33 Movies Worth Watching in Seattle This Weekend: August 22–25, 2019

Apocalypse Now, Poltergeist, A German Youth, and Other Critics' Picks
August 22, 2019
Apocalypse Now Final Cut is an overwhelming experience. (United Artists)

This weekend, revisit a reassembled masterpiece of sound design, Apocalypse Now Final Cut, be charmed all over again by My Neighbor Totoro, or learn about revolutionary women with ¡Las Sandinistas! 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

Angel Has Fallen
Angel Has Fallen, the third movie in the inelegantly named ______ Has Fallen series, pulls off an unexpected trick: It's actually pretty good! Star and coproducer Gerard Butler reportedly wanted to sunset the franchise in the spirit of 2017's masterful Logan, and damn if he didn't get pretty close. Here, secret service super-agent Mike Banning (Butler) is beginning to feel the effects of his previous escapades: He's got a compressed spine, some sort of chronic post-concussion syndrome, and a low-key opioid habit that he hasn't told his wife about. And while he's still fully capable of taking down a dozen elite commandos at a time, these cracks in his action-hero armor contribute to a genuine sense of tension in the film's claustrophobic, deftly choreographed combat. Gone are the previous entries' generic, nonwhite terrorist villains, replaced with aggrieved middle-class military contractors brandishing tactical gear and tricked-out automatic rifles. For a franchise that's always felt at least a decade removed from relevance, Angel Has Fallen ends up being an intense, surprisingly of-the-moment action thriller. BEN COLEMAN
Various locations

Apocalypse Now Final Cut
Apocalypse Now's opening scene immediately sets up the lush sound design: We start off looking at a silent, tropical field. Then comes the distant whir of choppers. Then a tambourine. Slowly, "The End" by the Doors edges into clarity. The noise of the choppers builds alongside the vocals of Jim Morrison. They crash on top of each other as the viewer watches a field in Vietnam get bombed. The screen sets on fire, then Morrison's voice sings: "This is the end." Apocalypse Now Final Cut, along with being remastered in 4K Ultra HD, has made its sound even more impressive. In collaboration with Meyer Sound Laboratories, Coppola's film company American Zoetrope has developed what they're calling "Sensual Sound." Hailed as a "breakthrough" by Meyer Sound, Sensual Sound creates an infrasonic, ultra-low frequency impact that hits audiences in the gut. It apparently emits noises that reach viewers on a deeper physical level, making Apocalypse Now's helicopters, spears, and bombs feel like an immediate threat. CHASE BURNS
Ark Lodge & Grand Illusion
Thursday, Saturday–Sunday

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

Bigger Than Life
Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause) never directed anything darker than this tale of a suburban downward spiral. The usually urbane James Mason plays an overworked father who's diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease. When he starts an experimental drug treatment, he grows healthy—but also experiences sinister psychological effects that cause his family to fear him.
The Beacon

Blinded by the Light
A young Pakistani British man, feeling like an outcast and depressed by the racism around him, finds new inspiration in the music of Bruce Springsteen in this charming film by Gurinder Chadha.
Wide release

Buñuel and the Labyrinth of Turtles
In 1930, filmmaker Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí collaborated on the subversive, surreal comedy L'age d'Or. It's now considered a landmark in the history of film, but at the time, it was reviled and caused a rift between the two men. Salvador Simó's animation, based on the graphic novel by Fermin Solis, catches up with Buñuel as he tries to find his creative footing once again, turning to a documentary-like style in Land Without Bread. It combines Buñuel's footage and Simó's art.
SIFF Film Center

Cold Case Hammarskjold
In 1961, UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld died in a plane crash on his way to the Congo to oversee ceasefire negotiations between UN forces and the Katanga rebels. For years, many have suspected foul play over the official's demise. Hammarskjöld may have been too anti-colonialist for certain UN powers' states, for one thing. In this muckraking documentary, Mads Brügger makes the case that Hammarskjöld's strange death was just one result of an incredibly evil conspiracy. Whether you buy everything he claims or not (and the New York Times has challenged some of his most incendiary implications), he unveils some truly shocking facts.
Grand Illusion

The Farewell
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
Various locations

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
Various locations

The Garden of Secrets
See a screening of The Garden of Secrets and hear from biomimicry and biophilia experts about how nature-inspired design is both innovative and sustainable.
Northwest Film Forum
Sunday only
Part of Seattle Design Festival.

A German Youth
Jean Gabriel Périot's assembled-footage documentary chronicles the birth of the Red Army Faction, a group of young radical leftists led by Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof. Without drawing conclusions, Périot invites questions about repression, propaganda, and the role of violence in an inherently violent society.
The Beacon

Good Boys
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
Various locations

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. .
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Thursday only

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Sure, Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s scope is small, but it gives you everything you could want from a movie: It’s smart, emotional, and even a bit action-packed once Ricky and Hec embark on an unplanned adventure in the forest. But most of all, it’s funny. So, so funny. Wilderpeople is a hugely loveable movie that’s suitable for date night or the whole family, and I know that sounds like a hacky movie poster blurb. But when a movie’s this good, it’s tough to avoid clichés, so I’ll leave you with another: Don’t miss it. NED LANNAMANN
Scarecrow Video
Sunday only

Inglourious Basterds
Basterds isn’t Tarantino’s best film, but it isn’t his worst, either—it’s kind of been forgotten, actually, in the wake of the bigger hit of Django Unchained and the more recent The Hateful Eight. More than anything, Basterds might be notable for being Tarantino’s first go at radically revising real-world history in order to make something like WWII fit into the mold of a wacky, pulpy Tarantino movie. Which makes the question kind of impossible to ignore: Is Tarantino—brilliant director, phenomenal writer, patron saint of movie bros, and a filmmaker who’s been justifiably criticized for his films’ gleeful and constant uses of racial slurs—really the right guy to be revising history? ERIK HENRIKSEN
Central Cinema
Thursday only

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 Beacon
Thursday only

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¡Las Sandinistas!
This recent documentary focuses on Dora Maria Téllez, a medical student turned Sandinista General, and her female comrades who fought for women's rights within the Nicaraguan revolutionary movement.
The Beacon
Sunday only

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

Man from the Future
A scientist goes back in time to rectify a humiliating breakup and has to deal with all sorts of unintended fallout in this Brazilian comedy by Clàudio Torres.
Scarecrow Video
Friday only

Mike Wallace Is Here
Director Avi Belkin’s doc about the famed 60 Minutes reporter—who interviewed everyone from Malcolm X to Ayatollah Khomeini to Oprah Winfrey to Eleanor Roosevelt to Vladimir Putin—is a smart, measured look at Wallace’s greatest journalistic hits and misses, his struggles with depression, and his influence over a changing, weakening news business. Mike Wallace Is Here remains clear-eyed and hard-hitting, just as, one imagines, the no-bullshit Wallace would have wanted it. ERIK HENRIKSEN
SIFF Cinema Uptown

My Father Is My Mother's Brother
Don't be misled, there's no incest involved in this award-winning Ukrainian documentary about a gay punk musician, Anatoly, charged with taking care of his niece while her mother suffers a mental health crisis. Muriel Del Don of Cineuropa writes of this story of love, family, and identity: "The strength of My Father Is My Mother's Brother lies in this freedom, simplicity, intensity of images and the courage of its characters—modern anti-heroes in search of happiness."
Northwest Film Forum
Sunday only

My Neighbor Totoro
Two young sisters befriend a magical forest behemoth, a fuzzy flying rabbit-owl with a huge grin and many unusual friends (who else loves Catbus?), in this gentle and fantastical film about family, love, and the mystical unknown.
Various locations
Sunday only

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
Various locations

The Peanut Butter Falcon
A young man with Down's Syndrome (Zack Gottsagen) runs away from his group home with hopes to become a wrestler. He's abetted by a small-time criminal (Shia Labeouf) and, more reluctantly, a nursing home attendant (Dakota Johnson). Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle doesn't give it high praise, exactly, but hints that it might please some: "The Peanut Butter Falcon is a nice little movie that barely goes anywhere, but audiences, in a certain mood, might be willing to drift along with it."
Meridian 16 & AMC Seattle 10

Ghosts bend silverware, break glassware, take spiritual possession of a large tree in the backyard, and ultimately decide to open a sizable portal in the living room in Tobe Hooper's haunted-house classic.
The Beacon

Rear Window
A voyeur (James Stewart) in a wheelchair gets his comeuppance when he witnesses a murder and tries to do something about it. His nosiness puts his glamorous girlfriend (Grace Kelly) and his own skin at risk. This suspenseful mystery boasts one of the best opening shots of any film ever.
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Saturday only
Part of Dressed to the Nines.

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
Various locations

Sound and Vision Film Series
The megatheatre will once again focus on the harmony of sight and sound, with excellently soundtracked movies like Apocalypse Now Final Cut, Goldfinger, Eraserhead, A Hard Day's Night, Raging Bull, and more.

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
Regal Meridian & Thornton Place

Ukrainian Shorts Showcase
These shorts by Ukrainian directors feature small, poetic, personal stories about people in their late 20s/early 30s, about as old as the country itself. Celebrate Ukraine's independence day by watching these tales of parenthood, love, marriage, and life. 
Northwest Film Forum
Sunday only

Watch Asian, Asian American, and Asian-starring films—for the last showing, it's Pixar's Up. Before the films start at sundown, enjoy live performances and fun activities for kids.
Hing Hay Park
Saturday only

The Virgin Suicides
It's difficult to think about The Virgin Suicides without considering the French band Air. The band's sexy, chilled-out, down-tempo score is arguably the best part of the film. Often appearing when tragedy occurs, the spacey, solemn music estranges the viewer from the film's violence. When a little girl is dramatically impaled early on, Air kicks in with its moodiness, softly protecting viewers from the gore. It's music for dysphoria. My partner describes the score as feeling like an antidepressant. Also of note: The Virgin Suicide's sound design. As the film's gang of boys flips through the pages of the girls' diaries, trying to learn more about them after their suicides, the rustling of the pages seems to thunder. It's like ASMR for books. I've always loved this detail. It's as if the girls' words are literally heavy. And maybe they are. CHASE BURNS
The Beacon
Thursday only

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
Ark Lodge

Also Playing:

Our critics don't recommend these films, but you might be interested in them anyway.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Echo in the Canyon

The Kitchen

The Lion King


Ready or Not

So I Married an Ax Murderer (Part of Erin O'Kay's Fog City Cinema)


Where'd You Go Bernadette