Friday September 13 – Thursday September 19

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Featured Film:

Fagara at the AMC Pacific Place

There’s a bunch of great stuff out there on Seattle Screens this week. The Beacon has Roberto Minervini’s excellent doc What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? along with more killer 2010s action movies: Baahubali: the ConclusionThe Raid and DreddMaster Z and The Grandmaster (in its original, Chinese cut, not the Weinsteined one that originally got released here). Art House Theatre Day this Wednesday brings In Fabric to the Grand and the Uptown and Putney Swope to the Grand Illusion, while Polyester plays Thursday at the Central Cinema and the Uptown on Tuesday has the brilliant meta-zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead (I know that sounds bad, but really, it’s very good). And the Northwest Film Forum kicks the city’s Kiarostami Retrospective into high gear with The Traveler and Where is the Friend’s Home. But I’m going with the most under-the-radar pick for our Featured Film this week, and that is the Heiward Mak-directed, Sammi Cheng-starring family drama Fagara playing only at the Pacific Place. It’s a warm, lovely movie with a terrific cast and a lot of tasty-looking hotpot. 

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 
Official Secrets (Gavin Hood) Fri-Thurs 
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman) Fri-Thurs 
Freaks (Adam Stein, Zach Lipovsky) Fri-Thurs 

The Beacon Cinema:

What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? (Roberto Minervini) Fri-Thurs 
Trading Places (John Landis, 1983) Fri, Tues & Weds Only 
The Best Friday the 13th Movie (???, ???) Fri Only 
Baahubali: The Conclusion (SS Rajamouli, 2017) Sat Only Our Review 
Mission Impossible: Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie, 2018) Sat Only 
Unico in the Island of Magic (Moribi Murano, 1983) Sun Only 
The Raid (Gareth Evans, 2011) Sun Only 
Dredd (Pete Travis, 2012) Sun Only 
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (Yuen Woo-ping) Mon & Tues Only Our Review 
Daisies (Věra Chytilová, 1966) Weds & Thurs Only 
The Grandmaster (Wong Kar-wai, 2013) Thurs & Next Mon Only Our Podcast 

Central Cinema:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (John Hughes, 1986) Fri-Sun, Tues & Weds 
Liquid Sky (Slava Tsukerman, 1982) Fri-Sun, Tues & Weds 
Polyester (John Waters, 1982) Thurs Only Free Screening

SIFF Egyptian:

We Are the Radical Monarchs (Linda Goldstein Knowlton) Thurs Only 

Century Federal Way:

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Robert Wise, 1979) Sun & Weds Only 

Grand Cinema:

Honeyland (Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov) Fri-Thurs 
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman) Fri-Thurs 
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling, 1982) Sat Only 
American Heretics: The Politics of Gospel (Jeanine Isabel Butler) Tues Only 
Say Amen Somebody (George T. Nierenberg, 1982) Weds Only 
In Fabric (Peter Strickland) Weds Only Our Podcast 

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Jay Myself (Stephen Wilkes) Fri-Thurs  
The Films of Sarah Jacobson Fri, Sat & Tues Only 
Utano Princesama Maji LOVE Kingdom Movie (Jouji Furuta) Sat & Sun Only 
Putney Swope (Robert Downey, 1969) Weds Only 

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Gang Leader (Vikram K. Kumar) Fri-Thurs 
Dream Girl (Raaj Shaandilyaa) Fri-Thurs 
Official Secrets (Gavin Hood) Fri-Thurs 
Brother’s Day (Kalabhavan Shajohn) Fri-Thurs 
Pailwaan (S. Krishna) Fri-Thurs 
Section 375 (Ajay Bahl) Fri-Thurs 
Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 
Chhichhore (Nitesh Tiwari) Fri-Thurs 
Mission Mangal (Jagan Shakti) Fri-Thurs 
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Robert Wise, 1979) Sun & Weds Only 

Regal Meridian:

Chhichhore (Nitesh Tiwari) Fri-Thurs 
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman) Fri-Thurs 
Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 
Aquarela (Viktor Kossakovsky) Fri-Thurs 
Tokyo Ghoul S (Kazuhiko Hiramaki & Takuya Kawasaki) Mon & Weds Only 
Promare (Hiroyuki Imaishi) Tues & Thurs Only Dubbed Tues

Northwest Film Forum:

Say Amen Somebody (George T. Nierenberg, 1982) Fri-Thurs 
Rezo (Levan Gabriadze) Sat & Sun Only 
Where is the Friend’s Home? (Abbas Kiarostami, 1987) Sat Only 
The Traveler (Abbas Kiarostami, 1974) Mon Only 
Seattle Arabian Nights Festival 2019 – LGBTQ Shorts Thurs Only 

AMC Pacific Place:

Fagara (Heiward Mak) Fri-Thurs Our Review 
Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Saaho (Sujeeth) Fri-Thurs Telugu
Chhichhore (Nitesh Tiwari) Fri-Thurs 
Just a Stranger (Jason Paul Laxamana) Fri-Thurs 
Tod@s Caen (Ariel Winograd) Fri-Thurs 
Don’t Let Go (Jacob Aaron Estes) Fri-Thurs 

AMC Seattle:

Luce (Julius Onah) Fri-Thurs 
Official Secrets (Gavin Hood) Fri-Thurs 
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman) Fri-Thurs 

SIFF Film Center:

Chulas Fronteras & Del Mero Corazón (Les Blank, 1976) Fri-Sun 

AMC Southcenter:

Don’t Let Go (Jacob Aaron Estes) Fri-Thurs 
Luce (Julius Onah) Fri-Thurs 
Freaks (Adam Stein, Zach Lipovsky) Fri-Thurs 

Regal Thornton Place:

Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Robert Wise, 1979) Sun & Weds Only 
El Norte (Gregory Nava, 1983) Sun Only 
Rob Zombie’s 3 from Hell (Rob Zombie) Mon, Tues & Weds 
Tokyo Ghoul S (Kazuhiko Hiramaki & Takuya Kawasaki) Mon & Weds Only 
Promare (Hiroyuki Imaishi) Tues & Thurs Only Dubbed Tues

SIFF Uptown:

Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins (Janice Engel) Fri-Thurs 
Official Secrets (Gavin Hood) Fri-Thurs 
David Crosby: Remember My Name (A.J. Eaton) Fri-Weds 
One Cut of the Dead (Shinichiro Ueda) Tues Only 
In Fabric (Peter Strickland) Weds Only Our Podcast 

In Wide Release:

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino) Our Review Our Other Review

What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? (2018, Roberto Minervini)

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The opening gesture of What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? consists of a move from the outward to the inward. A hard cut yields the first shot in the film, following an adolescent Mardi Gras Indian as he bounds down a suburban street, brandishing a sword and chanting along to a pounding drum beat. This restless image gives way to enclosure, as two young brothers cautiously make their way through a flickering haunted house, with the younger sibling clearly more frightened than the elder. This lateral move, from a figure who never reemerges to two of the film’s main characters, typifies the structural schema of this remarkable film: relations between scenes and characters are fluid and inexact, operating more on contrast and rhythm than thematic heft, and yet yielding tantalizing, often moving associations.

The director of What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? (a title derived from a traditional spiritual), the Italian-born, Houston-based Roberto Minervini, began in fiction filmmaking before moving to documentary, or at least a slippery hybrid that mines both the approximate formal and narratological approach of standard documentary and the performativity that comes with any human being placed in front of a camera. His two previous works in this vein, 2013’s Stop the Pounding Heart and his 2015 breakthrough The Other Side, both followed white outsiders; the former featuring religious goat farmers in Texas, the latter following amphetamine addicts and, in one of the most disquieting and prescient sequences of filmmaking of the decade, far-right nationalists in Louisiana.

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With What You Gonna Do…, Minervini shifts focus within the Bayou State to a different group of outsiders. Hewing exclusively to the black communities in Baton Rouge and its outskirts, he focuses mostly on three separate threads: a bar owner, Judy; the two brothers from the opening, Ronaldo and Titus; and the members of the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense. The film’s style is stripped of almost all adornment: no intertitles, chyrons, or dividing chapters; no clear delineation of dates — though the film begins and closes with the Mardi Gras Indians, who are otherwise not seen, and the New Black Panther Party’s protest surrounds the one-year anniversary of Alton Sterling’s murder by the police; and no direct interviews or voiceovers.

The approach, then, is almost akin to a hyperrealized — perhaps overly so — version of verite, shot entirely in black-and-white handheld and frequently in extended close-ups. Minervini, who is also one of the camera operators, observes from mere inches away as Judy commiserates with her friends about the ingrained nature of institutional discrimination as a modern form of slavery, or as the New Black Panther Party protests outside of the Baton Rouge City Hall, or as Ronaldo and Titus bike freely down the city streets. His aim here isn’t necessarily one of total sociopolitical equivalency — his sincere belief and support of the radicalism suggested and stated by his adult figures seems apparent — but the coherency and cohesion of this particular experience is paramount.

In the modern landscape, when racial oppression in America and elsewhere is very nearly as severe as it has ever been, What You Gonna Do… understands that the small moments of day-to-day living are just as vital as the outward protests. (Whiteness is the structuring absence in some ways: no white people are visible on screen until the New Black Panther Party’s final scene, in which multiple members are arrested at a protest by taser-wielding police officers.) The vitality that his fluid camera and editing afford these people only enhances their quiet but defiant resistance, achieving a sweeping quality because of, not in spite of, their individuality.

Friday September 6 – Thursday September 12

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Featured Film:

La Flor at the Northwest Film Forum

It’s a stacked weekend of movies on Seattle Screens, with the 2010s action film series continuing at the Beacon with some longtime SSS favorites (Baahubali, Blackhat, Drug War), the terrific The Case of Hana and Alice Sunday only at the Grand Illusion, and Rashomon at the SIFF Film Center. But the film event of the week is doubtless the Film Forum’s presentation of Mariano Llinás’s 14 hour epic La Flor. It’s been one of the films I’ve been most excited to see since first hearing the buzz last year, but I missed it at VIFF (Lawrence didn’t though, check out his review) and I haven’t had a chance to catch up with it yet (but I will, now that summer vacation is finally over). They’re showing its six episodes in four parts spread over three days (Fri-Sun), and this will likely be your only chance to see it in a theatre. As with past marathon screening events (Satantango, Out 1) attendance is sure to become a mark of Seattle cinephile credibility.

Playing This Week:

Admiral Theater:

Maiden (Alex Holmes) Fri-Thurs 

AMC Alderwood:

Brittany Runs a Marathon (Paul Downs Colaizzo) Fri-Thurs 
Don’t Let Go (Jacob Aaron Estes) Fri-Thurs 
Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Joe Talbot) Fri-Thurs 

The Beacon Cinema:

‘I Do Not Care if We Go Down in History as Barbarians’ (Radu Jude) Fri-Mon, Weds-Thurs Our Podcast
Blackhat (Michael Mann, 2015) Fri & Mon Only 
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (Christopher McQuarrie, 2015) Fri & Sat Only 
Baahubali: The Beginning (SS Rajamouli, 2015) Sat Only Our Review 
Space Adventure Cobra (Osamu Dezaki, 1982) Sun Only 
My Man Godfrey (Gregory La Cava, 1936) Sun & Weds Only 
Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999) Sun & Thurs Only 
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (John D. Hancock, 1971) Mon Only 
Drug War (Johnnie To, 2012) Weds Only Our Review Our Podcast 
Society (Brian Yuzna, 1989) Thurs Only 

Central Cinema:

Paprika (Satoshi Kon, 2006) Fri-Weds 
The Land Before Time (Don Bluth, 1988) Fri-Weds 

SIFF Egyptian:

Brittany Runs a Marathon (Paul Downs Colaizzo) Fri-Thurs 

Century Federal Way:

Jaddi Sardar (Manbhavan Singh) Fri-Thurs 
Surkhi Bindi (Jagdeep Sidhu) Fri-Thurs 

Grand Cinema:

Honeyland (Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov) Fri-Thurs 
Chopping Mall (Jim Wynorski, 1986) Sat Only 
Wild Rose (Tom Harper) Tues Only 

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Ode to Joy (Jason Winer) Fri-Thurs  
Horn from the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story (John Anderson) Fri Only 
SECS Fest 2019 Sat Only 
The Case of Hana & Alice (Shunji Iwai, 2015) Sun Only Our Review 
Honeyland (Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov) Mon-Thurs 

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Brittany Runs a Marathon (Paul Downs Colaizzo) Fri-Thurs 
Chhichhore (Nitesh Tiwari) Fri-Thurs 
Enai Noki Paayum Thota (Gautham Menon) Fri-Thurs 
Ittymaani: Made in China (Jibi-Joju) Fri-Thurs 
Magamuni (Santhakumar) Fri-Thurs 
Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 
Saaho (Sujeeth) Fri-Thurs Hindi, Tamil or Telugu, Check Listings
Mission Mangal (Jagan Shakti) Fri-Thurs 

Regal Meridian:

Chhichhore (Nitesh Tiwari) Fri-Thurs 
Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 
Don’t Let Go (Jacob Aaron Estes) Fri-Thurs 

Northwest Film Forum:

La Flor (Mariano Llinás) Fri-Sun Four Parts, Check Listings Our Review 
The City as Character Fri Only 
Art & Mind (Amélie Ravalec) Sat Only 
Harold & Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971) Sun Only 
Low Low (Nick Richey) Mon Only 
IRIS: A Space Opera by Justice (André Chemetoff & Armand Beraud) Tues Only 
Rezo (Levan Gabriadze) Weds & Next Sat & Sun Only 
Kon Kon (Cecilia Vicuña) Weds Only 
Night of the Creeps (Fred Dekker, 1986) Thurs Only 

AMC Oak Tree:

Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 

AMC Pacific Place:

Luce (Julius Onah) Fri-Thurs 
Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Saaho (Sujeeth) Fri-Thurs Telugu
Chhichhore (Nitesh Tiwari) Fri-Thurs 
Just a Stranger (Jason Paul Laxamana) Fri-Thurs 
Hello, Love, Goodbye (Cathy Garcia-Molina) Fri-Thurs 

AMC Seattle:

Before You Know It (Hannah Pearl Utt) Fri-Thurs 
Brittany Runs a Marathon (Paul Downs Colaizzo) Fri-Thurs 
The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent) Fri-Thurs 

SIFF Film Center:

Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950) Fri-Sun 

AMC Southcenter:

Don’t Let Go (Jacob Aaron Estes) Fri-Thurs 
Killerman (Malik Bader) Fri-Thurs 
Tod@s Caen (Ariel Winograd) Fri-Thurs 

Regal Thornton Place:

Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 
Brittany Runs a Marathon (Paul Downs Colaizzo) Fri-Thurs 
IRIS: A Space Opera by Justice (André Chemetoff & Armand Beraud) Tues Only 
You are Here (Moze Mossanen) Weds Only 

SIFF Uptown:

Tigers are not Afraid (Issa Lopez) Fri-Thurs 
David Crosby: Remember My Name (A.J. Eaton) Fri-Thurs 
The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent) Fri-Thurs 

Varsity Theatre:

Satanic Panic (Chelsea Stardust) Fri-Thurs
Dauntless (Mike Phillips) Fri-Thurs

In Wide Release:

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino) Our Review Our Other Review

The Case of Hana and Alice (Shunji Iwai, 2015)

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What do you do if you want to make a prequel to one of your best movies, one built as much around the performances of two terrific young actresses more than anything else, but a decade has passed and the actresses are now much too old to be playing the same characters? Well, if you’re Shunji Iwai, you make it as an anime. That’s the case with The Case of Hana and Alice, the prequel to his 2004 film Hana and Alice. Anne Suzuki and Yū Aoi (respectively) reprise their roles in voice form with an origin story for the two slightly odd friends. In most respects, the film is of a piece with the original: both are slice of life films about teen girls, with meandering plots filled with small moments of wonder and mystery. That they could be so similar and yet be made in dramatically different media speaks to the paucity of Hollywood imagination, where “animated” is a genre unto itself (an almost exclusively kid-oriented one), rather than merely one method among many for telling a story.

Alice moves into a new house and starts a new school in the 9th grade. She’s immediately set upon by her classmates because her assigned desk belonged to a boy who is rumored to have died the year before, which the students have interpreted as some kind of occult phenomenon. She fights back (ably beating up one boy who tries to torment her) and sets out to solve the mystery of the former student’s disappearance, which leads her to her reclusive neighbor, Hana, who sat behind him in class the year before. The two eventually join forces, with Hana coming up with various schemes to track down the boy’s father and Alice lackadaisically playing along.

This leads to a remarkable yet entirely tangential sequence, as Alice, accidentally following and then befriending the wrong old man, finds herself in a miniature remake of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece Ikiru. With several shots lifted straight out of the Kurosawa, she befriends her wistful elder, visiting a crowded restaurant and a swing set with him. It’s a completely inessential sidetrack, having literally nothing to do with furthering the plot, and it’s absolutely perfect. A film about the wonder and possibility of youth taking the time to meditate for a bit on what it means to be old and alone.

The Kurosawa thing makes me think about the connections between Japanese feature film and anime. One of his contemporary Yasujiro Ozu’s more famous recurring stylistic features is the pillow shot, a short scene of nothing in particular, a sky, a city street, some power lines. They serve no narrative purpose whatsoever, but they help with the pacing of his films, allowing a momentary breath between scenes, giving the audience a space to think about what they’re seeing. Such shots are also a common feature of manga and anime, individual panels with no story-related content that simply serve to break-up the flow of the narrative, and they’re as anathema to tradition American comic book making as Ozu’s pillow shots are to standard Hollywood editing. In the American tradition, forward movement of the plot is everything, and anything else is a waste of time. This is on its face an absurdly limiting idea of narrative art, but it persists nonetheless (think of all the people out there complaining about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘s leisurely pacing as a failure to properly edit).

I don’t know much about anime, but I’ve watched a few series and movies and have maintained subscriptions to both Crunchyroll and Funimation for awhile, despite not really using them as much as I should (as it is with all my streaming services). This summer the tragic fire at Kyoto Animation finally spurred me to watch some of their series: Sound! Euphonium, of which last year’s wonderful Liz and the Bluebird was a spin-off; and K-On!, an earlier series that is also about a high school musical group. They’re terrific, almost directionless shows (K-On! more so than the other: it has an episode that is literally about it being rainy outside, and another about how it’s too hot in the music room) that aren’t so much about growing up or coming of age as they are simply about being young. The Case of Hana and Alice is that kind of movie. And maybe it’s that I’m becoming more and more conscious of the fact that I’m nearer in age to the elderly businessman than I am to the kooky teen girls, but it’s the kind of movie you don’t want to miss when it plays for two more shows this Sunday at the Grand Illusion.

The Seattle Screen Scene Top 100 Films of All-Time Project

When the new Sight & Sound poll came out in 2012, Mike and I each came up with hypothetical Top Tens of our own. For the next few years, we came up with an entirely new Top Ten on our podcast, The George Sanders Show, every year around Labor Day. The podcast has ended, but the project continues here at Seattle Screen Scene.

The idea is that we keep doing this until the next poll comes out in 2022, by which time we’ll each have a Top 100 list. Well, I will. Mike will have only 98 because he repeated two from his 2012 list on the 2013 one.

Here are Mike’s Top Ten Films of All-Time for 2019:

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1. One Week (Buster Keaton & Edward Cline, 1920)

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2. King Kong (Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1933)

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3. Pit Stop (Jack Hill, 1969)

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4. A New Leaf (Elaine May, 1971)

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5. The Truth About De-evolution (Chuck Statler, 1976)

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6. Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985)

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7. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)

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8. Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993)

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9. Ed Wood (Tim Burton, 1994)

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10. Mad Max Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)

 

And here are Sean’s Top Ten Films of All-Time for 2019:

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1. Spring in a Small Town (Fei Mu, 1948)

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2. The Quiet Man (John Ford, 1952)

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3. Kiss Me Kate (George Sidney, 1953)

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4. Airplane! (David Zucker, Jim Abrahams & Jerry Zucker, 1980)

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5. Excalibur (John Boorman, 1981)

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6. City on Fire (Ringo Lam, 1987)

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7. Platform (Jia Zhangke, 2000)

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8. Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen, 2003)

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9. The New World (Terrence Malick, 2005)

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10. Baahubali (SS Rajamouli, 2015/2017)

Friday August 30 – Thursday September 5

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Featured Film:

Saaho at Various Multiplexes

Honestly I haven’t seen this Indian action movie yet, but it sounds pretty crazy and it stars Prabhas and is his first film since Baahubali, which is reason enough to watch it. So if you want to prep for the Beacon’s upcoming presentation of both Baahubali movies, this seems like the wise way to go. That’s going to be part of their amazing series of the decade’s best action movies, and I’m sure I’ll be mentioning it again in this space. It’s kicking off this week with some recent Hollywood movies: Mad Max Fury Road and Creed. In other rep releases, the Cinerama has a Stephen King film series. They don’t have the best Stephen King movie, but they do have the second best: check out John Carpenter’s adaptation of Christine if you’ve never seen it. But maybe take the bus to get there.

Playing This Week:

Admiral Theater:

Maiden (Alex Holmes) Fri-Thurs 

AMC Alderwood:

Saaho (Sujeeth) Fri-Thurs Hindi
Don’t Let Go (Jacob Aaron Estes) Fri-Thurs 
Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Joe Talbot) Fri-Thurs 

The Beacon Cinema:

The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg) Fri-Thurs 
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (Pamela B. Green) Sat, Sun & Tues Only Our Review
Mad Max Fury Road (George Miller, 2015) Sat & Sun Only 
Nine to Five (Colin Higgins, 1980) Sun & Mon Only 
The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961) Mon Only 
Creed (Ryan Coogler, 2015) Tues-Thurs Only Our Review
The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013) Weds & Thurs Only 

Central Cinema:

Paprika (Satoshi Kon, 2006) Fri-Weds 
The Land Before Time (Don Bluth, 1988) Fri-Weds 

Cinerama:

Stephen King Film Series Fri-Thurs 

SIFF Egyptian:

Brittany Runs a Marathon (Paul Downs Colaizzo) Fri-Thurs 

Century Federal Way:

Saaho (Sujeeth) Fri-Thurs Tamil or Telugu, Check Listings
Don’t Let Go (Jacob Aaron Estes) Fri-Thurs 
Ishq My Religion (Gurdeep Dhillon) Fri-Thurs 
Surkhi Bindi (Jagdeep Sidhu) Fri-Thurs 
Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962) Sun & Weds Only 

Grand Cinema:

Luce (Julius Onah) Fri-Thurs 
Murder in the Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story (Adam Dubin) Sat Only 
The Spy Behind Home Plate (Aviva Kempner) Tues Only 

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Ode to Joy (Jason Winer) Fri-Thurs  
Attack of the Beast Creatures (Michael Stanley, 1985) Fri Only VHS 
The Case of Hana & Alice (Shunji Iwai, 2015) Sat, Sun & Next Sun Only

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Saaho (Sujeeth) Fri-Thurs Hindi, Tamil or Telugu, Check Listings
Mission Mangal (Jagan Shakti) Fri-Thurs 
Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962) Sun & Weds Only 

Regal Meridian:

Saaho (Sujeeth) Fri-Thurs Hindi
Don’t Let Go (Jacob Aaron Estes) Fri-Thurs 
Mission Mangal (Jagan Shakti) Fri-Thurs 
Love, Antosha (Garret Price) Fri-Thurs 

Northwest Film Forum:

The Mountain (Rick Alverson) Fri-Sun, Tues-Thurs 
Contemporary Experimental Films and Video Art from Germany, Vol. 4 Fri & Sat Only 
What’s Up, Doc? (Peter Bogdanovich, 1972) Sun Only 
Art & Mind (Amélie Ravalec) Weds-Thurs & Next Sat Only 

AMC Pacific Place:

Luce (Julius Onah) Fri-Thurs 

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Saaho (Sujeeth) Fri-Thurs Telugu
Luce (Julius Onah) Fri-Thurs 
Mission Mangal (Jagan Shakti) Fri-Thurs 
Hello, Love, Goodbye (Cathy Garcia-Molina) Fri-Thurs 

AMC Seattle:

One Child Nation (Nanfu Wang & Lynn Zhang) Fri-Thurs 

AMC Southcenter:

Don’t Let Go (Jacob Aaron Estes) Fri-Thurs 
Killerman (Malik Bader) Fri-Thurs 
Tod@s Caen (Ariel Winograd) Fri-Thurs 
Maiden (Alex Holmes) Fri-Thurs 

Regal Thornton Place:

Ne Zha (Jiaozi) Fri-Thurs 
Luce (Julius Onah) Fri-Thurs 
Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962) Sun & Weds Only 

SIFF Uptown:

The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent) Fri-Thurs 
Echo in the Canyon (Andrew Slater) Fri-Thurs 

Varsity Theatre:

Itsy Bitsy (Micah Gallo) Fri-Thurs
Santa Girl (Blayne Weaver) Fri-Thurs

In Wide Release:

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino) Our Review Our Other Review

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (dir. Pamela Green, 2018)

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Too few people know about the extraordinary woman who arguably created cinema as we know it. With La Fée aux Choux (1896), Alice Guy-Blaché became the first director in history to use film to do something that we now take for granted as the obvious job of the movies: to tell a story. (Some critics and scholars make a case for the Lumière brothers as the inventors of fiction film with the staged prank depicted in their 1895 L’Arroseur Arrosé, but this argument depends entirely on what one believes counts as a “story,” as opposed to an incident or attraction.) To note only that Guy-Blaché was “the world’s first woman director,” then, is to do her somewhat of a disservice, given her other even more remarkable achievements. (She also, for example, was the first director in history to use synchronized sound in film, decades before The Jazz Singer.) Pamela Green’s long-overdue documentary Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché is therefore a little safe and cautious in calling Guy-Blaché only “one of” the earliest fiction filmmakers. Even so, Green’s compelling account performs an essential service in at last giving a remarkable and nearly forgotten figure from cinema history the feature-length documentary that she deserves. Be Natural (entitled after the advice Guy-Blaché always gave her actors) is wholly engrossing, and by turns surprising, illuminating, and moving.

Continue reading Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (dir. Pamela Green, 2018)”

Friday August 23 – Thursday August 29

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Featured Film:

Apocalypse Now: The Final Cut at the Ark Lodge

The Ark Lodge is a cool theatre in an up-and-coming neighborhood, but it’s hard to make money showing movies these days and they could use some customers, so I’m gonna suggest that if you go see the new cut of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, you should do so in Columbia City. It’s playing at a handful of other theatres around town, but the Ark Lodge is right on the light rail line and there’s plenty of good places to eat right around there. And while you’re there, why not even head down the street and catch Safe or Bigger than Life or Poltergeist at the Beacon.

Playing This Week:

Admiral Theater:

Maiden (Alex Holmes) Fri-Thurs 

AMC Alderwood:

The Battle: Roar to Victory (Won Shin-yun) Fri-Thurs 

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Joe Talbot) Fri-Thurs 
Apocalypse Now: Final Cut (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) Fri-Thurs 

The Beacon Cinema:

A German Youth (Jean-Gabriel Périot, 2015) Fri-Sun 
Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper, 1982) Fri-Sun 
Bigger than Life (Nicholas Ray, 1956) Sat & Sun Only 
¡Las sandinistas! (Jenny Murray) Sun & Weds Only 
Safe (Todd Haynes, 1995) Mon & Tues Only 
The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (Jorge Grau, 1974) Mon Only 
Over the Edge (Jonathan Kaplan, 1979) Tues-Thurs Only 
Possibly in Michigan: the Video Work of Cecelia Condit Thurs Only 

Central Cinema:

Big Trouble in Little China (John Carpenter, 1986) Fri-Weds 
UHF (Jay Levey, 1989) Fri-Tues 

Cinerama:

Sound & Vision Film Series Fri-Thurs 

Century Federal Way:

My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988) Sun, Mon & Weds Only Subtitled Mon

Grand Cinema:

Luce (Julius Onah) Fri-Thurs 
Luz (Tilman Singer) Sat Only 
The Chambermaid (Lila Aviles) Tues Only 

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Cold Case Hammarskjöld (Mads Brügger) Fri-Thurs  
Apocalypse Now: Final Cut (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) Sat & Sun Only 

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Gubbi Mele Brahmastra (Sujay Shastry) Fri-Sun 
Kousalya Krishnamurthy (Bhimaneni Srinivasa Rao) Fri-Thurs 
Nerkonda Paarvai (H. Vinoth) Fri-Sun
Thanneer Mathan Dinangal (Girish A.D.) Fri & Sat Only 
Mission Mangal (Jagan Shakti) Fri-Thurs 
Batla House (Nikkhil Advani) Fri-Thurs 
Comali (Pradeep Ranganathan) Fri-Thurs 
Evaru (Venkat Ramji) Fri-Thurs 
My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988) Mon & Weds Only Subtitled Mon

Regal Meridian:

Mission Mangal (Jagan Shakti) Fri-Thurs 
Maiden (Alex Holmes) Fri-Thurs 
My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988) Sun, Mon & Weds Only Subtitled Mon

Northwest Film Forum:

The Garden of Secrets (Nathalie Attallah) Sun Only 
Ukrainian Shorts Showcase Sun Only 
So, I Married an Axe Murderer (Thomas Schlamme, 1993) Sun Only 
My Father Is My Mother’s Brother (Vadym Ilkov) Sun Only 
The Proposal (Jill Magid) Weds & Thurs Only 
The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg) Weds Only 

AMC Pacific Place:

Luce (Julius Onah) Fri-Thurs 
Line Walker 2: Invisible Spy (Jazz Boon) Fri-Thurs 

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Luce (Julius Onah) Fri-Thurs 
Indak (Paul Alexei Basinillo) Fri-Thurs 
Mission Mangal (Jagan Shakti) Fri-Thurs 
Hello, Love, Goodbye (Cathy Garcia-Molina) Fri-Thurs 

AMC Seattle:

One Child Nation (Nanfu Wang & Lynn Zhang) Fri-Thurs 
Honeyland (Tamara Kotevska & Ljubo Stefanov) Fri-Thurs 

SIFF Film Center:

Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles (Salvador Simó) Fri-Sun 

Regal Thornton Place:

My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988) Sun, Mon & Weds Only Subtitled Mon

SIFF Uptown:

Mike Wallace is Here (Avi Belkin) Fri-Thurs 
Echo in the Canyon (Andrew Slater) Fri-Thurs 
Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954) Sat Only 

Varsity Theatre:

My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988) Sun & Mon Only Subtitled Mon

In Wide Release:

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino) Our Review Our Other Review

Once Upon a Time in . . . Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

Rick Dalton dancing

**SPOILERS THROUGHOUT**

I. Prolegomenon: “Once upon a time,” Conservatism, and the Appeal of Nostalgia

This isn’t a review. (Here’s Sean Gilman’s review on this site.) It isn’t a judgment about whether a film is good or bad at a filmmaking level. Rather, it’s an attempt at a primarily thematic analysis. It’s an effort to answer some questions I have. 

I want to consider Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in . . . Hollywood on two levels: 1) a thematic one, specifically focusing on its construction of, assumptions about, and implications about gender and race — though, as a white person, I am more uneasy about tackling this one, aware that my own complicity in whiteness will always cloud how I observe and understand race on screen — and 2) an emotional one, arguably difficult, subjective territory, but one I think I have to address, given my own overwhelming fury upon exiting the cinema after my first viewing of the film. 

First, then: what is the film saying or implying about gender? About men and about women? I believe Once Upon a Time in . . . Hollywood is, in essence, a conservative film. (And I credit my friend Ben Hynes for using this adjective in reference to the film in a conversation with me and thus, as aptly chosen words often do, doing much to illuminate and organize the clutter of details in the film I’d observed.) And by “conservative” I mean two things: first, a conservative stance is one that is, inevitably, backward looking. It looks to the past as a guide for the future and understands or uses the past to measure the present, which generally fails to measure up. A conservative viewpoint on some level idolizes the past — better days, better times, the good old days. It is inherently nostalgic. Second, the film is conservative in the sense that it not only looks to the past with longing, but it is itself rooted in what I would generally consider (particularly as relative to a “liberal” or “progressive” viewpoint) outdated, regressive understandings of the world and, more fundamentally, of the way the world should be. 

Continue reading Once Upon a Time in . . . Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)”

Friday August 16 – Thursday August 22

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Featured Film:

Sound & Vision Festival at the Cinerama

It’s the nadir of blockbuster season, which I suppose means it’s time for the Cinerama to devote its laser projection to playing a bunch of popular sci-fi and action hits of the past 30 years. So if you haven’t yet seen Raiders of the Lost ArkBoogie Nights, or Back to the Future, or classics by Tim Burton or Wes Anderson, now’s your chance. They’ve also got the new cut of Apocalypse Now, which is also playing at the Grand Illusion.
I almost picked the Northwest Film Forum’s single screening of Big Trouble in Little China in this space, but the Central Cinema is playing that most of next week, and it plays fairly regularly around here. Great movie though. 
I suppose if I were a better cinephile, I should have named SIFF’s showings of Hedwig and the Angry Inch or Hyenas the Featured Film of this week, but I haven’t yet seen either of those, though I’m sure they’re great. And the Beacon too has another great week of programming: an Italian silent with a live score, an SNL movie, John Waters, Sofia Coppola, Tobe Hooper, and the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, among other fascinating oddities.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

The Divine Fury (Jason Kim) Fri-Thurs 

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Joe Talbot) Fri-Thurs 
Echo in the Canyon (Andrew Slater) Fri-Thurs 

The Beacon Cinema:

Filibus (Mario Roncoroni, 1915) Fri & Sat Only Live Score
MacGruber (Jorma Taccone, 2010) Fri-Sun 
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956) Sat, Sun, Tues & Thurs 
Serial Mom (John Waters, 1994) Sun, Tues & Weds Only 
No Man of Her Own (Mitchell Leisen, 1950) Sun & Thurs Only 
Celia (Ann Turner, 1989) Mon Only 
The Funhouse (Tobe Hooper, 1981) Mon Only 
The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola, 1999) Tues-Thurs Only 

Central Cinema:

The Dark Crystal (Jim Henson & Frank Oz, 1982) Fri-Weds
Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989) Fri-Weds 
Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009) Thurs Only 

Cinerama:

Sound & Vision Film Series Fri-Thurs 

Century Federal Way:

The Divine Fury (Jason Kim) Fri-Thurs 

Grand Cinema:

Maiden (Alex Holmes) Fri-Thurs 
The Goonies (Richard Donner, 1984) Sat Only Free Screening
Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969) Sat Only 
Ophelia (Claire McCarthy) Tues Only 
The Last Waltz (Martin Scorsese, 1978) Weds Only 
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (Timothy Greenfield-Sanders) Thurs Only 

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Ray & Liz (Richard Billingham) Fri-Sun
Apocalypse Now: Final Cut (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) Mon, Tues & Thurs 
Best of SECS Fest – Shorts Program Weds Only  

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Mission Mangal (Jagan Shakti) Fri-Thurs 
Batla House (Nikkhil Advani) Fri-Thurs 
Comali (Pradeep Ranganathan) Fri-Thurs 
Evaru (Venkat Ramji) Fri-Thurs 
Ranarangam (Sudheer Varma) Fri-Thurs 
A Boy Named Charlie Brown (Bill Melendez, 1969) Sun & Weds Only 

Regal Meridian:

Mission Mangal (Jagan Shakti) Fri-Thurs 
Maiden (Alex Holmes) Fri-Thurs 

Northwest Film Forum:

The Queen (Frank Simon, 1968) Fri-Weds 
The Proposal (Jill Magid) Sat & Sun, Weds & Thurs 
Big Trouble in Little China (John Carpenter, 1986) Sun Only 

AMC Pacific Place:

Line Walker 2: Invisible Spy (Jazz Boon) Fri-Thurs 

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Mission Mangal (Jagan Shakti) Fri-Thurs 
Hello, Love, Goodbye (Cathy Garcia-Molina) Fri-Thurs 

AMC Seattle:

Honeyland (Tamara Kotevska & Ljubo Stefanov) Fri-Thurs 

SIFF Film Center:

Hyenas (Djibril Diop Mambéty) Fri-Sun 

Regal Thornton Place:

Millennium Actress (Satoshi Kon, 2001) Mon Only Dubbed

SIFF Uptown:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001) Fri-Thurs 
Echo in the Canyon (Andrew Slater) Fri-Thurs 
The Women (George Cukor, 1939) Sat Only 
A Boy Named Charlie Brown (Bill Melendez, 1969) Sun Only 

Varsity Theatre:

Already Gone (Christopher Kenneally) Fri-Thurs 

In Wide Release:

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino) Our Review