer some questions about her own musical tastes, as well as her special love of Pixar films…

Spinning Platters: My excitement for the Ratatouille show is growing, since it’s my favorite Pixar film. A popular dinner party question is ‘what’s your favorite Pixar film?’ So, do you have a favorite Pixar film?

Sarah Hicks: Oh, I can’t really choose because I love them all!  That being said, I have to admit that the ones I keep going back to are Monsters, Inc., Up and Ratatouille.

[read the whole post]


Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.55.48 PM

As you can see from the image above, this wasn’t your average night at the symphony. On Thursday, the San Francisco Symphony honored legendary film composer John Williams with a program full of his iconic, award-winning scores. From fantasy epics like Star Wars and Harry Potter, to memorable dramas like Schindler’s List and Lincoln, John Williams has put a musical stamp on well over 100 films, and is still writing amazing scores to this day, at age 84.

[read the whole post]


All the music. All the magic. All the feels.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.17.41 PM

I haven’t seen E.T. in twenty years, but by the time the credits rolled I had teary eyes and the theme song wonderfully repeating itself in my head. My girlfriend sitting next to me exclaimed, “my track record of crying every time I see E.T. is still intact”. That’s the power of Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, and there really was no better way to watch the film than with live orchestral accompaniment at the San Francisco Symphony.

[read the whole post]


Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2015

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2015. Here is Carrie’s list, presented in alphabetical order. (And you can find Chad’s here.)

1.) Brooklyn

Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) shares a tender moment with boyfriend Tony (Emory Cohen).

The immigrant experience in America is exquisitely captured in director John Crowley’s finely crafted film about love, loss, and longing in 1950s Brooklyn. Based on the novel by Colm Tóibín, Nick Hornby’s screenplay presents us with the intrepid young Irish woman Eilis, who leaves her family in the Irish countryside for adventure and opportunity in New York. Saoirse Ronan suberbly conveys Eilis’s gradual shift from shy newcomer to confident cosmopolitan. Called back home for a family emergency, Eilis must choose between familiar comforts and new possibilities, and Ronan depicts Eilis’s struggle with heartrending openness and aching honesty. Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson, as competing suitors on opposite sides of the Atlantic, also deliver strong, sharply drawn performances.

[read the whole post]


Show Review: Williams and Spielberg: Maestros of the Movies, 9/16

September 20, 2013

The first four notes of the Star Wars main title blast to life in the beautiful Davies Symphony Hall, and members of the audience cheer loudly, whistle, applaud, and some even rise to their feet.  Only John Williams, the movie score composer who’s been writing music to accompany the silver screen since the late 1950’s, and who’s responsible […]

Read the full article →