You have many new and classic options for moviegoing this weekend, like the beloved Muppet Christmas Carol, the cyberpunk series Paranoid Data: Pre-Millennium Tension in Film, or the brutal, wintry epic Market Lazarová. And don't neglect to celebrate the season with explosions and one-liners in Die Hard! See all of our film critics’ picks below, and, 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
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) re-team for a tale of a 19th-century meteorologist and a daring pilot who set out to break the French altitude record in a hot-air balloon.
And With Him Came the West
Michael Plante examines the mythmaking of Wyatt Earp, who exploited the nascent film business to build his own legend—and a fantastical view of the American West—by consulting for early Hollywood Westerns. Plante will be present at this screening for Q&A.
Northwest Film Forum
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
It’s unusual to witness real cinematic magic these days, but the Fred Rogers biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood absolutely has it. Director Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) wisely avoids the visual slickness one might expect from a Tom Hanks-centric melodrama, instead employing a lived-in style and scene transitions that consist of miniature cities harkening back to the opening of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Hanks is totally committed to Rogers’ appearance and manner, but A Beautiful Day is more about Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) a fictional journalist profiling Rogers. (Vogel’s work is based on a 1998 Esquire profile by Tom Junod; as is the case with the film, Junrod’s piece sketches a beautiful yet enigmatic image of Rogers.) Where Heller’s film becomes transcendent is in its cinematic pressure points: The striking slowness of the narrative (it’s meant to emulate the pace of Rogers’ show, and you get used to it), the mirroring of Rogers and Vogel in their interview styles and drawn-out reaction shots, and a profound moment of silence that grips your heart like, “Did that really just happen? Why was that so intense?” SUZETTE SMITH
Comet in Moominland
In this Japanese adaptation of Tove Jansson's melancholy, magical world, the Moomin family welcomes a doomsaying prophet named Muskrat, only to learn that their planet is threatened by a giant comet. It sounds kind of like Lars von Trier's Melancholia, but infinitely cuter.
As infuriating and horrifying as the subject matter of Dark Waters is—it’s based on “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare,” a 2016 New York Times Magazine story about how Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo), a corporate lawyer with a history of representing chemical companies, switched sides to reveal DuPont’s decades of catastrophic malfeasance—it is, in many ways, another paint-by-numbers, based-on-a-true-story legal thriller with the genre-mandated tropes: A delicate but driven score that sounds like the same delicate-but-driven score in every other fight-the-power thriller; a righteous speech (in Dark Waters, Tim Robbins gets the big one, and he takes full-throated advantage); and plenty of invectives like “The system is rigged!” and “They’re a titan of industry! They can do whatever they want!” None of that stuff’s bad—it’s pretty much what any lefty who’s excited to see Dark Waters, including me, is happily signing up for—but there’s a catch that elevates this movie to something better than usual. Portland arthouse director Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, Carol) oversees things here, capturing Dark Waters’ sickening story in chilly blues and jaundiced yellows while knowing exactly how to get the most from his cast. ERIK HENRIKSEN
A year after Fox Plaza, a 35-story tower in Century City, Los Angeles, was completed (1987), it starred in a film that brought it and Bruce Willis fame, Die Hard. Fox Plaza plays Nakatomi Plaza, a building owned by a Japanese corporation, and Bruce Willis plays John McClane, a white NYC cop whose estranged white wife not only lives in LA but appears to have gone to the other side, the Japanese side. While McClane visits his wife at Nakatomi Plaza, things go crazy and we enter the world inside of the building: its elevator shafts, air ducts, and structural spaces. Here, postmodern architecture meets Reagan-era Hollywood cinema and makes lots of movie magic. CHARLES MUDEDE
The Beacon & Central Cinema
Rather than trying to be a slavish follow-up to Stanley Kubrick’s inimitable The Shining, Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep is a looser, goofier trip that just so happens to wander some of the same territory that Stephen King first explored four decades ago. Decades after The Shining, Doctor Sleep finds Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) all grown up, still appreciating a good, cozy sweater, and drinking away the ghosts—both figurative and literal—that’ve haunted him since childhood. But when 15-year-old Abra (Kyliegh Curran) reaches out—revealing that she shares Danny’s paranormal abilities—the two stumble onto a rambling road that eventually leads to the ruined, long-abandoned Overlook. Sure, Flanagan’s no Kubrick, but he does pull off the too-rare trick of capturing the sprawling, earnest, weird vibe of a decent King novel, where the grotesque usually walks hand-in-hand with silliness. ERIK HENRIKSEN
This Terrence Malick-produced documentary focuses on Gustav Ahr, aka Lil Peep, a rising star just breaking into the mainstream when he died from an overdose at age 21.
Northwest Film Forum
At its worst, Fantastic Fungi gets too woo-woo wacky for its own good (when the film’s discussion turns to magic mushrooms, the visuals turn into what is, as far as I can tell, just a psychedelic screensaver from Windows 95), but at its best, the doc pairs fantastic time-lapse imagery with a good dose of actual, mind-blowing science. Affable, passionate mushroom researcher Paul Stamets is joined by talking heads Michael Pollan, Andrew Weil, and narrator Brie Larson to examine everything from massive fungal networks that carry signals between disparate, distant plants to the psychological benefits of psilocybin. It’s an uneven trip, but a good one. ERIK HENRIKSEN
SIFF Cinema Egyptian
I don’t know about you, but the saccharine nature of Christmas makes me want to lock obnoxious children up in an attic, rob a few stores, and fuck some drugged-out hippies. As luck would have it, John Waters’s Female Trouble is the Christmas movie that delivers all of these desires—along with murder, Divine jumping on a trampoline, and more murder. It’s a teen girl’s fantasy as envisioned by an acid-riddled homosexual in the 1970s. It’s also the best Christmas movie ever made—and if you don’t agree, you can go eat shit and die. CHASE BURNS
Force of Nature Natalia
Star ballerina Natalia Osipova shook up the ballet world when she and her partner, Ivan Vasiliev, left the Bolshoi for the Mikhailovsky—a lesser-regarded company—in search of more “artistic freedom.” In Force of Nature Natalia, director Gerald Fox tells the story of her subsequent accession to the upper heavens of both the classical and contemporary worlds. Over at the Guardian, Peter Bradshaw says the film focuses on the sheer intensity of the work Osipova (now a principal at the Royal Ballet in London) puts into her incredible performances, rather than on her romantic life, which, he says, was “not irrelevant to discussing Osipova’s development as an artist.” Bradshaw calls her a “sylph of steel” who leaves visible bruises on the bodies of her partners. If you’re in search of a film to kick your lazy ass into gear, look no further. RICH SMITH
Northwest Film Forum
Ford v Ferrari
If you’re a lover of car-racing movies, you should probably check out Ford v Ferrari—because this film is likely to be one of the last of its kind. A biopic about the late ’60s rivalry between failing racecar company Ferrari and the “wants to be sexy soooo bad” Ford Motor Company, F v F is about how corporations can’t help but crush the passion and innovation they so desperately need. In this case, the crushees are race car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driving phenom Ken Miles (Christian Bale), both of whom are forced to cajole, finagle, and manipulate the suits at Ford in an attempt to win the famed Le Mans road race. Director James Mangold (Logan) smartly avoids the emotionally manipulative tricks found in other sports biographies, and Damon and Bale are, unsurprisingly, excellent and affecting. The problem? It’s impossible to ignore the two elephants in this room: The fetishization of white male toxicity and car culture, topics which society is trying to deal with and solve… not celebrate. This makes Ford v Ferrari a very good movie that, a decade ago, would’ve been considered great. Now it feels like a brand-new film that’s already an antique. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
It starts out with Young Elsa and Young Anna, and, I don’t know, this is just my opinion, but I didn’t think that part was very necessary, necessarily? I thought the story was good. I thought the parts were well thought out and they had some depth to them, if you know what I mean? Like some parts were really sad, and some parts could be interpreted in a lot of different ways. Also, you know how in the first Frozen, there’s like this main song that you know is the main song? In this one, there’s like three or four different songs that could be that main song. There were songs that like Elsa and Anna and Kristoff sang that could qualify for that position. I thought they were fine. SIMON HAM, AGE 12
Gremlins still holds up, 34 years after its original release. The very retro-ness of this comedy-horror-holiday flick adds to its charm. The mix of humor and scares still stands up, the mogwai is still too cute for its own good, the gremlins birthed from it still disgustingly funny and frightening, and the implausible story still draws you in. A man brings home the ultimate Christmas gift for his teenage son, an exotic pet he found in Chinatown that comes with very specific (and vital) care instructions that must be followed (don’t get him wet, don’t feed him after midnight, don’t expose him to light). Of course, it wouldn’t be a movie if he cared for the furry little creature properly. LEILANI POLK
Regal Meridian 16
Aside from the assistance that the formerly enslaved Harriet Tubman got from the Underground Railroad, it’s hard to imagine exactly how she pulled off all her heroics. With Harriet, audiences are given a live-action reimagining of Harriet Tubman’s journey to self-liberation: changing her name, hiding in bales of hay, being chased by dogs, and getting cornered by armed men on a bridge before jumping into the river. Harriet shows how Tubman (Cynthia Erivo) got help from a secret network of safe houses and trusted free Blacks (Leslie Odom Jr. and Janelle Monáe) who stuck their necks out to help her cause. Throughout the film, the only music you’ll hear, gladly, are negro spirituals—songs that enslaved Blacks used to express their sorrow and joy, and to secretly communicate. (Tubman, who was nicknamed Moses, would sing “Go Down Moses” as a signal to enslaved Blacks that she was in the area, and would help anyone who wished to escape.) Harriet doesn’t subject the sensitive viewer to excessive gore or violence (though there is one particularly unsettling scene), because for once, this is a story in the “slave movie” genre about tremendous triumph, leadership, and Tubman’s unwavering faith, both in God and herself. JENNI MOORE
AMC Pacific Place
Oh, how easily this could’ve gone sideways. There’s nothing more cringingly embarrassing than a privileged white artist depicting their tragic life on film, forcing their audience to wallow alongside them in their self-serving importance. But in Honey Boy—a mostly autobiographical depiction of Transformers star Shia LaBeouf’s scary upbringing as a child actor—there’s so much more. In a dazzling, heartbreaking performance, LaBeouf portrays his real-life father, a recovering addict, Vietnam vet, and frustrated performer who’s in the witheringly humiliating position of being employed by his successful 12-year-old son, Otis (a fantastic Noah Jupe). Running parallel are harrowing scenes featuring an adult Otis (Lucas Hedges), who’s working out some well-earned and very deep shit in rehab while trying to stave off an emotional implosion. Dreamy imagery from director Alma Har’el and cinematographer Natasha Braier brilliantly captures this slow-motion train wreck of a tale that, weirdly enough, supplies a modicum of hope while depicting the toxicity that fathers inflict on their sons—and what results from the poison they inherit. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
AMC Pacific Place & AMC Seattle 10
A reality-inspired crime epic that spans decades, The Irishman’s heart is Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), who “paints houses” for big-shot gangsters; his paint, it should be noted, only comes in blood red. Sheeran’s main employer/benefactor/BFF is the intense, sharp-eyed Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), though once Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) enters the picture, Frank’s torn between the sometimes clashing demands of two hard-willed, charismatic men. De Niro’s great (and, thankfully, the distracting, de-aging CGI fades into the background after a while), but this is Pesci and Pacino’s movie: With mania and fury, Pacino rips every scene apart, while Pesci takes a different approach, subtly and slowly building an aging crime boss who’s both heart-achingly soulful and blood-chillingly brutal. Seeing Scorsese masterfully track all this harkens back to Goodfellas and Casino, but the jarring, moving The Irishman is, remarkably, better than both. While the intense focus on Frank & Pals comes at the expense of other characters, like every single woman, the end result is still stunning: A saga that’s horrifying and funny and melancholy, sometimes in different scenes, sometimes all at once. ERIK HENRIKSEN
The latest from Taika Waititi starts off with a bright, Wes Andersonian whimsiness: Young Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) joyously bounces about at summer camp, having the time of his life as he frolics and laughs with his second-best friend Yorki (Archie Yates) and his first-best friend, the imaginary Adolf (Waititi). Just one thing: Jojo is at Hitler Youth camp—their campfire activities include burning books—Adolf is Adolf Hitler, and World War II is winding down, with Germany not doing so great. Both because of and in spite of its inherent shock value, Jojo Rabbit—based on a book by Christine Leunens—is just as clever and hilarious as Waititi’s other movies, but as it progresses, the story taps into a rich vein of gut-twisting melancholy. There’s more to the complicated Jojo Rabbit than first appears, and only a director as committed, inventive, and life-affirmingly good-hearted as Waititi would even have a chance of pulling it off. He does, to unforgettable effect. ERIK HENRIKSEN
The first half hour unfolds like a dog-whistle symphony for insecure guys who think they have it bad. Fleck berates his black social worker (Sharon Washington) for not listening to him when she’s obviously doing her best. He fixates on a black single mother (Zazie Beetz) after the briefest sign of camaraderie. Yet there are a series of trap doors throughout Joker that unexpectedly drop its audience into new perspectives. Early on, an obvious foreshadow shifts Fleck onto a new path, and as that plotline plays out, Joker offers some surprisingly rewarding reflections on the relationship between the villain and Batman. (Oh yeah! This is a Batman movie, remember?) Both men, Joker suggests, might be equally deranged, making sweeping moves against the world without regard for those who become collateral damage for their respective manias. SUZETTE SMITH
Lauren Greenfield's concerning documentary shows how Imelda Marcos, the former First Lady of the insanely corrupt Marcos regime, is staging a political comeback with the help of fake news and rewritten history (and no doubt the power of ill-gotten billions).
Knives Out [is] Rian Johnson's phenomenally enjoyable riff on a murder-mystery whodunit. The less you know going in, the better, but even those familiar with mysteries will likely be caught flat-footed. Things begin in the baroque mansion of famed mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), who is very, very dead. Through flashbacks, monologues, and the genteel but razor-sharp questioning of investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), we meet the rest of the Thrombeys—played by Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, and more, with everyone clearly having a goddamn blast—and we hear about a billion motives and a billion alibis. Somebody killed Harlan, and while Benoit Blanc is on the case, Knives Out quickly spirals into unexpected territory. In a time when filmgoing is dominated by familiar franchises, seeing an original movie executed with as much care, glee, and skill as Knives Out feels like an experience that's entirely too rare. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Light from Light
Jim Gaffigan plays a widower who asks a woman with paranormal abilities (Marin Ireland) to discover whether the ghost of his wife is lingering in the house. This isn't your usual haunting movie—rather than a scarefest, it's reportedly a thoughtful and poignant examination of grief, love, and trauma.
The Lighthouse, the second film from Robert Eggers, the director of the excellent, wildly disconcerting period horror The Witch, is... funnier than expected? Sure, it’s also fucked-up and intense and distressing, but there are significantly more fart jokes than one might expect. Robert Pattinson, with a voice like The Simpsons’ Mayor Quimby, and Willem Dafoe, with a voice like The Simpsons’ crusty old sea captain, play two lost souls manning a decrepit lighthouse on a miserable, unnamed island. Like The Witch, this is a story and a setting that feels old, and Eggers captures it in joyless black and white, antiquated dialogue, and a squarish, 1.19:1 aspect ratio. Pattinson and Dafoe squabble and fight and scream, and something is lurking on the rocky cliffs, and something else is lurking at the top of the tower, and man, this one seagull really hates Pattinson. Things get weird, and sad, and unexpectedly touching; Dafoe and Pattinson are both great, and if you’re going to descend into Eggers’s particular brand of fraught, bleak madness, one could hardly ask for better company. As we head into another dour, dark Northwest winter, Eggers’s whipping gales and damp despair are here to remind you that hey, things could always be worse. ERIK HENRIKSEN
AMC Seattle 10 & Regal Meridian 16
Maria Tallchief: America's First Prima Ballerina
Learn the story of Maria Tallchief—a Native woman from Oklahoma whose talent and partnership with George Balanchine led to the creation of the New York City Ballet—from a screening of Seattle-based filmmaker Sandy Sunrising's documentary. The director and her husband will be in attendance.
Brutal, gorgeous, chilly, earthy—this medieval epic by František Vláčil, one of the greatest directors of the Czechoslovak New Wave of the 1960s, deserves a spot among the major historical dramas. In pagan Bohemia, an innocent, sheltered young woman is abducted by a rough tribe, where she's forced to marry the wild young Mikoláš. But the love that, against the odds, begins to unite the couple may not survive the tumult of internecine battles between their clans. JOULE ZELMAN
Noah Baumbach (Mistress America et al.) creates a portrait of a marriage falling apart and the family trying to endure in this drama featuring Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Alan Alda, and Laura Dern.
Movie endings leave you feeling either satisfied or unsatisfied. David Lynch's endings, particularly the one for Mulholland Drive, have an altogether different power: They send the viewer hurtling into a tizzy of desperate calculus, trying to figure out what the hell has been happening for the last two-and-a-half hours. Lynch films are largely resolution-free, and spill over with possible meanings, merging identities, and dream-reality crossovers so elaborate that it takes several viewings to decide whether the tricks add up. There's always a sense that the film could be a big practical joke on the cult of seriousness; Lynch, after all, is one funny bastard. Not only is Mulholland Drive no exception to this principle, it's his freaky ne plus ultra. SEAN NELSON
Seattle Art Museum
The Muppet Christmas Carol
The Muppets make everything better, and this includes Charles Dickens’s timeworn holiday tale about miserly, uncharitable Ebenezer Scrooge (an early rich dickhead of literature) and the visitations from the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and yet-to-come (plus a few others) that compel him to change his callous ways. The 1992 Brian Henson production features Michael Caine as Scrooge, Kermit the Frog as his loyal employee Bob Cratchit, and all the other Muppet characters you’ve come to know and love in various other roles. (Statler and Waldorf are hilarious as the ghosts of Scrooge’s late business partners Jacob and Robert Marley, and Gonzo as Dickens narrating the thing is also priceless, especially with Rizzo the Rat as his sidekick.) For some of us, watching The Muppet Christmas Carol is a Christmas tradition. LEILANI POLK
Discover film from Bulgaria and its diaspora in this series, the Bulgarian Movie Circle. Нов живот/New Life is an affecting documentary about a group of Bulgarians who seized their chance to claim asylum in Canada just as Communism was collapsing across Eastern Europe. Bewildered by culture shock, these Bulgarians—many of them artists, musicians, and filmmakers—strove to adjust to the wide-open spaces of Newfoundland or the rich mix of cultures in Montréal. It's an interesting perspective on immigration and starting over, with some important insights on today's migratory movements. (One man, noting that the media seize on the fact that the majority of Syrian immigrants are young or middle-aged men, remarks that Bulgarian immigration was the same—men frequently leave the country first, in hopes of helping their families follow.)
Night of the Hunter
This expressionistic fairy tale, from the '50s but decades ahead of its time, was the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever got to direct. Robert Mitchum famously embodies a roving preacher with a murderous hatred of women and a lust for money that puts him on the track of two child runaways.
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. 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
Pain and Glory
Pedro Almodóvar has long warmed his filmography with flickers of details from his personal life, but Pain & Glory brings us closer to the flame. In it, we look in on Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas), a filmmaker in self-imposed exile due to a creative decline and a variety of physical ailments. Banderas stifles his melodramatic tendencies to subtly and powerfully reveal Mallo’s agonies and evolution. ROBERT HAM
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Paranoid Data: Pre-Millennium Tension in Film
The forum presents two days of pre-millennial anxiety about information technology, propaganda, corporatism, totalitarianism, and other societal forces that have indeed led the world off a cliff. Spend your weekend watching WarGames, Johnny Mnemonic, Scanners, and Strange Days, and don't miss Videograms from a Revolution, the one documentary in the bunch, about the televised overthrow of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu.
Northwest Film Forum
Parasite is director Bong Joon-ho at his very best. It's a departure from the sci-fi bent of his recent movies, though it's no less concerned with the state of society today. Set in Seoul, South Korea, the families and class issues at play reflect our global era, in which the disparity between the haves and have-nots seems to be widening. Parasite follows the Kim family, who secretly scam their way into the lives of the wealthy Park family. Slowly and methodically, the Kims begin to drive out the other domestic workers at the Park residence, each time referring another family member (who they pretend not to know) for the vacant position. And so the poorer family starts to settle comfortably into the grift—until a sudden realization turns their lives upside down. The resulting film offers an at turns hilarious and deeply unsettling look at class and survival, its essence echoed in the environments the characters inhabit. JASMYNE KEIMIG
'The Princess Bride' Quote-along
Everyone who can factually claim to be an American has seen The Princess Bride 150 times. So why go see it on the big screen? Here's why: It's delightful and hilarious, and the goopy framing device gets out of the way fast, and there's that amazing scene where our heroine stands atop a hill, exclaims, "Oh, my love!" and hurls herself into a full-body roll. LINDY WEST
SIFF Film Center
For fans of post-apocalyptic anime, Promare from Studio Trigger will deliver the maximalist visuals and frenetic action you desire (even if the story, about firefighters battling mutants, is a little thin).
AMC Pacific Place
Queen & Slim
Queen & Slim may be the best—and is almost certainly the Blackest—film of 2019. One of the most striking things about the movie is that it’s intentionally absent of the white gaze. The directorial debut of Melina Matsoukas, it’s also the first film-length screenplay written by Lena Waithe, who knocked bestselling author James Frey’s original story idea out of the park after also making the jump from acting and writing on TV. Queen and Slim (Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya) are ordinary law-abiding citizens who, after an okay Tinder date, get pulled over by a racist cop who decides to create a life-or-death altercation over a missed turn signal. After the unreasonably angry cop escalates the situation, unnecessarily searches the car, and shoots Queen in the leg, Slim ends up grabbing the cop's gun and killing the officer in self-defense. The two decide they have no choice but to evade law enforcement to survive. At the film’s heart are powerful, too-true themes about Black people’s constant search for freedom, even in modern society. In Queen and Slim’s case, their entire trip together is a relentless quest for freedom, and they have a really good run until the bitter—and iconic—end.JENNI MOORE
The Snow Queen
This absolutely wild Finnish adaptation of a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale looks kind of like a wintry Labyrinth on even more acid. The snow queen ("looking like a Butoh performer from Mars," as the Beacon describes her) abducts a boy named Kai to help steal an emerald. Kai's sister Kerttu sets out after the gelid royal to save her brother.
Tammy and the T-rex
Denise Richards and Paul Walker star in this 1994 comedy, in which cheerleader Tammy (Richards) discovers that the brain of her boyfriend (Walker) has been transplanted into the body of a robotic tyrannosaur. You should see this movie because it's ridiculous and terrible and you need your brain flash-evaporated once in awhile. JOULE ZELMAN
This month, the Beacon showcases Yiddish-language films shot in the USA and Eastern Europe that reveal the vibrancy of the Jewish cinematic community of last century. This weekend, see the fascinating Tevya, billed at the time as the "greatest Yiddish picture ever made" and based on the Sholem Aleichem story that inspired the musical. Shot on Long Island in 1939, Tevya tells the story of a Jewish Ukrainian farmer whose daughter rebels when she falls in love with a gentile peasant.
Part of The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema
They Shall Not Grow Old
Peter Jackson has led a team of restorationists and lip-readers (!) to snatch back moments of World War I in living detail. Archival films from the era were colorized and repaired, and experts were called in to decrypt what the people in the shots were saying. The results, bolstered by interviews and reminiscences, are history as you've never seen it.
The third feature-length film from writer-director Trey Edward Shults, Waves furthers Shults's obsession with the forces that keep families together and those that tear them apart. It follows a suburban black American family in Florida, at the center of which is Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a successful student athlete who's balancing schoolwork, partying, training, and hanging with his girlfriend, Alexis (Alexa Demie). He's under immense pressure—especially from his father, Ronald (Sterling K. Brown), whose dogged protectiveness of his family goes too far for their own well-being. The first half of Waves follows Tyler and the consequences of pushing past his physical limits; a shoulder injury threatens to sideline his wrestling dreams and deteriorate his relationship with Alexis. The second half shifts the focus to his sister, Emily (played by Taylor Russell with dazzling effect), who is left to deal with the fallout of her brother's explosive behavior, both in her family and in the greater community. The film's use of careening cinematography—its spinning, dizzying opening sequence; the greenness of the greens; the low, urgent movement of the camera—seems to almost-just tip the story over into disarray before righting itself and soldiering on. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Our critics don't recommend these films, but you might like to know about them anyway.