Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

I’m always most excited about SIFF’s Northwest Connections showcase, and more so this year than ever, since Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister is screening on opening night! If I had my way, a film by a Seattle director would ALWAYS open the fest. But uh, until I’m charge, I guess that probably won’t happen. Anyway! Let’s dive into this year’s schedule.

I can’t say enough good things about Your Sister’s Sister, and I’m sure it will open soon after the fest in Seattle, so if you’re unable to attend Opening Night, don’t fret—you should be able see it soon enough! It’s a really fantastic piece of REAL storytelling. With relatable characters and a lot of laughs … I mean, duh. It’s Lynn Shelton! But seriously, I really, really, really think it’s her best work yet. And now I can’t wait to see her recently completed film, Touchy Feely. {Screens at the Opening Night Gala, May 17, Marion Oliver McCall Hall}

A second standout that I’ve was lucky enough to preview is Eden by Megan Griffiths. Can I tell you guys how pleased I am about two of my favorite female directors being spotlighted at SIFF? I AM VERY PLEASED. FOR REALS. And even more pleased that Eden is fucking spectacular, and worthy of that Stranger Genius Award. Chronicling a young girl’s abduction and capture at the hands of a super-icky gang of dudes who run a sex slave house near Vegas, Eden tells the story with non-exploitive delicacy, beautiful care (it’s based on a true story), and some goddamn amazing performances. Obviously, this film makes me want to swear. But only because I REALLY loved it. {Screens  May 19, 9:15pm, The Egyptian, & May 29, Everett Performing Arts Center}

SIFF is obviously trying to win my heart by choosing a filmed-in-Seattle gem as their Closing Night film. Grassroots (Kudos, Stephen Gyllenhaal, for actually filming a movie about Seattle IN Seattle, and not in Vancouver like a lot of other jerks), is about an obnoxious music critic (OH, WE HAVE THOSE??) who decides to run for City Council in order to make his dream of public transportation a reality. Politics + monorail hilarity + my hometown = this on must-see list. {Screens at the Closing Night Gala, June 10, 6pm, SIFF Cinema Uptown}

I’m also stoked for Safety Not Guaranteed, starring Mark Duplass (LOVE him!) as a guy who places an advertisement in Seattle magazine for a time-traveling companion, and Aubrey Plaza (LOVE her!) as the woman sent to investigate it for an interesting story. I mean, seriously: “WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.” How can you resist this premise? Plus, it's another movie that was actually FILMED here. How novel. {Screens May 23, 7pm – already on standby – & May 25, 4:30pm, SIFF Cinema Uptown} 

And, oy. My friend Elise wants me to see The Details with her, even though I’m resistant because I kind of hate Tobey Maguire, and the prospect of an entire comedy based around the hilarious hijinks of having raccoon trouble makes me cringe. But! Maybe Elizabeth Banks will balance out the terribleness I’m expecting. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be good. {Screens June 8, 6:30pm, The Egyptian & June 9, 8:30pm, Kirkland Performance Center}

Other things that peak my interest: The 5,000 Days Project: Two Brothers, which is like the local version of The UP Series, where filmmaker Rick Stevenson (this is co-directed by Kevin Klar) started filming elementary school students and checking in on them every year for 10 years. This is the first installment, which sounds pretty rad. And coming-of-age drama Camilla Dickinson, about a 15-year-old girl whose father just happens to be played by Cary Elwes—I mean, not that it would sway my decision to see it. OR WOULD IT??{5,000 Days: May 19, noon & May 21, 3:30pm, SIFF Cinema Uptown, and May 26, 1pm, Everett Performing Arts Center – Camilla Dickinson: May 20, 5:30pm, Harvard Exit & May 23, 4pm, SIFF Cinema Uptown}

And now for the films that round out the offerings: Fat Kid Rules the World, directed by Matthew Lillard, doesn’t sound like my particular cup of tea, but Embracey said it was okay; Ira Finklenstein’s Christmas, about a Jewish kid obsessed with, uh, Christmas, who changes places with a Christian kid so he can spend the holidays in Christmastown, WA (wait. what.); The Long Ride Home, a documentary about a dude who rode 4,200 miles to Ground Zero; The Revolutionary, about Sidney Rittenberg, the only American to join General Mao’s revolution; and of course, the SeaTown Shorts, which, if I’m being honest, I have to say didn’t thrill me. But! to be fair, they don't show press people ALL the shorts in each program, only a sampling. {Check the Northwest Connections page for the full schedule of films}

So … lots of good stuff! And probably some bad stuff too—but at least the PNW is seriously representin’ at SIFF this year! And that makes me happy.