Film/TV

The Best Movies & Shows to Watch in Seattle This Week: Feb 18-24, 2021

Charles Mudede's Thin Skin, Every Season of The Muppets, and More Picks
February 17, 2021
Don't miss a one-night-only online screening of Thin Skin, the latest film from The Stranger's own Charles Mudede that stars Ahamefule J. Oluo, via the Northwest Film Forum on Friday. (Northwest Film Forum)

The snow may have melted, but it's definitely still cold enough to bundle up for another string of movie nights, preferably with a steamy beverage and an array of snacks on hand. See our picks for this week below, from Shatara Michelle Ford's psychological-horror debut Test Pattern to every single season of The Muppet Show on Disney+ to the Netflix con thriller I Care a Lot, starring Gone Girl's Rosamund Pike. We've also included some films that are streaming online and playing in IRL theaters, like Chloé Zhao's Nomadland. Plus, Dan Savage's porn film festival HUMP! continues this weekend—and if you get inspired to make your own movie, don't forget that its sister festival, the stoner-centric SPLIFF, is accepting submissions through March 5! 


Jump to:  Streaming: Local Connection | Film Festivals | Streaming: Nationwide | Playing in Theaters


Streaming: Local Connection

17 Blocks
You can't take your eyes off 17 Blocks for even a second. The raw, home video footage documentary offers an intimate view into the lives of the Sanford-Durants, a Black family struggling to find joy and stability in Southeast Washington D.C. So many of the documentaries we watch now are slick mash-ups of stylized reenactments and moody voiceovers, assuring us that history can be mapped neatly into an orderly sequence. 17 Blocks makes no such tidy promises. Instead, gritty, endearing moments rush in: A pair of brothers, 14-year-old Smurf and nine-year-old Emmanuel, play basketball in a neighborhood park. A friend helps Emmanuel put a caucasian skin tone bandage over a scrape. Their mother, Cheryl, points at an old photo of herself and says "Isn't that a pretty girl right there?" "That's you!" Emmanuel shouts. "That's not me!" Cheryl says. Emmy-award-winning director Davy Rothbart stitched these moments together, alternating between powerful portraits of poverty and warm moments of the family persevering, and cheering one another on. But, like I said, if you look away for a moment you're bound to miss some important detail to the puzzle that is this family's history. What happened to them? Well, a lot of things happened to them. SUZETTE SMITH
SIFF
Starting Friday

German Cinema Now: Sleep (Schlaf)
In Michael Venus's debut psychological horror, a flight attendant is tormented by the fear that she's living in a dream when she finds an in-flight magazine advertising a cabin that's long appeared in her subconscious, and which she discovers is eerily implicated in Germany's wartime history.
Northwest Film Forum
February 24-25

Reunion
In this psychological thriller, a pregnant woman returns home to her recently deceased grandparents' family home to spend time with her estranged mother (the terrific Julia Ormand). Creepy ghost children abound, it looks like!
SIFF
Starting Friday

Shivers
MoPOP's horror watch-along series "It's Coming from Inside the House!" continues with David Cronenberg's freaky 1975 sci-fi flick Shivers, featuring special guest Theresa Mercado, a programmer and host of the Scream Screen film series. 
Watch party via MoPOP
Friday only

Test Pattern
After getting drugged and sexually assaulted by a stranger, a woman (who is Black) and her boyfriend (who is white) drive from clinic to clinic in pursuit of a rape kit. Described in press materials as "part psychological horror, part realist drama," Shatara Michelle Ford's debut feature reveals systematic oppression on both a wide scale and a more obscure interpersonal one. Stranger film contributor Chase Hutchinson talked with Ford about getting her film made, being emotionally truthful, and the absurdity of navigating a system not built to provide justice. Read it here.
Grand Illusion
Starting Friday

Thin Skin
Thin Skin, the newest brainchild of The Stranger's resident filmmaker/philosopher Charles Mudede, is a "music-infused, darkly comedic true story about keeping it together when you’re falling apart," according to press materials. It stars co-writer Ahamefule J. Oluo (a frequent Mudede collaborator and lauded jazz musician and storyteller) as a corporate underling on the heels of a broken marriage who finds solace in late-night sets at a jazz club.
Northwest Film Forum
Friday only — encore screening also scheduled for Feb 27

Truth to Power
When Glendale heavy metal band System of a Down released their Top-40-reaching sophomore album Toxicity in 2001, just after 9/11, they had no idea that the political lyrics would be subject to scrutiny and pulled off the radio. This doc explores that moment and the impact it had on the band and its fanbase.
Grand Illusion
Starting Friday

Twilight's Kiss (Suk Suk)
Two married, closeted Chinese men meet in a park and bond over their shared histories while contemplating a possible future together. "A story told with furtive glances and understated expressions, Suk Suk defies its potentially maudlin premise by bringing a pair of subtle and genuine performances out of its star," wrote Edmund Lee for the South China Morning Post. 
Grand Cinema
Starting Friday

Film Festivals

Children's Film Festival Seattle 2020
Parents with restless children and adults who enjoy whimsical storytelling, rejoice! The Children's Film Festival will resume its latest edition online with the theme "Love and Light." That includes seven short film program screenings ranging from live-action to animation to documentary. Plus, all screenings will come with bonus activities like coloring pages, discussion guides, and more.
Northwest Film Forum

2021 HUMP! Film Festival
Every year, The Stranger puts out the call to sex-havers everywhere to submit a homegrown amateur porn film depicting whatever they're into (barring poop, kids, and animals, of course). The result is an incredibly diverse representation of human sexuality in all its straight, gay, trans, queer, kinky, funny, pissy, painful, and pretty forms. Let's see what wild spins people put on their submissions that were created during the lockdown, shall we?
EverOut
Friday-Saturday

Streaming: Nationwide

Amend: The Fight for America
With Will Smith at the helm, this six-part documentary series unpacks the history of the 14th Amendment, which states that an American citizen is constituted by any person born or naturalized on U.S. soil—a definition that, as a country built on slavery, wasn't always so clearly laid out in the U.S. Constitution. 
Netflix

For All Mankind: Season 2
What would our lives be like if America established a colony on the moon in the '80s? The second season of this Apple TV+ original paints a picture of a space race that never stopped. 
Apple TV+
Starting Friday

I Care a Lot
Tired of rewatching Gone Girl? Rosamund Pike returns with a suspiciously Amy Dunne-esque haircut as Marla Grayson, a con artist masquerading as a conservator (sound familiar? #FreeBritney) who preys on the assets of perfectly healthy old people by sticking them in nursing homes. Alas, her scheme is interrupted when an underground businessman played by Peter Dinklage catches her in the act. 
Netflix
Starting Friday

It’s a Sin: Season 1
From the creator of Queer as Folk, this series follows three young men exploring their gay identities in London just as the AIDS epidemic is taking hold around the world. If you stan Neil Patrick Harris, know that he stars as Henry Coltrane, a character who sadly dies from AIDS in the first episode (sorry for the spoiler).
HBO Max
Starting Monday

The Muppet Show: Complete Series
Latch onto your favorite character from Jim Henson's hippie-genius universe (we're partial to Miss Piggy) and retreat into childhood as you binge all five seasons of The Muppet Show.
Disney+
Starting Friday

Nomadland
After the economic collapse of her company in rural Nevada during the recession, Fern (Frances McDormand) sets out across the American West in her camper, guided by real-life nomads Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells.
Hulu
Starting Friday (also playing at various theaters; see here for details)

Supernova
Hollywood gentlemen Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth star as longtime partners who take one final journey through Northern England as one of them succumbs to dementia. If you haven't had a good cathartic sob lately, the trailer alone should get your tear ducts locked and loaded. 
Amazon Prime Video and other platforms

In-Person Screenings

* = Staff pick

NEW THIS WEEK

*The Cultures United
Duwamish Longhouse (Saturday only)

*Nomadland
Various theaters (opening Friday; also streaming on Hulu)

A Writer's Odyssey
Pacific Place 11 & Cinemark Lincoln Square - Bellevue

STILL PLAYING

*Judas and the Black Messiah
Various theaters (also streaming on HBO Max)

Land
Various theaters

The Little Things
Various theaters

The Marksman
Various theaters

The Mauritanian
Various theaters

*Minari
Cinemark Lincoln Square - Bellevue (also streaming via Northwest Film Forum & Grand Cinema)

*News of the World
Various theaters (also streaming on VOD)

*Promising Young Woman
Various theaters (also streaming on Amazon Prime)

Wonder Woman 1984
Various theaters (also streaming on HBO Max)