Local & Repertory Bringing It Home Discussion follows this hour-long doc about

Local & Repertory

Bringing It Home Discussion follows this hour-long doc about hemp growing. (NR)

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

Drop Dead Gorgeous/ The Last Starfighter From 1999 and 1984, respectively, these two old chestnuts celebrate beauty pageants and space adventure. (R)

Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684. $7-$9. Fri.-Tues. See central-cinema.com for showtimes.

Kung Fu Grindhouse This long-running series calls it quits after 10 years. On the bill for a final chopsocky blowout celebration are Millionaire’s Express, Forbidden Zone, and Boxer’s Omen. (NR)

Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. Free. 21 and over. 6 p.m. Mon.


Langston Hughes African American Film Festival Nineteen features and some two-dozen shorts are featured during the fest. Highlights include An American Ascent (about black climbers on Denali), the nuptial rom-com Christmas Wedding Baby, Oscar Micheaux’s 1920 silent film Within Our Gates, and the new doc Cincinnati Goddam, about race and politics in that city. Various panel discussions are also planned; see website for full festival schedule. (NR)

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S., langstoninstitute.org. $7-$12 individual, $50-$150 series. Ends Sun., April 19.


Maria Tallchief Sandy Osawa will introduce her bio-doc about the pioneering Native American ballerina (1925-2013), who married George Balanchine and danced all the great roles for New York City Ballet. (NR)

Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6-$11. 6 & 9 p.m.

Newaxeyes plays Alien The local band performs a live score to Ridley’s Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic. (R)

Northwest Film Forum, $12-$15. 8 p.m. Mon.


Noir de France Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows, a fairly tight and ingenious little noir from 1958, has Jeanne Moreau tempt former paratrooper Maurice Ronet into murdering her war-profiteering husband. It’s the perfect crime—until it’s not. Ronet gets stuck in the elevator; a pair of teens steal his car and become involved in another crime; and Moreau is left to walk the rainy Paris streets, wondering if she’s been double-crossed by her lover. (These scenes are made doubly evocative by Miles Davis’ score.) There’s plenty of James M. Cain and Billy Wilder at work here; Malle is making something of an homage to his American forebears, like a lot of other crime flicks from the early nouvelle vague. But it’s also a crisp and uncompromising moral vision in black-and-white. (NR) BRIAN MILLER Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, seattleartmuseum.org. $63–$68 series, $8 individual. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through May 21.

Kelly Sears The visiting filmmaker shows samples from her work. (NR)

Northwest Film Forum, $6-$11. 4:30 p.m. Sun.

Sweet 16 See early 16 mm effort shorts by locals including Lynn Shelton, Dayna Hanson, Jon Behrens, Reed O’Beirne, and Web Crowell. Some directors will attend. (NR)

Northwest Film Forum, $6-$11. 7 p.m. Sat.


Timbuktu This acclaimed drama by Abderrahmane Sissako has Malian citizens trying to cope with the Muslim fundamentalists who’ve overrun their ancient metropolis. (PG-13) SIFF Film Center (Seattle Center), 324-9996, siff.net. $7-$12. 7 p.m. Mon.


Danny Collins As related in this simultaneously hackneyed and likable rock-’n’-roll redemption tale, there really was a guy who, 40 years after the fact, discovered that John Lennon had written him a letter telling him to stay true to his art. Al Pacino plays Danny as a music celebrity living high on his legacy, doing what looks like a lounge-act version of Mick Jagger on the casino circuit. He’s on showbiz autopilot, performing his greatest hits for the AARP demo. The belated arrival of the Lennon letter sends Danny to a sleepy New Jersey Hilton. From there, he hopes to finally connect with his neglected son Tom (Bobby Cannavale), born from a backstage hookup. It’s hard to get worked up over the emotional journey of a spoiled celeb who’s milked a bubblegum pop anthem into a fortune. What exactly happened to the earnest young folk singer of the prologue? We never learn. Yet such questions fade as Danny becomes part of Tom’s family. Pacino’s chemistry with Cannavale and Annette Bening (as his love interest) overrides the plot contrivances. Like Danny, Pacino has also been a showman verging on—if not spilling over into—self-parody in recent decades, but he turns Danny’s showmanship into a character trait, a reflexive instinct to connect. (R) SEAN AXMAKER Sundance, others

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem A woman (Ronit Elkabetz) files suit for divorce against her estranged husband, which takes years to untangle. Why would it take years? Because the courtroom in Gett is not a civil one, but a religious one. The scenario feels like it was dreamed up by Franz Kafka on a grouchy day, but it’s one that is unfortunately still possible in Israel. Each grueling stage is enacted in the same cramped, dreary room, with much of the action played out across Elkabetz’s extraordinarily grave face (she was a memorable presence in the excellent 2001 Israeli film Late Marriage). She has to give a great performance with her face and body, because Viviane only occasionally has a voice—this matter is for the men to talk about and decide. The movie’s not entirely grim—there are colorful supporting characters and moments of comedy—but the experience is absolutely nerve-wracking. The star’s brother, Shlomi and Elkabetz, directs this unbearably claustrophobic drama. (NR) ROBERT HORTON SIFF Cinema Uptown


It Follows David Robert Mitchell’s suburban thriller creates constant anxiety. The premise itself is simple, if faintly absurd. A teenager, Jay (Maika Monroe, excellent in The Guest), sleeps with her handsome new crush; he then informs her that she is now the target of a relentless, shape-shifting ghoul, which will pursue her to death. Her only escape is to have sex with someone else, who will then become the target. Mitchell canny about using the camera to evoke mystery. Every time someone drifts into the background of a shot, we have to wonder: Is that just a random passerby, or is that, you know, “It”? There’s also a wild musical score by Disasterpeace that provides an aggressive—at times maybe too aggressive—accompaniment to the film’s eerie mood. If the use of teen sex as a horror convention seems tired, rest assured that Mitchell seems less interested in a morality play than in sketching the in-between world of suburban adolescence. (R) R.H. SIFF Cinema Uptown

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter The setup here might promise routine road comedy: A sad and lonely Japanese woman, who somehow believes the 1996 Coen brothers movie Fargo is a documentary, ventures from Japan to the frozen Midwest to find the cash Steve Buscemi buried in the featureless snow. Yet filmmakers David and Nathan Zellner have no interest in obvious gags. Half their movie is scene-setting in Tokyo, where dejected office drone Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi, from Babel) is a Eleanor Rigby-like loner. More than shyness or defeat, an ever-widening distance separates her from the world beyond her imagination. Kindly strangers, including a widowed Minnesota farm wife and a sympathetic cop (David Zellner), barely register. Unseen in Seattle, the Zellners’ prior two features, Kid-Thing and Goliath, also dealt with alienated loners. The well-crafted Kumiko can likewise be seen as a character study; though, like her supposed treasure, it’s not certain if that character actually exists. A stubborn obstinacy lies at Kumiko’s core, but also delusion. (NR) B.R.M. Sundance


Of Horses and Men This supremely droll movie weaves together a collection of equine-related anecdotes. Like the human population of that northerly island, the horses of Iceland come out of a limited gene pool. They don’t look quite like other horses, with their short legs and jumpy gallop—a visual joke that director Benedikt Erlingsson uses for repeated effect. His characters include a local drunkard who “rides” his horse out to a Russian cargo ship in search of vodka; an immigrant who gets lost in the snow with only his horse as shelter; and a crank whose habit of cutting through barbed wire to exert his right-of-way catches up with him in a grotesque manner. (Plays 3:45 p.m. Sat.-Sun.) (NR) R.H. Grand Illusion


What We Do in the Shadows The premise is basically MTV’s The Real World cast with vampires, presented as direct-address documentary. This droll comedy comes from the brain trust behind 2007’s Eagle Vs. Shark: Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi, who play neck-biters Vladislav and Viago, respectively. Our three main vamps are a hapless lot. They can’t get invited into any of the good clubs or discos—ending up forlorn in an all-night Chinese diner instead. After all the aestheticized languor of Only Lovers Left Alive, the silly deadpan tone is quite welcome. Clement and Waititi know this is a sketch writ large (forget about plot), so they never pause long between sneaky gags. The amsuing and essential conflict here is between age-old vampire traditions and today’s hook-up customs. These neck-biters have been at it so long that they’re only imitating old vampire stereotypes. Things have gotten to the point, Vladislav admits, where they’re even cribbing from The Lost Boys. (NR) B.R.M. Sundance, SIFF Cinema Uptown, Majestic Bay

White God Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo begins White God with a promising, eerie prologue on the bad-dog side of the fence: an empty city with a small 13-year-old girl riding her bike through the desolate streets. Behind her, a marauding pack of feral dogs slowly grows in size, numbering into the hundreds, until they finally, deliberately pursue her. Lili (Zsofia Psotta) pumps her legs madly, totemic trumpet in her backpack, until she’s finally overtaken. Rendered in slo-mo, it’s a strikingly good sequence, a nightmare. Then the movie loops back to the start of its story, revealing the snarling future pack leader to be Lili’s beloved gentle pet. How did good dog Hagen turn bad? I wish, after that auspicious opening, the answer were more magical and enchanting. White God initially suggests fairy tale or fable, then splits into familiar, parallel accounts of two rebels brutalized by the cruel system. (NR) B.R.M. SIFF Cinema Uptown & Film Center

Wild Tales The opening sequence to Damian Szifron’s Argentine anthology movie sets up a Twilight Zone-style series of revelations. Passengers riding on a suspiciously underfilled plane begin to realize that there might be a reason for their presence there, beyond the obvious business of getting to a destination. The rest of Wild Tales doesn’t live up to the wicked curtain-raiser. But there are enough moments of irony and ingenuity to make it worthwhile. In one episode, a lone driver has a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, which allows the slowpoke he antagonized earlier to stop by and exact revenge. In another, an explosives expert becomes enraged by a parking ticket—rage that leads him to lose everything. But there’s a twist. A lot of these segments rely on a twist, a technique that doesn’t quite disguise how in-your-face the lessons are. (R) R.H. Sundance, Ark Lodge


While We’re Young In outline, this is a routine Gen-X midlife-crisis movie: documentary filmmaker Josh (Ben Stiller) and producer wife Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are stalled in careers and marriage. He can’t complete his weighty, unwatchable opus (something to do with geopolitics and a disheveled Chomskyian scholar; together they’ve IVF’d once for kids, failed, and are settling into a staid, childless rut. They need a shakeup, and it arrives in the form of a spontaneous, fun-loving Brooklyn couple half their age: would-be documentarian Jamie (Adam Driver) and wife Darby (Amanda Seyfried). Noah Baumbach’s lively, career-best comedy sends cynical Josh into unexpected bromance, and much of the movie’s charm lies in our being swept along, too. Is Josh deluded and ridiculous? Of course he is, and yet that’s not the movie’s real source of laughter and inspiration. In denial about his fading eyesight and arthritis, Josh will discover that being foolish and confounded is good for the system, a tonic. If Jamie is a hustler, he’s also like a personal trainer—pushing his client (who forever picks up the lunch tab) into discomfort. Baumbach’s female characters aren’t so sharply drawn, though he provides nice supporting roles for Adam Horowitz (of the Beastie Boys), as the only guy who can speak truth to Josh’s blind infatuation; and for Charles Grodin, who brings welcome, sour appeal as Josh’s disapproving father-in-law. (NR) B.R.M. Sundance, Pacific Place, Thornton Place, Lincoln Square, Ark Lodge, Kirkland, others

Woman in Gold The last time Helen Mirren went up against the Nazis, in The Debt, it was really no contest. So you will not be surprised to learn that the Austrian art thieves of the Third Reich fare no better against her Holocaust refugee Maria Altmann. Woman in Gold takes its title from the alternate, Nazi-supplied moniker for Gustav Klimt’s 1907 Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Adele was Maria’s beloved aunt, and Maria became the plaintiff in a long-fought art-restitution case, begun in 1998, against the Austrian government. As Maria’s sidekick in this true-life-inspired tale, Ryan Reynolds plays unseasoned attorney Randy Schoenberg (forever judged against his genius forebear Arnold Schoenberg). This odd couple is obviously going to prevail against the stubborn, post-Waldheim Austrian establishment. As Maria says, “If they admit to one thing, they have to admit to it all.” Were the writing better, this would’ve made a good courtroom procedural, but director Simon Curtis instead chooses to add copious flashbacks to the Anschluss era and Maria’s narrow escape from the Nazis. So while this is a serviceable star vehicle that depends on Mirren’s reliably purring V-12 engine, two other actresses play Maria at different ages. (PG-13) B.R.M. Guild 45th, Pacific Place, Ark Lodge, Lynwood (Bainbridge), others