Sally Hawkins

Five More Spotlights as SFFILM Enters Final Week

The 60th San Francisco International Film Festival wraps up this week, but there’s still time to catch a few screenings before closing day on Thursday; you can browse the schedule and buy tickets here. Stay tuned to Spinning Platters for our final spotlight posts to help finish up the Fest: we’ve got five more here (and you can read Chad’s previous posts here, here, here, and here).

1.) Maudie and Ethan Hawke Tribute
(Canada/Ireland 2016, 115 min. Awards and Tributes)

Everett (Ethan Hawke) and Maud (Sally Hawkins) on their wedding day.

In a true coup for cinephiles, SFFilm presented a tribute to actor Ethan Hawke at the YBCA Theater on April 8th. Following a delightful clip reel of Hawke’s career highlights, Michael Almereyda, Hawke’s director in 2000’s Hamlet, interviewed the actor. Hawke came across as smart, charming, modest, and immensely likable. In a conversation that ranged from Hawke’s start in high school plays to his embodiment of Gen X angst in 1994’s Reality Bites (“It’s a strange feeling to touch the zeitgeist,” he told us), Hawke gamely opened up on topics both professional and personal. His distaste for violence in films drew a round of applause. “It’s very hard to have a career in professional movies and not kill people,” he said, mentioning that Roger Ebert once toasted him for not killing anyone on screen until Hamlet. Movies that deal with connecting with other people are what he’s most drawn to, he told us, which helps explain his continuing collaboration with Richard Linklater, who memorably cast Hawke in the critically acclaimed Before Sunrise trilogy and Boyhood.

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Roaring (and lumbering) back into action!

Godzilla's so vain, he probably thinks this movie's about him.

Godzilla’s so vain, he probably thinks this movie’s about him.

In comparison to 1998’s embarrassing excuse for a blockbuster, Godzilla (directed by Roland Emmerich), most popcorn flicks look Oscar worthy.  What’s refreshing about 2014’s Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters), is that it shows off some remarkably cool modern sequences while embracing the traditional look and feel of the classic Godzilla films and the summer movies of the late 70’s that established the blockbuster sub-genre.  After the overload of monsters and CG destruction we see in movies these days, it’s a relief to know that there’s still room for a film to embrace the origins of both and still surprise us.  Welcome back, Godzilla.

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Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann present their Top 10 Films of 2013.  Here’s Carrie’s list, presented in alphabetical order.

1.) All is Lost
Robert Refdord struggles against the elements in All is Lost.

Robert Redford struggles against the elements in All is Lost.

That a film with just a single actor and virtually no dialog can be absolutely riveting is a testament both to Robert Redford’s brilliant acting and to writer/director J.C. Chandor’s exceptional skill at his craft. Redford says more with his rugged face and worried eyes than most actors do with a wordy, five-star script. Not since Jaws and The Perfect Storm has a film so totally absorbed us in a man-against-sea survival story. And Chandor’s ambiguous ending lends itself to hours of debate and discussion; everyone who has seen this film has a strong opinion, and that a near-silent film can generate such passion makes it special and noteworthy. [read the whole post]

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Film Review: Blue Jasmine

by Carrie Kahn on August 2, 2013

A Muni bus named 14-Mission: Blanche DuBois on South Van Ness

Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) ponders her life in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine

Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) ponders her future with the help of a little whiskey

I am willing to forgive Woody Allen the misstep that was last year’s disappointing and forgettable To Rome With Love, since perhaps he needed to get that rote entry out of his system in order to make one of his finest films in years, Blue Jasmine. Sure to become one of his best known pictures, on par with such perceptive and tightly constructed works as Interiors, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Match Point, this terrific film will no doubt be a strong contender for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress at Oscar time.   [read the whole post]

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Yasmine Paige and Craig Roberts in SUBMARINE

starring: Craig Roberts, Yasmine Paige, Noah Taylor, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine

written by: Richard Ayoade (screenplay), Joe Dunthorne (novel)

directed by: Richard Ayoade

MPAA: Rated R for language and some sexual content.

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