Michael Keaton

The ultimate movie-by-committee goes for spectacular, but is less than amazing

Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) gives fatherly advice to young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Sometimes a movie has a story to tell, and sometimes it doesn’t. This movie doesn’t. It has a purpose, for sure. It has a goal in mind and it competently makes every effort to get there, and objectively, it does. Unfortunately, the goal was not to make a meaningful movie; it was simply to check all the boxes on what makes an “entertaining” one. This is a bland, corporate product that goes down easy, but is forgettable from beginning to end.

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Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2015

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2015. Here is Carrie’s list, presented in alphabetical order. (And you can find Chad’s here.)

1.) Brooklyn

Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) shares a tender moment with boyfriend Tony (Emory Cohen).

The immigrant experience in America is exquisitely captured in director John Crowley’s finely crafted film about love, loss, and longing in 1950s Brooklyn. Based on the novel by Colm Tóibín, Nick Hornby’s screenplay presents us with the intrepid young Irish woman Eilis, who leaves her family in the Irish countryside for adventure and opportunity in New York. Saoirse Ronan suberbly conveys Eilis’s gradual shift from shy newcomer to confident cosmopolitan. Called back home for a family emergency, Eilis must choose between familiar comforts and new possibilities, and Ronan depicts Eilis’s struggle with heartrending openness and aching honesty. Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson, as competing suitors on opposite sides of the Atlantic, also deliver strong, sharply drawn performances.

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Film Review: Spotlight

by Carrie Kahn on November 13, 2015

Power of the press is real hero of McCarthy’s inspiring, well-executed picture

The Boston Globe Spotlight team (from left: Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, and Mark Ruffalo) uncover a major story.

Writer/director Tom McCarthy is perhaps best known for his character-driven films like The Station Agent, The Visitor, and Up. With his new film Spotlight, though, McCarthy stresses the story itself, yet his film proves just as successful – if not actually more so – than his earlier pictures that favored rich character development. Indeed, not since 1976’s All the President’s Men has a film so deftly and engagingly captured the heart-pounding excitement of intrepid reporters uncovering a major story of enormous national significance.

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Film Review: Minions

by Chad Liffmann on July 10, 2015

Oh, so cute! Yet even more minions would’ve served Minions better.

Bob and Kevin and Stuart. Three Three (Minion) Stooges.

Bob and Kevin and Stuart. Three Three (Minion) Stooges.

I’m not going to get too bogged down with analyzing the storyline or characters here (other than the Minions). The story actually well suits a feature-length treatment for these until-now side characters: After many millennia searching and serving (and inevitably losing) the biggest and baddest bosses they could find, three Minions leave their “colony” to find a new big bad boss. Honestly, I could watch 90 minutes of these adorable yellow pill-shaped creatures reading to each other in a classroom. With a language consisting of 50% Italian, 40% gibberish, and 10% random sounds, unique personalities befitting each standardly-named individual, and an unparalleled sense of loyalty, these little guys are too cute to dislike.

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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: Birdman

by Carrie Kahn on October 24, 2014

What We Talk About When We Talk About Birdman

Riggan (Michael Keaton) is shadowed by his alter ego, BIRDMAN!

Riggan (Michael Keaton) is shadowed by his alter ego, BIRDMAN!

Much of the recent press coverage of writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s new film Birdman has focused on the film’s meta aspects concerning the casting of actor Michael Keaton in the lead role as a former big screen superhero trying to restart his career. Keaton himself famously played Batman in two films over 20 years ago, only to find his star fading as new actors assumed the role. In interviews, Keaton has been asked repeatedly about being cast in a role so close to his own reality, and he has steadfastly distanced himself from speculating on any deeper meaning of the coincidence. I think it’s important, then, to look at the film on its own terms, and not just as some sort of reflection of Keaton’s career arc. And, indeed, the movie is one of the fall season’s best so far – a highly entertaining, wickedly funny, brilliant black comedy.

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