Tonight in Seattle:  

SIFF

SIFF Take: The Crown Jewels (Kronjuverlerna)

{The Crown Jewels screens at SIFF June 2, 8:30pm at the Harvard Exit and June 10, 4:30pm at the Egyptian Theatre}

In a small Swedish town, two fathers wait in a hospital delivery room for news of their children’s birth. From that moment on, a boy and girl are linked despite the financial gap in their families. Frangancia Frenandez, whose father is a poor inventor convinced he can chemically recreate gold, and Richard Persson, whose father’s wealth and power rules the town.

As they grow up, Richard develops an obsession with Frangancia, who (sadly) does everything just a little bit better than he does, including playing hockey. Enter Peterson-Jonnson, who attracts attention on the ice—and wins Fragancia’s heart. As Mr. Persson ups his cruel behavior towards his son, Richard’s mind deteriorates further leading up to frightening mix of creepy, misguided behavior that includes the disappearance of Frangrancia’s little brother Jesus.

Told in flashback, The Crown Jewels is a twisted, modern fairy tale with lush imagery so gorgeous, it will take your breath away. Both Amanda Jenegren and Alicia Vikander rock the part of tomboy’ish Frangancia as a teenager and a young woman, and Jonathan Bokman and Bill Skarsgard (another genetically-perfect offspring of Stellan)’s expressions convey the million and one emotions Richard is feeling every minute.

Despite a few moments of extra cheese near the end, I really loved this film. Recommended for filmgoers who love dreamy romanticism mixed with murder mystery—and uh, gazing at beautiful Swedish people.

Recommended SIFF Event + Ticket Giveaway: Welcome to Doe Bay {6/3}

Who wants to see Welcome to Doe Bay this Sunday? We've got another super-quick ticket giveaway, as the fine folks at SIFF have gifted us with a pair of tickets to the Seattle premiere of this local documentary, Sunday, 6/3, 9:15pm at The Egyptian!! Directors Nesib Shamah and Dan Thornton, and Producer Sarah Crowe scheduled to attend, so you can ask them all your burning Doe Bay questions at the Q&A after the film. 

For a chance to win tix, send an email to tig {at} threeimaginarygirls {dot} com with the subject line "The PNW Rules" between now and 5pm tomorrow, 6/1. We'll pick a winner early Saturday morning and put your name on the list +1 for Sunday screening.

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SIFF Take: The Glass Man

{The Glass Man screens at SIFF June 1, 9pm & June 3, 11am The Harvard Exit, and again June 5, 9:15pm at Pacific Place}

When this movie started playing, I was like “Hey! That’s Neve Campbell with a British accent! Weird.” And then I totally forgot about that, because The Glass Man starts out as a depressingly awkward thriller that nosedives into Crazytown.

Martin Pyrite (Andy Nyman) is REALLY into appearances, which means he can’t tell his beautiful wife (Neve) that he lost his job weeks ago, and he owes shit-tons of money to everybody. Nope. Martin prefers to just get dressed in the morning and drive to work anyway, because he promised to protect and take care of his wife when he married her, and bygod that means he can’t tell her the truth about them possibly losing their fancy house or having access to expensive jewelry and designer duds. So when a grizzled stranger shows up on his doorstep and offers him a way out, he takes it—even if it means driving the dude around on mysterious errands in the middle of the night.

The Glass Man is kind of a mess, but what sells it is Nyman’s panicked and sincere portrayal of Martin. You FEEL for this guy; you really do. As for the Crazytown part, I don’t want to give anything away, but I’m still processing how it happened and why. One further note: if I had to stick a genre on this movie it’d be “depressing thriller”, because it punches you in the gut at the end. Nicely done, but likely not for everybody.

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SIFF Take: Legends of Valhalla: Thor

{Legends of Valhalla: Thor screens at SIFF on June 2, 11am, at Pacific Place}

I’ll start by damning with faint praise: this is the sort of movie that makes you appreciate how truly spectacular the achievements of Pixar are, in case you were in the habit of taking them for granted. Legends of Valhalla: Thor is a perfectly fine kid movie. My 5-year-old loved it and my almost-3-year-old sat intently through the whole thing. They both felt strongly that I should tell you all how incredibly cool it is when the Guardian of the Gates of Valhalla sends forth a spectacular rainbow bridge to welcome the dead.

But it’s not a top-drawer film. The animation, even compared with the original Toy Story, is pretty clunky, despite the imaginative art and set direction. And the characters, for the most part, steer closer to collections of mannerisms than fully realized personalities. Thor is a Whiny but Promising and Ambitious Teenager. Odin (who looks a bit like Sean Connery, which, sure, why not?) is a Pompous, Out-Of-Touch Leader. Freyja, I think, was meant to be The Smartest One in the Room Even Though She’s A Woman (ahem), but I think the filmmakers weren’t always super clear on the difference between Powerful but Exasperated and, well, Bitchy.

I’m making it sound worse than it is, though. It really is both fun and watchable.

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Latest comment by: imaginary embracey: "

Nicely summed up. Fun to see the first Icelandic animated feature and all, but I have to side more with you than your son on this one. Thor comes off as an oblivous dummy who stumbles into his successes, but I did enjoy the ice-cold Cruella De ...

SIFF Take: 6 Points About Emma

{6 Point About Emma screens at SIFF June 1, 7pm and June 3, 1:30pm at Pacific Place, and again June 4, 6pm at Kirkland Performance Center.}

Emma is beautiful, blind, and stubbornly independent. She’s also sure of two things: she wants a baby more than anything, and she’s unable to fall in love with anyone. But after she joins a support group for people with disabilities, her steadfastness begins to shatter when she begins an affair with the group’s secretive counselor. Complicating matters even further, her neighbor’s little brother develops romantic feelings for Emma. With one man obsessed with using Emma for pleasure, and the other obsessed with protecting her, Emma's got quite the love triangle goin' on. 

While 6 Points About Emma suffers a little from its easy-to-figure out resolution, it’s packed with strong performances from Veronica Echegui as Emma, and a great ensemble cast—especially Mariam Hernandez as Lucia. Overall, it’s an enjoyable way to spend a few hours.

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SIFF Double Take: Keyhole and Price Check

{Keyhole screens at SIFF May 30, 6:30pm and June 1, 4:30pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown. Cinematographer Benjamin Kasulke is scheduled to attend both screenings}

I’ve been a fan of Guy Maddin since I saw Isabella Rossenlini outfitted with beer-filled glass legs in The Saddest Music in the World. La Rosselini is back for Maddin’s new feature, Keyhole, a trippy black and white reimagining of The Odyssey as a surreal film noir, starring Jason Patric as gangster Ulysses Pick and Isabella as his pissed-off wife, Hyacinth. Narrated by an old naked dude chained to Hyacinth’s bed (oh yeah, he’s also her father. what the what?) and featuring a bicycle-powered electric chair—for that extra special Maddin touch.

I’m not a huge lover of experimental film, but for some reason, Maddin’s view always thrills me, and Keyhole is no exception. It’s weird and wonderful and full of beauty and WTF, (and Udo Kier! With a mustache!) and … well. I liked it. Maybe you will too?

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SIFF Take: Tatsumi

{Tatsumi screens at the Seattle International Film Festival 5/27 and 5/29, 9pm at the SIFF Cinema Uptown}

I don't consider myself especially a fan of manga. As such this animated film described as biographical material about a famous Japanese comic artist seemed like a stretch for me. But I'm glad I decided to give it a try, as Tatsumiis a fascinating immersion into a world I didn't really know existed. And isn't that at least some of the time why we go to the movies?

Tatsumi is a cinematic adaptation of Tatsumi Hoshihiro's autobiographical book "A Drifting Life." He's a leading figure (and I gathered the originator) of a sub-category of Japanese manga called Gekiga. Which are comics/graphic-novels that are intended for adults. Not because they're full of fornicating octopuses, but because they deal with more serious, often darker subject matter and are drawn in a realistic manner. I'd imagine it's similar to the comic book Vs. "graphic novel" distinction made here. 

I've included a trailer for the film that shows the graphical motion-comic feel of the picture - usually I'm not big on trailers, but in this case the picture equaling a thousand words cliche is apt.

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SIFF 2012: Week Two Highlights

Welcome to Doe Bay

Has the SIFFatigue gotten you down? Or (worse) have you not partaken of the SIFFtacularness at all yet?

Either way, don't fret, because there are plenty of worthy offerings unspooling soon. I know of six films scheduled to screen next week that are absolutely worth the exertion required to face the neverending queues, the redundant pre-film bumpers, and the passholes. Eight more flicks get honorary mentions, and I'd be remiss in not bringing a couple to your attention that are more irksome than an average visit to the Egyptian Theater men's room.

Highlights for Monday-Sunday, 5/28 - 6/3:

DON'T MISS:

170 Hz
{screens May 31 at 9pm at Pacific Place, June 7 at 7pm at the Uptown, June 9 at 2pm at Pacific Place}
Dark, absorbing, ferociously visual Dutch flick about two very attractive deaf post-adolescents who fall hard for each other and -- rebelling against their parents' various encroachments on their lives, of course -- cook up a plan to run away together. The leads' performances, the atmospheric handiwork, and the not-quite-linear storytelling are spot-on in the most purely sensual film I've seen in quite a while.

Countdown
{screens June 2 at 6pm and June 4 at 3pm at the Uptown}
This Korean pulse-pounder asks the viewer to take many leaps of faith; I suggest you strap in and just go with it. The wild yarn commences with a badass debt collector who finds himself with terminal cancer and 10 days to live. (Remember what I said about the leaps of faith? Keep reading.) He seeks out a viable liver-donor candidate with issues and drama and action-movie potential of her own, and has to work hard at keeping this potential savior safe. The ticking clock charges the film's first half with breakneck narrative thrust, and a midpoint revelation adds unexpected emotional depth to the frenzied proceedings; by the (unnecessary) tear-jerkin' final coda you realize you've ended up with a completely different film than you started with.

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Latest comment by: Roxie Rider: "

I confess I really loved Starbuck, despite the fact that it got turned up to Ludicrous Speed for a good chunk of it. It was such a satisfying fairy tale. Why can't life be like that, with good-natured slackers suddenly turning into semi-responsible ...

Recommended SIFF: ShortsFest Weekend {5/24-5/28}

ALERT: As of a few minutes ago, ShortsFest Opening Night was on standby! Get your umbrellas ready and line up early.

Y’all know how much I love the SIFF Shorts Packages, and I definitely found some gems this year in the packages I had time to preview. All shorts programs are showing at SIFF Cinema Uptown this year.

ShortsFest Opening Night {Thursday, May 25, 7pm}  
My very favorite this year is Bear, (teaser trailer above) which plays as part of the Opening Night package. It’s the “sequel” to a short called Spider, which is about how this guy Jack always takes things just a scoonch past too far when trying to impress his girlfriends.

In Bear, Jack plans an elaborate birthday surprise for his new girlfriend (watch Spider here, re: why she’s new) that goes horribly awry. Also endearing: both shorts include original songs by Ben Lee & wife Ione Skye that are super-cute! Diane Court! Singing! I love it. Go, Nash Edgerton (who also stars as Jack)!!!

Other Opening Night Shorts standouts: Fishing Without Nets, a documentary about Somali Pirates that is simply STUNNING; The Return, about a guy rejoining his family after many years in a Serbian prison, aka: the most depressing short film I’ve ever seen; and Friend Request Pending, which is maybe a little too precious for its own good (OMG old people! Using Facebook! Like teenagers!), but Dame Judy Dench can do almost anything and I’ll still like it.

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Recommended SIFF Film + Show: Paul Williams Still Alive & Sean Nelson at the Sorrento {5/25}

Attention "Rainbow Connection" and Sean Nelson fans! There is a Paul Williams double shot of awesomeness happening this Friday {5/25}.

In honor of the documentary Paul Williams is Still Alive, playing at SIFF, Sean Nelson has set up a night of singing Mr. Williams’ songs—with Shenandoah Davis on the piano—at The Sorrento Hotel Fireside Room. Trust us: YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS.

First off, the movie looks hilariously amazing! Second, Sean singing in an intimate, cozy venue is an experience not to be missed (coincidentally, Sean himself is also hilariously amazing). Third: If you buy a ticket to the film, you can get in FREE to the show by bringing your ticket stub with you! So, you can buy a ticket for $11 ($9 SIFF Members) and get into the movie AND Sean’s show. Sweet!

FOURTH: We have a pair of tickets to giveaway to the 5/25 screening! Let us send you to both the movie and the show. Write us a love letter (short poems also accepted) and email it to tig {at} threeimaginarygirls {dot} com with the subject line "Phantom of the Paradise". This is super-short giveaway, so we'll pick a winner early on Thursday AM. Send ‘em now, people!

FIFTH: Paul Williams is scheduled to be in Seattle to attend the documentary screenings, which means he could possibly show up at Sean’s show! Can you imagine how rad that would be? I am imagining it right now!

{Sean Nelson Sings the Songs of Paul Williams | Friday, 5/25, 9:30pm | Sorrento Hotel Fireside Room | $10, or free with SIFF pass/ticket stub to Paul Williams Still Alive. The movie screens at SIFF May 25, 6:30pm at the Egyptian, and again May 26, 1pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown}

Latest comment by: imaginary liz: "

This multiple shots of radness is almost too much for me to handle. A Sean Nelson show at the Sorrento Hotel!?  Paul Williams IN Seattle!?  A chance to win free tickets!?  ZOW!

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