Tonight in Seattle:  


Fright Night

Fright Night 2011

{Fright Night opened in Seattle on Friday, August 19, and is playing at The Metro, The Meridian, and Thornton Place} 

I’ll own it: when I heard they were making a Fright Night remake, I cringed inside. I’m a HUGE fan of Chris Sarandon’s vampy womanizer and William Ragsdale’s wide-eyed horror-fan teen in the original, and who could ever replace Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent and Stephen Geoffreys as Evil?

Modernizing the story a bit, this Fright Night moves the action to Las Vegas, painting main guy Charlie (Anton Yelchin, who’s pretty much made for this part) as a teen who’s recently shed his nerdiriffic role-playing D&D monster movie past to hang with the cool kids. This is all so he can hold on to his smokin’ hot girlfriend, Amy, played by cute-and-sexy-at-the-same-time Imogen Poots (sorry, Amanda Bearse, but uh. This chick? Hot).  

When former best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse)—nicknamed “Evil” because of his occult obsession—approaches Charlie with the news that his GQ-esque neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell, who I am starting to like more and more) is a vampire who’s been eating their classmates, Charlie brushes it off as a desperate attempt to get his attention. But after Evil disappears and Jerry’s activities become increasingly suspicious, Charlie starts to think his new next door neighbor might actually have fangs. 


Latest comment by: Nola: "Yay, I'm so glad to hear this. I felt exactly the same way when I heard they were doing a re-make, but after reading your review (thanks, you addressed all of my concerns), and Roger Ebert's, I will definitely check it out this weekend. Can't wait!"

RECommended Event: hitRECord at the Movies 8/23, The Neptune

I know I'm not the only one totally crushing on Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This guy is a freakin' phenomenal actor, was on one of the funniest TV shows of all time, and also looks damn fine in a suit.

To top it all off, he started this awesome thing called hitRECord, which is an online production community focused on collaboration and creativity in multimedia--everything from film to music and art--and now he's bringing it on the road to a live audience with "hitRECord at the Movies". Luckily for us, one of his tour stops is Seattle!

I heartily encourage you to buy tickets now to see this show, because 1) It's gonna sell out and 2) you don't want to miss the chance to drool over JGL participate in some very cool multimedia art. See, you don't have to just sit there in the seats, you get to bring your cameras with you and "hit record" (GET IT?), and interact with everyone.

Mr. Gordon-Levitt is also doing a Seattle city project - so shoot video, draw pictures, write or sing about how much you love our city, and contribute to the hitRECord site. Maybe you'll see your stuff up on the screen….

hitRECord at the Movies
The Neptune Theatre
Tuesday, 8/23 @8:30pm
$26 advance / $28 day of show

Latest comment by: Imaginary Rich: "

OK - I went.  And I'm still not 100% sure what the point of all that was.  But had a pretty good time nonetheless.  Some notes and photos including Joseph Gordon-Levitt covering Nirvana can be viewed here.


30 Minutes or Less

{30 Minutes or Less opened in Seattle on Friday August 12, and is playing at the Metro, Oak Tree Cinemas, and AMC Pacific Place} 

We've all had those days. You're minding your own business, delivering pizzas at a dangerous rate of speed when a couple of get rich quick lazy dipshits go out of their way to totally harsh your buzz. But when their plan is to strap a bunch of explosives to your chest in order to coerce you into robbing a bank, most people would agree things have gone too far. 

That's basically the premise of 30 Minutes or Less - a comedy that crams a lot of things into a pretty short span of time. While overall it may be a bit silly, I had a good time. And it's edited in a way that shows a respect for movie-goers who don't feel the need to sit through a two and a half hour bloated endeavor when there's really only 90 minutes of material to be had.
Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is an adult delivering pizzas for a living. Why this level of achievement is enough for him isn't exactly clear. In the meantime, he makes due with with his crappy job and unexpressed (yet obvious) love for the twin sister of his male best friend/roommate.


The Help

Viola Davis in The Help

{The Help opened in Seattle on Wednesday, 8/10 and is playing at the Metro, Oak Tree Cinemas, Majestic Bay and AMC Pacific Place} 

I am one of the only women on earth who hasn’t read Kathryn Stockett’s amazingly popular book, The Help, so I have no idea how close this film adaptation is to the beloved story or not—but I guess I’ll find out shortly when there’s either tons of outrage or tons of applause.

But honestly I can’t imagine anyone being outraged (except maybe some rich white ladies who grew up in Jackson, Mississippi during the 60s), since The Help does its job as an empowering dramedy well, with enough heart and substance to make it better than what you’re expecting.

The story revolves around recently returned from college Eugenia (the amazing Emma Stone, stuck with some atrociously bad curly hair) annoyingly nicknamed “Skeeter,” who would rather take a low-paying job answering cleaning advice letters at the local paper than engage in the time-honored Jackson tradition of hunting for an eligible husband.


The Change-Up

{The Change-Up opens Friday August 5th in Seattle area theaters}

How much will you like The Change-Up?'s a safe bet that your level of enjoyment will be in direct correlation to how funny you find scatological and gross-out humor. With bonus points if you chuckle at the idea of babies pooping in people's mouths and people urinating on each other. And yes - there's a mandatory minimum on that calculation. 'Cause if you don't enjoy such shenanigans at least a little bit, all you'll be left with is a rather predictable story arc and a few clever lines. The latter, while occasionally enjoyable in the moment, don't really justify the cost of admission. Though I must say, on some level The Change-Up may have one of the more inspired final lines in comedy history (though running behind the ending of The FP). Or at least in the genre of body-switching films.

As it turns out, there are a lot of body switching films out there. Even if you leave television out of the mix.  Because obviously if you count every other episode of Stargate SG-1 that dealt with the topic the examples could number in the hundreds. So I'm assuming most readers know the Freaky Friday-type score. Two people think they want the other person's life. Then through some mix of mystical energy, alcohol, and occasionally alien technology, they wake up in each other's bodies. What transpires is a learning and growth experience for each, at which point after a few near misses they return to their original physical shell wiser and happier with their lot in life. None of that formula is broken here - with an extra boring gold star for movie truisms for pointing out that lots of casual sex is nothing to aspire to.


Recommended Viewing: Hitchcock's Rebecca at the Metro tonight {8/3}

Judith Anderson and Joan Fontaine in Hitchcock's Rebecca

So Landmark's Metro theater is doing this awesome thing for August where they present "Metro Classics" on Wednesday nights, and for girls like me who heart the crap out of B&W noir, it's kind of a dream come true. Tonight they are presenting one of my very favorite Hitchcock films, Rebecca. This 1940 film is a mishmash of gothic romance, thriller, murder mystery, and ghost story. 

Plain (ha!) little Joan Fontaine (true to the Daphne du Maurier book, her character has no name) is playing personal assistant to a bossy rich lady in Monte Carlo when handsome, brash widower Maxim De Winter (Laurence Oliver) sweeps her off her feet. Well, less sweeps - more just tells her they're going to get married, which I guess seems like a boss deal for a shy orphaned girl in the 40s. Anyway, once they get to his GIANT mansion Manderlay, the evil, lurking housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (omg Judith Anderson is amazeballs in this role) makes it clear that she'll never replace the beautiful and perfect first Mrs. De Winter - aka "the" Rebecca - who may or may not be haunting the halls of the house, scaring the bejeezus out of everyone. From there, it gets even more complicated after Joan digs into the past and discovers Maxim's "secret", which I have to admit totally surprised me the first time I saw it.

I highly recommend you get thee to the Metro tonight at 6:45pm or 9:10pm to see this Hitch masterpiece in all its gothy glory. Tickets are $10.50 general admission, or $8.25 for students w/ID. 

Cowboys and Aliens

{Cowboys and Aliens opens in Seattle area theaters on Friday July 29th}

I will admit that when I first heard that Jon Favreau was making a film called Cowboys and Aliens I laughed. Not in the "OMG that sounds so stupid" sense. You know - the one produced by viewing something akin to the trailer for Battleship, a film based on the board-game. But rather in the - "Wow - I like much of his work and I bet an over-the-top tongue-in-cheek comedy about western characters battling aliens could be really amusing" way.

As it turns out, Cowboys and Aliens is not a comedy. It's basically a played as straight Western about a man who has lost his memory but not his ass-kicking skills making sense of his universe. It's just that his particular universe includes aliens, who have a nasty habit of blowing things up and kidnapping locals for experimentation. But most importantly it's a very solid (if non-standard) example of the genre. Filled with good performances and action sequences that build a proper sense of true peril, it's a film worth seeing that managed to effectively hold my interest all the way through.



Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Steve Carell and Julianne Moore in Crazy, Stupid, Love.

{Crazy, Stupid, Love. opened in Seattle on Friday, 7/28 and is playing at the Metro, The Big Picture, the Meridian, and Thornton Place}

I'm always wary of romantic comedies, because it's so goddamn hard to find a GOOD one, you guys. It really, really is. I'm happy to report that while cheesy at times, Crazy, Stupid, Love. veers from the predictable enough and is cast so excellently, that it ended up being severely charming - and I promise I'm not just saying that because of my insane crush on IT girl Emma Stone.

The story arc follows two plot lines; the first involving a distraught Emily (the always exquisite Julianne Moore) casting husband Cal (Steve Carell) out of the house after 25 years because she feels they've grown apart, and the second involving douche-baggy womanizer Jacob (played by apparently every woman's favorite hot guy except me, Ryan Gosling), who meets Cal in a bar and takes pity on him, deciding basically how to teach him to be a stud and drown his sorrows in a lot of disposable pussy. Wait - I said this was charming, didn't I?

And it is, really. The scenes where Jacob shows Cal the way of the macho man are downright hilarious, both because you can't believe this guy's for real ("There is no war of the sexes. We won the war the second women started pole-dancing for exercise."), and because Carell is a master of subtle comedy -- and you can bet your ass you'll be cheering for him the first time he successfully takes a chick home.


The Smurfs

{The Smurfs opened in Seattle area theaters on Friday 7/29}

I suspect most readers will have at least basic familiarity with the Smurfs, a Belgian "cultural" import that appeared on US television in the early 80s. You know - the show featuring small blue creatures who live in mushrooms and are constantly plagued by an amusingly incompetent wizard and his slightly smarter feline companion. No, that wasn't a drug induced haze from your youth - that really was a TV show.

A theory of the time believed the cartoon series to be an elaborate plot to destroy America's competitiveness by reducing our children's vocabulary to the word "smurf." Although in the present day, it seems equally likely to me that NBC just decided to save some money by not bothering to translate 25% of the words from French, replacing them instead with "smurf" or "smurfing". Which apparently meant something else entirely from what it does today...nevermind - I looked it up - the non-specific constant use of the word "Smurf" was already a mainstay of the original.

I missed the full-on Smurf love foisted on my generation by a hair, resulting in a reasonable but incomplete familiarity with the little blue peoples' mythology. So I appreciated the backstory provided in the film's beginning - first by a traditional voiceover narration, and then by evil wizard Gargamel as he puts on a little puppet show at home for his cat Azrael. Via his voicing of smurf patriarch Papa Smurf, we learn the elder of the tribe lives in an enchanted forest with 99 sons and one female - no, nothing weird about that at all (those are Gargamel's words, not mine).



Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

{Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 opened in Seattle on Friday, July 14 and is playing at the Majestic Bay, the Pacific Science Center IMAX®, the Cinerama, and other area theaters}

THE END of Harry Potter is here. And as I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan. But Amie! You’re nerdy. And you love supernatural things. And you heart the crap out of reading. All this is true, but the first 5 HP books (won from a work contest many years ago) sit dust-covered and untouched on my bookshelf.

See, Harry Potter is one of those things where every single person and their brother’s brother said some variation of this to me, “OMFG they are so amazing you will totally love them read them all right now whatiswrongwithyou?” - which is the best way to make sure I NEVER do something. So instead of reading, I just went ahead and cheated by seeing all the films. And while there were a few moments I appreciated, they kind of all blended together and I just wasn’t that impressed.

So I wasn’t really expecting to be blown away by this, but I joined in the hype just because it was fun. And on the day of the press screening for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, I had to go ahead and post this smartass tweet:

HP Tweet

Which naturally totally screwed me, because I ended up pouring out some serious waterworks over the course of 2 hours and 5 minutes. So I’ll just say it: this movie surprised me.



Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "

I think you will LOVE it, Liz! And the Cinerama is the best place to see it.