Local & Repertory •  All Monsters Attack! The GI’s annual horror fest

  • Tuesday, October 21, 2014 2:39pm
  • Film

Local & Repertory

• 

All Monsters Attack! The GI’s annual horror fest continues with the 1974 Canadian porno Sexcula (Sat.), The Manitou (Thurs.), the excellent Swedish vampire movie Let The Right One In (Sat.-Thurs.), and a Scarecrow Video-curated program called “The VCR That Dripped Blood” (Sat.), among other frightful sights. See website for full schedule of terror! (NR)

Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grand illusioncinema.org. $5–$8. Ends Oct. 31.

Awake: The Life of Yogananda Deepak Chopra, George Harrison, and Russell Simmons are among those offering testimonials to Paramahamsa Yogananda (1893-1952) in this new documentary. (NR)

SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 324-9996, siff.net. $7-$12. Fri.-Thurs.

• 

Children of Men Alfonso Cuaron’s great 2006 apocalyptic fable of a barren planet is screened, featuring the amazing long-take camerawork of Emmanuel Lubezki (presently on view in Birdman). Note, however, that this is an all-day seminar on the film, taught by Seattle U professor Georg Koszulinski. (NR)

SIFF Film Center (Seattle Center), 324-9996, siff.net. $19-$20 11 a.m. Sat.

Earshot Jazz Films As a sidebar to the Earshot Jazz Festival, this program includes a documentary profile of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the 1981 Stations of the Elevated (a graffiti doc featuring Charles Mingus), and other notable titles for music lovers. (NR)

Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6-$12. Ends Oct. 25.

• 

French Cinema Now Ten titles are screened during this weeklong fest. Notable movies include Two Days, One Night, from the Dardenne brothers (starring Marion Cotillard); Youth, a somewhat autobiographical tale from the daughter of Louis Malle, Justine Malle; and the satirical Jacky in the Kingdom of Women, which features Michel Hazanavicius in an acting role. The latter director will visit Seattle for the fest, accompanied by his wife, Berenice Bejo, who starred in Hazanavicius’ Oscar-winning The Artist. She appears this week in the historical drama The Last Diamond. Gala party opens the festival. See siff.net for full schedule and details. (NR)

SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 324-9996. $7-$12. Thurs.-Thurs.

The Ghosts in Our Machine Discussion follows this documentary about animal rights. (NR)

Keystone Church, 5019 Keystone Pl. N., 632-6021, meaningfulmovies.org. Free. 7 p.m. Fri.

Irish Reels Film Festival See irishreels.org for the schedule to this weekend festival, which features a documentary about labor organizing (Inez: A Challenging Woman), a drama about an unlikely connection between Ireland and South Africa (The Good Man), and a comedy with a self-explanatory title: Bachelor Weekend. Parties and musical events are also on the schedule. (NR)

SIFF Film Center, $8-$15. Fri.-Sun.

Live by Night A baby selling racket and forced suicide figure in Abandoned (1949), a little-seen noir from the postwar era. Look for Raymond Burr as a villain. (NR)

Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, seattleartmuseum.org. $63–$68 series. $8 individual. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 18.

• 

Love Is Strange Meet Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina), whose cohabitation stretches back long before same-sex marriage was a realistic goal. Their new legal bond means that music teacher George is fired by the Catholic school where he has long worked—everybody there likes him, but they have to obey their bylaws. Manhattan is sufficiently expensive that Ben and George have to give up their place, and financial complications dictate a few months of couch-surfing before they can settle. George moves in with tiresomely younger, hard-partying friends; Ben takes a bunk bed in the home of relatives (Marisa Tomei and Darren E. Burrows), who already have their hands full with an awkward teen son. It’s one of those sad situations in which everybody generally means well, but things just aren’t working out. Yet director Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On), who has charted an intriguing course for himself through the indie world, is confident enough to leave out the expected big scenes and allow us to fill in the blanks. The movie’s about a great deal more than gay marriage, if it is about that. It’s about how nobody has any time anymore; and how great cities have priced ordinary people out of living in them; and how long-nurtured dreams have to be gently refocused. True to Sachs’ style, the movie isn’t designed as an actor’s showcase. We’re not supposed to notice the acting here—just the people. (R) ROBERT HORTON SIFF Film Center (Seattle Center), 324-9996, siff.net. $7-$12. 7 p.m. Mon.

Midnight Adrenaline Screening on Friday is Sam Raimi’s 1987 Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, with Bruce Campbell. Following on Saturday is 2012’s The Cabin in the Woods, with a script cowritten by Joss Whedon that makes several nods to the Evil Dead franchise. (R)

SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 324-9996, siff.net. $7–$12. 11:55 p.m. Fri. & Sat.

Poltergeist From 1982, back before the Internet, The Ring, or most people had cable, Tobe Hooper’s creepy suburban fright flick had ghosts invade the home via plain old television set. (PG)

Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, central-cinema.com. $6-$8. 7 p.m. Fri.-Wed.

Sound & Chaos: The Story of BC Studios The endangered Brooklyn recording studio of Martin Bisi is the subject of this new doc. There’s live music before and after the screening, with Bisi on hand to field your questions. (NR)

Grand Illusion, $7-$15. 7 p.m. Fri.

They Live! In John Carpenter’s 1988 satire, aliens have taken over the planet and conspired with yuppies to keep the working man—championed by wrestler Roddy Piper—in his place. Mind control is achieved through coded TV and advertising that Piper can discern, along with the aliens, thanks to magical eyeglasses. But it’s also the economic structure that has him living in a crowded Hooverville. And the film’s bleak end, like that of Carpenter’s The Thing, implies the system will prevail. (R) BRIAN MILLER Central Cinema, $6-$8. 9:30 p.m. Fri.-Wed.

• 

Walkabout Nicolas Roeg’s 1971 tale of white Australians and their aboriginal guide (the great David Gulpilil, now an Aussie film legend) is always worth watching. Discussion with psychologist Michael Brein follows. (R)

SIFF Film Center, $7-$12. 7 p.m. Tues.

Ongoing

The Best of Me Twenty-one years after they last saw each other, high-school sweethearts Amanda and Dawson meet again, and an old glow is rekindled. Perhaps because of the simplicity and universality of this situation, source novelist Nicholas Sparks has added a cornucopia of insane plot developments: an accidental death, an organ transplant, surprise instructions in a will, and a family of drug-baking hillbillies who make the Deliverance crew look unassuming. Amanda and Dawson spend part of the story as adults, the other part as teenagers, so the movie flips back and forth between two sets of actors: Michelle Monaghan and Liana Liberato split time as the high-bred Amanda; and James Marsden and Luke Bracey play dirt-poor Dawson. Amid the deep-fried melodrama, Monaghan and Marsden do seem like grown-ups at certain moments. Monaghan (lately seen in True Detective) has a strong instinct for truthfulness, which probably explains why Hollywood doesn’t know what to do with her. But all this effort is in service to a truly ludicrous scenario that gets more face-slappingly incredible as it goes on. (PG-13) R.H. Sundance, Kirkland Parkplace, Pacific Place, Lincoln Square, Cinebarre, others

• 

Boyhood Richard Linklater’s Boyhood was shot in the director’s native Texas in short bursts over a 12-year period—Linklater knew the shape of the film, but would tweak its script as time marched on, incorporating topical issues and reacting to his performers. This means that unlike most movies, which remake the world and impose an order on it, Boyhood reacts to the world. Protagonist Mason (Ellar Coltrane), tracked from first grade to high-school graduation, is learning that life does not fit into the pleasing rise and fall of a three-act structure, but is doled out in unpredictable fits and starts. Linklater doesn’t reject melodrama so much as politely declines it, opting instead for little grace notes and revealing encounters. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke are terrific as the parents, and Linklater’s daughter Lorelei is distinctive as Mason’s older sister. (R) R.H. SIFF Cinema Uptown

Fury In David Ayer’s proudly old-fashioned WWII drama, Sgt. Don Collier (Pitt) gives no indication of his life before the war. Nor is there any depth to his typical crew—Shia LaBeouf the pious Bible-thumper, Michael Pena the steadfast Mexican-American, Jon Bernthal the volatile hick—and their regional accents. Because every WWII movie demands one, the greenhorn here is Ellison (Logan Lerman), a typist recruited to man the machine gun where his predecessor perished in a bloody puddle. Fury covers 24 hours in April 1945, as Allied forces roll through Germany in the war’s endgame. Collier’s most lethal enemies are the few remaining Tiger tanks, much better armored than our flimsy Shermans. Though victory is, to us, preordained, the mood here is all mud and exhaustion. Collier and crew have been fighting for years, from North Africa to Europe, to the point where he says of his tank, “This is my home.” (German troops say the same thing during the finale—not that it saves them; Nazis die by the score.) Ayer creates a strange, overlong interlude at Fury’s midpoint, as two German women host Collier and Ellison, though this is hardly a date movie. In an otherwise predictable, patriotic flick, here Collier seems to yearn for a calm, cultured oasis amid the chaos of war. (R) B.R.M. Sundance, Pacific Place, Cinebarre, Bainbridge, Thornton Place, Lincoln Square, Kirkland, Ark Lodge, others

• 

Gone Girl What’s exceptional about Gillian Flynn’s adaptation of her 2012 novel, directed with acid fidelity by David Fincher, is that Gone Girl doesn’t like most of its characters. Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) soon falls under suspicion of murdering his missing wife Amy (Rosamund Pike). The small-town Missouri police investigation (led by Kim Dickens) goes entirely against Nick for the first hour. He behaves like an oaf and does most everything to make himself the prime suspect, despite wise counsel from his sister (Carrie Coon) and lawyer (a surprisingly effective, enjoyable Tyler Perry). Second hour, still no body, but flashbacks turn us against the absent Amy. As we slowly investigate the Dunnes’ very flawed marriage, funny little kernels of bile begin to explode underfoot. How the hell did these two end up together? Flynn’s foundational joke answers that question with a satire of marriage. The movie poster and tabloid-TV plot suggest a standard I-didn’t-kill-my-wife tale, but matrimony is what’s being murdered here. (R) B.R.M. SIFF Cinema Uptown, Sundance, Bainbridge, Ark Lodge, Kirkland, Cinebarre, Majestic Bay, others

The Judge Big-city defense attorney Hank Palmer (Robert Downey, Jr.) comes home to Indiana just in time to see his father (Robert Duvall), a respected judge, arrested for vehicular homicide. Father and son do not care for each other, but the dominoes are poised to let Hank stick around and mount a spirited defense. In the course of the trial, family dynamics are tested, Hank brushes up against an old girlfriend (Vera Farmiga), and zero coolness points are awarded to anyone involved in the movie. Our star doesn’t run roughshod over the script or his fellow actors, but he doesn’t phone it in, either. Without losing the conventional arc of the character, this is very much a Downey performance, full of quicksilver responses and sneaky humor. (R) R.H. Sundance, Kirkland, others

Kill the Messenger No one in 1996, when this factually inspired tale is set, has any idea how swiftly the standing of newspapers will erode. We hear the AOL dial-up tone when hotshot reporter Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) files a big expose with the San Jose Mercury News, and the Web traffic is terrific—until his jealous MSM rivals shoot him down. We’re placed entirely on Webb’s side when he gets some leaked court documents that lead him from the crack trade in ’80s L.A. to the CIA-backed contras in Nicaragua. The 10-year-old link seems incredible, but Webb finds sources in prison, Managua, and even Washington, D.C. Webb’s a red-blooded, motorcycle-lovin’ family guy who listens to The Clash when he writes—too professionally aggressive, perhaps, but not enough to alarm his editors (Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Oliver Platt). Yet he ends up paranoid and waving a gun in his suburban driveway at the CIA agents who may or may not be following him. You want to see more of the moneyed misdeeds and villains (including Paz Vega, Andy Garcia, and Ray Liotta), but Kill the Messenger denies you that pleasure. (R) B.R.M. Guild 45th, Pacific Place, Oak Tree, Lincoln Square, others

Men, Women & Children If you didn’t get the message in last year’s Disconnect, director Jason Reitman is here to remind you again that the Internet is A Very Bad Thing. If parents only knew what was on their teens’ phones and computers, they’d be shocked; and this is the kind of literal-minded movie, based on Chad Kultgen’s novel, that will inevitably bring them to that revelation. When Reitman films the high-school scenes, animated bubbles fill the cafeteria with emoticons, texts, IMs, and viral videos. No one looks up from their phones save for outcast Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever), whose nose is generally in a book (eew). Drawn to her is Tim (Ansel Elgort), now a pariah for quitting the football team. Among the large cast, there’s also a mean-girl cheerleader and her innocent protege, plus the porn-addict son of an apathetic couple (Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt) whose marriage is falling apart by mutual consent. The various suburban pathologies here also extend to teen pregnancy, parental adultery, and suicide attempts. Men, Women & Children keeps its thumb pressed to the remote, ever searching for the next shameful situation. All of which leads me to the last thing I ever thought I’d hear myself saying about a movie: More Adam Sandler, please. (R) B.R.M. Sundance, Meridian, Thornton Place, others

• 

Pride In essence a Clifford Odets play with a Culture Club soundtrack, Pride is based on a true story in ’80s England: how a nascent gay-rights movement made common cause with an also-beleaguered group that might otherwise seem adversarial—men known for, in the words of one memorable Monty Python sketch, “their tough, rugged life hewing the black gold from the uncompromising hell of one mile under.” Of course not everyone in the Welsh village of Onyllwyn is thrilled to see a lorryful of London poofs drive up, no matter how much money they’re bringing. In depicting their thaw, director Matthew Warchus and screenwriter Stephen Beresford push buttons without shame; prepare yourself for grandmas saying startling things adorably, repressed bodies liberated by dance pop, darkest-before-dawn plot twists, and even a buck-up communal sing. (And yes, one Welsh character comes out; see if you can guess who it’ll be.) Still, you can hardly blame Warchus and Beresford if Pride’s most tearduct-activating moments actually did happen. (R) GAVIN BORCHERT Sundance, Harvard Exit

St. Vincent Bill Murray is pretty much the sole draw for the movie, and given his unique screen presence, it’s something. St. Vincent is all about the Murray persona: a deeply sarcastic man struggling to find his way to sincerity. That struggle is why Murray looks so melancholy in so much of his work. But it’s not a good movie. Murray’s slovenly Brooklyn misanthrope is Vincent, who reluctantly agrees to babysit the 12-year-old son (Jaeden Lieberher) of his new next-door neighbor (Melissa McCarthy). This will take time away from drinking, gambling at the racetrack, or visiting his Russian prostitute (Naomi Watts). We are also cued to the reasons Vincent is curmudgeonly, none of which will come as much of a surprise. Writer/director Theodore Melfi tries hard to convince us that Vincent is capable of great nastiness, but even these efforts seem rigged to ultimately show the soft, gooey center of both character and movie. As much pleasure as I took from watching Murray stretch out, I didn’t believe a minute of it. But do stick around for the end credits, when Murray sings along to Bob Dylan’s “Shelter From the Storm.” It’s the movie’s one great sequence. (PG-13) R.H. Seven Gables, Meridian, Lincoln Square, Kirkland, Majestic Bay, others

The Skeleton Twins Maggie and Milo are fraternal twins who are estranged (for 10 years), living on opposite coasts, and seriously depressed for reasons that seem dissimilar but boil down to past family trauma. That Maggie and Milo are played by Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader will get this mediocre dramedy more attention than it deserves. That their performances are good oughtn’t be surprising (the two SNL pros have plenty of experience with the comedy of awkwardness). That their script is so tonally sad-happy yet familiar, one has to attribute to the inexperienced writers (Mark Heyman and Craig Johnson; the latter is a Bellingham native and UW grad who directed the film). Maggie and Milo are catty, sardonic misanthropes, angry at the world because they haven’t lived up to their youthful potential. A failed actor, Milo returns home to New Jersey, where Maggie’s a dental hygienist married to a doofus (Luke Wilson). There’s also a sex scandal lurking in the past, but the snark bogs down in melodrama, and no amount of ’80s pop montages can really change the film’s predictable trajectory. (R) B.R.M. Harvard Exit, Sundance, Ark Lodge

The Two Faces of January Con artists always have something at stake—exposure, the possibility of their past transgressions catching up with them, and suspense about their next game. Three of them meet in the shadow of the Parthenon: Rydal (Oscar Isaac), an American tour guide knocking around Athens in the early 1960s, and Chester and Colette MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst), a stockbroker and his younger wife on extended vacation. Patricia Highsmith, the author of Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley, hatched this group of expat swindlers, so there’s likely to be at least as much psychological game-playing as conventional suspense. Yes, there’s a murder, but most of the movie is concerned with how Rydal projects guilty feelings about his own late father onto Chester; or how the discrepancy in age between the MacFarlands might create a seed of doubt between them; or whether Chester is more interested in Colette or Rydal. Hossein Amini’s movie does nicely with the concept of a sunlit noir, though it doesn’t actually generate a lot of heat. For all that, I enjoyed the movie anyway. (PG-13) R.H. Varsity