If you're not at HUMP! this weekend, or even if you are, make time for the Nicole Kidman- and Lucas Hedges-starring gay-conversion drama Boy Erased, the locally filmed "space noir" Prospect, or the Jim Jarmusch classic Mystery Train. You can even get Mediterranean with Cinema Italian Style or the Seattle Turkish Film Festival. Follow the links below to see complete showtimes, tickets, and trailers for all of our critics' picks, and, if you're looking for even more options, check out our film events calendar and complete movie times listings.
14th Annual HUMP! Film Festival
The 14th Annual HUMP! Film Festival, the world's biggest and best porn short film festival, premiers in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco this November! After the opening festival concludes its run, HUMP! will hit the road in 2019 and screen in more than 50 cities across the U.S. and Canada. HUMP! invites filmmakers, animators, songwriters, porn-star wannabes, kinksters, vanilla folks, YOU, and other creative types to make short porn films—five minutes max—for HUMP! The HUMP! Film Festival screens in theaters and nothing is ever released online. HUMP! films can be hardcore, softcore, live action, animated, kinky, vanilla, straight, gay, lez, bi, trans, genderqueer—anything goes at HUMP! (Well, almost anything: No poop, no animals, no minors, no MAGA hats.) DAN SAVAGE
On the Boards
Bad Times at the El Royale
If a computer algorithm were to generate a movie about the late 1960s and early ’70s, using information solely gleaned from the films of Quentin Tarantino, the result might look something like Bad Times at the El Royale. A femme fatale with a dark secret? A scary-sexy cult leader? Muscle cars? Writer/director Drew Goddard attempts to cram all the terror and confusion of that era—from Watergate to Vietnam to the Manson murders—into a kitschy roadside motel that straddles the California-Nevada border. Unfortunately, by the end, I was just glad Bad Times was over. It seems like Goddard’s priority was creating an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia, with five strangers who are lying about their identities stuck in this eerie alpine waypost in the middle of a storm. That said, some people will love Bad Times; it’s an odd hybrid of noir and horror, with smoky tension and violent jump scares. CIARA DOLAN
I’ve never been a parent or a junkie (yet!), but I found a lot that resonated in Beautiful Boy, a low-key film based on a pair of interconnected memoirs from father and son David and Nicolas Sheff. David (Steve Carell) chews himself up over son Nic’s (Timothée Chalamet) spiral into meth and heroin addiction, asking what he could have done to prevent it and wondering how he can fix it. Nic, meanwhile, copes with not only his body’s betrayal but with the disappointment he feels, both self-directed and from his patient, confused father. From Beautiful Boy’s perspective, Nic is really only guilty of having a curious mind, while David, a good father in every recognizable way, might have simply waited too long to show his beloved son some tough love. The performances make the whole thing sing. Carell and Chalamet both do expectedly good work, and they’re matched by Amy Ryan as Nic’s mother and Maura Tierney as his stepmother. Beautiful Boy is driven by the real-life horror of watching a loved one succumb to drugs, but it’s a family drama devoid of most of the genre’s manipulative qualities, substituting them with honesty, empathy, and fully drawn human beings. NED LANNAMANN
I heart Queen. The song this film is named for was on the soundtrack of my youth. But early reactions to the film biopic (that’s more about Freddie Mercury than the British rock band he led) have been mixed to bad. The New York Times’ Kyle Buchanan tweeted that Bohemian Rhapsody “is a glorified Wikipedia entry but Rami Malek plays Freddie Mercury (and wears his wonderful costumes) with incredible gusto.” Our own Chase Burns was not a fan at all. ("The 15-minute long shit I took during the middle of the movie was more nuanced than the straight-washed hagiography peddled in that movie theater.") In sum, enter at your own risk. LEILANI POLK
This film features the most prolific twinks of our time: Troye Sivan, Lucas Hedges, and Nicole Kidman. These three gays will dazzle the screen in this year's most star-studded gay flick—oh wait, Troye Sivan is the only gay among them. Lucas Hedges has said he’s “not totally straight, but also not gay and not necessarily bisexual,” and Nicole Kidman, despite being the world's most famous twink, is surprisingly a 51-year-old Australian woman. While think pieces on Hedges’s sexuality will probably dominate the conversation around Boy Erased, it looks like a cute holiday movie about gay conversion therapy. Go see it! CHASE BURNS
SIFF Cinema Uptown & Meridian 16
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
In Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Melissa McCarthy stars as real-life best-selling biographer Lee Israel. But this isn’t a life of literary glitz and glamour that you're imagining after such a juicy introductory sentence! After falling on hard biographer times, Israel turned to a life of writerly crimes, forging letters from long-dead authors to make just enough cash to pay her rent, take her cat to the vet, and aggressively drink. This all sounds sad, I know, but there’s warmth underneath, thanks to Israel’s friendship with the charming, equally self-destructive Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant). McCarthy, who’s made a career of portraying loud women, is a different kind of jerk here—a real person who lashes out not for laughs, but because life is hard and she knows she’s making bad choices. ELINOR JONES
SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Cinema Italian Style
The Cinema Italian Style is a weeklong SIFF mini-festival featuring the best in contemporary Italian cinema. This week, check out The Guest, a comedy about a man who crashes on a series of friends' and families' couches after being dumped; I Villani, about the traditions of Italian food and farming; and The Story of a Love Affair, Michelangelo Antonioni's classic melodrama about two lovers on the path to murder.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Keira Knightley embodies the 19th- and 20th-century French novelist Colette as a country girl who blossoms sexually and artistically after marrying a witty small publisher in Belle-Epoque Paris. Critics love the biopic's wit and convincing depiction of a truly well-matched and adventurous couple.
Descent into the Maelstrom: The Untold Story of Radio Birdman
This doc chronicles one of Australia’s most important and BEST high energy bands, Radio Birdman. Birdman were six lads who played some of the most searing rock and roll, and before anyone really called it “punk,” all while seeking to engage and elevate everyone who’d listen; the kids eventually listened and, with the band, built their own “outlaw” subculture. Radio Birdman’s story is archetypal of a handful of many of their contemporaries, and it’s exciting to learn how it happened with Birdman, as the band coalesced their momentum into A THING that fucking mattered. But it’s equally heartbreaking to feel the sting as they imploded over music biz bullshit and clashing personalities. MIKE NIPPER
SIFF Film Center
Engauge Experimental Film Festival
This experimental film festival will screen "films that originated on film" from artists around the world, including Kerry Laitala's cosmic Astro Trilogy, a multimedia performance by Olympia's Crackpot Collective, and two live scores.
Northwest Film Forum
The space stuff is great. When La La Land director Damien Chazelle’s biopic about Neil Armstrong focuses on NASA’s insanely ambitious and dangerous plan to put a man on the moon, it thrums with thrill and threat—from the astonishing scope of space to the claustrophobic confines of the command module, the best parts of First Man are worth experiencing on the biggest screen possible. Ryan Gosling offers an excellent turn as Armstrong, but even Gosling can’t liven up the story’s more pedestrian elements, which largely involve Armstrong’s relationship with his wife (Claire Foy) and his stoic mourning of his daughter. First Man bears the familiar curse of the biopic—it somehow feels both overlong and unsatisfying—and never quite escapes the shadow of The Right Stuff, Philip Kaufman’s remarkable 1983 film that told a similar story with more grace and smarts. Still: the space stuff is great. ERIK HENRIKSEN
This highly praised, dizzying documentary reveals the heart-stopping journey of Alex Honnold as he conquered Yosemite's El Capitan wall without ropes or safety gear. You don't need to be a climber to be thrilled at this glimpse into human accomplishment.
Watching the original Halloween in 2018, it can be hard to appreciate exactly what was so scary about it in 1978. We’ve seen so many derivations of it (from Friday the 13th to A Nightmare on Elm Street) and we’ve seen it referenced, analyzed, parodied, and homaged so many times (in Scream and everything else) that going back to the source is bound to be a little anti-climactic. It certainly was for me, a guy who had not yet been born in 1978. Michael Myers didn’t kill the most people. John Carpenter’s Halloween wasn’t the goriest, the trashiest, or the kitschiest. Yet it essentially spawned an entire genre: the slasher film. And here we are in 2018, still making Halloween movies. Or at least, David Gordon Green and Danny McBride have made a Halloween movie. It’s an unlikely combination of content and creator, but an intriguing one. VINCE MANCINI
Cats in movies have symbolized everything from elegance to curiosity to evil, but sometimes—like in the films of the French experimentalist Chris Marker—they are simply their wonderful selves. Hep Cats delivers a handful of these ailurophilic flicks, like Kuroneko, maybe the finest and most tragic Japanese ghost story samurai drama. JOULE ZELMAN
Northwest Film Forum
Indigenous Showcase: Tribal Justice
The aspect of Native American culture that is almost never seen on movie screens is its evolution. If the culture is not stuck in the past, then it is almost completely ignored. But there is no culture in the world that is frozen in time. All are very active, very present, and constantly changing. The same is true with the modes and representations of Native American life by Native Americans. The Indigenous Showcase, which is curated by Genius Award winner Tracy Rector, is a program of films that capture a culture that is not moribund, but in fact very much alive. CHARLES MUDEDE
Northwest Film Forum
Life and Nothing More
A single mother struggling to keep her teen out of trouble and her family afloat begins a relationship that destabilizes everything. Director Antonio Méndez Esparza won the 2018 Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for this explosively emotional drama.
Northwest Film Forum
Mid90s tells the story of 13-year-old Stevie (Sunny Suljic) who, after he’s rejected and bullied by his older brother Ian (Lucas Hedges), finds new role models in a crew of skaters led by the wise and magnanimous Ray (Na-kel Smith). Stevie’s willingness to repeatedly fall on hard concrete as he tries to maneuver a skateboard that looks half his height endears him to his newfound friends. The resultant feelings—and the film’s title—places Mid90s squarely in Hill’s nostalgic memory, where he both dramatizes and idealizes the kids’ adventures. SUZETTE SMITH
Take a nice Midwestern guy, two snarky robots, and some evil scientists on the jankiest spaceship in the galaxy and add a dreadful B-movie, and you've got Mystery Science Theater 3000, which has been providing schlocky amusement for an amazing 30 years. Each show is different, but both will feature Joel Hodgson and reboot star Jonah Ray. Show # 1 will be the Canadian sci-fi horror The Brain, and Show #2 will be the dreadful Deathstalker II.
Exactly one year ago, I was walking down a street in Memphis, Tennessee, when I had what is known as a Proustian experience (or what literary critics call an “involuntary memory”). But in Proust’s novel Remembrance of Things Past, the involuntary memory sends the narrator, Marcel, to a town he visited as a boy (Combray). My memory, which was triggered by crossing a street, sent me to a film, Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train, which is set in Memphis and concerns young Japanese lovers who are obsessed with American popular culture. The couple walks around Memphis a lot. And while I walked around Memphis, I found myself walking, not through my Memphis, but theirs. This movie does not have much of a plot. CHARLES MUDEDE
Jules Dassin's classic and famously gritty, neo-realist film noir was shot on location in New York City, still a novelty in studio-focused film production companies of the 1940s. A tale of murder and robbery, it builds up to an exciting manhunt. In case you're wondering, the Greenwood bar/restaurant is named after this dark flick.
They proliferated in anxious postwar America and still occasionally return to brood and smolder onscreen: films noirs, born of the chiaroscuro influence of immigrant German directors and the pressure of unique American fears. Once again, the museum will screen nine hard-boiled, moody crime classics like this week's Wicked Woman, about a femme fatale who sets her sights on a bar owner married to an alcoholic.
Seattle Art Museum
Night on Earth
Five cabbies and five passengers around the globe share funny, weird, and intimate moments in Jim Jarmusch's quirky classic—a little inconsequential, but charming and beautifully acted. Thanks to Roberto Benigni's performance, you'll never look at a pumpkin quite the same way again.
The Old Man and the Gun
Based on a true story, the latest from David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints) reteams the filmmaker with Robert Redford, who plays Forrest Tucker, the charming, handsome leader of a trio of geriatric bank robbers. Forrest’s partners in crime are Teddy (Danny Glover) and Waller (a fantastic Tom Waits). Like one of Forrest’s disarmingly polite robberies, The Old Man and the Gun starts out pleasant and sweet before revealing hints of darkness—each of these characters is deeper than they first appear, and one’s never quite sure what any of them are going to do next. Lowery is happy to tag along, capturing lives that are polished by time and dented by experience but remain bright and sharp with wit and passion. Watching Redford have this much fun is, as always, a goddamn delight. ERIK HENRIKSEN
The Price of Everything
The timing could not be better for The Price of Everything to open in Seattle—it came out exactly four weeks after the Banksy print Girl with Balloon (purchased for $1.4 million) "self-destructed" at the London Sotheby's auction house. This stunt, and Nathaniel Kahn's documentary, captures the buying and selling of art as exactly what it is: an aristocratic struggle for control, status, and ownership. Kahn pays just as much attention to the viewpoint of the artists as to the participants in the auctions themselves (the buyers and sellers). A cinematic cutting between responses from each creates a fabricated town-hall-type dialogue about material valuation and what it means to love/covet art. LEAH ST. LAWRENCE
Northwest Film Forum
Is this the first major work of Northwest science fiction? Indeed, it imagines a moon that is like the evergreen forests that surround Seattle. The whole planet is green—gothic green. And the light on this strange moon is sharply slanted like Northwest light. The superb film is about prospectors (a father and daughter) looking for a root-made gem that will make them rich. The daughter, however, is keen to get off the planet because the line to it is about to be shut down. But her father is money-mad. If he does not make it here, he will never make it anywhere in the galaxy. Translucent insects float through the air. There are other money-mad prospectors in the endless forest. You do not leave this planet without paying a big price. Money is the root of all evil. CHARLES MUDEDE
On Thursday and Friday, there will be a Q&A with writer-directors Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell.
Seattle Turkish Film Festival
The Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington will present the sixth annual edition of their community-driven, volunteer-led festival featuring a rich panorama of new Turkish films. Try the romantic comedy In the Family, the sibling comedy-drama Butterflies, and the refugee crisis coming-of-age drama More.
AMC Pacific Place & SIFF Film Center
Call Me by Your Name director Luca Guadagnino’s reinterpretation of Argento's film Suspiria is a precisely choreographed mindfuck, and progressing through the film’s six acts feels like peeling off layers of an onion until you reach the reeking core. It’s swift, brutal, and breathtaking, but it’s also frequently bogged down by overcomplicated subplots and distracting details. The original premise remains the same—ancient ballerina witches trying to live forever by sacrificing students—but this time around, the Markos Dance Academy is located right next to the Berlin Wall in post-World War II Germany, and Susie Bannion (a very meh Dakota Johnson) is a runaway Mennonite from Ohio. Whatever parallels Guadagnino hoped to draw between the traumatic aftermath of the Holocaust and the bloody chaos going on inside the coven ends up feeling more confusing than profound. CIARA DOLAN
A Star Is Born
If you’re entering the theatre simply desiring a couple solid musical numbers, then your $15 will not have been spent in vain. Unfortunately, the movie falls flat as only a two-dimensional vignette of common misogyny can. Ally, the lead character played by Lady Gaga, is a woman who knows she has talent but needs to hear that she is sufficiently pretty to be an appropriate vehicle for said talent. Like any woman vying for a piece of the proverbial pie, she is just one man away from success. One man to lead her, to mold her, to push her through to the finish line. This man-shaped void is filled by her father, her husband, her manager, her producer, her choreographer, and her photographer, all of whom take credit or receive credit from other men for her creative output and appearance. A Star Is Born is a classic tale, meant to be mutable, fluid, to adapt within each age it is reimagined. But the flaws of the inherent narrative are too real, too every-day damaging to continue being told in the form of a cinematic fantasy. KIM SELLING
If one scans the history of cinema, they will soon realize that a good number of the best films about America were not made by Americans. Starship Troopers is one such work. And it is the third great American film by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven. The first is, of course, RoboCop (1987); second is Total Recall. The former is about America's obsession with crime. The latter delves deeply into American political paranoia. Starship Troopers, which is set in the 23rd century, is a brazen journey into the heart of American militarism. What Verhoeven understands about the richest and most powerful nation on earth is that you can’t criticize it without enjoying or reveling in its obsessions. CHARLES MUDEDE
Thelma and Louise
Ridley Scott's 1991 perma-classic starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon as two BFFs fleeing gross men will screen for one night only.
South Park Hall
Our critics don't recommend these movies, but you might like to know about them anyway.