Tonight in Seattle:  

SIFF Take: Shaun the Sheep

The Shaun the Sheep spirit survives intact in Shaun the Sheep Movie. Aardman’s signature wit and heart are in full flower, and all you need to know is conveyed through the action and the animal’s expressive eyes. It's considerably more exciting than a standard episode, and the stakes are higher. Typical farm shenanigans accidentally land the farmer in the Big City with his memory erased, and Bitzer and the sheep have to try and rescue him while evading an insecure and monomaniacal Animal Control officer. That’s a lot more intense than, say, a bunch of douche-y next-door pigs sabotaging a rube goldberg machine designed to get a kite out of a tree. 

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SIFF Double-Feature: Jason Schwartzman in Two Closing Weekend Films

Jason and Arrow Schwartzman in 7 Chinese Brothers
Triple the adorableness! 

I’m psyched that SIFF had not one, but TWO amazing “An Evening with” programs lined up this year with actors that I adore. An Evening with Jason Schwartzman happens TOMORROW {Saturday, June 6} and I’m sure it will be just as entertaining as Kevin Bacon’s. I got my ticket long ago and the Evening is now on “standby,” but I have to have to have to talk about it anyway because …. reasons. One of them being Schwartzman’s adorable dog, Arrow, who co-stars with him in 7 Chinese Brothers, which screens during the Evening and again on Sunday (still tix available!).

Every Wes Anderson fan knows who Schwartzman is because he’s in pretty much every single one of his films, particularly Rushmore, which inspired a million people to continually quote this Max Fischer zinger (I swear to god I heard someone say this the last time I was at Linda's):

Max: I like your nurse's uniform, guy.
Dr. Flynn: These are O.R. scrubs.
Max Fischer: O, R they?

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SIFF 2015: Closing Weekend Highlights

Eisenstein in Guanajuato

OK, SIFF procrastinators, this weekend is your last chance to partake in this year's grand cinema binge... until the "best of fest" program rolls around next weekend at the Uptown. But who knows what'll be included in that lineup. (I'll preview it for you when I find out.)

In the meantime, I can give my seal of approval to two very good films I've seen already, and my safe-bet certification to a few more I plan to stand in queue for, all on offer during SIFF 2015's final weekend (6/5 - 6/7).

DON'T MISS:

Eisenstein in Guanajuato
{6/6 7p Harvard Exit, 6/7 5p Uptown}
Septuagenarian filmmaking dynamo Peter Greenaway gives us a challenging, visually ambitious, downright playful film about Sergei Eisenstein's misadventures in Mexico in the early '30s during production of ¡Que Viva Mexico! (an Eisenstein-unapproved version of which will also screen during closing weekend). Greenaway's typically dizzying pictoralism, sex-and-death juxtapositions, and unapologetic salaciousness are all present, as is his unending devotion to sheer experimentation: he remains one of cinema's last true innovators, and no film of his should be overlooked, ever.

The Wolfpack
{6/5 7p Uptown, 6/6 11a Egyptian}
Enthralling, often seriously creepy documentary about a nine-member family sequestered for nearly two decades in a Manhattan housing project. The film focuses on the six brothers, the off-kilter inner lives they've developed after copious consumption of Hollywood home videos, and their efforts to step outside the bizarrely arbitrary boundaries set by their once-devout Hare Krishna father. A big Sundance winner, and a strong contender for best non-fiction film of the fest.

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SIFF Take: Cartel Land

Cartel Land SIFF 2015

A documentary about a Mexican vigilante group fighting drug cartels! And: a documentary about the Arizona Border Recon fighting drug cartels! And: a story about how hopeless it is to fight drug cartels!

It’s really hard to take your eyes off Cartel Land—even when you might need to (re: graphic images of cartel victims). The most compelling subject is Autodefensas leader Dr. Jose Mireles (above)—and that’s all I can say without giving anything away. This isn’t a pleasant watch, but boy howdy it’s informative … and terrifying.

{Cartel Land screens at SIFF 6/1, 6:30pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown, and again 6/2, 4pm at The Harvard Exit. Director Matthew Heineman is scheduled to attend both screenings} 

Sasquatch 2015 - Monday: Alvvays, Courtney Barnett, Kendrick Lamar, Run The Jewels, Tame Impala, THEE Satisfaction

at The Gorge

Sasquatch Music Festival 2015

Getting things started right on Monday afternoon were Seattle hip-hop R&B duo THEE Satisfaction. With local producer and beat maker O.C. Notes as their DJ, MC”s Stas and Cat vibed their way through a set filled with cool jams and some heavy beats. The bass in this set hit HARD. The duo even worked out some choreographed moved, and they played off of each other really well. Young rapper and fellow Sasquatch performer Porter Ray even joined the group onstage to spit a verse.

As the weather started to take a slight turn towards the ugly side, Courtney Barnett and co. took the main stage and put on a pretty powerful show. Winds and light rain started to infiltrate the festival in the middle of her set, and with roadies frantically running around stage behind her and with wind blowing all around her, Barnett ripped through her catalogue of fantastic rock songs.

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