Fall festival season is in full swing, hallelujah! The latest one to start is TWIST: Seattle Queer Festival, kicking off Thursday night. But if festivals aren't your thing, our film critics have picked out many, many more options, including the perennial loopy-horror favorite Hausu, the new Jackie Chan thriller The Foreigner, and the critically acclaimed documentary Dolores. 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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George R. Romero's 1982 horror anthology features Ted Danson, Leslie Nielsen, Adrienne Barbeau, and many more in a bunch of scary stories written by Stephen King. Be terrorized by giant bugs, space aliens, escaped monsters, vengeful spouses, and other hideous monsters.
Ark Lodge Cinema
Ex Libris: The New York Public Library
Ex Libris: New York Public Library is exactly what the title states, a sprawling, 3-plus hour venture through the various branches, nooks, and crannies of a venerable institution. Once you get into the film’s unforced rhythms, the time starts to fly by. The small details form a fascinating gestalt. Filmed over a span of weeks, Wiseman’s 43rd feature captures, well, seemingly everything about its subject, ranging from deadpan hysterical help desk conversations, the constant struggle in adapting to changing technologies, and just the wide-ranging hustle and bustle of daily events. As Ex Libris progresses, a clear, guiding intelligence makes itself known, ranging from the no-big-deal dignity afforded everyone on screen, some gorgeously mundane glimpses of everyday routines, and the way that the topics of slavery and freedom keep surfacing in conversations.
Northwest Film Forum
Dashcam video shows a police officer approaching a vehicle as a black suspect, who is reportedly wielding a knife, opens his passenger door. The officer yells, "Don't you move or I'll shoot you," before the man climbs out of the car. The officer fires multiple shots into the suspect's body. By now, we're used to seeing videos like this—the lives of black men killed by police officers replayed on cable news and Facebook feeds. In Peter Nicks's documentary The Force, it's Oakland police cadets who rewind the video and dissect the timeline of events leading to another black man dead. Nicks secured incredible access to the department from 2014 to 2016, when it had already ticked off more than 10 years of noncompliance with a negotiated settlement agreement. As the nation turns its eyes on its police departments, Nicks offers an interior view of one adapting to the dictates of 21st-century policing. But his lens doesn't make any judgments. He leaves it up to his footage to tell the story. No interviews. No narration. STEVEN HSIEH
Here Comes the Night: The 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 week's film is the Barbara Stanwyck melodrama The File on Thelma Jordon.
Seattle Art Museum
THURSDAY & SATURDAY
Finding Joseph I: The HR from Bad Brains Documentary
Bad Brains' influence was and still is huge. My experience of BB's records is far from original. I was one of the many lives changed by the black Rasta punk band's music—its heaviness, its energy, its originality. "Pay to Cum," "I Against I," "Re-Ignition," "Return to Heaven"—these tracks exploded my understanding of culture. It was not fixed, it was not genetic, it was not destiny; it was fluid, mercurial, plastic. Culture was, for me and many others, permanently un-grounded by not only BB's attitude and mode but also the preternaturally elastic voice of it's frontman, Paul "HR" Hudson, the subject of the documentary Finding Joseph I. CHARLES MUDEDE
Seattle Latino Film Festival
This year's Seattle festival of hispanic and Latinx cinema will highlight the Dominican Republic and feature nine days of independent films, filmmaker panels, workshops, parties, and more.
Dial M for Murder
In Alfred Hitchcock's chilly huis clos of a murder drama, Tony Wendice hires a desperate acquaintance to off his rich wife, Margot. When the scheme goes awry, he gets lucky: Margot still has no idea who was behind the attempt on her life. As the police investigate, Tony coolly manipulates the evidence to get his plan of removing Margot back on track. Not one of Hitchcock's flashiest films, it's got the great asset of Ray Milland as the quick-thinking bastard—and will have you gritting your teeth to keep from shouting your tense indignation at the screen.
Hausu is the legendary psychedelic ghost story from Japan about a group of schoolgirls who venture into the wrong house. Blasts of crazy animation (both stop-motion and ink) rub up against live-action plot twists that will bend your brain. Unless you’ve seen Hausu, you’ve never seen anything like Hausu. DAVID SCHMADER
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
Wasted! The Story of Food Waste
Very early in Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, a documentary that stars the celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, a man with a thick European accent says all that needs to be said about the state of the world we live in: “We do not need to produce more food, we need to act different.” But why is so much food wasted in the first place? Because, as Marxists know, there is money to be made from waste. Capitalism can’t survive in a society that’s actually efficient and resourceful. The moment everyone in the United States does what many of the people in this documentary suggest we do (“use everything and wasting nothing,” “turn waste into electricity,” “feed pigs our waste,”), you fundamentally have a new economy. The documentary has lots of facts about how much we throw away, and how that garbage contributes to global warming and the destruction of ecosystems. The film has its visual moments (I have never seen waste look so good), but it uses the drone a little too much. When it comes to cinema, drones must be used only when there is no other way to shoot a situation. CHARLES MUDEDE
SIFF Film Center
It’s hard to imagine a better futuristic, Seattle-set whatsit than Alan Rudolph’s Trouble in Mind, where Divine played a heavy and Seattle played Rain City. If Danger Diva isn’t quite on that level, Robert McGinley’s sci-fi musical is a zippier affair. An opening title sets the scene: “Seattle: Sometime in the Near Future.” It’s a city much like our Amazonian present, filled with tech gurus toiling away on “disruptive” technologies. CEO Stanley Arkoff (Tim Gouran) meets the diva of the title, Devi Danger (Thunderpussy’s Molly Sides), when he gets a taste of her singing voice, which he wants to incorporate into a new AI initiative—or so he says. Naturally, he’s up to something more sinister. Devi needs the money, so she becomes his musical guinea pig and ends up with an instrument that doubles as a weapon. It works to her advantage when she and bandmate Scattering (Conner Neddersen) try to make a getaway, but the tech folks eventually catch up with them. McGinley (Shredder Orpheus, Jimmy Zip) also throws evil scientists, miracle babies, and brainwashed worker bees into the mix. The filmmaker has cited Neuromancer and Blade Runner as influences, except the results play more like a micro-budget Rocky Horror Picture Show. The acting can be rough and the fight scenes are awkward, but no matter, because Ms. Sides can really sing, whether in electro-Julianna Barwick mode or a Janis Joplin-esque blues idiom. KATHY FENNESSY
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
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
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
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
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
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
Pacific Place & AMC Seattle 10
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.
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
Thurgood Marshall challenged segregation in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case and later was appointed the first African American judge on the Supreme Court. This film travels back to the early stages of his career, when he defended a black chauffeur from a false rape accusation from a wealthy white woman. This film focuses on his personality, a combination of heroic and endearingly cocksure, as well as his relationship with his white, Jewish associate, Samuel Friedman.
Meridian 16 & Ark Lodge Cinema
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
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
Tasveer South Asian Film Festival
Tasveer, the largest South Asian film festival in the United States, has one main goal: Engage the community. Based in Redmond, the 12th annual festival (which also hosts year-round programming at venues like the Bellevue Art Museum) opened on October 6 and highlights films from Nepal. Their community engagement seems to be working—submissions are up 42 percent from last year, and most of their growth has come from new artists. Their screenings are accompanied by discussions with filmmakers or representatives from relevant local organizations. No matter the focus, they want to give audiences the chance to talk and think things through. Tasveer is the opposite of a mindless rut—every screening, talk, and exhibit is full of intention and intellectual curiosity. In addition to the 18 features and 38 shorts, there will be appearances from several dozen filmmakers (including super-famous Aparna Sen) and galas (of course). JULIA RABAN
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 The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin (playing on opening night), Something Like Summer, and The Lavender Scare, you'll also get the chance to rendezvous with filmmakers and take cinema workshops.
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