Sam Elliott

With this final spotlights post, we bring our coverage of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to a close (you can read the previous posts here and here). We conclude by taking a look at six more feature films, once again using our world famous Sundance Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide to discern those films to seek out and those to avoid. Enjoy, and we’ll hope to see you in Park City next year!

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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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The animation bar has been raised! (even as the story bar is lowered)

Arlo reenacts a scene from Avatar.

Arlo reenacts a scene from Avatar.

It has always been said that (nearly) every Pixar film raises the bar for animated storytelling. Other studios had a hard time keeping up with the incredible stories and emotional journeys Pixar kept churning out. The bar for animated storytelling was raised to unimaginable heights with this year’s Inside Out. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Pixar’s second offering of 2015, The Good Dinosaur. What can be said is that The Good Dinosaur features the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous, photo-realistic animated environments ever put on screen. The groundbreaking animation, along with a reliable blend of adult and kid humor that only Pixar can expertly balance, help carry along a serviceable (if not weak) story to ensure the delivery of a well-rounded family film.

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Film Review: Grandma

by Carrie Kahn on August 28, 2015

Tomlin’s feminist Grandma takes to the road in sharp black comedy

Sage (Julia Garner, left), and her grandmother Elle (Lily Tomlin) are unhappy participants in an impromptu road trip.

At 75, Lily Tomlin has had such a long, varied acting career that few may not realize she hasn’t actually had a leading role in a film since the 1988 comedy Big Business. Thanks to writer/director Paul Weitz, though, who directed Tomlin as Tina Fey’s mother in 2013’s Admission, Tomlin returns to brilliantly helm a picture in Weitz’s smart and engaging Grandma, which opens widely today after rightfully garnering much praise at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

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Sundance 2015 Spotlights: Six Feature Films

Sundance

The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT, closed last Sunday, February 1st, and the award winners were announced that day; they can be found here.

Spinning Platters Sr. Film Reviewer Carrie Kahn continues her coverage of Festival films, so you can know what to look for in the coming year – and what to avoid – as many of these titles are purchased and widely distributed

As a reminder, we are using our patented Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide to advise you accordingly:

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