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by Sean Axmaker


The Neon Demon

Blu-ray/DVD: The Neon Demon

neondemonThe Neon Demon (Broadgreen, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD) – “I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I can’t write… no real talent. But I’m pretty, and I can make money off pretty.” We first meet Jesse (Elle Fanning), a 16-year-old girl from Middle America looking to leverage her youth and innocent beauty into a modeling career in Los Angeles, made up as a glamorous victim of a decadent world. Sprawled out in designer clothes across an expensive couch with fake blood slathered across her neck and dripping down her arm, she could be shooting the ad for her own fate in the big bad city.

Nicholas Winding Refn, who wrote and directed his social commentary-as-heady horror film, isn’t big on subtlety. Elle Fanning is an enormously talented young actress who has become shorthand casting for innocence, youth, and authenticity, and that serves Refn’s purposes perfectly. She does indeed have that “deer in the headlights” look, as her agent says in one of the on-the-nose lines that fills the script, and her fresh look, not yet jaded by LA decadence, makes her the next big thing in a culture where the supermodels du jour age out of their prime at 20.

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Oscar Micheaux

Videophiled: Pioneers of African-American Cinema

pioneersafricanamPioneers of African-American Cinema (Kino, Blu-ray, DVD) – The legacy of African-American filmmaking—specifically films made by and for African-American audiences before Hollywood integrated its casts and gave leading roles to African-American actors—is largely unknown to even passionate films buffs, in part because the films were rarely seen by white audiences in their day, and in part because so few of the films had been preserved with the same dedication given to the maverick films of Hollywood. This landmark box set is the first serious effort devoted to collecting and preserving feature films and shorts produced between 1915 and 1946 for black audiences, most of them made by African-American filmmakers. The scope of the set embraces drama, music, adventure, comedy, and documentary.

Independent director/producer Oscar Micheaux, the most successful and prolific black filmmaker of his day, directly confronted race and racism in such movies as Within Our Gates (1920), which took up the cause of education while broaching such taboo subjects as miscegenation and lynching, The Symbol of the Unconquered (1920), his response to Birth of a Nation, and Birthright (1938). The set includes nine features and a short from Micheaux, including his most famous film Body and Soul (1925) starring Paul Robeson playing brothers (one good and the other a con man in a priest’s collar) in his film debut.

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Jean Gabin in 'Touchez pas au grisbi'

The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of Friday, September 23

“Every country inflects noir with its own accent, adapts the form to its own climate. In American noir, people are undone by ambition and desire, convinced that they can have what they want if they grab hard enough and run fast enough. In French films, people often succumb instead to exhaustion, melancholy, nihilism: most poetic realist films contain some version of the line “living is hard,” or “life’s a bitch.”” Imogen Sarah Smith reminds us the French didn’t only name film noir, they contributed mightily to it; not least by gracing us with one of the genre’s iconic actors, Jean Gabin. Also at Criterion, Geoffrey O’Brien praises Cat People as a film of more than just some memorable scenes, but one steeped in the uncanny. (“Fans and commentators have sifted every shot and every situation of this seventy-three-minute feature, pondering each line of dialogue and taking note of each editing gimmick and trick of lighting, speculating on the implications of every archetypal motif and psychosexual frisson. Yet a fundamental mysteriousness remains, a slippery unwillingness to submit to final explanation. Cat People’s most famous gesture—keeping the object of dread concealed in the shadows, and trusting to the human impulse to people the dark with the most unspeakable fears—is only the most blatant of the many ways in which the film leaves spaces deliberately blank. It presents us with a series of unforgettable moments and obliges us to imagine connections among them.”)

“William Dean Howells famously remarked, ‘What the American public wants is a tragedy with a happy ending.’ In his version of The Natural, Levinson made that a good thing—and ultimately, Malamud agreed with him. This son of Jewish immigrants and serial portraitist of social outsiders frequently got lumped with Saul Bellow and Philip Roth as “Jewish novelists.” According to his daughter, Janna Malamud Smith, when the author left the movie theater after seeing The Natural, he turned to his wife and said, ‘Now I’m an American writer.’” How Levinson and his collaborators pulled that off is why Carrie Rickey feels The Natural is only now getting its critical due, being dismissed at the time as an unacceptable softening of a great novel.

John Garfield in 'Four Daughters'
John Garfield in ‘Four Daughters’

“With alternate casting this might play as comical—the streetwise city boy lampooning the Norman Rockwellian small town virtue. But Garfield makes it the opposite: call it dramatic relief. Seated at the piano, a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, he manifests the pain behind his derision, the defense mechanism of mocking what he’s never known and is unlikely to have.” Steven Mears praises the debut of John Garfield in Four Daughters as one of those performances after which nothing is the same—and his saluted turn in The Postman Always Rings Twice as the moment everyone knew it.

“I’d always felt cut in two horizontally across, I mean to say my head was separated from my body, my head came first and the rest afterwards. Now I’m cut vertically down the middle–it’s no better or worse. Lying down as I am, I feel the exact boundary between my dead body and my living body, a line from the top of my skull to the ends of my feet cuts me in two, like the wire that cuts butter.” Dennis Cooper presents a powerful excerpt from Catherine Breillat’s Abus de Faiblesse chronicling the morning of her stroke; and her first encounter, on television, of swindler Christophe Rocancourt. Via David Hudson.

Catherine Breillat
Catherine Breillat

“Here is what the death of “our cinema” might really look like. Theatre admissions fall 45% over six years. Studio profits fall 80% over the same period. One-sixth of theatres close. Major overseas markets refuse to remit the earnings of Hollywood films. Audiences turn increasingly to other leisure activities. This was the state of the American film industry in 1953. The prosperous war years, culminating in the all-time admissions high of 1946, were over and the studios went into sharp decline. Thanks to the 1948 Supreme Court “Divorcement Decree,” the studios lost control of their theatres, relinquishing not only valuable showcases for their product but also millions of dollars of prime real estate. Yet as we know, 1953 didn’t end cinema, not even American cinema.” The Death-of-Cinema brigade is at it again; fortunately David Bordwell’s around to set them straight.

“But look, I understand the concern. Is it lurid? Yes. Is it lowbrow? Well, maybe. Is it offensive? No. I’m just trying to honor the B movies that we grew up with.” With (Re)Assignment turning out the most controversial film of his career since The Warriors, Walter Hill explains his motivations and inspirations to David Fear—I mean, as much as you’d expect for a guy so famously adverse to backstory.

Judy Davis
Judy Davis

“You can be on eggshells, really, because some actors are so hypersensitive. You say just one little thing and then see them bristle, and you think, “Ah, I’ve lost them. At least for today. Now I’ve got to try and get back their trust.” And with me, as an actress, over the years, some directors have lost my trust. I’d also say some of them deserved losing. But there is nothing quite as wonderful as having a rich, collaborative, fruitful relationship with a director, and a director-writer even better. I’ve had many of those as well, but sometimes the relationship can just go off-kilter, and it can be difficult to recover.” Whatever fresh perspective having done some (theater) direction has given her, Judy Davis remains a delightfully blunt interview, as here talking with Bilge Ebiri about disagreeing with Gillian Armstrong, taking comedy advice from Woody Allen, and trying to sing along with Judy Garland.

“Gatekeepers have a lot less hold. I sit and talk with Julie Dash or Charles Burnett, and all these heroes of mine who did the exact same thing that i do—tell stories, really gorgeous stories, far beyond anything that i could ever think of doing. And yet were not able to move freely and easily. You could really only make a film if you were black or a woman if you were also independently wealthy or in school. All those L.A. Rebellion filmmakers—Haile Gerima and Burnett and Dash—were at UCLA, that’s how they got the film stock and the film camera, 35-mm. film. Where’s the black Coppola, where’s the black Spielberg? Folks didn’t have access. Now you can use your beautiful iPhone, or you can edit it, and you can not only do that but you can distribute it yourself on the web. You can amplify it yourself.” Ava DuVernay discusses her small-budget, politically provocative documentary The 13th and her big-budget Wrinkle in Time adaptation for Disney with Rebecca Traister.

Ava DuVernay shooting 'The 13th'
Ava DuVernay shooting ‘The 13th’

“The main thing is we were appealing to a young audience. Something i noticed with major studios is that you had a 50-year-old leading man with a 40-year-old leading lady. They were stars, and it had taken them years, and they would sell the picture, but the audience was young and the people playing the leads were the age of their parents. So i made a specific attempt to appeal to a young audience. I had a choice, particularly with actors, of going with older actors who weren’t really stars because i really couldn’t afford them, or go with young actors who were unknown because i thought they would appeal to the audience.” Discussing the many facets of his career with Nick Pinkerton—though distributor, oddly, not so much—Roger Corman at 90 remains as pragmatic as ever.


Curtis Hanson
Curtis Hanson

Curtis Hanson earned an Academy Award for his screenplay adaptation of James Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential (1997), which he also directed to great success and an Oscar nomination. He got his start as a screenwriter for Roger Corman on The Dunwich Horror (1970) and made his directorial debut on the AIP horror film Sweet Kill (1972). He wrote the screenplays for The Silent Partner (1978) and Sam Fuller’s White Dog (1982) and co-wrote Never Cry Wolf (1983) before making his breakthrough writer and directing the Hitchcockian thriller The Bedroom Window (1987). He was pegged as a thriller specialist and made Bad Influence (1990), The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992), and The River Wild (1994) before L.A. Confidential (1997) gave him the clout to explore other genres. He directed Michael Douglas in Wonder Boys (2000), adapted from the novel by Michael Chabon, and Eminem in his feature debut in the gritty 8 Mile 92002), loosely based on Eminem’s own life, and then switched gears once more for In Her Shoes (2005) with Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, and Shirley MacLaine. He was forced to drop out of his final feature, Chasing Mavericks (2012), for health reasons. Though not widely discussed, he suffered from Alzheimer’s and his death at the age of 71 was related to the illness. Duane Byrge and Mike Barnes for The Hollywood Reporter.

Charmian Carr portrayed Liesl, the eldest von Trapp daughter, in the film version of The Sound of Music (1965), where she sang “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.” It was her feature film role. She starred opposite Anthony Perkins in the TV musical Evening Primrose (1966) and then retired from acting, appearing in occasional TV commercials and at The Sound of Music sing-along events. She passed away at the age of 73. Emily Langer for The Washington Post.

Seattle Screens listings are on Parallax View here.

The weekly links page is compiled and curated by Bruce Reid, with obituaries and Seattle Screens curated by Sean Axmaker, and other contributions from friends of Parallax View.

Nightmare Alley

Seattle Screens: Film noir ‘Nightmare,’ Local Sightings at NWFF, and Arthouse Theatre Day

The 19th edition of Local Sightings, “Seattle’s only festival dedicated to Pacific Northwest films and filmmakers,” continues at NWFF with over 100 features and short films, including 26 world premieres (four of them features), plus workshops and panels and other events. Plays through Saturday, October 1 at NWFF. Complete schedule and other details here, and Robert Horton’s preview is at Seattle Weekly.

The 39th edition of the longest-running film noir series in the world kicks off on Thursday, September 29 with a screening of Nightmare Alley (1947). Matinee idol Tyrone Power is brilliantly cast as the opportunistic carnie who tramples his partners to climb out of the sideshow and into nightclub glamour and high society in one of the most offbeat examples of film noir. Opening and closing in the dregs of a two-bit carnival, the rise and fall of a drifter who connives a mind-reading act from a rummy has-been and transforms it into a scam targeting the gullible rich straddles the chasm between sleaze and class, thanks to the oddly interesting miscasting of studio stalwart Edmund Goulding as director. He never manages to sink to the depths suggested in Jules Furthman’s screenplay (behold the Geek!) but his studio elegance has its own rewards. Tyrone Power’s self-conscious screen persona perfectly fits his character, a phony whose entire life is a performance, and Colleen Gray is film noir’s baby-faced innocent, though she’s anything but naïve here. Joan Blondell and Mike Mazurki co-star as Gray’s protective carnie pals and Helen Walker proves herself just as ruthlessly cunning as Power’s scam artist in the role of a corrupt analyst. It screens from a 35mm film print at 7:30 pm at Plestcheeff Auditorium at the Seattle Art Museum. More information here, and the series continues on Thursday nights through December at SAM.

French Cinema Now kicks off with on Thursday, September 29 with opening night feature Lost in Paris from filmmaking team Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon. The series plays through Thursday, October 6. The complete schedule and ticket and festival pass information is here.

Cameraperson, a personal documentary from filmmaker Kirsten Johnson, screens at SIFF Cinema Uptown on Wednesday, September 28 with a Skype Q&A with the filmmaker. The film opens for a theatrical run on Friday, September 30.

SIFF Cinema Uptown celebrates Arthouse Theatre Day with a screening of the newly restored cult horror film Phantasm (1979) on Saturday, September 24 at SIFF Cinema Uptown, with a live stream Q&A with director Don Coscarelli joined by J.J. Abrams.

A new digital restoration of I Drink Your Blood (1973) plays on Friday, September 23 at Grand Illusion as its anti-Arthouse Day offering. Then on Saturday, Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits (1981) is the official Arthouse Theatre Day offering.

Central Cinema gets back to school with repertory runs of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) and Mean Girls (2004). Showtimes here.

More openings: The conspiracy thriller Operation Avalanche at Sundance Cinemas, the French drama Come What May at Guild 45, the romantic comedy/fantasy Zoom at Grand Illusion, and the documentaries Dying to Know: Ram Dass & Timothy Leary at SIFF Film Center and Three Days in Auschwitz at Sundance Cinemas.

Visit the film review pages at The Seattle TimesSeattle Weekly, and The Stranger for more releases.

View complete screening schedules through IMDbMSNYahoo, or Fandango, pick the interface of your choice.

John Lithgow and Lolita Davidovich in Brian De Palma's 'Raising Cain'

Blu-ray: ‘Raising Cain: Collector’s Edition’ with a De Palma-blessed Director’s Cut

raisingcainbdRaising Cain: Collector’s Edition (Scream Factory, Blu-ray) – Jenny (Lolita Davidovich, all soft curves and dreamy smiles) is married to “the perfect man,” says her best friend Sarah (Mel Harris). At first glance Carter (John Lithgow) seems exactly that: a thoughtful husband, a doting father, a child psychiatrist who put his practice on hold to stay home and raise their daughter while she, an oncologist, worked as the family professional and breadwinner. So what’s she thinking when she slips off with Jack (Steven Bauer), a handsome widower of a former patient she hasn’t seen in years, and makes love in the park where her daughter plays? Okay, that’s no secret. The first shot of the Raising Cain: Director’s Cut (1992/2012) puts a Valentine’s heart around her entrance, a cheesy video effect in an upscale boutique that taps right into romantic dreams that her “perfect” husband is failing to satisfy. When this dreamboat sails back into her life and Carter spies their affair, we have a pretty good idea where this is headed. And we couldn’t be more wrong.

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Orson Welles on 'Chimes at Midnight,' on Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion

Blu-ray: Orson Welles’ ‘Chimes at Midnight’ and ‘The Immortal Story’ debut on Criterion

chimesmidChimes at Midnight (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) has been difficult to see under any circumstances for at least the last three decades. It suffered from distribution issues during its original release (a woefully misguided pan by New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther, an old-school moralist at sea in the era of new visions, essentially sunk it American release) and has been in legal limbo thanks to competing claims of ownership for decades. Original 35mm prints had issues with image and sound mixing and timing and surviving prints were worn and degraded over time. After years of negotiating and gathering materials, the film was restored in 2015. The re-release was a revelation and the first time that many Americans had the opportunity to finally see the film that Welles had called his favorite (admittedly he had said that about more than one of his films over his career, but Chimes did hold a special place in his heart). Welles called Falstaff “the greatest creation by Shakespeare” and said of the film: “If I wanted to get into heaven on the basis of one movie, that’s the one I would offer up.”

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of Friday, September 16

With a restoration of The Man Who Fell to Earth playing England, the film has become quite the hot topic for discussion. Candy Clark talks with Neil Armstrong about the charms of working with David Bowie, who was always more straight-laced than he appeared (“Does [Bowie in the film] look like someone on heavy cocaine? No. His eyes are clear, his skin is clear, he is very relaxed. He had vowed to Nic Roeg that he would not do drugs while doing this film. I believe he kept his word. I think he made up all that other stuff just to be controversial, which he liked to do.”); while drugs—and sleeping around with Bianca Jagger—do make an appearance in Chris Campion’s account of how John Phillips came to make the film’s score. (“‘Those kind of episodes with Nic were relatively … I wouldn’t say frequent but they were not infrequent,’ says Graeme Clifford, who edited The Man Who Fell to Earth. ‘Everybody who knows Nic, at one point or another, has got into a rolling around on the floor fight with him. If John Phillips had not had a fight with him, I’d say, Oh really?’”) And cinematographer Tony Richmond shares some behind-the-scenes tales—including how his own blood made an on-camera appearance—with Leigh Singer. (“The spinning in the air—“aliens having orgasms”! We did that at Shepperton Studios afterwards. We built two towers and were up there with a camera, about 20 feet up. And we bought a huge trampoline and brought a trampoline specialist in, and the prop men were on another tower. And as they jumped up, they threw buckets of wallpaper paste all over them. And that’s what’s coming off them! Although quite frankly what I hate nowadays, is all these ‘how-they-did-this’ [features]. There’s no magic in movies anymore.”) Via David Hudson.

“It’s very hard for me to talk about the backlash because for me it was so directly personal. It was my mother getting sympathy cards, it was people coming up to me on the street telling me that they wished I was dead, saying they want their money back. It was me in my 84 Toyota Celica breaking down in LA in La Cienega underneath a billboard with my own face on it. It was a profoundly surreal experience.” As the new Blair Witch film hits theaters, Emalie Marthe talks to filmmakers Eduardo Sanchez and Dan Myrick and actors Heather Donohue and Joshua Leonard about the making of the say-what-you-will-but-it-was-certainly-influential original, and the downside to having the most hyped film of your career marketed on your supposed death.

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Seattle Screens: Sketchfest, ‘Moonrise’ talk, and ‘Dr. Strangelove’

The 19th edition of Local Sightings, “Seattle’s only festival dedicated to Pacific Northwest films and filmmakers,” opens at NWFF on Thursday, September 22 with “The Future is Zero: Local Sightings Edition,” a local game show taped live in locations around Seattle. The festival presents over 100 features and short films, including 26 world premieres (four of them features), plus workshops and panels and other events. Plays through Saturday, October 1 at NWFF. Complete schedule and other details here.

The 9th Annual SketchFest Seattle Comedy Film Challenge, a short film festival that screens on Saturday, September 17 at Central Cinema.

Lyall Bush is your host and guide through the Cinema Dissection of Moonrise Kingdom at SIFF Film Center on Sunday, September 18. The all-day audience participation event begins at 11am.

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, a documentary directed by Ron Howard (his first), opens for a week-long run at SIFF Cinema Uptown. It also plays on Hulu for streaming subscribers, but the theatrical version features an exclusive 30 minute concert of The Beatles’ performance at Shea Stadium in 1965. Reviewed on Parallax View here.

Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (1964) plays on big screen in select theaters across the country for two nights this week through Fathom Events: Sunday, September 18 and Wednesday, September 21. You can find participating theaters in your area here.

Heidi (1992) is an experimental reinterpretation of the classic children’s novel by artists Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley. It screens on Sunday, September 18 at NWFF in a special presentation co-sponsored by the Henry Art Gallery.

History of the American City is a lecture and discussion with instructor Christopher Rufo on how documentaries shed light on the life cycle of the American City. Thursday, September 22 at SIFF Film Center Classroom.

The Department Q Trilogy—The Keeper of Lost Causes (Denmark, 2013), The Absent One (Denmark, 2014), and A Conspiracy of Faith (Denmark, 2016)—plays through the week at SIFF Film Center.

More openings: Alice Winocour’s Disorder at The Varsity (reviewed at Seattle Weekly here), Max Rose with Jerry Lewis at Sundance Cinemas, Stellan Skarsgård in the Scandinavian thriller In Order of Disappearance at Grand Illusion, and the documentaries Hieronymus Bosch: Touched by the Devil at SIFF Cinema Uptown and Author: The JT LeRoy Story at SIFF Cinema Uptown and Sundance.

Visit the film review pages at The Seattle TimesSeattle Weekly, and The Stranger for more releases.

View complete screening schedules through IMDbMSNYahoo, or Fandango, pick the interface of your choice.

The Beatles

Review: The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years

Do we need another documentary on The Beatles? Yes, they are music legends, rock royalty, and a popular culture phenomenon, and they have been duly studied, appreciated, dissected, and celebrated practically from the moment they set foot on American soil. Is there anything left to say?

Ron Howard’s The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years hasn’t much new to add apart from perspective but that makes all the difference. The title is a ungainly but accurate. After sketching in the birth of the band, it follows the familiar career arc from club favorites to pop hitmakers to sophisticated songsmiths pushing the boundaries of our conception of rock and roll in “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which (apart from a fitting coda) is where this study ends. The focus, however, is on their non-stop activity from their first chart success to their last live concert.

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of Friday, September 9

Oscar Isaac in 'Inside Llewyn Davis'
Oscar Isaac in ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

“While cooler styles have always been with us, from Greta Garbo and Cary Grant to Steve McQueen and Charlotte Rampling, those actors communicate that they are above or outside of emotion, either aristocratically detached or winningly unflappable. In contrast, the thread of resistance to and evasion of spectacular emotionality among many in today’s new generation of stars doesn’t evoke emotional detachment or indifference but rather a tortured mistrust of expression itself—one that, in its understated way, clearly forms its own kind of emotional appeal to the audience at the same time as it dramatizes why the actor must resist making one. In fact, many of today’s most popular young actors communicate to us, in various ways, that they don’t want to perform.” Shonni Enelow traces a new trend in American acting, a withdrawal from expression, and suggests there’s no paradox that audiences happily embrace stars who embody such stand-offishness. Staying at Film Comment, whatever your method (or lack of it), some actors are just going to be better at it than others; Steven Mears writes up two less celebrated but typically fine turns—in The Gypsy Moths and I Never Sang for My Father—by one of the best, Gene Hackman. (“It’s difficult to imagine, let alone recall, an inauthentic moment from Hackman—a reading that isn’t at once perfectly judged and erupting with surprise. Paired with an antithesis of vanity, Hackman was a star both of and outside his time.”)

A Movie is set to excerpts from Respighi’s Pines of Rome (it, too, sampled from another movie, Kenneth Anger’s 1947 debut short, Fireworks). In the first two-thirds of the film, the music is in sync with the tone and tempo of the pictures, but as the images spiral downward, the music rises in triumph. The juxtaposition heightens the horror—surely horror is at the very heart of “It’s All True”—and also sharpens Conner’s critique of our (and his) pleasure and fascination. What exactly have we all been enjoying?” Observant, thoughtful, and alive to the different ways the films, photographs, and artpieces speak to one another, Amy Taubin offers much the best walkthrough I’ve read of MoMA’s Bruce Conner exhibit. Via Mubi.

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Seattle Screens: Cinerama 70, Spock, Ted Neely, and revivals of Mankiewicz and Warhol

Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence of Arabia

Framing Pictures convenes in the screening room of Scarecrow Video on Friday, September 9. More details at the official Facebook page.

Cinerama’s 70mm Film Festival opens on Friday, September 9 with screenings of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Tron (1982) and continues through Monday, September 19. The offerings are wide ranging, from such large-gauge standbys as Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Spartacus (1960) to modern 70mm event releases The Master (2012) and Interstellar (2014) to unconventional choices like Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce (1985), John Carpenter’s Starman (1984), and Michael Cimino’s Year of the Dragon (1985). You’ll want to get your tickets in advance; it’s all reserved seating and the first two shows of 2001, the Saturday show of Lawrence, and both screenings of Aliens (1986) are already sold out. Embrace the old school standard for high-definition cinema and remind yourself what it looks like to see film projected on the big screen. Showtimes and tickets here.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) starring Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn and Montgomery Clift plays on 35mm at NWFF on Saturday, September 10.

Andy Warhol’s Lonesome Cowboys (1968) plays one show at NWFF on Sunday, September 11. It screens from a 16mm print, just like it did in its original release.

Actor Ted Neeley will appear at the screening of Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) at SIFF Cinema Uptown on Tuesday, September 13.

The American indie comedy Chatty Catties plays three shows over the next few weeks at NWFF. The first is screening is on Friday, September 9, and it plays again on Saturday, September 17 and Saturday, October 8.

WRETCHED WOMAN // Pig or Poet? showcases the video works by Chicago-based artist Emily Esperanza in a two-part program at NWFF on Sunday, September 11. All screened from VHS tapes with the artist in attendance.

Cosmos, the final film from Polish-born filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski, continues at NWFF through Sunday, September 11.

More screenings of the 3-D music documentary Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: One More Time, directed by Andrew Dominick, have been added this weekend at SIFF Cinema Uptown.

For the Love of Spock, a documentary from Adam Nimoy, plays for a week at SIFF Film Center with a special Saturday screening at SIFF Cinema Uptown featuring a live Skype intro by the director.

The French Truly Salon, presented by SIFF and French Truly, reconvenes for an evening of French food, wine, culture, and cinema, with a screening of L’Amour Fou on Wednesday, September 14 at SIFF Cinema Uptown.

The documentary Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision of Paradise screens one night only on Wednesday, September 14 at SIFF Film Center.

Ways of Something, a contemporary remake of John Berger’s BBC documentary Ways of Seeing (1972), presents one-minute videos by over 114 network-based artists. Screens Wednesday, September 14 at NWFF.

The People Garden, from Canadian filmmaker Nadia Litz, screens Wednesday, September 14 at NWFF.

Take Three 2016 is a showcase of experimental film and animation curated by Barbara Robertson, Joseph Pentheroudakis, and Janet Galore. It screens on Thursday, September 15 at NWFF. Some of the artists represented in the showcase will be at a pre-screening reception at 7pm.

Don’t Blink: Robert Frank, a documentary on the legendary photographer and filmmaker by Laura Israel, opens on Thursday, September 15 and plays through the weekend at NWFF.

More openings: Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre from Italy at Guild 45, the American indie comedy Brother Nature at Sundance Cinemas, the documentary Hooligan Sparrow from China at Grand Illusion.

Visit the film review pages at The Seattle TimesSeattle Weekly, and The Stranger for more releases.

View complete screening schedules through IMDbMSNYahoo, or Fandango, pick the interface of your choice.

The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of Friday, September 2

Oliver Stone, Edward Snowden, Anatoly Kucherena and Kieran Fitzgerald
Oliver Stone, Edward Snowden, Anatoly Kucherena and Kieran Fitzgerald

“When someone else asked about Stone’s experience of making Snowden, his answer was despondent. ‘It was really a horrible experience in every way,’ he said. Everyone laughed except for Stone.” Irina Aleksander’s account of how Oliver Stone came to make Snowden involves opportunistic Russian lawyers, ACLU lawyers idealistic to a fault, shady Hollywood executives, and a director who finally found a story to match his own paranoia. (Which has always been there, if you check out the interview below.) Via Longform.

“So I’m editing in Montreal—we’d moved the film there—and [cinematographer Roger Racine] didn’t get paid and he locked me out of the editing room. I somehow legally “seized” the film back under Canadian law. I accompanied the bailiff and police to Racine’s office to get the work print; he was livid. But we couldn’t locate the sound masters. But we smuggled the workprint out through the Michigan border in the back of a rented car we hadn’t paid for. We had to “re-dub” the whole picture, all from lip-syncing. Motherfucker! That motherfucker!” In an excerpt from The Oliver Stone Experience, the director tells Matt Zoller Seitz about his surreal struggles to film Seizure, and going from nobody to the suddenly celebrated screenwriter of Midnight Express and (back when it was still bouncing from director to director) Platoon.

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Seattle Screens: Andrzej Zulawski’s ‘Cosmos,’ Louis Malle’s ‘Gallows,’ and the fall Film Noir schedule


Passes are now available for the 39th edition of the longest-running film noir series in the world. This year’s edition begins on Thursday, September 29 with Nightmare Alley (1947) and ends on December 8 with the modern noir Nightcrawler (2014), and seven of the nine feature will be screened on 35mm prints. Screenings are on Thursday evenings at Plestcheeff Auditorium at the Seattle Art Museum downtown. More information here.

Cosmos, the final film from Polish-born filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski, opens at NWFF for a five-day run beginning on Wednesday, September 7.

A Rialto Pictures revival of Louis Malle’s 1958 Elevator to the Gallows, a thriller starring Jeanne Moreau and featuring a score by Miles Davis, opens for a week-long run at Sundance Cinemas.

The People vs. Fritz Bauer, a German drama about the district attorney who fought the state to bring criminal charged again Adolph Eichmann in the late 1950s, topped the German film awards with nine nominations. It opens at Seven Gables.

Miss Sharon Jones!, a profile of the R&B star from Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, opens for a week at NWFF and the documentary Los Sures plays over the weekend.

The Trans List and Mariela Castro’s March, two new documentaries about LGBTQ identity from HBO Documentary Films, play for free on Wednesday, September 7 at SIFF Cinema Uptown. RSVP required.

The 3-D concert music film Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: One More Time, about the recording of the band’s 16th studio album, plays for two shows only on Thursday, September 8 at SIFF Cinema Uptown.

It’s not too late to make your plans for next week: Framing Pictures will convene in the screening room of Scarecrow Video on Friday, September 9. Check the official Facebook page for details and updates.

Visit the film review pages at The Seattle TimesSeattle Weekly, and The Stranger for more releases.

View complete screening schedules through IMDbMSNYahoo, or Fandango, pick the interface of your choice.

'Sweet Smell of Success' plays as part of the Fall film noir series
‘Sweet Smell of Success’ plays as part of the Fall film noir series

The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of Friday, August 26

Kathleen Turner in 'Serial Mom'
Kathleen Turner in ‘Serial Mom’

Academic journals may not seem the most conducive forum for celebrations of comedy, but the new issue of cléo tackles the subject admirably, from Jovana Jankovic’s appreciation for why the compulsions played out by every character in Serial Mom makes its gleefully murderous lead so funny (“As she grins delightedly when surprising a victim in her bedroom closet with a pair of scissors, so do we. As she takes pleasure in doing whatever the hell she wants without concern for repercussions, so do we momentarily escape into a world where doing whatever the hell one wants (and looking good doing it) is a liberating and gratifyingly consequence-free option.”) to Erica Peplin’s song of praise for Jennifer Coolidge (“From which perfect cloud of pink convertibles, lip gloss and acrylic nails did you fall? You’ve been a staple in the film industry for over two decades. You have graced us with your presence in so many films that my finger gets tired scrolling through your IMDb page. In the war of the Jennifers—Lawrence, Aniston, Connelly, ad infinitum—you might be billed number two or three (or, like, six) but you’ve always held first place in my heart.”). Veronica Fitzpatrick’s interesting, and spoiler-filled, look at the destabilizing use of laughter in Mélanie Laurent’s Breathe leans a bit more on the jargon (“Laughter isn’t just decontextualized by the film’s editing; it has an increasingly arbitrary relation to affect, such that Sarah laughing in one moment doesn’t protect Charlie from being slapped across the face by her in the next.”), while Sarah Hagi drops it entirely chronicling her “hate watch” of the anti-feminist DTV religious film Christian Mingle (“At first, I wasn’t sure the first date would lead to anything, only because the two leads have zero chemistry and he’s a pair of khaki pants personified. For one date, they go out for sushi and he can barely eat it because he’s so American he can only eat chili-dogs. This is when Gwyneth starts falling hard…somehow.”).

“Reflecting the developing perception evident in most major cities circa the early 1930s, Henri and the others in Mauvaise Graine have bought into the increasingly fast-paced contemporary notion that personal transportation signifies innovative independence and a get-up-and-go social momentum. With this newfound mobility, however, as with any new technology, comes new professions and new opportunities for crime, and as seen in Mauvaise Graine, new avenues where the two intersect.” For Jeremy Carr, Wilder’s directorial debut, shot in Paris in 1934, has some hints of his future career; but even more, as Wilder himself claimed, can be found the first hints of the location staging and movie-mad self-aware protagonists that would define the New Wave.

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Seattle Screens: Elio Petri in the ‘Country,’ a ‘Southside’ first date, a ‘Tunnel’ in Korea

Elio Petri’s A Quiet Place in the Country (1968), starring Franco Nero and Vanessa Redgrave, plays on 35mm at NWFF for two shows only on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

Two films that played at SIFF open this weekend: Southside with You, a Before Sunrise with actors playing young Barack and Michelle on a first date in Chicago, opens at The Egyptian and The Intervention, the directorial debut of actress Clea DuVall, opens at Sundance Cinemas.

The Land, a drama set in Cleveland’s hip-hop underground, opens at Grand Illusion.

Breaking a Monster, a documentary about rock trio of 13-year-old boys whose mix of heavy metal and speed punk makes the jump for Times Square to major recording contract with the help of a 70-year-old manager, plays through Sunday at NWFF.

Also at NWFF is Holy Hell, a documentary about the sociopathic leader of Los Angeles cult, playing two shows only on Friday, August 26 and Wednesday, August 31.

From South Korea comes Tunnel, a survival drama about a man trapped in a collapsed tunnel and the shifting public support as the rescue drags on and the media get distracted. Directed by Kim Seong-hun (A Hard Day). Opens at the AMC Alderwood and the Cinemark Century at Federal Way.

This week’s free outdoor movie at Cal Anderson Park is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005). The screening begins at sunset on Friday, August 26, around 8:30pm, but viewers are encouraged to arrive early for a good seat, concessions, and entertainment by a DJ playing from 7pm.

Seattle Center Movies at the Mural continues with a free outdoor screening of Life of Pi at the Seattle Center Mural Amphitheatre on Saturday, August 27. The film begins a dusk, around 8:30 or 9pm, and seating is first come, first served.

The Rogers & Hammerstein musical The King and I (1956), starring Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner, Rita Moreno, and the singing voice of Marni Nixon, plays on big screen in select theaters across the country for two nights this week through Fathom Events: Sunday, August 28 and Wednesday, August 31. You can find participating theaters in your area here.

Visit the film review pages at The Seattle Times and The Stranger for more releases.

View complete screening schedules through IMDbMSNYahoo, or Fandango, pick the interface of your choice.