A Quiet Place in the Country (Elio Petri, 1968)

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First, a contradiction: deafening Ennio Morricone music screams in over the title card. A promise of quiet immediately dashed, the flippant tone established at the outset. And then: shirtless Franco Nero tied to a chair in a modernist flat, the colors and lines à la Mondrian, the gentle torture courtesy of a prowling Vanessa Redgrave. So begins Elio Petri’s caustic 1968 thriller, with Nero’s frustrated artist already under attack by the forces of femininity and commerce, both embodied and entwined in Redgrave’s bottom-line gallery agent, Flavia. Naturally, he’s fantasizing about killing her.

The opening fever-dream awakens to a calmer register just briefly enough to sketch out the basics. Nero’s Leonardo needs some peace to get his work back on track so Flavia can keep the upper-crust buyers in Milan and New York flush with fresh product. A country retreat is in order. But the first villa comes pre-equipped with an exhibition and the accompanying hangers-on intent on a good deal (“I admire your work…and it’s a good investment”). A second villa must be acquired if anything is to be done, though the murder of the town’s “nympho” countess 25 years prior on the same grounds proves a more supernatural hindrance to the artistic process.

Continue reading A Quiet Place in the Country (Elio Petri, 1968)”

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Friday August 26 – Thursday September 1

Featured Film:

Lo & Behold at the SIFF Uptown

Werner Herzog and his inimitable style continues at the Uptown this week for a documentary rumination on the internet, with Lo & Behold: Reveries of the Connected World. Taking a cue perhaps from the spacey disconnections of our hyperlinked present, the film is a series of stories about the internet and its impact on human lives. Some are more compelling than others, of course, but binding it all together is Herzog’s deadpan narration, always funny, sometimes insightful, occasionally baffling. It’s not one of the prolific director’s best works, or even as good as some of his recent documentaries like Cave of Forgotten Dreams  or Encounters at the End of the World, but it’s as good a film as one is like to find in these dark days of the end of summer.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

The Tunnel (Kim Seonghoon) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs
Hola Mexico Film Festival Fri-Thurs

Central Cinema:

Big Trouble in Little China (John Carpenter, 1986) Fri-Weds
The Dark Crystal (Jim Henson & Frank Oz, 1982) Fri-Weds

Century Federal Way:

The Tunnel (Kim Seonghoon) Fri-Thurs
The King and I (Walter Lang, 9156) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs
Don’t Think Twice (Mike Birbiglia) Fri-Thurs
Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival Fri & Sat Only
Life, Animated (Roger Ross Williams) Tues Only
The Land (Steven Caple Jr.) Weds Only with Panel Discussion

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Fantastic Planet (René Laloux, 1973) Sat & Tues Only 35mm
The Land (Steven Caple Jr.) Fri-Thurs
Score (Radley Metzger, 1972) Weds Only

Landmark Guild 45th:

Indignation (James Schamus) Fri-Thurs
Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

100 Days of Love (Januse Mohammed Majeed) Fri-Thurs
A Flying Jatt (Remo D’Souza) Fri-Thurs
The King and I (Walter Lang, 9156) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Pelli Chupulu (Tharun Bhascker) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Breaking a Monster (Luke Meyer) Fri-Sun
Holy Hell (Will Allen) Fri-Weds
A Quiet Place in the Country (Elio Petri, 1968) Sat & Sun Only 35mm
Made in Venice (Jonathan Pension) Thurs Only

AMC Pacific Place:

Time Raiders (Daniel Lee) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs
Rustom (Tinu Suresh Desai) Fri-Thurs

Landmark Seven Gables:

Our Little Sister (Kore-eda Hirokazu) Fri-Thurs Our Review

SIFF Film Center:

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas:

Don’t Think Twice (Mike Birbiglia) Fri-Thurs
The Intervention (Clea DuVall) Fri-Thurs
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (Takeshi Nozue) Fri-Thurs
Morris from America (Chad Hartigan) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

Lo & Behold: Reveries of the Connected World (Werner Herzog) Fri-Thurs
Don’t Think Twice (Mike Birbiglia) Fri-Thurs
Superior (Edd Benda) Tues Only Filmmaker Q & A

Varsity Theatre:

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs
The King and I (Walter Lang, 9156) Weds Only

The Sea of Trees (Gus Van Sant, 2015)

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In our era of endless Letterboxd discoveries and Twitter reclamation projects (full disclosure: I am part of the problem), the whiplash responses that await troubled films often operate according to a kind of critical Newtonian physics: each dismissal creates an equal and opposite reappraisal. So it’s something of a surprise that The Sea of Trees met such a vicious critical drubbing when it premiered at Cannes last year with nary a supporter in sight of the Croisette willing to take up its defense…except, it must be assumed, Thierry Frémaux. The Cannes director likes to lob a bomb or two into the competition, but, even by those standards, Gus Van Sant’s latest film appeared a baffling inclusion, and critics responded accordingly. The intervening year has brought the film at least a modicum of relief: it’s finally getting a release, sneaking into theaters thanks to distributor A24. And yet, Monsieur Fremaux’s choice to include it in the competition still seems the prerogative of a man adrift in a thicket of red carpet photo ops and star junkets, desperate to find a Hollywood production worthy of inclusion in the world cinema festival par excellence, but lacking any fellow travelers able to guide him to critical safety.

It’s rather appropriate, then, that The Sea of Trees zeroes in on the life of middling adjunct professor Arthur, recently bereft of his wife, as he heads to Japan and loses himself in the notorious and densely wooded Aokigahara forest. Notorious, the film reminds us with a bit on-screen Googling, as a favored location for suicides. Of course that’s what Matthew McConaughey’s depressed academic is there to accomplish, until a raving Ken Watanabe crosses his path and provides him a traveling companion, a mission to escape the maze-like forest, and a reason for living.

Continue reading The Sea of Trees (Gus Van Sant, 2015)”

Yourself and Yours (Trailer) (Hong Sangsoo, 2016)

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Hong Sang-soo has a t-shirt. As reported by the seemingly omniscient Hong Sang-soo Web Twitter account, the 2016 Locarno Film Festival featured some sartorial branding inspired by last year’s top-prize recipient. If you were lucky enough to spend your August in a palatial Swiss town and decided that nothing said “European Summer” like shuffling between darkened movie theaters, you might have been lucky enough to snatch up one of the shirts, fittingly adorned with a tipsy sketch by the Korean master scrawled above the Hongian pseudo-motto: “Infinite Worlds Possible.” And just like that, with a major European festival prize now under his belt and branded UNIQLO-lite duds, it seems Hong has officially become an event.

Of course, we’re talking about the niche of the niche here. 18 films into his career Hong’s audience has grown more than some of the long-time loyalists likely thought possible, though he’s not exactly setting the box office ablaze. The yearly anticipation for his new film feels a bit more communal than it once did, still rolling around with the same regularity but with greater pomp among the ever-important Film Twitter cognoscenti. What self-respecting cine-kid doesn’t want a Hong shirt this time of year? It’s festival season. It’s Hong time. And right on cue, we got a trailer.

Continue reading Yourself and Yours (Trailer) (Hong Sangsoo, 2016)”

Friday August 19 – Thursday August 25

Featured Film:

Lo & Behold at the SIFF Uptown

Werner Herzog brings his inimitable style to the Uptown this week for a documentary rumination on the internet, with Lo & Behold: Reveries of the Connected World. Taking a cue perhaps from the spacey disconnections of our hyperlinked present, the film is a series of stories about the internet and its impact on human lives. Some are more compelling than others, of course, but binding it all together is Herzog’s deadpan narration, always funny, sometimes insightful, occasionally baffling. It’s not one of the prolific director’s best works, or even as good as some of his recent documentaries like Cave of Forgotten Dreams  or Encounters at the End of the World, but it’s as good a film as one is like to find in these dark days of the end of summer.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Indignation (James Schamus) Fri-Thurs
Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie) Fri-Thurs
Operation Chromite (John H. Lee) Fri-Thurs
Run-Off (Kim Jong-hyun) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Thor Freudenthal, 2010) Weds Only

Central Cinema:

The Goonies (Richard Donner, 1985) Fri-Tues
Hackers (Iain Softley, 1995) Fri-Tues

SIFF Egyptian:

Clue (Jonathan Lynn, 1985) Fri Midnight Only

Century Federal Way:

Operation Chromite (John H. Lee) Fri-Thurs
Main Teri Tu Mera (Ksshitij Chaudhary) Fri-Thurs
Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs
The Sandlot (David M. Evans, 1993) Sat Only
Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy, 2007) Mon Only
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady) Tues Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Debacle Records Presents: Marielle Jakobsons & special guest Chuck Johnson Fri Only Live Music & Video
Fantastic Planet (René Laloux, 1973) Sat & Thurs Only 35mm
Voice of the Eagle: The Enigma of Robbie Basho (Liam Barker) Tues Only
Score (Radley Metzger, 1972) Weds Only

Landmark Guild 45th:

Indignation (James Schamus) Fri-Thurs
Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie) Fri-Thurs
Indignation (James Schamus) Fri-Thurs
Rustom (Tinu Suresh Desai) Fri-Thurs
Happy Bhag Jayegi (Mudassar Aziz) Fri-Thurs
Mohenjo Daro (Maruthi) Fri-Thurs
Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Pelli Chupulu (Tharun Bhascker) Fri-Thurs
Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie) Fri-Thurs
Indignation (James Schamus) Fri-Thurs
Rustom (Tinu Suresh Desai) Fri-Thurs
Mohenjo Daro (Maruthi) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

‘Til Madness Do Us Part (Wang Bing) Fri-Thurs
Wedding Doll (Nitzan Gilady) Weds Only

AMC Oak Tree:

Imperium (Daniel Ragussis) Fri-Thurs
Gleason (J. Clay Tweel) Fri-Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

Line Walker (Jazz Boon) Fri-Thurs
Sweet Sixteen (Jo Jin-kyu) Fri-Thurs
My Best Friend’s Wedding (Chen Feihong) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs
Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie) Fri-Thurs
Rustom (Tinu Suresh Desai) Fri-Thurs
Mohenjo Daro (Maruthi) Fri-Thurs
How to Be Yours (Dan Villegas) Fri-Thurs

Landmark Seven Gables:

Our Little Sister (Kore-eda Hirokazu) Fri-Thurs Our Review

SIFF Film Center:

Phantom Boy (Jean-Loup Felicioli & Alain Gagnol) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas:

Don’t Think Twice (Mike Birbiglia) Fri-Thurs
Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie) Fri-Thurs
Little Men (Ira Sachs) Fri-Thurs
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (Takeshi Nozue) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

Lo & Behold: Reveries of the Connected World (Werner Herzog) Fri-Thurs
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs

Varsity Theatre:

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs

Friday August 12 – Thursday August 18

Featured Film:

Cockfighter at the Grand Illusion

There’s a lot of worthwhile repertory picks this week on Seattle Screens, including Blue Velvet and Blood Simple at the Uptown, a trio of Patrick Swayze classics at the Central Cinema and the Joe Hisaishi score of Buster Keaton’s The General that didn’t quite make it to SIFF getting a make-up pair of shows at the Uptown. But the must-see movie of the week is the Grand Illusion’s 35mm presentation of Monte Hellman’s 1974 classic Cockfighter, featuring a career-best performance from the great Warren Oates. Overshadowed by his 1971 masterpiece Two-Lane Blacktop, not least because of its cruel subject matter, it’s no less a brilliant exploration of the weirdness and beauty to be found at the margins of America. It plays Saturday night only, paired with the Grand Illusion’s week-long run of a new restoration of the 1960 Oates film Private Property.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Indignation (James Schamus) Fri-Thurs
Gleason (J. Clay Tweel) Fri-Thurs
Operation Chromite (John H. Lee) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs
Harriet the Spy (Bronwen Hughes 1996) Weds Only

Central Cinema:

Dirty Dancing (Emile Ardolino, 1987) Fri-Tues
Road House (Rowdy Herrington, 1989) Fri-Tues
To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar (Beeban Kidron, 1995) Weds  Only

Century Federal Way:

Operation Chromite (John H. Lee) Fri-Thurs
Rustom (Tinu Suresh Desai) Fri-Thurs
Animal House (John Landis, 1978) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs
The Kind Words (Shemi Zarhin) Tues Only
A Face in the Crowd (Elia Kazan, 1957) Weds Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Private Property (Leslie Stevens, 1960) Fri-Thurs
Lunch Meat (Kirk Alex, 1987) Fri Only VHS
Cockfighter (Monte Hellman, 1974) Sat Only 35mm

Landmark Guild 45th:

Indignation (James Schamus) Fri-Thurs
Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie) Fri-Thurs
Indignation (James Schamus) Fri-Thurs
Rustom (Tinu Suresh Desai) Fri-Thurs
Babu Bangaram (Maruthi) Fri-Thurs
Mohenjo Daro (Maruthi) Fri-Thurs
Animal House (John Landis, 1978) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Pelli Chupulu (Tharun Bhascker) Fri-Thurs
Gleason (J. Clay Tweel) Fri-Thurs
Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie) Fri-Thurs
Indignation (James Schamus) Fri-Thurs
Rustom (Tinu Suresh Desai) Fri-Thurs
Operation Chromite (John H. Lee) Fri-Thurs
Mohenjo Daro (Maruthi) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

‘Til Madness Do Us Part (Wang Bing) Starts Weds

AMC Oak Tree:

Gleason (J. Clay Tweel) Fri-Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

My Best Friend’s Wedding (Chen Feihong) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs
Café Society (Woody Allen) Fri-Thurs
Rustom (Tinu Suresh Desai) Fri-Thurs
Mohenjo Daro (Maruthi) Fri-Thurs
How to Be Yours (Dan Villegas) Fri-Thurs

Landmark Seven Gables:

Our Little Sister (Kore-eda Hirokazu) Fri-Thurs Our Review

SIFF Film Center:

My Love, Don’t Cross That River (Jin Mo-Young) Fri-Sun
Neither Heaven Nor Earth (Clément Cogitore) Fri-Sun

AMC Southcenter:

Operation Chromite (John H. Lee) Fri-Thurs
Gleason (J. Clay Tweel) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas:

Don’t Think Twice (Mike Birbiglia) Fri-Thurs
Café Society (Woody Allen) Fri-Thurs
Amateur Night (Lisa Addario & Joe Syracuse) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986) Fri-Mon, Weds
Blood Simple (Joel & Ethan Coen, 1984) Fri-Mon, Weds-Thurs
The General (Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman, 1926) Sat & Sun Only Joe Hisaishi Score
Don’t Think Twice (Mike Birbiglia) Fri-Thurs
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs
Tattoo Nation (Eric Schwartz, 2013) Thurs Only

Varsity Theatre:

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs
Animal House (John Landis, 1978) Weds Only

Our Little Sister (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2015)

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At the center of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Our Little Sister is a house, and in the garden of the house is a plum tree. It is an old tree; generations of the family have seen it blossom and bear fruit, season by season. It is a tree at the heart of a house tradition, too, the making, storing, and consuming of umeshu, a sweet and sour green plum liqueur that is allowed to ripen to perfection over nine months beneath the floorboards. The family members prick their initials into the plums and these sit, soaking, as uniquely individual parts of the collective brew.

A family. A messy, powerful organism and a thing that Kore-eda, over the course of his film career, has continued to explore and expose, its raw bitternesses and its loving tendernesses. In earlier films, like Nobody Knows, heartbreak and tragedy are the centers of feeling; in more recent films, like I Wish, buoyant, infectious hope permeates. Our Little Sister tends towards the warmth of these latter films, and like the joyous, crucial moment of the speeding train in I Wish, there is a similarly ebullient defining moment in Our Little Sister, where two children on a bike fly through an avenue of blooming cherries.

Continue reading Our Little Sister (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2015)”

Friday August 5 – Thursday August 11

Featured Film:

Charade at the Seattle Art Museum

SAM’s summer Cary Grant series comes to an end this Thursday night with his 1963 comic thriller Charade, co-starring Audrey Hepburn and directed by Stanley Donen. Riffing on Grant’s persona from his Hitchcock films To Catch a Thief and North By NorthwestCharade is often claimed to be the best non-Hitchcock Hitchcock film ever made. That’s not really accurate, better to say its the best non-musical film Donen ever made. We talked about it way back on Episode Three of The George Sanders Show, along with Jonathan Demme’s maligned but really not that bad 2002 remake The Truth About Charlie.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Train to Busan (Yeon Sang-ho) Fri-Thurs
Gleason (J. Clay Tweel) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Kit Kittridge: An American Girl (Patricia Rozema, 2008) Weds Only

Central Cinema:

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971) Fri-Sun
Pean’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006) Fri-Mon
Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993) Tues and Weds  Only

Century Federal Way:

Bambukat (Pankaj Batra) Fri-Thurs
Imagine You and Me (Mike Tuviera) Fri-Thurs
Batman (Tim Burton, 1989) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs
The Innocents (Anne Fontaine) Fri-Thurs
The Music of Strangers (Morgan Neville) Fri-Thurs
Weiner (Josh Kriegcan & Elyse Steinberg) Tues Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Under the Sun (Vitaly Mansky) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Pulgasari (Shin Sang-ok, 1985) Sat Only VHS
Shot in the Dark: hand-crafted animated shorts from around the world Mon Only

Landmark Guild 45th:

Gleason (J. Clay Tweel) Fri-Thurs
Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Manamantha (Chandra Sekhar Yeleti) Fri-Thurs
Gleason (J. Clay Tweel) Fri-Thurs
Srirasthu Subhamasthu (Parasuram) Fri-Thurs
Batman (Tim Burton, 1989) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Pelli Chupulu (Tharun Bhascker) Fri-Thurs
Gleason (J. Clay Tweel) Fri-Thurs
Bazodee (Todd Kessler) Fri-Thurs

AMC Oak Tree:

Gleason (J. Clay Tweel) Fri-Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs
League of Gods (Koan Hui & Vernie Yeung) Fri-Thurs
Café Society (Woody Allen) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross) Fri-Thurs
Bazodee (Todd Kessler) Fri-Thurs
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs
How to Be Yours (Dan Villegas) Fri-Thurs

Seattle Art Museum:

Charade (Stanley Donen, 1963) Thurs Only Our Podcast

Landmark Seven Gables:

Café Society (Woody Allen) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

Band of Outsiders (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964) Fri-Sun
Kamikaze ’89 (Wolf Gremm, 1982) Fri-Sun
Le chèvre (Francis Veber, 1981) Weds Only
Weepah Way For Now (Stephen Ringer) Thurs Only

AMC Southcenter:

Café Society (Woody Allen) Fri-Thurs
Gleason (J. Clay Tweel) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas:

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs
Roseanne for President (Eric Weinrib) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

The Innocents (Anne Fontaine) Fri-Thurs
Don’t Think Twice (Mike Birbiglia) Fri-Thurs Director Q & A Friday Night
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs
Train to Busan (Yeon Sang-ho) Fri-Thurs
48 Hour Film Project Mon Only