Friday August 18 – Thursday August 24

Featured Film:

Taipei Story at the SIFF Film Center

The new restoration of Edward Yang’s 1985 classic Taipei Story comes to SIFF for three days only this week. A seminal film of the New Taiwan Cinema, Yang’s second feature was co-written by him along with Hou Hsiao-hsien and Chu T’ien-wen (who would co-write all of Hou’s subsequent films), and stars Hou, Wu Nien-jen (accomplished screenwriter, director of A Borrowed Life, star of Yang’s Yi yi) and Tsai Chin (a popular singer). The film chronicles the dissolution of the relationship between Hou and Tsai as they’re caught between the conflicting forces of past and present, capitalism and tradition, at work in rapidly a modernizing Taiwan. Long unavailable in anything like its original form in the US, its restoration (and recent release as part of a Criterion Collection boxset) is one of the cinematic events of the year.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Wind River (Taylor Sheridan) Fri-Thurs Our Review
A Taxi Driver (Jang Hoon) Fri-Thurs
Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 (Soundarya Rajinikanth) Fri-Thurs
Jab Harry Met Sejal (Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs
Battleship Island (Ryoo Seung-wan) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Step (Amanda Lipitz) Fri-Thurs

Central Cinema:

Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012) Fri-Weds
Dune (David Lynch, 1984) Fri-Weds

SIFF Egyptian:

The Little Hours (Jeff Baena) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Landline (Gillian Robespierre) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Century Federal Way:

Step (Amanda Lipitz) Fri-Thurs
A Taxi Driver (Jang Hoon) Fri-Thurs
Rocky Mental (Vikram Thori) Fri-Thurs
It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Maudie (Aisling Walsh) Fri-Thurs
Brigsby Bear (Dave McCary) Fri-Thurs
Step (Amanda Lipitz) Fri-Thurs
The Little Hours (Jeff Baena) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Goonies (Richard Donner, 1985) Sat Only Free Screening
68 Kill (Trent Haaga) Sat Only
Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison) Tues Only Our Review
Deconstructing the Beatles White Album (Scott Freiman) Weds Only
From the Ashes (Michael Bonfiglio) Weds Only Free Screening
Ask Us Who We Are (Bess O’Brien, 2011) Thurs Only Free Screening

Grand Illusion Cinema:

The Ghoul (Gareth Tunley) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

In This Corner of the World (Sunao Katabuchi) Fri-Thurs Our Review Dubbed and Subtitled, Check Listings
Step (Amanda Lipitz) Fri-Thurs
Bareilly Ki Barfi (Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari) Fri-Thurs
Nene Raju Nene Mantri (Teja) Fri-Thurs
Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 (Soundarya Rajinikanth) Fri-Thurs
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (Shree Narayan Singh) Fri-Thurs
LIE (Hanu Raghavapudi) Fri-Thurs
Anando Brahma (Mahi V Raghav) Fri-Thurs
It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934) Sun & Weds Only
Ondu Motteya Kathe (Raj B. Shetty) Sat & Sun Only

Regal Meridian:

The Adventurers (Stephen Fung) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Brigsby Bear (Dave McCary) Fri-Thurs
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (Shree Narayan Singh) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1977) Fri-Sun
Whose Streets? (Sabaah Folayan & Damon Davis) Fri-Thurs
NOddIN Japanese Film Collective Fri Only
Bronx Gothic (Andrew Rossi) Sun Only
Harmonium (Kôji Fukada) Weds & Thurs Only

AMC Pacific Place:

Once Upon a Time (Zhao Xiaoding) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Wolf Warrior 2 (Wu Jing) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Jab Harry Met Sejal (Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs
Finally Found Someone (Theodore Boborol) Fri-Thurs

AMC Seattle:

Brigsby Bear (Dave McCary) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

Taipei Story (Edward Yang, 1985) Fri-Sun

AMC Southcenter:

Brigsby Bear (Dave McCary) Fri-Thurs
Step (Amanda Lipitz) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

In This Corner of the World (Sunao Katabuchi) Fri-Thurs Our Review

SIFF Uptown:

In This Corner of the World (Sunao Katabuchi) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Columbus (Kogonada) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Step (Amanda Lipitz) Fri-Thurs

Varsity Theatre:

Dave Made a Maze (Bill Watterson) Fri-Thurs
13 Minutes (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2015) Fri-Thurs
Maudie (Aisling Walsh) Fri-Thurs
The Little Hours (Jeff Baena) Fri-Thurs Our Review

In Wide Release:


Baby Driver (Edgar Wright) Our Review
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Our Review
Wind River (Taylor Sheridan) Our Review

Leap! (Eric Summer & Éric Warin, 2016)

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The movie Ballerina, cruelly renamed Leap! for American audiences, which goes to show that the Weinsteins’ desire to give distinctive non-American movies the most generic titles possible has not diminished since their heyday of butchering Hong Kong releases, is easily the best animated film I’ve seen in the theatre with my daughter since Shaun the Sheep two years ago. That’s not saying a whole lot considering the competition (Sing, Despicable Me 3, The Peanuts Movie, LEGO Batman), and Ballerina has many of the same faults: generic plotting and a reliance on the chase sequence as a substitute for real drama or suspense. But these flaws are balanced by a commitment to art and the work necessary to become good at it, and its rendering of both its Paris locations and the movements of dance is thrilling, relatively (compare for example the first time we see the grand school of the Paris Opera Ballet, the sense of wonder as we linger of its elaborate details, to the blurry, partial and indistinct images we get of the library in the remake of Beauty and the Beast).

For the American release, several voice actors were replaced (bringing in Mel Brooks, Kate McKinnon and Nat Wolfe) but I don’t know if any of the plotting has been altered, scenes reshot or not. Elle Fanning plays an orphan named Félicie who wants to become a dancer. She and her best friend Victor escape their orphanage (in the film’s most egregiously silly chase) and head to Paris, where she quickly cons her way into a dance class. Victor meanwhile gets a job working for Gustave Eiffel, who is simultaneously working on both the tower that bears his name and the Statue of Liberty, just one of the many historical errors in the film (the Statue is already green, for example, when its copper wouldn’t become so oxidized until it had been in New York for some time). Félicie’s story follows the traditional training arc: given the illogical demands of a plot-structuring contest (one dancer will be eliminated every class until the final one wins a part in the Nutcracker), she works hard doing a variety of non-dance things to build strength and skills. In the meantime, she’s wooed by a handsome, wealthy, blond Russian dancer, setting up a love triangle with Victor, which has largely-ignored class overtones (your classic Ducky/Blaine scenario). The real conflict of interest though is in the repeated question: “Why do you want to dance?” Her opponent, a petite combination of Ivan Drago and Todd Marinovich has one answer, and Félicie has another, but its a knee-jerk response, one produced without ay real thought: it’s her dream. That’s not enough though: until she learns a depth of self-understanding largely absent from kid movies (a shamefully phony world where even Charlie Brown is revealed as a winner), she’ll never be a great dancer. It’s not quite the psycho-sexual conflict between art and romance at the heart of The Red Shoes, but for a soon to be six year old who just signed up for her third year of ballet class, it’ll work.

Far-Flung Visions [BRONX GOTHIC & HARMONIUM]

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Truth be told, there are very few aspects that tangibly connect these two films. It is more a quirk of coincidence than anything else: both are being programmed by Northwest Film Forum, both are rather good and undeniably fascinating, and I happened to review both of them for one of my other writing gigs (at The Film Stage, with links to the respective pieces down below). But though one is a documentary-performance hybrid focused on a black woman, and the other is a drama about grief and the past visiting the present, the two movies represent no shortage of a certain kind of daring vision, one that, if a bit modest in its aims, then is still arresting nonetheless.

Take, for example, the disquieting and haunting diptych Harmonium, directed by Kôji Fukada. Straddling the lines between domestic drama and thriller in a manner that can reasonably be described as a cross between Ozu and Kiyoshi Kurosawa (and starring regular Kurosawa contributor Tadanobu Asano to boot), the movie gains its power from the skillfully woven relationships that arise when a figure (Asano) unexpectedly visits and moves in with an old friend’s family.

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Fukada makes much out of appearances and little mannerisms that never quite feel telegraphed or played up. Though a sense of unease worms its way into the viewer from the very first shot of Asano clad in a spotless white shirt, the viewer can’t help but feel a bit disarmed by the veneer of politeness, even as it is shattered by a mid-film jump to eight years into the future of the family. The developments immediately preceding said ellipse are immensely upsetting, and the second half is one long slide into abject despair, but it is handled with the appropriate amount of distance and sensitivity all the same.

Bronx Gothic, in this light, could scarcely be a contrast. Directed – but not solely created – by Andrew Rossi, it follows the last tour of the solo performance piece of the same name, conceived and performed by Okwui Okpokwasili. Much of the film is given over to the lengthy, confrontational, and visibly strenuous performances, interspersed with interviews with Okpokwasili and various collaborators and audience talk-backs. This is no attempt at biography; aspects of Okpokwasili’s background are only brought up when necessary, and instead much of the cultural aspects that are woven into the piece arise rather naturally.

Bronx Gothic, the piece, is plainly semi-autobiographical, consisting largely of letters read aloud by the performer between her as an eleven-year-old and her more sexually active and experienced friend, and explores notions of maturity and race in a very specifically New York context. Perhaps expectedly, the piece and the film feel just as much about movement, about the extensive and elongated rhythmic dances that move just as deeply as the spoken moments – the piece begins with thirty minutes (not rendered fully in the film) of Okpokwasili dancing in a corner as the audience takes their seats. And yet, Rossi never loses sight of the human element, of Okpokwasili as something more than an avatar for black self-expression. The documentary looks to the future, not only for her as an artist, but her as a mother: the final scene is of unambiguous domestic bliss.

In This Corner of the World (Sunao Katabuchi, 2016)

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The obvious point of comparison for In This Corner of the World, an anime set on the home front during World War II, is with Isao Takahata’s 1988 Ghibli film Grave of the Fireflies. But in spirit it’s more akin to Takahata’s later work: the world-dissolving subjective images of memory in Only Yesterday and the episodic focus on the family of My Neighbors the YamadasFireflies is about devastation, about the terrible consequences of war and, more specifically, of the cruel pride that makes for such wars, but Corner is about resilience, about a people to whom war is happening, with or without their complicity: it’s more Mrs. Miniver than anything else. Beginning before the war and skipping quickly through the early life of Suzu Urano, an artistic girl who lives near the city of Hiroshima. After short episodes from her childhood, the film settles down once she gets married and moves to Kure, a nearby town that is a center of naval manufacturing, in 1943. In these early scenes, the war is merely a background element: characters speak of the navy, the construction of a factory displaces the family’s seaweed business, ships are seen in the distant harbor, new ration recipes with variable results are tried, while the drama centers on Suzu’s integration into her new family and her rivalry with her new sister-in-law. But the war plays a bigger and bigger role as we proceed through time: a wrong turn into a red light district populated by displaced young women, air raid drills followed by actual bombardments, a visit from an old school friend who admonishes Suzu to “stay ordinary, stay sane”. Finally, in the summer of 1945, the horror of war becomes nigh unbearable, culminating the the atomic bombing of the city on the other side of the mountain. But even in the blasted hellscape that follows, the loss of so much humanity, Suzu and her family endure.

The Adventurers (Stephen Fung, 2017)

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Almost thirty years after A Moment of Romance, Andy Lau still looks impossibly cool riding a motorcycle. He does it here as the lead of a small gang of jewel thieves in Stephen Fung’s heist movie, his first film since the lunatic double punch of 2012’s Tai Chi 0 and Tai Chi Hero. Those films are the most successful yet adaptation of the comic book steampunk aesthetic to the kung fu film, supplementing its basic conceit with a breathless storytelling verve: the on-screen titles introducing the film’s stars all end in exclamation points. The Adventurers finds Fung in a much more relaxed mode, the idiosyncratic personal expression bound within the generic form of a movie designed to meet audience expectations rather than defy them. To this end he’s helped immeasurably by Lau, who has spent much of his long career making otherwise interminable movies watchable (for example Ringo Lam’s laziest film, also called The Adventurers, released in 1995) and Shu Qi, who’s undeniable greatness as an art house actress (Millennium Mambo, The Assassin) tends to overshadow, in the West, a sparkling, magnetic movie star charm (as in Ringo Lam’s goofiest film, 2003’s Looking for Mr. Perfect). The two great stars, ably supported by a multinational cast of veterans (Hong Kong’s Eric Tsang and France’s Jean Reno) and relative newcomers (Zhang Jingchu from China and Tony Yang from Taiwan), enliven what is blatantly a Mission: Impossible knock-off (Reno of course featured in the first film in that series, while Zhang was in the latest one, a performance which amounted to nothing but a superfluous 30 second pandering to the Chinese audience).

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Friday August 11 – Thursday August 17

Featured Film:

Dawson City: Frozen Time at the Northwest Film Forum

Two of my favorite films from this past SIFF open this week, and while I really loved Kogonada’s ode to Ozu and modern architecture, Columbus (playing at the SIFF Uptown), our Featured Film this week has to be Bill Morrison’s sprawling documentary Dawson City: Frozen Time. Springing from the discovery of a horde of silent films buried under an old swimming pool to the concurrent histories of a Klondike Gold Rush town, the North American West and early cinema, and constructed to a large degree out of images from the discovered and decaying nitrate trove, it’s a movie about a specific time and place and about the ghostly interconnectedness that links us inescapably to our past.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Wind River (Taylor Sheridan) Fri-Thurs Our Review
A Taxi Driver (Jang Hoon) Fri-Thurs
Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 (Soundarya Rajinikanth) Fri-Thurs
Jab Harry Met Sejal (Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs
Battleship Island (Ryoo Seung-wan) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Central Cinema:

The Goonies (Richard Donner, 1985) Fri-Weds
City of Lost Children (Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro, 1995) Fri-Weds

SIFF Egyptian:

The Little Hours (Jeff Baena) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Century Federal Way:

A Taxi Driver (Jang Hoon) Fri-Thurs
Battleship Island (Ryoo Seung-wan) Fri-Thurs
Bonnie & Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Maudie (Aisling Walsh) Fri-Thurs
13 Minutes (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2015) Fri-Thurs
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Little Hours (Jeff Baena) Sat Only Our Review
This is Spinal Tap (Marty DiBergi, 1984) Mon Only Our Review
Score: A Film Music Documentary (Matt Schrader) Tues Only
National Velvet (Clarence Brown, 1945) Weds Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Pop Aye (Kirsten Tan) Fri-Thurs
Endless Poetry (Alejandro Jodorowsky) Sun-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Step (Amanda Lipitz) Fri-Thurs
Jab Harry Met Sejal (Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Wind River (Taylor Sheridan) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Nene Raju Nene Mantri (Teja) Fri-Thurs
Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 (Soundarya Rajinikanth) Fri-Thurs
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (Shree Narayan Singh) Fri-Thurs
LIE (Hanu Raghavapudi) Fri-Thurs
Jaya Janaki Nayaka (Boyapati Srinu) Fri-Thurs In Telgu with No Subtitles
Bonnie & Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Jab Harry Met Sejal (Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Wind River (Taylor Sheridan) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (Shree Narayan Singh) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison) Fri-Sun Our Review
Tango Negro (Dom Pedro, 2013) Fri Only
Bless Their Little Hearts (Billy Woodberry, 1984) Sat Only
A Life in Waves/Snakes (Brett Whitcomb, 2017/Art Names 1974) Weds Only Digital/35mm
Turn It Around: The Story Of East Bay Punk (Corbett Reford) Thurs Only
Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1977) Starts Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

Once Upon a Time (Zhao Xiaoding) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Wolf Warrior 2 (Wu Jing) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Regal Parkway Plaza:

The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Jab Harry Met Sejal (Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs
Finally Found Someone (Theodore Boborol) Fri-Thurs

AMC Seattle:

The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Seattle Art Museum:

To Catch a Thief (Alfred Hitchcock, 1955) Thurs Only

SIFF Film Center:

I Am the Blues (Daniel Cross) Fri-Sun
Landline (Gillian Robespierre) Tues & Thurs Only Our Review
Les cowboys (Thomas Bidegain, 2015) Weds Only

Regal Thornton Place:

The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review

SIFF Uptown:

Columbus (Kogonada) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Step (Amanda Lipitz) Fri-Thurs

Varsity Theatre:

13 Minutes (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2015) Fri-Thurs
Maudie (Aisling Walsh) Fri-Thurs
The Little Hours (Jeff Baena) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Bonnie & Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967) Weds Only

In Wide Release:


Baby Driver (Edgar Wrighht) Our Review

Once Upon a Time (Zhao Xiaoding, 2017)

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The intersection between myth and teen drama, between cartoon wuxia and soap opera, with a dash of Hitchcock just to make things interesting, Once Upon a Time is unlike anything likely to play on Seattle Screens this year. The directorial debut of longtime Zhang Yimou cinematographer Zhao Xiaoding (he shot all of Zhang’s films from House of Flying Daggers through The Great Wall), it’s as lushly gorgeous as anything in higher profile releases like Journey to the West: Demons Strike Back, with acres of peach blossoms, castles in the clouds, and godlike beings morphing freely into animals. The story is adapted from a 2008 online fantasy novel called Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms by Tang Qi, which may have been plagiarized from an earlier online fantasy novel called The Peach Blossom Debt by Da Feng. (You can read about the allegations and compare some evidence for yourself here. I can’t read Chinese, so I can’t judge if it is outright plagiarism or simple imitation. The fact that both works were published online and that in Da Feng’s the romance is homosexual (LGBT depictions are officially banned on television and online media in China) makes the issue particularly complicated). The novel was also adapted earlier this year as the Chinese TV series Eternal Love starring Mark Chao and Yang Mi.

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Wolf Warrior 2 (Wu Jing, 2017)

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Somewhat surprisingly, Wu Jing’s Wolf Warrior 2 is smashing box office records across China, on pace to overtake last year’s The Mermaid as the number one Chinese film of all-time. Wu is probably the greatest Chinese martial arts star of his generation, best known here in the US for his starring role in SPL 2: A Time for Consequences, which the best action film to play here last year. He both stars and directs, as he did with Wolf Warriors, released in 2015. In the first one, he plays Leng Feng, a badass soldier who gets recruited into the Wolf Warrior brigade of the People’s Liberation Army, an elite special forces unit. During a training exercise, he and his squadmates are attacked by a multiethnic band of vicious mercenaries led by Scott Adkins who was hired by a drug lord seeking revenge on Leng for murdering his brother, and also as the cover for a scheme to steal a virus that only kills Chinese people. The film is an unabashed propaganda piece about the skills, technology and valor of the PLA, but it’s got a lot of cool jungle action and it moves along quickly.

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Friday August 4 – Thursday August 10

Featured Film:

Ugetsu at the Northwest Film Forum

There are some fine new movies this week, led by João Pedro Rodrigues’s The Ornithologist at the Film Forum and the new Imtiaz Ali film, Jab Harry Met Sejal, playing at a handful of area theatres, along with some excellent repertory films: They Live at the Ark Lodge, Do the Right Thing (what a great choice for the hottest week of the year) at the Central Cinemas, the late George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead at the Grand, and Howard Hawks’s Monkey Business, the penultimate film in SAM’s Cary Grant series. But it’s been awhile since Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu played here, and the NWFF has it this weekend in a new restoration. It’s a ghost story about two doomed men and the women who ultimately pay the price for their ambition. It’s the best movie by one of the greatest filmmakers ever.

Playing This Week:

Admiral Theatre:

NY Dog Film Festival Sun Only

AMC Alderwood:

Battleship Island (Ryoo Seung-wan) Fri-Thurs
Jab Harry Met Sejal (Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs
The Lion King (Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff, 1994) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review
They Live (John Carpenter, 1988) Thurs Only

Central Cinema:

Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989) Fri-Mon
The Muppet Movie (James Frawley, 1979) Fri-Mon
Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975) Tues & Weds Only

Century Federal Way:

Vekh Barataan Chaliyaan (Ksshitij Chaudhary) Fri-Thurs
Toofan Singh (Baghal Singh) Fri-Thurs
Battleship Island (Ryoo Seung-wan) Fri-Thurs
Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood, 1992) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Maudie (Aisling Walsh) Fri-Thurs
An Inconvenient Sequel (Bonni Cohen & Jon Shenk) Fri-Thurs
Lady Macbeth (William Oldroyd) Fri-Thurs
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Night of the Living Dead (George Romero, 1968) Sat Only
Food Evolution (Scott Hamilton Kennedy) Tues Only
Deconstructing the Beatles: Revolver (Scott Freiman) Weds Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

The Untamed (Amat Escalante) Fri-Thurs
Endless Poetry (Alejandro Jodorowsky) Mon-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Jab Harry Met Sejal (Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review
An Inconvenient Sequel (Bonni Cohen & Jon Shenk) Fri-Thurs
Fidaa (Sekhar Kammula) Fri-Thurs
Mubarakan (Anees Bazmee) Fri-Thurs
Vikram Vedha (Pushkar and Gayathri) Fri-Thurs
Nakshatram (Krishna Vamsi) Fri-Thurs
Darsakadu (Jakka Hariprasad) Fri-Thurs In Telgu with No Subtitles
Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood, 1992) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Jab Harry Met Sejal (Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review
An Inconvenient Sequel (Bonni Cohen & Jon Shenk) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

The Ornithologist (João Pedro Rodrigues) Fri-Sun Our Review
Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953) Fri- Sun
The Woman Who Left (Lav Diaz) Weds & Thurs Only
Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk (Corbett Reford) Weds Only
Bless Their Little Hearts (Billy Woodberry, 1984) Thurs & Sat Only

AMC Pacific Place:

Wolf Warrior 2 (Wu Jing) Fri-Thurs
The Lion King (Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff, 1994) Fri Only

Regal Parkway Plaza:

The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Jab Harry Met Sejal (Imtiaz Ali) Fri-Thurs
Finally Found Someone (Theodore Boborol) Fri-Thurs

AMC Seattle:

Landline (Gillian Robespierre) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review
An Inconvenient Sequel (Bonni Cohen & Jon Shenk) Fri-Thurs
Some Freaks (Ian MacAllister McDonald) Fri-Thurs

Seattle Art Museum:

Monkey Business (Howard Hawks, 1952) Thurs Only

SIFF Film Center:

The Skyjacker’s Tale (Jamie Kastner) Fri-Sun
Business in the Black (Anthony Brogdon) Thurs Only

AMC Southcenter:

An Inconvenient Sequel (Bonni Cohen & Jon Shenk) Fri-Thurs
The Lion King (Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff, 1994) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review
An Inconvenient Sequel (Bonni Cohen & Jon Shenk) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Uptown:

Landline (Gillian Robespierre) Starts Thurs Our Review
Lady Macbeth (William Oldroyd) Fri-Mon, Weds-Thurs
The Little Hours (Jeff Baena) Fri-Mon, Weds Our Review
An Inconvenient Sequel (Bonni Cohen & Jon Shenk) Fri-Thurs
Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade/Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1989/1993) Thurs Only 35mm(?) Double Feature

Varsity Theatre:

Maudie (Aisling Walsh) Fri-Thurs
Fun Mom Dinner (Alethea Jones) Fri-Thurs
Brave New Jersey (Jody Lambert) Fri-Thurs

In Wide Release:


Baby Driver (Edgar Wrighht) Our Review

The Ornithologist (João Pedro Rodrigues, 2016)

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Sensation in film is, by definition, an event that is difficult to describe. It privileges the experience of watching, of holistically observing sight and sound work in tandem to produce something nearly indescribable. Such an concept is placed front and center in The Ornithologist, a remarkable, subtly shape-shifting film by Portugese director João Pedro Rodrigues. By turns raucous, menacing, gorgeous, and haunting, the movie is never less than throughly engrossing, moving through its surreal logic with a confidence and daring, the likes of which have been sorely missed from Seattle screens this year.

As might be expected, The Ornithologist follows the eponymous birdwatcher Fernando (Paul Hamy) as he explores a mysterious, possibly haunted forest after his kayak is destroyed by rapids. Through his perilous, somewhat meandering attempts to return to civilization, he encounters various denizens and transients, along with increasingly supernatural and surreal experiences. Impressively, this roster begins with a pair of lesbian Chinese Christian hikers, who first rescue him from the waters and then tie him up with rope and sadistic intentions, and only becomes stranger from there, including a motley cast of possible costumed cult members, bare-breasted hunters on horseback, and of course, many birds, some of which assume a strange symbolic importance.

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