Tonight in Seattle:  

movies

Show your love for Seattle's Scarecrow Video at Independent Video Store Day this Saturday {10/19}!!

Well, really what I want to say (and what I say every year) is to show your love for Scarecrow Video more than just this one day of the year -- although if you haven't been in for awhile, this Saturday is as good a time as any to start! 

Scarecrow is honestly one of the greatest places on earth, and I swear I'm not exaggerating. I've been going there for years, and every single time I've ever been looking for ANYTHING, even the most obscure thing, Scarecrow has had it in stock. Granted, I spend most of my time in the Psychotronic room or browsing the Director sections, but man-oh-man. All the other sections and rooms rule too! They are simply THE GREATEST. 

This Saturday, they've got a ton of awesome things going on for International Independent Video Store Day, and I really encourage you to go check it out. Stop in and for all the happenings, including: 

50% off used movies for sale on Saturday AND Sunday
$3 off new Blu-rays and DVDs for sale
10 rentals for $35 (a $10 savings)
Grumpy Hour Specials all day long at VHSpresso!  

And chances to win prizes!!! Enter to win: 

A year-long pass to SIFF Cinema Uptown & SIFF Film Center
A theater rental from the Grand Illusion Cinema (!!!) 
Passes for the NWFF
Passes for Landmark Theatres
Passes to the EMP Museum

Also, filmmakers Megan Griffiths and Lacey Leavitt curated a bunch of films from the height of the VHS-era just for Scarecrow customers! So cool.

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Carrie (2013)

{Carrie opens in Seattle on Friday, 10/18, and is screening at Sundance Cinemas Seattle, Oak Tree Cinemas, and Regal Meridian 16. Imaginary Amie also talked to Director Kimberly Peirce about making the film! Read her interview here.}

After the lackluster 2002 remake by David Carson (meant to launch a Carrie TV show, which THANKFULLY did not happen), I was worried about anyone else taking on such an iconic horror story for the screen since Brian DePalma did such an amazing job of it in 1976. 

Also, remakes are tricky! Especially for a story that has invaded pop culture as deep as Stephen King's Carrie has. Even if you're not a horror fan or you haven't seen any other version, chances are you already KNOW what happens at the end. And of course, DePalma has his own distinctive filmmaking style. But that isn't copied here. Instead, Pierce returned to the book for some additional material and added some slick updates, infusing her own voice into the story expertly. And yes, the prom scene in this one is still really bad-ass.  

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Imaginary Interview with Kimberly Peirce, Director of Carrie {2013}


Kimberly Peirce, Chloë Moretz, and Julianne Moore on the set of Carrie

As a horror fan, I was worried that the recent "re-imagining" of Carrie on screen would either be a regurgitation of DePalma's film, or completely disappointing like the 2002 television movie. But with Kimberly Peirce in the Director's seat, this vision of Carrie turned out to be pretty damn entertaining. Peirce, who also wrote and directed both Boys Don't Cry and Stop-Loss, stays true to the heart of Stephen King's story while infusing it with her own voice. I sat down with Kimberly last week and talked with her about storytelling and the powerful symbolism of Carietta White. 

{FYI: there are a few spoilers below in the questions and answers} 

TIG: Was re-telling the story of Carrie White something you've always wanted to do? 

Kimberly Peirce: I probably always wanted to do it, and I didn't know it. I was approached, and I was amazed at the opportunity. I had read Carrie as a kid, and I loved it! And I am always looking for great American fiction that was entertaining. I love The Godfather, I love Jaws -- I mean, I love this kind of classic pulp fiction. Nowadays, I'm desperate for good stories. If you can just give me a good story, I'm in heaven … and you run dry on that. 

So, they [MGM] came to me and they said, 'how would you like to re-imagine Carrie?' And at first, I was like, "Oh, let me think about that." because I love the Brian DePalma original; I think it's fantastic. I'm not necessarily for or against remakes -- I love the original Scarface from '33, and I love the new one. I love Imitation of Life; the two different versions. I don't have a prejudice about it. My feeling is: take great source material, do something great with it, make it as many times as you want as long as you do something good. 

When they came to me … I just had to look more deeply into the material and when I did, I was actually astounded at how much more I loved it than what I remembered. I think it's timely, timeless, and more relevant today that it was then. 

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Recommended viewing: gory awesomeness at Grand Illusion Cinema this month!

Gates of Hell Lucio Fulci Grand Illusion Cinema

YES. It's October! And that means lots of lots of horror movies screening around town. I'm particularly excited for Grand Illusion Cinema's gory programming, which kicks off this weekend with some Italian horror and Grindhouse magic. 

Gorgeous 35mm and 16mm prints, a small, intimate setting, and some cheap popcorn! IMHO, there's no better way to see these films. $12 gets you a seat, and your money goes to a great, local, independent theater. 

Here's what I'm most excited about, but there are horrific screenings almost every night, so check their site for the full schedule! 

Saturday October 5, 8pm
Portland's Grindhouse Film Festival Presents 35mm Exploitation Mayhem! Organizer Dan Halsted will be in attendance. 

The Grindhouse Trailer Spectacular
Featuring 65 minutes of amazing grind house trailers from the '60s and '70s, including Italian horror, blaxploitation, hicksploitation, sexploitation, kung fu insanity, revenge films and more! I didn't even know some of those 'sploitations were a thing. You learn something new every day, huh? 

Gates of Hell (aka: The City of the Living Dead) 
A surreal masterpiece by Italian horror-master Lucio Fulci, which I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT. Rotting dead feasting on the living! Intestines everywhere! A creeptastic soundtrack! And my personal favorite: THE HEAD DRILLING SCENE. 

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Latest comment by: Ben Nason: "Maniac Cop 2 is even better than Maniac Cop; you've also got some Robert Davi up in that flame fueled insanity."

Austenland

{Austenland opens in Seattle on Friday, August 30, and is screening at AMC Pacific Place and the Landmark Guild 45th} 

I am a lover of all things Jane Austen, but crappy rom-coms loosely based on her work don't usually fall into that category. The thing is, the more I think about Austenland, the more I grow fond of it. 

Austenland is based on a chick-lit novel by Shannon Hale, and is about a woman named Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is has been obsessed with Jane Austen, and in particular, Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice her entire life. So much so, that she's eschewed any kind of romantic attachment while literally waiting for a man on the white horse to arrive and sweep her off her feet. 

Despite her cranky pregnant friend's protests, Jane spends her entire savings on a trip to "Austenland," a carefully constructed Old English paradise wherein one can pretend to be a character in an Austen novel, with a promised happy ending -- sort of. The male characters are played by actors who may go above and beyond the call of duty IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Wink, wink. Oh, and it's presided over by a lady named Mrs. Waddlebrook (Jane Seymour! What.)

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "A-ha! LisaQuing - thanks for the note! I clearly wasn't paying attention. :) Will correct. "

You're Next

Sharni Vinson as Erin in You're Next

{You're Next opens in Seattle on Friday, 8/23, and is screening at the Meridian 16 and Oak Tree Cinemas}

Contrary to its "EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS IS SCARY" trailer, You're Next is packed with quite a bit of fun. Sure, there are elements of scariness, but the best thing about this splatter-fest is that it's infused with a lot of clever moments. 

For example, taking the basic "trapped in a remote location" horror movie premise, and then flipping it by ignoring not one, but two, of the usual genre tropes: a heroine who actually fights back (think Nancy Thompson, but with professional training), and murderers who aren't invincible and actually make mistakes. 

Director Adam Wingard gathered up his usual crew -- Directors Ti West and Joe Swanberg, plus a favorite of all three filmmakers, actor AJ Bowen -- and rounded out a perfect cast with the addition of Amy Seimetz (whose role is brief, but memorable) and Re-Animator Scream Queen Barbara Crampton. 

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Latest comment by: Dan O'Neill: "Good review Amie. A bunch of fun to be had here, even if the scares don't rack up quite as well. Still, a fun movie is a good movie in my book."

Bask in VHS nostalgia this week at Scarecrow Video and Grand Illusion Cinema!

Guys, I'm an idiot for not telling you about a few things earlier:

1) August is VHS MONTH at Scarecrow video!
2) Scarecrow Video now has a screening room
3) VHSpresso (located within Scarecrow) now sells BEER to the over-21 crowd
4) Grand Illusion Cinema is showing VHSentric documentaries

YES. You too can relive the pain of having to actually rewind your favorite movies before watching them again! And the stress of denting your collector's clamshell packaging, removing a stuck tape from the player without tearing it ... plus the excruciating, sometimes years-long, wait for a film to move from "rental price" to "sell-through" so you can buy it without forking out over $100!!! 

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Imaginary Interview: Cockneys Vs Zombies director Matthias Hoene

Cockneys Vs Zombies Directed by Matthias Hoene

One of the most fun films I saw at SIFF this year was the Adventure/Horror film Cockneys Vs. Zombies, and I got to sit down and talk to Director Matthias Hoene (my people!) about the making of the film, which was REALLY AWESOME. Really, really, really awesome. Like, I could talk to this guy all day about horror films awesome. Why don't you live here, Matthias? SERIOUSLY. 

Anyway, Cockneys Vs. Zombies was released on VOD August 2, so you can still find it there -- and Matthias said he "hopes" the DVD will be out by Halloween. Fingers crossed! 

TIG: Let's get into your inspiration for the film! Did you grow up loving zombie films? 

Matthias Hoene: Well, my love of zombie movies started when I was given a grubby old VHS tape, which only had "Dead Alive" written on it … 

TIG: YES!!!! 

Matthias: ... And it was a film at the time that was sort-of banned, so I watched it "illegally" in my living room after my parents had gone to bed. And I was just so blown away by how gory, yet funny, it was. And I really loved the film! 

And of course, Evil Dead 2 was one of my big influences. I loved all the Sam Raimi films -- even Army of Darkness, I thought was great. So I think it was those films that inspired me and made me really want to do a zombie film. So those were my early influences, and then later on I really loved films like Terminator and Aliens, and Delicatessen … which had sort of this quirky meets big blockbustery thing. But when it came to making this film, I was more thinking about the Dead Alive and Evil Dead-type movies. 

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Latest comment by: Nellie: "Saved as a favorite, I like your web site!"

Hannah Arendt: A film about love and the deep cost of civil courage

{Hannah Arendt opened in Seattle on Friday, 7/19, and is screeing at the Landmark Seven Gables Theatre}

"Philosophers can't meet deadlines," one editor says to another at The New Yorker, as the other assigns philosopher Hannah Arendt to covering the Adolf Eichmann trial in Jerusalem in 1961. "I was just following orders," Eichmann says at the trial before he is hanged for his distant but deeply deleterious Nazi war crimes. These are two sharp lines in a movie that is sliced through with them, the award-winning Hannah Arendt, shrewdly directed by Margarethe von Trotta (Vision, Rosa Luxemburg) and featuring an astonishing biopic performance by Barbara Sukowa. 

I first heard about Hannah Arendt, I think, when I read Greil Marcus's book Lipstick Traces in the late 80s. I might have read about her before then, but don't remember it. Marcus was using her phrase "the banality of evil" to discuss some really horrible things that have happened in history just because people followed orders, refusing to be "persons." Like Dostoyevsky's image of the baby tossed up and stuck on the tip of a soldier's bayonette during wartime in The Brothers Karamazov, Marcus illustrated his time-map of senseless human cruelty by describing human face masks in Central America -- enemies (victims) whose faces were carved from their heads and worn or put on posts by U.S.-backed military juntas.

Reading this while the arms for the Contras scandal played out, the passion and rage and damage of timeless punk (from Dada to the Sex Pistols) seemed quaint but still necessary. For sanity, to continue on in the face of oppression, daily ontological revolt against sadistic social and military "business as usual" is imperative. Nothing describes what compassionate people kick against more than what has itself become to many a banal phrase, "the banality of evil."

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The Conjuring

{The Conjuring opens in Seattle on Friday, 7/19, and is screening at Sundance Cinemas Seattle, AMC Oak Tree, and AMC Pacific Place} 

Well, it seems like James Wan has found his official ghost movie shooting style, because other than the presence of paranormal/demonology experts Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren, I feel like this film is almost indistinguishable from Insidious

Along with hundreds of other supernatural mysteries, The Warrens are the famous real-life husband and wife team who investigated The Amityville Horror, and The Conjuring is based on one of their most disturbing cases, The Harrisville Haunting: about a family named The Perrons who move into a creepy old farmhouse and discover some not-so-nice spirits there. 

The film starts with the story of one of Ed and Lorraine's other cases, a possessed doll called Annabelle, which the Warrens now keep locked up in their household museum of psychic curiosities (WHICH I AM DYING TO VISIT!). 

Herein lies my first problem: Wan's manipulation of the doll in his adaptation is comically over-the-top. The real Annabelle doll is a giant Raggedy Ann which is actually CREEPY AS SHIT, but the doll in this movie is constructed to look so creepy, there's no way you'd ever believe anyone would bring it into their house. Too much, Wan! Too much. 

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