michael cera

BLAP! ZLOTT! KAPOW! LEGO Batman punches its way to be one of the most entertaining DC movies yet

Batman is reeeaaally annoyed by Robin.

Fresh off the disappointing start to the expanded DC cinematic universe with Batman v Superman and Suicide Squadin swings The LEGO Batman Movie, a refreshingly funny meta action flick. Will Arnett reprises his vocal role as the caped crusader, his second feature film appearance since stealing the show in the 2014 smash hit The LEGO MovieIt was only eight months after The LEGO Movie‘s initial theatrical release that Warner Bros. announced that Arnett/Batman was to get his own flick, ultimately helmed by Robot Chicken producer Chris McKay. The quick trigger finger wasn’t without merit. Inspired by Christian Bale’s most recent take on Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and with the endless ability to skewer the super hero universe and genre that have been constantly under the microscope lately, LEGO Batman was a sure bet. And, indeed, the bet paid off. The LEGO Batman Movie is a fun, frenetic, visual marvel with a little less witty humor and heart than its LEGO film predecessor. But with enough laughs and dazzling animation to ensure its blockbuster status, it also places among the best superhero films of the last few years.

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… in which our intrepid California-bred Senior Film Reviewer defies an epic winter storm and a fierce chest cold to bring you highlights from this year’s famous Park City fest.

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival ended last Saturday evening after ten days of showcasing over 200 films from around the globe; you can see all the winners here.

For the third year in a row, Spinning Platters was on the (snow-covered) ground trying to take in as many movies as our limited time and budget would allow. And so we bring you the first of our posts spotlighting the 17 films we managed to squeeze in to just over five days.

Many of these may receive distribution deals (if they haven’t already), so you can know what to watch for in the coming year with these handy capsule reviews, which use our patented Sundance Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide:

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A profound examination of religious faith — buried deep, deep within a hilariously crude, offensive, foul-mouthed animated film.

Oh, sh*t, these foods are f**cking foul-mouthed!

Oh, sh*t, these foods are f**cking foul-mouthed!

Imagine if Toy Story was written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and then sprinkled with a dash of Caligula. Even that probably doesn’t quite capture just how far Sausage Party goes in terms of it’s R-related language and content (supposedly it came close to an NC-17 rating, until they toned it down — yes, toned it down!). As advertised, the cast and creators of This is the End are back, this time to infuse their stoner, ultra-sexualized, black comedy into an animated feature. Sausage Party goes a step beyond just shock-value to deliver its laughs, serving a healthy does of side-splitting puns, curse-words, pop culture references, and hilarious characters. But Sausage Party is also an incredibly clever film. It disguises it’s more contemplative themes of divinity, the existence of an afterlife, and the triviality of religious tensions within the entertaining muck of a hilariously perverse one-note culinary joke — that anthropomorphic foods discover that they’re all doomed to be devoured by humans.

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Sundance 2015 Spotlights: Five Feature Films

Sundance

Braving the chill, the dry air, and the self-importance of the L.A. film industry folks who don’t turn off their cell phones during screenings, Senior Film Reviewer Carrie Kahn brings you these first spotlights (more to follow) from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT, which closes this Sunday, February 1st.

From the good, the mediocre, to the downright horrific, some of these films may receive distribution deals and be widely released in the coming year. Lucky for you, we here at Spinning Platters are ready and willing to let you know which films to see and which to miss. We’ll start with five feature films, and our handy Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide will steer you in the right direction. [read the whole post]

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My final two spotlights from the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), which ends today. Information and tickets for the day’s final films at: http://festival.sffs.org/

Crystal Fairy
(Chile 2012, 100 min; English and Spanish with English subtitles)

Michael Cera in Crystal Fairy

Michael Cera in Crystal Fairy

Michael Cera is comically brilliant as Jamie, a know-it-all American seeking a mescaline high in Chile. Chilean director Sebastian Silva contrasts Jamie’s self-absorption and rigidity with fellow American Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffman). She’s free-spirited and new-agey, yet endears herself to Jamie and the Chilean brothers travelling with them; watching her conflict with Jamie is terrific fun. Silva’s very funny, sweet picture proves that even the most annoying of us are capable of growth and compassion.

Next showing:
Opens nationwide July 12, 2013. [read the whole post]

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Music and Sketches? Get It? Ha Ha Ha!

As San Franciscans, we love festivals. We also love music and laughs, and it seems that line is blurring between the two worlds more & more everyday. And, although our music festivals have been littered with comedians quite a bit lately, especially with Tenacious D functioning as headliner at least year’s Outside Lands Festival, the music leaking in to the comedy festivals has been a bit subtler. That’s why we’re here to guide you through the music of San Francisco’s Sketchfest. There is lot going on, and a lot of very special things that will pique the interest of any music nerd.

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