Tonight in Seattle:  

film

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.")

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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. 

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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.

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Pusher

{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.

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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.

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

Celebrate Independent Video Store Day at Scarecrow this Saturday {10/20}

I’ve said it before: I know all this streaming/on demand business is convenient because you don’t have to get off your ass in order to pick a film to watch, but I am a child of the 80s and I still really love going to an actual video store, browsing the aisles, reading the backs of boxes, and leaving with a few choice (or you know, not so choice) picks.

On Saturday, Scarecrow Video is blowing up this year's Independent Video Store Day with the following awesomeness:

- A sweet VHS Art New Wave Show
- A Scarecrow on Seattle rental section
- Coffee & Chai samples from VHSpresso
- Limited Edition Scarecrow Tees & Tote Bags for sale
- 50% off used movies for sale (blu-rays, DVDs, VHS – even Laserdiscs) - Saturday & Sunday
- $3 off new blu-rays & DVDS
- 10 rentals for $35

And! You can enter to win prizes: 
- A Full Series pass to the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival
- A theater rental at Grand Illusion Cinema
- Cinema Screening passes for NWFF
- Screening passes to Landmark Theatres
- $25 gift cert + 4 movies passes to Central Cinema
- 5-disc set The Story of Film: An Odyssey 
- A Blu-ray & region-free DVD player
+ tons of cool giveaways JUST for walking in the door!!! !! !!! !

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The American Scream

{The American Scream screens at the Grand Illusion Cinema on Saturday, October 6 at 9pm and 11pm as part of their Curse of All Monsters Attack! Program this month}

The American Scream is one of those amazingly awesome documentaries full of people that make you cry because they are so damn passionate about what they’re doing.

And in this case, what they’re doing is setting up “Home Haunts”, which means running full-scale haunted houses every Halloween that they put together themselves, and pay for with their own money. (I swear, if we ever got trick-or-treaters at our house, and our yard was bigger than a walk-in closet, I’d be doing the same thing!)

Directed by Michael Paul Stephenson (who played the kid in Troll 2, and directed Best Worst Movie), this intensely personal doc follows three families in Fairhaven, MA who put on complicated haunted houses every year: Victor Bariteau, Manny Souza, and Matt & Rick Broudeur work all year long to make sure the neighborhood kids have a good time on All Hallows’ Eve.

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The Oranges

{The Oranges opens in Seattle on Friday, October 5, and is screening at Sundance Cinemas Seattle}

The Oranges is one of those movies that I really WANTED to be good, because it has an incredible cast: there are strong performances from Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Allison Janney, and Alia Shawkat – rounded out by some nice supporting roles from Oliver Platt, Adam Brody, and yes, even Leighton Meester. Unfortunately, there’s just not much for them to “perform”.

The character focus is all over the place, starting with some narration by Vanessa (Shawkat) Walling, who begins the movie by warning us of the evil contained within her former best friend and across-the-street neighbor, Nina Ostroff (Meester), who, since sophomore year of High School, has ignored Vanessa and over-shadowed her by succeeding at doing everything Vanessa wants to, but can't motivate herself to do. 

The Wallings (Laurie & Keener) and the Ostroffs (Janney & Platt) have always been best friends, apparently doing everything together, as you know, suburban couples with children the same age do. But when free-spirit/world-explorer Nina returns for Thanksgiving after a 5-year absence, everyone’s suburban paradise is shaken when David and Nina start having an affair.

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Recommended Viewing: MIFFF at SIFF Film Center & Uptown {10/5-10/7}

It's the fourth year of the Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival, and since y'all know I love me some horror and fantasy movies, y'all also know that I am beyond excited. 

This year the fest is screening 5 features and over 40 shorts that focus on action, animation, fantasty, horror, and science fiction. You can get an entire festival pass for only $60 and see EVERYTHING, or pick individual screenings for $10 a pop. Tickets and passes will be availalbe at both venues: The SIFF Film Center and SIFF Cinema Uptown, or you can grab 'em online here

Among the features I'm personally exicted about are The Human Race, which has sort of a Series 7: The Contenders vibe to it, but likely WAY bloodier, as it involves way more people (the trailer is pretty wicked), and The Big Black, about heaven/hell/angels/demons - I don't know. It just looks awesome! There are too many great-looking shorts to mention, but I encourage you to peruse the schedule and pick a package that speaks to you. 

{Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival | Oct. 5-7 | SIFF Film Center, SIFF Cinema Uptown | $60 full series pass, $10 individual screenings (and shorts packages)}