Top 10

Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2016

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2016. Here is Carrie’s list, presented, unlike last year’s alphabetized list, in descending rank order. And you can check out Chad’s list here to see which one of us you agree with more!

10.) Nocturnal Animals

Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal, middle) arrives at a possible crime scene with lawman Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon, r.).

Sometimes the story-within-the-story convention can be confusing or feel gimmicky, but in this visually stunning picture from fashion designer turned filmmaker Tom Ford, the technique works to terrific effect. Amy Adams, as a woman haunted by a decision she made years ago, reads a manuscript sent to her by her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), and that story comes alive on screen in the form of family man Tony (Gyllenhaal again) and his confrontation with some dangerous, deranged miscreants. Ford’s keen aesthetic vision and sharp performances by Adams, Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon as a tenacious lawman combine to make this brutally poetic but utterly captivating film one of the year’s most definitively unusual. (You can also read my full-length review here.)

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The competition this year was not quite as violent as that between Wells & Coffey.  (Photo: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress))
The competition this year was not quite as violent as that between Wells & Coffey.
(Photo: George Grantham Bain Collection/Library of Congress)

2015 marks the 7th consecutive time that the collective staff of Spinning Platters have come together, selected our favorite records of the year, and then spent the following month listening to every possible contender on the list and picking the best of the best. With such an eclectic mix of music — from creative genres birthed into existence, to old artists returning to the fray, and, of course, new works by those still deftly holding fast in the tumult — it definitely made for an interesting set of choices. This year, we had a whopping 54 albums to choose from, and narrowed that list down to our ten favorites over the course of five weeks. Here are the records that made it to the final round.

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Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2014

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2014.  Here is Chad’s list, presented in reverse order of greatness; you can also see Carrie’s list here.

10.) Snowpiercer
Chris Evans rises to the occassion.

Chris Evans rises to the occassion.

Snowpiercer, Bong Joon-ho’s masterful post-apocalyptic thriller, was forced to fly beneath the radar since it was released on the same day as the horrific yet unfortunately box office dominating Transformers: Age of Extinction.  Set in a human-created ice age in which the last survivors on the planet ride around on a crazy-long bullet train, Snowpiercer uses its science-fiction fantasy premise to punctuate some terrifying reflections on the socio-political tensions of modern day society.  Chris Evans turns in another solid action hero performance (duh, Captain America) and Tilda Swinton is wicked good as the cruel and quirky “voice”/messenger of the upper class.

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Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2014

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2014. Here is Carrie’s list, presented in alphabetical order. And you can see Chad’s list here.

1.) Boyhood

Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane are outstanding as a mother and son who grow and change together.

Filmed intermittently over 12 years, Richard Linklater’s film chronicling a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from ages six to 18 in real time is both a technical marvel and a cinematic masterpiece. There has been nothing like it before on screen, and there will no doubt be nothing like it again. Utterly unique in scope and vision, the film lets us watch a life develop in front of our very eyes, with all of its attendant hopes, dreams, achievements, and disappointments. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke play Mason’s parents, changing and growing right alongside him and his older sister (Lorelei Linklater). An absolutely dazzling achievement that will leave you breathless and awed, Linklater’s picture is sure to be the one to beat for Best Picture come Oscar time. (You can also read Gordon’s full-length review here).

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Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann present their Top 10 Films of 2013.  Here’s Chad’s list, presented in the order of which he feels they deserve to be ranked (1 being the best, 10 being pretty damn good too!)

1.) Inside Llewyn Davis
"If it was never new and it never gets old, then it's a folk song"

“If it was never new and it never gets old, then it’s a folk song”

The Coen brothers newest film is a hilarious, thought-provoking, darkly intelligent, musical journey into the 1961 New York folk music scene.  Featuring masterful performances under the direction of master filmmakers, Inside Llewyn Davis is a documentary of sorts — accurately capturing a time period and a historical mentality…yet its message is timeless.

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outsidelands

Whenever the line up for a big festival is released, everyone is always talking about the headliners. However, there are a lot more than just the headliners performing. You have nearly 100 bands performing over the course of three days, and there is a good chance that there is an amazing band in the bottom half of the bill that you will love, but you’re going to miss. Don’t do that. You paid your $250. You should get your money’s worth. Come out early. (Also, the food lines are so much shorter before 3 PM)

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