The 25 Best Movies to Stream Online This Weekend—and How to Support Seattle Businesses in the Process: April 24-26, 2020

Police Beat, The Blair Witch Project, and More Movies to Watch from Home
April 24, 2020
Stranger critic Charles Mudede's 2005 film Police Beat is part fiction, part documentary, and part ode to Seattle's beautiful parks. It's now streaming on-demand.

Consider this weekend's semi-rainy forecast your cordial invitation to pop some corn, silence your cellular device, and cue up a fantastic film or two (or three) being screened by local businesses, from the Northwest Film Forum to SIFF to Ark Lodge (and beyond!). Read on for this weekend's top picks, like the horror classic The Blair Witch Project, the star-studded record store doc Other Music, and, if you're looking to impress your cinephile friends post-quarantine, the seven-and-a-half-hour Hungarian epic Sátántangó. For more social distancing-friendly entertainment options, check out the 42 best virtual things to do this weekend.

Americana Kamikaze
NYC's interdisciplinary performance group Temporary Distortion blends theater, film, and installation to freakily contort Japanese ghost stories and horror (aka J-Horror) through an American musical tradition. In a 2009 New York Times review of the play, Jon Weiss wrote, "Hard-core horror fans should take notice, because with Hollywood’s rarely risking something truly upsetting anymore, preferring funny zombies and by-the-numbers remakes, you might have to go to the theater to see death performed live to really test your limits."
Available via On the Boards

Two women in Leningrad try to rebuild their lives after the wreckage of World War II in this film from 27-year-old Russian director and co-writer Kantemir Balagov. "This is a story of people for whom the horror of war has not ended, for whom peace is the horror of war by other means," writes The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Best of CatVideoFest: Creature Comforts Edition
Local feline enthusiast and Henri the Cat creator Will Braden, bless his heart, has plucked 40 minutes of quality content from SIFF's CatVideoFest—an annual celebration of the divine conjunction of cats and internet—for your viewing pleasure.
Available via SIFF

The Blair Witch Project
Just in case you were feeling an itch to leave the house and go outside, even if it was just to hike around in some unpopulated woods, let this livestream watch party—starring co-director Eduardo Sanchez, and producers Gregg Hale and Michael Monello—remind you that maybe it's better to stay inside. Less opportunity to be harassed by invisible children, or to find hand-wrapped bags of unidentifiable flesh-stuff outside your tent, or to wind up in an abandoned cabin staring into a corner while a hairy demon-thing kills your asshole documentarian friends. There's been a weird (and frankly kinda gross if you poke at it) backlash regarding this film since it became a phenomena in 1999, as if the fact it isn't really a supernatural snuff film should be held against it. But The Blair Witch Project is still as close as any movie's ever gotten to the elemental fear mined from a perfectly told campfire story at just the right age, and it deserves its place in the horror pantheon, and don't let the cynics tell you otherwise. BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via MoPOP

Annie Silverstein directs this coming-of-age story about an impoverished teenager who finds her potential in black rodeos in rural Texas, where she befriends an ex-bull rider (played by The Last Black Man in San Francisco's Rob Morgan). According to IndieWire, the film "stuffs conventional ingredients into a wondrous vision of life on the edge."
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Colonel Redl
This pre-WWI-set Hungarian film, which won the Cannes Grand Jury prize in 1985, chronicles Alfred Redl's ascension to head of counter-intelligence of the Austro-Hungarian Army, all the way up to his (spoiler, sorry) apparent suicide.
Available via SIFF

In this 1980 Academy Award-nominated film, two resistance members in WWII-era Hungary pretend to be husband and wife in an effort to hide in plain sight from Nazi occupiers. The woman, Kata, is married in real life, which causes turmoil when she and her fake husband start to develop feelings for each other. 
Available via SIFF

Exhibition on Screen - Leonardo: The Works
Leonardo da Vinci has been dead for centuries, but his legend lives on. This documentary, released on the 500th anniversary of his death, explores the Renaissance artist's life and work. 
Available via SIFF 

Lucian Freud - A Self Portrait
London's Royal Academy of Arts and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts will present an on-screen exhibition of 50 paintings, prints, and drawings by the late British painter Lucian Freud.
Available via SIFF 

The 1981 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film went to Hungarian director István Szabó's Mephisto, which follows a struggling actor who cooperates with Nazis in occupied Germany in order to become a star. Ingmar Bergman deemed "an impassioned work of art." 
Available via SIFF

Now I'm Fine
Sean Nelson wrote, "Ahamefule J. Oluo, of Stranger Genius Award winning band Industrial Revelation, remounts his autobiographical odyssey, a harrowing, hilarious personal story punctuated by astoundingly strong songs, brilliantly arranged and performed by several of the most talented musicians in Seattle." Originally staged at On the Boards, Now I'm Fine received rave reviews during its recent New York run, and will now be screened online. 
Available via On the Boards

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band
With Once Were Brothers, Roher presents a conventional contextualizing rock doc with marquee-name talking heads—Van Morrison, George Harrison, Bruce Springsteen, et al.—and efficiently reveals Robertson's early family life (his mother was indigenous, his father Jewish) and musical evolution. Robertson is an articulate, passionate memoirist; the film is based on his 2016 autobiography, Testimony. With equanimity, he registers the Band's soaring highs and devastating lows, while his French ex-wife Dominique adds crucial observations about the inter-band dynamics and substance abuse that dogged the members. Tracing a story of relentless, upward mobility through the music industry, the doc emphasizes Robertson's inner strength and boundless ambition, which helped him to avoid the booze- and drug-related pitfalls that afflicted his mates. For fans of the Band, this film will inspire tears of sorrow and joy, if not rage. Now more than ever, their music stirs emotions with a profundity that feels religious, but without the stench of sanctimony. DAVE SEGAL
Available via SIFF and Ark Lodge

Other Music
This star-studded music documentary (featuring musicians like William Basinski, the National's Matt Berninger, Galaxie 500's Dean Wareham, and many other indie greats) will light up the early-2000s-loving circuit board in your brain with a look inside NYC's iconic record store Other Music. The store, like many long-running small businesses in big cities, was forced to close its doors due to rent increases.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Police Beat
Police Beat, a fictional film I made with the director Robinson Devor (we also made Zoo), is also a documentary about a Seattle that's recovering from the dot-com crash of 2000 (a crash that sent Amazon's shares falling from nearly $100 apiece to $6—they're now around $2,400), and entering its first construction boom of the 21st century (between 2005 and 2008). The hero of my film, the police officer Z (played by the beautiful but sadly late Pape Sidy Niang), could actually afford a little Seattle house on his salary (around $45,000). The median price of houses in 2003 was a lot (about $300,000) but not out of reach for a middle-class immigrant with a stable job. Lastly, the film is a documentary about Seattle's beautiful and virid parks. How I love them all and wanted to film them all: Volunteer Park, Freeway Park, the Washington Park, Madison Park, the parks on either side of the Montlake Cut. So green, so urban, so natural. CHARLES MUDEDE
Available via The Stranger

The Roads Not Taken
Sally Potter's new film The Roads Not Taken follows Leo (Javier Bardem), a man tortured by visions of alternate versions of his life. In one, he lives in Mexico with his first love, Dolores. In another, he's an aging bachelor on a Greek island. In reality, he's confined to a sparse Brooklyn apartment, not far from his daughter (Elle Fanning).
Available via Ark Lodge

If you want some serious cinephile cred, you can't do better than this seven-and-a-half-hour epic by the Hungarian master Béla Tarr, known for making long, grimy, long, dark, strangely poetic, long movies like Werckmeister Harmonies and The Turin Horse. Sátántango (1994), restored in 4K, is based on László Krasznahorkai's brutal experimental novel about a collective farm collapsing under the weight of its members' greed, betrayal, and hopelessness.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Shelf Life
Presented from a digital transfer of Paul Bartel's personal 35mm print (!), this 1993 dark comedy is about three warped adults raised in a bomb shelter, where their parents hid with them after the Kennedy assassination. After each screening, watch a recorded Q&A with Andrea Stein, Jim Turner, O-Lan Jones, and film programmer and "restoration champ" Alex Mechanik.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Slay the Dragon
Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance's documentary investigates how gerrymandering has damaged our democracy, and how citizen-led activist groups have been crucial agents of change when bigger systems fail. 
Available via SIFF and Ark Lodge

A new vibe of stoner entertainment is emerging—witness the rise of Broad City, High Maintenance, and basically every TV show created on Viceland. And, most importantly, The Stranger presents SPLIFF, your new favorite film festival created by the stoned for the stoned. Because we can no longer congregate in person, we're rescreening the 2019 festival online! Got some weed on hand? Check it out from the comfort of your home. All contributions received will be shared with the filmmakers.
Available via The Stranger

Stage Russia HD The Three Sisters
Anton Chekhov's three sisters will pine for their former life in Moscow as they languish in the provinces in Timofey Kulyabin's production at the Red Torch Theatre in Novosibirsk. Kulyabin's innovation: All actors but one communicate through sign language. Catch an online broadcast of this production in HD.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Thousand Pieces of Gold
Based on the novel by Ruthanne Lum McCunn (with a screenplay by novelist and filmmaker Anne Makepeace), this 1990 film follows a young Chinese woman (Rosalind Chao) whose family ships her to an Idaho mining town to be sold as a bride. To make matters worse, she's bought by a gross barkeeper in an Idaho mining town who forces her into prostitution. 
Available via Northwest Film Forum

The Vasulka Effect
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the pioneers of video art have been around longer than the internet. The Vasulka Effect shines a light on the oft-forgotten duo Steina and Woody Vasulka through early clips and interviews.
Available via Northwest Film Forum
Friday only

Virtual Moving History V – Comedic Relief
If you, like just about everyone else on the planet, are in need of a little levity, tune into the Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound's compilation of locally archived treasures, from '90s nostalgia to film bloopers to bizarre commercials of yesteryear. 
Available via Northwest Film Forum
Sunday only

The Whistlers
Festival favorite Corneliu Porumboiu (The Treasure, Police, Adjective) delves into the noir genre, complete with a beautiful crook, a crooked inspector, and...a secret whistling language? 
Available via SIFF

A White, White Day
In Hlynur Pálmason's follow-up to Winter Brothers, an off-duty police chief in a remote Icelandic town begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with his late wife. In thriller-meets-Nordic-art-house fashion, the man becomes obsessed with finding the truth, at the expense of his (living) loved ones. 
Available via SIFF