Justin Timberlake

Film Review: Wonder Wheel

by Carrie Kahn on December 8, 2017

Allen’s newest far from Wonder-ful   

Lifeguard and wanna-be writer Mickey (Justin Timberlake) has an affair with the unhappily married Ginny (Kate Winslet).

Let’s first address the elephant in the room. Yes, Wonder Wheel, writer/director Woody Allen’s newest, is about a man who finds himself falling in love with his girlfriend’s step-daughter. I suspect there are many filmgoers who have made up their minds about Allen, and so either won’t see this particular film because of its uncomfortable parallels to his real life, or because, in agreement with his daughter Dylan Farrow’s recent essay, they don’t want to support the work of an accused sexual predator. If you fall in one of those categories, you need read no further, but for those of you who still remain curious and open to Allen’s art, there is another, more pedestrian reason to avoid this picture: it’s just not very good.
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Raps and riffs its way to gold, but far from platinum.

Conner is 4 real.

Conner is 4 real.

10+ years ago, “Lazy Sunday” took the internet by storm and injected the Berkeley-based comedy musical trio, The Lonely Island, into the mainstream. Since then, they’ve been responsible for countless popular SNL Digital Shorts and a handful of award-winning comedy albums. Now, their first feature-length film, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, hits theaters and brings along their superb blend of awesomely crude but catchy pop music, satirical humor, and over-the-top random ridiculousness. Popstar is great at poking fun at the pop music industry, and delivers some really raunchy humor and fantastically clever music, yet fails more often than not to produce worthy punchlines or climaxes to major scenes.

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Anti-bunny.

Sometimes there are signs that insist on no bunny.

You need to know what concerts are coming to The Bay Area this week? You’ve come to the right place.

We’ve got folk rock, pop metal, malicious metal, the cosmic intersection of country and rock, and the most highly-weaponized pop that US dollars can purchase.

It’s a good week.

Here’s what’s coming up.

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‘I am a man of COEN sorrow…’

Oscar Isaac cradling the real star.

Oscar Isaac cradling the real star of Inside Llewyn Davis.

In a dimly lit smoky bar, an unshaven, slightly disheveled, solo male singer leans into a mic and begins gently singing, ‘Hang me / Oh hang me / I’ll be dead and gone.’ For the next three or so minutes, we are up close and personal to this singer, watching his calm disposition as he sings out the entirety of the song, not even once looking up at the quiet audience wrapped up in the beautiful melody, drinks, and cigarettes. This is how Inside Llewyn Davis begins, the extraordinary and immaculately conceived new film by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, or as we know them, the Coen brothers. This singer is, of course, Llewyn Davis, and these opening lyrics are deliberately chosen to open the story — they set the tone and capture the somber outlook of the title character. Based on a pivotal moment in our nation’s cultural history, and using a fictionalized version of folk musician Dave Van Ronk to capture the experience of many lost artists of that time period, Inside Llewyn Davis is a pointedly dark and comical drama that serves as an allegorical tale and a cinematic exposé of the unfortunate “futility” of many talented artists.

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The towering, imposing, and yet, gentle-voiced T-Bone Burnett strolled into the room occupied by a few eager journalists.  Oscar Isaac, quiet and kind, followed close behind.  The two artists, one a musician who has been inching closer and closer to becoming a household name for three award-winning decades, the other an actor who is sharply on the rise, not wholly but in part due to his incredible performance as the lead role in the Coen brother’s newest masterpiece, Inside Llewyn Davis, sit down at the table.  Without pause, we jumped into conversation…and it wasn’t hard to get T-Bone going…

What are your five favorite film soundtracks?

T-Bone Burnett: God, I don’t know.  I can’t even think of any.

Oscar Isaac: The Mission.  Ennio Morricone.

T-Bone:  Yeah, that was a good one.  I like My Fair Lady.  Even though I think that Dr. Strangelove is a much more strange and subversive film and should’ve won the Academy Award…I’m talking like a Hollywood insider, like a movie person <<laughter>>… but I loved that musical.  You know the song, “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face”?  I can barely make it through that song, it’s just so beautiful.  And “On the Street Where You Live,” It’s just beautiful songwriting and one beautiful melody after another.  It beat Dr. Strangelove, which is one of the most important movies ever.

So, one of the reasons why I called the Coen brothers was because I had become a fan of theirs after their first movie, Blood Simple, because it just had so much of my home (Texas) about it and there was a style of storytelling that I thought was really great.  And their next movie came out, Raising Arizona, that just had this insane soundtrack — “Ode to Joy” on the banjo with whistling and yodeling.  And every joke of it landed for me.  And one thing about the Coens is that there’s history in every shot.  Isn’t that right?

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All photos by Michelle Viray

All photos by Michelle Viray

Now that we’ve all had time to recover from a week’s worth of sun damage, get our voices back, and forget about the hours spent driving through the lonely west Texas desert, it’s time to reflect upon another year of SXSW. While everyone’s experience is different under the Austin sun, these are my recollections as to the best and worst of SXSW 2013.

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Film Review: “Trouble with the Curve”

September 21, 2012

starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Matthew Lillard, Robert Patrick written by: Randy Brown directed by: Robert Lorenz MPAA: Rated PG-13 for language, sexual references, some thematic material and smoking

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Film Review: “Friends With Benefits”

July 22, 2011

starring: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Patricia Clarkson, Woody Harrelson, Richard Jenkins, Jenna Elfman, Nolan Gould, Bryan Greenberg, Andy Samberg, Emma Stone written by: Keith Merryman, David A. Newman, Will Gluck, Harley Peyton directed by: Will Gluck MPAA: rated R for sexual content and language.

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Film Review: “Bad Teacher”

June 24, 2011

starring: Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel, Lucy Punch, Phyllis Smith, John Michael Higgins, Thomas Lennon, Eric Stonestreet, Molly Shannon written by: Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg directed by: Jake Kasdan MPAA: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use.

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Spinning Platters Picks Six (x2) – 12 Best Musical Moments of 2009 from TV or Movies

December 31, 2009

Since I probably watch more TV and movies than 98% of the population I thought I would bring you a list of great musical moments I saw in 2009.  Please enjoy the videos below whether they are new to you or a reminder of your favorites.  Please leave your choices in the comments, though I must mention two […]

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