The Frances Farmer Show #11: A Quiet Passion, Chungking Express and Fallen Angels

After a lengthy absence, The Frances Farmer Show returns with a quick look at some films playing on Seattle Screens, including a preview of Terence Davies’s Emily Dickinson biopic A Quiet Passion, which opens here on May 5th. We then discuss Wong Kar-wai’s mid-90s masterpieces Chungking Express and Fallen Angels.

You can listen to the show by downloading it directly, or by subscribing on iTunes or the podcast player of your choice.

Friday April 28 – Thursday May 4

Featured Film:

Baahubali 2 at Various Multiplexes

One of the most-anticapted movies of 2017 opens this week at the Lincoln Square, the Meridian, the Parkway Plaza in Tukwila, the Century in Federal Way and the AMC in Lynnwood (along with a handful of other theatres in outlying areas). The sequel to the 2015 epic Baahubali: The BeginningBaahubali 2: The Conclusion promises more of the same from director SS Rajamouli: lush romance, bloody battles, and a fantastical CGI mise-en-scène beyond the bounds of acceptability in decrepit Hollywood. In the first part, a young man of immense strength named Shividu, living in an isolated village, discovered that he was the disinherited prince of a glorious kingdom. A lengthy flashback revealed the treachery of his uncle in (probably) murdering his father after a mighty battle in which Shividu’s father was declared king. We’ll have at least one review of the movie up this week as soon as we can see it. Note that there are three different versions playing around town, in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. The film was made in Telugu, and tickets for it in that language are the most expensive, followed in price by tickets for the shows in Tamil, and finally Hindi,  which appear to be regularly priced. The movie is only playing in its original Telugu version at Cinemark/Century theatres.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Baahubali 2 (SS Rajamouli) Fri-Thurs Hindi
The Mayor (Park Inje) Fri-Thurs
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs
Their Finest (Lone Scherfig) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Kedi (Ceyda Torun) Fri-Thurs
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs

Central Cinema:

Robocop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987) Fri-Mon, Weds
The Breakfast Club (John Hughes, 1985) Fri-Mon

Cinerama:

Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone (Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki & Masayuki, 2007) Fri Only
Howl’s Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki, 2004) Fri Only
Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988) Fri & Mon Only
Ponyo (Hayao Miyazaki, 2008) Sat Only English Dubbed
Princess Mononoke (Hayao Miyazaki, 1997) Sat Only
The Red Turtle (Michaël Dudok de Wit, 2016) Sat Only
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (Shinichirō Watanabe, 2001) Sat Only
Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1996) Sat & Tues Only
Porco Rosso (Hayao Miyazaki, 1992) Sun Only
Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001) Sun Only
Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988) Sun Only
Castle in the Sky (Hayao Miyazaki, 1986) Sun Only
From Up on Poppy Hill (Gorô Miyazaki, 2011) Mon Only
My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988) Mon Only
Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988) Fri & Mon Only
The Secret World of Arrietty (Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2010) Tues Only
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki, 1984) Tues Only Our Podcast
Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1996) Sat & Tues Only
Pom Poko (Isao Takahata, 1994) Weds Only
Kiki’s Delivery Service (Hayao Miyazaki, 1989) Sun Only Our Podcast
Paprika (Satoshi Kon, 2006) Weds Only

SIFF Egyptian:

Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs

Century Federal Way:

Baahubali 2 (SS Rajamouli) Fri-Thurs Hindi, Tamil & Telgu, Check Listings
Manje Bistre (Baljit Singh Deo) Fri-Thurs
The Mayor (Park Inje) Fri-Thurs
Men in Black (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1997) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Their Finest (Lone Scherfig) Fri-Thurs
Tommy’s Honour (Jason Connery) Fri-Thurs
Raw (Julia Ducournau) Fri & Sat Only
The Midnight Orchestra (Jerome Cohen-Olivar, 2015) Mon Only
Karl Marx City (Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker (III)) Tues Only Directors in Attendance
Ayanda (Sara Blecher) Mon Only
Tanna (Martin Butler & Bentley Dean) Tues Only
The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer) Weds Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

The Transfiguration (Michael O’Shea) Fri-Thurs

Landmark Guild 45th:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled or Dubbed in English, Check Listings
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Baahubali 2 (SS Rajamouli) Fri-Thurs Hindi, Tamil & Telgu, Check Listings
Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled
Their Finest (Lone Scherfig) Fri-Thurs
Men in Black (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1997) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Baahubali 2 (SS Rajamouli) Fri-Thurs Hindi
Trainspotting 2 (Danny Boyle) Fri-Thurs
Their Finest (Lone Scherfig) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Karl Marx City (Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker (III)) Fri Only Directors in Attendance
Shungu: The Resilience of a People (Saki Mafundikwa, 2009) Sun Only Director in Attendance
Punishment Park (Peter Watkins, 1971) Weds Only

AMC Oak Tree:

Their Finest (Lone Scherfig) Fri-Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

Love Off the Cuff (Pang Ho-cheung) Fri-Thurs
Battle of Memories (Leste Chen) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Baahubali 2 (SS Rajamouli) Fri-Thurs Hindi
Trainspotting 2 (Danny Boyle) Fri-Thurs
Their Finest (Lone Scherfig) Fri-Thurs
Can’t Help Falling in Love (Mae Czarina Cruz-Alviar) Fri-Thurs

Seattle Art Museum:

Good Morning (Yasujiro Ozu, 1959) Thurs Only 35mm

Landmark Seven Gables:

Graduation (Cristian Mungiu) Fri-Thurs Our Review

SIFF Film Center:

My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea (Dash Shaw) Fri-Sun Our Review
Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006) Thurs Only

AMC Southcenter:

Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas:

Their Finest (Lone Scherfig) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitles

SIFF Uptown:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Mon, Tues & Thurs Only Our Review Subtitled Only
My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea (Dash Shaw) Mon-Thurs Our Review 
NFFTY 2017 Fri-Sun Full Program
Cinema Twain (Val Kilmer) Thurs Only Val Kilmer in person

Varsity Theatre:

Queen of the Desert (Werner Herzog, 2015) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Below Her Mouth (April Mullen) Fri-Thurs
Voice from the Stone (Eric D. Howell) Fri-Thurs

In Wide Release:

The Lost City of Z (James Gray) Our Review
Free Fire 
(Ben Wheatley) Our Review
The Fate of the Furious 
(F. Gary Gray) Our Review

The Lost City of Z (James Gray, 2016)

lostcityofz-hunnam-jungle-hat

…a voice, as bad as Conscience, rang interminable changes
On one everlasting Whisper day and night repeated—so:
“Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges—
“Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!”

–Rudyard Kipling, “The Explorer”

And the women all were beautiful
And the men stood
straight and strong
They offered life in sacrifice
So that others could go on.

Hate was just a legend
And war was never known
The people worked together
And they lifted many stones.

They carried them
to the flatlands
And they died along the way
But they built up
with their bare hands
What we still can’t do today.

And I know she’s living there
And she loves me to this day
I still can’t remember when
Or how I lost my way.

He came dancing across the water
Cortez, Cortez
What a killer.

–Neil Young, “Cortez the Killer”

James Gray’s adaptation of the story of early 20th Century British explorer Percy Fawcett, based on a New Yorker article and subsequent book by David Grann, is as beguiling, beautiful and ultimately confounding as the Amazonian jungle in which it is largely set. Shot on actual film by the great Darius Khondji (Seven, My Blueberry Nights) the film has a granular opulence rarely seen in the Hollywood cinema today, lush details of both the rain forest wilderness and the rich dark warmth of the woods and leathers of English libraries that are overwhelmingly tactile and mesmerizingly immersive, which, combined with the film’s languorously fluvial pacing washes away all the gaps and inconsitencies and oddities in the screenplay, leaving only the impression of the grace and tragedy of the human impulse toward transcendence.

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Friday April 21 – Thursday April 27

Featured Film:

HyperNormalization at the Northwest Film Forum

There are a lot of highlights this week on Seattle Screens, from new releases (James Gray’s The Lost City of Z, Cristian Mungiu’s Graduation), continuing runs (Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name.) and the next films in retrospectives on Yasujiro Ozu, David Lynch and Douglas Sirk (Good MorningBlue VelvetDune and Imitation of Life, respectively), as well as the start of the Cinerama’s big Anime Festival. But if I had to see one movie this week, it would be the Northwest Film Forum’s free screening on Saturday of Adam Curtis’s HyperNormalization. Curtis is a documentarian for the BBC, and if you’re familiar with his work, this new one won’t be anything new. It’s rather another facet in his continuing argument that our modern world is the result of elite fear, a reaction to the instability of the post-industrial world, defined by corporate and governmental desires for stability and commodification. The story this time traces the careers of Muammar Gaddafi and Donald Trump, with sidelines on Russian manipulation of media and the deadening effect of the internet and social media (Our Fake World) on movements for social change. It’s three hours of horror, humor and Brian Eno, and, flawed or incomplete as Curtis’s argument may be, it explains our present moment as well as anything else I’ve seen.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs
Their Finest (Lone Scherfig) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Kedi (Ceyda Torun) Fri-Tues

Central Cinema:

Porco Rosso (Hayao Miyazaki, 1992) Fri-Mon Subtitled Sun & Mon Only
Airplane! (David Zucker, Jim Abrahams & Jerry Zucker, 1980) Fri-Tues

Cinerama:

The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki, 2013) Tues Only Subtitled
Tokyo Godfathers (Satoshi Kon & Shôgo Furuya, 2003) Tues Only Subtitled
Wolf Children (Momoru Hosada, 2012) Weds Only Subtitled
Summer Wars (Momoru Hosada, 2009) Weds Only Subtitled

SIFF Egyptian:

Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs

Century Federal Way:

Manje Bistre (Baljit Singh Deo) Fri-Thurs
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs
The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Trainspotting 2 (Danny Boyle) Fri-Thurs
Tommy’s Honour (Jason Connery) Fri-Thurs
Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996) Fri Only
The Void (Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski) Sat Only
Sonita (Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami) Sun Only
Ayanda (Sara Blecher) Mon Only
Tanna (Martin Butler & Bentley Dean) Tues Only
The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer) Weds Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

The Void (Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski) Sat, Weds & Thurs Only
Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (David Fairhead) Sun & Mon Only
Who’s Crazy? (Thomas White, 1966) Fri-Thurs

Landmark Guild 45th:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled or Dubbed in English, Check Listings
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled
Noor (Sunhil Sippy) Fri-Thurs
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs
Their Finest (Lone Scherfig) Fri-Thurs
The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Trainspotting 2 (Danny Boyle) Fri-Thurs
Tommy’s Honour (Jason Connery) Fri-Thurs
Their Finest (Lone Scherfig) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Alive and Kicking (Susan Glatzer) Fri & Sat Only
HyperNormalization (Adam Curtis) Sat Only Free
Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production (Briar Levit) Weds Only

Paramount Theatre:

Selected Silent Shorts (Various) Mon Only

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Trainspotting 2 (Danny Boyle) Fri-Thurs
Can’t Help Falling in Love (Mae Czarina Cruz-Alviar) Fri-Thurs

Seattle Art Museum:

Equinox Flower (Yasujiro Ozu, 1958) Thurs Only 35mm

Landmark Seven Gables:

Graduation (Cristian Mungiu) Fri-Thurs Our Review

SIFF Film Center:

Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986) Fri & Sat Only
Dune (David Lynch, 1984) Sat & Sun Only 35mm
Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959) Tues Only 35mm

AMC Southcenter:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled Only

Sundance Cinemas:

Their Finest (Lone Scherfig) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review

SIFF Uptown:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled Only
My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea (Dash Shaw) Fri-Thurs

Varsity Theatre:

Queen of the Desert (Werner Herzog, 2015) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967) Weds Only

In Wide Release:

The Lost City of Z (James Gray) Our Review
Free Fire 
(Ben Wheatley) Our Review
The Fate of the Furious 
(F. Gary Gray) Our Review

Free Fire (Ben Wheatley, 2016)

free_fire_cast_3

Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire is as pointless an exercise in nihilistic violence as Seattle Screens have seen in some time. For some reason it’s set in the late 1970s, as a representative of the IRA played by Cillian Murphy (The Wind that Shakes the Barley) attempts to buy machine guys at an abandoned factory in Boston. The deal has been put together by Brie Larson (Room) and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger), the latter unrecognizable in turtleneck and beard. The dealer is South African actor Sharlto Copley (Chappie), leading a gang of ruffians, one of whom got in a fight with one of Murphy’s gang of ruffians the night before. When the two men recognize each other, they begin fighting, someone pulls a gun and soon the two sides are, as they say, freely firing at each other. Later some other people will show up and start shooting at everyone, but no one, apparently, knows why. One person will survive, of course, but it doesn’t matter who, or why, or for how long, though the final shot manages the unique feat of cribbing from both Reservoirs Dogs and The 400 Blows.

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Lost Highway ( David Lynch, 1997)

highway1

The following is adapted from a review I wrote back in 2007 for a David Lynch Blog-athon.

Bill Pullman plays a saxophonist who kills his wife (Patricia Arquette) because she was apparently cheating on him, and is so guilty over the murder that while in prison he goes insane and creates another reality for himself, one in which he’s a young mechanic (Balthazar Getty). Pullman’s fantasy world is something out of the 50s or early 60s of American Graffiti, with its car obsessions, pleasant suburban family, and the cute girl next door (Natasha Gregson Wagner). Unfortunately for Pullman, his subconscious won’t quite let him forget his crime, and soon Getty’s hanging around with a gangster (Robert Loggia) and his femme fatale girl (Arquette again). As in a typical film noir, Getty falls for the bad girl, conspires with her to commit some crimes (including a murder or two) and comes to a bad end.

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Friday April 14 – Thursday April 20

Featured Film:

David Lynch at SIFF

Not immune to the hype surrounding the revival of Twin Peaks, perennial local favorite David Lynch gets the retrospective treatment starting this week at SIFF, with Eraserhead and The Elephant Man at the Film Center and Lost Highway at the Egyptian, all presented on 35mm. In coming weeks, they’ll be playing acknowledged masterpieces Mulholland Dr. and Blue Velvet, alongside Inland Empire and Dune, oddities great and notorious. I recommend watching them concurrently with the Ozu series at SAM and SIFF’s own on-going Douglas Sirk series (which features my favorite Sirk this week: Written on the Wind). Run the full gamut of the surreality of melodrama and see how your brain feels. Ryan’s got our series preview.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs
Tommy’s Honour (Jason Connery) Fri-Thurs

Central Cinema:

All About Eve (Jospeh L. Mankiewicz, 1950) Fri-Sun
Life of Brian (Terry Jones, 1979) Fri-Mon
The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963) Mon & Tues Only

SIFF Egyptian:

Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Weds
Lost Highway (David Lynch, 1997) Thurs Only 35mm Our Review

Century Federal Way:

Manje Bistre (Baljit Singh Deo) Fri-Thurs
Clueless (Amy heckerling, 1995) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Trainspotting 2 (Danny Boyle) Fri-Thurs
Wallace and Gromit: the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Nick Park & Steve Box, 2005) Sat Morning Free
Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000) Sat Only
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (Arvin Chen, 2013) Mon Only
A Stray (Musa Syeed) Tues Only
The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941) Weds Only
Neither Wolf nor Dog (Steven Lewis Simpson) Thurs Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

The Void (Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski) Fri-Thurs
Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (David Fairhead) Fri-Thurs

Landmark Guild 45th:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled or Dubbed in English, Check Listings
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled
Kaatru Veliyidai (Mani Ratnam) Fri-Thurs Tamil
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo) Fri-Thurs
Tommy’s Honour (Jason Connery) Fri-Thurs
Begum Jaan (Srijit Mukherji) Fri-Thurs
Mr. (Srinu Vaitla) Fri-Thurs
Clueless (Amy heckerling, 1995) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Trainspotting 2 (Danny Boyle) Fri-Thurs
Tommy’s Honour (Jason Connery) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

By Design 2017 Fri-Sun Full Program
Alive and Kicking (Susan Glatzer) Fri-Sun, Weds-Thurs
THX 1138 (George Lucas, 1971) Thurs Only Live Score

AMC Oak Tree:

1 Mile to You (Leif Tilden) Fri-Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

The Devotion of Suspect X (Alec Su) Fri-Thurs

Paramount Theatre:

Girl Shy ( Fred C. Newmeyer & Sam Taylor, 1924) Mon Only

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Trainspotting 2 (Danny Boyle) Fri-Thurs
Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Seattle Art Museum:

Early Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1956) Thurs Only 35mm

Landmark Seven Gables:

Cézanne et moi (Danièle Thompson) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977) Fri & Sat Only 35mm
The Elephant Man (David Lynch, 1980) Sat & Sun Only 35mm
Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk, 1956) Tues Only

AMC Southcenter:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled Only

Sundance Cinemas:

Tommy’s Honour (Jason Connery) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review

SIFF Uptown:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled Only
Kedi (Ceyda Torun) Fri-Tues
Wild and Scenic Film Festival Weds Only Full Program

Varsity Theatre:

Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Queen of the Desert (Werner Herzog, 2015) Fri-Thurs Our Review

In Wide Release:

The Fate of the Furious (F. Gary Gray) Our Review

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai, 2016)

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Makoto Shinkai’s latest anime smashed records across Asia last fall, becoming the highest grossing Japanese film in the history of China and Thailand, the second highest grossing Japanese film in Japanese history (behind Spirited Away), the worldwide top-grossing anime ever and the eighth highest grossing traditionally-animated film of all-time. Finally opening across North America this week, it has a chance to add to that record, and I think we’re all pulling for it to raise that extra $20 million it needs to overtake Pocahontas. Like his highly-acclaimed short features 5 Centimeters per Second (2007) and The Garden of Words (2013), it’s a story of two young people attempting to forge a connection. Romantically, yes, but also metaphysically. Apparently caused by the appearance of a comet close to the Earth, country girl Mitsuha and city boy Taki begin switching bodies: sometimes they wake up inhabiting the other, sometimes they don’t. This is bewildering, but eventually they figure out its rhythms and turns out to be quite fun. And funny: Taki’s teenaged boy obsession with his own (sort-of) breasts is perhaps the film’s truest note. Things reach a crisis point when the comet reaches its closest point and the body-switching ceases, sending each character in desperate search of the real-life other, complicated by the fact that they keep forgetting the other person’s existence.

Your Name. isn’t quite as other-worldly gorgeous as those two earlier films (they’re the only two other features I’ve seen from Shinkai), it’s combination of hand-drawn, computer and rotoscoped animation is a little more conventional, just as its plot and approach to narrative is a little more familiar. 5 Centimeters per Second was a trilogy of vignettes about a couple who loved each other once but where split apart by geography, and their attempts and failures to reconnect over a lifetime. The Garden of Words was about the Platonic love between a depressed teacher and a fifteen year old student. Your Name. unites these two in splitting its heroes in both time and space, human connection being so difficult that truly achieving it involves breaking the known laws of physics. The tragedy of the film comes from the loss of memory: human brains are unreliable and fungible, and the omnipresent devices with think makes us more interconnected are even more fragile. Tradition and ritual though unite us with a past we cannot comprehend. Mitsuha is part of a long family line of makers of braided cords, who specially prepare a kind of saké as an offering for an unnamed god. They’ve forgotten the reasons for the rituals, but they perform them nonetheless. Where every other device of history and communication (cell phone, history book, museum photograph) fails, the braided cord, explicitly a metaphor for the dense and incomprehensible construction of space-time, persists.

Friday April 7 – Thursday April 13

Featured Film:

Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name.

The latest film from the master of sentimental anime finally opens here in the US after smashing box office records last fall throughout Asia. Shinkai is a maker of supernaturally gorgeous romances like 2007’s 5 Centimeters per Second and 2013’s The Garden of Words, and the unusually punctuated Your Name. appears to follow in this vein. Based on his own novel, it’s about a pair of teenagers, country girl and city boy, who begin intermittently switching bodies. It’s playing in both English and the original Japanese at various theatres around town, be sure to check the listings to make sure you get the proper version.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review
John Wick: Chapter 2 (Chad Stahelski) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Prison (Kim Rae-won & Han Suk-kyu) Fri-Thurs

Central Cinema:

Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984) Fri-Mon, Weds
Friday (F. Gary Gray, 1995) Fri-Mon
Blood Diner (Jackie Kong, 1987) Tues Only

SIFF Egyptian:

Raw (Julia Ducournau) Fri-Thurs
Danger Diva (Robert McGinley) Thurs Only World Premiere, Live Performance by Thunderpussy

Century Federal Way:

Clue (Jonathan Lynn, 1985) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Land of Mine (Martin Pieter Zandvliet) Fri-Thurs
The Last Word (Mark Pellington) Fri-Tues
Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985) Sat Only
Ixcanul (Jayro Bustamante, 2015) Sun Only Our Review
Venice (Kiki Alvarez, 2014) Mon Only
Antarctica: Ice & Sky (Luc Jacquet) Tues Only
Real Boy (Shaleece Haas) Thurs Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

The Void (Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski) Fri-Thurs
Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu (Tatsuya Oishi & Akiyuki Shinbo) Sat-Mon Only

Landmark Guild 45th:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled or Dubbed in English, Check Listings
Kedi (Ceyda Torun) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled or Dubbed in English, Check Listings
Cheliyaa (Mani Ratnam) Fri-Thurs Telugu
Kaatru Veliyidai (Mani Ratnam) Fri-Thurs Tamil
Guru (Sudha K Prasad) Fri-Thurs
Clue (Jonathan Lynn, 1985) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Trainspotting 2 (Danny Boyle) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Cinemania (Angela Christlieb & Stephen Kijak, 2002) Fri Only 35mm
I Called Him Morgan (Kasper Collin) Starts Thurs
Surround Sound Laydown Sat Only Live music, film screening, and poetry reading!
Apple Pie (Sam Hamilton) Sun Only
A Roll for Peter Thurs Only

AMC Oak Tree:

1 Mile to You (Leif Tilden) Fri-Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

La La Land (Damien Chazelle) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Devotion of Suspect X (Alec Su) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Song to Song (Terrence Malick) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Last Word (Mark Pellington) Fri-Thurs
Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Northern Lights: A Journey to Love (Dondon S. Santos) Fri-Thurs

Seattle Art Museum:

Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953) Thurs Only 35mm

Landmark Seven Gables:

Frantz (François Ozon) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

As You Are (Miles Joris-Peyrafitte) Fri-Sun Only
All That Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk, 1955) Tues Only

AMC Southcenter:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled Only

Sundance Cinemas:

Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Wilson (Craig Johnson) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review

SIFF Uptown:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled Only
Trainspotting 2 (Danny Boyle) Fri-Thurs

Varsity Theatre:

Aftermath (Elliott Lester) Fri-Thurs
The Assignment (Walter Hill) Fri-Thurs

Queen of the Desert (Werner Herzog, 2015)

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Werner Herzog’s biopic of British archeologist Gertrude Bell premiered more than two years ago at the Berlin Film Festival to poor reviews, and is only this week making its way onto American screens. Why this should be is not immediately clear, the ins and outs of which international art house films make it into domestic distribution is far too complex a matter for my mind to comprehend, but I believe it involves some combination of corporate nepotism, the star system and random chance. The stars in this case are what make the film worth watching, as Nicole Kidman can enliven even the deadest of features, and this might be her most heroic effort in that vein to date. There’s almost nothing of Werner Herzog in the film, though there might have been once: Bell superficially appears to be his kind of a hero, obsessed with a harsh landscape, driven outside the bounds of society to do something remarkable, but at nearly every level the film feels compromised. Herzog is the only credited writer, but this has all the hallmarks of a film written and edited by a committee.

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