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Friday, April 4, 2008

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on April 4 at 12:34 PM


Professional print film critics are dinosaurs, explains the New York Times. David Poland’s analysis goes a little further.

On the other hand, the wisdom of the internets is sometimes admirable. Check out IMDB’s keywords for the intelligent design agitdoc Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (described by its boosters at the Discovery Institute as “Ben Stein’s expose of Darwinist thought control in our institutions of higher learning”):


Quite true. Expelled opens April 18th, but so far has no Seattle theaters booked. You might have to go to Bellevue.

Meanwhile, Errol Morris has been doing some interesting advance publicity for his Abu Ghraib documentary, Standard Operating Procedure, out in Seattle on May 16. His movie distinguishes itself from previous films like The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib by giving us a much clearer view of the participants’ personalities, including the laconic Lynndie England (with her colorful Appalachian vocabulary), the charismatic but weak-willed Sabrina Harmon (who was in a committed, long-distance lesbian relationship during her time at Abu Ghraib), and the smart but totally unreadable Megan Ambuhl (who married ringleader Charles Graner after he impregnated England). Recommended: this scary New Yorker article, cowritten by Morris, featuring Sabrina Harmon’s letters home to her girlfriend; Morris’s NYT defensive blog post about his use of reenactments in documentaries (including the great The Thin Blue Line).

Opening today:

On Screen this week kicks off with Charles Mudede’s preview of the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, which opened last night—notable upcoming films include Sweet Mud, Orthodox Stance, and the Seattle premiere of Beaufort. I’m also curious about Arranged , written by an Orthodox woman from Brooklyn who was inspired to try her hand at a screenplay after seeing Ushpizin, and Children of the Sun, a doc about the first generation of kids raised in kibbutzim. Apparently, they were potty-trained in unison:

Children of the Sun

On Screen continues with the soccer doc/art film Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (Jen Graves: “Zidane comes across as a creature on the prowl. He has a loping gait, characterized by mindless toe tapping. He spits like he’s hissing, and he sweats profusely. When he breaks into a run, the camera struggles to follow his unpredictable motion. His stony expression changes only once the entire 95-minute film”); the Lebanese beauty salon-set film Caramel (Charles Mudede: “The women want to have sex without fear, sex in the open, sex with other women, but the society blocks the fulfillment of their hunger. And the blockage is all the crueler because the women dress to kill”)…


…plus Martin Scorsese’s Stones concert film Shine a Light (Andrew Wright: “Save for a few frantic preshow moments, Scorsese tones down his onscreen persona familiar from previous docs, concentrating instead on putting the camera at absolutely the right place at any given moment. As for the band themselves, they’re tighter than even a truckload of Botox could account for”); the immigration heartstring-yanker Under the Same Moon (Paul Constant: “This manipulative mess, which markets itself as having ‘an ending so touching, it could make Lou Dobbs cry,’ is a blunted dart aimed at hearts that already bleed”); the casino mockumentary The Grand (Brendan Kiley: “Imagine Werner Herzog, stroking a bunny, staring into the camera, saying in his flat Herzogian accent: ‘Most people drink coffee, but I sink of sis as se beverage of se cowards,’ and explaining how, as a pick-me-up, he kills a small animal each day with his bare hands”), and The Singing Revolution, a documentary about Eastern Europeans who warble their way to freedom (me: “‘Can culture hold a people together?’ the voiceover (Linda Hunt) asks breathlessly, as if anything but culture could define ‘a people.’”).

In Limited Runs this week, also accessible through our fancy, newly formatted Movie Times page: Boarding Gate has been extended through Tuesday at Northwest Film Forum, which is also playing the previously mentioned Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait through Sunday and the magical Build a Ship, Sail to Sadness starting Monday. The Varsity has a fascinating (if occasionally pretentious) enviro documentary about land use and community activism in 1990s Austin, TX: It’s called The Unforeseen, and it should do smashing business in Seattle. Grand Illusion has a pair of better-than you’d expect movies: the graffiti doc Bomb It and the security-camera POV film Look (with director Adam Rifkin in attendance both shows). And SIFF Cinema has a multipart miniseries that sounds horrific (it’s about a globetrotting filmmaker with a palatial Manhattan loft and a pair of annoying-sounding “lovers”), but is actually bizarrely absorbing: Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman (Part 1 and Part 2, director in attendance some shows). Plus Donnie Darko, Cave of the Yellow Dog, Cabaret, Brats: Our Journey Home, and more.

And last but never least, Lindy West takes on Tyler Perry’s newest, Meet the Browns, in Concessions.

RSS icon Comments


I know you love the french-lesbian-seagulls-coming-of-age movies and shit, but you missed a great horror movie "The Ruins" that came out today.

Posted by bobcat | April 4, 2008 12:49 PM

We didn't "miss" it; the studio refused to screen it for us. That's how it works--we review nearly everything we're given access to.

Posted by annie | April 4, 2008 12:54 PM

I'm still laughing at Sean Nelson's Donnie Darko snippet.

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 4, 2008 1:11 PM

they were super paranoid about the l33t kiddies leaking the movie out to bittorrent users. There wasn't anything anywhere. Refreshing to know there are still good horror movies coming out in between all these weak watered down Asian Extreme Horror remakes.

Posted by bobcat | April 4, 2008 2:26 PM

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