Jon Hamm

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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Sketchfest co-founder & all-around funny girl Janet Varney

I’ve always liked Janet Varney, who I knew almost exclusively from her work with Thrilling Adventure Hour, but once someone made the connection for me that she was one of the co-founders of SF Sketchfest, my admiration for her ratcheted up quite a few notches. So, she’s super funny, and likeable, and charming, and kind of a badass producer too? So cool! So this year, when I was perusing the schedule, and saw that she was doing a live podcast (The JV Club, it’s called) with Matt Nathanson, Rachel Dratch, and Jon Hamm? Hell yeah! I’d been trying to get to a Rachel Dratch appearance at Sketchfest for at least a year or two, and Jon Hamm is so fun when he’s in comedy mode (which I’d not yet seen live, either). I immediately put in my request and hoped I’d get to cover the show. Next thing I knew, there I was, at Brava Theater Center, last Saturday afternoon, with a great seat, just in time for the house lights to go down. [read the whole post]


Film Review: Minions

by Chad Liffmann on July 10, 2015

Oh, so cute! Yet even more minions would’ve served Minions better.

Bob and Kevin and Stuart. Three Three (Minion) Stooges.

Bob and Kevin and Stuart. Three Three (Minion) Stooges.

I’m not going to get too bogged down with analyzing the storyline or characters here (other than the Minions). The story actually well suits a feature-length treatment for these until-now side characters: After many millennia searching and serving (and inevitably losing) the biggest and baddest bosses they could find, three Minions leave their “colony” to find a new big bad boss. Honestly, I could watch 90 minutes of these adorable yellow pill-shaped creatures reading to each other in a classroom. With a language consisting of 50% Italian, 40% gibberish, and 10% random sounds, unique personalities befitting each standardly-named individual, and an unparalleled sense of loyalty, these little guys are too cute to dislike.

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Chris O'Dowd, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Jon Hamm in FRIENDS WITH KIDS

starring: Jennifer Westfeldt, Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Megan Fox, Edward Burns

written and directed by: Jennifer Westfeldt

MPAA: Rated R for sexual content and language

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Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Emily Browning, Scott Glenn, Vanessa Hudgens, and Jamie Chung in SUCKER PUNCH. Photo by Clay Enos – © 2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Legendary Pictures

starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Scott Glenn, Jon Hamm

written by: Zack Snyder & Steve Shibuya

directed by: Zack Snyder

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving sexuality, violence and combat sequences, and for language.

[read the whole post]