In the lead-up to Pride Weekend, Seattle's showing lots of educational, beautiful, kinky queer films to get you in the right mindset: for some genre thrills, try the '60s-inspired slasher Knife+Heart or the pansexual romp You and the Night; for a slice of history, watch Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community. Toy Story 4 is also rolling in with its blend of kid-pleasing action and adult-awing animation. On the indie front, try the gentrification drama The Last Black Man in San Francisco. 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, and don't forget to see where outdoor movies are playing.
Note: Movies play Thursday–Sunday unless otherwise noted
Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community
In the wee hours of June 28, 1969, NYC police raided a Greenwich Village gay bar called Stonewall Inn, which led to three nights of rioting and ultimately initiated the modern gay and lesbian liberation movement. Originally released in 1984, Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community offered a decade-by-decade history of homosexuality in America leading up to the charged moment with archival footage and interviews with pioneering cultural figures and activists who experienced the closeted history firsthand, many of whom have since passed—Audre Lorde, Allen Ginsberg, Richard Bruce Nugent, and Barbara Gittings among them. While it may seem like ancient history, LGBTQ Americans are still fighting for equality, whether it’s in the bathroom or a wedding cake shop, which makes the theatrical rerelease of a newly restored edition of the doc (which is screening at NWFF in conjunction with Seattle Pride) feel more relevant than ever. LEILANI POLK
Northwest Film Forum
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 & Crest (Shoreline)
The Big Lebowski
At first it was just a weird, low-key almost-misfire in the Coen brothers’ canon. And then it was an underrated work of layered comedic genius. And then it became this whole culty thing with festivals and cosplayers and idiots in bathrobes blocking traffic with marching bands playing jazzy versions of “Hotel California” on their way to the theater. And now? Now, it’s just The Big Lebowski again, a properly-rated work of layered comedic genius. BOBBY ROBERTS
Bogosi Sekhukhuni: Film Screening + Conversation
Discover the film work of South African conceptual artist Bogosi Sekhukhuni, who "explores the intersection of technology and spirituality, capitalism's exploitation of ancestrally-embedded biological and cognitive structures, and what it means to take utopian proposals seriously." See his melding of technology, pop, the occult (including "digital spells"), and dreams. Stay on for a talk with Sekhukhuni and home school art pop-up director manuel arturo abreu.
Frye Art Museum
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.
Chucky the satanic killer doll is reimagined as a high-tech monster voiced by Mark Hamill in this entertaining-sounding reboot, starring Aubrey Plaza as an increasingly stressed (and perhaps ill-fated) single mom. It will definitely not be for all tastes, but horror fans with a taste for fun trash and consumerism satires should be pleased with this alternative to Toy Story 4.
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
Equation to an Unknown
Lose yourself in erotic gay fantasies by Dietrich de Velsa, a "former painter [who] was also the owner and artistic director of one of the first transvestites' cabarets of Paris, La Grande Eugène." Follow a hot motorcyclist through various sexy yet melancholic fantasies. According to the SECS Fest (an erotic film society presenting the film), this is the favorite gay porn of director Yann Gonzalez (Knife+Heart).
Turns out when John Waters isn’t making people eat dog pickles on camera, he’s got some pretty decent pop sensibilities. But just because Hairspray fizzes over like a freshly shaken bottle of effervescent sunshine doesn’t mean Waters took a break from tweaking the squares. The surface-level joys—the dancing, the music, the sense of style that makes Effie’s Hunger Games couture look like a burlap sack and a barrel—constitute the deliciously campy candied shell coating messages about institutionalized racism in 1960s Baltimore and the multiple ways society unfairly judges its children, especially its girls. BOBBY ROBERTS
I Am Not Your Negro
An ingeniously constructed documentary about one of the 20th century’s greatest, and more conflicted, artist/polemicists, I Am Not Your Negro is built from the proposal for Remember This House, the book James Baldwin never finished. As Samuel Jackson’s voice-over mingles with archival footage of Baldwin laying waste to his intellectual opposition on TV—and by the way, let’s pause for a moment to consider a time when a figure as radically attuned, and as volcanically erudite, and as sexually nonconforming as James Baldwin could have appeared regularly on network television—director Raoul Peck conveys the sense of a writer who has come to understand an idea that is bigger than he has the mortal strength to convey, which would almost make the film a tragedy within the context of the larger systemic tragedy its subject yearned to articulate. But even a glimpse of Baldwin’s prose is such a feast for mind, body, and soul that a film like I Am Not Your Negro can only be received with joy, humility, and deepest admiration. SEAN NELSON
Northwest African American Museum
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
Knife+Heart (Un couteau dans le coeur ), a new giallo*-inspired French outing from director Yann Gonzalez, was one of my favorite offerings at this year's Seattle International Film Festival, and Grand Illusion Cinema is bringing it back just in time for Pride. Its plot—not its most important attribute—is pretty simple: A masked killer is on the loose. He's murdering young gay porn actors. Vanessa Paradis stars as a porn producer named Anne, who keeps losing actors to the murderer. Anne decides her actors' murders are good publicity. She makes a porno about their deaths, an exploitative masterpiece cleverly titled Homocidal. But Anne is mostly preoccupied by the dramatic love affair she's carrying on with her editor, Lois. Like a good giallo, Knife+Heart's mood is often more important than its plot or character development. And the aesthetics are memorable: The killer uses a dildo with a hidden switchblade knife. There are artisanal leather murder masks. Decadently glittery gloves. Cabaret scenes featuring sluts in bear costumes. CHASE BURNS
[Giallo: a subgenre of Italian horror film from the '60s–80s that emphasized flamboyant style over bloody substance —Stranger Things To Do].
Ladies in Black
A nerdy girl, Lisa (played by Angourie Rice), takes a summer job at a department store in 1959, where she meets glamorous, feminine Magda, Patty, and Fay. But women's lib is coming to Australia, and Lisa finds herself at the center of societal change.
AMC Pacific Place
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. A breath of fresh air: There’s no romantic subplot or “classic” nuclear family. Instead, the film’s emotions stem from Jimmie’s fixation on his childhood home, his friendship with the autistic aspiring playwright Montgomery, and his complicated relationship with his city. But 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
SIFF Cinema Uptown
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
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).
Thankfully, Long Shot isn't another addition to the mid-2000s family of comedies where dude-bros are nagged to death into loving beautiful women. It’s maybe... 10 percent that. The other 90 percent is a reverse Pretty Woman, including lots of making out, amazing outfits, and yes, Roxette. Rogen is fully competent as a funny schlub, and Theron destroys as a secretary of state and presidential hopeful, and the two of them together are—I know, this is weird—charming as hell, and their relationship totally works. While the film’s final act gets a bit schmaltzy (it's way more rom than com), the overall experience is wonderful. I’ll never question a neckbeard’s value ever again. ELINOR JONES
In 2011, economist Yanis Varoufakis posted an essay on his blog titled “The Trouble with Humans: Why is labour special and especially targeted at a time of crisis” that provides an interesting interpretation of the science-fiction classic The Matrix. The film’s basic plot: In the year 1999, a computer hacker named Neo (Keanu Reeves) learns from a mysterious figure, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), that the world he lives in is not real, but a sinister computer simulation designed by machines to keep humans content while farming their bodies for energy. He is also told the year is not 1999, but closer to 2199. After dealing with the shock of this revelation, Neo decides to leave the simulation, enter “the desert of the real” (the real world, which is dark, grim, and gothic), and join the human rebellion against the machines. In Varoufakis’s opinion, this film is so close to the way things actually are in our world that it is basically a documentary. CHARLES MUDEDE
First Tech Federal Credit Union's outdoor movie series will also feature a night market, yard games, and beer, and proceeds go to charity.
South Lake Union Discovery Center
Mickey O’Rourke presides over this anthology outing, playing a projectionist who screens films that mirror the spectators’ innermost fears inside a rundown cinema. Horror anthologies can be fun (see V/H/S and the Masters of Horror series), but always run the risk of unevenness and overlength. This time around, you’re in for stories set in a cabin in the woods, a Los Angeles cosmetic surgery office, a demon-infested Catholic school, and a woman’s deteriorating reality. JOULE ZELMAN
SIFF Film Center
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
In this cute rom-com, two single friends pair up to weather their friends' endless weddings and find themselves falling in love. Critics love Maya Erskine as the female lead in what will hopefully be her breakout role.
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
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."
Seattle Outdoor Cinema
First Tech Federal Credit Union's outdoor movie series (beginning with The Matrix) will also feature a night market, yard games, and beer, and proceeds go to charity. You have to be over 21 to partake.
South Lake Union Discovery Center
Seattle Taiwanese American Film Festival
The festival will present seven Taiwanese and American features like the drama More Than Blue, the gangster epic Gatao 2: Rise of the King, the SIFF-approved Long Time No Sea, and more, along with short films, including a female-centric showcase.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
This Is Spinal Tap
The Citizen Kane of music mockumentaries, Rob Reiner’s 1984 classic This Is Spinal Tap is a pitch-perfect deflation of rock-band pretensions and aspirations. It’s an acerbic roasting of lyric-writing, song-titling, stagecraft, guitar-worship, amp settings, drummer mishaps, and crotch-enhancement, among other things. Impeccable cast members Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, and Michael McKean helped Reiner write the hilarious script, which deconstructs music documentaries’ tendency to deify their subjects. This Is Spinal Tap has entered the popular culture pantheon, becoming a perpetual reference point for any act of absurd pomposity in the entertainment biz. It belongs in heavy rotation of any cinéaste’s viewing regimen. DAVE SEGAL
SIFF Cinema Uptown
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
3D showtimes here.
2D IMAX showtimes here.
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
You and the Night
Along with Yann Gonzalez's Knife+Heart, the Grand Illusion is screening his 2013 feature, a surreal paean to rich '60s hues and classic sex romps. The Stud, the Slut, the Teen, and the Star converge at a swanky apartment to play around at a sex party thrown by a mysterious throuple. The French newspaper Le Monde called it "a bubble of dream and unbridled poetry." Like Gonzalez's new feature, You and the Night features a dreamy score by M83.
Our critics don't recommend these films, but you might be interested in them anyway.