San Francisco

(Films #31-#40 of Chad’s goal of seeing 60 films to commemorate SF Film Festival’s 60th anniversary! #60for60th)

The 60th SFFILM Festival is HALFWAY through! Be sure to get your tickets now — visit http://www.sffilm.org/festival for tickets and info. Also, be sure to check back here frequently, or follow along at our Facebook page and on Twitter (or follow film critics Carrie Kahn- @CKCinephile / Chad Liffmann- @chadcarsten). And now, time for 10 more spotlights:

The Paris Opera
(France/Switzerland 2017, 110 min; French/English with English subtitles)

A scene from THE PARIS OPERA, screening at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5-19, 2017.

This documentary is fascinating! The Paris Opera takes audiences behind the scenes of the legendary Palais Garnier and the newer Opéra Bastille, both in Paris. We meet a few veterans and some new members of the venues’ onstage talent for their show season, as well as some of the organizational heads. Director Jean-Stéphane Bron keeps the film tight and fluid, ensuring the excess fat is cut and leaving only the most interesting aspects of the run-of-show. To be honest, even the presumably mundane operations are more engaging than I’d imagine. From auditions and prop-finding to administrative tasks and marketing, this charming inside look is entertaining for fans of ballet, opera, and fans of interesting subject matters in general! 

No more screenings at SFFILM Festival.

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(Films #21-#30 of Chad’s goal of seeing 60 films to commemorate SF Film Festival’s 60th anniversary! #60for60th)

The 60th SFFILM Festival is in full swing! Be sure to get your tickets now — visit http://www.sffilm.org/festival for tickets and info. Also, be sure to check back here frequently, or follow along at our Facebook page and on Twitter (or follow film critics Carrie Kahn- @CKCinephile / Chad Liffmann- @chadcarsten). And now, time for 10 more spotlights:

Bending the Arc
(USA 2017, 102 min; in English, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Kinyarwanda with English subtitles)

A scene from BENDING THE ARC, playing at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5-19, 2017.

This incredible documentary follows the origination and long-lasting impact of a few medical students (Paul Farmer, Ophelia Dahl, Jim Yong Kim) who cared so deeply for universal health care that they were willing to take the emotional, financial, and life-threatening plunge into war torn and disease stricken countries to defend and advance it. Bending the Arc can be both infuriating and inspiring as it brings to light some of the most wonderful humanitarian efforts that challenge the systemic greed and social inequality that has greatly influenced the health of the world for far too long.

Screenings:
(click here for tickets)

  • Friday, April 14th, 5:00 pm, Castro Theatre

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Old 97’s: Ken Bethea, Rhett Miller, Murry Hammond. Not pictured: Drummer Philip Peeples. Photo by Mark Couvillion, used under Creative Commons.

Old 97’s: Ken Bethea, Rhett Miller, Murry Hammond. Not pictured: Drummer Philip Peeples. Photo by Mark Couvillion, used under Creative Commons.

The Old 97’s are an alternative country band hailing from Austin; they have been playing twangy rock and roll for the past 24 years. Their songs are three minutes of catchy hooks, marrying country twang with a dash of punk. Their wry cynicism doesn’t mope or lecture – it bursts with joyful irreverence in songs about angst, or love, or angsty love, or drinking, or drinking and sex. Their love songs are what keep me coming back to them: well crafted little songs about the messy complications of being so entwined with another person. [read the whole post]

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A chat with the singer/songwriter the week of her debut album release!

If you were a frequent client of Green Apple Books in the Inner Richmond, and especially if you attended their live music series, then perhaps you’re already familiar with singer/songwriter Ronnie Carrier. Though she moved to Portland last year, her guitar twangin’, foot stompin’ music, filled with literary depths, can now flood your home/phone/computer speakers via her full-length album debut, Lost In The Eclectic, which comes out Friday, April 7th (with an upcoming SF show on 4/14). I had the fantastic opportunity to ask her a few questions after listening to the new album:

First of all, it’s so great to see (and hear) your first full length album, “Lost In The Eclectic”, come to fruition. How do you feel now that it’s completed?

Thank you! The first word that comes to mind is “relieved”, but also there’s a side of nervous excitement. I’m very proud of this album – now that I’m presenting it, I get to find out how the story translates to the people who listen to my music. I’m excited to hear what listeners get out of this, and I hope it is something worthwhile.

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This is the new synth party in town — and it’s as aggressive as it is danceable

Adrien Grousset of Carpenter Brut

Adrien Grousset of Carpenter Brut

An intriguing new in heavy electronic music is a genre known as “dark synthwave”, and numerous artists that fall under its umbrella have been snarling their way into existence. It brings along the sounds of retro analog synths, thundering snares, and wildly vibrant guitars, possessed of a vibe reminiscent of action movies and old-school video games; a colleague of mine referred to it as “French musicians playing the best music for driving 100MPH in 80s cars”, and it’s a rather apt description. Players like Perturbator and Gost have made their way into the Bay Area in recent months, and closing out the month of March was Carpenter Brut, the one-man-masterpiece of one Franck Hueso (or “Frank B. Carpenter” as his live moniker) that mashes up the ideas of John Carpenter’s action/horror films with a blast of furious guitars and drums to drive the music at a fevered pace.

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(Films #11-#20 of Chad’s goal of seeing 60 films to commemorate SF Film Festival’s 60th anniversary! #60for60th)

Our preview coverage of the 60th SFFILM Festival continues! Be sure to get your tickets now — visit http://www.sffilm.org/festival for tickets and info. Also, be sure to check back here frequently, or follow along at our Facebook page and on Twitter (or follow film critics Carrie Kahn- @CKCinephile / Chad Liffmann- @chadcarsten). And now, time for 10 more spotlights:

Heaven Sent
(France/Lebanon 2016, 70 min; in Lebanese with English subtitles)

A scene from HEAVEN SENT, playing at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5-19, 2017.

Uproariously absurd and twistedly entertaining, Heaven Sent is a rewarding dark comedy from the Middle East. It features a tight script and talented actors with superb comedic timing. The story revolves around a celebrity’s bodyguard, Omar, whose life is turned upside down when his presumed dead soldier brother returns out-of-the-blue. Even with some political jabs, director Wissam Charaf still invites the audience to laugh with solid slapstick and visual gags. Much of the film’s biting satire stems from the audience’s pre-existing knowledge of the ongoing war in the Middle East, and thus to contrast that knowledge with the hilariously trivial annoyances of Omar’s life become more and more comedically pronounced as the film unfolds. Definitely see Heaven Sent with a full house, since laughter is infectious!

Screenings:
(click here for tickets)

  • Thursday, April 13th, 9:00 pm, YBCA Screening Room
  • Friday, April 14th, 6:00 pm, Alamo Drafthouse
  • Tuesday, April 18th, 6:30 pm, Alamo Drafthouse

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Show Review: Japandroids w/Craig Finn and the Uptown Controllers at The Fillmore, 3/15/2017

March 21, 2017

A passionate, spellbinding set at the final leg of the duo’s North American tour If you can believe it, five long years have passed since the last time that Japandroids came to San Francisco and took over The Fillmore, and it’s been far too long of a wait. Their 2012 work Celebration Rock marked a pivotal shift […]

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SFFILM Festival Spotlights #1

March 17, 2017
vimeo.com/20852777

(Films #1-#10 of Chad’s goal of seeing 60 films to commemorate SF Film Festival’s 60th anniversary! #60for60th) The SF Film Festival is back and celebrating its 60th year! It’ll be taking place at venues in San Francisco and the East Bay from April 5-19. Once again, Spinning Platters is thrilled to provide you extensive coverage of the films, […]

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SF Sketchfest Review: The JV Club w/Janet Varney and guests Rachel Dratch, Jon Hamm, and musical guest Matt Nathanson at Brava Theater Center, 1/28/17

February 13, 2017

I’ve always liked Janet Varney, who I knew almost exclusively from her work with Thrilling Adventure Hour, but once someone made the connection for me that she was one of the co-founders of SF Sketchfest, my admiration for her ratcheted up quite a few notches. So, she’s super funny, and likeable, and charming, and kind of a […]

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SF Sketchfest Review: Rock Solid with Pat Francis, Kyle Dodson, and special guest “Weird Al” Yankovic at Swedish American Hall, 1/21/2017

February 13, 2017

Show 2 of my 3 at this year’s SF Sketchfest was last weekend at Swedish American Hall on a chilly grey Saturday afternoon. What better way to spend such a day than laughing with Pat Francis taping a live Rock Solid podcast with Kyle Dodson and special guest “Weird Al” Yankovic? I couldn’t think of anything […]

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