Local & Repertory Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Master of the

  • Tuesday, July 22, 2014 1:33pm
  • Film

Local & Repertory

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Master of the jazz flute and of his ’70s TV news domain, anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is threatened by the arrival of Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), the bulldozer blonde who storms the all-male KVWN channel. Naturally the first “anchorlady” in San Diegan history drives Burgundy mad. So, does hilarity ensue in this 2004 comedy? In Ferrell’s hands, Burgundy is a diverting collection of quirky behaviors, but he never coheres as a comic creation the way, say, Austin Powers did. Ferrell clowns his way through Anchorman instead of acting; the erection gags and retard jokes are mostly D.O.A.; and director Adam McKay ineffectively “satirizes” newsroom misogyny, so the harassment Veronica encounters feels less jokey than genuinely creepy. (PG-13) NEAL SCHINDLER Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, central-cinema.com. $6-$8. 9:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. & Mon.-Weds.

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For Laughing Out Loud In Howard Hawks’ delirious, rapid-fire newsroom screwball comedy His Girl Friday (1940), we have manic about-to-be-wed reporter Rosalind Russell racing in high heels after a story lead, then tackling the man to the sidewalk. “Where’s my hat?” she later demands, unaware that it’s perched on her head. She puts on her coat backward. When an inconvenient mother-in-law threatens to ruin the big prison-escape story our heroine and her editor (and ex-husband) Cary Grant are composing, the old hag is slung over the shoulder of a goon and transported to a taxi. Anytime you wonder what happened to Russell’s fiance, there’s a cutaway to screwball yeoman Ralph Bellamy behind bars again (about four stints in one day, thanks to jealous, conniving Grant). Clearly, we’re not so far from Chaplin and Keaton. (NR)

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

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Fremont Outdoor Cinema It’s 1976 all over again in Richard Linklater’s 1993 pot-hazed high-school confidential Dazed and Confused. Yet beneath the cannabis clouds there’s surprising insight into the inner lives of slackers, stoners, and jocks. Throughout, Linklater’s laid-back observational style reveals all the longing, languor, and half-understood notions of self that define what it means to be 18. And you can’t beat Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.” Keep your (red) eyes peeled for Parker Posey, Ben Affleck, Nicky Katt (The Limey), Joey Adams (Chasing Amy), a young Wiley Wiggins (Waking Life), and Matthew McConaughey, whose muscle-car Romeo memorably declares, “That’s what I like about these high school girls: I keep getting older; they stay the same age.” Somehow Linklater almost makes that seem poignant. This is a 21-and-over screening, meaning booze. (R) 3501 Phinney Ave. N., 781-4230, fremontoutdoormovies.com. $30 series, $5 individual. Movies start at dusk. Sat. Aug., 2.

K Missing Kings This is the continuation of the Japanese anime series that began with K, again concerning teens and their fraught emotions. (NR)

Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $15. 6 p.m. Fri. & Mon. 3 p.m. Sun.

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Locke Tom Hardy is cast as a methodical Welsh structural engineer who specializes in concrete. This is a film where you will learn a lot about how that material is poured and processed. There is only one location to the movie: Locke’s BMW as he heads south through the night from Birmingham toward London—away from a critical job he is abandoning—to attend the birth of a child from a drunken one-night stand. Steven Knight’s Locke is essentially a radio play made into a movie. The camera moves up high to track Locke’s journey; there are some visual flourishes; but basically we’re listening to Hardy’s soft rumbling voice for 85 minutes. It’s a one-man dialogue, with calls to and from his wife and two sons, the hospital, his irate bosses, and a panicked Irish underling back at the job site. Locke keeps telling others, “Everything will be all right,” but he’s really trying to reassure himself against the existential void, the potential loss of job, family, and self-control. Hardy gives Locke a calm, steady self-assessment, a kind of lucid despair. He’s a guy forced to realize in one night that his life has no foundation. (R) B.R.M. SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 324-9996, siff.net, $6-$11. 7 p.m. Mon.

Moonlight Cinema Take my breath away. Tom Cruise stars as the cocksure fighter pilot in Top Gun, a very big hit from 1986. The volleyball scene with Val Kilmer adds camp appeal to its Reaganite muscle. (R)

Redhook Ale Brewery, 14300 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville, 425-420-1113. $5. Outdoor movie screens at dusk. Thursdays through Aug. 14.

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Movies at Magnuson Park Show me a woman between the ages of 28 and 35 who didn’t have a crush on Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling), the superfox dreamboat of John Hughes’ classic 1984 teen wish-fulfillment fantasy Sixteen Candles, and I’ll show you, well, a lesbian. Hughes, the man who would go on to make The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, and just about every other great ’80s movie never remotely eligible for an Oscar, found his first and best muse in Molly Ringwald, the ordinary/extraordinary everygirl. Her pouty lips, gawky body, and frequent eyeball rolls—not the flawless, uber-confident sexpot represented by Jake’s bitchy queen-bee girlfriend—truly captures the agony and ecstasy of being a teenager. The role of Samantha was a breakout for Ringwald, but Anthony Michael Hall, as the jittery, froggy-voiced captain of the geek squad, and John and Joan Cusack in two of their earliest roles, are just as much fun to watch. (R) LEAH GREENBLATT Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way N.E., moviesatmagnuson.com. $5. Thursdays. 7 p.m.

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Movies at the Mural The magnificent Gravity, which earned director Alfonso Cuaron an Oscar, will probably here be presented in its 2-D iteration, which will diminish the spectacle. Still, as George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are stranded in orbit, menaced by regular bombardments of space debris, the panicked breathing and frantic radio calls provide the human pulse to the terrifying scene, as bullet-speed space garbage cascades upon the shuttle and its fragile crew. For all its technical marvels and breathtaking panoramas reflected in Bullock’s visor, Gravity is a very compact and task-oriented picture. It’s both space-age and hugely traditional, though with a modern, self-aware heroine. (PG-13) B.R.M. Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater, 684-7200, seattlecenter.com. Free. Movies begin at dusk. Saturdays through Aug. 23.

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Sabrina Man did the 1995 remake stink up Billy Wilder’s 1954 original with Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Holden. Sabrina’s plot is pure Broadway hokum (rich bachelor brothers vie for their chauffeur’s daughter, now all grown up and babe-a-licious), but Wilder gives the material enough spin to save it from saccharine sweetness. Because, as with her prior Roman Holiday (and subsequent Love in the Afternoon), there’s always just something faintly smutty—which Wilder, of course, adores—about the tacit subject of a virgin’s imminent deflowering. Holden asks, “I’ve been trying to write her a poem. What rhymes with ‘glass?’” Bogie deadpans back, “Glass…hmm…I know, ‘alas.’” Hepburn more than holds her own against these older men, and there’s something touchingly comic and off-balance about Bogie’s cranky businessman falling for a woman half his age. Never mind the real-life subtext of Lauren Bacall; here he makes you share his surprise at finding a fresh start when he didn’t even know one was required. (NR) BRIAN MILLER Central Cinema, $6-$8. 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 3 p.m. Sat./Sun., 7 p.m. Mon. Weds.

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A Summer’s Tale The movie of the summer in 1996 should have been A Summer’s Tale, a wise and bittersweet romance by then-septuagenarian filmmaker (and French New Wave co-founder) Eric Rohmer, who he died, in 2010, at 89. A would-be musician named Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud) who travels to the Brittany seaside for a summer break before his grown-up duties beckon. Three young women are in his mind: loquacious waitress Margot (Amanda Langlet), with whom he can talk about his problems; assertive singer Solene (Gwenaelle Simon), ripe for a summer fling; and his quasi-girlfriend Lena (Aurelia Nolin), who’s supposed to be showing up any day now. The situation is far more nuanced than this romantic choice would suggest, and Gaspard faces long days of exploring and reassessing his attitudes about romance, most of which are charmingly in error. Nothing in the movie is glibly scenic, but the locations are beautifully and precisely captured. So is the shapelessness of youthful summer days, which could be why the movie lasts 114 minutes; if it moved quicker it might not get that drowsy quality right. And Rohmer, as always, has the touch when it comes to tracking the tiny shifts in intensity between people. The belated arrival of this neglected gem is an unusual pleasure—maybe even the movie of the summer. (NR) ROBERT HORTON SIFF Film Center (Seattle Center), 324-9996, siff.net. $6-$11. 6 & 8:30 p.m. Fri.-Weds.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Tobe Hooper’s wildly influential and frightening grindhouse hit from 1974 has been given a new 4K digital restoration. The blood will be that much redder and Leatherface that much more scary. (NR)

SIFF Cinema Uptown, $6-$11. 10:15 p.m. Fri.-Sun.

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Event Yadda. (NR)

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Event Yadda. (NR)

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Event Yadda. (NR)

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Event Yadda. (NR)

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Event Yadda. (NR)

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Ongoing

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, Kirkland Parkplace, others

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

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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, 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. Sundance

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A Hard Day’s Night The music business is fond of remastering old tracks and selling us new versions of familiar songs. You get that, plus a full visual restoration, in this 50th-anniversary edition of A Hard Day’s Night. Beatlemania was famously launched in the U.S. with the band’s February 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and mini-tour. Returning to the States that summer, the Beatles played Seattle on August 21, their third stop on a 23-city tour. But what if you weren’t lucky enough to live in one of those cities? Or what if you needed extra incentive to purchase the records, buy concert tickets, or watch their Ed Sullivan appearances? That’s what A Hard Day’s Night, cannily released in August (with the eponymous album), was all about. It’s both a genius marketing device and an enjoyably shaggy comedy-with-music. American teenagers already knew the songs in ’64 (“Can’t Buy Me Love,” “She Loves You,” etc.), and they’d seen the Beatles on newsreels and TV. But what the first Beatles movie did was cement these four personalities in the public imagination. Never mind that John, Paul, George, and Ringo were the somewhat-manufactured roles devised by Brian Epstein, their manager; A Hard Day’s Night gave these characters room to roam. Director Richard Lester and screenwriter Alun Owen built upon each moptop’s popular persona, layering gag upon gag on what we thought we knew about them. Was Ringo really the lazy, irresponsible one or George the quiet one? No, and it really doesn’t matter. The Beatles were cheerfully selling themselves in a vehicle that combines English music-hall humor with the cinematic energy of the French New Wave. Fifty years later, we’re still happily buying. (NR) B.R.M. SIFF Cinema Uptown, SIFF Film Center

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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

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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) R.H. Harvard Exit,

Sundance

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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. Ark Lodge

Sex Tape Despite the title, this marital comedy is a surprisingly tame affair, and fans expecting Jason Segel to again drop trou will be disappointed (and non-fans perhaps relieved). He and Cameron Diaz haven’t got the same antagonistic chemistry displayed in Bad Teacher (a sequel is said to be in the works). There’s not enough sex (though much talking about it), and the tape unspools too slowly. It takes 30 minutes for these tired, suburban parents to drunkenly film every position in The Joy of Sex (a weirdly out-of-date volume to be on their shelves). Not until the movie’s midpoint do they discover their video has accidentally been synced on a half-dozen iPads that Segel’s gifted away (to Diaz’s mom, her boss, friends, etc.). Anyone entering the theater already knows the plot, and that’s where Sex Tape ought to begin: with the frantic recovery effort. Apart from pacing, the pursuit becomes a journey into the heart of blandness. Not even a coked-up Rob Lowe, with Slayer blaring and tramp stamp on his back, can send the film into the wild adventure we want. Instead of an urgent screwball comedy, director Jake Kasdan and his writers keep steering the plot back to mundane marriage-counseling mode, as if we’re seriously concerned that bond will break—especially with two cute kids, who save their parents from an ominous porn magnate (cameo alert). Technology, not sex, is their real undoing. Segel wails that “nobody understands the cloud!,” and plenty of viewers will know the same shame. (R) B.R.M. Lincoln Square, 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) R.H. SIFF Cinema Uptown, Ark Lodge, Kirkland Parkplace, others




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