Tonight in Seattle:  

film

Pacific Rim

{Pacific Rim opens in Seattle on Thursday, 7/11, and is screening at Sundance Cinemas Seattle, Thornton Place, Pacific Science Center IMAX, the Cinerama, and AMC Pacific Place} 

There's quite a bit of exposition in the opening scenes of Pacific Rim, but even though narration usually bugs me, I didn't mind it here one bit, because: giant robots! and giant monsters! and giant robots and giant monsters fighting! and yay

Anyway. If you haven't been anticipating Guillermo Del Toro's Transformers/Godzilla/Independence Day mash-up FOREVER AND EVER like I have, Pacific Rim is a sci-fi/action movie about a world in which "Kaiju" (aka: the giant monsters) have started invading the earth from a fissure in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean that's actually an alien portal. 

To combat these destructive interlopers, the government creates "Jaegers", which are equally giant combat-ready robots with all kinds of fancy weapons. The robots require two human pilots who have to mind-meld with each other in order to handle the "neural load" required to control the 'bots, which means your partner better be able to handle whatever baggage you carry with you. The pilots take Kaiju names and kick ass without chewing any bubblegum, and all of them get elevated to rock-star status fame. 

But the glory days don't last long.

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DEAL ALERT: Imaginaries can save $3 on music films at SIFF!

Dearest Imaginaries, 

We are super-pleased to announce that we've just partnered with SIFF to get a not-so-imaginary discount for our readers on music-related films!

SIFF Cinema Uptown is screening the rockumentary about 70's band Death, A Band Called Deathon 6/28, 6/29, and 6/30, and a special one night only presentation of the Low Movie (How to Quit Smoking) on 7/17 -- and you can save $3 on tickets for each film with our super easy to remember code: 3IMAGINARY. Just use the code when purchasing tix over the phone, at the box office, or on siff.net.

Pro tip: the Mecca has $4 well drinks during Happy Hour (4-7pm). AND IT IS RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET. Saving $3 on tix means you get a drink for $1. Amirite? (but + tip, because, don't be cheap.)

Anyways, we love you! And SIFF loves you! So go love them back.

PS: Our own Chris Estey saw A Band Called Death during this year's festival, and had a lot of praise for it over at KEXP.

Monsters University: A dual review by Imaginary Amie and Roxie Rider

{Monsters University opens in Seattle on Friday 6/21 is playing at the Majestic Bay, AMC Pacific Place, Sundance Cinemas Seattle, and Oak Tree Cinemas}

Usually we stick to the usual around here with movie reviews: one person per movie, but since we break that mold a little with SIFF, we decided to throw it out the window for Pixar's Monsters University (a prequel to Monsters, Inc.), because two of our film-loving writers both adored it equally. If you need a bit of background on the plot: Monsters U is about Mike Wazowski attending Monster college to learn the ways of being a top Scarer. He meets Sully there, but their friendship is not instant. Mike has to battle distractions against studying, a doubting Dean, Sully's ego, and a bullying jock (voiced by Nathan Fillion, naturally) and figure out how to turn his sad nerd frat into winners so he can get the education and degree he needs to work at Monsters, Inc. 

Here's a transcript of what both Imaginary Amie and Roxie Rider thought about it! (Warning: MILD spoilers ahead, but we tried not to go into too much detail)

Amie: Let's talk about that beautiful short at the beginning of the film The Blue Umbrella! What were your impressions? Did your kids like it? There was a little girl in back of us saying "Oh no oh no oh no" during a tense moment. So much emotional pull packed into a little short. I loved it! 

Roxie: I liked it very much too. I thought the story was very sweet, but I was more impressed by the extraordinary realism. Pixar movies and shorts have always have a really cartoon-y look, which is smart—it sidesteps the whole uncanny valley question neatly. But it honestly took me well into the short to figure out that it wasn’t a mixture of live-action and animation. Can you think of another digital movie that seemed so realistic?

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Imaginary Interview: talking about peer pressure, excess, and music with The Bling Ring's Katie Chang and Israel Broussard

{The Bling Ring opens in Seattle on Friday, 6/21, and is screening at SIFF Cinema Uptown, The Guild 45th, AMC Pacific Place, and Oak Tree Cinemas} 

Sofia Coppola's new film, The Bling Ring, screened at SIFF for this year's Closing Night gala. The film is about the real life "Bling Ring": a group of teens who robbed celebrity houses and then flaunted their scores all over the Hollywood club scene and Facebook. It's a story steeped in excess, and Coppola based the screenplay heavily on a Vanity Fair article called "The Suspects Wore Loubitons" by Nancy Jo Sales, and footage from the E! reality show Pretty Wild, which featured two of the ring members, Alexis Neiers (played in the film with eerie attention to detail by Emma Watson) and Tess Taylor. 

I was lucky enough to get an early peek at the Director's take on what happens when a group of spoiled rich kids takes their love of celeb culture and designer duds to a new level, and even luckier to get to sit down with the film's stunning leads,Katie Chang (Rebecca) and Israel Broussard (Marc) to chat about teen peer pressure, the culture shock of L.A., and working with Sofia. 

The two young (goodlord does spending time with an 18 and 19-year-old make me feel like an OLD lady!) actors were remarkably composed, polite, and accommodating. They even indulged my request for a Bling Ring-style selfie at the end of the interview! Hey, Katie and Israel? I LIKE YOU. And I hope I get to see you in more stuff soon. 

TIG: First off, I was curious if you two grew up like the characters you play in this film. Or, if not, did you know kids like that? Basically, how familiar were you with that world? 

Katie Chang: Well, I grew up in a pretty affluent part of Northern Illinois, right north of Chicago. So the way that I grew up was very much mid-western small town, but you go a couple minutes East and you're on the lake, and I knew a lot of kids on the lake. So I wasn't unfamiliar with kids who were both rich and bored. 

Israel Broussard: No, I grew up about a block from the trailer park in Mississippi, so I was not at all familiar with it until I first got to L.A. 

Katie: NOTHING can prepare you for L.A. 

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Imaginary Interview: Much Ado about Nathan Fillion and Clark Gregg

{Much Ado About Nothing officially opens in Seattle this Friday, 6/21, and is playing at various theaters around town, including The Harvard Exit}

You guys remember how excited I was when SIFF announced that Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing would be the Opening Night film, right?!?! RIGHT?!?!?!! Okay, well. Imagine how much I was flipping out when I found out I got to actually SIT IN A ROOM with and TALK TO Whedonverse faves Nathan Fillion* (who plays Dogberry) and Clark Gregg (who plays Leonato) about the film.

I gotta say that both of them were the funniest, kindest, and most charming guys ever. And yes, for those wondering, Fillion IS that handsome in person. I'm not sure how I survived, but I credit the ladies with me in the round table interivew (Taylor Johnson from The Happy Girl Experiment and Allie Hanley from Geekscape) with helping me stay upright. Some of their questions are intermixed with mine, below.

Taylor Johnson: So, we heard about Joss Whedon's legendary Shakespeare brunches. How does that work? You get a call "Let's have some French Toast, let's read a little Shakespeare. . ."

Nathan Fillion: It's an email that says "We're doing it again. Who can make it?" and then everybody starts replying all and you get to read everyone's smart comments. From that we get a cast list and this is the play we are doing, this is the version we are doing. These two characters are going to be one character, this one character is going to be a girl instead of a guy. Brunch starts at 11..."

Clark Gregg: Don't tell Clark. 

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "Oh! You are so right. I am changing this right now, Anon. Thanks for the correction! "

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}