Richard Linklater

The Sundance Film Festival ran from January 18th to 28th this year; over 120 films were shown in ten days. For the fourth year in a row, I was on the (often snowy) ground, knocking out almost 20 films in five days in order to bring you the Best of the Fest. I present here the ten best films I saw – five features, four documentaries, and one special screening. Keep your eyes out for these during the coming year, as they are well worth your time and money. And if you’d like to know all the films that took home awards this year, you can see the winners here.


1.) Search
(USA 2017, 101 min. Directed by Aneesh Chaganty. Category: Next)

Worried father David Kim (John Cho) uses the Internet to search for his missing daughter.

The word innovative doesn’t even come close to doing filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty’s first feature film justice. Using a narrative that unfolds completely on a computer screen (via video chats, texts, emails, Internet searches, and news videos), Chaganty immerses us in the story of recently widowed dad David (John Cho, excellent as always) and his desperate search for his missing teenage daughter Margot (Michelle La). Debra Messing, cast against type, is terrific as the San Jose police detective heading the investigation. Filled with red herrings and twists and turns you’ll never see coming, Chaganty and co-writer Sev Ohanian’s South Bay-set mystery is as imaginative as their method of telling it. Both a celebration and a critique of our increasing reliance on technology, the brilliantly executed Search is my hands-down favorite film of the Festival. Sony Pictures acquired the picture for five million dollars in one of the Festival’s biggest buys, so a wide release will be forthcoming. The film also deservedly won both an audience award and the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize. Don’t miss this one. [read the whole post]


Film Review: Last Flag Flying

by Chris Piper on November 10, 2017

Time heals all wounds, mostly

Sal (Bryan Cranston), Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), and Doc (Steve Carell) on one last mission

Sal (Bryan Cranston), Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), and Doc (Steve Carell) on one last mission.

Here’s an interesting number, 18, which is the number of feature films directed by Richard Linklater. He’s made a film about rootless Austin hipsters, a film about 70’s high school escapades, a film about 80’s college escapades, a film about opening a school of rock, a film about a ragtag little league baseball team, a film about growing up, even a film about two erstwhile friends, their shared lover, and two hours of very tense conversation.  It’s an impressive number, 18, and would seemingly cover just about every conceivable theme. But whatever the plot, whichever the characters, wherever the setting, Linklater always makes films about time. And his 19th film, Last Flag Flying, is once again a film about time.

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Nobody will want any of Linklater’s tedious newest

Hangin’ out. So. Much. Hangin’ out.

Remember that time in college when you sat around your buddy’s room, listening to records, smoking pot and talking about Carl Sagan and old Twilight Zone episodes? Or that time you went to a super freaky party thrown by theater majors? Or that time your housemate got totally bent because you beat him at ping pong? You don’t? Well, writer/director Richard Linklater sure does, and he’s going to make you relive all those experiences and more in his meandering, occasionally funny, but mostly dull new picture Everybody Wants Some!! When you need not one, but two exclamation points to take the place of genuine excitement in your film, you know you’re in trouble. [read the whole post]


Film critics Carrie and Chad on who will – and who should – win the 87th Academy Awards

The 87th Academy Awards air this Sunday, February 22nd on ABC at 5:00pm PST (red carpet coverage begins at 4:00, if you want to dish on fashion highs and lows). There are some tight races this year – Best Picture and Best Actor are especially hard to call. Here are Carrie and Chad’s predictions – and hopes – for the major categories:
[read the whole post]


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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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]


SFIFF Spotlights #7: Boyhood/Pioneer/Freedom Summer/Little Accidents

May 6, 2014

Spinning Platters brings you more spotlights from the 57th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), which continues through this Thursday, May 8th. Program notes and tickets available here.  There is still plenty of time to catch some screenings, and you can also see many of the films as they open widely throughout the year. Boyhood […]

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Film Review: Before Midnight

May 30, 2013

I was excited to see Before Midnight, the third film in the series directed by Richard Linklater that, in a way, I felt like I grew up with. The characters of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) have always been so strong in my closet-romantic pseudo-intellectual imagination. I’m not going to pretend for a minute that I’m not a sucker […]

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Spinning Platters Interview: Richard Linklater on “Bernie”

May 15, 2012”

Ever since leisurely ambling onto the cinematic scene with his generation-defining 1991 classic Slacker, Richard Linklater has remained one of the most influential and innovative figures in American independent film. A restless creative force frequently driven to push himself into personally uncharted territory, Linklater’s filmography is remarkably diverse: ensembles pieces beloved (Dazed and Confused) and […]

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