Apparently the first weekend SIFF played Police Story and Police Story 2 they were hits, because they’ve brought them back for another three days this weekend. With much of the calendar cleared this week for the Oscars (you can catch up with various nominees at a bunch of places around town), there isn’t a whole lot else of note out there. But the Chans are phenomenal, especially the first one, hands down his best film as a director. Catch them while you can. I reviewed them at the Notebook, and Ryan reviewed them here.
Cold War(Pawel Pawlikowski) Fri-Thurs Capernaum(Nadine Labaki) Fri-Thurs 2019 Oscar Live Action Shorts (Various) Fri-Thurs 2019 Oscar Animated Shorts (Various) Fri-Thurs Kirikou and the Sorceress (Michel Ocelot & Raymond Burlet, 1998) Sat Only
Our Featured Film is a no-brainer this week, as Eddie Muller is back with another festival of film noir, this year focusing on noirs from the 1950s. All the shows are playing at the Egyptian, many of them on 35mm, and it’s a superb mix of recognized classics, underseen gems and films even a long-time noir fan like me doesn’t know anything about. If you’ve seen the big names (Touch of Evil, Kiss Me Deadly, Pickup on South Street), don’t miss the less well-known, but just as good, File of Thelma Jordan, Angel Face, Nightfall and Murder by Contract. The latter plays back-to-back with Touch of Evil on Wednesday night, which is as good a single night of movies that Seattle is likely to get this year. Best thing to do though is to go to some shows you don’t know anything about: you’re almost certain to find something special.
Trapped(Richard Fleischer, 1949) Fri Only 35mm The File on Thelma Jordon (Robert Siodmak, 1950) Fri Only 35mm The Well(Russell Rouse, 1949) Sat Only Detective Story (Detective Story, 1951) Sat Only The Turning Point(William Dieterle, 1952) Sat Only Angel Face(Otto Preminger, 1953) Sat Only 35mm Pickup on South Street (Samuel Fuller, 1953) Sun Only City That Never Sleeps (John H. Auer, 1953) Sun Only Pushover(Richard Quine, 1954) Sun Only 35mm Private Hell 36 (Don Siegel, 1954) Sun Only 35mm Kiss Me Deadly(Robert Aldrich, 1955) Mon Only 35mm Killer’s Kiss(Stanley Kubrick, 1955) Mon Only 35mm The Scarlet Hour (Michael Curtiz, 1956) Mon Only 35mm A Kiss Before Dying (Gerd Oswald, 1956) Mon Only 35mm Nightfall(Jacques Tourneur, 1956) Tues Only 35mm The Burglar(Paul Wendkos, 1956) Tues Only 35mm Touch of Evil(Orson Welles, 1958) Weds Only Murder by Contract(Irving Lerner, 1958) Weds Only 35mm The Crimson Kimono (Samuel Fuller, 1959) Thurs Only 35mm Odds Against Tomorrow (Robert Wise, 1959) Thurs Only
2019 Oscar Documentary Shorts (Various) Fri-Thurs 2019 Oscar Animated Shorts (Various) Fri-Thurs 2019 Oscar Live Action Shorts (Various) Fri-Thurs An American Tail(Don Bluth, 1986) Sat Only Free Screening The Lobster(Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015) Sat Only Bathtubs over Broadway(Dava Whisenant) Tues Only Laurel & Hardy Short Films(Various) Weds Only
The convergence of Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day had blessed us with an embarrassment of cinematic riches this week on Seattle Screens. On the former front, we have new releases The Wandering Earth, Pegasus and Integrity, along with the continuing run of Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year and revivals of one of Sammo Hung’s best movies (Pedicab Driver, on 35mm at the Grand Illusion) and Jackie Chan’s best (the restoration of Police Story and Police Story 2 at the Uptown). Valentine’s gives us some inspired programming: Takashi Miike’s Audition at the Northwest Film Forum, Cries and Whispers at SAM, Natural Born Killers at the Central Cinema, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas at the Cinemark theatres (albeit dubbed, apparently), Dick and Jane Drop Acid and Die at the Grand Illusion, alongside more traditional fare like Before Sunrise at the Grand, and Dirty Dancing, Wings of Desire and Cold War at various other theatres. Here’s hoping the snow passes us by, or at least melts quickly, so we can actually get out to some of these great movies.
Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year(Zhang Dapeng) Fri-Tues Integrity(Alan Mak) Fri-Tues Dirty Dancing(Emile Ardolino) Sun & Weds Only I Want to Eat Your Pancreas(Shin’ichirô Ushijima) Sun Only English Dub
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (Shelly Chopra Dhar) Fri-Thurs Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi (Kangana Ranaut & Krish) Fri-Thurs Yatra (Mahi V. Raghav) Fri-Thurs In Malayalam or Telugu, Check Listings URI (Aditya Dhar) Fri-Thurs Bhai – Vyakti Valli Uttarardh (Mahesh Manjrekar) Sat-Tues Joseph (M. Padmakumar) Sat & Sun Only Natasaarvabhowma (Pawan Wadeyar) Sat & Sun Only Dirty Dancing(Emile Ardolino) Sun & Weds Only I Want to Eat Your Pancreas(Shin’ichirô Ushijima) Sun Only English Dub
Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year at the Meridian and Parkway Plaza
Tuesday marks the start of Lunar New Year, and this most holiest of seasons for Chinese film gets a robust start on Seattle Screens this week. The Pacific Place has the new Pang Ho-cheung romantic comedy, Missbehavior, which promises more of the same from the director of Love in a Puff and Women Who Know How to Flirt are the Luckiest. The Grand Illusion concludes the Hong Kong Kung Fu series they presented jointly with the NWFF with a couple of Sammo Hung movies, 1993’s Blade of Fury and 1989’s Pedicab Driver, one of his very best (it continues into next week as well). The Varsity and the Admiral have Chen Kaige’s Legend of the Demon Cat, which originally premiered in 2017 but was greeted quite positively at the Toronto Film Festival this past fall in a supposed “Director’s Cut.” I haven’t been able to find out which version is playing here. But the most exciting Lunar New Year film of the week has got to be Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year, a Chinese film in which the beloved animated pig learns all about the holiday. My kids love Peppa almost as much as my wife and I do, and we’re taking them to see it even though we’ll have to read the subtitles for them.
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (Shelly Chopra Dhar) Fri-Thurs Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi (Kangana Ranaut & Krish) Fri-Thurs Sarvam Thaala Mayam (Rajiv Menon) Fri-Thurs The Gandhi Murder(Karim Traïdia) Fri-Thurs F2-Fun and Frustration (Anil Ravipudi) Fri-Thurs URI (Aditya Dhar) Fri-Thurs Vandha Rajavathaan Varuven (Sundar C.) Fri-Thurs Tamil with No Subtitles K.G.F. Chapter 1 (Prashanth Neel) Sat & Sun Only The Wizard of Oz(Victor Fleming, 1939) Sun & Tues Only
In a futile attempt to get my hopes up, the Academy this week nominated Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman for a bunch of awards, including Best Director and Best Picture. I thought after I first saw it this summer, that this would probably be Spike’s best chance to win the Best Picture Oscar that has eluded him for so long, and the narrative of him beating Green Book, after Do the Right Thing didn’t even get nominated the year Driving Miss Daisy (Green Book‘s closest cinematic analogue) won is irresistible. But it’s probably not going to happen. But maybe? It’s playing this week for a handful of shows at the AMC Seattle (formerly the Metro) and the AMC Alderwood, along with the Regals in Auburn and Lakewood. I never wrote about it here, but I did write a blurb for it a couple weeks ago as part of InReview Online’s Best Films of 2018 round-up, wherein I claim it’s Spike Lee’s Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
It’s been four year since we launched Seattle Screen Scene, and if there’s one thing I hope we’ve established over that time, it’s that there are a great many more Asian films, specifically films from China, Korea, and India, playing around town than anyone ever seems to notice, and that quite a few of them are very good. If there’s one other thing, it would be that European cinema, at least for the last several decades, has been a vast wasteland of drab, dull, self-important, ugly, and overrated movies. European cinema has been, in my opinion of course and with notable exceptions, for lack of a better word, dead. So I was as surprised as anyone when I watched Pawel Pawlikowski’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning Ida at VIFF last fall and absolutely loved it. A vibrant, breathless, decadently romantic love story set against the sweep of mid-20th Century history, anchored by two fine performances, excellent music and lustrous black and white cinematography that ranks with the best Europe has ever produced (by which I mean Luchino Visconti’s White Nights), it was almost enough to make me rethink my sweeping condemnation of the cinema of an entire continent. Almost.
I said I’d do my best not to name whichever film was playing in the Northwest Film Forum’s Shaw Brothers series as our Featured Film every week, so I’m definitely not picking Come Drink With Me, the King Hu classic that started it all, which is playing Wednesday night only. Instead I’m going with the AMC Pacific Place, which is playing 15 of the best documentaries of the year (the ones shortlisted for the Academy Awards nomination) for a couple of shows each over the course of this week. The ones not to miss are: Shirkers, which has otherwise only be available on Netflix, Minding the Gap, and Hale County This Morning, This Evening, each of which had unfortunately brief runs here in Seattle. This might be your last chance to ever see them in a theatre.
If Beale Street Could Talk at the Uptown and the Meridian
It figures of course that the finest American film of the year would only be released on a handful of screens in the final days of 2018. Barry Jenkins more than follows through on the promise of Moonlight with this dreamy, yet scathing, look at life and romance under structural racism in the USA. Though based on the mid-century novel by James Baldwin, there’s nothing antiquated about its story of young love struggling to endure against all odds, while Jenkins’s style marks the most successful yet attempt to adapt Hou Hsiao-hsien to the Hollywood mainstream.
Seattle’s best and longest-running cinematic Christmas tradition is the Grand Illusion’s annual three-week run of Frank Capra’s super-depressing holiday classic. While other theatres try to start new traditions (SIFF’s Fiddler on the Roof sing-along, various attempts to make Elf happen, or Die Hard), suicidal Jimmy Stewart succumbing to the life-crushing logic of capitalism and the nuclear family, only to be rescued by the divine revelation that while the world is indeed terrible, hey, at least it could be worse, is the only cure we need for our candy cane hangover.
At Eternity’s Gate(Julian Schnabel) Fri-Mon Shoplifters(Kore-eda Hirokazu) Fri-Thurs Fiddler on the Roof(Norman Jewison, 1971) Tues Only Sing-along If Beale Street Could Talk(Barry Jenkins) Starts Tues
Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan at the Northwest Film Forum
Yeah, I know, it’s awards season and the theatres are packed with the respectable products of Hollywood and the international festival circuit. You got your Lanthimoses and Cuarón’s and Kore-eda’s, your respectable actors doing biopics and whatever it is Natalie Portman is up to in Vox Lux. Well, you can have all that if you want, for me, the undisputed highlight on Seattle Screens this week is a 45 year old rape-revenge film by Chor Yuen, the Shaw Brothers answer to Josef von Sternberg. Intimate Confessions kicks off what is to be a series of Hong Kong films over the next month, splitting between the Film Forum (who will be playing Come Drink with Me, Golden Swallow, and The One-Armed Swordsman in coming weeks) and the Grand Illusion (who have a pair of Sammo Hung movies: Pedicab Driver and Blade of Fury). I will do my best not to name them the Featured Film every week. But no promises.
Roma (Alfonso Cuarón) Fri-Thurs The Favourite(Yorgos Lanthimos) Fri-Thurs At Eternity’s Gate(Julian Schnabel) Fri-Thurs A Christmas Story(Bob Clark, 1983) Sat Only Free Screening Rare Exports (Jalmari Helander, 2010) Sat Only Heavy Trip (Juuso Laatio & Jukka Vidgren) Sat Only Life and Nothing More (Antonio Mendez Esparza) Tues Only Bell, Book and Candle (Richard Quine, 1958) Weds Only