Tonight in Seattle:  


A Very Imaginary “Best of” 2012 Movie List

I am terribly behind on this, I know! But it wouldn’t really feel like the start to a new year if I didn’t make some kind of list about the movies I fell in love with. It’s way too tough for me to make a traditional Top 10—so I’m going with the imaginary format I used last year. 

Best EVERYTHING: The Cabin in the Woods (Director: Drew Goddard)
I can’t even tell you how much I love this film. And sadly, I can’t even really tell you what this film is about without running it—short of saying that it’s about 5 college kids who go to a cabin for a weekend of fun only to have it turn into a screaming night of terror—which would be doing it an injustice. After watching this 5x (so far) and listening to the commentary twice, I’m convinced that the Whedon/Goddard pairing is a match made in horror heaven. I cannot wait to see what these guys do next! And I hope it’s soon. Really, really, really soon.

Best romantic comedy/drama that felt like it could really happen: Your Sister’s Sister (Director: Lynn Shelton)
Shelton’s finest film to date features a killer cast that folds you right into the story, with Mark Duplass working equal parts charm and stupidity, Emily Blunt emoting one-million different things with just her eyes, and Rosemarie Dewitt being as fabulous as she is in everything. Talking too much about the plot would give it away, so let’s just say it’s full of great surprises and sharp dialog. And I especially loved the completely unconventional ending.


Django Unchained

{Django Unchained opens in Seattle on December 25, Christmas Day, and is screening at SIFF Cinemas Uptown, Regal Meridian, Landmark Varsity, and Thornton Place}

I am a Tarantino fangirl through and through. There is not one single thing he’s done that I don’t love with all my heart … but I was still a little worried about Django, since it’s a Western and that genre is not really my favorite.

But I shouldn’t have.

Django Unchained is everything I wanted it to be: a kick-ass tale of revenge with amazing performances from its leads, smart chunks of dialog punctuated by action, blood-spattered (and more blood-spattered) gun fights, and Quentin Tarantino with a ridiculous Australian accent. I LOVED ALL OF IT. Even the twangy Western ballads sprinkled throughout.


Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "

Yay! Glad you liked it too, John.

I just read something about that QT cameo that said he stepped in to take the place of an actor who couldn't make shooting that day -- and another that said he just really wanted to do the silliest cameo ...

Hyde Park on Hudson

{Hyde Park on Hudson opened in Seattle on Friday, December 14, and is screening at the Landmark Egyptian Theater as well as the Bellevue Lincoln Square Cinemas}

Hyde Park on Hudson is a fascinating film, but not in a particularly positive way. It's fascinating as a demonstration of how any numerical 1-5 star type rating approach would miss how good the best parts are, and how "meh" the rest of the picture is.

Hyde Park follows a relationship between FDR (Bill Murray) and a somewhat distant cousin Daisy (Laura Linney). Over a critical weekend in the British/U.S. relationship on the eve of World War II, the Roosevelts entertain the King and Queen of England in their home.

The picture is a grab-bag of messages. History lessons, thinly veiled commentary on the nature of media presence in the modern era, dark romance, and aspects of period costume drama crash together. Producing a work that's mostly pretty dull, but decorated with an occasional flash of genius.


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

{The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in Seattle on Friday, 12/14 and is screening pretty much everywhere, but I personally recommend the Cinerama}

In order to talk about Peter Jackson’s much-anticipated The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, you have to talk about the craziness of him creating a new 3D film technology and deciding to use it—even at the risk of alienating some hardcore fans, and also, uh, making some of them literally throw up. But, we’ll get to that later. Let’s start with the actual plot first.

I was worried going into this that the dwarves would mean a lot of slapstick-y nonsense, and my fears were proven true as soon as the prologue about the dwarves was over, and they reached Bilbo’s house. It’s absolutely true that the dwarves are so similar that outside of the leader, Thorin, you can’t really tell them apart. It’s also absolutely true that the quickest way to make me facepalm is to have a bunch of characters sing while juggling dishes, but I digress.

The plot (like any of you going to see it DON’T know—humor me here) is thus: the dwarves were once rulers of this incredible mountain kingdom, and had more gold and jewels than they really knew what to do with, which unfortunately attracted a greedy dragon named Smaug who forced them out in order hoard the treasure.


Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "

I sure did enjoy that! Especially the part where you called everybody who disagrees with you "dumb", "stupid", and "prejudiced", and imply that they should all lose their jobs and be replaced with people who LOVED The Hobbit -- ...

The Comedy will be adored by dark-hearted '70s cinema misfits {at SIFF, 12/7}

{The Comedy opens in Seattle on Friday, December 7, and is screening at the SIFF Film Center}

Director Rick Alverson is in a band called Spokane, and works with their creative and successful independent label Jagjagwuar, to make films two films before the just-released The Comedy, The Builder (2010) and New Jerusalem (2011). He's also done videos for Will Oldham, which is a good point of reference for his latest work. Both of his first two films dealt with illness and spirituality, and change and morality, in stark and scenic ways, similar to an LP by Bonnie Prince Billy. In the midst of both, a raging, sad, troubled heart beats -- even if the dark humor and sense of space surrounding it seem contemplative. 

The Comedy continues Alverson's gorgeous yet provocative style, but with the addition of comedians Tim Heidecker (in the starring role) and his partner Eric Wareheim (yes, it's that Tim and Eric), and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and Neil Hamburger (well, his real life persona Gregg Turkington), a whole other thing is happening. I will admit to being a Tim and Eric Awesome Show fan, and I am very sorry about that.

Yes, I know their aesthetic is obviously deplorable, but as a huge fan of Albert Brooks, I like my comedy to make me squirm, deeply. (And yes, they're a lot more disturbing and disgusting than Brooks, but that sense of absurd-existential malaise belongs in the same family, buy it or not.) When I play their DVDs, my wife says, "You didn't pay money for that, did you?" (Yes, yes, I did. Sorry, sweetheart.) Tim and Eric create a world without any sense of kinesthetic pleasure; it is grossly yet thoughtfully unpleasant. Mindfully upsetting and emotionally disturbing. I dig it, but in small doses, like really messed up electronic psychedelia or something (they're the Adult Swim equivalent of "Frankie Teardrops" by Suicide, maybe? Thirteen minutes of psyche-smacking "pleasure.")


Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silve Linings Playbook

{Silver Linings Playbook opens in Seattle on Wednesday, November 21. Check local theater listings for screenings}

While I’m not sure I can agree with that Silver Linings Playbook is worthy of all the Oscar buzz it’s been getting, I do agree that’s a sure crowd-pleaser … and I’m saying this as a girl who can’t stand Bradley Cooper.

Mr. Cooper hasn’t quite won me over like Colin Farrell eventually did (he was too awesome in both Horrible Bosses & Fright Night for me to ignore), but SLP did at least made me think he can do something different than the roles he normally takes.

Pat Solitano (Cooper)’s mom arrives to pick him up from the institution he’s been in for eight months after he flipped out upon coming home to find his wife cheating on him, and beat her lover almost to death. But after being treated for bipolarism due to the court ruling him mentally incompetent, Pat’s ready to face the world with a brand new, positive, “Silver Linings” attitude. He's focused on the positive, working out to please his wife (it's mentioned several times that he was fat when he was committed, which is something that wore on my nerves), and determined to win her back. 


Join us Sat 11/10 for Seattle Grunge: A Dream of the 90s

It's time for another TIG event to celebrate our 10th Anniversary! And this time, it's a film event, because y'all know how I feel about the film. So ... dig out your flannel and Docs, because we're taking you back to the 90s with a showing of HYPE! at the Grand Illusion!

If you haven't heard of it before, or you know, in case you're not quite as old as I am, HYPE! is a great documentary about the Grunge scene, including interviews and performances from TAD, Mudhoney, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Coffin Break, The Gits, Love Battery, Flop, The Melvins, Mono Men, Supersuckers, Zipgun, Seaweed, Pearl Jam, 7 Year Bitch, Hovercraft, Gas Huffer and the Fastbacks.

We've planned a BIG evening of fun, starting with some nostalgic clips of Seattle bands, and Grunge Trivia hosted by Jen from Scarecrow Video -- complete with prizes! (Don't worry; we've got a mix of easy and hard questions to satisfy both grunge amateurs and aficionados.) We even have the cutest Three Imaginary Girls film buttons to give away, thanks to the extreme craftenating skillz of imaginary liz. 

Join us as we relive Seattle's 15 minutes of fame. (jk! we love our city!) Bonus points if you come in (almost vintage, right? gawd, it pains me to say that) clothes you actually wore in the 90s. 

Three Imaginary Girls presents Seattle Grunge: A Dream of the 90s

Featuring: a screening of HYPE!
Grunge Trivia by Scarecrow Video w/prizes!
and a short clip show packed full of 90s nostalgia*

at the Grand Illusion Cinema
Saturday, November 10, 8:45pm, $8

*Videos provided by Scarecrow Video; editing by Brian Alter. THANKS, GUYS!

Miami Connection

{Miami Connection can be seen at the Grand Illusion Cinema Friday and Saturday night at 11pm, and this coming Thursday at 8pm}

I'm not an really big fan of so bad it's good movies. But when I heard tale of Miami Connection the lost 1980s-made action flick featuring drug deals gone bad, motorcycle ninjas, and a musical band of crime fighting tae-kwon-do masters who belte out ridiculously catchy synth-rock ballads -- I was at least a bit intrigued.

It turns out that Miami Connection is less a bad movie than a piece of joyously un-ironic filmmaking that wears it's wonderfully optimistic heart on it's sleeve. While introducing its audience to new levels of unintelligible story plot points, poor acting and stilted dialog. All worked in between insanely catchy yet horrible music that infects one brain with a grip more addictive than the film's "stupid cocaine."

The package works as a super entertaining unintended parody of a decade's genre action movies. As well as a triumph of artistic determination so pure that it overwhelms a myriad of execution flaws to make one want to give the filmmaker a hug for trying so hard. It's bad - but it's actually quite good.



{Pusher opens in Seattle on Friday, 10/26, and is screening at Sundance Cinemas Seattle}

I love Drive, but I haven’t yet delved into Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s much-praised debut feature, Pusher, which spawned two sequels and is supposed to be gritty and dirty and action-packed and fantastic.

So along comes Spanish Director Luis Prieto, who decides to remake Pusher, apparently with Refn's blessing, and I guess it’s pretty close to the original, story wise, but it seemed a lot glossier (based on what I've viewed of the original on the Internets).

Frank (Ricard Coyle) is a drug dealer who takes things a bit too far by making a deal with a buyer, who then screws him out of the money after stealing his stash. Unfortunately the stash belongs to Frank’s friend and supplier, Milo—and while Milo is willing to cut Frank some slack, his money is more important to him than the tenuous friendship they have.


A Very Imaginary Guide to Halloween-y Things in Seattle

I love fall. And I REALLY love October, because I LOVE Halloween. I’ve got two boxes full of costumes and decorations that I’m constantly adding to, my pantry is full of everything pumpkin spice, and my DVD shelf is lined with 100 or so horror flicks. And the best thing about all this is: I am not alone.

Seattle has a ton of spooky goodness happening over the next few weeks, so I wanted to highlight just a few of them.

This Is Halloween! A Live Music, Cabaret, Burlesque and Film Spectacular
{10/26-10/31 | The Triple Door | $30 adv/$35 day of | 21+ | click here for show times}

Of all the Halloween things, a Tim Burton-themed burlesque show seems the Halloween-iest! And “a spectacular smorgasbord … inspired by “The Nightmare Before Christmas” sounds like a super-fun to spend an evening. Plus, it’s at the Triple Door. I LOVE THE TRIPLE DOOR.

Scarecrow Video presents the VCR That Dripped Blood
{10/27 | Grand Illusion Cinema | 9pm | $8 GA, $5 member}

A compilation of rare horror VHS footage culled from Scarecrow’s archives, featuring blood, special F/X, nudity (!!!), general mayhem … and Alice Cooper. Of course. I can’t even express how completely awesome this is gonna be, you guys.

Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film
{EMP Museum | part of the $20 admission price | Open daily 10am-5pm}

I could spend hours in this exhibit, because I love, love, love looking at all the awesome horror movie props, and listening to Eli Roth, Roger Corman, John Landis and more talk about their favorite horror films. They just swapped out some stuff and added a BtVS spell book and the scary flying metal ball from Phantasm 2—and the Scream booth is SO MUCH FUN. If you haven’t been yet, you need to go. And this month is the perfect time to do it.


Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "Yay! Thanks for sharing, Jimmy. That sounds rad too. :) "