film reviews

 

A scene from Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli's PHANTOM BOY will play at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, on April 21 - May 5,2016.

Today, it begins! The San Francisco International Film Festival(SFIFF) runs from today, April 21st through Thursday, May 5th. We’ll continue to bring you spotlights of amazing films at the festival, and cover special events and awards. But allow us to give you one last preview of the program with spotlights on two more features and three excellent short film programs. Full program available here.

Phantom Boy
(France/Belgium, 2015, 84 min, Global Visions)

A scene from Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli's PHANTOM BOY will play at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, on April 21 - May 5,2016.

A scene from Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli’s PHANTOM BOY will play at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, on April 21 – May 5,2016.

From the filmmaking team that brought us 2010’s A Cat in Paris comes another fun, beautifully drawn adventure, Phantom Boy. In the film, a young cancer patient with a unique power to engage in out-of-body excursions teams up with a cop to stop a deranged gangster from taking over New York City. Constantly hilarious, always engaging, and totally charming, this film is an instant crowd-pleaser and should be on the top of everyone’s must-see festival list.

Screenings:

  • Sunday, April 24rd, 1:00pm, Alamo Drafthouse

Tickets available here.

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SFIFF59

It’s that wonderful time of the year, again! Yes, time for the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF). The 59th edition of SFIFF will be hosting its two week celebration and screenings of incredible cinema from around the globe — April 21 through May 5. Year after year, Spinning Platters is here to provide you with tons of SFIFF coverage before, during, and after the event. Let’s start you off with four spotlights you should check out when SFIFF59 rolls around…

Microbe & Gasoline
(France, 2015, 105 min, Global Visions)

A scene from Michel Gondry's MICROBE AND GASOLINE will play at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, on April 21 - May 5,2016.

A scene from Michel Gondry’s MICROBE AND GASOLINE will play at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, on April 21 – May 5,2016.

Writer/director Michel Gondry’s newest cinematic entry may be his most charming to date. The whimsical tale of two adolescent friends (nicknamed Microbe and Gasoline) building a mobile tiny house for a chance to roadtrip across France to meet girls and explore the world is everything you’d want it to be — funny, inventive, and entertaining. Gondry’s usual DIY visual panache is less on display — maintaining focus instead on the two young lead characters whose conversations and musings on life transcend audience age groups. You’ll love Microbe & Gasoline!

Screenings:

  • Sunday, April 24rd, 6:00pm, Victoria Theatre
  • Tuesday, April 26th, 5:30pm, Alamo Drafthouse

Tickets available here.

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Film Review: Boyhood

by Gordon Elgart on July 18, 2014

Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater in Boyhood.

Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater in Boyhood.

There are two types of people who are going to see director Richard Linklater’s newest film, Boyhood. There are those who will not know anything about, or perhaps not even care about the history of the making of the film. They may wonder what all the fuss is about. And then there are people like me who know the whole backstory, and will marvel at how this was all done, and realize that what they’re watching is an impossible movie, one that can’t exist. Yet it does, and it’s wonderful. [read the whole post]

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It’s a very funny movie. What more do you need to know?

Zac Efron and Seth Rogen in Neighbors, in a scene chosen by me to get traffic if someone searches for "shirtless Zac Efron"

Zac Efron and Seth Rogen in Neighbors, in a scene chosen by me to get traffic if someone searches for “shirtless Zac Efron”

Comedy is subjective. What’s funny to you isn’t necessarily funny to me. There’s absolutely no way I can tell you that a movie is hilarious, and a must-see, and have it necessarily be the case for you. All that said, if you don’t think Neighbors is a very funny movie, I probably won’t take comedy recommendations from you in the future. It’s OK if you give me the same treatment. I’m guessing you won’t, though; this is as good as it gets in modern movie comedy. [read the whole post]

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The attempt to add meaning to a meaningless story drags down what could have been a fun movie.

The Amazing Spider-Man explains to Jamie Foxx that his character is a one-note waste of time.

The Amazing Spider-Man explains to Jamie Foxx that his character is a one-note waste of time.

When you make a summer movie, the one thing you don’t want to do is find the middle ground between mindless popcorn flick and a well-scripted quality film. This is what Mark Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 does, and because of this, it’s a complete bore with a couple of good bits thrown in.

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Spinning Platters highlights some films from the 57th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), which runs from April 24th through May 8th. Program notes and tickets available at: http://www.sffs.org/festival-home/attend/film-guide

Coherence
(USA, 2013, 89 min.)

Emily Baldoni in James Byrkit's COHERENCE

Emily Baldoni in James Byrkit’s COHERENCE

This low budget mind bender focuses on a dinner party of four couples on a night where a comet passes over Earth, causing some strange occurrences. Director James Ward Byrkit utilized an experimental production process by which he provided the actors with notes for each scene but no script, allowing for truly real reactions, spontaneous behavior, and improvised lines.  Perfect editing and stellar performances create a palpable tension that’s both haunting and personal.  The result is a tightly bound science-fiction indie crowd pleaser that delights with its twists and turns, keeping us guessing from the first to last frame…and afterwards.

Screenings:

  • Tuesday, April 29th, 9:45 PM, Kabuki

Tickets: http://www.sffs.org/festival-home/attend/film-guide/coherence#.U1vag-ZdVU1

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Film Review: Cuban Fury

April 11, 2014
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpiyFHf7GKU

This movie will dance its way into your heart … or something like that. There’s a type of comedy movie called the star vehicle. It’s an old fashioned concept, but basically, it’s when you take a funny person and write a movie around him that plays to his strengths as a comic actor. That’s what […]

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Film Review: The Raid 2

April 7, 2014

The action stuff works so incredibly well, you’ll want a fan edit removing everything else. Gareth Evans knows how to shoot an action scene. This is a high compliment coming from me, because it’s so rare. He knows not to do too many quick cuts, he knows where to put the cameras, and he knows […]

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Film Review: Much Ado About Nothing

June 7, 2013

While the echoes of Shakespeare and his work can be felt in the backbones of modern storytelling for the past few centuries, there is really nothing like the actual stories themselves, and they make for timeless tales that can be endlessly re-performed and re-interpreted. The mostly-blank canvas of a play allows for a great deal […]

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Film Review: 42

April 12, 2013
http://youtu.be/I9RHqdZDCF0

In 1947, the baseball world was introduced to the first black Major League player, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson.  This momentous occasion in the history of our national pastime (and the world, quite arguably), was met with mixed feelings from all points of the sociopolitical spectrum. 42 aims to capture the tension and excitement that […]

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