Tonight in Seattle:  

Film

Sunlight Jr.

{Sunlight Jr. opens in Seattle on Friday, 11/15, and is screening at Sundance Cinemas Seattle}

Director and writer Laurie Collyer’s latest, Sunlight Jr., is an unflinching portrait of poverty.  The two lead characters struggle against a tide of horrible circumstances which test their strength and love for each other, and the little hope they experience is quickly eroded by insurmountable obstacles. 

Melissa (Naomi Watts, who is just frankly amazing in everything, but particularly in this film) lives in a shitty motel with her boyfriend, Richie (Matt Dillon) and works a shitty minimum wage job with a shitty boss in a shitty part of town called Sunlight, Jr.

She also has a shitty, abusive ex-boyfriend named Justin (Norman Reedus. I can’t. I mean. Can you just be Daryl Dixon forever instead of this guy?) that stalks her at work, and also rents a house out to Melissa’s alcoholic momma, who has a passel of neglected foster kids.

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All Is Lost

{All Is Lost opened Friday at the Regal Meridian 16, Cinemark Lincoln Squares Cinema, and the Landmark Seven Gables}

A man alone with himself sometimes has only one's mind to fear. Though sometimes the risk of drowning at sea, cut off from all communication with the rest of humanity enters into it as well, even if there's not a giant CGI tiger to make things extra complicated.

Robert Redford is such a man: adrift, alone with solely himself to rely on, as the open ocean and fates toss him about as a plaything. Little background about him is given as the audience is taken along for the ride, with his attempts to survive his yacht being struck by a loose shipping container.

In a nearly dialog free picture, Redford delivers a deeply engaging performance, truly becoming a seasoned and calm mariner pushed to the breaking point. All is Lost is a worthy challenger to Gravity in this Oscar season's category of "mankind against the elements" pictures. It manages to to thrill and educate while presenting an intensely human portrait of a man running out of options and bearing almost all of it with the patience and determination of Job.

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Show your love for Seattle's Scarecrow Video at Independent Video Store Day this Saturday {10/19}!!

Well, really what I want to say (and what I say every year) is to show your love for Scarecrow Video more than just this one day of the year -- although if you haven't been in for awhile, this Saturday is as good a time as any to start! 

Scarecrow is honestly one of the greatest places on earth, and I swear I'm not exaggerating. I've been going there for years, and every single time I've ever been looking for ANYTHING, even the most obscure thing, Scarecrow has had it in stock. Granted, I spend most of my time in the Psychotronic room or browsing the Director sections, but man-oh-man. All the other sections and rooms rule too! They are simply THE GREATEST. 

This Saturday, they've got a ton of awesome things going on for International Independent Video Store Day, and I really encourage you to go check it out. Stop in and for all the happenings, including: 

50% off used movies for sale on Saturday AND Sunday
$3 off new Blu-rays and DVDs for sale
10 rentals for $35 (a $10 savings)
Grumpy Hour Specials all day long at VHSpresso!  

And chances to win prizes!!! Enter to win: 

A year-long pass to SIFF Cinema Uptown & SIFF Film Center
A theater rental from the Grand Illusion Cinema (!!!) 
Passes for the NWFF
Passes for Landmark Theatres
Passes to the EMP Museum

Also, filmmakers Megan Griffiths and Lacey Leavitt curated a bunch of films from the height of the VHS-era just for Scarecrow customers! So cool.

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Carrie (2013)

{Carrie opens in Seattle on Friday, 10/18, and is screening at Sundance Cinemas Seattle, Oak Tree Cinemas, and Regal Meridian 16. Imaginary Amie also talked to Director Kimberly Peirce about making the film! Read her interview here.}

After the lackluster 2002 remake by David Carson (meant to launch a Carrie TV show, which THANKFULLY did not happen), I was worried about anyone else taking on such an iconic horror story for the screen since Brian DePalma did such an amazing job of it in 1976. 

Also, remakes are tricky! Especially for a story that has invaded pop culture as deep as Stephen King's Carrie has. Even if you're not a horror fan or you haven't seen any other version, chances are you already KNOW what happens at the end. And of course, DePalma has his own distinctive filmmaking style. But that isn't copied here. Instead, Pierce returned to the book for some additional material and added some slick updates, infusing her own voice into the story expertly. And yes, the prom scene in this one is still really bad-ass.  

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Imaginary Interview with Kimberly Peirce, Director of Carrie {2013}


Kimberly Peirce, Chloë Moretz, and Julianne Moore on the set of Carrie

As a horror fan, I was worried that the recent "re-imagining" of Carrie on screen would either be a regurgitation of DePalma's film, or completely disappointing like the 2002 television movie. But with Kimberly Peirce in the Director's seat, this vision of Carrie turned out to be pretty damn entertaining. Peirce, who also wrote and directed both Boys Don't Cry and Stop-Loss, stays true to the heart of Stephen King's story while infusing it with her own voice. I sat down with Kimberly last week and talked with her about storytelling and the powerful symbolism of Carietta White. 

{FYI: there are a few spoilers below in the questions and answers} 

TIG: Was re-telling the story of Carrie White something you've always wanted to do? 

Kimberly Peirce: I probably always wanted to do it, and I didn't know it. I was approached, and I was amazed at the opportunity. I had read Carrie as a kid, and I loved it! And I am always looking for great American fiction that was entertaining. I love The Godfather, I love Jaws -- I mean, I love this kind of classic pulp fiction. Nowadays, I'm desperate for good stories. If you can just give me a good story, I'm in heaven … and you run dry on that. 

So, they [MGM] came to me and they said, 'how would you like to re-imagine Carrie?' And at first, I was like, "Oh, let me think about that." because I love the Brian DePalma original; I think it's fantastic. I'm not necessarily for or against remakes -- I love the original Scarface from '33, and I love the new one. I love Imitation of Life; the two different versions. I don't have a prejudice about it. My feeling is: take great source material, do something great with it, make it as many times as you want as long as you do something good. 

When they came to me … I just had to look more deeply into the material and when I did, I was actually astounded at how much more I loved it than what I remembered. I think it's timely, timeless, and more relevant today that it was then. 

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Recommended viewing: gory awesomeness at Grand Illusion Cinema this month!

Gates of Hell Lucio Fulci Grand Illusion Cinema

YES. It's October! And that means lots of lots of horror movies screening around town. I'm particularly excited for Grand Illusion Cinema's gory programming, which kicks off this weekend with some Italian horror and Grindhouse magic. 

Gorgeous 35mm and 16mm prints, a small, intimate setting, and some cheap popcorn! IMHO, there's no better way to see these films. $12 gets you a seat, and your money goes to a great, local, independent theater. 

Here's what I'm most excited about, but there are horrific screenings almost every night, so check their site for the full schedule! 

Saturday October 5, 8pm
Portland's Grindhouse Film Festival Presents 35mm Exploitation Mayhem! Organizer Dan Halsted will be in attendance. 

The Grindhouse Trailer Spectacular
Featuring 65 minutes of amazing grind house trailers from the '60s and '70s, including Italian horror, blaxploitation, hicksploitation, sexploitation, kung fu insanity, revenge films and more! I didn't even know some of those 'sploitations were a thing. You learn something new every day, huh? 

Gates of Hell (aka: The City of the Living Dead) 
A surreal masterpiece by Italian horror-master Lucio Fulci, which I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT. Rotting dead feasting on the living! Intestines everywhere! A creeptastic soundtrack! And my personal favorite: THE HEAD DRILLING SCENE. 

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Latest comment by: Blissette: "The awesomeness they have is really great. I guess we all have been awed by it. - James D. Sterling "

Recommended Show: A benefit for The Glamour and the Squalor at EMP with Sean Nelson, The Young Evils & more {10/11}

The Glamour and the Squalor is a project I've been excited about from the beginning: a kick-ass documentary about a kick-ass guy, Marco Collins, covering both his impact on the music world AND its impact on him. Just in case you weren't listening to KNDD 107.7 The End in the 90s, Marco was the DJ who broke a bunch of amazing bands on the air waves, including Beck, Weezer, The Presidents of the United States, Foo Fighters, and some band featuring Ben Gibbard. Oh, and he's also been inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! NBD, you guys. 

Anywy! TG&TS is SO close to being done, but they still need to raise a bit more cash to make a release happen. So they are brilliantly throwing a benefit concert at the EMP next Friday, October 11! And the line-up (curated by Marco, of course) is kind of insane, y'all: 

Sean Nelson!
The Young Evils!

(!!! my current lady-crush) Mary Lambert!
Fences! 
Nacho Picasso!
Ra Scion & Daniel Blue (motopony)!

IG88! 
Tilson XO!
DJ Action Jackson (from Fly Moon Royalty)!

So basically you get to rock out to a bunch of amazing Seattle bands, AND you'll get to see clips from the film presented by Director Mark Evans, AND you get to help this rad film get completed. Tickets are $35 and include 1 drink, or you can spend $100 for the VIP treatment, which inludes a meet-and-greet with Marco, the filmmakers, and the artists playing & 3 drinks. 

These things are gonna sell out fast, my friends. So get your tix now! And I'll see you there. 

{The Glamour and the Squalor Benefit Concert | EMP Museum | Friday, October 11 | 7pm Doors | $35 GA, $100 VIP | Tickets available online through EventBrite

Austenland

{Austenland opens in Seattle on Friday, August 30, and is screening at AMC Pacific Place and the Landmark Guild 45th} 

I am a lover of all things Jane Austen, but crappy rom-coms loosely based on her work don't usually fall into that category. The thing is, the more I think about Austenland, the more I grow fond of it. 

Austenland is based on a chick-lit novel by Shannon Hale, and is about a woman named Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is has been obsessed with Jane Austen, and in particular, Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice her entire life. So much so, that she's eschewed any kind of romantic attachment while literally waiting for a man on the white horse to arrive and sweep her off her feet. 

Despite her cranky pregnant friend's protests, Jane spends her entire savings on a trip to "Austenland," a carefully constructed Old English paradise wherein one can pretend to be a character in an Austen novel, with a promised happy ending -- sort of. The male characters are played by actors who may go above and beyond the call of duty IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Wink, wink. Oh, and it's presided over by a lady named Mrs. Waddlebrook (Jane Seymour! What.)

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "A-ha! LisaQuing - thanks for the note! I clearly wasn't paying attention. :) Will correct. "

Bumbershoot 2013 picks: film, comedy, and theater

I know it's really really hard to fit in ALL of these things in addition to seeing the bands you want to see, but I urge y'all to check out the other stuff Bumbershoot 2013 has to offer! 

First off: the 1 Reel Film Festival at the SIFF Film Center, which gives you a chance to catch a lot of things you might have missed earlier this year. There are Films4Families, Music Videos, Award-Winners, Best of the Northwest … and really, SO many good programs I can't mention them all. Check out the full film schedule for more details. I'm definitely plan to make a few of these ... and here's the rest of what I'll be trying to cram in between band goodness: 

Saturday, 8/31

NERDprov
3:45pm-4:45pm
Theatre Puget Sound Stage 

What's that, you say? Improv made for people who loves shows, movies, comics, music, and games? LOOK FOR ME IN THE FRONT ROW. 

Patton Oswalt and Friends
6:30pm-7:30pm
Comedy at the Bagley

The only question you need to ask yourself about this one is, "How early do I need to line up to get in?" And the answer is: EARLY, my friends. Early. But it's totally worth it. Plus, he's performing again on Sunday and Monday, so you'll have 3 chances to laugh so hard your entire can of Bud Light Lime-A-Rita comes out of your nose. 

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You're Next

Sharni Vinson as Erin in You're Next

{You're Next opens in Seattle on Friday, 8/23, and is screening at the Meridian 16 and Oak Tree Cinemas}

Contrary to its "EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS IS SCARY" trailer, You're Next is packed with quite a bit of fun. Sure, there are elements of scariness, but the best thing about this splatter-fest is that it's infused with a lot of clever moments. 

For example, taking the basic "trapped in a remote location" horror movie premise, and then flipping it by ignoring not one, but two, of the usual genre tropes: a heroine who actually fights back (think Nancy Thompson, but with professional training), and murderers who aren't invincible and actually make mistakes. 

Director Adam Wingard gathered up his usual crew -- Directors Ti West and Joe Swanberg, plus a favorite of all three filmmakers, actor AJ Bowen -- and rounded out a perfect cast with the addition of Amy Seimetz (whose role is brief, but memorable) and Re-Animator Scream Queen Barbara Crampton. 

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Latest comment by: Dan O'Neill: "Good review Amie. A bunch of fun to be had here, even if the scares don't rack up quite as well. Still, a fun movie is a good movie in my book."