Friday June 8 – Thursday June 14

Featured Film:

Let the Sunshine In at the Grand Cinema

While SIFF comes to its conclusion this weekend, the venerable Grand in Tacoma boasts two of the top titles from this year’s festival. Paul Schrader’s First Reformed is playing on a variety of screens in Seattle, but if you want to catch Claire Denis’s latest, you’re only choice (for now at least) is the Grand, where it begins its second week. Juliette Binoche plays an artist who is looking for but always unlucky in love, entertaining a series of men, none of which are worthy of her. There’s plenty of warmth and humor, but while Denis’s style seems like an odd fit for a romantic comedy, her focus on textures, of people (no one films skin better) and the spaces in-between them, reveals the desperate, longing soul underneath the most venerable genre clichés.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Kaala (Pa. Ranjith) Fri-Thurs Hindi
Believer (Lee Hae-young) Fri-Thurs
Veere Di Wedding (Shashanka Ghosh) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Logan (Noir) (James Mangold) Fri-Thurs
Mo’ Better Blues (Spike Lee, 1990) Tues Only

Central Cinema:

¡Three Amigos! (John Landis, 1986) Fri-Tues
A Fistful of Dollars (Sergio Leone, 1964) Fri-Tues
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Fran Rubel Kuzui, 1992) Thurs Only Hecklevision

SIFF Egyptian:

The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program

Century Federal Way:

Kaala (Pa. Ranjith) Fri-Thurs Tamil
Believer (Lee Hae-young) Fri-Thurs
Carry on Jatta 2 (Smeep Kang) Fri-Thurs
The Producers (Mel Brooks, 1967) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Let the Sunshine In (Claire Denis) Fri-Thurs Our Review
First Reformed (Paul Schrader) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
On Chesil Beach (Dominic Cooke) Fri-Thurs
Lives Well Lived (Sky Bergman) Fri-Thurs
Nausiccä of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki, 1984) Sat Only Subtitled Our Podcast
Rubin and Ed (Trent Harris, 1992) Sat Only
Becoming Who I Was (Moon Chang-Yong & Jeon Jin) Tues Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

How To Talk To Girls at Parties (John Cameron Mitchell) Fri-Sun, Tues & Thurs
Sollers Point (Matthew Porterfield) Fri-Thurs
Haikara-San: Here Comes Miss Modern (Kazuhiro Furuhashi) Sat-Mon Only

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

First Reformed (Paul Schrader) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
Kaala (Pa. Ranjith) Fri-Thurs Tamil, Telugu or Hindi, Check Listings
American Animals (Bart Layton) Fri-Thurs
On Chesil Beach (Dominic Cooke) Fri-Thurs
Veere Di Wedding (Shashanka Ghosh) Fri-Thurs
Abhimanyudu (P.S. Mithran) Fri-Tues Telugu with no subtitles
Raazi (Meghna Gulzar) Fri-Thurs

Regal Meridian:

How Long Will I Love U (Su Lun) Fri-Thurs Our Review
First Reformed (Paul Schrader) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
Beast (Michael Pearce) Fri-Thurs
Scarface (Brian DePalma, 1983) Sun & Weds Only

Northwest Film Forum:

Summer in the Forest (Randall Wright) Fri Only
Roller Dreams (Kate Hickey) Fri-Sun
Joe and Maxi (Maxi Cohen, 1978) Sat Only
The Doctor from India (Jeremy Frindel) Sun Only
In Case of Emergency (Stefanie Sparks) Weds & Thurs Only Director in Attendance
Queerama (Daisy Asquith) Starts Weds

AMC Pacific Place:

American Animals (Bart Layton) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Kasal (Ruel S. Bayani) Fri-Thurs
Sid & Aya: Not a Love Story (Irene Villamor) Fri-Thurs
Scarface (Brian DePalma, 1983) Sun & Weds Only

AMC Seattle:

First Reformed (Paul Schrader) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio) Fri-Thurs
On Chesil Beach (Dominic Cooke) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program

SIFF Uptown:

The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program

Varsity Theatre:

Nossa Chape (Jeff Zimbalist & Michael Zimbalist) Fri-Thurs

In Wide Release:

Ocean’s 8 (Gary Ross) Our Review
Solo (Ron Howard) Our Review
Avengers: Infinity War (Anthony & Joe Russo) Our Review
Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg) Our Review
Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson) Our Review
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler) Our Review
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Ocean’s 8 (Gary Ross, 2018)

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Ocean’s 8, the latest film in the celebrity heist movie series, was not directed by my personal boogeyman Steven Soderbergh, and so it was safe for me to watch. And safe is a good word to describe this wholly artificial construct of Hollywood froth: it is entirely what you’d expect it to be and mostly harmless. Like the first Ocean’s (I haven’t seen 12 or 13), the new one gathers an impressive array of movie stars for some glitzy thievery, the primary pleasure of the film residing in watching beautiful people hang out and enjoy the beautiful objects that accompany fame and fortune. As a heist film, and also like Ocean’s 11, it trades suspense for surprise, and thus is a shallower, less interesting film than it could be, and it also avoids the cynical cool that made the original, 1960 Ocean’s 11 such a classic. It’s the very definition of crowd-pleasing, eminently forgettable Hollywood product.

Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, brother of George Clooney’s apparently deceased Danny. She gets out of jail and immediately puts in motion her plan to steal a diamond necklace worth $150 million from the Met Gala (Cartier surely contributed a hefty sum to the film’s operating budget for its glamorous product placement). To this end she puts together a team of woman (all women, she insists, for reasons): Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina. They are to convince a movie star played by Anne Hathaway to wear the necklace to the gala, where they will lift it off her under the eyes of security cameras, hired goons, dozens of fashionably famous folks and the ever-present media. The team-gathering and heist preparations are slickly scored with faux-Mancini beats and accompanied by half-felt split-screen wipes. One gets the impression that director Gary Ross is merely imitating Soderbergh’s stylistic flourishes, a paint-by-numbers facsimile of what was already an empty imitation. But the stars, gorgeous and charming as every one of them is, carry it along with infectious goodwill.

The heist itself plays out with a decent amount of tension, less reliant on surprise twists than in Soderbergh’s film. The best heist movies are built on suspense: they tell you exactly what the plan is going to be, then drag you second-by-second through every step along the way, filling the audience with dread at every misstep or every accident, necessary improvisations taking on a life or death importance. Ocean’s 8 never really explains its plan, though most of it is easy enough to figure out. There are some annoying twists, and half-baked attempts at giving Debbie a revenge motive to make the plot somewhat interesting on a personal level (which in truly pointless Hollywood style Blanchett adamantly opposes in one scene only to beamingly approve of in the next). The insurance investigator played by James Corden is kind of funny, but seems to miss some blindingly obvious evidence. The movie is best when it focuses on the crime and is blessedly free of the kind of non-sequitor improv humor that dominates contemporary comedy (save for a brief scene of Awkwafina explaining to Kaling how Tinder works). But whatever. Ocean’s 8 is a perfectly pleasant way to spend two hours in an air-conditioned room and in a week I will have forgotten everything about it.