Local & Repertory
Brazil Terry Gilliam’s grim, near-great Orwellian satire from 1985 stars Jonathan Pryce as the meek clerk who becomes an unlikely and reluctant resistance fighter in a fascist future. A big, messy, angry, and wildly inventive picture, Brazil didn’t win a popular following during the fat Reagan-Thatcher years. It argues that revolution is often accidental, and repression constant. And happiness may lie only in the memory of an old show tune. With Kim Greist as the girl of Pryce’s dreams and Robert De Niro as his more dashing comrade in arms. (R) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, central-cinema.com. $6-$8. 9:30 p.m. Fri.-Wed.
The Color of Noise The punk rock scene of the ’80s and ’90s is chronicled in this new doc by Eric Robel, who’ll conduct Q&As following the screenings. Musician Tom Hazelmyer will also perform. (NR)
Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$10. 9 p.m. Fri. 2 p.m. Sat.
Live by Night From 1950, 711 Ocean Drive has a telephone repairman (Edmond O’Brien) learn to use his skills for ill, leading him into the company of dangerous hoodlums! (NR)
Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, seattleartmuseum.org. $63–$68 series. $8 individual. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 18.
Moonstruck Playwright John Patrick Shanley wrote the script for this winning 1987 rom-com, which did wonders for the careers of both Cher and a young Nicolas Cage. All parties were helped, of course, by veteran director Norman Jewison, who further stacked his deck with an all-star roster of New York stage talent: Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello, John Mahoney, and Olympia Dukakis, who earned an Oscar for her role (as did Cher for hers). (PG)
Central Cinema, $6-$8. 7 p.m. Fri.-Tue. (plus 3 p.m. matinee on Sat.)
Thelma Schoonmaker The legendary editor, winner of three Oscars for her collaborations with Martin Scorsese, visits town to introduce two films. Wednesday is Raging Bull, no introduction needed. Also note that the ever-gracious Schoonmaker will appear at Scarecrow Video (2 p.m. Weds.). (NR)
Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, seattleartmuseum.org. $10-$18. 7:30 p.m. Weds.
Seattle Romanian Film Festival See the festival website for schedule. (NR)
SIFF Film Center (Seattle Center), seattleromanianfilmfest.com. Fri.-Sun.
Seattle South Asian Film Festival Titles range from India to Nepal to Pakistan, with subjects including a champion deaf wrestler, bungling filmmakers, crime melodrama, romantic comedy, and caste-based discrimination. Two dozen features will be screened, along with panel discussions and related events, most of them concentrated south of Seattle. See tasveer.org for tickets, schedule, and information. (NR)
Renton Pavilion Event Center (233 Burnett Ave. S.) and other venues. 8 p.m. Fri., Oct. 31. Ends Sun., Nov. 9.
The 78 Project Movie As profiled in The New York Times, Lavinia Jones Wright and Alex Steyermark have been roaming the country recording musicians on a direct-to-acetate machine from the 1930s, basically the same technology Alan Lomax used during that same period. This new documentary, made by Steyermark during their travels, includes performances by Victoria Williams, John Doe, Tom Brosseau, and other indie stalwarts. (NR)
SIFF Film Center, 324-9996, siff.net. $7-$12. 7 p.m. Mon.
Misty Upham Memorial Screenings The late local actress, her life tragically cut short, is remembered with presentations of Frozen River and (following) August: Osage County. (R)
Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. Free. 6 & 8:30 p.m. Sat.
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—he hears Birdman’s voice in his head, for one thing. To create Riggan’s world, director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Gravity cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki present the film as a continuous unbroken shot (disguised with artful digital seams). Keaton—the former Batman, of course—is a splendidly weathered, human presence. Ironically or not, he keeps the film grounded. (R) ROBERT HORTON Guild 45th, Pacific Place, Lincoln Square, Thornton Place, Kirkland, others
Citizenfour Fugitive leaker Edward Snowden has invited documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (The Oath) and The Guardian 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. Clicking the SEND button carries as much weight as Bob Woodward meeting Deep Throat in All the President’s Men. 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
Dear White People Justin Simien’s smart new college satire forthrightly addresses race, and it feels like a follow-up—though not a rebuttal—to Spike Lee’s School Daze, made a generation ago. Like Lee, though with a lighter comic touch, Simien is interested in the stereotypes that black and mixed-race kids apply to themselves. The movie’s title comes from the provocative campus radio show hosted by Sam (Tessa Thompson), who calls out all races for their shallow assumptions. In her orbit are a seemingly perfect high achiever, a savvy, sexy social-media queen, and the nappy-haired freshman nerd Lionel (Tyler James Williams, from Everybody Hates Chris) who’s trying to navigate his way among cliques and not-so-coded expectations of What It Means to Be Black. In his debut feature, Simien stuffs the plot with rather more stock elements than needed. But Dear White People reminds you how lazy most American comedies are. (R) BRIAN MILLER Sundance, Ark Lodge, others
Nightcrawler Titled and released as if it were a Halloween horror flick, Dan Gilroy’s dark media fable has more in common with Network than Nosferatu. Lou (the politely creepy Jake Gyllenhaal) is identified as an earnest, calculating criminal in the opening minutes; he’s never less than transparent about his motives, most of which appear to have been gleaned from self-help books and inspirational Internet sites. He’s an amoral American hustler, a type descended from Dale Carnegie and Sammy Glick. A career in stolen scrap metal soon gives way to freelance videography at L.A. car wrecks and crime scenes, and Lou’s basest impulses are naturally encouraged by a ratings-starved TV station. (Rene Russo is amusingly aroused as the station’s “vampire shift” manager—a venal Mrs. Robinson who mentors eager Lou.) Nightcrawler is more a parable of unfettered capitalism—there’s your horror—than realistic media satire. Lou’s swift progress in TMZ-land brings him a rival (Bill Paxton) and a naive protegee (English actor Riz Ahmed), but no one here has—or needs—much depth. Lou has no history, no family, only his hollow aphorisms of success. Nightcrawler never quite settles on a satisfactory tone between squeamish laughter and a smarter, Chayefskian disgust, but Lou you remember—a creature for these craven times, prospering from our need to see the worst. (R) B.R.M. Sundance, Kirkland, Bainbridge, Thornton Place, Lincoln Square, Pacific Place, Cinebarre, others
Whiplash Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) is an unbridled asshole for art’s sake, a petty Stalin figure inside the Juilliard-like music academy that greets the innocent Andrew (Miles Teller). Andrew has fled Long Island and his kindly, weak mensch of a father (Paul Reiser) to be the best drummer in the best studio band at the best school in the country. That means pleasing the imperious, bullying Fletcher, a man who seems endlessly displeased with the world’s lax standards. (The Oscar-worthy Simmons originated this role in writer/director Damien Chazelle’s prior short.) How Andrew responds to such abuse—quite calculated, as we shall learn—is the heart of this thrillingly propulsive drama, an intense, brutal, and often comical tale of mentorship gone amok. (R) B.R.M. Pacific Place, Guild 45th, Lincoln Square