Local & Repertory
Blade Runner: The Final Cut Ridley Scott’s vanguard science-fiction epic from 1982 has been digitally tweaked in hundreds of ways, most of which will be noticed only by the most pious of fanboys. Mainly, the rerelease is a good excuse to indulge once more in Scott’s iconic and highly influential vision of a future Los Angeles choked by rain, neon, and cheap pleasure palaces, where Harrison Ford’s bounty hunter trolls the godforsaken urban landscape for those renegade “replicants.” Of course, there comes a steely-eyed brunette (Sean Young), who may be a replicant herself. It has always been difficult to discuss Blade Runner—one of the few genuine masterpieces of the forlorn 1980s—without focusing on its style, and yet it is a movie where style becomes content and vice versa, as the romantic fatalism of ’40s film noir freely intermingles with the visionary imagination of Philip K. Dick. (R) BRIAN MILLER SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 324-9996, siff.net. $7-$12. Midnights Fri. & Sat.
Comin’ at Ya! This is a 3-D presentation of the little-remembered 1981 spaghetti Western, with plenty of gunfights, arrows, and flying furniture directed at the lens. (NR)
SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 324-9996, siff.net. $7-$12. 9:45 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 9:15 p.m. Sun.
The Device This local horror flick by Jeremy Berg finds two adult sisters reconnecting while they try to solve an old family secret that may involve … aliens?!? (NR)
Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5-$9. 8 p.m. Mon.
Gremlins Watch as Phoebe Cates and Zach Galligan battle ill-behaved green puppets in this 1984 sci-fi comedy, basically a riff on the old Star Trek “The Trouble with Tribbles” episode, effectively reworked by writer Chris Columbus, director Joe Dante, and executive producer Steven Spielberg. (PG)
Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, central-cinema.com. $7-$9. 7 p.m. Sat.-Mon. Also 3 p.m. Sat. matinee.
It’s A Wonderful Life Times are tough in Frank Capra’s 1946 holiday classic. Banks are failing. People are losing their homes. Veterans are returning from a bloody war abroad. Families are falling apart. And all these stresses converge during the holidays, when there may not even be enough money in the household to buy any presents. Sound familiar? In the GI’s 44th-annual screening of this seasonal classic, the distressed town of Bedford Falls could today be Anytown, USA. And beleaguered banker James Stewart could be any small businessman struggling to remain solvent amid our current financial crisis. If It’s a Wonderful Life is arguably the best Christmas movie ever made, that’s because it’s certainly one of the most depressing Christmas movies ever made. Our suicidal hero is given a future vision—courtesy of an angel (Henry Travers)—of bankruptcy, death, poverty, and evil, unfettered capitalism (hello, Lionel Barrymore). Even his wife (Donna Reed) ends up a spinster in the alternative universe of Pottersville. Yet amazingly, 68 years later, the film preserves the power to inspire hope for better days ahead. (NR) B.R.M. Grand Illusion, see grandillusioncinema.org for showtimes. $5-$9. Runs Fri., Dec. 12-Thurs., Jan. 1.
Landmark Poster Sale Here’s a chance to shop for your favorite film lover, choosing among this year’s movie posters, from Generation War to Ernest & Celestine. (NR)
Seven Gables, 911 N.E. 50th St., 632-8821, landmarktheatres.com. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun.
Live by Night From 1957, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue features Walter Matthau as a mobster menacing New York dockworkers, despite the efforts of a crusading DA. Also on hand as a corrupt labor lawyer, the ever-amusing Dan Duryea, who never seems to take any studio assignment too seriously. (NR)
Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, seattleartmuseum.org. $63–$68 series. $8 individual. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 18.
The Princess Bride/Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Two family favorites are running on a complicated weekend schedule through New Year’s Day. The 1987 Bride is being screened as a quote-along presentation (“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die” etc.) while the 1971 Wonka features “Smell-O-Vision,” so be warned if you’re fragrance-intolerent. (NR)
SIFF Film Center (Seattle Center), 324-9996, $7-$12. See siff.net for showtimes. Run Fri., Dec. 12-Thurs., Jan. 1.
Scrooged Bill Murray stars in this spry and darkly comic take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The 1988 satire, directed by Richard Donner, is set in the world of TV entertainment that Murray had by then gained ample reason to hate. Carol King plays the daffy Christmas fairy who gives Murray’s character the holiday thrashing he deserves. (PG-13)
Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, central-cinema.com. $7-$9. 9:30 p.m. Sat.-Tues.
Greg Sestero Co-author of the recent book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, Sestero will appear before a screening of that same 2003 vanity project/cult oddity by director Tommy Wiseau. This should be a fascinating evening. (NR)
Central Cinema, $7-$9. 7 p.m. (presentation) & 9 p.m. (movie). Fri.
Why Don’t You Play in Hell? From Japanese director Sion Sono (Cold Fish), this is apparently a violent and stylish salute both to old yakuza movies and the endangered medium of 35 mm film itself. (NR)
Grand Illusion, $5-$9. 9:30 p.m. Fri. & Sat.
The Babadook How did this children’s book get into the house? Nobody seems to know. This one—it shares its title with the movie we are watching—is called The Babadook, almost an anagram for “bad book,” and that’s the effect it has on Amelia (Essie Davis) and her 6-year-old son Sam (Noah Wiseman). Among other issues, the death of Sam’s father some years earlier is very much in the background of the scary little tale that unfolds. The Babadook himself is dark-suited and creepy-fingered, and he wears a cape and a Victorian hat, like a creature from an earlier era of horror. When the Babadook becomes real, mother and son must wage battle (but then they have been all along). This is the debut feature of Jennifer Kent, who skillfully keeps us locked into the moment-by-moment thrills of a monster movie, but also insists that this Babadook is clearly a stand-in for the other problems that inflict the lonely household: grief, guilt, depression, an unwillingness to live life. (NR) ROBERT HORTON Sundance, SIFF Cinema Uptown
Birdman A movie star in a career skid since he stopped playing a masked superhero named Birdman back in the ’90s, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is preparing his big comeback in a Broadway adaptation of Raymond Carver stories, funded and directed by himself. Obstacles abound: Riggan’s co-star (Andrea Riseborough) announces she’s pregnant with his child; his grown daughter (Emma Stone) is his assistant, and not his biggest fan; a critic plans to destroy the play. And, in the movie’s funniest headache, Riggan must endure a popular but insufferable stage actor (Edward Norton, doing a wonderful self-parody) who’s involved with the play’s other actress (Naomi Watts). This is all going on while Riggan maintains a tenuous hold on his own sanity. To create Riggan’s world, director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki present the film as a continuous unbroken shot (disguised with artful digital seams). Birdman serves so many heady moments it qualifies as a bona fide happening. (R) R.H. Seven Gables, Kirkland, Bainbridge, others
Citizenfour Fugitive leaker Edward Snowden has invited documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald into his Hong Kong hotel room. In this absorbing character study, they debate how and when to spill the information he took from his job at the National Security Agency. This straightforward documentary may be smaller-scaled than a political thriller, but it has similar suspense: Everybody in the room realizes the stakes—and the dangers—of exposing a whistleblower to public scrutiny. One man’s whistleblower is another man’s traitor, a debate that Poitras doesn’t pause to consider, so confident is she of Snowden’s cause. Having this access to Snowden in the exact hours he went from being a nonentity with top-secret clearance to a hero/pariah is a rare chance to see a now-historical character in the moment of truth. (NR) R.H. SIFF Cinema Uptown