Seattle Cinema Almanac: August 30-September 5

I wish I had more time to see movies.

Once again, we have an incredible week of films hitting the area’s arthouse theaters. From a series on class politics in cinema at The Beacon to a retrospective of films based on the work of Stephen King at the Cinerama – not to mention more festival favorites like Brittany Runs a Marathon and The Nightingale at SIFF, The Mountain at Northwest Film Forum, and After the Wedding at The Grand Cinema – there is a plethora of incredible cinema hitting our screens over the next seven days. Take some time this week to sample something off the beaten path!

Happy moviegoing!

* Recommended Film

Class War: Comedies of Poverty and Wealth

From The Beacon: “We exist everyday in the trenches of a class war. And the rich are winning. We suggest two responses to this horrifying state of affairs: finding humor in the struggle with these ten darkly satirical films. And organizing as a class for mass collective action on our own behalf!”

This week’s film include Nine to Five and The Wolf of Wall Street.

I absolutely love The Beacon’s approach to film programming, and it looks like we have another great thematic series of repertory films. Both films showing this week are great, and I can’t wait to hear more about how this series sparks conversations and thoughts about class in America.

The Beacon
TICKETS & SHOWTIMES

Stephen King Film Series

From Seattle Cinerama: “Cinerama will play host to the Stephen King Film Series. We’ll have six straight days of King pictures starting with, as he did in his career, the one and only Carrie. It will be, of course, the 1976 version. Really get things going with a bang.”

This series includes Carrie, Creepshow, Dolores Claiborne, Misery, Stand by Me, The Green Mile, Needful Things, Maximum Overdrive, The Dead Zone, Pet Cemetery, The Running Man, Christine, and It: Chapter One.

Seattle Cinerama
TICKETS & SHOWTIMES

New This Week

After the Wedding
From The Grand Cinema: “Isabel has dedicated her life to working with the children in an orphanage in Calcutta. Theresa is the multimillionaire head of a media company who lives with her artist husband and their twin boys in New York. When word comes to Isabel of a mysterious and generous grant for the financially struggling orphanage, she must travel to New York to meet the benefactor – Theresa – in person.”

The Grand Cinema
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Brittany Runs a Marathon
From SIFF: “A game ensemble cast shines in this Sundance-winning romantic comedy, starring Jillian Bell as a New York slacker who reluctantly takes up running, hoping to put her life back on track one block at a time.”

SIFF Cinema Egyptian
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The Mountain *
From Kino Lorber: “Set against the 1950’s ‘golden age’ of American male supremacy, an introverted young photographer joins a renowned lobotomist on a tour to promote the doctor’s recently-debunked procedure. As he increasingly identifies with the asylum’s patients, he becomes enamored with a rebellious young woman and lost in the burgeoning New Age movement of the west.”

I’ve been curious about this one since it hit the festival circuit. This is definitely one to check out if you’re interested in the quirky and bizarre.

Northwest Film Forum
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The Nightingale *
From SIFF: “Australian writer/director Jennifer Kent’s second directorial effort, The Nightingale, is a revenge film set in 19th-century Tasmania. Instead of a babadook, however, this time Kent depicts horror in the form of colonial white British soldiers who brutalize women and Aboriginal locals.”

I absolutely loved this film, as shocking and horrifying as it is. It explores issues of gender, race, and colonialism and doesn’t leave us with any easy answers.

WARNING: The Nightingale does contain scenes of rape, sexual violence, racist language, and racially motivated acts of violence which may be triggering for some viewers.

SIFF Cinema Uptown
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Ode to Joy
From The Grand Illusion Cinema: “How does a man who is—literally—paralyzed by happiness find love? Based on a true story originally featured on This American Life, Ode to Joy is a hilarious and touching look at what happens when we stop being afraid and let ourselves truly live.”

The Grand Illusion Cinema
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The Wicker Man
From Central Cinema: “Sergeant Howie arrives on Summerisle to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young girl. However, the locals claim no such person ever existed. As his investigation deepens, Sergeant Howie finds his conservative Christian life challenged by the openly pagan community, and the truth behind the girl’s disappearance to be even more frightening than he could have imagined. “

Central Cinema
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Willow
From Central Cinema: “A fine fun family fantasy makes its way to Central Cinema. Peaceful family man Willow Ufgood comes across a baby floating down a river, becoming the little one’s reluctant guardian. The new responsibilities include normal parenting duties such as changing diapers, feeding the newborn, and protecting her from an evil sorceress queen who sends he minions to hunt the child.”

Central Cinema
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Continuing Features

Blinded by the Light
From The Grand Cinema: “In 1987 during the austere days of Thatcher’s Britain, a teenager learns to live life, understand his family, and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen.”

Firehouse Theater
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The Grand Cinema
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Rose Theatre
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Booksmart
From Crest Cinema Center: “This wildly original comedy about high school best friends and the bonds we create that last a lifetime is a coming of age story for a new generation.”

Crest Cinema Center
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Echo in the Canyon
From Rose Theatre: “A celebration of the explosion of popular music that came out of LA’s Laurel Canyon in the mid-60s as folk went electric and The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield and The Mamas and the Papas gave birth to the California Sound.”

SIFF Cinema Uptown
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The Farewell *
From SIFF: “Awkwafina, the flamboyant breakout star of Crazy Rich Asians, plays a woman traveling back home to China to assist in an elaborate ruse to keep a truth from her terminally ill grandmother.”

Lulu Wang’s comedy is deeply moving and very funny, a lovely film about grief and family responsibility.

Ark Lodge Cinemas
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The Grand Cinema
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SIFF Cinema Uptown
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Last Black Man in San Francisco *
From SIFF: “A wistful odyssey populated by skaters, squatters, street preachers, playwrights, and others on the margins of a rapidly gentrifying city. The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a poignant and sweeping story of hometowns and how they’re made-and kept alive-by the people who love them.”

The more I think about this one, the more I love it. It will almost certainly end up as one of my favorite films of the year. It’s a gorgeous, heartbreaking film about gentrification and the sense that we’re all-too-often trapped by the stories we tell ourselves.

Ark Lodge Cinemas
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Luce
From The Grand Cinema: “A married couple is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son, adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher threatens his status as an all-star student.”

The Grand Cinema
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Maiden
From The Grand Cinema: “Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook in charter boats, became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World in 1989. With their help she went on to shock the sport world and prove that women are very much the equal of men.”

Olympia Film Society
SHOWTIMES

Rose Theatre
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Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love
From Rose Theatre: “The beautiful yet tragic love story between Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse, Marianne Ihlen.”

Rose Theatre
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Midsommer *
From Ark Lodge Cinemas: “Dani and Christian are on the brink of falling apart. But after a family tragedy keeps them together, a grieving Dani joins Christian and his friends on a trip to a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village. What begins as a carefree summer holiday in a land of eternal sunlight takes a sinister turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that render the pastoral paradise increasingly unnerving and viscerally disturbing.”

I did thoroughly love this disturbing slice of folk horror about grief and loss, though I’m not sure about this move to put the director’s cut in theaters just a few months after it premiered. I’ll be curious to see what has been altered between the two versions (and if the director’s cut works better), but I may wait for video.

Ark Lodge Cinemas
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Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood *
From SIFF: “Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, including the television and film industry.”

This completely took me by surprise. The more I’ve thought about this one, the more I love it. It’s Tarantino’s warmest film and one of his most mature. There’s something lovely about his thoroughly optimistic belief that cinema has the power to rewrite history.

The Grand Cinema
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Olympia Film Society
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SIFF Cinema Uptown
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The Peanut Butter Falcon
From Firehouse Theater: “The Peanut Butter Falcon is an adventure story set in the world of a modern Mark Twain that begins when Zak, a young man with Down syndrome runs away from a nursing home where he lives to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler and attending the wrestling school of The Salt Water Redneck.”

The Grand Cinema
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Rocketman
From Crest Cinema Center: “An epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years, as he transforms from a shy piano prodigy to a superstar.”

Crest Cinema Center
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The Souvenir *
From Northwest Film Forum: “A shy but ambitious film student begins to find her voice as an artist while navigating a turbulent courtship with a charismatic but untrustworthy man. She defies her protective mother and concerned friends as she slips deeper and deeper into an intense, emotionally fraught relationship that comes dangerously close to destroying her dreams.”

I think this first hit Seattle theaters while I was in the midst of SIFF, so I’ve missed most of my opportunities to see this on the big screen. I am so thrilled to see The Beacon bring it back for a week-long run. This may be the chance I get to finally see this festival favorite that’s received rave reviews.

The Beacon
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The Spy Behind Home Plate
From Crest Cinema Center: “Morris ‘Moe’ Berg, a Jewish catcher during baseball’s Golden Age, joined the Office of Strategic Services to spy for the U.S. on the Nazis’ atomic bomb program.”

The Grand Cinema
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Sword of Trust *
From Rose Theatre: “Mel is a cantankerous pawnshop owner in Alabama who spends most of his time swindling customers. When two customers try to hawk a Civil War-era sword a journey ensues that takes the ragtag bunch on a ridiculous adventure.”

It’s a low-key, partially improvised comedy from local director Lynn Shelton about the legacy of racism within our families that most white Americans have to content with at some point. It’s very funny, really thought-provoking, and features some great performances from the entire cast.

Rose Theatre
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Where’d You Go, Bernadette
From Ark Lodge Cinemas: “Based on the runaway bestseller, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an inspiring comedy about Bernadette Fox, a loving mom who becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Bernadette’s leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.”

Ark Lodge Cinemas
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Firehouse Theater
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Yesterday
From The Grand Cinema: “Jack Malik is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie. Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed… and he finds himself with a very complicated problem, indeed.”

Crest Cinema Center
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Limited Engagements

Art & Mind
From Northwest Film Forum: “A journey into art, madness and the unconscious. An exploration of visionary artists and the creative impulse, from the Flemish Masters of the Renaissance to the avant-garde movement of Surrealism and the unsung geniuses of Art Brut and Outsider Art.”

Northwest Film Forum
TICKETS & SHOWTIMES


Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blanche
From Rose Theatre: “The untold story of Alice Guy-Blaché, a pioneer in filmmaking and a profoundly prolific director. Not only one of the very first female filmmakers, but one of the first filmmakers, period. She began her work in 1894. 25 years later her career came to an abrupt end and she and the 1,000 films that bore her name were largely forgotten.”

The Beacon
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Creed *
From The Beacon: “Adonis Johnson never knew his famous father, world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, who died before he was born. Still, there’s no denying that boxing is in his blood, so Adonis heads to Philadelphia, the site of Apollo Creed’s legendary match with a tough upstart named Rocky Balboa. Once in a City of Brotherly Love, Adonis tracks Rocky down and asks him to be his trainer.”

One of the best reboots of a franchise in a long time, featuring a stellar performance from Michael B. Jordan and outstanding direction from Ryan Coogler.

The Beacon
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Emerging Artists: Contemporary Experimental Films and Video Art from Germany, Vol. 4
From Northwest Film Forum: “For the fourth edition of Emerging Artists, the AG Kurzfilm – German Short Film Association, has once again assembled a number of perspectives, which demonstrate the diversity of personal handwriting and approaches.”

Northwest Film Forum
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Mad Max: Fury Road *
From The Beacon: “In the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and everyone is fighting for the necessities of life, there are two rebels who just might be able to restore order—Max, a man of action and few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos, and Furiosa, a woman of action who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.”

It’s one of the best action films of the past 20 years and shows how relevant (and riveting) the genre can be in the right hands.

The Beacon
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ZZ Top: The Little Ol’ Band from Texas
From Olympia Film Society: “ZZ Top: The Little Ol’ Band from Texas tells the story of how three oddball teenage bluesmen – Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard – became one of the biggest, most beloved bands on the planet, all while maintaining a surrealist mystique that continues to intrigue fans and entice onlookers 50 years after the band’s inception.”

Olympia Film Society
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One-Day Screenings

Attack of the Beast Creatures
From The Grand Illusion Cinema: “Survivors of a shipwreck wash ashore and find themselves surrounded by so many very tiny, very very vicious BEAST CREATURES!!”

The Grand Illusion Cinema
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Cartoon Happy Hour
From Central Cinema: “A Happy Hour for the whole family! Every Thursday we have two hours of free classic Cartoons and wacky animation along with our Happy Hour food and drink specials. Expose your kids to all the splats and konks you remember while relaxing with a cold one. See you next Thursday!”

Central Cinema
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The Innocents *
From The Beacon: “One of the greatest gothic horror films, The Innocents is a living map of psychic collapse and the repressed bursting terribly into life. The film chloroforms dramatic irony and dumps it in a corner. True to the Henry James novel (and subsequent play) on which it is based, it refuses you the comfort of knowing what exactly is happening. You are only sure something is happening and that the dark of it is eating away at your last rays of candle light. Soon there will be no barrier between you.”

Another great repertory screening at The Beacon. The Innocents is a pitch-perfect gothic thriller, combining elements of ghost story, romance, and period drama into something altogether eerie and startling.

The Beacon
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Murder in the Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story
From The Grand Cinema: “In the early 1980’s, a small group of dedicated Bay Area headbangers shunned the hard rock of MTV and Hollywood hairspray bands in favor of a more dangerous brand of metal that became known as thrash. From the tape trading network to the clubs to the record stores and fanzines, director Adam Dubin reveals how the scene nurtured the music and the music spawned a movement.”

The Grand Cinema
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Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
From Olympia Film Society: “Celebrating its 35th anniversary, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, is an epic masterpiece of sweeping scope and grandeur that remains one of the most breathtaking and exhilarating animated films of all time.”

Olympia Film Society
SHOWTIMES


What’s Up, Doc? *
From Warner Bros: “Mild-mannered Dr. Howard Bannister and his straitlaced, controlling fiancée Eunice, go to San Francisco to attend a convention. But Howard’s life in San Francisco is turned upside down when he meets Judy, a klutzy, directionless, but brilliant young woman. It’s love at first sight for Judy, who does whatever she can to insinuate herself into Howard’s life.”

It’s a charming little screwball comedy with one of the few performances from Barbara Streisand that I truly love.

Northwest Film Forum
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The Wizard of Oz *
From IMDb.com: “Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.”

Scarecrow Video
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