Kirsten Dunst

Coppola returns to form with seductive Southern gothic drama 

Union soldier John (Colin Farrell) and Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) find a moment alone. 

In its 70-year history, the Cannes Film Festival has only awarded its Best Director prize to a female director twice; the first was in 1961 (to Soviet filmmaker Yuliya Solntseva for Chronicle of Flaming Years, a tale of Nazi resistance in the Soviet Union), and the second was this May, to writer/director Sofia Coppola for The Beguiled. While the Festival sadly took some 50 years before bestowing this honor on another woman, this year’s award hopefully signals a real shift toward providing opportunities for, and recognizing the accomplishments of, women in film. That said, the concern of this review, of course, is the film itself: are Coppola and her new film worthy of the prize? The answer, thankfully, is a resounding yes.
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Film Review: Hidden Figures

by Carrie Kahn on December 25, 2016

Hidden figures brought to light in inspiring new film

Katherine (Taraji P. Henson) performs a calculation that will help NASA successfully launch manned capsules into space.

2016 hasn’t exactly been a stellar year in a lot of ways, but in terms of film, it’s been an exceptional year for girl power movies. This is a year in which we saw a brave 13-year-old stand strong against centuries of male-dominated tradition in The Eagle Huntress, a 14-year-old chess prodigy overcome tremendous odds in Queen of Katwe, and now, in Theodore Melfi’s new film Hidden Figures, we witness a trio of African-American women contribute to national success despite facing rampant and demoralizing sexism and racism in the segregated south of the early 1960s. There has never been a better time to be inspired at the movies.
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The boy is Special, and so is the film

Roy (Michael Shannon, l.) will do anything to protect his very special son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher).

Writer/director Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter, Shotgun Stories) continues his collaboration with the terrific actor Michael Shannon to great effect in his utterly engaging new science fiction film Midnight Special. Unlike another film by a well known writer/director that opened today, Nichols’s film grips you from its opening minute and keeps you enraptured for its nearly two hour run time. A film that pays homage to others of its genre while still managing to be totally unique, Midnight Special is well worth your box office dollars. [read the whole post]


Spinning Platters highlights some films from the 57th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), which runs from April 24th through May 8th. Program notes and tickets available at:

(USA, 2013, 89 min.)

Emily Baldoni in James Byrkit's COHERENCE

Emily Baldoni in James Byrkit’s COHERENCE

This low budget mind bender focuses on a dinner party of four couples on a night where a comet passes over Earth, causing some strange occurrences. Director James Ward Byrkit utilized an experimental production process by which he provided the actors with notes for each scene but no script, allowing for truly real reactions, spontaneous behavior, and improvised lines.  Perfect editing and stellar performances create a palpable tension that’s both haunting and personal.  The result is a tightly bound science-fiction indie crowd pleaser that delights with its twists and turns, keeping us guessing from the first to last frame…and afterwards.


  • Tuesday, April 29th, 9:45 PM, Kabuki


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Kirsten Dunst in MELANCHOLIA

starring: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellen Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Brady Corbet, Udo Kier, Cameron Spurr

written and directed by: Lars von Trier

MPAA: Rated R for some graphic nudity, sexual content and language

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Will Darby finally show up to the gig? What about Belinda? When will she be back on drums?

The Germs at The Uptown Nightclub in Oakland On Sunday... Will original drummer Belinda Carlisle show? How About lead singer Shane West's former co-star Sisqo?

Your guide to the best shows that bay area has to offer for the week of June 8th-14th: [read the whole post]