Below, you'll find our film critics' picks for the best movies playing in Seattle this weekend, including the new Lost City of Z, the Drone Cinema Film Festival, live scores by Hair and Space Museum and DAKHABRAKHA, and 50th anniversary screenings of The Graduate. There are also many one-night-only events you can't find anywhere else, like BBC documentary HyperNormalisation at Northwest Film Forum and The Haunting at Scarecrow Video. See all of our critics' picks below, and click through the links to see specific movie times and trailers. For more options, check out our complete movie times calendar (as well as our list of special film events).
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I have no doubt that Shepard, who also wrote and directed CHIPS, has a lot of love for the original CHiPs, but this reboot is much more a Dax Shepard movie than an homage to a ‘70s TV show. That works in the movie’s favor. Shepard won hearts and minds with his 2012 car chase relationship comedy Hit and Run, which featured Shepard performing his own stunts. That same approach of crunchy, real-life motorcycle riding is evident in CHIPS. The action scenes (there are many, and there are even more explosions) are tangible and natural, allowing the humor to take a more central position. SUZETTE SMITH
"The films in SAM's tribute to one of the three masters of Japan's Golden Age of film, Yasujiro Ozu, are all beautiful and have at their core the quiet spirit of their times and places—mid-century, post-war Japan," wrote Charles Mudede. Continuing in the weekly series, this Thursday's film is Early Spring, which Ozu said is meant to "portray what you might call the pathos of the white-collar life."
Seattle Art Museum
This 1963 film directed and produced by Robert Wise is an adaptation of Shirley Jackson's short but deeply chilling novel, The Haunting of Hill House. Julie Harris' performance as Eleanor is very effective (despite some hokey voiceovers) and the movie is often lauded as one of the best horror films of all time.
With the O.J. Simpson murder case back in the spotlight after its recent television resurgence, it's a perfect time to watch the spooky, super-noir David Lynch mystery Lost Highway: a story about jealousy, revenge, and murder that fucks deeply with the main character's mind. "I like to remember things my own way...not necessarily the way they happened."
SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Part of Now It's Dark: The Films of David Lynch
NT Live: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
The two confused minor players in Hamlet stumble through the Danish court. High Shakespearean tragedy passes over them completely; all they can hope for is to survive, or at least to understand the plot that entraps them. Daniel Radcliffe, Joshua MacGuire, and David Haig star in this production broadcast live from the Old Vic.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
It took French filmmaker Olivier Assayas to make me appreciate the subtleties Kristen Stewart can convey. In 2014’s Clouds of Sils Maria, she held her own with the great Juliette Binoche. Now, in Personal Shopper, her latest collaboration with Assayas, she again manages to be enigmatic but not vapid. The movie is a cinematic Frankenstein monster, stitched together from different genres into something that transcends its sources: Stewart plays a young American in Paris working as an assistant for a globe-trotting supermodel, buying high-end clothes but never getting to try them on. (It’s a metaphor.) She’s also trying to make psychic contact with a twin brother who died from a heart defect—a disease she also has. MARC MOHAN
Puget Soundtrack: Hair and Space Museum Presents THX 1138
Puget Soundtrack invites musicians to create a live score for a film of their own choosing. In this iteration, multimedia duo David Golightly and Emily Pothast (aka Hair and Space Museum) will create a live soundtrack for George Lucas' 1971 science fiction film THX 1138.
Northwest Film Forum
Saban's Power Rangers
The film still hits all the classic marks—teen angst, lessons about uniting to overcome evil, swooshing noises whenever punches are thrown, MORPHING, and giant robot battles. But now the graphics are clean and luxurious, there are a lot more car accidents than I remember (is that what today's teens are into?), and way fewer guitar solos. The lessons are more inclusive, and, other than the distractingly large breast plates on the women's morphed costumes, it's more feminist. The black ranger isn't Black. And best of all, the fight scenes are brain-meltingly impressive. YOU DAMN KIDS DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT WE HAD TO PUT UP WITH IN THE POWER RANGERS OF YORE! Regardless, my fellow '90s kids should see this movie. BRI BREY
THURSDAY & SATURDAYThe Void
The partially crowd-sourced horror movie The Void does a commendable job in balancing overt scares with tantalizing hints of large-scale Otherworldliness. While it handles the close-up grody tentacled stuff with aplomb, its best trick is in creating and sustaining the mounting feeling that something Great and Cosmically Terrible is lurking just outside the frame. Beginning with a rather grisly home invasion, the plot follows a rural cop (Aaron Poole) who stumbles across a mysteriously injured man in the woods. After delivering the comatose victim to a remote hospital, he and the swiftly dwindling skeleton crew must deal with a mob of armed cultists gathering outside, as well as the growing signs that there’s something Not Right down in the basement. That last bit is an understatement, really. ANDREW WRIGHT
This noir thriller by David Lynch begins with a single human ear in an empty field. In a 1986 interview with The New York Times, Lynch said, "I don't know why it had to be an ear. Except it needed to be an opening of a part of the body - a hole into something else, like a ticket to another world. The ear sits on the head and goes right into the mind so it felt perfect."
SIFF Film Center
Part of Now It's Dark: The Films of David Lynch
The enchanting Turkish documentary Kedi works triple time as a nature documentary, a travelogue, and a meditation on the human-animal bond. Director Ceyda Torun makes a case for Istanbul as the new Rome for stray cats. When she isn't soliciting the thoughts of caretakers and observers, her cinematographer, Charlie Wuppermann, shoots the furry subjects from ground level such that they fill the screen while humans fade into the background. These street-smart cats congregate around teahouses and markets for treats and back rubs. Torun follows several around town, like the orange tabby that steals food for her kittens, the gray tabby that sleeps in an auto shop, and the black-and-white cat that chases mice from a restaurant. She exalts these hardy creatures while portraying Istanbul as a city of compassionate citizens. It's a side of Turkey we don't see often enough. KATHY FENNESSY
SATURDAY ONLYDrone Cinema Film Festival
Last year’s Drone Cinema Film Festival at Grand Illusion yielded synergistic dazzlements between poetic, mesmerizing images and rigorous ambient music. Expect more of that tonight at the bigger, acoustically superior Chapel Performance Space. Created and curated by David Lynch’s assistant music editor for Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart, Kim Cascone, Drone Cinema presents transcendental experiences through sound and vision. Eight films and soundtracks by the likes of AUME, Phillipe Neau, Kat Cascone, and others will be complemented by a live set from sublime local drone ensemble bitès. If you’re into sacred minimalists like Terry Riley and La Monte Young and experimental film, immerse yourself in these heady atmospheres. DAVE SEGAL
Chapel Performance Space
On April 14, 1986, there was a knock at the door of my house in Harare, Zimbabwe. I was the one who opened the door and found three beefy men in dark suits. One was black; two were white. They all wanted the daughter of the US ambassador to Zimbabwe—who was my sister’s friend and spending the night—to come with them immediately. The ambassador’s daughter walked downstairs in her pajamas, walked out the door, walked into a black limo, and left with the Secret Service men. The next day, we learned that Libya had been bombed by Ronald Reagan. A deep and dark explanation for this episode at the end of the Cold War is provided in the BBC documentary HyperNormalisation. The doc also explains that the episode was one of many in a historical movement toward the “fake world” that now dominates the real world. Donald Trump is also in this documentary, but he is dealing with a Japanese gambler and has no idea he will become the fakest president in US history. CHARLES MUDEDE
Northwest Film Forum
The reason why John Carpenter’s They Live is so important today (it was made in 1988 and concerns a working-class man who discovers sunglasses that when worn reveal the world is ruled by aliens that want humans to mindlessly consume and pollute their planet—yes, just like the rich people in the real world) is it presents us with the big question: Do people really want to know the truth? Does Donald Trump’s America even care about the truth? Would wearing special sunglasses that expose Trump to be a liar and exploiter even change their minds? By the look of things, the answer has to be no. They Live is still a great film, though. CHARLES MUDEDE
This is David Lynch's notoriously troubled adaptation of Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic. Despite Dune's critical and box office failure (and lengthy, arduous exposition, the convoluted storyline, and the way that Lynch himself rejected the film) it has in some ways become a cult classic, and is worth revisiting.
SIFF Film Center
Part of Now It's Dark: The Films of David Lynch
SUNDAY ONLYDAKHABRAKHA Perform the Live Film Score of Earth
Ukrainian quartet DAKHABRAKHA, a name that means “give/take” in the old Ukrainian language, play what they describe as “ethno chaos.” Accompanied by traditional instrumentation of Indian, Arabic, African, Russian, and Australian origin, the quartet will perform their original score during a screening of Aleksandr Dovzhenko's 1930 film Earth, which is considered one of the most important films of the Soviet era and which was banned nine days after its original release.
The Graduate: 50th Anniversary
A naive and listless college graduate (Dustin Hoffman) is seduced by his parents’ friend, an unhappily married older woman (Anne Bancroft), in Mike Nichols’s 1960s very funny drama of generational chasms and defiant but aimless youth. The celebrated Simon & Garfunkel score will have you “coo-coo-ka-choo”-ing all the way home. And yes, Mrs. Robinson is definitely trying to seduce you.
Saturday Night Live writer Chris Kelly's cancer dramedy, Other People, was a hit at SIFF and is lauded for its emotional and layered performances by actors including Molly Shannon and Jesse Plemons. Justin Chang at Variety writes that the film "seeks to capture the sort of raw emotional tidal wave — encompassing grief, horror and often incongruous, inexplicable hilarity — that anyone who’s watched a loved one wither away will instinctively recognize."
A romantic comedy about a woman, Gloria (Anne Hathaway), who flees from New York City back to her rustic hometown, where she bumps into a guy (Jason Sudeikis) she used to know. It's also a movie about a giant monster wreaking havoc on downtown Seoul. It's two great tastes that go great together—especially once we learn that Gloria has an unexplained connection to the kaiju in question, able to somehow control its movements from half a world away. The director Nacho Vigalondo, speaking to Marc Mohan, explains: "When the synopsis went public, some people thought I was making a spoof of monster movies. It is nothing but a love letter to monster movies. What I am making a comment on is romantic comedies."
SIFF Cinema Egyptian & Guild 45th
The Fate of the Furious
"I choose to make my own fate,” Vin Diesel growls at the start of The Fate of the Furious, the eighth chapter in the greatest family saga since William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. This is after Vin—once again playing the lumpily majestic Dominic Toretto, criminal street racer turned special-forces operative—has raced through the streets of Havana, in reverse, in a car that is on fire. If you’re one of those joyless fucks who still thinks they’re too good for the Fast and Furious movies, you are only hurting yourself. For the rest of us: The Fate of the Furious is here. ERIK HENRIKSEN
There’s a whole lot of fun and a whole lot of action crammed into Free Fire—and the fact it delivers as much as it does, in such a short time, and with such a simple premise, isn’t only a testament to Wheatley and Jump’s intelligence and skill. It’s also—in a media age bloated with drawn-out franchises and over-serialized television—remarkably welcome. Fuck the small talk: In Free Fire, bullets and one-liners and shreds of emotion zip by—snatching you up, wringing you out, and letting you go, exhausted and exhilarated. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Meridian 16 & Sundance Cinemas
Get Out is a feature-length version of the not-quite-joking sentiment among African Americans that the suburbs, with their overwhelming whiteness and cultural homogeneity, are eerie twilight zones for Black people. Far from being a one-joke movie, however, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is both a clever, consistently funny racial satire and a horror film, one that mocks white liberal cluelessness and finds humor in—but doesn’t dismiss—Black people’s fears. ERIC D. SNIDER
Gifted is about a little girl, Mary, who’s being raised by her uncle, Frank, after her brilliant mother’s suicide. Bonnie is a teacher who gets a little too involved after learning that Mary is brilliant, too. Or, like, beyond brilliant. Mary rules at math. Despite the fact that Chris Evans, Jenny Slate, McKenna Grace, and her one-eyed cat are all so charming and watchable that you almost forget how much math is on-screen, Gifted is the kind of movie most people will never hear about. But some people will accidentally watch it on an airplane, or when their parents are visiting, and they’ll be pleasantly entertained for two hours. ELINOR JONES
17 years after X-Men kick-started the superhero genre, we get something like Logan. Something that isn't just a great superhero movie, but a great movie. No disclaimers, no curve: Logan is fantastic. Make no mistake: Logan is such a superhero movie—such an X-Men movie—that at one point Logan (Hugh Jackman) flips through an X-Men comic featuring his spandexed alter ego, Wolverine. He's not impressed. "Maybe a quarter of it happened," he grumbles, "and not like this." Despite his crankiness, Logan is full of the same stuff as the yellowed pages of X-Men and Wolverine: superpowered mutants. Nefarious evildoers. A rock-solid belief that violence fixes everything. But for all Logan's nods to genre—and it's as much a western as a superhero movie—it's about bigger things, too. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Pacific Place, Meridian 16, & Sundance Cinemas
The Lost City of Z
It’s easy to see, with just a few tweaks, how The Lost City of Z could have been a by-the-numbers historical biopic, and its costumes and sets are perfectly on point. But the film offers something more complicated, and as Percy and his team travel deeper into unmapped terrain, writer/director James Gray takes us into uncharted territory within Percy’s psyche. Werner Herzog’s twin documents of white man’s obsession with the jungle—Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo—are easy touchstones here, but Gray’s outlook is far more humane, and he permits his story to exist as a rip-rousing adventure for long stretches, even as it delivers much more than that. NED LANNAMANN
Meridian 16, SIFF Cinema Uptown, & Sundance Cinemas
The native visual wit of Danny Boyle's direction has only grown more delightful with age—he revels in mischievous references to the original film. And there's something undeniably satisfying in seeing the four actors from the original reunited, and looking weathered. (It's also nice to hear Ewan McGregor speaking with a Scots accent again.) The original film was like a bone-marrow biopsy of the zeitgeist of its period. By contrast, the sequel revels in pricking its characters' articulate, self-aware out-of-timeness. It confines them to a Scotland that is simultaneously collapsing upon itself (high mountains of garbage loom everywhere) and exploding outward into an indistinguishable Europeanness, and it surrounds them with reminders of the selves they never managed to become. SEAN NELSON