Tonight in Seattle:  

film

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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Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3
Not that there was ever any question Pixar would deliver an awesome third film in the Toy Story series, but just in case you were worried: Hey you guys! Pixar delivered an awesome third film with Toy Story 3.

This time around, little Andy is all grown up and headed off to college, and has to decide what to do with his beloved Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, Ham, Rex, and Slinky. Andy tosses Woody in the "college" box to take with him, and then throws the rest in a trash bag to take up to the attic. After a misunderstanding and a near death-by-trash-truck experience, the toys get sent to Sunnyside Daycare where they meet the loveable, purple strawberry-scented Lotso Huggin’ Bear…or so we think.

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Please Give

Nicole Holofcener's Please Give

Contrary to the subdued tone of the rest of the film, Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give opens with a series of naked women’s breasts being arranged on uncomfortable mammogram machines.

From there, the Director and Writer moves into more familiar territory: complex characters trying to get through their issues without hurting themselves, or more likely, someone else.

Kate (Catherine Keener) runs an chic vintage furniture shop with her husband, Alex (Oliver Platt), and suffers from guilt every day about how much money she has, how much she’s charging vs. what she paid for each piece, and how everyone else obviously has a much harder life than she does.

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Imaginary Interview: Bass Ackwards

Linas Phillips & Davie-Blue in Bass Ackwards

Photo Credit: Victoria Holt

Another favorite of mine at SIFF this year was the charming road trip movie Bass Ackwards. I grabbed some time with Director Linas Phillips and his co-star, co-writer and friend Davie-Blue to talk about the experience of making this film.

While Linas is a self-described brat and I was never sure what was true and what was said in fun, the interview was fantastic and I can’t wait to see what these two do next.

I thought Bass Ackwards was great, and the thing that really made it great (in my opinion) is that Linas’s character was so loveable that you want him to be okay. You’re really rooting for him to make it.

Linas: He doesn’t seem annoying? Because he’s not getting his shit together?

No. I feel like everybody’s been lost like that at some point…

L: Everyone’s been annoying? Annoying doesn’t exclude empathy, maybe.

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Imaginary SIFF Interview: Ruba Nadda, Director of Cairo Time

One of my favorite films at SIFF this year was the beautiful, intuitive drama Cairo Time, written and directed by the equally beautiful and intuitive Ruba Nadda.

In person, Nadda exudes an open friendliness that instantly made me comfortable. We sat down for a few minutes and discussed everything from Patricia Clarkson’s eyebrows to the fiasco of Sex and the City 2. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I was captivated by everything she said, and that I’d love to be able to sit down with her and do it again.

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Latest comment by: filmfan: "What a great interview, thank you for posting this. I watched Cairo Time recently and loved it. Nadda is so inspiring, I really admire her work. "

SIFF Take: William S. Burroughs: A Man Within

Allen Ginsberg & William S Burroughs

I'm a little ashamed to admit that prior to this documentary, the only thing I knew about William S. Burroughs was that he had written "Naked Lunch".

Taking you through a brief history of the Beat Generation, Director Yony Leyser paints an unwavering and fascinating portrait in William S Burroughs: A Man Within through film footage of the author (some with Allen Ginsberg and Andy Warhol), recordings, readings, and interviews with friends.

Celebs and musicians, including Peter Weller (who also narrates), David Cronenberg, John Waters, Gus Van Sant, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Thurston Moore, Jello Biafra and more cover what Burroughs meant to them – from his importance to the gay liberation movement to his later credit as "The Godfather of Punk".

After the film, I felt I had a more complete picture of a man whose legendary status as a writer and icon had made him seem almost untouchable. Burroughs was seemingly unaware of why he was famous, lived his life according to his own rules, and by all accounts, was someone who touched the lives of many personally, as well as with his writing.

If you’re curious about him at all, I’d recommend this. It’s good stuff, you guys.

{William S. Burroughs: A Man Within screens at SIFF June 10, 4pm at The Neptune and again June 12, 6:30pm at The Harvard Exit}

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