Visual Art

34 Movies Worth Watching in Seattle This Weekend: August 29–Sept 1, 2019

The Nightingale, Midsommar: Director's Cut, The Mountain, and Other Critics' Picks
August 29, 2019

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The Nightingale is suspenseful and moving, but comes with huge trigger warnings. (IFC Films)

It's a big weekend for adventure and terror, from the moving and horrifying The Nightingale to Midsommar: The Director's Cut to the very strange The Mountain, which stars Jeff Goldblum as a seedy lobotomist. Plus, there's the Stephen King Film Series and the Beacon's series Time is Undefeated: The Best Action Movies of the Decade. 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 Cinemas
Thursday only

Apollo 11: First Steps Edition
Todd Miller's superbly edited new documentary on the Apollo 11 mission, which put Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on the moon (and sent Michael Collins around its dark side), adds no narration or talking heads, other than contemporaneous sources. Although you know how things turned out, you're plunged into the suspense of the moment, when even the slightest miscalculation could have doomed the astronauts to a lonely or fiery death. Listen to that amazing sound design!
Pacific Science Center

Be Natural: The Story of Alice Guy-Blaché
You may not know the name of Alice Guy-Blaché, but she deserves to be recognized for her importance to early cinema. One of the very first female filmmakers, she became the head of the French company Gaumont in 1896, at the age of 23. In 1910, she moved to the States and founded another company, Solax. All in all, she made 1,000 films. Find out more about this fascinating figure by watching Pamela Green's new documentary.
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

Class War: Comedies of Poverty and Wealth
Let the Beacon give you a cinematic panorama of dark comedies about the haves, the have-nots, and the endless conflict between them, beginning with the universally beloved Dolly Parton comedy Nine to Five, which pits three fed-up female assistants against their disgusting chauvinist boss.
The Beacon
Sunday only

Emerging Artists: Contemporary German Experimental Film vol. 4
See an architectural study of staircases, a couple having a tense vacation in the tropics, a solar eclipse, and more in this collection of German short films.
Northwest Film Forum

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

Foxy Brown
In this series, The Best You Have Ever Seen, one band and one DJ invent a new score for a popular film. This time it's local prog-rock quartet Bear Axe and DJ Adra Boo, and the movie is Jack Hill's 1974 druggy mafia-crime classic Foxy Brown.
Parliament Tavern
Saturday only

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

Kill Me to Death: A Benefit for Gender Is Over
The new film from queer Afropunk musician Danny Denial is a defiantly DIY, endearingly terrible outing with passible-to-bad acting, a hard-to-follow storyline, and the lowest of lo-fi cinematography. Kill Me to Death redeems itself via the local musicians and artists who carry the film (Eva Walker most notably among them); guest spot performances by DoNormaal, the Wednesdays, and others; and a soundtrack that taps even more of Seattle's best local music (I hear you in there, Michete) and the odd heavyweight (Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon). It also has recognizable settings around the city, from Werewolf Vacation to Everyday Music. In sum, this film premiere is more about the creation of the product, and the cause its release will benefit and draw attention to (NY-based nonprofit Gender Is Over, which supports the fight for gender self-determination and body sovereignty), than the product itself. LEILANI POLK
Northwest Film Forum

Thursday 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

Lawrence of Arabia
Named by the British Film Institute as the third greatest British film of all time, Lawrence of Arabia is a tale of the First World War. T.E. Lawrence (the real-life figure on whom the film is based) mediates between Bedouin tribes and the British in their fight against the Turks, then leads guerrilla actions himself. Nowadays, it's criticized for its "white savior" narrative (and Alec Guinness's very unfortunate brownface), but the film's intelligence and gorgeous scale have influenced generations of directors (Spielberg called it a "miracle").
AMC Pacific Place & Thornton Place
Sunday only

Lilo & Stitch (Bike-In Movie Night)
Pedal into the park on your two-wheeler for a screening of Lilo & Stitch, the classic Disney flick about a little girl who adopts an adorable dog who turns out to be an adorable alien. Northwest Folklife musicians will provide live music before the movie.
Pratt Park

Midsommar: The Director's Cut
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. Dani 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 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
Ark Lodge Cinemas & AMC Pacific Place

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 & AMC Seattle 10

The Mountain
Distributors are smart to emphasize the presence of Jeff Goldblum in The Mountain. In this somber, 1950s-set drama—the fifth feature from Spokane-born director Rick Alverson—Goldblum plays a lobotomist struggling to keep his career going as the procedure falls out of favor. While The Mountain possesses an oppressive elegance, there's little to appeal to a mainstream audience apart from his performance as a very ordinary ghoul: a dyspeptic, soft-spoken intellectual whose rumpled charm dissolves virtually every night into drunken lust and self-pity. The Mountain follows Andy (Tye Sheridan), a practically inert young man who agrees to accompany Fiennes, his mother's disgraced former doctor, on a road trip to different mental institutions. It's no accident that The Mountain pits dynamic, internationally respected character actors against a static protagonist. But it's is so keen on flouting the narrative expectations of an active hero that, once Goldblum leaves the picture, it results in a dead-end atmosphere. JOULE ZELMAN
Northwest Film Forum

The Nightingale
White art about colonialism frequently favors the Heart of Darkness narrative: a white man penetrating the wilds and losing his superficial bond with “civilization.” But in the new film from Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), set in Australia in 1825, “civilization” is merely a handy euphemism for exploitation and genocide. After British soldiers rape her and commit horrific acts against her family, an Irish convict, Clare (Aisling Franciosi), hires an Aboriginal tracker, Billy (Baykali Ganambarr, in his first-ever acting role), to help her hunt down the bastards in the Tasmanian jungle. Clare initially calls Billy “boy,” and Billy is justifiably reluctant to work for a white woman. In this suspenseful, moving, and often hard-to-watch film, their changing relationship is a rare solace amidst scenes of historically accurate barbarity. JOULE ZELMAN
SIFF Cinema Uptown

No Man's Land Film Festival
No Man's Land Film Festival is a series of films about women exploring the outdoors. See bike riders, climbers, sailors, and other intrepid women explore stupendous natural environments. Come early for a social hour with $2 beer and cider.
The Mountaineers
Friday 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

Over the Edge
Kurt Cobain's favorite movie was a neo-neo-realist portrait of frustrated kids who rebel against their parents when a community rec center is bulldozed. According to the Beacon, this film was pulled from theaters for fears of inciting riots!
The Beacon
Thursday only

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

Possibly in Michigan: The Video Work of Cecelia Condit
This video artist, whom the Beacon recommends for those who appreciate "Angela Carter, Sylvia Plath, Lizzie Borden, Adult Swim, David Lynch, minimal wave musicals, The Love Witch, r/creepy, camcorders and casio keyboards, Maya Deren, [and] being eaten by a wolf," explored the predicaments of women in Middle American society through short narrative pieces about violence, taboos, and misogyny.
The Beacon
Thursday only

The Proposal
“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
Thursday only

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
A group of sweet young things (Michael Garza, Zoe Margaret Colletti, et al.) stumble across a cursed book of stories, which are based on the classic '80s children's chillers by Alvin Schwartz. One by one, the stories start coming true, trapping and killing each of the unfortunates. The framing device is a little flimsy, and the film's monsters—based on Stephen Gammell's truly unsettling original art—suffer from excessive CGI. The movie ends up cuter than it is scary. But André Øvredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) works in a few genuinely suspenseful moments, the '60s-era production design is beautiful, and the appealing cast keeps things watchable. JOULE ZELMAN
Various locations

Sound and Vision Film Series
The megatheatre will once again focus on the harmony of sight and sound, wrapping up with Raiders of the Lost Ark in 4k and Blade Runner 2049.

Spider-man: Far from Home
For those who have been salivating for a sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming—and more Spidey than we got in the last two Avengers movies—you can relax. Spider-Man: Far from Home is pretty freaking good! It has almost everything you loved from Homecoming, plus better action sequences. That said, while Homecoming crackled with originality, Far from Home is far from what made its predecessor so great. Sure, it’s got snappy jokes, terrific characters, top-notch action, and loads of delicious teenage awkwardness. But it lacks the one thing Homecoming had in abundance: a laser-sharp focus on the emotional horror of being a teen. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Various locations

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Stephen King Film Series
Since It: Chapter Two will soon be filling theaters with sewer clowns and severed heads, key up your anticipation by watching films based on other Stephen King novels, starting with the greats: Carrie (the 1976 version), Dolores Claiborne, Stand by Me, Misery, and The Green Mile, plus fun outings Creepshow and Needful Things.

Time is Undefeated: The Best Action Movies of the Decade
Thrill to the most kickass films of the past decade. Start with Mad Max Fury Road this weekend and follow these ass-kickers all month long.
The Beacon

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
Various locations

What's Up, Doc?
Peter Bogdanovich's take on the screwball comedy pits a nerdy music researcher (Ryan O'Neal) against a hyper, clumsy, but appealing weirdo (Barbara Streisand) who's fallen for him. There's also spycraft, chase scenes, and Madeline Kahn!
Northwest Film Forum
Sunday only
Part of Erin O. Kay's Fog City Cinema

The Wicker Man
Not the "NOT THE BEES" version, but the vastly more bewitching and less laughable (though plenty campy) 1973 original. A tight-arse policeman (Edward Woodward) searches for a missing child on the estate of the pagan Lord Summerisle (a superbly sinister Christopher Lee) and finds himself at the center of a horrifying plot. Yes, there are plenty of ridiculous moments, like a sexy dance that will have you giggling, but that Shirley Jackson-esque ending still has the power to shake you up. Lhude sing cuccu! JOULE ZELMAN
Central Cinema

The Wizard of Oz: 80 Years Down the Yellow Brick Road
Local film historian Lance Rhoades will muse over the persistent popularity of The Wizard of Oz and will fill you in on the film's most niche details at this free screening.
Scarecrow Video
Friday only

Also Playing:

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

47 Meters Down: Uncaged

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Cold Case Hammarskjold

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

The Kitchen

The Lion King


Ready or Not

The Souvenir

Where'd You Go Bernadette