SIFF 2016 Report #3: Disintegration (The Bitter Stems, Thithi, Trivisa, The Mobfathers, Tag)

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Proving once again that no film festival should ever last longer than an Olympic Games, the 2016 SIFF limped to its conclusion this weekend after a soul-crushing 25 days. While the festival had run impressively well over its first two weeks, organized and on time and with nothing in particular for a picky festival-goer like me to complain about, the last week saw an inexplicable series of outrages.

This began on Sunday night, when the programmer tasked with introducing the Johnnie To-produced film Trivisa managed to be both disrespectful, mildly offense and factually inaccurate when he claimed To was the “Roger Corman of Hong Kong”, a producer who would make any movie you had in mind as long as it had “guns or titties”. That same presenter ran the Q&A with actor/producer Chapman To the next night, which was largely unobjectionable (To was the one who mentioned “titties” at least), but the programmer did at one point refer to Mr. To as “Chapman Ho” and later, “Herman”.

Continue reading “SIFF 2016 Report #3: Disintegration (The Bitter Stems, Thithi, Trivisa, The Mobfathers, Tag)”

Friday June 10 – Thursday June 16

Featured Film:

Ali at the Century Federal Way and the AMC Southcenter

There’s still a full weekend of SIFF left to go, but sneaking onto a couple of multiplex screens this weekend is Michael Mann’s 2001 biopic about The Greatest, Muhammed Ali, starring Will Smith and featuring some of Mann’s first tentative forays into the digital video that would dominate his future filmmaking. The first thirty minutes or so are some of the best work of Mann’s career (and that’s saying something), using musical live performance footage (Sam Cooke and more) to weave together disparate spaces, emotions and unconnected actions. It’s an episodic narrative, focusing on key points in Ali’s career over ten years, from the first Liston fight to Zaire and his complex relationship with the Nation of Islam (Mario van Peebles is really good as Malcolm X, as is Jon Voight as Howard Cosell: and by the way, what a pair of friends for a guy to have!). I don’t know that anyone but Mann would make Ali this brooding, this soulful. And certainly no one else could make the end of an Ali biopic feel exactly like the end of Last of the Mohicans and Miami Vice and BlackhatAli is also playing at the Regal in Lakewood, and The Grand Cinema in Tacoma is playing the 2013 documentary The Trials of Muhammed Ali on Monday.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review 
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs
The Wailing (Na Hong-jin) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs

Central Cinema:

The Last Unicorn (Rankin & Bass, 1982) Fri-Sun, Tues Q & A Tuesday
Space Jam (Joe Pytka, 1996) Fri-Sun, Thurs
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (DA Pennebaker, 1973) Thurs Only

SIFF Egyptian:

The 2016 Seattle International Film Festival Fri-Thurs Full Program

Century Federal Way:

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs
The Wailing (Na Hong-jin) Fri-Thurs
Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984) Sun & Weds Only
Ali (Michael Mann, 2001) Sat & Sun Only

Grand Cinema:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs
Maggie’s Plan (Rebecca Miller) Fri-Thurs
The Trials of Muhammed Ali (Bill Siegel, 2013) Mon Only
Pele: Birth of a Legend (Jeff & Michael Zimbalist) Tues Only
North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959 Weds Only
Time to Choose (Charles Ferguson) Weds Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

The Ones Below (David Farr) Fri-Thurs

Landmark Guild 45th:

Time to Choose (Charles Ferguson) Fri-Thurs Q & A Friday
Weiner (Josh Kriegman) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review 
Maggie’s Plan (Rebecca Miller) Fri-Thurs
A…Aa (Trivikram Srinivas) Fri-Thurs
Te3n (Ribhu Dasgupta) Fri-Thurs

Regal Meridian:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review 
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Viktoria (Maya Vitkova) Fri-Sun 
Work in Progress: The Long Haul (Amy Enser) Mon Only
Anna Nicole Smith: To the Limit
 (Raymond Martino, 1995) Thurs Only

AMC Oak Tree:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review

AMC Pacific Place:

Maggie’s Plan (Rebecca Miller) Fri-Thurs
The 2016 Seattle International Film Festival Fri-Sun Full Program

Paramount Theatre:

Chicago (Frank Urson, 1927) Mon Only

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Housefull 3 (Sajid-Farhad) Fri-Thurs
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs
Love Me Tomorrow (Gino Santos) Fri-Thurs

Landmark Seven Gables:

Dark Horse (Louise Osmond) Fri-Thurs
Iggy Pop: Live in Basel 2015 (Roli Barlocher) Thurs Only

SIFF Film Center:

The 2016 Seattle International Film Festival Fri-Thurs Full Program

AMC Southcenter:

Ali (Michael Mann, 2001) Fri-Thurs
Maggie’s Plan (Rebecca Miller) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review 
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs
Maggie’s Plan (Rebecca Miller) Fri-Thurs
Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari) Fri-Thurs
Blackway (Daniel Alfredson) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

The 2016 Seattle International Film Festival Fri-Thurs Full Program

SIFF 2016: Under the Sun (Vitaly Mansky, 2015)

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“My father says Korea is the most beautiful country in the eastern part of the globe. Korea is the land of the Rising Sun.”

Granted rare access to North Korea, documentary filmmaker Vitaly Mansky follows the story of a young girl who joins the Children’s Union and prepares for the Day of the Sun, birthday of Kim Il-Sung, conqueror of the “American scoundrels.” Working around Korean handlers by filming before “Action!” is called or by lingering on drooping eyelids and fidgeting fingers, the camera captures extraordinary, unscripted moments. Such spontaneity, juxtaposed with the official Korean script that demands its subjects act “with joy” and “patriotism,” offers a complex, poignant portrait of life in a rigid regime.

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Under the Sun screened at the 42nd Seattle International Film Festival.

Friday June 3 – Thursday June 9

Featured Film:

The Seattle International Film Festival, Week Three

The third week of SIFF features archival gems from King Hu (the masterpiece Dragon Gate Inn) and the Film Noir Foundation (Argentine thriller Los tallos amargos (The Bitter Stems), along with new films from Jia Zhangke, Sylvia Chang, Johnnie To, Herman Yau, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, and José Luis Guerín. The capper is a presentation of Buster Keaton’s greatest film, The General, accompanied by a new score from the incomparable Joe Hisaishi. Check out our Week Three Preview, along with our continuing coverage and the Mid-Festival Report episode of The Frances Farmer Show.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review 
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs
The Wailing (Na Hong-jin) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

The 2016 Seattle International Film Festival Fri-Thurs Full Program

Central Cinema:

¡Three Amigos! (John Landis, 1986) Fri-Mon
9 to 5 (Colin Higgins, 1980) Fri-Mon
Purple Rain (Albert Magnoli, 1984) Tues-Thurs Sing-along Our Podcast

SIFF Egyptian:

The 2016 Seattle International Film Festival Fri-Thurs Full Program

Century Federal Way:

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs
The Wailing (Na Hong-jin) Fri-Thurs

AMC Gateway:

Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams) Fri – Thurs Our Podcast 

Grand Cinema:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs
A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino) Fri-Thurs
Maya Angelou and Still I Rise (Bob Hercules & Rita Coburn Whack) Tues Only
SOMM: Into the Bottle (Jason Wise) Thurs Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

T-Rex (Zackary Canepari & Drea Cooper) Fri-Thurs
The Case of the Three-Sided Dream (Adam Kahan, 2014) Fri-Thurs

Landmark Guild 45th:

A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino) Fri-Thurs
Weiner (Josh Kriegman) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review 
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs
The 2016 Seattle International Film Festival Fri-Thurs Full Program
A…Aa (Trivikram Srinivas) Fri-Thurs
Housefull 3 (Sajid-Farhad) Fri-Thurs

Regal Meridian:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review 
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Destiny (Fritz Lang, 1921) Fri-Sun 
Sweet Bean 
(Naomi Kawase) Fri-Sun
The Song Collector
(Erik Koto) Sun Only Director and Subject in Attendance
Nightmare on Elm Street 2 (Jack Sholder, 1985) Thurs Only

AMC Oak Tree:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review
A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino) Fri-Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

The Final Master (Xu Haofeng) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The 2016 Seattle International Film Festival Fri-Thurs Full Program

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Housefull 3 (Sajid-Farhad) Fri-Thurs
Love Me Tomorrow (Gino Santos) Fri-Thurs

Landmark Seven Gables:

Dark Horse (Louise Osmond) Fri-Thurs
As I AM: The Life and Time$ of DJ AM (Kevin Kerslake) Weds Only

SIFF Film Center:

The 2016 Seattle International Film Festival Fri-Thurs Full Program

AMC Southcenter:

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas:

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) Fri-Thurs Our Review 
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs
Ma Ma (Julio Medem) Fri-Thurs
Almost Holy (Steve Hoover) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

The 2016 Seattle International Film Festival Fri-Thurs Full Program

SIFF 2016 Preview Week Three and Beyond

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The Seattle International Film Festival races into it’s third week (has it really only been fifteen days? With only a mere ten to go?) and here we have some titles you won’t want to miss. We’ll link to our reviews of the titles listed here as we write them, as we’ve been doing with our Week One and Week Two Previews. We previewed the festival back on Frances Farmer Show #6 and discussed it at its midway point on Frances Farmer #7. We’ll have a complete wrap-up of the SIFF just as soon as it ends.

Continue reading “SIFF 2016 Preview Week Three and Beyond”

SIFF 2016 Report #2: The Big Road, The Island Funeral, Heaven Can Wait, The Final Master and My Beloved Bodyguard

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Brief accounts of a handful of films from the SIFF’s second week as it rolls into its third.

The Big Road (Sun Yu, 1935) – Something like an amalgam of Our Daily Bread and Mrs. Miniver for the Anti-Japanese War, by which I mean it’s a propaganda film celebrating first the communal virtues of collectivist rural life (the hard work of uniting the nation through literal road-building) and then the bold heroism of that collective as it stands against Imperialist aggression, in the form of the traitorous land-owning, but not land-working, class (relics of Old China, these rulers wear 19th Century clothes, and live in Qing mansions, the feudal system in opposition to the power of the Modern Industrial Worker). It ambles, plotless for most of its length, but it’s accumulated enough power that by the end, as its hero (eight characters combine to form one hero, a communist Voltron) is smashed to bits by advanced machines of war, it resembles nothing less than “Guernica” in its devastation.

Continue reading “SIFF 2016 Report #2: The Big Road, The Island Funeral, Heaven Can Wait, The Final Master and My Beloved Bodyguard