Watch Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson play reunited high-school sweethearts in the romantic Blue Jay.

It's certainly fall now, and soon it will be winter, so get with the game and start drinking at the movies (per Charles Mudede's suggestion) right now. With a variety of film festivals—the Polish Film Festival, the Seattle South Asian Film Festival, the Social Justice Film Festival, and TWIST, the Seattle Queer Film Festival—plus new releases and special screenings, you've got plenty of choices. See all of our critics' picks below, and, as always, check out our complete movie times calendar and film events calendar for even more options.

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1. Denial
Because playwright-turned-screenwriter David Hare (Plenty, The Reader) wrote the uncomfortably timely Denial, it follows that it sometimes feels like a filmed play. Director Mick Jackson (HBO’s Temple Grandin) attempts to invest the proceedings with cinematic allure—diverse locations, attractive establishing shots—but the film lives and dies by the dialogue and the performances, so it’s fortunate that both are strong. Hare drew from the book History on Trial by Emory professor Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz, credible as a Queens native) about the libel suit self-educated British historian David Irving (Timothy Spall, making the most of a thankless role) filed against her. KATHY FENNESSY


Thursday Only
2. American Honey
American Honey, the first movie set in the States by British filmmaker Andrea Arnold (Red Road, Fish Tank), finds the director working with some fairly ludicrous self-imposed hindrances: a largely untrained cast, Shia LaBeouf at his most methody-bedraggled, and a nearly three-hour running time. That she makes these all meld together beautifully feels like some kind of weird alchemy, really. Inspired by a New York Times article, the barely there story follows a Texas teen (the strikingly confident newcomer Sasha Lane) reduced to dumpster diving to get by. After catching the eye of a magnetic lost boy (a very good LaBeouf), she joins up with a van full of similarly ragged youths who travel the country selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door. ANDREW WRIGHT
SIFF Cinema Uptown and Sundance Cinemas

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3. Bridget Jones's Baby
Bridget Jones is a figurehead for the romantic comedy genre—a genre oft-reviled for letting a plot device as simple as finding love carry a film. But come on: This is something that people, both men and women, want in our lives. Bridget Jones, as both a character and romcom juggernaut, shouldn’t be faulted for celebrating this pursuit. So why should we fault the (mostly female) public who will line up for this? ELINOR JONES
Pacific Place

4. David Bowie Is
The only reason why I’m recommending this documentary about the 2013 London exhibition David Bowie is is because it is about Bowie, a British musician and poet who died after experiencing the first 10 days of the year we are now departing. Bowie was one of the great persons of the world, and his music has been baked into the global mind. We will never stop missing him. The exhibit was a huge success and revealed many little details about this mortal man and his eternal art. CHARLES MUDEDE
SIFF Film Center

5. Dekalog
Dekalog is a critically-acclaimed ten-part Polish TV drama series, directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski, and inspired by the Ten Commandments. The numbers of the commandments and of the episodes don't line up neatly, but you should still expect plenty of symbolism and religious commentary. On Thursday, watch parts five and six, seven and eight, and nine and ten.
SIFF Cinema Uptown

6. Don't Think Twice
The premise for Mike Birbiglia’s new film—a follow-up to his 2012 debut, Sleepwalk with Me—probably sounds insufferable. Basically, he’s gathered sketch-comedy performers from IFC, Comedy Central, and Netflix for a film about a New York improv troupe. Watch them succeed! Watch them fail! Watch them fall in and out of love! And that’s exactly what happens. If the film isn’t especially funny—the curse of most comedies about comedy—I’m not sure that was Birbiglia’s intention. Mostly, it’s like a lo-fi cover of Morrissey’s “We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful.” Kind of whiny, kind of mean, and kind of true. KATHY FENNESSY
Sundance Cinemas

7. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Sure, Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s scope is small, but it gives you everything you could want from a movie: It’s smart, emotional, and even a bit action-packed once Ricky and Hec embark on an unplanned adventure in the forest. But most of all, it’s funny. So, so funny. Wilderpeople is a hugely loveable movie that’s suitable for date night or the whole family, and I know that sounds like a hacky movie poster blurb. But when a movie’s this good, it’s tough to avoid clichés, so I’ll leave you with another: Don’t miss it. NED LANNAMANN
Varsity Theatre

8. Kubo and the Two Strings
Set in ancient Japan, the fantasy film Kubo and the Two Strings (directed by Travis Knight, who was the lead animator for Coraline) doesn’t just open on a note of despair, it lingers there. The early scenes—in which Kubo, the protagonist, takes care of his injured, confused mother, feeding her and putting her to bed—don’t serve as narrative contrast; instead, the melancholy convincingly follows him throughout the movie, and death is its central theme. While the gloomy, thoughtful premise will certainly appeal to adults searching for realism, kids will also appreciate the film’s frankness and emotional honesty. Even more than that, they will be entranced with Kubo’s brand of magic. Go watch Kubo and the Two Strings now, for its expensive and gorgeous production value, and allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised by its complex emotionality. JULIA RABAN
Pacific Place

9. 24th Seattle Polish Film Festival
Don’t miss the 24th Seattle Polish Film Festival—playing for two weekends at SIFF Cinema Uptown—featuring new releases, independent films, documentaries, and old classics. See the complete Polish Film Festival schedule.
SIFF Cinema Uptown

10. The Seattle Social Justice Film Festival
Celebrate progressive causes and learn more about pressing social issues by watching movies. See the complete Seattle Social Justice Film Festival schedule.
Various Locations

11. Seattle South Asian Film Festival
Celebrate South Asian cinema at the 11th annual Seattle South Asian Film Festival, with screenings of 23 feature films (and 22 shorts) at many locations across Seattle. This year, they'll highlight films from Bangladesh and celebrate the theme #LoveWins. See the complete Seattle South Asian Film Festival schedule.
Various Locations

12. TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival
The Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival turns 21 this year, and to celebrate, it has changed its name to TWIST, the Seattle Queer Film Festival. The next 10 days will be filled with screenings of features and shorts by the finest of queer film, video, and VR artists of the past, present, and future. Whatever you do, don’t miss Thursday's gala premiere of hometown treasure (and Stranger Genius nominee) Clyde Petersen’s debut animated feature, Torrey Pines, featuring a live score performed by members of Petersen’s band, Your Heart Breaks and special guests, including Zach Burba, Jacob Jaffe, Lori Goldston, Kimya Dawson, Corey J. Brewer, Chris Looney, Art Petersen, and the Beaconettes, with live Foley sound effects and soundscape design by Susie Kozowa. SEAN NELSON
See the complete TWIST film schedule.
Various Locations

Friday Only
13. Eyes Without a Face
The story lives up to the promise held in the film's title. A young woman named Christiane has lost her face due to a car accident. The driver at the time of the accident: Christiane's father, Professor Genessier, a well-respected specialist in transplant operations. Cold and egotistical, Professor Genessier has tossed all oaths aside and is attempting to give his daughter back a face—a worthy goal, save for the nagging problem that a replacement face needs to come from a source. And unfortunately, that source is another young woman. Eerie, frightening, and oddly beautiful, Eyes Without a Face is indeed a classic. BRADLEY STEINBACHER
Scarecrow Video

Friday and Saturday
14. Kuroneko
In the 1968 Japanese horror film Kuroneko (Black Cat), a group of samurai mercenaries do a terrible thing, and they are punished for it: ghosts, who seem to have vampire-like tastes, begin ripping out their throats.
Grand Illusion

15. Multiple Maniacs
John Waters’ horror movie Multiple Maniacs—about a group of kidnappers and murderers masquerading as a traveling freak show—features a rare, controversial, and oddly compelling love scene.
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

16. Blue Jay
Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson play reunited high-school sweethearts in this quiet romantic movie that New York Times critic Stephen Holden called "wistful and beautifully acted until...nostalgia gives way to melodrama."
SIFF Film Center

17. Certain Women
Certain Women is full of slow, quiet scenes in which women are putting on socks, smoking, or tending to chores. In another movie these would be the passing moments in between the real action, or be used to quickly make clear who someone is or where she lives. In Kelly Reichardt’s subtle portrait of four women in Montana, these drawn-out depictions of rest and work are the meat of the film. Yes, lots of people will be bored in the theater, even though the plot eventually delivers hostage negotiations, prison visits, and illicit lesbian crushes. But the gorgeous, impressively empty landscape makes every small face that appears beneath it seem interesting and important. JULIA RABAN
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

18. Do Not Resist
Men in camouflage carrying assault rifles looking on as a group of teenagers march past them holding protest signs. A mine-resistant military vehicle passing through a quiet neighborhood. State agents smashing the windows as they raid a family's home. No, this isn't Syria or North Korea or Bahrain. This is America and its police forces, as shown in the chilling and superb new documentary Do Not Resist. ANSEL HERZ
Northwest Film Forum

Saturday Only
19. Black Dynamite
What is right with Black Dynamite also happens to be what is wrong with it. Meaning, all you can give this movie is praise—praise for the editing of its action sequences, for its competent acting, for the director's knowledge of the blaxploitation tradition, and for its groovy score. The film begins with a quest for praise and ends by finding lots of it. But what one wants from a movie of this kind, a movie about a type or period of cinema, is for it to cross the border of being merely entertaining (order) to being a work of genius (disorder). This I think is the hidden or even silent failure of Black Dynamite—it is a comedy that never reaches the strange regions of the cosmic. CHARLES MUDEDE
Scarecrow Video

20. Kwaidan
Based on ghost stories collected by one of the 19th century’s oddest Americans, Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (he turned Japanese at the end of his life), Kwaidan, which was released in 1965, and which means strange stories, is one of the most beautiful films ever made. It also has a soundtrack whose brilliance and originality is second only to the one Bernard Herrmann made for Taxi Driver. Toru Takemitsu provided the perfect ghost music for Masaki Kobayashi's ghostly images and stories. You will leave this work in love with the dark powers on the other side. CHARLES MUDEDE
Grand Illusion

21. Roger Corman Double Feature
Celebrate Roger Corman's 90th birthday with a double screening of his low-budget, crowd-pleasing films Monster from the Ocean Floor and Ski Troop Attack, with a special introduction by Professor Fred Hopkins, host of Movie Marvels on Seattle's Community College TV channel.
Northwest Film Forum

Saturday and Sunday
22. Vertigo
Hitchcock's romantic story of obsession, manipulation and fear. A detective is forced to retire after his fear of heights causes the death of a fellow officer and the girl he was hired to follow. He sees a double of the girl, causing him to transform her image onto the dead girl's body. This leads into a cycle of madness and lies.
Central Cinema

Sunday Only
23. National Theatre Live: The Deep Blue Sea
Watch a taped screening of the live production of Terence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea, staged at London's National Theatre and starring Helen McCrory.
SIFF Film Center

24. Scarecrow Video Weirdo Horror Triple Feature
Catch a trio of (not yet announced) '70s-'90s "wildly weird horror oddities" from Scarecrow's library.
Grand Illusion

25. Deepwater Horizon
The players in disaster movies often seem simply like chess pieces on a board that's about to be kicked over (and then set on fire, and then thrown into a volcano), but that's not the case here. Kurt Russell and Mark Wahlberg are old pros at playing affable everymen thrust into improbably violent scenarios, and the rest of the cast feels similarly grounded. Berg knows when to sit back and let the slice-of-life stuff play out, and that makes up the first half of Deepwater Horizon. BEN COLEMAN

26. The Girl on the Train
Just so we’re clear, this movie is not Gone Girl. It gets off to a deceptively boring beginning (and middle), with plenty of blue-tinted shots of a listless Blunt as Rachel, an unemployed alcoholic who fake-commutes on Metro North to New York, where she drinks vodka out of one of those water bottles with a built-in straw and sketches statues. On the way home to get blackout drunk, Rachel likes to watch a woman who lives in a house near the train and regularly hangs out on a deck wearing underwear and looking sad. That’s not really a creepy thing in and of itself, I guess—what is public transit in a big city for if not imagining the lives of other people?—but then that woman gets murdered, and Rachel becomes concerned she may have killed her in a blackout. MEGAN BURBANK

27. Hell or High Water
Leave it to a Scot to deliver the next great American western. It’s possible director David Mackenzie (Starred Up) had the distance and perspective to depict Hell or High Water’s depressed West Texas towns and dust-dry plains with unvarnished truth. Maybe he recognized, from across the pond, a universal struggle in the specific plight of brothers Toby and Tanner Howard (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) as they try to hang on to their father’s ranch. Perhaps he sensed the timeliness of a story that depicts white American men running out of time, money, and land. More likely, Mackenzie had Taylor Sheridan’s (Sicario) superb script to navigate a path around the obvious men-with-guns clichés that make up Hell or High Water’s western-noir milieu. Whatever the case may be, it’s resulted in a great film. NED LANNAMANN

28. The Magnificent Seven
To its credit, this third Magnificent Seven doesn't try to ape either Akira Kurosawa or the 1960 film. This is an all-out Antoine Fuqua production, with the director doing a solid job transporting his fast-cut action to the Old West. If one thing can be said of this Seven in comparison to previous iterations, it's that this one definitely has the most explosions. It also has the best cast: If there's a way to make a movie starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, and Byung-hun Lee and not have it be super fun to watch, scientists have yet to discover it. ERIK HENRIKSEN

29. Sully
The story of US Airways Flight 1549—which, in 2009, pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger famously landed on the Hudson River—was going to be made into a movie whether we wanted it or not. So the news that Clint Eastwood, nowadays a dimmed, decidedly disappointing figure, was going to direct was neither surprising nor exciting. I'm a bit relieved, then, to tell you that Sully is a far more successful exercise in both dramatic storytelling and patriotism than Eastwood's 2012 dialogue with a chair. NED LANNAMANN