Julianne Moore

Film Review: Suburbicon

by Carrie Kahn on October 27, 2017

Clooney emulates the Coens in adequate film noir      

Maggie (Julianne Moore) and her brother-in-law Gardner (Matt Damon) have an unwanted conversation with a visitor.

George Clooney is clearly a huge fan of the Coen Brothers. After starring in four of their films (Hail, Caesar!; Burn After Reading; O Brother, Where Art Thou; Intolerable Cruelty), he tries his hand at directing one of their screenplays with Suburbicon, marking his first return to the director’s chair since 2014’s The Monuments Men. The result is more successful than that mostly forgettable attempt, but his fan-boy energy permeates his new film almost to distraction. Tonally and stylistically, the picture is an unabashed imitation of a Coen Brothers production, which, if you’re a Coen Brothers fan, is super, but does mean that Clooney offers no cinematic originality here.
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Sundance 2016-2

Spinning Platters continues its coverage of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, which ended last Saturday, Jan. 30th with its evening awards presentation (all the winners can be found here).

We’re highlighting 18 of the nearly 200 films shown at the Fest, so you can know what to look for in the coming year – and what to avoid – as many of these titles are purchased and widely distributed.

As a reminder, we are using our patented Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide to advise you accordingly:

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Film critics Carrie and Chad on who will – and who should – win the 87th Academy Awards

The 87th Academy Awards air this Sunday, February 22nd on ABC at 5:00pm PST (red carpet coverage begins at 4:00, if you want to dish on fashion highs and lows). There are some tight races this year – Best Picture and Best Actor are especially hard to call. Here are Carrie and Chad’s predictions – and hopes – for the major categories:
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Film Review: Seventh Son

by Gordon Elgart on February 6, 2015

Looked good on the drawing board; looks terrible up on the screen.

"Go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!" - Jeff Bridges in Seventh Son

“Go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!” – Jeff Bridges in Seventh Son

When a movie is supposed to be released in February, you worry a bit about the quality. The best movies don’t usually come out in the dumping grounds of January and February. When a movie is supposed to come out in February of 2013, but is finally released in February of 2015, that’s a big worry. The best movies usually don’t sit on the shelf for two years. But anyone seeing the trailer or the story of Seventh Son isn’t expecting much more than some tight world building, clever and maybe funny dialog, and some cool special effects set pieces. On those counts, how does Seventh Son deliver?

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Film Review: Don Jon

by Chad Liffmann on September 27, 2013

A modern day romance with expectations to dash expectations.

Do Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson see eye to eye in 'Don Jon'?

Do Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson see eye to eye in ‘Don Jon’?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been acting for over twenty-five years.  It should come as no surprise that he’s finally decided to write and direct, and with his debut, Don Jon, it’s a shame he didn’t start sooner.  Hopefully this is just the first of many.  In our roundtable interview, Gordon-Levitt stated that his hopes were to capture a relationship that involved two people that “have these unrealistic expectations and keep missing each other.”  With his experience, Gordon-Levitt was no stranger to the expectations and unrealistic images that pop culture (specifically movies, television, and commercials) thrust upon young minds.  Using a very tight and clever script, and with pitch perfect performances from all involved, his goal is accomplished.  Don Jon is a brave and unique modern day romance.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt directing for the first time.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt directing for the first time.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has exactly the air about him that you’d expect — polite, well-dressed, and charming as heck.  His latest film, Don Jon, which marks his debut as a writer and director, also stars Gordon-Levitt as a womanizing, body building, porn addict who begins a romantic relationship with a romantic, traditional, sexy young woman played by Scarlett Johansson.  It’s a romantic comedy about unhealthy expectations, but Gordon-Levitt expects that it’ll resonate well with audiences.  Along with a few other journalists, I sat down with the actor/writer/director (or “Joe” as he introduced himself) and asked about his experience making Don Jon…

What inspired you to choose this particular story for your directorial and writing debut?

Well, I’ve been working as an actor since I was young.  Probably because of that, I’ve always paid a lot of attention to the way that TV and movies and all kinds of media affect how we see the world.  I think, sometimes, the things we see in the media give us certain unrealistic expectations for life, and especially for love and sex and relationships.  I wanted to tell a story about that.  I thought a good way to do it would be to have a comedy about a boyfriend and a girlfriend where the guy watches too much pornography and the girl watches too many romantic Hollywood movies.  They both have these unrealistic expectations and keep missing each other.

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Film Review: What Maisie Knew

May 24, 2013

It’s Friday morning, and you’re turning to your significant other saying, “Let’s go to the movies tonight…. What should we see?”  You scroll through Fandango or skim through the Chronicle Datebook listings (okay, maybe that’s just me…) and ask, “What about this film about these two flawed people involved in a bitter custody fight over […]

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Film Review: “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”

July 29, 2011

starring: Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon, Marisa Tomei, Analeigh Tipton, Jonah Bobo, Josh Groban written by: Dan Fogelman directed by: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa MPAA: Rated PG-13 for coarse humor, sexual content and language

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