This weekend, you have two great mini-fests to choose from: Cinerama's space-focused Faster Than Light Film Series and the Seattle International Film Festival rerun Best of SIFF. It's a good thing, too, because the wide new releases— Men in Black: International and Shaft— are reputed to be total duds. But never fear! You can also see the amiable, star-stuffed Jim Jarmusch zom-com The Dead Don't Die, the weird sex-boat experiment doc The Raft, and the Jackie Chan classics Police Story 1 and 2, among plenty of other choice flicks. 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.
Note: Movies play Thursday–Sunday unless otherwise noted
The double-platinum album Amazing Grace was recorded live, at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, in 1972. The singer was 29-year-old Aretha Franklin, returning to her gospel roots for two nights, and the shows she put on were electrifying. That album was the soundtrack to a documentary by Sidney Lumet that never got released for various reasons, some more understandable than others. After Ms. Franklin’s recent passing, Lumet’s film is finally available, and 2019 audiences can effectively pull up a pew and bear witness to how she put in work across those two days in January of 1972. If you are not already familiar with the term “transcendent,” you should practice its usage—you’ll need it if you’re hoping to speak on what got captured in this film. BOBBY ROBERTS
Sienna Miller finally gets a starring role in this study of small-town America, playing a 31-year-old woman whose teenage daughter disappears and leaves her with an infant grandchild. Christina Hendricks plays Miller's older sister. Roxana Hadadi of the AV Club writes: "At its best, [...] American Woman brings to mind Erin Brockovich or 20th Century Women or Gloria Bell: films about how the constraints of gender, class, and age push down upon a woman in myriad ways."
AMC Seattle 10 & Meridian 16
Asako I & II
In Ryûsuke Hamaguchi's Palme d'Or-nominated adaptation of Tomoka Shibasaki’s novel, a young woman falls in love with a rather feckless but attractive young man, who eventually disappears out of her life. Two years later, she meets his doppelgänger, a considerate and faithful fellow. But thoughts of her first lover intrude—and what is the nature of love, anyway? Lawrence Garcia of AV Club hails Hamaguchi as "a rising master" who's created a pop melodrama with surprisingly intellectual ramifications.
Northwest Film Forum
Best of SIFF
Missed Seattle International Film Festival audience favorites? They’ll be screened again, along with the award winners. Don't pass up Carmen & Lola (Youth Jury Prize: Best FutureWave Feature), International Falls (Grand Jury Prize: New American Cinema Competition), Top End Wedding (Audience Favorite), We Are the Radical Monarchs (Best Documentary: Golden Space Needle Audience Award), House of Hummingbird (Grand Jury Prize: Official Competition), and more.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
The Biggest Little Farm
Skeptics might wonder whether a 90-minute documentary on farming is better used as insomnia remedy than a night out at the movies, but John Chester's gorgeous film has been snatching up audience choice and best film awards all over the place. He and his wife, Molly, spent eight years striving to create a farm in California that was perfectly in accord with nature—despite drought, poor soil, and wildfires. Ultimately, they have to accept that they're not in control of nature and life. Come for the lovely footage of wildlife and farm animals, stay for the inspiration to fight for sustainability.
Ark Lodge Cinemas and AMC Seattle 10
Booksmart is about Molly and Amy (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever), two accomplished girls who are currently enjoying their final day of high school—and realizing that they've alienated all of their peers by focusing only on school and each other. When Molly decides the pair needs a party experience before graduation, it kicks off an epic night of social awkwardness, attempted hook-ups, accidental drug use, and inescapable theatre kids. The love-you-to-death friendship between Molly and Amy is the heart of director Olivia Wilde's movie, and major credit is due to Dever and Feldstein for crushing that chemistry. They’re lifted up by a brilliant supporting cast of fellow teen misfits (including Billie Lourd, who steals every scene she barreled through) and fuckup grownups (Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Williams, and Mike O’Brien) who round out a laugh-inducing, cry-inducing, and utterly relatable high-school universe that I wanted to inhabit and also gave me PTSD. ELINOR JONES
What you need to know is that Captain Marvel is a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, and MCU movies are generally good-to-excellent, and Captain Marvel is no different. It is an all-around successful comic book movie, like the 5,000 MCU movies that came before it. “But wait,” you say. “It is different. Aren’t you going to mention… [points at boobs, from one to the other, back and forth, maintaining eye contact, making things weird]?” Ugh, FINE. I'll say it. Yes, Carol is a woman, and this is the first Marvel movie centered on a woman. I’ve really enjoyed my Bruce Bannerses and Steve Rogerses, but I liked my Carol Danvers even more. It was great to see someone who looked like me straight-up destroy alien bad guys. ELINOR JONES
3D showtimes here.
The Dead Don't Die
I loved The Dead Don’t Die, despite the wafts of disapproval that—at least at the old-man-filled critics’ screening I attended—threatened to stink up the whole theater. Will you love The Dead Don’t Die? Well, that depends—on if you’re expecting another srs bsns drama like Only Lovers Left Alive, on if you share Jarmusch’s deadpan sense of humor, on if you like the gaggle of art-house stars who’ve come together to screw around: Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits, Chloë Sevigny. Through this whole thing, great actors lurch in and out of frame, each hilariously straight-faced as (1) zombies tear open the edible townsfolk of Centerville, and (2) Jarmusch cracks joke after joke. The Dead Don’t Die is what it is: an excuse for Jarmusch to round up his friends and have fun. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Faster Than Light Film Series
Summer: time for clear night skies and contemplation of the heavens (forest fires allowing)! What better time to watch movies that glory in the wonder and terror of space? The films featured on Cinerama's giant screen range from the classic (Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey) to the...less classic (Prometheus), from the fanciful (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) to the realistic (First Man).
If you scan the past, everywhere you’ll find ideas that were once very pregnant with the future but for some reason or another miscarried. General Magic, a 1990s Silicon Valley start-up that spun off from Apple, had an idea that suffered this kind of misfortune. Its freethinking commie founders envisioned a technology that’s easily recognizable to the inhabitants of the second decade of the 21st century as a smartphone, which is based on Apple’s iPhone, which entered the market in 2007. This kind of phone, which General Magic called a Pocket Crystal, is now universal. This documentary shows why we do not associate smartphones with General Magic but with Apple. CHARLES MUDEDE
For some awe-inspiring surfing footage, you can't do better than this documentary about Nathan Fletcher's "acid drop," in which he jumped out of a helicopter onto an outer-reef wave.
John Wick: Chapter 3–Parabellum
John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum opens this weekend, cementing the bizarre fact that the ultraviolent, relatively low-fi action flick that was 2014's John Wick has grown into a massive, full-on, crowd-pleasing franchise. Hinted at in the first film, but expanded in the sequels, there's now a strange, remarkably thorough (if remarkably confusing) mythology that accompanies all of John Wick's righteous headshots, featuring secret societies of assassins, ancient and baroque codes of conduct, and really nice mansions (to shoot people in). Sure, the bread and butter of any John Wick movie is its skull-splitting, blood-splattering action scenes—filmed here, as inventively, exhilaratingly, and wince-inducingly as ever, by stuntman-turned-director Chad Stahelski—but nearly as interesting, it turns out, is the fantastical world John Wick skulks around in between his massacres. Plenty of action movies have shoot-outs; not many have Angelica Houston sneering, "Life is suffering, life is pain" as she rules over some very driven ballerinas. ERIK HENRIKSEN
It’s 2019, and there are still no female late-night television hosts. In many respects, this isn’t surprising. But thankfully we have writers like Mindy Kaling to flesh out a world in which there’s one who has existed for 20 years. In Late Night, Kaling plays Molly Patel, a “diversity hire” in the writers room of Emma Thompson’s intimidating (and secretly, delightful) Katherine Newbury, a legendary late-night host who’s on the verge of being fired unless she changes up her act. This R-rated comedy doesn’t break the mold, but it is still a fun and engaging watch. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank
For an intriguingly uncomfortable experience, check out this documentary by Gerald Fox about the photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank. Frank himself barred the film's release for more than 10 years, citing the film's overly "intimate" nature. Now that you can see it, you'll find that Frank and Fox had a contentious relationship during filming, with Frank criticizing Fox's choices as a moviemaker and yet fearsomely oversharing.
SIFF Film Center
This may be one of the best films of 2018, at least if the prestigious French journal Cahiers du Cinéma, as well as countless other film journals and papers, can be trusted. A young fellow in 1980s Leningrad sets out to become a punk rock star, with the help of his mentor and mentor's wife. Directed by rebellious filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov (The Student).
Starring Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet, Non-Fiction tells the story of a Parisian writer who blurs the line between fact and fiction by drawing on his real-life love affairs in his incendiary new novel, setting off a chain reaction in his social circle. This flirty, chatty, smart comedy is French and bohemian as hell: Everyone is cheating on each other, having a midlife crisis, expounding on the nature of romantic relationships, and voicing loud opinions about technology. But Non-Fiction feels like breezy, seductive, European fun. So much so, you’ll need a cigarette afterward. JASMYNE KEIMIG
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Police Story (1 & 2)
The Police Story films made Jackie Chan a star in America. In the first, he plays a cop, Chan Ka-Kui, who's framed for murder by an escaped crime lord he helped apprehend. In the second, the criminal once again escapes, and Chan must once again face him. But you're not here for the plots: You're here for the amazing stunts, thrilling fight choreography, and furiously paced set-pieces.
Northwest Film Forum
Pr0n 4 Freakz
ScumTrust Productions and NWFF are partnering to bring you queer and trans smut every two months. Arrive early to hang out with freaky new friends and shop the “sexy witch market.” Stay on after the dirty movie for a Q&A on sex, pleasure, queerness, and gender. The final edition, on June 15, will feature a special appearance by Jiz Lee and Shine Louise Houston of Crashpad/Pink Label TV for the social hour and talkback.
Northwest Film Forum
In an incredibly weird experiment, Chilean anthropologist Santiago Genovés recruited a group of sexy young people to cross the Atlantic in a specially designed raft. His goal was to study the outbreak of violence, which he was sure to be inevitable, given the sexual tension and lack of space and privacy (and the fact that he had put women in charge). Instead, the participants became close and began to resent the researcher's intrusions more and more. Would Genovés get the sinister results he hoped for? This documentary by Marcus Lindeen reunites the rafters aboard a meticulous recreation of the boat and asks them to remember their bizarre experiences.
Northwest Film Forum
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The unbearably sexy young Harrison Ford stars in the only good Indiana Jones movie, one of the funnest films ever made.
What’s worse than when your freeloading, troublemaking, fresh-from-breaking-out-of-prison friends show up to crash on your couch and overstay their welcome? When they show up right as you’re in the midst of pulling off a baby heist with your one true (barren) love, with whom you can’t adopt because you’re a convicted con, but whom you’d do absolutely anything for, including kidnapping one of the quintuplets of a local furniture magnate so the two of you can raise him as your own. Talk about bad timing. No one has worn a panty (hose) on his face with quite as much country-store-robbing grace as Nicolas Cage, and no one fake-cries with such cute gusto as Holly Hunter. Raising Arizona is one of my all-time favorites from the Coen brothers canon, right up there with Fargo and The Big Lebowski. It’s a true comedy classic. LEILANI POLK
The studio bills this as “a musical fantasy about the uncensored human story of Elton John's breakthrough years,” starring Taron Egerton, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Richard Madden. The critics are happy so far with this non-literal biopic, praising director Dexter Fletcher's "dazzling cinematic inventiveness" (Rolling Stone) and "fan service of an especially and characteristically generous kind" (The New York Times). A notable exception is Morgan Troper of our sister paper, The Portland Mercury, who writes: "Rocketman doesn’t only presuppose that its audience doesn’t know about Elton John’s music, it assumes they wouldn’t even care. The result is insulting not only to the intelligence and taste of moviegoers, but to Elton John’s legacy as a songwriter, showman, and immensely significant queer idol."
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
How does a new generation of fighters for trans rights inherit Dr. Frank N. Furter of Transsexual, Transylvania (played by Tim Curry), in this campy 1975 horror musical? Susan Sarandon costars, along with ripped fishnet stockings, corsets, and the dreams of science fiction.
Thursday only—sold out
Us is a movie about doppelgängers—our evil twins that, according to folklore, must be killed, lest they kill us and assume our identities. But Us is also about shadows emerging from their own darkness; the illusory depths of mirrors; the fear we project onto the “other” instead of examining our own brutality; and, more abstractly, the barbaric history of slavery and mass genocide that America has unsuccessfully tried to bury, how the country is actively destroying itself, and what it’ll look like when its chickens finally come home to roost. The unfortunate recipients of all this horror are the Wilsons—Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o, who deserves a billion awards), Gabe (Winston Duke), and kids Zora (Shahadi Wright) and the perpetually masked Jason (Evan Alex)—who are just trying to enjoy a nice summer vacation in the warm California sun. As a horror exercise peppered with moments of comic relief and images that prove surprisingly unnerving, Us is an exceedingly great slasher movie. But there's a lot going on here, and Us suffers for it. CIARA DOLAN
Walking on Water
What does it take to create a massive public-art installation...on water? This documentary by Andrey Paounov reveals the logistical hell and beautiful results of Christo's The Floating Piers, a huge walkway constructed on Lake Iseo in Italy and opened to the public in 2016. (Sadly, it's now dismantled, so you can't join the 1.2 million people who got to tread upon it.)
Northwest Film Forum
Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation
Catch up with some of those who participated in this milestone of musical and artistic hippie culture as they try to assess its lasting significance.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Our critics don't recommend these films, but you might be interested in them anyway.