The Villainess is playing from Friday to Sunday at SIFF Cinema Uptown.

Where better to hide from the ash-choked Seattle atmosphere than a cool, windowless movie theater? Find our critics' picks below, including two tense gay-themed dramas, Beach Rats and Rift, a feral Korean action film called The Villainess, and a fundraiser for an upcoming film with Charles Mudede, Ahamefule Oluo, and Lindy West. Follow the links below for showtimes and trailers. Still searching? Find plenty of options in our movie times and our film events calendar.

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THURSDAY ONLY

1. I Do... Until I Don't
I Do...Until I Don’t starts with a brilliant suggestion: Marriage should be a seven-year contract, with an option to renew. I Do finds documentary filmmaker Vivian—the one with the excellent plan to GTFO after seven years—setting up shop in Florida to interview couples whose marriages may be teetering on the brink so she can exploit their pain and prove her point. These couples are semi-functional displays of average, including boring youngs, boring olds, and doomed reckless youngs. But then I Do... Until I Don’t cleverly reveals one of the biggest twists in the history of romantic comedies, straying from its central thesis of marriage being an evil and archaic institution and becoming something (spoiler!) kinda positive? Love-affirming, even? ELINOR JONES
AMC Seattle 10 & Pacific Place

2. Thin Skin Fundraiser ft. Charles Mudede, Ahamefule J. Oluo, and Lindy West
Ahamefule J. Oluo's one-man show Now I'm Fine was a sell-out smash hit in Seattle—Brendan Kiley called it "triumphant," praising the enthralling soundtrack played by 16 musicians, dark and deftly handled subject matter, and jokes that lifted and sustained the grim narrative. Later, the show was performed in New York, and Ben Brantley at the New York Times wrote that Oluo expanded the format of stand-up autobiography "to dizzying proportions." Now Oluo, author and journalist Lindy West, and our own film editor Charles Mudede (Police Beat and Zoo, among others) are working on a new movie loosely inspired by Now I'm Fine. They've got a list of incredible collaborators including comedian Hari Kondabolu and Stranger Genius Zia Mohajerjasbi. And at this event, Mudede, Olou, and West will share short clips from the upcoming film and lead a discussion about the project. The event is free, but consider making a donation—they're hoping to raise $100,000 this summer through grassroots fundraising efforts.
The Cloud Room

FRIDAY ONLY

3. Rope
Alfred Hitchcock's famed experiment creates the illusion of a single-take film by splicing each 10-minute single-take reel with hidden hard cuts. Watch it for his daring 1948 innovation in apparent "real time" filmmaking, much later to be explored in films like Russian Ark and Birdman, or for the stagy but deeply sinister murder plot: Two students kill a third for the thrill of it and invite the victim's family and friends to dine off the chest that hides the corpse.
Scarecrow Video

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

4. Beach Rats
Art house films in which the camera caresses young male bodies are usually directed by men, like Gus Van Sant or Larry Clark, so Eliza Hittman’s Beach Rats feels like an outlier. If anything, her follow-up to 2013’s It Felt Like Love is as much about a 19-year-old exploring his sexuality as it’s a chance for Pina cinematographer Hélène Louvart to linger on the panes of his face, the curvature of his lips, the contours of his torso. At home, Frankie hooks up with men he meets through a gay webcam forum, but with his friends—Brooklyn bros in tank tops and backward hats—he hangs out on the boardwalk, smoking blunts and digging the heteronormative scene. When a pretty brunette flirts with him one night, he flirts back, but the minute his friends abandon him, he looks frightened. When their first sexual encounter is a bust, he convinces her to give him another chance. His father is dying, and he’s eager for the kind of human connection his friends are unable to provide, and so he splits his life down the middle—gay in private and straight in public, a bifurcation bound to fail. KATHY FENNESSY
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

5. Seattle Erotic Cinema Society Festival (SECS FEST)
The not-so-coyly named SECS FEST presents cinematic tales to titillate, including four features, 25 shorts, and two classics, all in the pricelessly weird Grand Illusion theater. See sex in every genre, including sci fi, documentary, music, dance, experimental, and comedy. Some screenings are preceded or followed by special talks by guest academics, BDSM practitioners, film professionals, and others. The cherry on top is the wrap party on Sunday. No one under 18 will be admitted to any of the films or events.
Grand Illusion

6. The Villainess
The absurdly flashy The Villainess takes a sure-fire exploitation premise—a female assassin attempts to start a new life, while also reluctantly continuing to thin out the world’s thug population—and goes for absolute, ridiculously overt broke. If you’re a fan of the genre, this perpetual motion machine is really something to see. And recoil from, occasionally.As creatively frenzied as its set pieces are, what really makes The Villainess work is the presence of its lead actress, whose ability to turn on a dime between ferally crazed and dead-eyed flinty keeps things continually hopping. ANDREW WRIGHT
SIFF Cinema Uptown

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

7. Rift
Rökkur, which translates from Icelandic to Rift, is about Einar and Gunnar, two drama queens who are haunted by their recently ended relationship. Months after their breakup, Einar (Sigurður Þór Óskarsson) retreats to a cabin under a glacier. One night, he drunk dials Gunnar (Björn Stefánsson), secretly hoping to rekindle the relationship they have lost. Gunnar visits Einar at the cabin (which is named Rökkur), and the two spend an ambiguous amount of time crying and moping and lollygagging around Icelandic vistas. Oh, and then there's a stalker. Or maybe it's a ghost. Or a Grindr hookup with a grudge. Whatever it is, it's definitely horny and violent, and in the absence of the stalker having a clear identity, my internet-addled brain made Rökkur's villain...the Babadook? While the Babadook is now forever associated with gay Twitter, The Babadook wasn't created as a gay-inclusive film—the movie was out for three years before Tumblr's "Babadiscourse" repurposed the Babadook as a queer figure It's difficult to separate the Australian Babadook (if memes can even have a nationality) from Rökkur's stalker. But rather than being distractions, these similarities help launch Rökkur, and gay Icelandic narratives, into an increasingly international LGBT canon. CHASE BURNS
SIFF Film Center

SUNDAY ONLY

8. My People Are Rising
This event, which is a part of the nationally recognized Seventh Art Stand movement, will feature a preview screening of a documentary based on Aaron Dixon’s book My People Are Rising. Dixon helped open the first chapter of the Black Panther Party outside of California. This happened in 1968 in the Central District, Seattle’s former black neighborhood. The Black Panther Party is famous for combining in its program self-defense and the organic intellectualism that the antifascist Italian theorist Antonio Gramsci described in his concept of hegemony. Dixon will be at this event. Looking at him is like looking at a statue of the people’s history of Seattle. CHARLES MUDEDE
Northwest Film Forum

9. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan 35th Anniversary
Celebrate the 35th anniversary of the film which is considered by some fans to be the best in the franchise. They'll show the director's cut plus an exclusive introduction by William Shatner.
Varsity Theatre

ALL WEEKEND

10. Annabelle: Creation
The setting: A mid-century Andrew Wyeth landscape with an Edward Hopper house. A busload of orphans and a kindly nun move into a mansion run by the saturnine Mr. Mullins and his recluse wife. We know why the Mullinses are so gloomy: Years earlier, their daughter Annabelle was killed in a car crash, and her old room remains stuffed with creepy vintage toys. Orphan Janice, crippled by polio and neglected by the other girls, is quickly lured into the room, where she finds an unpleasant-looking doll and winds up terrorized by a demonic force in the form of the dead daughter. Only her big-eyed, dorky friend Linda guesses what’s happening, and no adult believes her until people start getting ripped apart. This capable, if conventional, haunted house movie assumes a grave sweetness while it concentrates on the intense friendship between its two young protagonists, who deserve more screen time before the standard phantasmagoria of the Conjuring franchise crowds in—scary antiques, bone-snapping demons, malicious tea party dollies. JOULE ZELMAN
Meridian 16

11. 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
Meridian 16 & Pacific Place

12. Baby 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
Various locations

13. 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
Various locations

14. Columbus
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
SIFF Cinema Uptown& Varsity Theatre

15. Dunkirk
From May 26 to June 4, 1940, the evacuation of Allied troops from the French port of Dunkirk and its surrounding beaches, known as Operation Dynamo, was a hugely important event in the history of World War II. After the war was over, the survivors of Dunkirk would almost all liken it to Hell. It was Hell on earth, a living Hell. The question is this: How do you present Hell on earth, Hell in the air, and Hell at sea on celluloid? For Christopher Nolan, much of the answer is do it in ultra-high-definition 70 mm IMAX film and show it in IMAX cinemas. Dunkirk is meant to be a nonstop 114 minutes of unalleviated spectacle, a massive collage of beautifully composed pictures, each one lasting for only a few seconds, of gunfire, flames, drowned corpses, exploding bombs, aerial dogfights with numerous plane crashes, and more, much more. Dunkirk shows a world full of terror, but Nolan goes to great lengths to ensure that his audience is never terrified. We sit in our seats munching popcorn and watch other people undergoing terrifying experiences. JONATHAN RABAN
Various locations

16. Good Time
Good Time has the keen eye for anthropology you find in a lot of Sundance movies—the casting feels both unconventional and authentic, and there’s an interest in subcultures that you don’t normally see on screen—but the beauty is that it packs this sensibility into a taut genre thriller. Robert Pattinson, previously of the Twilight series and clearly thrilled to be in a role that doesn’t require him to brood, smolder, or sparkle, plays Connie Nikas, a twitchy grifter who cadges money from his obnoxious, possibly mentally challenged girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and gets his definitely mentally challenged brother, Nick (Benny Safdie, who also co-directed the film with his brother), caught up in a lamebrained heist. The crime goes bad and Nick gets pinched—sending Connie on a night-long odyssey through the wilds of Queens to try to make the money for Nick’s bail. VINCE MANCINI
Various locations

17. Gook
In the thick of the1992 LA riots, two Korean American brothers who own a women's shoe store form a friendship with an 11-year-old African American girl named Kamilla. Director Justin Chon won second place at SIFF, as well as the Best of Next award at Sundance.
Meridian 16 & AMC Seattle 10

18. Logan Lucky
Logan Lucky is a caper movie that combines the style and sensibility of Soderbergh's biggest crowd pleasers (Ocean's Eleven, Out of Sight) with the dusty Southern outlaw vibe of 1970s films like White Lightning or Moonrunners. The result is an odd hybrid of masterful filmmaking and a kind of culture jamming impulse that walks a tightrope between savviness and condescension. The red state drag show that Soderbergh has convened here feels not merely unconvincing, but a tiny bit uncomfortable, too. That is to say: a bunch of fantastically talented and beautiful movie stars (Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Daniel Craig) working really hard to seem at home in NASCAR America, where the American flag battles camo for fashion primacy, where people play toilet seat horseshoes, and an interminably melismatic rendition of "America the Beautiful" by LeAnn Rimes as Blue Angels roar overhead brings grown men to tears. SEAN NELSON
Various locations

19. Patti Cake$
It’s a bleak setting many Americans will recognize: wide, treeless roads; trash-strewn strip mall parking lots; an inescapable sense of resigned hopelessness. But Patti perseveres, filling her notebooks with rap verses that she shares with her best friend Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay). When she can’t rap with Jheri, Patti escapes into elaborate fantasies, floating through green clouds of Wizard of Oz–style haze and dreaming of winning the favor of her rap idols with her rhymes. Patti Cake$ could easily be labeled a feminist 8 Mile, and at first glance, it looks just about identical: the fights with mom, the working poverty, the white rapper seeking to break into a traditionally African American art form. Patti Cake$ only escapes the 8 Mile cliché—the idea that it’s somehow heroic for a white person to succeed in a marginalized person’s world—on the strength of its actors, the versatility of its director (Jasper also penned Patti’s lyrics), and the fact that its script packs so much heart. While 8 Mile struggled under the weight of trying to remain true to Eminem’s account of his life, Patti Cake$—a work of pure fiction—feels much more real. SUZETTE SMITH
Various locations

20. Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World
Catherine Bainbridge’s important documentary traces the impact that Native American musicians have made on blues, rock, jazz, hiphop, and heavy metal. Using Link Wray’s menacing 1958 instrumental “Rumble” as its anchor (akin to Do the Right Thing’s use of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”), Bainbridge relates stories of several influential, distinctive performers, including the Band’s Robbie Robertson, activist folkie Buffy Sainte-Marie, Mildred Bailey, Charley Patton, and a cat named Jimi Hendrix. Rumble asserts the primacy and resiliency of Native culture despite the government’s concerted efforts to suppress and erase it. DAVE SEGAL
SIFF Cinema Uptown

21. Spider-Man: Homecoming
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
Meridian 16 & Pacific Place

22. Step
Recall Hoop Dreams, the 1994 documentary about two black American teenagers who dream of becoming pro-ballers and making millions. Step is not like that. Though having the same urban and class setting as Hoop Dreams (this time Baltimore and not Chicago), these black American teenagers are not dreaming of fame or riches. There are no such illusions for them. Their goals are more realistic: graduate from high school, get into college, obtain a degree, and secure stable employment. As for step dancing (which is not really at the center of the documentary), it provides pleasure, discipline, and a way to discharge a lot of inner-city pressure. Life for these young women is not easy at home or in the classroom. Sometimes there’s no food in the fridge; other times, homelessness is one unpaid bill away. The documentary is straightforward and powerful. CHARLES MUDEDE
Ark Lodge Cinema & Varsity Theatre

23. The Trip to Spain
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon's latest rambling comedy tour, The Trip to Spain, like the previous films in the series, offers the right mixture of melancholia and laughter by poking fun at the grandiose, sometimes destructive tendencies of the central characters. The franchise, directed by Michael Winterbottom, is based on a semi-improvised BBC2 TV program in which Coogan and Brydon (both British comedians, both great at impressions, one much cheerier than the other) go on gorgeous, literary-inspired food tours. Each of the three movies in the series is edited down from a six-episode television season. If you're truly interested in the details of regional cuisine, this series will be disappointing. But it works as a very funny take on the way comedians entertain themselves, an exploration of midlife crises, a meditation on history and meaning, a collection of strange but well-executed voices and impressions, and a decidedly un-sappy celebration of friendship. It's smart but light. If The Trip's high-strung chatter grated on you, give Coogan and Brydon another shot with The Trip to Spain—their formula is changing, and for the better. JULIA RABAN
SIFF Cinema Uptown

24. 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
Various locations

25. Wonder Woman
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
Meridian 16

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