Tonight in Seattle:  

film

Three Imaginary DVDs to see: Documentary Fever

Blood into Wine: Here’s something I don’t know anything about: apparently the lead-singer of TOOL (yes, Tool), decided to quit being a hard rocker in the mid-90s in order to start his own WINERY (yes, winery). This doc follows Maynard James Keenan around his Verde Valley vineyard to see if he actually succeeds. Do I like Tool? No. But this thing looks too good to pass up.

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Going the Distance

Drew Barrymore & Justin Long in Going the Distance

{Going the Distance opened Friday, September 3 in Seattle and is playing at The Metro, Thornton Place and AMC Pacific Place cinemas}

Nanette Bernstein’s (American Teen & The Kid Stays in the Picture) first non-documentary feature, Going the Distance, could have easily been a disaster (as most romantic comedies are), but there’s something about the realness of the two main characters that makes it all work.

Would-be journalist Erin (Drew Barrymore) and hip record label employee Garrett (Justin Long) meet at a bar in New York, and agree after a fun night together that they’ll continue to date, despite Erin’s caveat that she’s leaving in six weeks to finish school back in San Francisco, and Garret’s “just-got-out-of-a-relationship-last-night” jitters.

Of course, those six weeks are ultimately fabulous and they fall in love (DUH), deciding to embark on a long-distance relationship to see what happens. The question is, will the miles between them make them grow apart? Or closer together?

Pretty standard stuff – but this movie makes some surprisingly real choices, instead of going for an easy over-the-top resolution.

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Latest comment by: Chris Estey: "

I really liked the preview, and the idea of a romance about two likable people seems strangely sort of revolutionary. (Considering the strangely vain characters who usually are the protagonists in most romantic comedies.) Thanks, Amie!

"

Three Imaginary DVDs to see: Bad Movie Edition

I’ve been finding myself skipping my “three to see” recs lately because there just hasn’t been ANYTHING worthwhile on the release lists – so I decided to change it up and recommend 3 horrible DVD choices, because who doesn’t love to kick back with some bad movies once in awhile?



Titanic II: You read that right – Titanic, the second. James Cameron is in no way involved (you can tell because it’s not in 3D), and the special effects look like they were created with a budget of $100 – but behold the glory of this straight-to-DVD release! Written, directed, and starring B-movie actor Shane Van Dyke (seriously?), this thing has got to be a total disaster (HA). I’m recommending at least a 6-pack of beer before viewing….and I can only hope they’ll somehow tie in Mega Shark and Giant Octopus.

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Latest comment by: Amie Simon: "Shrie: there's a reason I own that movie, and it's not because of Renee Zellwegger. ;) "

Three DVDs to see: depressed Ben Stiller, a Gondry documentary, and a family in distress

Greenberg: This is the kind of film that’s definitely not for everyone, but I gotta say that Stiller does an excellent job at portraying someone who’s totally lost, and kind of an a-hole, but still somehow likeable – if you know what I mean. Roger Greenberg (Stiller) comes to LA amidst a mid-life crisis to house-sit for his wealthy brother, meets up with lots of peeps from his past who mostly hate him, and continually mangles his relationships with best friend Ivan, and his brother’s personal assistant, Florence.

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Three Imaginary Films to see: Drive-By Truckers, my favorite Swedish heroine, and Heeeeere’s Johnny

The Secret to a Happy Ending at the Northwest Film Forum: Covering three years of touring and recording by Indie Southern Rock band Drive-By Truckers, this film gets up close and personal with band members as they struggle  through life drama, breakup drama, and just plain drama-drama—all while playing some kick-ass shows. Given my weakness for heartfelt music documentaries (like I Am Trying to Break Your Heart! *sob*), and an admitted fondness for these guys, I feel like I can’t miss this one.

The Girl Who Played with Fire at the Harvard Exit: In a race to beat the American remakes, Swedish Director Daniel Alfredson filmed the second and third installments in the popular “Millennium” trilogy (based on the books by Stieg Larsson) back-to-back. Kick-ass hacker/action heroine/partly insane Lisbeth Salander returns, and this time she’s really pissed because a bunch of jerks framed her for murder. I was a big fan of the first (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and although this is a new Director, I’m confident I’ll love this as well. I’m just caught in my own race to finish the book before I see it.

 

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Tall Beers & Short Shorts: Films, Prizes & Beer Thursday, July 29 at Re-Bar

Now here's something I can get behind (HA! seewhatIdidthere?): a short film festival featuring filmmakers from the Pacific NW, with Beer! Contests! and Prizes!

But seriously, guys - I love me some shorts. And if $10 can get me a whole mess of 'em in a fun venue with other like-minded peoples, I'm down. Tall Beers and Short Shorts looks like a whole lot of awesome, so film lovers should definitely go check it out.

Deets from the press release:

Who: Tall Beers Short Shorts, produced by The Last Quest, along with The Levee Breaking, Britta Lundin and Katie Izak.

What: Tall Beers and Short Shorts is a quarterly short-film screening series, highlighting works of Pacific Northwest short filmmakers from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, British Columbia, The Yukon and Alaska.

When: Thursday, July 29. Doors at 7pm, screenings begin at 8pm. $10 Cover.

Where: Re-bar, 1114 Howell Street, Seattle.

Why: Tall Beers Short Shorts’ intention is to find and foster new audiences for short films and to seek new frontiers to engage audiences besides art house theaters and the Internet. Screening series takes place in a different location every quarter, sometimes in bars, sometimes in art spaces.

Inception

Inception

{Inception opened in Seattle Friday, July 16 and is playing at the Metro, The Neptune, The Majestic Bay, The Big Picture (Seattle) and Thornton Place IMAX®}

I was a little nervous going in to this; mostly because Director Christopher Nolan’s lockdown on any and all information left us with a vague teaser trailer that made me think of the “tuning” in Dark City – but I needn’t have worried: Inception is mind-blowingly AWESOME.

The breakdown: Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are “extractors”, hired to thieve secrets from people’s dreams, and are contracted by one of their former victims to try something new: inception, AKA planting an idea instead of stealing one.

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Latest comment by: Amie Simon: "I know, right? Nolan did such a great job on the script and the directing. I think this might even by my favorite of his - so far. :) "

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

{The Sorcerer's Apprentice opened in Seattle on Wednesday, July 14 and is playing at The Metro and The Meridian}

I banned Nicolas Cage movies since he ruined The Wicker Man in 2006, yet for some reason I was curious about this because I love Jay Baruchel (Led! Zepplin! Signed my shirt!”), even though I was sure Cage would brand it with his trademark over-the-top ridiculousness.

I also went into this knowing that because The Sorcerer's Apprentice was based on a segment from 1940’s animated Fantasia—with the Mouse himself, even—and directed by the man responsible for the National Treasure series, it was probably going to be some of the worst stuff I’ve ever seen on film, but I have to tell you even I wasn’t prepared for the awfulness that ensued.

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Latest comment by: Amie Simon: "Hanna - I knew that you would automatically hate this film JUST because of that part. Carl nearly left the theater as soon as it started happening! :) "

Predators: Better than its predecessors?

Adrien Brody & Alice Braga in Predators

{Predators opened in Seattle today, Friday July 9 at The Metro, Cinerama, and AMC Pacific Place}

Almost everyone I know loves the 1987 Ahhn-old flick Predator (and there are even some who love the sequel for all its cheesy glory), but subsequent follow-ups (Aliens Vs. Predator 1 & 2) have been lacking…something, so no one was sure what to expect from the official third installment 23 years later.

Predators opens with a slightly muscled up Adrien Brody falling through the air and realizing his parachute won’t open. Landing in a jungle, his first encounter is with a double-machine-gunned Danny Trejo (cheer!!!), and then shortly thereafter we meet the rest of the crew: the Russian with a heart of gold, the girl who looks like a Michelle Rodriguez substitute, the violent convicted felon, the drug-lord, the well-dressed yakuza boss, and…the mild-mannered young doctor (Topher Grace, who sure says the F word a lot in this movie).

The 8 strangers soon find that cages of "something" else (Triceratops-looking dogs & some kind of kangaroo monster) have also been dropped into their environment, and cold-blooded military man Brody figures out what the deal is: they’re all being hunted.

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Winter's Bone

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone

{Winter’s Bone opened in Seattle on Friday, June 25 and is currently playing at The Guild 45th and Uptown Cinemas}

This affecting human drama focuses on headstrong teen Ree Dolly’s journey to track down her missing father through a poverty-stricken world of close-knit kin, gangster-like politics, burnt down meth labs and above all: deep, dark secrets.

Jennifer Lawrence channels Ree’s strength and determination with such honesty that it will damn near break your heart. Here’s a girl trying to do everything she can to keep her catatonic mother and smaller siblings sheltered and fed, pushing through every obstacle she encounters with brute force.

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