Romain Duris

All the money can’t buy happiness in Scott’s tense new thriller

Gail (Michelle Williams) waits to speak with her ex-father-in-law.

There’s no such thing as bad publicity, the saying goes, and so director Ridley Scott’s new film All the Money in the World had already captivated the public interest months before its release today. As most readers are probably aware, the bad publicity here was the revelation back in October that the film’s original lead, Kevin Spacey, had sexually harassed actor Anthony Rapp when he was 14. Spacey controversially apologized, but the damage was done; in early November, Scott and the film’s production team made the extraordinary decision to reshoot all Spacey’s scenes with a new actor, just three weeks before the film’s scheduled opening.
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We’re midway through the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), and we’ve got more spotlights for you! There’s still a week of films and events left to go, so it’s not too late to get in on the fun; the Festival closes May 7th. Tickets and more information can be found here, and keep checking Spinning Platters for more coverage. In the meantime, here are four more Festival titles to check out:

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
(USA, 2015, 104 min, Added Programs)

Greg (Thomas Mann) and Rachel (Olivia Cooke) prepare to face the chaos of their high school cafeteria.

Mostly known for his TV work (Glee, American Horror Story), director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon was the darling of Sundance this January, deservedly winning both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for this outstanding, off-beat picture based on the popular novel of the same name. Funny, sweet, and sad without being maudlin, Gomez’s film has all the classic quirky charm of a Sundance hit, combined with the refreshing honesty of the best recent coming of age films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Way Way Back. When awkward Greg (Thomas Mann) is forced by his Mom (Connie Britton) to befriend Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate with leukemia, he and his best friend Earl (RJ Cyler) embark on a project to make a film for her (their movies are short, altered, and hilarious versions of classics; A Clockwork Orange become A Sockwork Orange, for example, filmed with sock puppets). With terrific supporting turns by Nick Offerman as Greg’s dad and Molly Shannon as Rachel’s mom, the entire cast is first-rate. Gomez has made 2015’s first absolute-must-see film. Don’t miss it.

Screenings:

  • Will open widely on June 12th; check your local theater listings.

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Coverage of the 57th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) continues at Spinning Platters with four more film spotlights. Program notes and tickets available here.

Young and Beautiful
(France 2013, 93 min; French with English subtitles)

Isabelle est jeune et jolie.

Isabelle est jeune et belle.

French actress Marine Vacth is riveting in François Ozon’s drama about Isabelle, a 17-year-old high school student who loses her virginity during the summer and is working as a call girl by fall. Isabelle’s story unfolds over the course of four seasons, and we see the effect her choices have on her, her family, and her older male clients. Is Isabelle naively experimenting, working out unresolved father issues, or shrewdly and coldly wielding her newly discovered sexual power almost sociopathically? Is Isabelle even capable of forming real emotional bonds? Ozon’s intense psychological exploration of Isabelle’s choices and motivations isn’t always easy to watch – and Isabelle isn’t always a sympathetic character – but her story is deeply affecting, and you’ll be mulling over the answers to the questions the film raises long after it ends.

Screenings:

  • Monday, April 28th, 9:30pm, Kabuki
  • Thursday, May 1st, 3:45pm, Kabuki
  • Also opens at Landmark’s Opera Plaza and Shattuck Theaters on May 9th

Tickets available here.

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