Tonight in Seattle:  

Film

Man of Steel

{Man of Steel opens in Seattle on Friday, 6/14, and is screening at The Regal Meridian 16, The Big Picture, Sundance Cinemas Seattle, The Majestic Bay, and other Seattle-area theaters} 

As a child of the 80s, It's impossible for me to talk about Zack Snyder's Superman reboot without comparing it to both the 1978 Superman and 1980's Superman II (And I've almost completely forgotten about Superman Returns, because, eh). 

Superman II hit the cable pay channels when I was on the cusp of adolescence, so the romantic Lois/Clark Niagra Falls scenes and the awesomeness of its villainous trio (Zod, Ursa, and Non) filled me with so much glee that I spent many hours in front of the TV watching; imagining myself to be either a sassy reporter in love with a flying alien, or a kick-ass chick in a sexy, skin-tight pantsuit. 

I was wary of Snyder surpassing popular villain Lex Luthor and choosing to go straight for General Zod in Man of Steel, but if you're gonna do something like that, casting Michael Shannon is the best way to go about it. Plus, you win everything EVER by casting Henry Cavill as Kal-El. I mean it, that guy is a perfect genetic specimen -- who can actually ACT. Who knew? 

At 143 minutes, this film could've used just a bit more editing, but I get it: Snyder's trying to set up the whole backstory of Superman, including his planet's history, his childhood, and his struggle to understand who he is.

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"Best" of SIFF 2013 series begins Today {6/12} at the Uptown

Populaire

So unless you've been hiding under a giant rock for the past month, missing the TIG SIFF team's extensive coverage, overlooking the 'round-the-block queues at some of our fine local movie houses, and/or oblivious to the palpable cinematic energy felt throughout the 206 area code, you've been at least vaguely aware that SIFF was going on. It kicked off May 16 and ran through this past Sunday, and it featured over 447 films from 85 countries. A total of over 700 screenings. Whoa.

Well, today through 6/20, SIFF Cinema Uptown presents a 'best-of' program that whittles down that gargantuan, overstuffed lineup to 19 programs (18 features and a shorts package) of festival award winners and audience favorites. Perfect opportunity to see what all the ado was about if you missed out on SIFFing altogether for some reason, or if the insane schedule made you miss something else you really wanted to see, or if the SIFFatigue got to you early and just caused you to give up. Or maybe none of those scenarios applies and you're just interested in checking out some good films. In any case, you're in luck.

Some of my personal favorites (Wolf Children, Our Nixon, Populaire, 7 Boxes) are making well-deserved repeat appearances, while others (Una Noche, Stories We Tell, The Spectacular Now, Die Welt, The Fruit Hunters) are conspicuously absent. And, IMHO, there are some that probably don't belong at all (C.O.G.? Seriously?). But I can almost guarantee you'll find something to appreciate. After the jump you'll find the schedule in screening order, with the TIG staff's thoughts on the films we covered, other reviewers' takes on the ones we didn't, and/or my own humble opinions of the films I saw too late to include in my weekly preview roundups.

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Latest comment by: imaginary embracey: "

Also note: a few SIFF 2013 films have begun theatrical runs and can be seen elsewhere around town --

The East - opens Friday 6/14 at Sundance Cinemas

Frances Ha - now playing at the Meridian and Sundance Cinemas

The Kings of ...

SIFF Interview: Teddy Bears (part 2) - Cast Members David Krumholtz, Melanie Lynskey, Gillian Jacobs, & Zachary Knighton

{Teddy Bears screened at the Seattle International Film Festival on 6/1 and 6/2 -- and will hopefully get a wide release soon! I was super lucky to get to sit down and talk with the cast and crew. This is part 2 of my interview with Cast Members Melanie Lynskey, David Krumholtz, Zachary Knight, and Gillian Jacobs. You can find part 1 with Directors Thomas Beatty and Rebecca Fishman here

Oh man. You guys. DREAMS DO COME TRUE! I can't believe that I not only got to spend a long time talking to the Directors of Teddy Bears (Thomas Beatty and Rebecca Fishman), but I also got to sit down and talk with the cast -- which includes some of my favorite actors, ever. 

As you can imagine, having four awesome people in one room was HILARIOUS, and made it hard to stick just talking about the movie. We did manage to get there … eventually, [SPOILER ALERT! Just FYI] but we started out talking about Vine videos, specifically one that David Krumholtz made about a surprising "cheese" discovery that morning. (PS: There's even a little shout-out for Scarecrow Video near the end!) 

Zachary Knighton: Did you make a Vine last night? 

David Krumholtz: I deleted one where I have my shirt off. But … I did one this morning. I got that cheese that I bought on my shirt. 

Gillian Jacobs: What cheese? 

David: Last night, when I came in with bread, I had a chunk of cheese too. I had goat gouda. Which is THE BEST.

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Latest comment by: imaginary embracey: "

What a fun interview. I hope the film gets a release, too - I've heard some wildly mixed opinions and wanna see for myself.

And yes, agreed, it'd be great to see the Duplasses' Togetherness pilot go to series.

"

Photo Essay: SIFF Closing Night - Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring

One last red carpet hurrah from Imaginary Rich with the stars of Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, which screened at the Cinerama for SIFF's Closing Night! And if you missed the film on Sunday, The Bling Ring screens at SIFF Cinema Uptown starting on Friday, 6/21. YAY! We also have an interview with Israel Broussard and Katie Chang coming soon! 

We can't wait to do it all again next year, but until then - that's a wrap on the 39th Seattle International Film Festival. Check out our SIFF 2013 coverage -- with a few more interviews and posts trickling in this week. 

We ♥ you, SIFF!!!!

Israel Broussard, Mary Bacarella, Carl Spence, and Katie Chang

{more photos after the jump} 

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SIFF Take: Cockneys Vs. Zombies

Cockneys Vs. Zombies is about a zombie invasion that breaks out in East London, which starts when a couple of construction workers accidentally break open a sealed tomb. The film focuses on two groups of people have to fight their way out of the middle of the flesh-eating infected. 

The younger group is made up of two brothers and their misguided friends who attempt to rob a bank in order to save their granddad's retirement home from being sold to a huge developer. They end up bungling the job, but a zombie attack happens just as they're about to confront the waiting cops, and they escape (with a couple of hostages). 

The older group is made up of the aforementioned granddad's retirement home (including Honor Blackman and Alan Ford!), but don't worry -- they know how to take care of themselves. Er, well, some of them do. Just in case, though, the younger crew starts making their way across the city to save them, and, of course, both groups suffer more than a few casualties along the way. 

There's plenty of good Zombie-genre jokes in the script -- for instance, the fact that an old person using a walker can outrun the slow-moving undead -- plus lots, and lots, and LOTS of splatter (and entrails. and decapitated heads. and bitten-off body parts). SO yeah, obviously I loved it. It's a hell of a lot of fun, and a perfect choice for SIFF's Midnight Adrenaline

{Cockneys Vs. Zombies screens at the 39th Seattle International Film Festival on Saturday 6/8, midnight, at The Egyptian Theatre, and again on Sunday, 6/9, 8:30pm at the Kirkland Performance Center. Director Mathias Hoene is scheduled to attend both screenings} 

SIFF Take: Wish You Were Here

A married couple, the wife's sister, and the sister's handsome new boyfriend head to South East Asia for fun party times on the beach. But sometime during the revelry, the boyfriend goes missing and as the search for him continues, all kinds of dirty little secrets are revealed. 

I mostly agree with what Embracey said about Wish You Were Here in his Closing Weekend Highlights post, but I want to add that though the flashbacks do get a little grating and the reveal about what really went down could have been handled more smoothly, the strong performances more than make up for that (I completely disintegrated into sobs more than a few times).  

Overall, it's a solid thriller with great acting and direction -- which is a pretty good way to spend a few hours of your weekend. Also, I have absolutely no problem staring at Joel Edgerton for 89 minutes. NO ONE should. 

{Wish You Were Here screens at the 39th Seattle International Film Festival on Friday, 6/7, 09:30pm at the Egyptian Theatre, and again on Sunday, 6/9, 3pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown} 

The Prey (La proie)

{The Prey opens in Seattle on Friday, 6/7 and is screening at Oak Tree Cinemas}

In The Prey, Franck Adrien is a convicted bank robber who shares a cell with mild-mannered Jean-Louis, a convicted child molester who claims he's innocent -- and later gets released when it's proved he's not guilty. Since Franck was about to get out of prison but bought himself another 6 months by protecting Jean-Louis from a gang of brutal felons, JL promises to protect Franck's family until he's released … but his motives aren't quite what they seem. 

Adrien stashed a large sum of the money he stole away in order to provide for his wife and daughter, and Jean-Louis wants it. Oh, and uh, turns out Jean-Louis is actually a sadistic serial killer. AWESOME.

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SIFF 2013: Closing Weekend Highlights

Last Flight to Abujah

The last few days of the festival are upon us, and if you've slacked on your SIFFage, there's still time to do something about it. Judging by what I've seen in advance, the programmers have saved some of the best for last: Closing weekend (6/7 - 6/9) has at least five sure-fire hits that I personally guarantee will provide you some major cinematic enjoyment. So get to SIFFin'!

DON'T MISS:

The Bling Ring
{screening as part of the SIFF 2013 Closing Night Gala, June 9 at 6:30pm at the Cinerama}
Following up 2010's dour Chateau Marmont-set drama Somewhere, Sophia Coppola stays in L.A. and this time serves up some grade-A good trash. There's already been a Lifetime movie dramatizing the real-life subjects portrayed here: a group of fame- and celeb-obsessed teens who in 2008-2009 habitually waltzed right into celebrities' vacant (often unlocked!) homes, promptly helping themselves to clothes and jewelry and cash -- sometimes carrying the loot off the premises in (also stolen) designer handbags. The Bling Ring doesn't really have as much to say as a Lost in Translation, or even a Marie Antoinette, but it's slick and fun... and occasionally horrifying. (Imaginary Amie and I saw this together, and I reckon her review will be similarly positive.)

Die Welt
{screens June 7 at 3pm at the Uptown}
An unaccountably captivating fiction/documentary hybrid set in contemporary urban Tunisia. Told in four distinct chapters, the loose narrative begins with 23-year-old DVD salesman Abdallah attempting to convince one of his customers not to purchase Transformers 2 -- his lengthy, thoughtful, very funny diatribe conveys a beautifully region-specific POV. We continue to follow Abdallah through a series of gorgeously-shot daily-life sequences, each with its own little stories and yearnings, all of which ultimately support his vivid conceptions of a better life in Europe. A wonderful film that would've made an excellent double-feature with its thematic cousin Una Noche.

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SIFF Take: Putzel

Walter Himmelstein, aka "Putzel" (Jack Carpenter, who could not be MORE perfect for this role), has grown up in a small section of the Upper West Side his entire life and has never left it. Waiting to take over his family's smoked fish deli, Putzel seems like he's constantly on the verge of a breakdown; exhibiting nervous scratching ticks, second-guessing everything he does, and in serious denial about the cumbling state of his marriage. But he's still determined to take hold of the business and make it a success. 

And then two things happen that throw a wrench into Putzel's carefully composed "40-year plan": his Uncle Sid (John Pankow, who I love watching on Episodes), decides to sell the deli and move to Arizona, and an enchanting bartender/dancer named Sally (Melanie Lynskey, please just marry me already) waltzes into the deli one day, managing to capture the heart of both Sid and Putzel. 

There's plenty of hilarious moments in this film, including the most-awkward dirty talk-sex scene I've ever seen, and the best cameo from Fran Kranz EVER (Hello, my name is Salmon). It's an adorable romantic comedy with adorable leads set in an adorable part of New York, and yes, even Director Jason Chaet is adorable (and very, very funny). It's a great film to laugh yourself silly through. 

{Putzel screens at the 39th Seattle International Film Festival one more time on Friday, 6/7, 1pm at AMC Pacific Place} 

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Latest comment by: Peggy James: "It's AN lovable romantic comedy with lovable leads set in AN lovable a part of the big apple A lot of aussie gamblers are finding unwell and drained with pubs and land based on line betting site and so are constructing the changeover to dark knight pokies. ...

SIFF Take: 9 Full Moons

In 9 Full Moons, Frankie (Amy Seimetz, I sure do like seeing you in everything!) is so broken, that she drinks herself into oblivion hourly and even brushes off getting raped with a vague indifference and an admission that it was probably her fault for not fighting back. And Lev (Bret Roberts) is so broken that he barely registers any emotions and is so closed off that it would be impossible to ever know who he is. Hell, he probably doesn't even know.  

Frankie wants to be a traveling gypsy. Lev wants to break into the music biz ... and neither one of them know how to be happy. It's a match made in heaven, right? I'm being snarky, but it's kind of true. These broken people are so broken that only they could even begin to understand how broken the other one is. And you really, really want them to make it -- but you know they're probably just going to end up even more broken in the end. 

This film is gritty and dark and depressing as hell. But the screenplay is solid, the acting is fucking brilliant, and Donal Logue and Dale Dickey (again! man, I love that woman) are in it too. Definitely one you shouldn't pass up. 

{9 Full Moons is premiering at the 39th Seattle International Film Festival on Thursday, 6/6, 7pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown. There will be a red carpet arrival with cast & crew, and a Q&A afterwards! It's also screening again on Saturday, 6/8, 1:45pm at The Harvard Exit. Director Tomer Almagor is scheduled to attend both screenings} 

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