Tonight in Seattle:  

film

Evil Dead (2013)

{Evil Dead opens in Seattle on Friday, 4/5 and is screening at the Regal Meridian 16, the Landmark Varsity, and Thornton Place}

Holy shit you guys. Holy. Shit. I was really hoping the Evil Dead reboot would be awesome, but I had no expectations that it would be as fantastically amazing as it turned out to be. As a horror fan, I gotta tell you that this is one of the finest examples of the genre that I’ve ever seen. Ever.

Fans of the original don’t need to be worried—it’s not a straight-up remake. It’s more of a reboot that uses the basics of The Evil Dead story as a starting point to create a new legend, combined with some really clever nods to Raimi’s work. Which include a new take on his signature camera moves and some great twists on everything you loved about the 1981 flick.

The opening sequence sets you up for the glorious splatter that follows in a surprisingly original way. And you probably know the rest, more or less: five friends head to a cabin in order to help their heroin-addicted friend Mia (Jane Levy, I will never be able to look at you on Suburgatory the same way again) dry out. The group includes Mia’s somewhat estranged brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez); his blonde girlfriend, Natalie; dark-haired nurse Olivia, and bespectacled hipster-nerd Eric.

Unfortunately, the group soon stumbles onto a creepy basement filled with ominous ritualistic items, like strung-up rotting cats (so many rotting cats), and The Book of the Dead (not yet named as such), and Eric, the genius (!!!)  brings it upstairs and starts reading the words contained within. AND WE ALL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS

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Room 237

Room 237 a documentary about The Shining

{Room 237 opens in Seattle on Friday, 4/5 and is screening at SIFF Uptown Cinemas through 4/11. Director Rodney Ascher will be on Skype for a Q&A after the 6:45pm showings on both Friday and Saturday night—and you can catch a screening of The Shining directly after the documentary on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday}

“This is not “The Making of The Shining.” This is not a biography of Stanley Kubrick. This is: After the film has left the filmmaker’s hands, how does the audience grapple with it and make sense of it?” ~ Director Rodney Ascher from an interview with Vulture

After viewing a film (in particular, viewing a film over and over and … over) some fans latch onto the tiniest details, stringing them into clues that they then weave into a larger meaning that is personally important to them—and then convince themselves that the Director obviously meant that ONE THING.

In Room 237, the film in question in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, and those “one” things include The Holocaust, the massacre and betrayal of the Native Americans, something-something about a Minotaur and the maze, an analysis of impossibly constructed rooms and hallways, a look at the interesting imagery created when it’s played backwards and forwards at the same time, and awestruck respect at how the whole thing is inlaid with hidden meanings.

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Latest comment by: Kristy: "I think my favorite blowhard was the guy who thought-*ahem*-KNEW that The Shining was Kubrick's only-slightly-veiled admission of his involvement in faking the Apollo Moon Landing. That dude... wow. But the blowhard-ness I think is really important to the audience's ...

Imaginary Watch This: Dirty Girls

Thanks to Metafilter, I found this cool short documentary shot in 1996 by Michael Lucid about a group of 13-year-old Riot Grrls trying to spread the message that society's expectations of the way women should act, dress, and groom themselves is Bullshit -- and sexism, racism, and homophobia are not okay, on any level. Because of their self-expression,  they earned the nickname "Dirty Girls" and the neverending scorn of most of their classmates ("That's the girl who didn't take a shower since Kurt Cobain died."), especially when they published their first zine. 

It's a really fascinating peek into the world of teenage girls, and I recommend you watch it. Props to the one guy at the end who actually stands up for these girls by saying their zine is a brilliant, Marxist critque of the world -- even though his friends are yelling at him that it's not. So great.

"The reason why people put so much negative energy towards us is to make themselves feel higher. And I totally believe that, because a lot of people -- if they're popular or not popular -- it doesn't matter. The reason why they put people down is to make themselves feel higher and give themselves more self-esteem, more self-power, more self-confidence. And that's SO dumb. To change somebody else, to make yourself different. The only way to change yourself is to change yourself." 

I'd LOVE to see an update on these ladies now. 

And VICE posted one a few days ago! YAY! 

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "YAY! That is so rad, V. Thank you for finding and sharing! xoxo "

The 6 Best Children's Movies of 2012 (yup, 2012!)

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Since the Magnificent Liz has been making her way through her Best of 2013, I thought, what better time to polish up the Best of 2012 list I started over a month ago (though still a good month after 2012 was actually over)? I figure the target audience for this list is probably, like me, months behind anyway, so what the hell.

So without further ado, here are my top 6 children’s movies of 2012.

6. Brave 
I’ll admit up front, I had some quibbles with the plot. And it’s hard to avoid a whiff of affirmative action when talking about it: it is, after all, one of the only animated megahits in memory with a strong, independent female badass at its center. (Tiana? Rapunzel? Mulan? Discuss.) But dammit, she is a badass! And the characters are nuanced and interesting, and the animation is breathtakingly beautiful, and the mischievous little brother triplets are hilarious. Don’t be dissuaded by the tepid reviews (mine possibly included). Let Merida elbow out some of the more vapid princesses in the pantheon.

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Latest comment by: Adam: "Here here for the scurvy gang of Band of Misfits. I really liked this one. I enjoyed Wreck it Ralph, but not nearly as much as Band of Misfits. Spoiler Alert: "They're not scientists; they're Girl Scouts!""

Recommended Viewing: John Dies at the End {Opens 2/22 at The Varsity}

If you can’t tell from the trailer, John Dies at the End is one of those movies that’s completely unhinged—which is honestly why I think I liked it so much. And likely why I laughed almost all the way through the end (that reminds me, make sure you stay through the credits!). 

It’s hard to describe the plot since it’s kind of all over the place, but in a nutshell: John and Dave are two friends who stumble onto a psychedelic drug called “soy sauce” (courtesy of a Jamaican named Robert Marley) that may or may not be alive.

While on the sauce, the boys have the ability to talk to the dead, travel between dimensions, and completely mess with their own timelines. At some point, they get recruited into fighting the forces of evil alongside a slick celebrity Doctor named Marconi (a Russian-accented, suited up Clancy Brown. Yay!).

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A Good Day to Die Hard

{A Good Day to Die Hard opens in Seattle on 2/14, and is screening at the Regal Meridian, Sundance Cinemas Seattle, Thornton Place, and Pacific Science Center IMAX. Note: A few of these theaters are showing 10pm screenings on 2/13}

I don’t want to be a hater. I promise you, I went into A Good Day to Die Hard with an open mind (yes, even *I* appreciate big, dumb action movies).

I love the original, revel in the cheesiness of the second, think the third works brilliantly, and even though the fourth was poorly constructed, I thought it at least had some charm. This, though? THIS. This is just. Terrible.

After his son Jack (Jai Courtney) gets thrown into a Russian prison for shooting a guy in a night club, John McClane (a lean-looking Willis) heads to Moscow to uh, I guess provide moral support? Even though he mentions that he and his son haven’t spoken for at least a few years. I was hoping it would be to actually break his son out of prison, but that didn’t happen.

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Side Effects

{Side Effects opens in Seattle Friday, 2/8, and is screening at Sundance Cinemas, Oak Tree, AMC Pacific Place, and SIFF Cinema Uptown} 

Well, Soderbergh finally made a movie with Channing Tatum that I wanted to see—if only to watch Rooney Mara work her magic.  

Side Effects is one of those movie that I think could have been brilliant, if it focused more deeply on the issue of pharmacology and the responsibility of psychiatrists and drug companies. Instead, it uses those things only to provide a frame around a cheap thriller.  

Mara plays Emily, a depressed young woman whose husband Martin (Tatum) has been in prison for 2 years for insider trading. Emily and Martin were living the high life when he was arrested with mansions and fancy cars and designer clothes, and now the poor girl actually has to work a 40-hour a week job! And she can’t even afford a decent psychiatrist. 

After Martin is released, Emily slips further and further into her depression, ghosting through her days, and eventually slams her car into a concrete wall, which lands her in the hospital and in front of Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). The concerned doctor strongly suggests that she either be committed or get on antidepressants. 

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Rich: "

Ouch - that last line stings. ;-) I thought he made a terrific looking movie here. But otherwise I agree for the most part. I think it's hard to make something that one won't unravel pretty early once you start casting minor seeming characters with ...

Recommended Viewing: In Another Country at The Grand Illusion {thru 2/7}

In Director Hang Sang-soo's In Another Country, three different women played by the same actress (the lovely Isabelle Huppert) visit the same seaside resort in Korea, encountering a trio of men who can't help but fall for her (duh. It's ISABELLE HUPPERT) -- including a lovestruck lifeguard who fumbles through every seduction. 

The stunning Huppert acts the hell out of each part: a filmmaker, an adulterer, and a divorced woman in despair, and each repetitive situation seems so awkwardly real that you can't help but laugh ... over and over again. 

It's charming in a way that makes me curse recent American-made rom-coms, and a satisfying way to spend and hour and a half. Dig up $8 and head over to The Grand Illusion to see it before 2/7. 

{In Another Country | 7pm & 9pm at The Grand Illusion cinema | through Thursday, Feb. 7 | $8/$5 for members/$6 for students} 

Warm Bodies

{Warm Bodies opens in Seattle on Friday, 2/1, and is screening at both AMC Pacific Place and Thornton Place}

I know there are a few others out there, but this is the first “Zombie Romance” film I’ve seen, and it was pretty well done. But! If you’re a hardcore Zombie purist, you’re going to hate it because it seriously messes with the rules of the genre.

Instead of focusing on the outbreak, Warm Bodies deals with the aftermath of a Zombie apocalypse, where the remaining humans (led by a militant John Malkovich) wall themselves up inside the remains of a big city, and the zombies run around outside eating whatever brains they can find. But here’s the catch: the zombies can think pretty much the same way they did before they became the walking dead.

It gets harder for them to retain their humanity the longer they’ve been at it, but “R” (super-dreamy Nicholas Hoult – yes, even as a Zombie) seems to have a little more consciousness than the others, clinging to his human persona by collecting various chotskies, including a boss collection of ‘80s albums—I knew I was going to like this film as soon as they queued up John Waites’ “Missing You”.

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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.

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