Tonight in Seattle:  


Cedar Rapids

{Cedar Rapids opens 2/18 at the Landmark Guild 45th, Meridian 16, Lincoln Square Theaters and other locations in Seattle}

Cedar Rapids is a positive story about a good man from a small town who comes to the big city. He leaves changed forever with many a life bettered for his troubles. It has notes of a Jimmy Stewart sort of affair, if Stewart was making movies in an age where dick jokes, banging married women, and smoking crack with prostitutes were acceptable ways for a wholesome dude to roll. Hmmm...maybe I’d better back up (I fear I may be overselling the film a smidge). It definitely has its charms, but it's not quite as compelling as the trailer could lead one to believe. It was light and enjoyable, with more heart than one would expect - but left me feeling is was just a solid “OK” on a scale from one to awesome.


Recommended Viewing: Evil Dead O'Rama @Central Cinema {2/18-2/23}

Bruce Campbell freaks out in Evil Dead 2
Are you among the few who've heard of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead Trilogy (mostly because people like me won't shut up about it), but haven't actually, oh you know, ever SEEN it? Well my friends, you're in luck.

Starting this Friday, 2/18, Central Cinema is showing both The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2, followed up with an Army of Darkness Quote Along on Wednesday, 2/23. Tix are $6 adv/$8 day of for ED 1&2 (separate for each film), and $9 adv/$11 day of for the Quote Along.

The original The Evil Dead (1981) was a super-low budget flick billed as straight-up horror. Tall tales of the film's infamous "tree rape" scene haunted my pre-teen years, so when I was finally able to see it, I was surprised it was much campier than expected. Raimi took that camp to a whole new level in Evil Dead 2 (1987), which cemented Bruce Campbell as a true "B" movie icon who slap-sticked his way through demon beheadings and various disgusting fluids.

I love all 3, but my favorite has always been 1992's Army of Darkness (né: Medieval Dead), mostly because it has a fantastic homage to Ray Harryhausen's skeleton army from Jason and the Argonauts (go ahead & say it with me now: NERD!) - and well, let's face it: Bruce Campbell is f'ing hilarious. Anyway - if I were you, I'd buy tickets to all 3, but if you have to pick one, pick AoD, if only so you can yell out gems like:

"That was just pillow talk, baby"
"That's right! BIG boom stick!"
and of course...
"Hail to the King"


Indy meets Indie: Raiders of the Lost Ark double feature @SIFF Cinema {2/18-2/20}

Raiders of the Lost Ark

I still remember my mom taking me to see Raiders of the Lost Ark when I was a kid and being on the edge of my seat the whole time, swooning over Harrison Ford's heroics, loving how tough Marion was, and covering my eyes when it was a little too scary. I also remember recording it on our VCR later (no Betamax for us!) and watching it over and over and over until my Indy impression was almost perfect, and I could quote it line-for-line ("It's a date! Ya eat 'em!")

Sadly, I never thought to get a group of my friends together to remake it shot-for-shot, but lucky for all of us, a group of 12-year-olds in Mississippi totally did. The result is Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, filmed over the course of 6 years after the release of the first Indiana Jones masterpiece.

You can't find the latter on DVD, but SIFF Cinema is showing both films back to back from 2/18-2/20 so we can experience the glory for ourselves. This is an event that quickly sells out, so don't miss your chance to see it! Buy tix online now. ($12 gets you in to both films - $7 for SIFF members).


Imaginary Weekend Film Recs: Shorts, Muslim Punks, and Noir

The weekend of February 11th isn't exactly going to be the stuff of legend in terms of opening films here in Seattle. Unless you've been just dying to see the film where Adam Sandler accepts a dare to see if he can survive Jennifer Aniston's recent film choosing badness (at least that's what I'm assuming the plot is about).  But there are some creative choices to be had even if you've generally seen most of the films in theaters.

First on the list are the Oscar Nominated Shorts packages appearing at the Varsity starting this weekend. One can choose either animated or live action viewings - or for a fuller evening, see them both. A longer description of what's playing is already on our site. At the very least, you'll feel more informed when choosing your Oscar faves in the office pool.

Another option is The Taqwacores, which continues the unofficial music series going on over at the Northwest Film Forum.


Oscar Nominated Shorts: Coming Soon to a Theater (and TV) Near You

{The Oscar Nominated Animated and Live Action Short film programs will arrive at the Landmark Varsity theater starting February 11th.  They are also available via some onDemand outlets, including iTunes as well}

I'm almost always a big fan of short film programs. Like our weather they're a "don't like it? just wait fifteen minutes..." sort of situation that almost always gives you a little treat at some point in the afternoon. Hence, I was pretty excited to screen the films nominated for the short film Oscars (animated and live action). I've seen a pretty broad set of shorts over the past year from solid youth shorts at NFFTY to the SXSW Midnight series, including the memorable Eagles are Turning People into Horses. For whatever reason, the latter didn't make it into final 5 nominations for Best Live Action Short.

That Academy failing aside, over the next week we'll all have the opportunity to have our own little mini film festival at the Varsity theater (or on our iphone, via iTunes) - putting you in-the-know during the part of the Oscars when too many folks are grabbing a snack. All the nominated films are very solid examples of the short film form, if a tad darker than I tend to remember things being in past competitions. So if you're all caught up on the major Oscar categories, this might be a nice way to mix things up cinematically speaking this weekend.

A brief rundown of the live action category follows, with notes on the animated shorts right behind...



Latest comment by: Anonymous: "actually the way they are screening it puts God Of Love at the end of the live action program. It is the best of these 10 and yes it DID have me leaving the theatr witha grin on my face :o)"

Imaginary DVD Picks: ghosty cam scares and sweet mental patients

Paranormal Activity 2: Again with the haunted house/totally-unbelievable-everyone-films-every-second-of-everything/incredibly detailed security cameras convention? Alright, I'll bite - but only because I'm hoping the family in this one is more likable than the douchebag boyfriend in the first (which really won't be that hard). Plus, there's a baby! And a dog! That means a chance that either one or the both of them will bite it or at least get splattered with blood, which thrills me because I'm a sick, sick person.



Hello. I'm Johnny Cash.

{Johnny Cash / NWFF}

This Thursday, it'd behoove you to pop on over to the Northwest Film Forum for the screening of Five Minutes To Live. It will be running as part of the "You're Looking At Country" series that the NWFF is putting on, and it'll be chock full of frosty bevs, twangy goodness, and even a live performance by Ian Moore. The whole thing is being presented by our pal Greg Vandy, our local roots-soul-and-so-much-else genius over at American Standard Time and purveyor of all things Roadhouse on KEXP.

{Tickets are $9 GA, $6 for Film Forum members and $6.50 for seniors and students. More information is available at the NWFF website.}


Rock On or Geek Out: some Imaginary Film suggestions for the weekend

Can't get tickets to see Motorhead Friday night? Reading this Saturday morning and not ready to let your concert high end? Northwest Film Forum has an option for you. With a poster bearing the tagline 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son of a Bitch, the documentary Lemmy rolls into town.

I caught this back at SXSW with Lemmy in attendance, and while you're unlikely to have that experience this week (sorry, I checked), it's still gonna be must see for Motorhead fans. I am not quite in that group, but I still found the film pretty interesting. Even beyond learning that Lemmy, the one standing member of the legendary band Motorhead, is the authentic real deal. We're told that over and over (and over) by many folks who should know. Despite that minor quibble the that filmmakers got great access to their subject, and whether's it's his extremely broad and deep musical tastes, or the ongoing rationalizations of his Nazi memorbilia collecting habits - it's not a boring ride. Plus, I've got to admit, the music is pretty catchy...

Maybe you're looking for something more along the cinematic downer axis...


Imaginary DVD Picks: the “letting” edition

Let Me In: I’m so hesitant to recommend this, because the idea of remaking a film that’s already so completely awesome makes me all twitchy, but here I am, trusting all my friends who’ve seen it and believing that it’s you know, actually good (and not a shot-for-shot rip-off). If I could, I’d require you to watch the original Swedish film first. Just know that Let the Right One In is not your typical vampire film – but it is creepy, bloody, and has an uncomfortably amazing script…which I hope is the case with this too.

Never Let Me Go: Another film that could be incredible boring, but could also be awesomesauce: Never Let Me Go features doe-eyed darling Carey Mulligan and doll-bodied Keira Knightly as clones who only exist in case their “originals” need something vital. It looks cool and kind of haunting (and like a total weeper), and I’ll just admit right now that NO, I have not read the book it’s adapted from (gasp!) even though everyone else has.


Imaginary Interview: Miguel Arteta, director of Cedar Rapids (aka: The Wizard of Oz of Insurance)

The world famous Sundance Film Festival took place in Park City, Utah last week. For the second year in a row, the festival had a satellite event where films and directors fanned out to nine US cities to screen their films on Jan 27th. Seattle was slighted/skipped last year, but got the respect we deserve in 2011 with a special screening of Cedar Rapids at the Egyptian theater. We'll be back with a review closer to the film's opening in mid-February, but I had a chance to sit down with the film's director Miguel Arteta ahead of Thursday night's screening.

Arteta kicked off his directing career with Star Maps in 1997, followed by Chuck & Buck in 2000. He's done a diverse number of TV shows and most recently (before Cedar Rapids) directed Youth in Revolt. The following interview does contain some mild spoilers. Miguel arrived in Seattle via Sundance where Cedar Rapids Premiered on Jan 23d. We talked about his Sundance experiences, this film, Jimmy Stewart smoking crack cocaine, and about why everyone should see the new documentary out of Sundance dealing with the wider than you'd expect legacy of Harry Belafonte.