By many accounts, the new movies to watch over Thanksgiving weekend are Green Book with Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen and Creed II with Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, and Sylvester Stallone, but there are plenty of other worthy options. Love world cinema? The Swedish fable Border and the Mexican comedy Museo starring Gael Garcia Bernal both look extremely promising, or you can nourish your wintry nostalgia with the Holidays on Ice series. 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.
Note: Movies play Wednesday–Sunday unless otherwise specified.
Best of Cinekink/2018
See a collection of sexy short films—including a documentary remembrance of a once-legendary gay beach and a love story about bondage and books—from the most recent run of CineKink, a film festival dedicated to all things smutty.
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
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
Ali Abbasi's film is Sweden's 2019 submission to the Oscars, and it certainly looks like a bizarre Nordic treat. A border agent with the power to smell human emotions lives an isolated life until she meets a man who shares her ability. But she still has much to discover about herself. Some critics are hailing this movie, based on a story by the writer of Let the Right One In, as an uncategorizable masterpiece.
SIFF Cinema Egyptian
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
Call Her Ganda
In honor of Trans Day of Remembrance, Pinoy/Pinay activists from GABRIELA Seattle and the Forum will present this documentary on a trans Filipina woman who was murdered by a US Marine and on the protest movement and international outrage that followed. Stay on after the screening for a panel talk.
Northwest Film Forum
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 Uptown & AMC Seattle 10
I’m guessing that most people can quote at least a couple of lines from this justifiably famous film—a rare example of something you can accurately describe as iconic—without ever having seen it. Which means you sort of build the film you think it is in your mind and believe you have it sorted. That is a disservice to you and to Casablanca, a story of resistance, romance, and sacrifice that is legitimately surprising, heartbreaking, uplifting, and cathartic to behold. If you say you love movies, you really owe it to yourself to see Casablanca. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon, and for the rest of your life. SEAN NELSON
Marilyn Ness spent three years filming this documentary on the streets and in the homes and gathering spaces of Baltimore. The result is a deeply felt portrait of an African American community beset by violence and struggling for progress through a coalition of leaders, a few police officers, and a young council member.
Northwest Film Forum
Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, and Tessa Thompson are back for the sequel to the reboot of the Rocky series, because with these types of films, there’s always another bigger, badder guy to fight. I’ll admit that I cried watching Creed while on a plane. I don’t know if it was the story of triumph, Jordan’s perfect abs, or the cabin pressure that opened my tear ducts, but the first installment hit all the right notes without veering too much into formulaic cheese. I’m sure this flick will have a little something for everyone—high stakes, romance, spit beautifully shot flying across the ring. Bring the whole family! JASMYNE KEIMIG
Cuban Food Stories
Food is inextricably linked to culture, to tradition, and to memory. Unfortunately for filmmaker and Cuba native Asori Soto, he was robbed of those memories as a child, when the economic crisis forced bereft cooks to scrimp on ingredients. In Cuban Food Stories, he returns to reclaim the flavors of his homeland—but don’t expect familiar meals like pork, rice, and beans. Instead, you’ll be introduced to dishes that live not in cookbooks or on menus, but through oral tradition, some of them in locations so isolated they can be reached only by horseback or raft. Like ceviche so fresh, it’s prepared still on the fishing boat, or coconut meat scraped out of the shell and drizzled with honey and rum at a remote countryside stand. Soto is a loving documentarian, and his dedication to Cuba is palpable in every frame. JULIANNE BELL
Northwest Film Forum
Come at 5:30 to sample Cuban food and drink.
Jim Jarmusch's spiritual, revisionist Western stars Johnny Depp as an accountant named William Blake who forges a strange relationship with a Native American loner named Nobody.
Enter the Dragon
I first watched Bruce Lee’s 1973 masterpiece Enter the Dragon in 1986 at Liberty Cinema in Harare, Zimbabwe. This was a perfect theater for the film. Liberty was the people’s theater; the rich stayed away from it. Poor people did not enjoy films in the proper manner: They talked all the time and seemed indifferent to the plot. All they wanted was action—and Enter the Dragon has lots of it. The film is about some pimp/drug dealer and a martial-arts competition on an island and a CIA agent. The scenes that connect its story were ignored at the Liberty. The hoi polloi talked when the actors talked. But the moment Bruce Lee began doing his wushu thing, all eyes were on the screen. Lee made movies for the people. CHARLES MUDEDE
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE if you are not a Harry Potter nerd. If you aren’t going to immediately go home to discuss and consider various possible plot developments while your movie date reads you random opinions from the deep internet, do not go and see this movie. The thing is 134 minutes long, and the plot is thick and almost excruciatingly detailed. It might be difficult to follow if you’re not super fresh on your Harry Potter knowledge. I recommend seeing it at a theater with extremely comfortable seating, and not skimping on snacks. Luckily, some truly remarkable cinematography and delightful cast of magical folk and beasts make the ride an enjoyable one, even when you’re feeling overwhelmed with new information. JENNI MOORE
You'll get a startling education from Tod Browning's 1932 circus horror Freaks if you think that deeply, entertainingly fucked-up movies didn't exist before John Waters. A tawdry tale of carnival "freaks'" brutal vengeance against two able-bodied lovers who spurn their company, Freaks is not exactly a heartwarming or enlightening portrait of people with genetic anomalies and unusual physiognomies. However, the "freaks" are played by people with disabilities, and they're portrayed with humanity (and filmed with unsettling fascination). Given how few portrayals of folks with unusual bodies can be found in non-medical contexts in classic film, Freaks remains absolutely essential, even if the representation isn't everything it should be. DJ NicFit will provide a live-mixed soundtrack.
Naked City Brewery
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.
Ark Lodge Cinemas & AMC Seattle 10
Green Book tells the supposedly true story of a Black jazz pianist, Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), and his white driver, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), as they go on a concert tour through the segregated South in 1962. Although they’re both from New York, they’re from entirely different worlds: Shirley moves through the rarified air of highbrow culture. Tony, on the other hand, is an Italian American stereotype made sentient, a “whattsamattayou” tough guy with a tenderly soft underbelly. Green Book’s biggest red flag is that it’s essentially another Driving Miss Daisy story about how to solve racism in three convenient acts. But the movie’s really nice, and it’s hard to get too mad at it. Ali and Mortensen are both awfully good, and the script, for all its familiarity, is kind of comforting in its shtick-y predictability. NED LANNAMANN
Holidays on Ice
This series will be dedicated to movies about sports on the ice. Whether you want something heroic, dramatic, or downright silly, you can find something to suit your mood. This weekend's options include Slap Shot, The Mighty Ducks, Ice Castles, I, Tonya, Mystery, Alaska, and King Curling.
SIFF Film Center
Maria by Callas
The legendary Greek operatic soprano Maria Callas, known for her brassy timbre as well as her dramatic temperament, comes to life in her own words (and notes) through performances, interviews, letters, and unpublished writings. There's no narration, only glorious footage. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, "What’s clear and becomes yet more obvious as the film wears on is that Callas gave more than she ever got back—and that, unlike most artists, she knew it at the time. She was painfully aware of living a legendary life even as she was doing it, and she bore witness to the fact that a legendary life isn’t much fun. The least we can do is enjoy the fruits of her sacrifice, her rich and enormous legacy of live and studio recordings. Maria by Callas is a forceful reminder and an invitation to do that."
AMC Pacific Place
The amazingly prolific documentarian Frederick Wiseman (Ex Libris, In Jackson Heights, National Gallery, and 40 more films!) explores a tiny American hamlet steeped in old farming traditions and periodic ceremonies, like church services, Town Council meetings, Freemason rituals, weddings, and funerals.
Northwest Film Forum
Indie darling Gael Garcia Bernal plays a petty thief aiming for big-shot status by stealing Mayan artifacts from the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico in this film by Alonso Ruizpalacios, who, along with co-writer Manuel Alcalá, won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the Berlin International Film Festival. When Juan and his gang somehow pull off the heist, they realize that they haven't really thought through their follow-up plan. As if Bernal didn't provide enough star-power, Simon Russell Beale (The Death of Stalin) rounds out the cast.
Northwest Film Forum
The Passion of Berenice
Shown as part of the Forum's Cine Mexicano: '70s Art House series, Jaime Humberto Hermosillo's The Passion of Berenice is about a mysterious woman who may have killed her husband and is now falling for a new young man. The 1976 drama won several Ariel Awards (the Mexican equivalent of the Academy Awards).
Northwest Film Forum
The latest from local filmmaker Megan Griffiths (Lucky Them, Eden) has a perfect Northwest feel. Sadie is 13 and lives with her mother in a dilapidated trailer park. Sadie worships her absent father while being impossible with her harried mother. She is smart and precocious, trying to come to an understanding of how the world works, but the adults around her have their own problems. The film shows the way adults communicate with kids, never talking to them directly, trying to fool the kid and themselves. This leaves young people with half-ass ideas, and they run with them without really understanding the situation, with mixed results. The film has a great cast: The wonderful Melanie Lynskey plays the mom, with Sophia Mitri Schloss as Sadie. GILLIAN ANDERSON
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Searching for Ingmar Bergman
There are brilliant filmmakers, smart filmmakers, and intellectual filmmakers. My definition of an intellectual movie is a work that comes closest to reaching the depth of literature—the highest form of intellectual art. Searching for Ingmar Bergman is a documentary by Margarethe von Trotta, an intellectual filmmaker. Her last documentary was about the German Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt. Her new film explores the life and deep mind of Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish director who made high art out of cinema. CHARLES MUDEDE
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
Meridian 16 & AMC Seattle 10
Widows is an overflowing plateful of entertainment, piled high with juicy plot, buttery performances, and plenty of sweet genre pie. It’s a mash-up of pulp and prestige that shouldn’t work well on paper but plays out tremendously well on-screen. Director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave, Shame) cowrote the twisty script with novelist Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects), and while the interconnected webs of Chicago’s crime underworld and its racially charged local politics contain more than enough intrigue, the performances are what’ll grab you. I mean, just look at this cast: Harry (Liam Neeson) leads a crew of career criminals (including Jon Bernthal and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) in a heist that goes disastrously wrong, leaving their widows Veronica (Viola Davis), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), and Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) with a serious problem when crime boss Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) and his enforcer brother Jatemme (Daniel Kaluuya) demand they return the stolen money. The real fun is watching McQueen, Flynn, and this ridiculously large talent pool of actors lay the groundwork for a slick, rich, tantalizing thriller, and then connecting all the dots. NED LANNAMANN
Watch the Japanese band Guitar Wolf star in the bonkers zombie action movie Wild Zero, a notoriously campy and goofily bloody classic from 1999 about alien invasion, undead slaves, and rock 'n' roll.
Our critics don't recommend these movies, but you might like to know about them anyway.