Tonight in Seattle:  

The Egyptian

SIFF Take: Cockneys Vs. Zombies

Cockneys Vs. Zombies is about a zombie invasion that breaks out in East London, which starts when a couple of construction workers accidentally break open a sealed tomb. The film focuses on two groups of people have to fight their way out of the middle of the flesh-eating infected. 

The younger group is made up of two brothers and their misguided friends who attempt to rob a bank in order to save their granddad's retirement home from being sold to a huge developer. They end up bungling the job, but a zombie attack happens just as they're about to confront the waiting cops, and they escape (with a couple of hostages). 

The older group is made up of the aforementioned granddad's retirement home (including Honor Blackman and Alan Ford!), but don't worry -- they know how to take care of themselves. Er, well, some of them do. Just in case, though, the younger crew starts making their way across the city to save them, and, of course, both groups suffer more than a few casualties along the way. 

There's plenty of good Zombie-genre jokes in the script -- for instance, the fact that an old person using a walker can outrun the slow-moving undead -- plus lots, and lots, and LOTS of splatter (and entrails. and decapitated heads. and bitten-off body parts). SO yeah, obviously I loved it. It's a hell of a lot of fun, and a perfect choice for SIFF's Midnight Adrenaline

{Cockneys Vs. Zombies screens at the 39th Seattle International Film Festival on Saturday 6/8, midnight, at The Egyptian Theatre, and again on Sunday, 6/9, 8:30pm at the Kirkland Performance Center. Director Mathias Hoene is scheduled to attend both screenings} 

SIFF Take: Wish You Were Here

A married couple, the wife's sister, and the sister's handsome new boyfriend head to South East Asia for fun party times on the beach. But sometime during the revelry, the boyfriend goes missing and as the search for him continues, all kinds of dirty little secrets are revealed. 

I mostly agree with what Embracey said about Wish You Were Here in his Closing Weekend Highlights post, but I want to add that though the flashbacks do get a little grating and the reveal about what really went down could have been handled more smoothly, the strong performances more than make up for that (I completely disintegrated into sobs more than a few times).  

Overall, it's a solid thriller with great acting and direction -- which is a pretty good way to spend a few hours of your weekend. Also, I have absolutely no problem staring at Joel Edgerton for 89 minutes. NO ONE should. 

{Wish You Were Here screens at the 39th Seattle International Film Festival on Friday, 6/7, 09:30pm at the Egyptian Theatre, and again on Sunday, 6/9, 3pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown} 

SIFF 2013: Closing Weekend Highlights

Last Flight to Abujah

The last few days of the festival are upon us, and if you've slacked on your SIFFage, there's still time to do something about it. Judging by what I've seen in advance, the programmers have saved some of the best for last: Closing weekend (6/7 - 6/9) has at least five sure-fire hits that I personally guarantee will provide you some major cinematic enjoyment. So get to SIFFin'!

DON'T MISS:

The Bling Ring
{screening as part of the SIFF 2013 Closing Night Gala, June 9 at 6:30pm at the Cinerama}
Following up 2010's dour Chateau Marmont-set drama Somewhere, Sophia Coppola stays in L.A. and this time serves up some grade-A good trash. There's already been a Lifetime movie dramatizing the real-life subjects portrayed here: a group of fame- and celeb-obsessed teens who in 2008-2009 habitually waltzed right into celebrities' vacant (often unlocked!) homes, promptly helping themselves to clothes and jewelry and cash -- sometimes carrying the loot off the premises in (also stolen) designer handbags. The Bling Ring doesn't really have as much to say as a Lost in Translation, or even a Marie Antoinette, but it's slick and fun... and occasionally horrifying. (Imaginary Amie and I saw this together, and I reckon her review will be similarly positive.)

Die Welt
{screens June 7 at 3pm at the Uptown}
An unaccountably captivating fiction/documentary hybrid set in contemporary urban Tunisia. Told in four distinct chapters, the loose narrative begins with 23-year-old DVD salesman Abdallah attempting to convince one of his customers not to purchase Transformers 2 -- his lengthy, thoughtful, very funny diatribe conveys a beautifully region-specific POV. We continue to follow Abdallah through a series of gorgeously-shot daily-life sequences, each with its own little stories and yearnings, all of which ultimately support his vivid conceptions of a better life in Europe. A wonderful film that would've made an excellent double-feature with its thematic cousin Una Noche.

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SIFF 2013: Week Three Highlights

The Wall

Two speculative-fiction films (one good, one terrible), a buzzy doc about backup singers, and a purgatory-set Amélie are among the highs, lows, and in-betweens of SIFF 2013 week 3 (May 31 - June 6).

DON'T MISS:

The Wall
{screens June 1 at 6:30pm and June 2 at 12:45pm at the Harvard Exit}
I had mixed emotions viewing this odd, slow, science-fictiony film, but it's stayed with me and my appreciation has grown. The premise is clearly metaphorical -- a woman visiting a remote Alpine homestead finds herself trapped and alone behind a mysterious invisible wall -- and if you're ok with that you're in for a beautifully contemplative experience. The landscape photography is stunning, and the German actress Martina Gedeck amazes in the lead role; her character's narrative voiceover is filled with eloquent ruminations on solitude, connectedness, and the natural world.

TAKE OR LEAVE:

Fatal
{screens June 5 at 4pm at the Uptown and June 6 at 9:45pm at Pacific Place}
A kind of revenge drama from South Korea centering on a very uncomplicated young man who is bullied into participating in a despicable act of violence against a classmate. Attempting to atone ten years later, he forms a relationship with the victim, who is oblivious to his role in the crime. The film is engaging throughout, with the exception of a few clumsily-executed dream sequences, and it doesn't seem micro-budget at all (it was reportedly made for $3000). I just had a really difficult time connecting with this protagonist.

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SIFF Take: Peaches Does Herself

You gotta love Peaches to love this film; and I do. Her music makes me wanna dance all night, get pissed, be fierce, make out, jump up and down, and do a ton of tequila shots. 

In Peaches Does Herself, the rock star/punker/electronic Goddess takes her stage antics to new performance art levels; directing herself, dancers, and other musicians through a storified-approach to her songs involving hot pink underwear, spage-age costumes (which she peels off to reveal hot pink underwear), and simulated sex. Lots and lots and lots of simulated sex. Oh, and a little bit of blood too. OF COURSE. 

Everyone's legs seemed continually splayed; and Peaches particular brand of art includes more representations of boobs, vaginas, and cocks (+ a few real ones) than most people are probably comfortable with. But that's the point, isn't it? Peaches is always trying to throw this stuff in your face in order to make a statement about it.

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "If you had to sum up Peaches in one word, it would probably be "controversial". Or maybe "what." "

Imaginary Rich's Recommendations for SIFF Weekend #2

Out in the Dark

There's a lot of stuff going on every day at SIFF between now and June 9th. To try and cut through some of the clutter, I wanted to share some recommendations for this long Memorial Day weekend. I've only seen a small fraction of the SIFF films (hard as that may be to believe), so likely there are some gems I'm missing. But based on what I've seen here are some interesting, quality choices worth staying inside for. A few picks that I haven't watched yet but am really looking forward to catching are: The Spectacular Now, Her Aim is True, Drug War and, of course, some of the shorts packages playing.

And don't forget, if you're having difficulty navigating the SIFF website it's probably not you. I'd written up some snarky instructions on how to get around that folks keep mentioning have proved helpful to them.

On to the suggestions...

Nightmare Mystery Theater - Speaking of shorts, I recommend checking out as many sets from this ShortsFest weekend as much as you can. Specifically,  I highly recommend the Nightmare Mystery Theater session in order to see The Quiet Girls Guide to Violence and The Sleepover. The former is one of my fave shorts of the past year. The latter is just bloody, fun and rather clever. Don't miss this set for those two reasons.

OK ... now on to the feature length stuff.

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SIFF 2013: Week Two Highlights

The Spectacular Now

A twisty political thriller, a surprisingly good high-school movie, and a shockingly bad David Sedaris adaptation are among SIFF's highlights and lowlights in week two (May 24-30).

DON'T MISS:

Camion
Camion{screens May 29 at 6:30pm and May 30 at 4:30pm at the Uptown}
A truck driver nearing retirement age gets in a head-on collision on the job, and his two sons come home (somewhere in rural French Canadia) to help him out of the ensuing funk. The story then takes an interesting detour into childhood-regression territory, focusing on the brothers: one's a funny fuckup who looks kinda like Dave Grohl and the other is a straighter-lacer who looks like I dunno who but definitely not Dave Grohl. Despite any casting questions or POV unevenness, this is a beautifully-crafted film with a gorgeous ending.

Paradise trilogy: Love, Faith, Hope
{screening back-to-back May 25 beginning at 10am at Pacific Place}
A captivating series of films focusing on three women as they confront themselves and search for some version of happiness. Love travels with full-figured, fiftysomething hausfrau Teresa as she becomes a "Sugar Mama" sex tourist in Kenya; in Faith we get to know Teresa's sister, a fanatic Catholic missionary whose summer is disrupted by the sudden return of her paraplegic Muslim husband; then there's Teresa's sullen 13-year-old daughter Melanie, making unexpected new friendships at a fat camp and flirting with a much older camp doctor, in Hope. All three feature intriguing photography (director Ulrich Seidl has a fondness for static symmetrical shots, mainly of characters in small rooms) and audacious, often ruthless storytelling (he also has a fondness for challenging the viewer to look directly at unpleasantness). Paradise is well worth your while.

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SIFF 2013: Week One Highlights

Goltzius and the Pelican Company

SIFF's opening night film was, as I'm sure you've heard, Much Ado About Nothing -- a title which we're all hoping doesn't apply to the ever-varied lineup of this year's iteration of our beloved local cinema gorge-a-thon. Whether or not you were lucky enough to get tix to opening night's Whedonverse fantasia (or the following evening's 'secret' screening), there'll be plenty of filmic wonders for you to choose from this year -- and the TIG SIFF crew is here to help. Here are seven features to see, three to avoid, and four to be cautiously optimistic/pessimistic about, all screening at some point in the coming festival week (May 17-23).

DON'T MISS:

Frances Ha
{screens May 17 at 9:45pm and May 18 at 4pm at Pacific Place}
Imaginary Amie and I appear to be in agreement on this one. It's another delightful New York story from Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale), this time focusing on the post-college, aspiring-dancer title character (indie it-girl du jour Greta Gerwig) throughout a series of struggles after a best-friend breakup. The film does right by the cinematic institutions it so lovingly references -- Manhattan-era Woody Allen and the French New Wave among them -- and distinguishes itself with a sweet, melancholy charm all its own.

Goltzius and the Pelican Company
{screens May 17 at 6:30pm at the Egyptian, and May 19 at 4pm at the Uptown as part of An Afternoon with Peter Greenaway}
Consistently intriguing auteur Peter Greenaway's latest film follows a late 16th-century Dutch printer/engraver as he attempts to convince a powerful margrave to fund the production of a nekkid-illustrated Old Testament. When the margrave balks, Goltzius's employees (the Pelican Company part of the title) agree to entertain the court with six titillating (and, yes, dong-illating too) evenings of erotic biblical reenactments. Playful provocations -- of the characters and the audience -- ensue. Greenaway's unmatched visualism rarely fails to stun, and he utilizes it to great effect here in exploring the narrative's sacred-vs.-profane themes. Crazy, nasty fun.

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Latest comment by: sarah: "Great suggestions. I enjoyed Frances Ha and planning to see Una Noche this week."

Recommended SIFF + Ticket Giveaway: Mistaken for Strangers

I was skeptical of Mistaken for Strangers at first, because I'm not a fan of The National (when I told my friend this the other day she looked at me like she couldn't understand the words coming out of my mouth. It was seriously AWKWARD), but this documentary is actually less about the band itself, and more about Tom Berninger, the brother of lead singer Matt, who is both the Director and subject. 

The trailer has a lot of "whoa" moments,  including my favorite: listening to Matt Berninger talk about how his brother is a metalhead, and thinks "indie rock's pretentious bullshit". HAHA. Ha. (I hope you guys are laughing with me!) And the ouchy "The only reason you ARE here is because you're my brother"

Anyway! Watch the trailer. It looks cool, and we've got two tickets to each show for a very lucky Imaginary! The film screens on Monday 5/20, 7pm and again Tuesday 5/21, 4pm at The Egyptian. For a chance to win, email us at tig {at} threeimaginarygirls {dot} com with the subject line "Indie Rock is Bullshit" anytime between now and 3pm Friday 5/17. And make sure you tell us WHICH screening you want tickets to! We'll notify the winners Friday night. 

Latest comment by: Frank Carroll: "I am waiting for watching the trailer, the description that you gave look fine to me. So I am interested about it. Thanks a lot An internet betting site must give the top bonus offer pokies gambling in existence, along with the perfect winnings and deposit ...

SIFF 2013 Preview: Face the Music

Hello, Imaginaries! This year's Face the Music program at the Seattle International Film Festival contains some music documentaries I AM SUPER EXCITED ABOUT!!! You can buy passes to SIFF now, and inividual tickets go on sale this week on Thursday, 5/2. And so, let us (stage) dive in: 

First up: a few special events put together by Ms. Hannah Levin of KEXP! The Maldives are doing their thing at The Triple Door this year, performing music for The Wind, a 1928 Lillian Gish film. And the documentary Muscle Shoals will also have a tribute evening at The Triple Door, with music provided by Patterson and Dave Hood with Jeff Fielder and friends. {The Maldives & The Wind, June 7 at The Triple Door, two shows: 7pm & 9:30pm; A Muscle Shoals Tribute, May 30 at The Triple Door, 7pm}  

Speaking of Muscle Shoals, in case you didn't know, it's the studio where "legendary musicians including Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett gathered to create music that would later inspire the likes of Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and many more." I'm not gonna lie, the trailer makes me drool a little bit. {Screens 5/29, 7pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown, and again 5/30, 7pm at the Egyptian} 

Power Pop fans rejoice! Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is coming to SIFF!!! Promising never-before-seen footage, rousing musical tributes, and in-depth interviews with members of the band and the musicians they’ve inspired. Yes, yes, yes, and YES. I was hoping this would make it to SIFF. Hooray! {Screens 5/21, 9pm, and again 5/26, 8:30pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown} 

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Latest comment by: Gloria Kirby: "A few other things rounding out the 2013 programming: Harana, about classical guitarist Florante Aguilar exploring his Filipino roots {5/25 and 5/26 at the Uptown}; Wagering cannot be superior on this wager site as well as the speedy setting online gambling ...