The Seattle International Film Festival begins this weekend, and we urge you to partake of the delights of the nation's biggest film fest—start by checking out our must-sees for this weekend. But there are other good movies playing elsewhere, including the comedic drag thriller Hurricane Bianca: From Russia with Hate, Deadpool 2, and the World War I drama The Guardians. Follow the links to see complete showtimes, tickets, and trailers, and, if you're looking for even more options, check out our complete movie times listings or our film events calendar.
Note: Movies play from Thursday to Sunday unless otherwise noted.
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Abacus was the only US bank to face criminal charges for mortgage fraud after the 2008 financial crisis—and it wasn't a national behemoth but a small institution owned by the Sung family in New York. This documentary follows the course of the immigrant clan's legal fight over five years and has been praised by the New York Times as "a classic underdog tale."
Wing Luke Museum
Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel’s attempt to put an exploding bow on 10 years of corporate synergy, is a lurching, ungainly colossus of a blockbuster, with far too many characters and storylines stretching across a series of planets that resemble 1970s prog-rock album covers. The thing is, though, while you’re watching it? None of these elements feel like debits. Sometimes, excess hits the spot. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo deserve a huge amount of credit for simply making sure all of Infinity War’s 5,000 performers hit their marks—but they also find room for most of these characters to get an honest-to-god character moment or two. The Russos aren’t exactly stylists, however, and there’s a flatness to the establishing scenes here that feels similar to Marvel’s first wave of films. A little bit of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther panache would’ve gone a long way. But once the action kicks in, the ridiculous scope of this thing takes over and sweeps away any quibbles. ANDREW WRIGHT
Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy
Since its 1968 release, Roger Vadim's Barbarella has remained a touchstone of trash-pop culture, inspiring numerous musicians (from Prince to Duran Duran) and much masturbation (Jane Fonda spends the majority of the film in a bikini and go-go boots). Here's your chance to see the legendary space spoof—"a kind of sexual Alice in Wonderland of the future," proclaimed Vadim upon the film's release—on the big screen. DAVID SCHMADER
Ark Lodge Cinemas
Because I do not want to spoil the experience of this movie, I will not describe the path of the film's plot to its core problem, which concerns the unification of black Africa with black America. Out of a comic book, director Ryan Coogler crafted an important concept about how, from the unification, a post-pan-Africanist global Africanism can emerge. It comes down to this: black Africans and black Americans have to admit their respective failings. (My feeling is that Coogler is much harder on black Americans than black Africans.) As a whole, Black Panther is lots of fun and will excite a lot of discussion and strong opinions. But the most revolutionary thing about Black Panther is its city. The capital of Wakanda has skyscrapers, a monorail, sidewalks of grass, green buildings, farmers markets, and no cars. The whole idea of private transportation is foreign to this fictional society. If this black African capital has anything to share with the world, it's its city planning. CHARLES MUDEDE
Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat
To be honest, there is little in Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat that improves on the longer, 2010 documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child. In fact, the film provides almost no background for the three years (1978-1981) it covers of the artist’s very short life (his childhood, his middle-class family, his education). The young Basquiat appears as if from the head of Zeus, walks around, sleeps around, joins a band, attends parties, borrows money, dreams of fame, does drugs, paints on everything, and finally hands a small piece of art to Andy Warhol. The end. But because it is impossible for any documentary about Basquiat and his times (the twilight of the affordable and dodgy Manhattan) to be uninteresting, the time spent watching The Late Teenage Years is far from wasted. The film will open on May 18 at Seattle Art Museum (thereafter to continue at NWFF), where attendees can view Basquiat's painting of a skull currently hanging. Basquiat’s former partner Alexis Adler will attend. CHARLES MUDEDE
Seattle Art Museum and Northwest Film Forum
Everything you could possibly want from a sequel to Deadpool is in place: the relentless breaking-down of the fourth wall; Deadpool’s twisted, self-flagellating humor and his snipes at pop culture, the X-Men franchise, characters in the franchise, the death of characters in the franchise. There are perfectly choreographed, partially slow-motion, and hilariously absurd CGI-augmented (and in some cases fully initiated) fight sequences; gratuitous and non-too-serious violence and carnage...Basically, Deadpool spends a lot of time wallowing in his own self-pity, the boundaries of his mutant-ness are tested, and once he figures out what he’s supposed to be doing—keeping a soldier from the future, Cable (Josh Brolin), from killing 14-year-old Russell Collins—the action re-starts in earnest. LEILANI POLK
Dial M for Murder (Part of "Alfred Hitchcock's Britain" Series)
Sure, with the exception of the modestly budgeted, black-and-white Psycho, Hitchcock is known for his lavishly Freudian Technicolor thrillers from the ‘50s and ‘60s. But the films he made in his native Britain are just as worthy of note—taut, intricate, their perversity more elaborately disguised. The last film in the series is the glossy yet extremely dark chamber drama Dial M for Murder, about a terrifyingly cool-headed husband who frames his wife for murder after she kills the assassin he sent.
Seattle Art Museum
A rationalist professor specializing in debunking superstitions sets out to solve three paranormal cases—a task that turns out to be rather a handful. Starring Andy Nyman, Alex Lawther, Martin Freeman, and Paul Whitehouse and adapted from a successful stage show, this anthology film may delight anyone with a taste for B-movie horror, low-key scares, and British accents and settings.
Historical films often use their timeframes as an excuse to pile on the gauze, burying the drama and relatable characters beneath mounds of hazy romanticism. The sedately riveting The Guardians, however, refuses to gussy up its surroundings in the slightest, depicting WWI-era Life on the Farm with a near-to-total lack of nostalgia. (Note: Old-timey tractors were both extremely cool, and absolutely terrifying.) Although the pacing may be … well, let’s say deliberate, the slow-detonating conflicts and a magnificent performance by newcomer Iris Bry are enough to keep you glued. Based on a novel by Ernest Perochon, the plot follows an increasingly fractured family in the French countryside, with the women giving their all to keep the farm running while waiting for their sons and husbands to return from The Front. When the youngest son falls for the household’s newest servant (Bry) while on leave, the carefully maintained layers of civility begin to peel away. ANDREW WRIGHT
Hurricane Bianca: From Russia with Hate
Stranger contributor Matt Baume called Del Rio "the most vicious RuPaul's Drag Race winner of all time," and she's back in a very silly romp through a very grim subject. Richard Martinez/Bianca Del Rio is lured by his nemesis, Deborah “Debbie” Ward, to virulently homophobic Russia. But when their friends wind up in big trouble, the enemies have to work together. On Thursday, May 17, special guest Matthew Camp will be there for the opening night party.
Northwest Film Forum
Isle of Dogs
Wes Anderson’s second foray into stop-motion animation—following 2009’s unassailably wonderful Fantastic Mr. Fox—is full of delectable visual treats. This time, the director’s grade-school diorama aesthetic floods your ocular circuits with a retro-futuristic version of Japan, where all the dogs of Megasaki City have been exiled to Trash Island following an outbreak of snout fever. Isle of Dogs is leaps and bounds more advanced than Fantastic Mr. Fox—the deliberate herky-jerkiness of that film has vanished, replaced by a refined style of stop-motion that’s breathtaking in its elegance, even as it depicts Trash Island’s mountains of maggoty, flea-ridden refuse. But Anderson’s depiction of Japanese humans in Isle of Dogs leaves something to be desired. In what initially seems like a clever tactic, the dogs all speak English while humans communicate in un-translated Japanese. While this pulls us inside the dogs’ world, it flattens the depiction of the Japanese characters. Anderson—and the audience—remain Western outsiders looking in. But all in all, Isle of Dogs is worth recommending. NED LANNAMANN
Life of the Party
Life of the Party is more than serviceable—it’s wonderful! Melissa McCarthy plays Deanna, the fortysomething mom of a college senior, and when her husband unceremoniously dumps her for a blonde real-estate agent, she decides to go back to college at the same school as her daughter. The whole plot seemed obvious. Then there was a funny line. And then another. And then another fantastic supporting cast member rolled in with some subtly hilarious shtick. And before I knew it, I was doubled over laughing about... pretty much everything? What the hell? ELINOR JONES
If you're one of those people who only reads the first sentences of movie reviews, here you go: Love, Simon is FANTASTIC, and you should see it IMMEDIATELY. The best thing about it is Simon himself: A clever, kind kid with a loving family and good friends, he's having a hell of a time figuring out how—or if—he should come out. Not many YA protagonists feel as real as Simon, regardless of whether he's going through great stuff or drama. Simon's great stuff includes: a secret e-mail relationship with Blue, another closeted kid at his school. Simon doesn't know who Blue really is, and Blue doesn't know who Simon really is, but through hesitantly typed e-mails, the two find the beginnings of a relationship that's inspiring and complicated. Simon's drama includes: his dipshit classmate Martin, who stumbles onto his e-mails with Blue–and threatens to share them with everyone if Simon doesn't do what he says. Love, Simon thrums with heightened emotions, but it never feels false or silly; Greg Berlanti's smart enough to treat these kids like real, complicated people, and the result is a movie that feels both truthful and ridiculously engaging. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Lu Over the Wall
Lu is a little music-loving mermaid feared by nervous townsfolk and embraced by a trio of rockin' adolescents in Masaaki Yuasa's candy-colored, friendly fantasy. Yuasa's known for Devilman: Crybaby and has worked on Adventure Time, so this might become another cult classic, with hyperactive, daringly abstract sequences combining with beautiful detail.
A Quiet Place
This rural horror starring director John Krasinski and Emily Blunt is a fun, brawny horror flick with a surprisingly sugary heart and an ingenious gimmick. Human civilization is basically kaput and giant scythe-hand stealth-crab anthropoids roam the earth. They’re blind, but their huge, opalescent inner ears alert them to the presence of prey from miles off. A Quiet Place begins well after the creatures’ conquest. A man, his pregnant partner, and their son and daughter live in silence on an isolated farm, every aspect of their existence adapted to minimize noise: sand-covered trails, sign language, light and smoke signals, even cloth game pieces. But despite their ingenuity, the family must take increasingly drastic measures to protect themselves even as the pre-adolescent daughter, who’s deaf, rebels against her father. Their everyday yet all-important routines are a neat device for ramping up tension during the exposition. At the preview screening, we were all flinching when a lamp upended, shushing a character who cried too loudly. But it’s during the moments of crises—particularly when Blunt starts giving birth at a very inconvenient time—that Krasinski really shows he can twist your nerves in a way that shuts down your critical faculties. JOULE ZELMAN
Rampage is an expensive video-game movie about a giant ape and a flying wolf and a spiky lizard—and they all fight each other. It’s exceptionally dumb, exceptionally fun, and weirdly faithful to its 16-bit source material. Rampage the game was about monsters smashing buildings and eating people, and Rampage the movie is also about this. Dwayne Johnson plays Davis Okoye, a primatologist who works at a primate center full of awful millennials and, for some reason, at least one grizzly bear. When the titular rampage begins, the film earns its keep, as the three rowdy-ass monsters pulverize the streets of Chicago and tear through tanks, helicopters, gunships, and a Dave & Buster’s. BEN COLEMAN
All hail Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Better known as “RBG” to her fans (and “Bubby” to her grandkids), at 85 years old, the US Supreme Court justice still has a fierce intellect, a duty to the law, and an immense inner and physical strength. Over the long course of her career, RBG repeatedly defended the rights of everyone to live free from bias, but, as Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg says, Ginsburg “quite literally changed life for women.” And she’s still doing it. With intimate interviews with family and friends, as well as RBG herself, the film captures the life of a woman with a heart none of us wants to stop ticking. KATIE HERZOG
Meridian 16 & AMC Seattle 10
A Skin So Soft
Not much happens in this documentary essay by Quebecois filmmaker Denis Côte. The dialogue is sparse—there’s more heavy breathing than words—and the action is small, especially considering the characters’ physical size. The film portrays six bodybuilders in Canada as they go about their daily lives: waking up, eating breakfast, caring for children, brushing their teeth, taking selfies, and, of course, picking up heavy things and then putting them back down. These men are massive, with muscles built and maintained through hard work and protein powder, and their brute size belies their sometimes sensitive inner lives. In one scene, you see a colossal tattooed muscle man eating his breakfast and quietly crying at something playing on his laptop. What inspired this emotion, we don’t know, but that hardly matters: the tears of a giant, wiping his eyes before he heads out the gym, are deeply, strangely fascinating, as is this whole quiet film. KATIE HERZOG
Northwest Film Forum
VOYEUR Presents: The Driver's Seat
The VOYEUR outré cinema club presents The Driver's Seat, fabled to be "one of the worst films of Elizabeth Taylor's career," based on the Muriel Spark story about a middle-aged woman trying to find a man who'll murder her. With quotes like "A macrobiotic diet keeps the spirit young and the sex sexy!" and "Ah, do you carry a revolver? Because if you did, you could shoot me" and "But ORGASMS are YANG!" this turkey's bound to elicit some communal horrified laughter.
A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time is an engrossing fantasy about a teenage girl, Meg, who—despite her anxieties and faults, and with the help of some friends and three extra-dimensional beings named Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which—embarks on a cross-dimensional adventure to save her missing father from a terrifying monster of darkness and conformity named IT. Disney’s new blockbuster isn’t the A Wrinkle in Time I read as a child. Director Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th) has updated the story and placed it squarely in the now: There’s an extended roller coaster-esque flight scene over otherworldly landscapes, a multiracial cast, instructions for self-care, and Oprah. DuVernay doesn’t cut the weird without adding wonder. Her update to the three Mrs. W’s is particularly spectacular. Rather than the beak-nosed ladies they were in the book, these Mrs. W’s are luminous, ever-changing chameleons in couture gowns. There’s an informal pairing off—one child for each extra-dimensional being—and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) is predictably charged with the anxious Meg (Storm Reid), who, like many of Oprah’s followers, just needs a little boost of self-confidence before she’s ready to stand up to a universe-devouring evil. SUZETTE SMITH
Ark Lodge Cinemas and AMC Pacific Place
Also Playing This Weekend
Our critics don't recommend these movies, but they're major Hollywood films.