We're talking to YOU, slobbering hordes of horror junkies: Seattle cinemas are, unsurprisingly, rising to Halloween enthusiasts' demand for scary movies, as are many small venues screening classics for free. Find them here! As usual, our critics have also picked out the best new releases, restorations, and special screenings in theaters, including Ai Weiwei's Human Flow, Yorgos Lanthimos's The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and the HUMP! Film Festival. 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, our film events calendar, or our Halloween calendar.
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1. BYOCC Presents: A Nightmare on Elm Street
See Wes Craven's cult classic horror film, A Nightmare on Elm Street, in which several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a gruesome midnight mangler who preys on the teenagers in their dreams. And, because it's Bring Your Own Chair Cinema, don't forget to bring something to sit on (and a friend for cuddling).
The Piranha Shop
2. Campout Cinema: Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
In the third installment of Chuck Russell's classic 1987 horror flick starring Robert Englund, Patricia Arquette, and Heather Langencamp, the dream warriors must work together to try and stop Freddy Krueger once and for all.
3. Here Comes the Night: 40th Film Noir Series
As Charles Mudede says, “If you love cinema, then you must love film noir”—a category he describes as full of “spiderlike women, lots of long knives, lots of rooms with dark curtains, lots of faces of the fallen, and lots of existential twists and turns.” This Thursday, the SAM is screening the infamous shocker Kiss of Death, which stars Richard Widmark as a giggling psychopath.
Seattle Art Museum
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
5. Silent Movie Night: Nosferatu
Feel sophisticated this Halloween by enjoying a glass of wine while watching Count Orlok saunter about his eerie castle in the mountains of Transylvania in F. W. Murnau’s classic 1922 horror film Nosferatu.
6. 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.
7. 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
8. 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
Suspiria is Dario Argento's classic giallo about an innocent ballet student arriving in a German dance school that turns out to be a coven. As her classmates meet hideous deaths one after the other, she tries to find the evil at the heart of the mystery. Star Jessica Harper will introduce both screenings on Thursday, and on Friday, Erin Jorgensen will weave a soundtrack for the gory yet strangely poetic horror film. Says Jorgensen: "I’m a big fan of the iconic soundtrack by Italian prog-rock band Goblin (though I’ve had to impose an aural blackout for obvious reasons). I’m certainly not trying to improve on the original, but a one-night version complete with amplified marimba, whispering/screamed vocals, percussion, and glittering electronica sounds fun as hell. The Halloween timing is the icing on the cake.”
Northwest Film Forum
All screenings currently listed as sold out.
10. The Hidden
In this bonkers yet well-developed sci-fi thriller, an FBI agent played by Kyle MacLachlan (but NOT named Dale Cooper) teams up with a detective to hunt down an alien slug bodysnatcher....thing...that turns its hosts into sociopathic criminals. Featuring car chases, lots of explosions, and a grimacing, gun-toting stripper. Shown in 35 mm.
11. October Movie Series: Hocus Pocus
This beloved fantasy/comedy film features a badass trio of witches (played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker) who want to suck out children’s souls.
Spooked In Seattle
12. Army of Darkness
With Bruce Campbell’s smartassery, a goofy time-travel plot, and hordes of pissed-off Deadites, this is the best of Sam Raimi’s beloved Evil Dead trilogy. The heroic Ash winds up in the year 1300 somehow and, in his attempts to return to our times using the Necronomicon, he accidentally triggers an army of dead people to arise.
13. 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 Egyptian
14. Human Flow
Human Flow, the staggeringly gargantuan look at the global refugee crisis from Chinese director and activist Ai Weiwei, takes a subject that could consume a documentarian’s entire career and seemingly attempts to get it all in one go. While the constant stream of jaw-dropping imagery can sometimes feel like a case of Too Much Information, the sheer macro power of the visuals packs a wallop. Shot in more than 20 countries, and utilizing more than 200 crew members, Ai’s mammoth passion project travels between overpopulated crisis points around the world, pausing only briefly for interviews with refugees and aid workers. The Google Earth-style views of huge masses of people on the move never stop being absolutely dumbfounding. ANDREW WRIGHT
AMC Seattle 10
15. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Removed as they are from the modern moviegoing experience, silent movies possess a special kind of hypnotic otherwordliness—and few are stranger than Robert Wiene's 1919 Expressionist masterwork The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Characters creep and scurry through an demented painted landscape In this tale of a malevolent fairground "doctor" and the unfortunate sleepwalker who murders at his command. Conrad Veidt's haunted eyes struggling open in his emaciated, heavily made-up face is one of the quintessential moments in horror cinema. Don't miss your chance to see this film with a score by Wayne Horvitz, performed live by the Wayne Horvitz Ensemble. JOULE ZELMAN
The Royal Room
16. Dark Shadows & Night of the Hunter
Charles Laughton's first and only film as a director, Night of the Hunter, was so daringly conceived and shot that studio executives never let him get behind the camera again. Robert Mitchum stars as a wolf in preacher's clothing, a con man/psychopath prone to apocalyptic preaching and brutal violence. After murdering a woman who falls in love with him, he sets off in pursuit of her two children. Laughton threw out any pretence at realism to tell his story through rich, surreal imagery, and his "failure" is now generally recognized as a masterpiece. Screens with Dark Shadows, a film noir.
17. Kill, Baby...Kill!
Ignore the ridiculous title. Kill, Baby...Kill! bears all the hallmarks of the Italian B-horror legend Mario Bava: rich, surreal colors, Gothic madness, graceful camerawork, and campily elegant sexuality. In a central European city, an evil little girl ghost keeps appearing to terrified villagers who subsequently die horrible deaths, apparently suicide. A handsome doctor is called in to examine the latest victim. He becomes ensnared in a tale of supernatural vengeance, along with a benevolent witch and a beautiful country nurse. Watch this influential horror flick in a newly restored version—sure to be luscious.
18. Earshot Jazz: Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band
There is a line in this documentary that will break your heart. It concerns why one of the greatest composers and pianists in the history of jazz is not known. There is only one reason, and it can’t be doubted: Mary Lou Williams, the subject of the documentary, which is part of the Earshot Jazz Festival, was a woman. If she had been a man, if her name was, say, Mike Williams, she would be known even beyond the jazz world. But the thing she did not do, which Nina Simone did for fame, was sing. (Simone was a much better pianist than singer—something that is almost never mentioned.) Mary Lou Williams arranged for and led big bands, wrote music, and played the piano. These three things that men did, not women. Watch this documentary if you want to keep Williams’s memory and greatness alive. CHARLES MUDEDE
Northwest Film Forum
19. A Halloween Movie Marathon, From the Cradle to the Grave
Test your tolerance for freakiness at this 12-hour Halloween marathon, where the movies will progress from festive and kooky to frightening as the day gets darker. Bring pillows and blankets to keep you warm from all the chills, and don't forget to wear your costume (or your pajamas).
Black and Tan Hall
20. Little Shop of Horrors: The Director's Cut
We all know about Hollywood’s relationship to unhappy endings. The third-best movie musical of all time—it’s okay to admit that you just got “Suddenly, Seymour” stuck in your head, so did I—was supposed to end, like the stage show that inspired it (though unlike the subversively brilliant 1960 non-musical original) with a far darker, far more complicated climax. But test audiences weren’t having it, so we got the triumphal, love-conquers-all finale you remember. But now, the original ending has been restored, and you can see the bleak, tragic, curiously consonant-with-life-in-2017 version as nature (and Frank Oz) intended. The film has aged brilliantly, the songs are still excellent, and the puppetry remains incomparable. SEAN NELSON
21. National Cat Day Celebration featuring Kedi
This documentary has lots of beautiful shots of the city of Istanbul, the gateway to the East if you are from the West, and the gateway to the West if you are from the East. But the subject of the film is not the city itself but its street cats, which appear to be numerous and pretty content with the way of life their city provides. American street cats look wild, dirty, and scrawny. Istanbul’s street cats look the same as domestic ones. And people love them, feed them, pamper them, and tranquilly endure their bad habits and uppity attitude. One man says: “Dogs think people are God, but cats don’t. Cats are aware of God’s existence. Cats know that people act as middlemen to God’s will. They’re not ungrateful, they just know better.” Cat lovers cannot afford to miss this documentary. CHARLES MUDEDE
SIFF Cinema Uptown
The celebration also includes an hour (!) of cat videos before the film.
22. Nature Run Amok: 35 mm Pizza Party
Here's the short but sweet description of the priceless Grand Illusion cinema's annual themed pizza party: "Sometimes Mother Nature has had it with humans. Join us for films in 35mm and pizza!" The films will be from 1976-1980, no doubt a golden time for schlock cinema.
23. 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
Meridian 16 & Pacific Place
24. 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
25. 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
The new Based on Actual Inspirational Events movie Breathe features a bigger threat of reverence than most in the genre (producer Jeremy Cavendish is the son of the central characters), but some terrific performances and a flair for the in-between moments help keep the sentiment tamped down to manageable levels. While this story is definitely one worth telling, what really lingers are the times when the tearful speeches fade out, and a looser, woolier film peeks through. Beginning with a fateful trip to Kenya, the story follows Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield), a British tea broker whose idyllic earmarked future—equally adoring wife, son on the way—suffers a seemingly permanent hiatus when he is rendered immobile by polio in 1958. After his wife Diana (Claire Foy) devises a way to treat him at home, the pair and their loyal circle of friends try and figure out how to make the most of his remaining time. Making his directorial debut, Andy Serkis (yes, the Gollum guy) proves to have a healthy appreciation for his performers, bringing out the best in Garfield, who makes the most of his necessarily oversized facial expressions, and especially Foy, who captures both the fierce dedication and occasionally unlovely exasperation of caring for an ill person. ANDREW WRIGHT
Meridian 16 & AMC Seattle 10
27. 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
28. HUMP! Film Festival
Every year we put out the call to sex-havers everywhere to submit a homegrown amateur porn film depicting whatever they're into (barring poop, kids, and animals, of course). The result is an incredibly diverse representation of human sexuality in all its straight, gay, trans, queer, kinky, funny, pissy, painful, and pretty forms. (And then it goes away, allowing the filmmakers to go back to their normal lives, thanks to the festival's strict privacy and security policies.) That diversity is also reflected in HUMP!'s audiences, making for a unique theater experience. The person sitting next to you might be seeing your everyday kind of sex for the very first time. In a world where fear and ignorance breed hatred, HUMP!'s demystifying inclusivity is on the front line of deflecting destructive alienation. (You also might surprise yourself by getting turned on by something unexpected.) And, like the best film festivals, it's also fun, thought provoking, and often hilarious. MARJORIE SKINNER
On the Boards
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.
Pacific Place & AMC Seattle 10
30. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Yorgos Lanthimos's morality play uses the myth of Iphigenia—who was sacrificed by her father to appease the gods—as a springboard, but it's the mythology of cinema that Lanthimos is intent on exploding as he uses sterile, slow, almost Kubrickian imagery to interrogate the story. What's happening onscreen isn't important. What's going on beneath the surface is. The lives of husband-and-wife doctors Steven (Colin Farrell) and Anna (Nicole Kidman) are all surfaces. Other than some doctor-patient sex play in the bedroom, the only thing that suggests anything other than tranquil domesticity is Steven’s unconventional relationship with a teenage boy, the nature of which is deliberately ambiguous at the film’s start but becomes painfully defined as it unfolds. Sacred Deer is, in the moment, an unpleasant experience. But as the director is careful to announce early on, this is not a film about what you see—it’s about what you realize hours, maybe days, after you’ve left the theater. Lanthimos gets under your skin and stays there. NED LANNAMANN
31. 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
32. 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
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
35. 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
Meridian 16 & Admiral
36. Rat Film
This odd, amazing, nearly uncategorizable documentary does a lot of things in a short span of time. Though it initially appears to be about rats—how high they can jump, how they infest poor neighborhoods, why studying them is useful for scientists—it turns out to be about other things, too. For example, the redlining of Baltimore. Also, the results of experiments about confining living beings into small areas for long periods of time. Plus there’s footage of snakes in terrariums eating baby rats (which look like wrinkly flesh nuggets) and people who have pet rats and let them sit on their heads while they watch TV. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Northwest Film Forum
37. 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
38. Thank You For Your Service
It's to the filmmakers' credit that Thank You for Your Service, written and directed by American Sniper screenwriter Jason Hall, almost systematically deglamorizes modern warfare. Despite some surface similarities to American Sniper, Service is very much its own film, taking place almost entirely off the battlefield and out of uniform. Miles Teller, Beulah Koale, and Joe Cole play a close-knit trio of Army infantrymen returning home from an especially traumatic tour in Iraq circa 2007. Deeply scarred by their combat experiences, they struggle to reintegrate into the relationships and responsibilities of civilian life. The film shifts between a number of subplots and perspective, some of which are more effectively rendered than others—but when the film lands, it lands like a fucking sledgehammer. BEN COLEMAN