Tonight in Seattle:  

Film

Bill Cunningham New York

Bill Cunningham New York

{Bill Cunningham New York opened in Seattle on Friday, April 29 at the Harvard Exit}

If you've spent much time in New York it's not unlikely that you've come across New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. He's hard to miss, sporting his signature blue jacket (and sometimes, when mobile on the Schwinn he rides 'round on, an orange safety vest) while energetically snapping photos of the fashion-forward -- whether they like it or not -- as they walk the streets of Manhattan. For Mr. Cunningham, the best fashion shows take place on the concrete runways there.

The chipper octogenarian is equal-opportunity about who he snaps -- uptown to downtown, from socialites to bicycle messengers -- and it's clear he thrives on the variety of life in his city; his four-plus-decade career chronicling high and low fashion has made him a New York fixture. And thanks to his Sunday Style columns "On the Street" (those fabber-than-average citizens) and "Evening Hours" (chronicling the city's high-brow gala events), and, now, the absorbing documentary portrait Bill Cunningham New York, he's officially a legend.

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Latest comment by: blaylock: "nice review and a really good documentary, I didn't mind the nyt stuff too much and your right, miz wintour has obvsly been coached by her publicists but it seems she really does appreciate bill cunningham. he is a treasure."

Save the Date: Next Thursday, May 5 - The 2011 SIFF schedule will be announced!

2011 Festival Trailer from SIFFtv Testsite on Vimeo.

It's that time again! The 37th Seattle International Film Festival is ALMOST HERE! Working on the staff this year has definitely heightened my excitement - but as I mentioned before, has also made it extrememly difficult for me because I'm not allowed to spill the beans about all the awesome stuff that will be playing at the fest. Come Thursday, May 5, all that changes because the official schedule will be announced and I can start (along with our expert SIFF writing team) opening my big trap and talking about all the must-see movies, Face the Music events, Galas, Parties, Tributes, and so.much.more.

Anyway. Take a gander at this excellent trailer (it's like they made it just for me!) packed with clips from past SIFF movies and get! excited! The official Festival site is coming soon.

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Recommend Weekend Viewing: Animation Fascination @SIFF Cinema {4/22-4/24}

Tim Burton's "Vincent"Hi there. This post is coming to you from deep within the SIFF vaults (aka: the dark Joe Vs. the Volcano-like office I work in), where I have been toiling away for many weeks without time to post on TIG. *sad face* While I can't WAIT to tell you all about this year's Seattle International Film Festival, I'm sworn to secrecy—except for Opening Night, which you can buy tix to now—but! There’s still some awesome stuff happening over at SIFF Cinema pre-fest.

Animation Fascination kicks off today {Friday, 4/22} with some excellent Pixar Shorts @7pm. Every Pixar short I’ve seen in has been nothing less than excellent, with some of my favorites being the classic Knick Knack and bunny-riffic Presto.

There are a ton of other awesomesauce programs - The Phantom Tollbooth (Chuck Jones!) for example, stuff by Bill Plympton and Don Herzfeldt, and my very favorite animated thing in the whole world; Vincent by Tim Burton, which is part of the stop.motion.time. shorts package playing on 4/24 @5pm.

With animated screenings happening all weekend, you can grab a whole series pass for $60 ($35 for SIFF Members), or pick up individual screening tickets for $10 each ($5 Members). Viva la animation!

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Kill the Irishman

{Kill the Irishman opened in Seattle on Friday, April 8th, and is screening at The Metro}

If you love them mobster movies featuring up-and-coming wise guys in the 70s- then have I got a film for you. It's like a slightly gentler Goodfellas, but without Joe Pesci...and not quite as good. Though on the bright side, lots of character actors who may have been hurting after the Sopranos finale got some work out of this decent (if not standout) film.

Based on a true story, Kill the Irishman starts with our protagonist Danny Greene (played by Ray Stevenson) tooling around town in his sweet 70s ride. Then we see smoke from the cassette player followed by the car exploding. But wait - it seems somehow Danny, the "Irishman" of the title has survived, and he's shouting to the winds about how it's gonna take more than a bomb to kill him. Then the flashback starts, and Val Kilmer begins to tell the tale.

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Hanna

{Hanna opens in Seattle Friday, 4/8 and is playing at the Metro, the Majestic Bay, The Big Picture, and the Meridian}

Hanna has some beautifully shot moments, but at the end of the day it's hard to recommend an action adventure road movie where the predominant questions I'm asking myself as I watch are:
- can someone please get that girl a bottle of conditioner for her split ends, and
- Marissa Viegler - the villain of the piece, which came first - her name or the character's accent?  It seems to me one was chosen to enhance the other.

Before I get any farther, I should say that even though I didn't really dig this film it's still way more interesting than Sucker Punch if one is stuck ranking recent films with violent young women. Pretty much the entire film's story is covered in the trailer - which while making it more likely you'll see the film in the first place, pretty much guarantees that the few genuine dramatic moments will be ruined for you.

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Latest comment by: Dave: "spot on review. why even use the transponder? make no sense. You did leave out the part about bringing in some random german dude and a couple of his inept cronies to track/kill her. apparently they are really good at tracking, not so good at actually killing. ...

A Week of Movie Choices That Won't Make You Feel Like a Fool

Over the next week, Seattle theaters welcome to town a wide range of film options. Here's a few suggestions ranging from one-off screenings to larger independent openings.

Personally, all my anticipation for this week cinematically comes down to Hobo With a Shotgun, which arrives in US living rooms via various video on demand outlets including Amazon Instant Video. It's the only film I got shut-out on at SXSW - with Rutger Hauer and the easy to visualize title I'm not surprised it was a sellout there. I'll be rushing home tonight to queue that up. But there are also some very good choices at Seattle-area theaters over the coming week.

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Latest comment by: Chris Estey: "

Thanks, man. Oh yeah for sure Chasing Amy was Kevin's apex. His most solid, relatable work. Still, I hang in there. And you know, I really can justify digging Dogma too, and might even buy a DVD someday if I find a really good deal on one. Again, ...

Recommended Viewing: Maximum Overdrive @Central Cinema {3/28}

The Green Goblin & Emilio Estevez in Maximum Overdrive

I was delighted to see that one of my favorite cheesy movies from the 80s is making an appearance at Central Cinema this month: the over-the-top adaptation of Stephen King's short story Trucks, written and directed by the horror maestro himself.

Maximum Overdrive is a prime example of extremely bad movie-making (and of why King should never get behind the camera), yet I still love every horrible second of it because it's one of the first horror flicks I saw at the impressionable age of 13.

Starring a cast of characters including heartthrob Emilio Estevez and squeaky-voiced Yeardley Smith (AKA: Lisa Simpson), this "machines gone wild" fantasy involves cars, trucks, and all manner of appliances trying to kill their human creators(??), and features a grinning Green Goblin semi and a murderous soda machine (I swear I didn't just make that up). AS IF that wasn't enough to get you there, the soundtrack is composed entirely by AC/DC, making the $8 ticket price a complete bargain!

Purchase your ticket in advance online, or line up on Monday, 3/28 for the 7pm showing. Because honestly, a pizza and a pitcher (or two) of beer are really the only good way to see this 1986 masterpiece.

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Happythankyoumoreplease

{Happythankyoumoreplease opened in Seattle on Friday, 3/25 and is playing at the Metro}

There's a point where a movie can be just a little too indy and a little too cute for it's own good.  Happythankyoumoreplease skates right up to that line but never crosses it, resulting in an experience that was actually rather enjoyable.  Like a more serious episode of When I Met Your Mother with  artsy photography, considerably better music, and none of that bullshit where they pretend to be a comedy but kill off someone's dad when the ideas start to run dry.  Also Ted kidnaps a kid…

In addition to being the bane of spellcheckers, the film Happythankyoumoreplease was written/directed, and starred in by Josh Radnor.  An actor familiar to many as the character Ted who each week tells horribly inappropriate tales to his children on the TV's show How I Met Your Mother. In point of fact other thant it being the same actor playing men of the same life stage, the film bears little resemblance to the TV show.  Other than both have something to with friendship, love, and growing up. The comparison is mostly just a cheap way to start - but seriously, why did they have to kill off Marshall's dad?!?

Anyhoo…

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SXSW - The View Without the Music

I spent much of the last week attending South By Southwest (SXSW) festival. Best known by many for music, I made the trip mainly to watch film - and watch movies I did, notwithstanding the hundreds of distractions posed by this event that truly puts the festive in festival. There are a ton of things competing for your attention, from music and interactive events to film panels, to what seems like hundreds of parties. And that's ignoring folks on literally almost every street corner offering free food and alcohol, seemingly trying their best to keep you from making whatever was on your original plan.

So, what does one do during 6 days at SXSW?  Here's a list of some of the options and opportunities:

- Watch at least 20 movies. And catch many of those at the Alamo Drafthouse, probably the best theater chain in the US due to a combination of solid projection, a no screwing around policy against talking/texting, and full food and alcohol service.

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Latest comment by: imaginary liz: "Amazing amazing amazing!!! Thanks for the recap! Note to self: SIFF + milkshakes = YES"

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre, 2011

{Jane Eyre opened in Seattle on Friday, 3/18 and is playing at the Egyptian}

Not to be cliche about it, but this ain't your (great great grand)mother's Jane Eyre. Hipster director du jour Cary Fukunaga took this classic tale and spun it into a great big fat Gothic thriller complete with physical assault, fire, blood, and so much sexual tension I thought *I* might need smelling salts just to recover.

For those that might not be Charlotte Brontë nerds, the title character is a girl who's been punished for not being pretty enough and treated cruelly all her life. She's outspoken, headstrong, and bluntly NOT ladylike. In other words, Jane is ahead of her time.

Thank god she learns to speak French at her hellish boarding school, because that allows her to escape to a giant castle-like estate way out in the middle of nowhere called Thornfield Hall that was clearly made for ghosts - and indeed, it seems like broody man of the house Rochester has plenty to hide. I can't say much else without ruining the plot for anyone who doesn't know it, so I'll just skip ahead to the brilliance of the film as a whole.

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Rich: "

Sold! Thanks for the encouragement, I really wasn't too sure about this one - but now definitely need to find some time to sneak it in this week :-)

"