Tonight in Seattle:  


The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

This weekend, SIFF Cinema Uptown is showing one of my favorites from SIFF 2014. It’s about… there’s this very old man, see? And he gets put in a home for being rather ornery—the kind of ornery that involves dynamite—about something invading his property. But he doesn't want to be in a home, so he climbs out the titular window. Then he ends up with a giant suitcase full of cash, and a hoodlum after him, and a gangster after the hoodlum, and a slightly-less-old-and-ornery sidekick, and then a nebbishy fellow, and an awesome artistic lady living on her own out on a farm for Good Reasons, and also an elephant, and we flash back to the old dude’s life when he wasn’t old, cavorting with a rather spry Stalin and learning how to blow stuff up real good, and quite a few people die but not in any way that spoils any of the fun whatsoever. It’s like watching a confident storyteller making shit up as he goes along.

{The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is screening at SIFF Cinema Uptown June 12 & 13}

Best of SIFF 2015 series {6/12 - 6/15}

The Dark Horse

Another year, another SIFF, another Best of SIFF program at the Uptown. Once again the intrepid festival programmers have curated a roster of films (13 features and a shorts program) comprised of audience and jury award winners and fest favorites; this year a beloved archival presentation is included as well. So if you procrastinated over the last month, or feel in any way under-SIFFed, now's your chance: encore screenings run June 12-15 at the Uptown.

As in previous years this looks like a broad but solid lineup. One of my personal SIFF 2015 favorites, Vincent, makes a well-deserved repeat appearance, while others I loved (Short Skin, Haemoo, Corn Island, Guidance) are conspicuously absent. So it goes.

The full schedule, with some parting thoughts on the selections covered by the TIG team this year:


Frame by Frame
Lena Sharpe Award for Persistence of Vision
I didn't hate this documentary, which follows four Afghan photojournalists actively working to reframe their country and build a free press. There's an odd glossy sheen on the interview footage that doesn't really jive with the photogs or their amazing work, but media-savvy viewers (and those who enjoy seeing Independent Lens-type docs on the big screen) will find a lot to appreciate.

The Dark Horse
Golden Space Needle Awards: Best Film, Best Actor
How do you reckon Cliff Curtis will display his new Golden Space Needle trophy? He won one for his performance as a bipolar speed chess champion who helps turn around the lives of some 15,000 Maori children in New Zealand by teaching them the intricacies the game. In-queue buzz was extremely high on this film, and our own Roxie Rider was among the voices of praise, saying "every performance defies superlatives" in an "extraordinary, tremendous film."


SIFF Interview: 5 Questions with Jason Schwartzman and Bob Byington for 7 Chinese Brothers

Interviewing Jason Schwartzman on the SIFF red carpet for 7 Chinese Brothers

^ OMG! it's Jason! Schwartzman!!! 

You guys! TIG got to be on the red carpet again Saturday night to interview Jason Schwartzman and Director Bob Byington for the Seattle International Film Festival premiere of 7 Chinese Brothers. I asked them both the same set of questions and got some very entertaining answers. If you missed this film at SIFF, don't worry! It's getting a wider release in August ... and after you read this interview, you'll know what kind of booze goes best with your theater soda.  

TIG: What is Arrow’s [Schwartzman’s own dog, who stars in the movie alongside him] favorite thing to do besides sleep?

Bob Byington: {I asked Bob this question but prefaced it by saying he might not know else Arrow likes to do since he only saw him on set, and his response was:}Yeah, he likes to sleep.

Jason Schwartzman: Kiss you. {right here, imagine Liz & I both sighing and saying, “awwwwww!” in unison} Yeah. It’s true; he kind of attacks the face. If you get low enough, and you give him the angle, he’s gonna take it.


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?


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).


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.


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} 

SIFF Take: Chatty Catties

Chatty Catties SIFF 2015

After watching Chatty Catties with me, my cat, Frankie, insisted on writing this review. He says that I can’t possibly understand the film’s real meaning since I’m a human and not an oppressed feline like the star, Leonard. So, friends—here we go. It's an imaginary cat takeover! 

Frankie’s Review (as dictated to imaginary amie):
What a masterpiece! I’ve never seen a film so succinctly sum up the struggles of our kind before. Sure, there’s been some talking cat movies, but nothing that even comes close to the truth of this. Watching the real desires and thoughts of cats realized on screen via amazing voice actors filled me with hope that our days of being misunderstood by humans might be coming to an end.

Chatty Catties is primarily the story of Leonard, a beautiful striped tabby who has THE WORST HUMAN EVER.


Latest comment by: Roxie Rider: "

Rock on, Frankie!


SIFF 2015: Week Three Highlights

Beti and Amare

A harrowing Korean sea thriller, a sultry sapphic summer romance from Lithuania, and a gorgeous Ethiopian genre mashup are among your best bets during SIFF 2015's final (!) week and weekend (5/29 - 6/7).


Beti and Amare
{5/29 1:45p Uptown}
Intriguing 1930s-set genre pastiche about a young Ethopian woman trying to live a normal life while avoiding Mussolini's troops and local thugs. It's a supernatural romance, existential drama, and revenge thriller all in one. It's also dreamy in the best possible way, with a visual style that frequently stuns.

{5/29 8:30p Lincoln Square}
Horrifying, often punishingly intense sea thriller co-written and produced by innovative Korean genre genius Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer, Mother). Even when the psychosis-tinged narrative develops a nasty case of sea-sickness -- and boy, does it ever -- Haemoo sinks spectacularly. Bring the Dramamine.

Mr. Holmes
{5/29 7p Uptown, 5/31 4p Pacific Place}
Ian McKellen plays an elderly Sherlock Holmes in the late 1940s (and, in many time-toggling flashbacks, as early as the late 1910s), living a quiet countryside life with his housekeeper (Laura Linney) and her inquisitive young son. In revisiting an unsolved case he worked on toward the end of his investigative glory days, Mr. Holmes confronts the difficulties of aging, of his roles in various fictions, and of (not always) remembering. Entertaining throughout, even when the performances teeter into hammy territory.


Latest comment by: Roxie Rider: "

Wonderful reviews, sir. I'm especially eager to see Mr. Holmes. It sounds fascinating.


SIFF Interview: 5 Questions (+5 Photos) with Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon on the SIFF 2015 Red Carpet for Cop Car

Three Imaginary Girls got to hit the red carpet last night for An Evening with Kevin Bacon and the premiere of Cop Car at the Seattle International Film Festival with Director Jon Watts & star Kevin Bacon in attendance!! !!! !!! I was somehow able to keep my cool (but just barely) while asking him 5 very important questions.

TIG: If YOU had a cop car, would you leave your keys in it?
Kevin Bacon: Noooo! Definitely not; worst decision ever. He’s [Sherriff Kretzer; Bacon’s character in Cop Car] trying to be cool, but he obviously hasn’t really given it a lot of thought.

TIG: Who would win in a fight: Ryan Hardy [from The Following] or Sherriff Kretzer?
KB: I think Ryan Hardy. Yeah. I think he’s got some moves that the Sherriff doesn’t even know about.

More questions and photos after the jump ...


Latest comment by: imaginary embracey: "

So cool!


SIFF Take: Circle

Circle is a Sci-Fi social experiment where a group of people fleeing an alien invasion awaken to find themselves locked inside a room with a giant circular dial in the middle. It takes them a little bit of time to realize that each of them are “voting” to pick who will die. After discussing their options (of which there aren’t many; you choose who dies or you might be next), good and bad traits are revealed and cliques form in a battle for survival.

I wasn’t sure what to think about this film when it first began—spending 87 minutes in one room with the same people seemed like it might be a bit much, but I gotta give props to the filmmakers; it actually seemed just right. The cast is diverse and not entirely unrecognizable (hi Julie Benz!); something which suits the mood of the movie really well. All in all, I thought Circle was a good, suspenseful way to spend my viewing time.

{Circle screens at SIFF 5/28, 9pm—screening on standby—and again 5/29, 1:15pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown. Directors Aaron Hann & Mario Miscione are scheduled to attend both screenings}