Local & Repertory •  Event Yadda. (NR) Details •  Event Yadda.

  • Monday, July 14, 2014 1:58pm
  • Film

Local & Repertory

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Event Yadda. (NR)

Details

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Event Yadda. (NR)

Details

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Event Yadda. (NR)

Details

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Event Yadda. (NR)

Details

Event Yadda. (NR)

Details

Event Yadda. (NR)

Details

TK move this item to 7/23; starts that frame…..

Movies at the Mural From 1987, Rob Reiner’s charming PG-rated adaptation of the classic William Goldman children’s tale is sweet, funny, and well played down the line for both parents and kids. Cary Elwes and Robin Wright Penn are the handsome, occasionally quarrelsome lovers; Wallace Shawn, Mandy Patinkin, and the late Andre the Giant help get them together after many amusing adventures. Outdoor movie screens at dusk. (PG)

Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater, 684-7200, seattlecenter.com. Free. Saturdays. Movie begins at dusk.

Event Yadda. (NR)

Details

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Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq Joining the New York City Ballet in the early ’50s, tall and long-limbed at a time when most women in ballet were still petite and cute, Tanaquil Le Clercq was often called the prototype of the George Balanchine ballerina. The future seemed bright for his protege and future wife, but Le Clercq’s story took an O. Henry turn, as related in Nancy Buirski’s tragic new documentary. She was only 14 when they met (to his 39), and he was already a towering figure in their art. Yet he began making dances with her “gawky grace” as a template for the kind of dancer he wanted to develop. When they married in 1952, it seemed an extension of their work in the studio. Then, on on a 1956 European tour, Le Clercq complained of feeling achy during a performance. The next morning, she couldn’t move. It was polio. Le Clercq spent the rest of her life (1929–2000) in a wheelchair. Luckily for us, her career was flourishing when network TV still broadcast serious cultural programming. Buirski has gathered almost every clip in the archives to illustrate the dancer’s signature style, augmented by old newsreels and poignant new interviews with her surviving peers. (NR) SANDRA KURTZ SIFF Film Center (Seattle Center), 324-9996, siff.net. $6-$11. 7 p.m. Mon.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off John Hughes’ often-quoted 1986 teen comedy makes excellent use of Matthew Broderick’s slightly corrupt charm (and a certain 1961 Ferrari 250GT California). Without rising to the ’80s-defining level of Sixteen Candles, this is the thoroughly enjoyable Hughes flick that also made Ben Stein’s career. “Anyone? Anyone?” (PG-13)

Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, central-cinema.com. $6-$8. 7 p.m. Fri.-Tues. No show Sat. 3 p.m. matinee Sun.

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Framing Pictures Our eminent film critic Robert Horton joins with fellow sribes Richard T. Jameson and Bruce Reid to chat about their guilty pleasures so far this summer, possibly including the new Planet of the Apes movie. (NR)

Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. Free. 5:30 p.m. Sun.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Wes Anderson’s 2004 comedy limps into port coated with the rust of nostalgia and studded with the barnacles of whimsy. That’s not to say it’s a sinking ship, not when crewed by Bill Murray (at the helm), Anjelica Huston, Cate Blanchett, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, and Jeff Goldblum. The Belafonte, as Steve Zissou’s marine research vessel and floating movie studio is called, stays afloat just as long as you want it to and not one knot longer. Like the The Royal Tenenbaums, it’s full of quirky characters and deadpan drolleries. Troubled marriages and grown-but-lost children also figure prominently. For all onboard, like Anderson, the past seems a better place and the present a poor substitute, but everyone knows there’s no reversing course. While not a deep picture or an improvement on Tenenbaums (it’s more like a maritime sequel), it sails a uniquely amusing course through imaginary archipelagos and chimerical sea creatures. Anderson’s charts are fake, but fun. (R) BRIAN MILLER Fremont Outdoor Movies, 3501 Phinney Ave. N., 781-4230, fremontoutdoormovies.com. $30 series, $5 individual. Saturdays. Movie starts at dusk.

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The Magnificent Andersons On Weds., July 16, we have Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2002 Punch-Drunk Love (Weds.), the last time Adam Sandler has been remotel bearable onscreen. Next Tues., July 22 is Wes Anderson’s whimsical 2007 travel movie The Darjeeling Limited, followed on Weds., July 23 by PTA’s 2007 There Will Be Blood, which earned the terrifying Daniel Day-Lewis an Oscar. (R)

SIFF Film Center, $6-$11. 7 p.m. Tues. & Weds.

Moonlight Cinema Again given a Slavic villain’s voice by Steve Carell in Despicable Me 2 (2013), the bald, twig-legged Gru is now a single suburban dad raising the three orphan girls he appropriated in 2010’s Despicable Me. The bespectacled eldest daughter is a texting tween just discovering boys; the other two bounce and squeal without being too annoying; none of their names matter. New to the series—though voiced by Kristen Wiig, who played a different character in the first installment (surely there will be three)—is Lucy, a karate-chopping bundle of goofy adrenaline. Forcibly recruited by the Anti-Villain League (Lucy’s employer) to recover a stolen potion, Gru and his goggle-eyed yellow minions set up shop in a local mall, where the evil perpetrator is supposedly hiding. The thief will catch a thief, and Gru is newly energized by the investigation, setting his sights on Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt), the burly proprietor of the mall’s Mexican eatery. Despicable Me 2 doesn’t aim as high as Pixar’s best efforts do, but its core idea is sound: Through this adventure, a new family will inevitably be formed. (PG) BRIAN MILLER Redhook Ale Brewery, 14300 N.E. 145th St (Woodinville), 425-420-1113. $5. Thursdays. Movie starts at dusk.

Movies at Magnuson Park

The Lego Movie, a huge hit, continues this popular family-centric series. (PG-13)

Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way N.E., moviesatmagnuson.com. $5. Thursdays. 7 p.m.

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky From 1991, this super-violent prison drama from Hong Kong, here dubbed into English, has achieved midnight-movie status for its gore. (NR)

Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5-$7. 9 p.m Fri. & Sat.

For Laughing Out Loud TK yadda. (NR)

Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, seattleartmuseum.org. $8 individual, $42-$45 series. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. Ends. Aug. 14.

Ongoing

TK…. Beyod the Edge? Half Sun? Third Person?

Begin Again As with his 2007 hit Once, writer/director John Carney again presents such an optimistic story, with all its dreamers, losers, opportunists—and original score—this time framed in Manhattan instead of Dublin. Keira Knightley is Greta, faithful girlfriend to up-and-coming rocker Dave Kohl (Adam Levine) and an aspiring songwriter herself. (Knightley performs her own songs, which bear some resemblance to Aimee Mann’s.) After Kohl scores a record deal, the pair moves to Manhattan, where he’s quickly seduced by the industry’s trappings. When Greta turns to fellow busker Steve (James Corden), he whisks her out to an open-mike night in the Village, where she’s discovered by down-on-his luck record exec Dan (Mark Ruffalo). Obviously we expect these two to connect, just as in Once. That film worked for me (and many others) because I could buy the central couple played by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (both of them real musicians). Begin Again feels more like something purchased in a SoHo boutique. Greta’s supposed thrift-store chic simply reads as Knightley being expensively styled as Annie Hall. While Carney is again peddling the notion that a musician with a dream can get discovered, the reality of “making it” in the music biz has everything to do with hard work—not simple luck, as is the case here. (R) GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT Guild 45th, Big Picture, others

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Belle The English Belle, based on a true story, inspired by an 18th-century painting of two cousins—one black, one white—never lets you doubt its heroine’s felicitous fate. Dido (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is born with two strikes against her: She’s the mulatto daughter of a kindly English naval captain who swiftly returns to sea, never to be seen again; and she’s female, raised by aristocratic cousins in the famous Kenwood House (today a museum), meaning she can’t work for a living and must marry into society—but what white gentleman would have her? Writer Misan Sagay and director Amma Assante have thus fused two genres—the Austen-style marriage drama and the outsider’s quest for equality—and neatly placed them under one roof. The guardians for Dido and cousin Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) are Lady and Lord Mansfield (Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson); the latter is England’s highest jurist who in 1783 would decide the Zong case, in which seafaring slavers dumped their human cargo to claim the insurance money. Belle never surprises you, but it satisfyingly combines corsets and social conscience, love match and legal progress. (PG) BRIAN MILLER Kirkland Parkplace

Chef There is nothing wrong with food porn or the happy camaraderie of a restaurant kitchen. Nor can I fault writer/director/star Jon Favreau for making a midlife-crisis movie that lets slip his Hollywood complaints. The commercial pressures in directing formulaic blockbusters like Iron Man must surely be great, and film critics are surely all assholes. Chef is the simple though overlong story of a chef getting his culinary and family mojo back, and my only real criticism—apart from the constant Twitter plugs—is that absolutely nothing stands in the way of that progress for chef Carl (Favreau). Dustin Hoffman barely registers as a villain (as Carl’s gently greedy “play the hits” boss, who goads him into quitting); Robert Downey Jr., as the prior ex of Carl’s ex (Sofia Vergara), briefly shadows the scene—but no, he’s only there to help. If you like endless scenes of chopping vegetables, salsa montages, and juicy supporting players (John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Amy Sedaris, Scarlett Johansson), Chef is an entirely agreeable dish. Just expect no salt. (R) B.R.M. Sundance, Bainbridge, Ark Lodge, Lynwood (Bainbridge), others

The Dance of Reality Bring on the legless dwarfs, cue the full-frontal nudity, and pass the peyote: Alejandro Jodorowsky has made a new movie. Born in 1929, Jodorowsky was already a veteran of wigged-out experimental theater when he devised El Topo (1970) and The Holy Mountain (1973), films that crammed together intense violence, spiritual searching, and preposterous grotesquerie—guaranteeing their success as counterculture happenings. (Jodorowsky essentially invented the midnight-movie phenomenon.) His latest is an autobiographical look at the filmmaker’s youth in small-town Chile. There’s something almost heartwarming about the fact that this movie is—for all its zaniness—almost a normal film. Jodorowsky himself appears as the narrator, a dapper man given to trailing aphorisms in his wake. His youthful self (played by Jeremias Herskovitz) is a sensitive lad, coddled by a Rubensesque mother (Pamela Flores, whose dialogue is entirely sung) and bullied by a hard-backed Communist father (Brontis Jodorowsky, the director’s son—he was the kid in El Topo). We witness the father’s macho child-rearing habits and his mission against Chile’s right-wing president, a cause that leads to a long and curious third-act detour including dog shows and political torture. Around this curved spine of plot, Jodorowsky brings in a carnival sideshow, sharp childhood observations, and frequent bouts of on-camera urination. Dance of Reality has its share of mystifying moments. But the overall impression is energetic and imaginative, suggesting that all his past insanity had done wonders for this octogenarian’s creative process. (NR) R.H. Grand Illusion

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Edge of Tomorrow Earth has been invaded by space aliens, and Europe is already lost. Though no combat veteran, Major Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) is thrust into a kind of second D-Day landing on the beaches of France, where he is promptly killed in battle. Yes, 15 minutes into the movie Tom Cruise is dead—but this presents no special problem for Edge of Tomorrow. In fact it’s crucial to the plot. The sci-fi hook of this movie, adapted from a novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, is that during his demise Cage absorbed alien blood that makes him time-jump back to the day before the invasion. He keeps getting killed, but each time he wakes up he learns a little more about how to fight the aliens and how to keep a heroic fellow combatant (Emily Blunt) alive. The further Cage gets in his progress, the more possible outcomes we see. It must be said here that Cruise plays this exactly right: You can see his exhaustion and impatience with certain scenes even when it’s our first time viewing them. Oh, yeah—he’s been here before. There’s absurdity built into this lunatic set-up, and director Doug Liman—he did the first Bourne picture—understands the humor of a guy who repeatedly gets killed for the good of mankind. (PG-13) ROBERT HORTON Sundance, Majestic Bay, others

The Grand Seduction For all its super-nice intentions, attractive players, and right-thinking messages, this thing might’ve come out of a can. It is, literally, from formula: an English-language remake of the French-Canadian film Seducing Dr. Lewis, seen at SIFF ’04 and written by Ken Scott. A dying Canadian harbor town will see its only shot at landing a new factory shrivel away unless a full-time doctor settles there. The local fishing industry’s broken, but the movie mostly blames government regulation, not overfishing. By hook and crook, they get a young M.D. (Taylor Kitsch) to take a month’s residency; now every townsperson must connive to convince the guy this is the only place to live. I’m sorry to say that the great Brendan Gleeson is the leader of the Tickle Point conspiracy, supported by Canadian legend Gordon Pinsent (Away From Her) in the Wilford Brimley crusty-curmudgeon role. Kitsch comes off rather well; he looks far more relaxed here than in the blockbuster haze of John Carter and Battleship, perhaps because he isn’t shamelessly twinkling at every turn. The French-language original was just as overbearing. (PG-13) R.H. Seven Gables

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Ida After the calamity of World War II, your family exterminated by the Nazis (or their minions), how important would it be to reclaim your Jewish identity? That’s the question for Anna, 18, who’s soon to take her vows as a Catholic nun in early-’60s Poland. Now early-’60s Poland is not a place you want to be. The Anglo-Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski (Last Resort, My Summer of Love) films his black-and-white drama in the boxy, old-fashioned Academy ratio, like some Soviet-era newsreel. Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska), she discovers, is a Jew—an orphan delivered to the church as an infant during the war, birth name Ida. Her heretofore unknown aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza) insists they find their family homestead, and a desultory road trip ensues. The surly peasants won’t talk to them; Wanda smashes their car; and Anna’s too shy to flirt with a handsome, hitchhiking sax player (Dawid Ogrodnik) who invites them to a gig. The usual Holocaust tales celebrate endurance or escape. Ida suggests something simpler and deeper about survival and European history in general. Pawlikowski and his co-writer, English playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz, poke at the pit graves and pieties of the Cold War era and find an unlikely sort of strength for their heroine: the courage to turn her back. (NR) B.R.M. Sundance

Jersey Boys This 2005 Broadway smash is a still-touring musical that revealed a few genuinely colorful tales lurking in the backstory of the falsetto-driven vocal group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Clint Eastwood directs; and though more a jazz man, he appears to have responded to the late-’50s/early-’60s period and the ironies beneath this success story. Turns out the singers emerged from a milieu not far removed from the wiseguy world of GoodFellas. In the case of self-appointed group leader Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza from Boardwalk Empire), the mob connections are deep and troublesome, including the protection of a local godfather (Christopher Walken). The movie presents Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young, a veteran of the stage show) as a much straighter arrow, but even he understands the value of having friends in the right places. It would seem natural to apply a little Scorsese-like juice to this story, but Eastwood goes the other way: The film exudes a droll humor about all this, as though there really isn’t too much to get excited about. Despite some third-act blandness, Jersey Boys is quite likable overall. Eastwood’s personality comes through in the film’s relaxed portrait of the virtues of hard work and the value of a handshake agreement. This may be the least neurotic musical biopic ever made. (R) R.H. Sundance, Bainbridge, Kirkland Parkplace, others

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Life Itself For the last 25 years of his life, Roger Ebert was the most famous film critic in America. In his final decade—he died in April 2013—Ebert became famous for something else. He faced death in a public way, with frankness and grit. This new documentary about Ebert focuses perhaps too much on the cancer fight. This is understandable; director Steve James—whose Hoop Dreams Ebert tirelessly championed—had touching access to the critic and his wife Chaz during what turned out to be Ebert’s last weeks. It’s a blunt, stirring portrait of illness. The movie’s no whitewash. The most colorful sections cover Ebert’s young career as a Chicago newspaper writer, which included hard drinking and blowhardiness. Some friends acknowledge that he might not have been all that nice back then, with a nasty streak that peeked out in some of his reviews and in his partnership with TV rival Gene Siskel. Life Itself gives fair time to those who contended that the Siskel and Ebert TV show weakened film criticism. Ebert’s own writing sometimes fills the screen, along with clips of a few of his favorite films, yet this isn’t sufficient to explore Ebert’s movie devotion, which was authentic. Still, this is a fine bio that admirably asks as many questions as it answers. (NR) ROBERT HORTON Harvard Exit

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Obvious Child Written and directed by Gillian Robespierre, this movie has already been pegged as the abortion rom-com, which is great for the posters and pull-quotes but isn’t strictly accurate. The movie doesn’t embrace abortion. It doesn’t endorse cheesy love matches between unlikely partners. What it does—winningly, amusingly, credibly—is convey how a young woman right now in Brooklyn might respond to news of an unplanned pregnancy. And this fateful information comes for Donna (SNL’s excellent Jenny Slate) after being dumped by her boyfriend, told that her bookstore day job is about to end, and rejected at her comedy club, where a drunken stand-up set of TMI implodes into self-pity and awkward audience silence. Obvious Child is foremost a comedy, and it treats accidental pregnancy—caused by an earnest, likable Vermont dork in Top Siders, played by Jake Lacy from The Office—as one of life’s organic pratfalls, like cancer, childbirth, or the death of one’s parents. But as we laugh and wince at her heroine’s behavior, Robespierre gets the tone exactly right in Obvious Child. The movie doesn’t “normalize” abortion or diminish the decision to get one. Rather, we see how it doesn’t have to be a life-altering catastrophe, and how from the ruins of a one-night stand a new adult might be formed. (R) B.R.M. Guild 45th, others

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Snowpiercer Let me state that I have no factual basis for believing that a train would be able to stay in continuous motion across a globe-girdling circuit of track for almost two decades, nor that the people on board could sustain themselves and their brutal caste system under such circumstances. But for 124 minutes of loco-motion, I had no problem buying it all. That’s because director Bong Joon-ho, making his first English-language film, has gone whole hog in imagining this self-contained universe. The poor folk finally rebel—Captain America’s Chris Evans and Jamie Bell play their leaders—and stalk their way toward the godlike inventor of the supertrain, ensconced all the way up in the front. This heroic progress reveals food sources, a dance party, and some hilarious propaganda videos screened in a classroom. Each train car is a wacky surprise, fully designed and wittily detailed. (Various other characters are played by Ed Harris, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, and Song Kang-ho, star of Bong’s spirited monster movie The Host.) The progression is a little like passing through the color-coded rooms of The Masque of the Red Death, but peopled by refugees from Orwell. The political allegory would be ham-handed indeed if it were being served up in a more serious context, but the film’s zany pulp approach means Bong can get away with the baldness of the metaphor. Who needs plausibility anyway? (R) ROBERT HORTON SIFF Cinema Uptown, Ark Lodge, Kirkland Parkplace

Tammy Melissa McCarthy has earned her moment, and it is now. After scaring up an Oscar nomination for Bridesmaids and dragging The Heat and Identity Thief into the box-office winner’s circle, McCarthy gets to generate her own projects. So here’s Tammy, an unabashed vehicle for her specific strengths: She wrote it with her husband, Ben Falcone, and he directed. Tammy is an unhappy fast-food worker who gets fired the same day she discovers her husband with another woman. This prompts a road trip with her man-hungry, alcoholic grandmother, played with spirit if not much credibility by Susan Sarandon. Grandma hooks up with a swinger (Gary Cole, too little used) whose son (indie stalwart Mark Duplass) is set up as a possible escort for Tammy. This is where the movie gets tricky: We’ve met Tammy as an uncouth, foul-mouthed dope, but now we’re expected to play along as emotional realities are introduced into what had been a zany R-rated comedy. That kind of shift can be executed, but McCarthy and Falcone haven’t figured out the formula yet. (R) ROBERT HORTON Sundance, Bainbridge, Ark Lodge, Majestic Bay, Kirkland Parkplace, others

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Venus in Fur In this adaptation of the 2010 stage play by David Ives, Roman Polanski casts his wife in the main role and makes his leading man look as much like himself as possible. The movie’s basically an extended and often hilarious riff on power plays and erotic gamesmanship, both of which are offered here in ripe-flowering abundance. The conceit is that a stage director, Thomas (Mathieu Amalric), is caught at the end of a day of auditions by an obnoxious, gum-chewing actress, Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner). He’s casting the lead in an adaptation of the notorious 19th-century novel Venus in Furs, by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. By overpowering this diminutive director and flashing her physique, Vanda convinces Thomas to read with her, in an encounter that increasingly muddies the lines between the written material and their own rehearsal process. We watch this push-me/pull-you dance as it moves around the theater, morphing into something very close to a full-on horror movie by the end. What’s especially bracing about the movie is how funny it is—even Alexandre Desplat’s entrance and exit music is amusingly bombastic. The humor comes from the movie’s worldly attitude and the performances. Someone will undoubtedly suggest that Vanda is a misogynistic projection, but the male creators here—novelist, playwright, film director—are instead conspiring to depict how feebly men understand women. Seigner is absolutely in on that plot. (NR) ROBERT HORTON Varsity

Violette French writer Violette Leduc (1907–1972) hit her peak of renown a half-century ago. Until the late success of her raw, unfiltered memoirs (beginning with La Batarde), she was best known—if at all beyond Parisian literary circles—as the protegee of Simone de Beauvoir, with whom Leduc was unhappily in love. Because Leduc’s struggle was so long, the task is not an easy one for director Martin Provost in this admiring biopic. There’s a lot of life material to pack in here, setback after setback, in a picture spanning almost 30 years. His approach is comprehensive and linear, too much so. You can’t fault Devos’ fierce, committed performance as an insecure author who forever rates herself an ugly duckling, provincial and untalented. She plops her first completed manuscript into the startled lap of de Beauvoir (Sandrine Kiberlain), whose slightly aloof poise is rattled by her pupil’s sheer neediness—Sartre never behaves this way! Oh, yeah, that’s another problem with Provost’s approach: the historical footnoting and encyclopedic name-dropping. Violette is thick with the musk of Sartre, Camus, and Jean Genet (only the latter is depicted), plus Leduc’s various patrons and detractors, none of whom we care about. It may be accurate, but it’s way too much. (NR) BRIAN MILLER TK theater




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