Before the Oscars air on ABC this Sunday (we can only hope it is the last award show recorded during this pandemic), check out our guide to this year's nominees and where to stream them and/or watch them in theaters. Otherwise, read on for other new options worth adding to your list, like the SIFF entry Downstream to Kinshasa, a SPLIFF watch party with The Stranger's Chase Burns and Jasmyne Keimig, and the opening weekend of Mortal Kombat on HBO and in select theaters. See them all below, and find even more options on our on-demand calendar or our guide to other streaming events this week.
Newly Streaming: Local Connection
Downstream to Kinshasa
Here is a war you probably never heard about. The belligerents: the Black African states of Uganda and Rwanda. The horror lasted for six days in 2000, erupted around the Congolese city of Kisangani, and ended with around 1500 lifeless bodies and 3000 wounded bodies. The film Downstream to Kinshasa, directed by Dieudo Hamadi, is about a few men and women who are members of the latter group. They lost limbs, property, and peace of mind in the war, which is now mostly forgotten. All they want, at this point, 20 years after the conflict, is compensation from the government and recognition of the catastrophe. Hamadi's camera is like a spaceship that constantly explores, probes, reveals the new worlds of blackness. There is black skin with the sheen of sweat, black skin exposed to little or no light, black skin outside and under the bright sun. Black skin is actually deep. It has many layers, like the surface of a deep body of water. And there are times when it has a beauty, which has been ignored for most of cinema's 100-year history, that's preternatural. We now live in an age that has black skin finally coming alive like never before. CHARLES MUDEDE
Two men in the outback (one of whom is an ex-sniper) team up to track down the most dangerous man in the territory. On their journey, one of them reveals past actions that put him in the seat of the hunted.
Video poetry has been around since the late 1970s, but it's been enjoying a slight revival in a world where three-minute videos on the internet serve as our primary mode of media consumption. The region's only festival dedicated to the art form (that we know of) will partner with Northwest Film Forum again for an online program of features and shorts from over 60 international artist teams, including not one but two films inspired by Botswana-based poet Tjawangwa Dema's "Lethe."
Northwest Film Forum
Seattle Black Film Festival
"I have yet to attend a Langston Hughes African American Film Festival [ed. note: the name has changed this year] that doesn't have an important black-directed or black-themed film that’s somehow been missed by the wider film community or is unavailable in any format—web, disk, cable, theater," wrote The Stranger's Charles Mudede a few years ago. This year's festival is in a web format, but the sentiment holds.
Shoreline Short Short Film Festival
This annual fest that shows short films between three and 10 minutes long by Washington State filmmakers will return to your life, drive-in style.
Shorewood High School
2021 SPLIFF Film Festival
As everyone's favorite day to smoke weed draws near, it's time for another installment of short cannabis-themed films made for and by stoners just like you! You'll have a grand old time watching the screenings themselves, but you'll be even more delighted by Saturday's live(streamed) viewing party with The Stranger's Chase Burns and Jasmyne Keimig to close out the fest.
Newly Streaming: Nationwide
A Black Lady Sketch Show
The hilarious Robin Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, Gabrielle Dennis, and Quinta Brunson are back for a second season of sketches, this time featuring special guests like Issa Rae, Gabrielle Union, and Skai Jackson. A teaser: "Jesus just gives away the loaves and fishes for free. He multiplies them in a basket."
Rutherford Falls: Season 1
Conflicts arise between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of Rutherford Falls following a proposal to remove a statue of the fictional small town's white founder, an eerily identical relative of the righteously ignorant main character (played by Ed Helms). The comedy series boasts a largely Indigenous writing staff, including showrunner Sierra Teller Ornelas, and also prominently features Indigenous actors like Jana Schmieding.
Executive-produced by PNW fanboys Mark and Jay Duplass and guided by the research of investigative journalist David Holthouse, this three-part documentary series tracks the mythology behind the West Coast's most elusive creature, Sasquatch.
Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette... in space! This sci-fi thriller stars the pair as astronauts whose mission to Mars is jeopardized when they discover an engineer who hit his head and passed out on the spacecraft before takeoff.
We Broke Up
A marriage proposal throws an ax in a young couple's otherwise idyllic 10-year relationship, which is muddled up even more when the pair decides to pretend everything is normal between them for a family member's wedding.
NEW THIS WEEK
BECU Drive-in Movies at Marymoor Park
For the last 17 years or so, Marymoor Park has been one of Seattle's hottest destinations for outdoor movie viewing. While you won't be able to set up on the grass this year, BECU will keep the tradition going by turning to a drive-in model for the second year, screening classic flicks like Moana (Thurs April 22), The Goonies (Tues April 27), Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (Wed April 28) and more of the like on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights in April. Food trucks will be onsite, too.
Marymoor Park, Redmond (Thursday & Tuesday-Wednesday)
Demon Slayer: Mugen Train
The movie is based on Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the wildly popular anime and manga series that follows Tanjiro Kamado, a teen who turned to demon-slaying after a demon killed his entire family and turned his sister, Nezuko, into a demon. In season one, Tanjiro and a pacified Nezuko comb Japan looking for a way to turn Nezuko human again, fighting a lot of demons along the way. The movie picks up where season 1 left off and acts as a canonical bridge between season 1 and the soon-to-be-released season 2. During just its opening weekend in Japan last year, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train earned more than $350 million and beat out Spirited Away to become the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time. Mugen Train was also the fourth highest-grossing movie in 2020. If this film is anything like the series, Mugen Train will be action-packed, beautifully animated, and the characters will have bomb outfits. NATHALIE GRAHAM
Following the lead of genre mutual Godzilla vs. Kong, this big-screen spinoff of the classic video game—which stars Lewis Tan as a fighter challenging champions from all the realms in a battle to the death—will premiere on both HBO (for 30 days only) and in select theaters.
Various theaters and streaming on HBO Max (starting Friday)
Godzilla vs. Kong
Various theaters and streaming on HBO Max
Ark Lodge (also streaming on Hulu)
Raya and the Last Dragon
AMC Pacific Place & Landmark Crest - Shoreline (also streaming on Disney+)