logan lerman

Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2016

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2016. Here is Carrie’s list, presented, unlike last year’s alphabetized list, in descending rank order. And you can check out Chad’s list here to see which one of us you agree with more!

10.) Nocturnal Animals

Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal, middle) arrives at a possible crime scene with lawman Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon, r.).

Sometimes the story-within-the-story convention can be confusing or feel gimmicky, but in this visually stunning picture from fashion designer turned filmmaker Tom Ford, the technique works to terrific effect. Amy Adams, as a woman haunted by a decision she made years ago, reads a manuscript sent to her by her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), and that story comes alive on screen in the form of family man Tony (Gyllenhaal again) and his confrontation with some dangerous, deranged miscreants. Ford’s keen aesthetic vision and sharp performances by Adams, Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon as a tenacious lawman combine to make this brutally poetic but utterly captivating film one of the year’s most definitively unusual. (You can also read my full-length review here.)

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

Spinning Platters continues its coverage of the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, which continues through this Thursday, May 5th. You still have plenty of time to get in a few screenings! More information and tickets are available here.

Here we spotlight three more Fest feature films, and one documentary.

Indignation
(USA, 2015, 110 min, Centerpiece Film)

College students Marcus (Logan Lerman) and Olivia (Sarah Gadon) get to know each other on their first date.

Writer/producer James Schamus (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Brokeback Mountain) here proves himself equally adept at directing, choosing for his first full-length feature foray an adaptation of Philip Roth’s 2008 novel Indignation. Set in 1951 at a fictional Ohio liberal arts college, Schamus’s screenplay remains true to the Rothian themes of coming of age, family conflict, sex, love, religion, and death. Schamus and a stellar cast, including Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) as the protagonist Marcus, a working-class Newark atheist Jew trying to fit in at the conservative, religious campus, and Tracy Letts as the no nonsense, intellectually formidable, but bemused Dean of Men, handle Roth’s heady material with remarkable skill and sensitivity. Sarah Gadon as Marcus’s troubled love interest, and the great Broadway actress Linda Emond as Marcus’s mom, who shares a breathtaking, Oscar-worthy scene with Lerman, round out the absolutely terrific cast. A tour de force scene between Lerman and Letts, in which the two argue about Bertrand Russell, among other issues, is also one of the most compelling, uninterrupted takes you’ll see on screen this year. A powerful meditation on repression and finding yourself through love and family, Schamus’s directorial debut is not to be missed.

Screenings:

  • No more SFIFF screenings, but will open nationwide on July 29th.

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

Film Review: Fury

by Chad Liffmann on October 17, 2014

Aptly titled with a gutsy delivery.

The Furious Five

The Furious Five

It’s hard to imagine much originality stemming from any new or forthcoming World War II movies.  This was my thought back in 2009 before Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds was released, offering audiences a completely new vision of the second world war and delivering never-before-seen perspectives with style.  This isn’t to say that that film revitalized the genre, but it kinda did.  The newest World War II tale, Fury, starring Basterds alum Brad Pitt, offers a focus we haven’t seen much of (tank vs. tank battles), but otherwise a lot of the same gruesomeness and gritty warfare and dehumanized soldiers we’ve seen before.  If it weren’t for a lack of strong character development, Fury could have been a war classic.  Fury is a strong entry into the World War II genre, focusing on a much-passed over yet crucial deadly type of war machine (again, tanks), yet still overtly showcasing the horrors and disturbing nature of war.

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }