This weekend at the movies, you can celebrate emerging women filmmakers, watch infamous Dutch-American action film Red Sonja, learn about musicians who translate the souls of characters in big Hollywood films into sound, or catch big new releases like War for the Planet of the Apes (Sean Nelson writes that it "catastrophizes the moral trajectory of Trump's America"). Below, you'll find all of our film critics' picks—click on titles for movie times and trailers. You can also check out our compilation of outdoor movie screenings, our full movie times page, and our special events-filled film calendar.
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THURSDAY ONLYAlien: Covenant
As Alien: Covenant begins, its titular ship is under repair. After completing a fix, Tennessee (Danny McBride) picks up a stray communication, and the crew follows the signal to a pristine planet—at which point the film becomes four old Alien movies happening at once. David [the robot] shows up. (Surprise!) Bodies explode. (Surprise?) And, after 20 years, everyone’s favorite fanged penis-monster triumphantly returns. The result is a film that’s much less ambitious than Prometheus, but also significantly less pretentious and stupid. Covenant aims lower but hits more frequently. Covenant’s victory is minor—after 25 years, the Alien series has finally managed to make a movie that, however slightly, is better than 1992’s Alien3. BOBBY ROBERTS
The Big Lebowski and Fast Times at Ridgemont High
At this SIFF double feature summer series, celebrate nostalgia and escape to an air-conditioned movie theater while you revisit old favorites and cult classics. This week, they'll screen the Coen brothers' The Big Lebowski and Amy Heckerling's high school comedy classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
The Future is Feminist Film Festival
The Future Is Feminist Film Festival, a collaboration of Real Grrls, the Northwest Film Forum, and the NFFTY young filmmakers' festival, boosts young women's moviemaking talents and brings them to a wider audience. See the work of women who are just starting out on their artistic paths.
Sacred, an expansive project by documentary filmmaker Thomas Lennon, presents an hour and a half of religious vignettes from around the world. The project’s wide scope is striking: audiences can feel the impact of ritual, from the way a Madagascan community buries and re-buries their dead to the way a dying woman methodically responds to Christian calls for prayer on Facebook. Don’t go in to the film expecting any social or political investigations—Sacred is not about ideology. Instead, the film offers a few moments of private observance, a number of communities united by custom and celebration, and a lavish demonstration of religion’s visual power. JULIA RABAN
Northwest Film Forum
The Secret Life of Your Clothes
This documentary explores what happens after you donate clothes to charity—and the far-reaching economic and cultural implications, including the way donations affect the textile industry and even Ghanaian culture.
El Centro de la Raza
Lee (Sam Elliott) has cancer, he smokes a lot of weed, he is divorced from his wife and has been neglectful of his adult daughter, and his successful acting career is in the past. This is an intense, quiet movie about a man possibly facing his death and evaluating his life. There are some nice moments of levity provided by a drug-dealing friend (played by Nick Offerman). Sam Elliott is wonderful, and so are his eyebrows and mustache. (But a small—okay, big—quibble: Why can men in movies not date women within their own age range?) We root for Lee’s revitalization even as he questions whether it is worth it to try to buy more time. GILLIAN ANDERSON
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Brigitte Nielsen IS...Red Sonja, whose superhuman power derives from her virginity! Arnold Schwarzenegger IS...Lord Kalidor, a stilted hunk of man who can recognize when a lady needs help even when she can't! The result IS...some epically terrible acting as they fight to win a magic orb back from an evil queen! Featuring amazing special effects like actors crawling across the floor to simulating climbing up a wall. This infamous Dutch-American action film was lensed by Giuseppe Rotunno, Federico Fellini's cinematographer, and scored by Ennio Morricone.
Score: A Film Music Documentary
In literature, the inner world of a character can be described without the character speaking. The author enters his or her character’s soul and tells us what is inside: He/she is sad about a death that happened long ago, he/she has a secret and forbidden love for someone, he/she wants to die, and so on. In film, the only way we can enter a character without words being spoken by the character is with music. A melody that is bright or brooding or cacophonous becomes the soul of the man or woman whose image is on the screen. The highly entertaining Score: A Film Music Documentary is about the musicians who translate the souls of characters in big Hollywood films into sound. These people are not fucking around. They know you want what they are doing. They want you to feel it when Sean Penn opens a window in a London hotel, or when Denzel Washington holds up a football before a big game, or when King Kong is knocking a plane out of the sky. CHARLES MUDEDE
SATURDAY ONLYAnna Karenina
Angelica Cholina directs and choreographs this Vakhtangov Theatre production of Anna Karenina that will communicate the classic story through movement.
Northwest Film Forum
ALL WEEKENDBaby Driver
Once its tires grip pavement, Baby Driver becomes a full-throttle ballet of motion, color, and sound. The tunes are great, the getaway chases will leave you breathless, and the motley team of robbers—which includes Kevin Spacey, Eiza González, and an excellent Jamie Foxx—comes from the kind of screenplay you wish Tarantino still wrote. And a superbly villainous Jon Hamm shows there’s more to his post-Mad Men career than H&R Block ads. NED LANNAMANN
By taking the 1971 Clint Eastwood vehicle The Beguiled and touching it up with some Southern Gothic feminism, director Sofia Coppola has crafted an enchanting, dark, sometimes funny Civil War–era battle of the sexes that's one of the more smartly provocative movies of the summer. It's stunningly photographed by Philippe Le Sourd, and it conjures a humid, dreamlike mood that's memorably transporting. Whichever characters you end up thinking the title applies to, it's just as likely to refer to viewers of The Beguiled. MARC MOHAN
SIFF Cinema Egyptian, SIFF Cinema Uptown & AMC Seattle 10
The Big Sick
This film comes with a few red flags attached (rom-com set in the world of stand-up, etc.), but haters be damned. The true story of Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, Portlandia) and his real-life wife Emily Gordon’s tumultuous courtship is hilarious, warm, and genuinely affecting—a best-case scenario in every department. The cross-cultural differences at the center of the story are written and played with empathy and truth, and the performances (especially from Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, and Adeel Akhtar) are deep, surprising, and bursting with multidimensional humanity. SEAN NELSON
Meridian 16, AMC Seattle 10 & Ark Lodge Cinema
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The music is uniformly great, the jokes are whip-smart and delightful, the action scenes are exciting CG works of art, the characters are identifiable and lovable, and BABY GROOT IS (as mentioned earlier) GODDAMN ADORABLE. While the characters of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may be mired in their feelings, at least they have them—and aren't afraid to show them. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
The Little Hours
Though nuns are often portrayed as beacons of purity, they’re anything but in The Little Hours, Jeff Baena’s film set at a convent in medieval Italy. These sisters unleash torrents of profanity, violently lash out at men, chug sacramental wine, and explore their sexuality with wild abandon. The film’s best moments come when we get to spy on them—wringing out the laundry, grooming the donkey, stealing turnips from the garden and later going to confession over the theft. The Little Hours finds comedy in mundanity; its jokes, thankfully, make up for its unoriginality. CIARA DOLAN
SIFF Cinema Uptown, SIFF Cinema Egyptian & AMC Seattle 10
Spider-Man: Homecoming isn't just the best Spider-Man film ever made—it might just be the current reigning champion in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead of being crammed with typical action set pieces and clunky character development, Homecoming is actually a good-natured teen comedy in the vein of John Hughes's best work, rather than the action-packed blockbuster behemoths we've grown accustomed to. It's the closest a Spider-Man film has come to capturing the insecurity and bubbly effervescence displayed in the Marvel comics of the 1960s, and Tom Holland's earnest, engaging style has a lot to do with it. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
War for the Planet of the Apes
The director of War for the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Matt Reeves, has an incredible skill for creating the plausibly crumbling natural world Caesar and his tribe are about to inherit. He's also very good at balancing the necessary irony of Harrelson's performance with the even more necessary total conviction of Serkis's (and the other mo-cap ape actors). Even better: Though the film is full of violence, Reeves makes every death matter to someone on-screen. He's less good at noticing when his film overreaches with the whole "But who is the savage, now?" shtick. At one point, the Colonel forces a cadre of ape POWs to build a (wait for it) wall outside his commandeered fortress. "Why do they need a wall?" one of them asks, and only barely resists looking damply into the camera at Trump's America. But guess what: This is Trump's America, and Reeves makes an admirable effort to present it/us with a credible catastrophization of the moral and spiritual trajectory we can't even seem to fully acknowledge, much less avert. SEAN NELSON
In Wonder Woman, innocence is Diana’s foil. She’s read at great length about the world, but has never lived in it. And as Diana deals with her naïveté and her foes, Wonder Woman is exciting and fun—even though it devolves into typical blockbuster spectacle near its end, I’d recommend it to anyone who loves action films, and there’s also just enough subtext to feed a philosophical mind. How much harm does Wonder Woman do when she strides boldly into war? Is this what power looks like? Is it cool just because she’s a woman? Hopefully these questions will be answered in future films. For now, Wonder Woman is a thrilling start. SUZETTE SMITH