Seattle revels in horror movies this weekend, with really old classics like The Old Dark House and Halloween and recent films that infused the genre with fresh, unwholesome blood, like The Witch. Not into horror? Check out new releases like The Florida Project, and don't forget the film festivals. Follow the links below for complete showtimes and trailers for all of their picks, or, if you're looking for even more options, check out our complete movie times listings or our film events calendar.
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1. Atomic Blonde
Atomic Blonde isn’t subtle. On about the 89th shot of Charlize Theron walking coolly down a Berlin street wearing sunglasses to an 1980s new wave hit, I wondered if it wasn’t a little excessive. Yes, of course—it’s absolutely excessive. But also: great! Excess is great! Sunglasses and Charlize Theron and 1980s jams are all great. Theron plays a British spy (OR IS SHE?) trying to out-spy some other spies (OR ARE THEY?) who murdered this one other spy (HRRMMM??) and there’s also a mega-list of spies to track down (SPY SPY SPY!). Look, no one can explain the plot of a spy movie without sounding dumb or crazy or both, and the hallmark of a good one is giving up and saying, “Whatever, it’s fun!” (This is what I am doing here.) ELINOR JONES
2. 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
AMC Seattle 10
Allow writer and director Kogonada to take you on a bizarrely fascinating, visually stunning, and subtly sensual tour of Columbus, Indiana’s modernist architecture. Besides churches by Eero and Eliel Saarinen, libraries by I.M. Pei, and Will Miller’s enviable living room interior by Alexander Girard, the film centers on intersecting stories of familial responsibility. Jin (played with authority by John Cho) is a middle-aged man who should care that his father is dying in a hospital, but he doesn’t. Casey (played by Haley Lu Richardson, who turns in a phenomenally good, sophisticated performance) is a recent high-school grad who needs to cut the cord, but that’s complicated. The two shouldn’t like each other in any sort of romantic way, but that’s also complicated. Kogonada includes all the troubles Indianans face—meth problems, having to work two manual-labor jobs to pay rent, racial tension—but he smartly builds it into the characters’ motivations and backstory. Elisha Christian’s cinematography and Kogonada’s story reveal the deep relationship between architecture and people that many might miss. RICH SMITH
The winner of SIFF's Golden Space Needle Audience Award for Best Documentary, Peter Bratt's Dolores follows the life of civil-rights icon Dolores Huerta, the "most vocal activist no one has ever heard of." SIFF explains further: "She was eventually pushed to defend her rights as a woman when she was subsequently forced to leave the union she helped establish. Juggling her responsibilities as a mother of 11, she was a key leader in the 1965 Delano Grape Strike, which compelled 17 million Americans to boycott grapes to bring attention to the plight of farm workers." Not just well loved by audience members, the film has also received wide critical acclaim, including from Roger Ebert: "Huerta is such a commanding figure, and the array of historical footage marshalled on behalf of her story is so impressive, that the film makes a strong impression."
SIFF Cinema Uptown
5. Modern Horror: Get Out
Jordan Peele’s Get Out was filmed in the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency and arrived just in time for Donald Trump, America’s first white president, according to Ta-Nehisi Coates. The film’s timing could not have been better. It hit the screens at the right time and with the right message about racism in the United States. The handsome, upper-middle-class white family at the beginning of the film represents the Obama years; the monstrous and murderous white family at the film’s end represents the next three and half years of Trump. But do not imagine that there is a break between the former and the latter. Trump did not come out of nowhere. He was with us during and before the Obama years. Get Out is the first great race-based horror film in the history of American cinema. CHARLES MUDEDE
Our critics didn't agree on It. For Erik Henriksen, it was just a run-of-the-mill horror: "Here, even the jump scares underwhelm—maybe because this time, creepy clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) is more childlike than threatening, with the script only rarely balancing out his playful menace with actual danger. Meanwhile, Derry—which, for all intents and purposes, is one of It’s major characters—feels more like Anytown, USA than a time-worn, cold-hearted place where fear and loss suffuse each home, each block, each day." Sean Nelson took exception to this description: "If you’re even remotely susceptible to the charms of horror films, and have even the dimmest memory of life in the suburbs of the Reagan era, you should absolutely scrap your weekend plans and go see It, which is brilliantly designed, perfectly cast, surprisingly funny, interestingly observed, and rich in cinematic invention (i.e. not just a bunch of CGI spiders or whatever)." We at Stranger Things To Do think you might love it if Stranger Things appealed to you: It's all about dorky kids pitted against the apathy and cruelty of adults—and the terrifying, fantastical personification of hate.
Everything about John Carpenter’s Halloween is influential—the minimalist score, the anodyne suburban setting, and of course the faceless murderer and the Final Girl. If you have any feeling at all for slashers, you owe it to yourself to see this restored version of the classic.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
8. 4 Days in France
While Grindr is prolific, it isn't revered. The "geosocial networking" app is spectacularly good at getting men off, but it also reduces the sticky business of casual encounters to two-dimensional torsos who jump from "hey" to "hole pic." In 4 Days in France, however, Grindr is treated with a spectacular reverence. Even the app's iconic notification sound is presented thoughtfully. God, French Grindr is so moody. 4 Days in France is a beautiful trip—directionless, sexy, and profound. The two-and-a-half-hour film continues to hold your attention even as it drifts. For writer-director Reybaud, cruising is not a deviance but a route to understanding. He shows that in a world where all information is accessible, silence from a stranger can be the greatest guide. CHASE BURNS
Northwest Film Forum
9. The Cabin in the Woods
A bunch of kids head to a cabin in the woods despite encountering an over-the-top hillbilly who prophesies doom. Soon enough, there is murder and mayhem and intrigue, and to tell you too much more about the plot would be a crime. The actors all hold up their end of the bargain, the script is witty, and there are homages to hundreds of horror films. PAUL CONSTANT
10. Loving Vincent
We’ve already had a few fine cinematic attempts to tell the story of the brilliant yet tortured Vincent van Gogh. The one element missing was the beautiful, slightly unsettling look of Van Gogh’s groundbreaking artwork. Loving Vincent, the latest from animators Hugh Welchman and Dorota Kobiela, is the first of these biopics to get it right. That’s because the entire film is composed of actual paintings: The international production employed more than 100 artists to paint each frame of the film on canvas, copying the thick brushstrokes and brash colors of Van Gogh’s most celebrated works. The rest of Loving Vincent doesn’t hit the same heights. Kobiela and Welchman’s script is a leaden, Citizen Kane-style attempt to investigate Van Gogh’s final days in France through the efforts of Armand (Douglas Booth), a young postman’s son attempting to deliver the artist’s final letter. It’s a well-meaning way to let us cross paths with many of the villagers whom Van Gogh painted, but it’s hampered by conspiracy theories and a lumbering pace ROBERT HAM
SIFF Cinema Uptown
11. Night of the Living Dead
The George Romero classic that spawned a thousand zombie flicks—not to mention essays on race relations in America. The ravenous dead besiege a group of white survivors, who are led by a determined African American man (Duane Jones). Low-budget, occasionally laughable...and still a punch in the gut.
SIFF Film Center
In perhaps Hitchcock's most mature film, a government Nazi hunter, Devlin, (Cary Grant) orders his beautiful agent, Alicia, (Ingrid Bergman), the daughter of a war criminal, to seduce a Nazi (Claude Rains) hidden in Brazil. But as the couple fall in love, Alicia's relationship with the clandestine Nazi becomes more and more dangerous. A suspenseful and still-sexy tale of patriotism going hand-in-hand with cruelty.
13. The Old Dark House
Creepy Mansion. Boris Karloff. ‘nuff said, really. The wit that James Whale later brought to Bride of Frankenstein is cranked to eleven here, resulting in a film that seems to be sending itself up as it goes, with a cast that is more than willing to play along. Even now, nearly all of the creaks seem intentional. ANDREW WRIGHT
14. Seattle Polish Film Festival
This festival of Polish cinema is marking its 25th year, to which we (attempt to) say: Wszystkiego najlepszego! Some film highlights this year include the gorgeous-looking Loving Vincent, a film about Van Gogh told entirely in painted animation; the thriller Amok, based on a true story about a novelist whose book may harbor clues to a hideous cold case; a drama set in a Commmunist-run prison camp for Polish "traitors" after the Liberation called Reconciliation; and what will surely be an unmissable event, a 70-year retrospective of Polish animation.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
15. The Witch
If you like your horror smart, slow-burning, and suffused with allegorical dread, then you can’t do better than this dark folktale of colonialism, religion, family, and nature gone amok in 1630s New England. SEAN NELSON
16. Earshot Jazz Festival: King of Jazz
Loving King of Jazz is not possible. Its value is historical. It shows how white American popular culture processed the new and catchy black music called jazz in the late 1920s. The film is about white jazz musicians, and it even stars the white jazz conductor Paul Whiteman, who is famous for commissioning George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” in 1924. The film’s music is fine, Bing Crosby has his moment, and the ending leaves you stunned. It’s a musical number that’s supposed to celebrate America's great melting pot. Different ethnicities in their national costumes walk up two opposing ramps that rise up to the top of a single big pot; one by one, they jump into the stew as Whiteman's orchestra plays hot jazz. The curious thing about the scene is this: The ethnic groups that jump into the pot are all from Europe: Scotsmen, Germans, Frenchmen, Russians, and Scandinavians. No blacks, or Chinese, or even Native Americans jump into the pot. Black music scores the fiction of white purification. You have to see it to believe it. CHARLES MUDEDE
Northwest Film Forum
17. American Made
American Made is a movie about Barry Seal, a former TWA pilot who smuggled weapons for the Contras and cocaine for the Medellín Cartel in the 1980s. Well, ostensibly it’s about Barry Seal. American Made, like all movies starring Tom Cruise, is actually about Tom Cruise. The movie’s a bit of a mess, but it does enough things really well that it’s always fun to watch. Cruise’s strengths are front and center, and despite the movie depicting a seedy world of drugs, weapons, and bad 1980s fashion, it’s essentially a fairy tale for excitement-loving boys. And there’s no one better than Cruise’s ageless, wrinkle-free Prince Charming to waltz us through it. NED LANNAMANN
18. Battle of the Sexes
Battle of the Sexes is about the real-life tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carrell). It was the most-watched sporting event of its time, and revisiting it now is like two tall glasses of red wine for our abused and blackened souls. Battle of the Sexes is directed by the same husband-and-wife team behind the chirpy Little Miss Sunshine, and you can tell—it’s got the same heart and levity that make you want to cry, not from laughing too hard but because life is sad. It's fun and suspenseful, and rounded out by a delightful supporting cast, including Sarah Silverman and Alan Cummings. Basically, watching a hardworking woman beat an entitled sexist prick on an international stage is glorious, and something I want on instant replay inside my eyelids so I can close my eyes and watch it instead of whatever's actually happening in 2017. ELINOR JONES
19. Blade Runner 2049
Director Denis Villeneuve has his work cut out for him. 2049 not only has to stay true to Ridley Scott’s circa-1982 concept of the future, but also has to deliver a future that feels plausible in 2017. The result—in large part thanks to cinematographer Roger Deakins’ jaw-dropping talent—doesn’t disappoint: 2049’s future feels safer and cleaner, lacking Blade Runner’s sensuous grime (there’s not a single cloud of cigarette smoke), but its imagery is no less striking, particularly when Villeneuve and Deakins go wide with hypnotic vistas of a decaying Earth. Even if this future is less believable and tactile than Scott’s, it gets the feel right. The worst parts of 2049 are those that lean hardest on Blade Runner, but thankfully, Villeneuve & Co. are mostly content to build and expand rather than revisit and rehash. There are moments of strange and genuine creepiness; there are jarring sights that, without a single word, evoke hundreds of years of history; there’s a desolate ache that makes the future seem both beautiful and horrible. At its best, 2049 finds LAPD officer K (Ryan Gosling) moving through a dreamlike, half-familiar dystopia—asking a few old-school Blade Runner questions about the nature of identity, and adding many more of his own. ERIK HENRIKSEN
20. The Florida Project
The real reason The Florida Project is a breakout success, and the reason everyone should see the film, is the rowdy, previously unknown seven-year-old actor Brooklynn Prince. Moonee, played by Prince, is a mischievous tyrant who spends her days terrorizing the Orlando hotel she calls home. Like director Sean Baker’s Tangerine, the characters in The Florida Project don’t want anyone’s pity. Prostitution, drugs, arson, assault—it all goes down in the Magic Castle, the purple hotel (or project) where Moonee lives. Prince—with considerable help from her costars, Baker, and screenwriter Chris Bergoch—resonates beyond the twee and cute. At the film’s climax, Prince delivers a performance that would make even the surliest curmudgeon cry. CHASE BURNS
SIFF Cinema Uptown & SIFF Cinema Egyptian
21. The Foreigner
Here’s what The Foreigner looks like: Taken, but with Jackie Chan. But if you walk into the theater expecting either a Taken knockoff or a typical Jackie Chan vehicle, you’re going to be disappointed. Which is a shame, because The Foreigner is really interesting—just not for the sort of reasons that fit into a trailer. Yes, Chan plays Quan, a frumpy dad with secret Special Forces training. And yes, his only daughter (Katie Leung) is immediately blown up by terrorists. But Taken movies operate with a straightforward set of rules, while The Foreigner threads Quan’s quest for vengeance through a complex web of contemporary British counter-terrorism and North Ireland politics. It’s also a chance for Chan to demonstrate his dramatic talents to a Western audience—which may take a bit of getting used to. Quan is a man hollowed out by grief, and Chan translates his talent for demanding physical comedy into a keenly observed body language of hunched shoulders and shuffling steps. Paired with Pierce Brosnan’s effortlessly menacing charm, there’s a lot of, well, acting, in a genre that’s usually reserved for stoicism and grave intonation. BEN COLEMAN
22. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
The first Kingsman movie shouldn’t have worked half as well as it did. Essentially James Bond cosplay, Kingsman: The Secret Service was based on a comic by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. It succeeded thanks to its complicated but deep affection for old Bond movies and its charmingly immature compulsion to inject R-rated depravity and computer-generated wow into 007’s musty old tropes. Unsurprisingly, Kingsman: The Golden Circle suffers from sequel-itis. It’s bloated and overlong, with some fun retreads of ideas from the first Kingsman, a few new tricks done incredibly well, and more than a few stretches that pale in comparison to the original. In other words, The Golden Circle what we should’ve expected from a Kingsman sequel—worse than the original, but still more fun than it has any right to be. NED LANNAMANN
Before shuffling off this mortal coil at 91, Harry Dean Stanton filmed his last starring role as Lucky, a chain-smoking realist who’s as prickly as the saguaros in his dusty small town. It’s very slow—the film follows Lucky’s molasses-paced daily routine as he agonizes over his crossword puzzles, does yoga in his underwear (those long shots of Stanton’s wrinkly flesh are something), and sips Bloody Marias at the same dive every night. David Lynch makes an appearance as Lucky’s drinking buddy, Harold, who spends the film pining over President Roosevelt, his runaway pet tortoise. But Lucky is also very sweet—even though Lucky’s convinced that death will plunge him into a void of nothingness, he still gets up each morning and keeps living. Lucky plays like a final wink from Stanton, so prepare to have those tears jerked right out of your eyeballs. CIARA DOLAN
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Before he was the first black justice on the United States Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall was a lawyer who traveled the country as the NAACP's first attorney, defending innocent black people who had been accused of crimes they didn't commit. Marshall is about one of those early cases. In a courtroom plastered with murals of bound Native Americans, Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) defended a black man accused of raping a wealthy white woman (Kate Hudson). Marshall wasn’t allowed to speak in the courtroom; that honor fell to his white co-counsel, Sam Friedman (Josh Gad). If this case were tried today, we’d know the cards were stacked against them—but this took place in the 1940s, when schools were legally segregated and Black people were still at the back of the bus. There are a few weird things about Marshall. The first weird thing is that it’s... funny? Boseman and Gad are both great, and the smarmy DA (Dan Stevens) is deliciously hittable. The second weird thing about Marshall—which is notably less delightful than the first—is that a large part of the film focuses on proving that a woman lied about being raped. This is gross, no matter how much we're rooting for the defendant. ELINOR JONES
Ark Lodge Cinemas & Meridian 16
A two-hour nightmare, nearly every frame of Mother! is designed to be deeply unpleasant. Since that's the goal, and since it accomplishes that goal so well, Mother! kind of has to get an A+, four stars, two thumbs up, right? I'm not sure I can tell you what the fuck Mother! is, but I am pretty sure it's exactly what writer/director Darren Aronofsky meant to make. Good for him! Whether that's good for anyone else is TBD. Mother! starts with a whole lot of Rosemary’s Baby: From the moment she wakes up, a subtle dread follows an unnamed woman (Jennifer Lawrence) who’s living her best Martha Stewart impression, fixing up her half-decrepit, half-beautiful mansion in the middle of nowhere. As Lawrence’s blank, bland woman restores and polishes and paints and bakes, her unnamed poet husband (Javier Bardem) fights a case of writer’s block. When a creepy unnamed man and a cruel unnamed woman show up at the front door, thingsens get weirder. Even before it’s halfway over, this slow-motion anxiety attack feels like a lot, but as Mother! veers from surreal to silly and back again—throwing in some jump scares, a few excellent stretches of purely visual storytelling, and not a single joke. ERIK HENRIKSEN
No Seattle showing on Saturday.
26. The Mountain Between Us
The Mountain Between Us follows brain surgeon Ben (Idris Elba) and photojournalist Alex (Kate Winslet), two strangers who impulsively charter a plane to get around an airline cancellation and then promptly crash on a mountain. Elba and Winslet are both supremely talented actors, but do I really want to spend 100 minutes watching them brood and bicker and forage for kindling? Well... yes, actually. These are two well-drawn, reasonably flawed people learning how to work together, and while some of the dialogue gets a bit clunky, there’s a lot to like in how Elba and Winslet go about delivering it. In other words, The Mountain Between Us is a good date movie for a couple that can’t stomach gauzy, Nicholas Sparks–style faux drama. BEN COLEMAN
27. Professor Marston & the Wonder Women
This film dramatizes the relationship of Dr. William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman, with his wife Elizabeth and their partner Olive Byrne. That's right, Wonder Woman's bondage-obsessed inventor was in a ménage à trois. He was an advocate of "feminine rule" and a believer in women's superiority to men, thanks to what he saw as their greater capacity for love. This film may not be super historically accurate, but it does provide a sweet frolic in the past, and a reminder that kink is older than your grandparents.
28. TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival
Local shorts, indie features, and national or international releases will stoke and satisfy your appetite for gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and otherwise queer-focused films, from hot romances to incisive documentaries to perverse suspense flicks. If you love queer movies and moviemakers, this festival is indispensable: Not only will you watch the pivotal LGBTQ+ films of the year such as Rift and Alaska Is a Drag, you'll also get the chance to rendezvous with filmmakers and take cinema workshops.
29. Walking Out
When it comes to ready-made primal storylines, a Father and Son Lost in the Woods is tough to beat. The smartly low-key survival drama Walking Out boasts moments of eerie loveliness, a pair of solid central performances, and enough confidence in the primitive engine of its story to know when to leave things unsaid. Adapting a short story by naturalist David Quammen, the plot follows a 14-year-old boy (Josh Wiggins) reluctantly accompanying his divorced woodsman dad (Matt Bomer) on a traditional Winter Moose hunt deep in Big Sky Country. After a freak encounter with some of Montana’s other notable wildlife leaves them both seriously wounded, the two must figure out how to do what the movie’s title says. Directors/screenwriters Alex and Andrew J. Smith quickly set their premise up with a minimum of artifice, and then just seemingly capture what comes naturally afterwards. The organic feel of the narrative is only boosted by the performers, who establish the yawning gulf between the characters even before things begin to go south. Bomer, especially, delivers an alternately scary and heartbreaking portrait of slowly eroding Alpha surety. ANDREW WRIGHT
30. Wind River
Beginning with a scarily enigmatic midnight chase, the plot follows a Wyoming wildlife officer (Jeremy Renner) tasked with hunting predatory animals through the frozen high lonesomes. (Viewers with a fondness for wolves should be prepared to avert their eyes early on.) After discovering the corpse of a young Native American woman in the mountains, he teams with an inexperienced FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) to track down the killer—and as their path leads them to the local reservation, he must deal with his own ties to the deceased. As his previous screenplays have indicated, screenwriter/director Taylor Sheridan has a real gift for the tired wiseassery of lawmen, and his streak continues here, with the byplay between jaded professionals giving spark even to routine procedural scenes. (Graham Greene, as the reservation’s deadpanning sheriff, not only steals every scene he’s in, but possibly those of whatever is playing next door in the multiplex, too.) If Sheridan proves to be a little more indulgent toward moments of tough guys waxing poetic than the directors of his previous work, at least the extra words earn their keep. ANDREW WRIGHT