Here are snapshots of what our reviewers thought of the movies opening this week in the Seattle area. (Star ratings are granted on a scale of zero to four.) ★★★½ “Abominable” (PG; 97 minutes): This charming, delightful animated kids movie follows a spirited girl (voiced by Chloe Bennet) as she dedicates herself to returning a young yeti to his home on Mount Everest. The visuals are lovely; the story is strong; the music is appealing. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Soren Andersen, Special to The Seattle Times ★★★ “Judy” (PG-13; 118 minutes): Rupert Goold’s movie, set during the final year of Judy Garland’s life, is all over the place. But when Renée Zellweger is on screen, “Judy” jolts to life. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times arts critic ★★★ “Monos” (R; 102 minutes): This violent, … [Read more...] about 4 movies open Sept. 27 at Seattle-area theaters; our reviewers weigh in
The recent opening of independent movie theater The Beacon in Columbia City has been a shot in the arm for Seattle’s status as a cinephile’s city. There’s plenty of debate about whether this qualifies as a film lovers’ destination, but an increase in diverse repertory programming can only help. And though The Beacon’s genre- and era-diverse slate of films has been intriguing, they’re not the only game in town when it comes to seeing interesting older films on the big screen. Here’s what’s coming up in October. Top pick: Maddin mini-retrospective, Northwest Film Forum Guy Maddin, Canada’s mad scientist of classic film pastiche, returns to Seattle, where he shot his 2006 film “Brand Upon the Brain!” starring local legend Gretchen Krich. Maddin will be on hand for Q&As after several of his films in the series, which runs Oct. 23-Nov. 3. “Careful” (1992), presented here on 35mm, re-creates the look … [Read more...] about Coming to an arthouse theater near you: Guy Maddin films, ‘Psycho,’ silent movies, noir series
click to enlarge The Day the Earth Stood Still The subject of this week’s film essay in the Reader, James Gray’s Ad Astra, imagines a future in which humanity has united in the mission to find and make contact with intelligent life outside our solar system. I won’t reveal whether the film’s characters succeed in their quest, though I’ll note that Ad Astra is a distinctive sci-fi picture in that it focuses on the hard science of how space travel and interstellar communication might work in the future as opposed to the science fantasy of how extraterrestrial life might look and behave. That speculation, of course, has inspired untold amounts of genre fiction over the past century, as authors, illustrators, and filmmakers have imagined all sorts of intelligent species from other galaxies. One branch of narratives, likely stemming from H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, imagines alien life as malign and hoping to conquer us humans. A second, … [Read more...] about Movie Tuesday: The search for signs of intelligent life in the universe
click to enlarge One of the most exciting aspects of the Abbas Kiarostami retrospective currently under way at the Gene Siskel Film Center (and which runs through the end of October) is that it contains many of the early short films Kiarostami made for Iran’s Institute for the Intellectual Development of Youth. Whether or not they feature children (though many of them do), these works showcase Kiarostami’s deep understanding of how children perceive the world around them. In The Colors (1976), a personal favorite of mine, the filmmaker conveys the enthusiasm kids experience when learning to identify the different hues that define their environment. In Breaktime (1972), Kiraostami forgoes narrative development to convey how children often prioritize certain errant details over “major” ones. The director later claimed the film was more formally audacious than his masterpiece Taste of Cherry (1997), which suggests that many of Kiraostami’s innovations … [Read more...] about Movie Tuesday: What do kids know?
click to enlarge This year’s edition of “Noir City: Chicago”—the Music Box Theatre’s annual weeklong festival of classic and obscure film noir titles—started with a bang this past Friday night with a 35-millimeter revival of In a Lonely Place (1950), one of director Nicholas Ray’s greatest achievements. (If you missed the show, the film is available on DVD from the Criterion Collection.) Eddie Muller of Turner Classic Movies introduced the screening, shining light on how the film was a personal project not only for Ray, but for star Humphrey Bogart. According to Muller, the actor purchased the rights to Dorothy B. Hughes’s 1947 novel because he saw a lot of himself in its antihero, a temperamental, cynical screenwriter with a history of violent behavior. The host went on to assert that, in its critique of Dixon Steele’s tough-guy persona, In a Lonely Place constitutes one of the most significant analyses of male psychopathology … [Read more...] about Movie Tuesday: The male animal