This weekend brings Where’d You Go Bernadette, a Cate Blanchett-starring adaptation of local author Maria Semple’s hilarious novel—but sadly, early reviews are not favorable. For a better time, rock out with a restoration of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, thrill to more queer glamor with The Queen, travel into Jim Henson’s puppet dystopia with the fabulistic The Dark Crystal, or see what classics are playing at Cinerama’s Sound and Vision Film Series. 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 (which are now location-aware!), and don’t forget to see where outdoor movies are playing.
Note: Movies play Thursday–Sunday unless otherwise noted
Big Trouble in Little China
With a title that mirrors the poeticism of a POTUS tweet, this 1986 classic is a comic book come to life filled with martial arts, monsters, magic, and Kurt Russell in a tank top saying cheesy shit like “I was born ready!” and “Son of a bitch must pay!” BRI BREY
Northwest Film Forum
Part of Fog City Cinema
Cassandro, the Exotico!
“We don’t say ‘break a leg’ in lucha libre. We say ‘good luck.'” The line comes from Cassandro, a famous and flamboyant lucha libre wrestler known as an exotico, which is a wrestler who fights in drag. He’s talking to Marie Losier, the documentarian behind Cassandro the Exotico!, a brisk and shimmering 16-millimeter film about Cassandro’s radical success as the “Liberace of lucha libre.” Lucha libre, as Cassandro explains, has included exoticos since the 1940s. In the past, exoticos performed mostly as clowns, but Cassandro says he’s changed the game. In 1992, Cassandro won the Universal Wrestling Association World Lightweight Championship as an exotico, which he claims not only changed the Mexican sport, but also “changed the Mexican culture.” Thanks to Cassandro, exoticos now get to beat the shit out of people. CHASE BURNS
Northwest Film Forum
Comedy Gold from the American Cinema
This summer, let the silver screen wash over you and enjoy old-school cool with comedic classics like the unusually lighthearted Hitchcock movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Seattle Art Museum
The Jim Henson Company
The Dark Crystal
Toxic avarice, environmentalism, slavery, the power of love, the importance of respect for your fellow creature, ethnic cleansing—all of these still-relevant topics are threaded throughout The Dark Crystal in 1982 Jim Henson/Frank Oz puppet-and-animatronic story form. It follows a pair of elf-like Gelflings, the last of their kind, as they embark on a dangerous quest to restore balance to their world by returning a lost shard to the powerful but broken gem of the film’s title. It was one of my favorites as a kid (my tastes skewed morbid), and now that Netflix is releasing that prequel series from the Jim Henson Company, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (available for streaming August 30), now is a good time to get refreshed on the original. LEILANI POLK
Do the Right Thing
One of the best scenes in one of the best movies of the remarkable year 1989, Do the Right Thing, concerns something we are now very familiar with, gentrification. Set on a hot summer day in Brooklyn, the scene goes like this: Black Buggin Out (played by Giancarlo Esposito) gets accidentally run into by white Clifton (played by John Savage), who is wearing a Larry Bird top and leaves a mark on Buggin Out’s brand-new white Air Jordans. Buggin Out: “Who told you to step on my sneakers? Who told you to walk on my side of the block? Who told you to be in my neighborhood?” Clifton: “I own this brownstone.” Buggin Out: “Who told you to buy a brownstone on my block, in my neighborhood, on my side of the street? Yo, what you wanna live in a Black neighborhood for, anyway? Man, motherfuck gentrification.” Then Buggin Out asks: “Why don’t you move back to Massachusetts?” Clifton: “I was born in Brooklyn!” CHARLES MUDEDE
A Faithful Man
The actor Louis Garrel—one of the most beautiful men in French cinema, and also one of the stars in a film (Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers) with two other beautiful humans, Michael Pitt and Eva Green—is also a fine director. His second film, A Faithful Man, is straightforward, restrained, and short—only 75 minutes, people. For those who enjoy simply watching attractive French people dealing with the twists and turns of love, this is a movie you should not miss. CHARLES MUDEDE
Northwest Film Forum
If you had a fatal disease, would you want to know? This question lies at the heart of a 2016 This American Life segment called “What You Don’t Know” by Lulu Wang. Her 80-year-old grandmother, known as Nai Nai, had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and given three months to live. Her family decided not to tell her she was sick at all. Now Wang has written and directed a film, The Farewell, based on her family’s experience. It features Awkwafina, the wonderful rapper and actor, in her first starring role. GILLIAN ANDERSON
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
The first of the Fast & Furious spinoff films, the ampersand-fueled Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is exactly as goofy and fun as it should be. Free of the core saga’s melodrama, the buddy cop comedy finds Dwayne Johnson’s tough guy Hobbs and Jason Statham’s tough guy Shaw flex-bickering and secretly loving each other as they work with Shaw’s super-spy sister (Vanessa Kirby, AKA the sister on The Crown) to fight Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), who, notably, has a robot motorcycle. (In the first five minutes, somebody asks Lore who he is, and he says, “Bad Guy,” which is almost as good of a name as “Brixton Lore.”) If you thought F&F couldn’t get any sillier, Hobbs & Shaw is happy to prove you wrong (the Rock fights a helicopter), and if you thought F&F couldn’t get more emo, Hobbs & Shaw is also happy to prove you wrong (once again, we learn that families, both those we inherit and those we create as we flip dune buggies through the air, are Very Important). In conclusion, vote Hobbs and Shaw in 2020. ERIK HENRIKSEN
‘Filibus’ with Johann Wagner and Sage Fischer (Dolphin Midwives)
Seattle’s newest movie theater will screen Mario Roncoroni’s 1915 Italian silent film (based on a story by science-fiction writer Giovanni Bertinetti) Filibus, which follows the exploits of a “cross-dressing futuristic sky pirate who pounces on her prey from a zeppelin manned by a crew of loyal henchmen.” Johann Wagner and Sage Fischer of Portland’s Dolphin Midwives will provide a live soundtrack.
If you think a 12-year-old saying “Fuck” is kinda funny—and for the record, I’m not judging you—then you’ll probably have fun with Good Boys. There are a bunch of 12-year-olds in it, and they all say “fuck” a lot, which also doubles as the film’s plot synopsis. BEN COLEMAN
A hilarious landmark in bugout madness, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 haunted house tale is about a group of doomed schoolgirls with names like Gorgeous and Kung Fu who fall into the clutches of a genteel—and secretly evil—old lady. Featuring butt-biting flying heads, a hungry piano, and one naughty kitty.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
The film adaptation of John Cameron Mitchell’s legendary stage play is one of the greatest rock movies ever made, and you should see it on the big screen whenever possible. Ever better, Mitchell himself will attend the Saturday screening at 6 to answer your questions.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
The Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty, a “genius” per Charles Mudede, followed up his famed Touki Bouki (1973) with a trenchant satire based on a play by the Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt. In Hyenas (1992), when a long-absent, now-wealthy woman returns to her depressed hometown, she offers riches to help the townsfolk get on their feet…if they commit a horrific act on her behalf. Indiewire says it’s a “fantastical and witty” commentary on materialism and neocolonialism.
SIFF Film Center
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
A classic of ’50s paranoia, interpreted variously as a fable about communism or middle-class conformity, Don Siegel’s adaptation of Jack Finney’s serial still has the power to chill.
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. 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
Ark Lodge & Crest
Last Year at Marienbad
You will never make sense of this 1961 film. It is a maze without a center. You enter the work and simply marvel at the way director Alain Resnais has arranged each section of the maze with an architect’s eye for shapes, lines, and the positions of objects. If you think there’s a crime in all of this that needs to be solved, kill that thought right away. You must simply exist within the film’s moments in much the same way a fly exists in a room in one of those novels by Alain Robbe-Grillet. CHARLES MUDEDE
The setup’s the same as those of SNL‘s MacGruber sketches: The mulleted, Miata-driving MacGyver MacGruber (Will Forte) tries to save the world, usually by piecing together half-assed gadgets with random crap that’s near at hand, only to discover he’s fantastically incompetent and that his half-assed gadgets never, ever work. MacGruber‘s all over the place, shameless and willing to do whatever it can for a laugh—this film’s a hard-R, with welcome doses of profanity and blood and the most intentionally awkward sex scene since those puppets pooped on each other in Team America: World Police. It’s pretty fantastic, is what I’m getting at, but to put it another way: When my only complaint about a movie is that it had a good opportunity to squeeze in a Richard Dean Anderson cameo but they didn’t go for it, it’s probably safe to give it a whole bunch of thumbs up. ERIK HENRIKSEN
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
AMC Pacific Place
No Man of Her Own
A seduced-and-abandoned pregnant woman, played by the indomitable force of cinema Barbara Stanwyck, sees her chance for a better life and steals another woman’s identity. But this decision doesn’t lead to peace of mind. This suburban noir, based on a novel by pulp master Cornell Woolrich, was directed by Mitchell Leisen.
Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood
Once Upon a Time doesn’t have the self-conscious, This Is a Quentin Tarantino Film™ feel of the filmmaker’s past few movies. Make no mistake: Nobody besides Tarantino could have made Once Upon a Time—it’s a singular thing, uniquely dialed in to his obsessions and quirks. But like Tarantino’s best movies, it feels neither reliant nor focused on those obsessions and quirks. We spend the bulk of our time with three people: Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), an earnest, anxious, B-list actor whose career is right about to curdle; Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), Rick’s toughed-up, chilled-out former stuntman and current BFF; and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), a bubbly, captivating actress who’s just starting to enjoy her first taste of success in show business. How Tarantino plays with history in Once Upon a Time is one of the more intense and surprising elements of the film—and, thankfully, it’s also one of the best. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Not content to enliven Seattle’s music scene with two great rock groups—Tres Leches and AIAIA—Alaia D’Alessandro has recently completed a documentary film titled Phonic Seattle. Her aim with this project is to examine how Seattle musicians are adapting to the tumultuous economic changes happening here. Toward that end, D’Alessandro enlisted three musicians—CarLarans, Julie-C, and Reese Tanimura, the last of whom also serves as managing director of Northwest Folklife—to take her on a tour of non-traditional spaces around the city that are bolstering the music scene, in order to observe performances and converse with DIY artists striving to thrive in tough circumstances. In the course of hitting eight different spots, D’Alessandro threads interviews with music. Northwest Film Forum will premiere Phonic Seattle, with a panel discussion involving many of the people depicted in the film. DAVE SEGAL
Northwest Film Forum
“What happens to an artist’s legacy when it’s controlled by a corporation?” This is the central question in Jill Magid’s 2018 documentary The Proposal. In 1995, Swiss furniture company Vitra purchased the intellectual property rights and massive professional archive of Luis Barragán, a highly influential 20th-century Mexican architect. For decades, Mexican art historians and artists have asked Federica Zanco, the Swiss guardian of the work, that Barragán’s archive be made public and returned to its rightful home in Mexico. She has refused. In her impressionistic doc, Magid, a conceptual artist, concocts a perfect plan—or proposal, if you will—that could potentially bring Barragán’s archive out of private hands. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Northwest Film Forum
When people talk about drag documentaries, they talk first about Paris Is Burning. That 1990 film about NYC’s ball scene has been an inspiration for countless other queens, films, and shows—FX’s Emmy-nominated Pose, most notably. But long before Paris Is Burning, there was The Queen, a 1968 documentary about a Miss All-America Camp Beauty Contest. The Queen features stars: It’s narrated by early drag pioneer Flawless Sabrina and famously includes a scene of drag performer Crystal LaBeija reading the house down for not awarding queens of color their crowns (“I have a RIGHT to show my color, darling!”). NWFF’s opening night screening will feature a performance by Cookie Couture. CHASE BURNS
Northwest Film Forum
Reports on Sarah and Saleem
An affair between a Palestinian Arab and a Jewish Israeli married to an army colonel attracts the attention of security forces, who exploit the clandestine couple and inadvertently drive them closer together.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Rifftrax Live: The Giant Spider Invasion
The hosts of RiffTrax will offer their comedic roasts of B-movie classic Giant Spider Invasion.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Rather than go the goofy Goosebumps route, André Øvredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) seems to have gone full Creepypasta-spooky (though still PG-13) for his adaptation of the ’80s children’s chillers. Øvredal has proven himself a talented scaremaster, and Guillermo del Toro worked on the screenplay, so, given the powerful pull of millennial nostalgia for childhood frights, this has a shot at being a hit. On the other hand, the trailer boasts such lines as “You don’t read the book, the book reads you!”, which sounds an awful lot like a line from Blumhouse’s 2018 schlocky Truth or Dare, so… JOULE ZELMAN
John Waters’s suburban black comedy is about a wholesome suburban mom, played with enticing mischief by Kathleen Turner, who discovers a penchant for the murder of town miscreants. Take your own sweet mama to the movies to show your appreciation for all she does for you.
Sound and Vision Film Series
The megatheatre will once again focus on the harmony of sight and sound, with excellently soundtracked movies like Blade Runner, Pulp Fiction, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pan’s Labyrinth, and more.
Them That Follow
Olivia Colman isn’t in Them That Follow a whole lot, but whenever she’s on screen—as Sister Slaughter, the dour, hardened matriarch of a small, isolated Appalachian community of snake-handling Pentecostals—she’s all but unrecognizable from all of her other remarkable turns. She’s always great, and she’s great again here. Sister Slaughter’s just one of the authority figures keeping a stern watch on Mara (Alice Englert), a young woman who’s all but betrothed to the dorktacular Garrett (Lewis Pullman), an eager follower of Mara’s glare-y, shouty father, Pastor Childs (Walton Goggins, predictably excellent). One problem with the whole betrothal thing, though: Neither Sister Slaughter, nor Garrett, nor Pastor Childs know that Mara’s pregnant with the child of of the guy she actually loves, Augie (Thomas Mann), who can’t wait to get the fuck out this ass-backwards place and never see a snake again Though it presents a hypnotic vision of Appalachia—one where quiet woods, winding roads, and leaf-strewn hills are poisoned by nests of vipers, both literal and metaphorical—Them That Follow probably takes too much time getting to its core drama. But the performances carry it: Not only are Englert, Goggins, and Colman phenomenal, but even with smaller parts, actors like Jim Gaffigan and Kaitlyn Dever somehow embody rich characters who are trapped in a zealous, all-or-nothing faith. ERIK HENRIKSEN
AMC Seattle 10
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
A pantheon of major silver-screen actresses—Rosalind Russell, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Paulette Goddard, etc.—star in this comedy-drama about women trying to deal with the vagaries of men and cattiness of their own female rivals. It’s pretty sexist, but the clothes are magnificent.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Part of Dressed to the Nines.
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.