Summer thrills are a-plenty this weekend, with the release of Ari Aster's follow-up to Hereditary, Midsommar, as well as a fun entry in the Spider-man canon, Far from Home. In addition, Czech That Film will bring Central European movies to the Film Center, and the Grand Illusion will be screening the multi-award-winner Funan. Follow the links below to see complete showtimes, tickets, and trailers for all of our critics' picks. If you're looking for even more options, check out our film events calendar and complete movie times listings, and don't forget to see where outdoor movies are playing.
Note: Movies play Friday–Sunday unless otherwise noted
The Biggest Little Farm
Skeptics might wonder whether a 90-minute documentary on farming is better used as insomnia remedy than a night out at the movies, but John Chester's gorgeous film has been snatching up audience choice and best film awards all over the place. He and his wife, Molly, spent eight years striving to create a farm in California that was perfectly in accord with nature—despite drought, poor soil, and wildfires. Ultimately, they have to accept that they're not in control of nature and life. Come for the lovely footage of wildlife and farm animals, stay for the inspiration to fight for sustainability.
Booksmart is about Molly and Amy (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever), two accomplished girls who are currently enjoying their final day of high school—and realizing that they've alienated all of their peers by focusing only on school and each other. When Molly decides the pair needs a party experience before graduation, it kicks off an epic night of social awkwardness, attempted hook-ups, accidental drug use, and inescapable theatre kids. The love-you-to-death friendship between Molly and Amy is the heart of director Olivia Wilde's movie, and major credit is due to Dever and Feldstein for crushing that chemistry. They’re lifted up by a brilliant supporting cast of fellow teen misfits (including Billie Lourd, who steals every scene she barreled through) and fuckup grownups (Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Williams, and Mike O’Brien) who round out a laugh-inducing, cry-inducing, and utterly relatable high-school universe that I wanted to inhabit and also gave me PTSD. ELINOR JONES
Chucky the satanic killer doll is reimagined as a high-tech monster voiced by Mark Hamill in this entertaining-sounding reboot, starring Aubrey Plaza as an increasingly stressed (and perhaps ill-fated) single mom. It will definitely not be for all tastes, but horror fans with a taste for fun trash and consumerism satires should be pleased with this alternative to Toy Story 4.
Regal Meridian & AMC Pacific Place
Czech That Film
This mini-fest will bring award-winning and popular Czech films to Seattle for one weekend. Try Jan Hřebejk’s romantic comedies Deserter and Suitor, the historical drama Jan Palach (about the young man who famously martyred himself in protest of Soviet aggression), and the coming-of-age tale Winter Flies.
SIFF Film Center
The Dead Don't Die
I loved The Dead Don’t Die, despite the wafts of disapproval that—at least at the old-man-filled critics’ screening I attended—threatened to stink up the whole theater. Will you love The Dead Don’t Die? Well, that depends—on if you’re expecting another srs bsns drama like Only Lovers Left Alive, on if you share Jarmusch’s deadpan sense of humor, on if you like the gaggle of art-house stars who’ve come together to screw around: Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits, Chloë Sevigny. Through this whole thing, great actors lurch in and out of frame, each hilariously straight-faced as (1) zombies tear open the edible townsfolk of Centerville, and (2) Jarmusch cracks joke after joke. The Dead Don’t Die is what it is: an excuse for Jarmusch to round up his friends and have fun. ERIK HENRIKSEN
SIFF Cinema Uptown
In this award-winning animated film, which triumphed at the Annecy Animation Festival and the Animation is Film Festival, Denis Do revisits his own tragic family history. Funan follows Chou, a young woman in a Cambodian work camp in 1975, as she struggles to reunite with her stolen four-year-old son.
John Wick: Chapter 3–Parabellum
John Wick has grown into a massive, full-on, crowd-pleasing franchise. Hinted at in the first film, but expanded in the sequels, there's now a strange, remarkably thorough (if remarkably confusing) mythology that accompanies all of John Wick's righteous headshots, featuring secret societies of assassins, ancient and baroque codes of conduct, and really nice mansions (to shoot people in). Sure, the bread and butter of any John Wick movie is its skull-splitting, blood-splattering action scenes—filmed here, as inventively, exhilaratingly, and wince-inducingly as ever, by stuntman-turned-director Chad Stahelski—but nearly as interesting, it turns out, is the fantastical world John Wick skulks around in between his massacres. Plenty of action movies have shoot-outs; not many have Angelica Houston sneering, "Life is suffering, life is pain" as she rules over some very driven ballerinas. ERIK HENRIKSEN
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Inspired by a true story, The Last Black Man in San Francisco is about the city’s rapid gentrification and those crazy looks white folks give Black and brown people for daring to feel at home in their own neighborhoods. It centers on carpenter Jimmie Fails, who becomes obsessed with his massive childhood home in the city and sets out on a mission to buy it. These days, it’s going for a cool $4 million. Fails plays a fictionalized version of himself in the film, which he cowrote with his best friend, director Joe Talbot. Almost right off, there are hints the film was directed by a white person. In this San Francisco, white neighbors don’t call the cops, but rather use the threat of calling the cops as a weapon in order to get Black people to scram. A breath of fresh air: There’s no romantic subplot or “classic” nuclear family. Instead, the film’s emotions stem from Jimmie’s fixation on his childhood home, his friendship with the autistic aspiring playwright Montgomery, and his complicated relationship with his city. But after finishing the film, I was left with questions about these characters’ lives: How does Jimmie find time to make money? Where do these Black San Franciscans get their food? It adds another level of too-smooth glaze to the film to never see its main characters working or doing any other life stuff. JENNI MOORE
It’s 2019, and there are still no female late-night television hosts. In many respects, this isn’t surprising. But thankfully we have writers like Mindy Kaling to flesh out a world in which there’s one who has existed for 20 years. In Late Night, Kaling plays Molly Patel, a “diversity hire” in the writers room of Emma Thompson’s intimidating (and secretly delightful) Katherine Newbury, a legendary late-night host who’s on the verge of being fired unless she changes up her act. This R-rated comedy doesn’t break the mold, but it is still a fun and engaging watch. JASMYNE KEIMIG
"Mikhail Sergeyevich, please allow me to explain myself," says Werner Herzog. "I am a German, and the first German that you probably met wanted to kill you." So begins Herzog's affecting documentary about Mikhail Gorbachev, built chiefly around three conversations with the former leader of the Soviet Union—a once-titanic figure who, at age 87, Herzog now describes as "a deeply lonesome man." Particularly given America's current relations with Russia, Meeting Gorbachev feels disarmingly affectionate—"Everything about Gorbachev was genuine," Herzog reflects—but the director never loses his usual clear-eyed gaze. Meeting Gorbachev also offers plenty of historical context, examining events that shaped not only the Soviet Union, but the world: Chernobyl, nuclear disarmament, perestroika and glasnost, an attempted coup, the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. (Since this is a Herzog film, there's also a sequence in which the director tells viewers how to kill garden slugs with open jars of beer.) ERIK HENRIKSEN
SIFF Cinema Uptown
When we meet college student Dani (Florence Pugh), she's isolated, enduring a nerve-shredding family crisis behind a mask of feminine selflessness and apparently afraid to reveal her emotions to her distant and manipulative boyfriend, Christian. But once an affection-starved Dani, along with Christian and his bros, follow their friend Pelle to his cultish village in rural Sweden for a mysterious pagan festival, Midsommar blossoms into a flower of a different color. The Americans respond to their surroundings in varying ways: Christian and fellow PhD student Josh try to probe the village's secrets for academic glory, while douchey Mark ogles long-tressed local girls. Dani, meanwhile, wavers between unease with the cult's weird rituals and attraction to its sense of unshakable fellowship. Soon, they're all swept up in rites involving dancing, feasting, and tripping out, unaware that far more transgressive acts are being prepared. The ensuing narrative is expansive, a bit funny, full of elaborate invented culture, and overall less exhausting (and exhilarating) than director Ari Aster's Hereditary. Where Hereditary is about losing a family, Midsommar is about gaining one, a process that's a lot less wholesome than it sounds. JOULE ZELMAN
Starring Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet, Non-Fiction tells the story of a Parisian writer who blurs the line between fact and fiction by drawing on his real-life love affairs in his incendiary new novel, setting off a chain reaction in his social circle. This flirty, chatty, smart comedy is French and bohemian as hell: Everyone is cheating on each other, having a midlife crisis, expounding on the nature of romantic relationships, and voicing loud opinions about technology. But Non-Fiction feels like breezy, seductive, European fun. So much so, you’ll need a cigarette afterward. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Queen of Diamonds
Nina Menkes's newly restored 1991 drama “questions the magnetic lure” of Las Vegas, “pulling back the curtain to reveal a shimmering nightmare.” Her hallucinatory film, about a blackjack dealer whose husband goes missing, has been compared to the work of the late Belgian master Chantal Akerman.
The studio bills this as “a musical fantasy about the uncensored human story of Elton John's breakthrough years,” starring Taron Egerton, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Richard Madden. The critics are happy so far with this non-literal biopic, praising director Dexter Fletcher's "dazzling cinematic inventiveness" (Rolling Stone) and "fan service of an especially and characteristically generous kind" (The New York Times). A notable exception is Morgan Troper of our sister paper, The Portland Mercury, who writes: "Rocketman doesn’t only presuppose that its audience doesn’t know about Elton John’s music, it assumes they wouldn’t even care. The result is insulting not only to the intelligence and taste of moviegoers, but to Elton John’s legacy as a songwriter, showman, and immensely significant queer idol."
Spider-Man: Far from Home
For those who have been salivating for a sequel to 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming—and more Spider-Man than we got in the last two Avengers movies—you can relax. Spider-Man: Far from Home is pretty freaking good! It has almost everything you loved from Homecoming, plus better action sequences. That said, while Homecoming crackled with originality, Far from Home is far from what made its predecessor so great. Sure, it’s got snappy jokes, terrific characters, top-notch action, and loads of delicious teenage awkwardness. But it lacks the one thing Homecoming had in abundance: a laser-sharp focus on the emotional horror of being a teen. And yet? I still loved it. It’s better and more emotionally resonant than the vast majority of superhero flicks, and Far from Home is an excellent sequel that will occasionally illicit ear-to-ear grins. WM STEVEN HUMPHREY
Three Colors: Red
Representing the three colors of the French flag, each of the films in Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy explores one of the political ideals of the French motto: liberty, equality, fraternity. While iconic, Kieslowski has said this Frenchness was largely a result of the nationality of money used to fund the films (can you guess?). In any case, Red follows the story of a part-time model, Valentine (Irene Jacob), who forms an unlikely and strange bond with a retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant) in her neighborhood after a series of events leads them to each other. An achingly beautiful film, Red was Kieslowski’s last feature before his death in 1996. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Toy Story 4
How can Pixar continue a peerless run, without turning on autopilot or trumpeting the same themes in movie after movie? The Toy Story franchise is the best example of how Pixar has avoided those pitfalls. Each is about the adventures of a gaggle of charming kids’ playthings, but as the franchise has carried on, the ideas underpinning those high jinks have gotten richer and darker. By Toy Story 3, the first Toy Story's simple message of tolerance became, in part, an exploration of accepting death. The fourth installment eases up a bit, with a much simpler theme of not being afraid to grow up. That’s the challenge facing Bonnie, the little girl who was gifted all of these toys. But with a little help from Woody, she makes a new friend: Forky, a spork with glued-on googly eyes, popsicle sticks for feet, and a pipe cleaner for arms. This strange crafts project becomes Bonnie’s new favorite plaything—which means Woody must protect and mentor this bundle of nervous energy, which only wants to return to the trash from whence it came. ROBERT HAM
It’s time to get on board the Jessie Buckley train. The Irish singer and actress has been in a handful of movies and TV shows, notably the Isle of Jersey-set thriller Beast and supporting roles in the shows Chernobyl and Taboo. Buckley deserves to blow up in a major way with Wild Rose, which is not only her best acting role but also the first real opportunity American audiences have had to hear her sing. She plays Rose-Lynn, an aspiring, gifted country singer who’s stuck in hard-knuckle Glasgow—half a world away from Nashville. She desperately wants to make it, but whoever heard of a Scottish country singer? Rose-Lynn has other problems, too: She’s just finished a year in prison and is tied down by two young children she’s not particularly equipped to raise. With terrific supporting performances by Julie Walters as Rose-Lynn’s long-suffering mother and Sophie Okonedo as an affluent woman who wants to back the singer’s rise to stardom, Wild Rose is nonetheless a showcase for Buckley’s explosive talents. The movie opens with her absolutely nailing Primal Scream’s “Country Girl,” and she only gets better from there. NED LANNAMANN
The latest from director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire), Yesterday is about a musician, Jack, who, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, wakes up to a world where the Beatles never existed (but Ed Sheeran—who plays himself—does?). Jack remembers the Fab Four, however, and finds rocketing fame and fortune (and a sense of dwindling creative self-worth) performing their songs as if they were his own. LEILANI POLK
Our critics don't recommend these films, but you might be interested in them anyway.