It's gonna rain this weekend, and you're gonna want to cozy up and watch movies at some point. We just know it. To save you from decision paralysis, make use of our guide to the best things to stream online, from the Romanian Film Festival to the Seattle Queer Film Festival favorite Monsoon to the concert mosaic Newcomer: A Seattle Hip-Hop Mixtape. We've also included some in-person options at theaters operating at 25% capacity, but with COVID cases on a serious incline, please be extra cautious (wear a mask, keep your distance from others, stay home if you're feeling sick) if you do go that route. For more options, check out our guide to drive-in movie theaters in the Seattle area this week, or our calendar of on-demand movies streaming through local theaters, and our fall guide to online film festivals. Plus, if you haven't heard, The Stranger's amateur porn film festival HUMP! is accepting submissions! You have until January 8 to send in your under-five-minute work of smutty cinematic art.
Streaming: Local Connection
If you've seen one too many slice-of-life dramedies lately and are just itching to be overwhelmed by 89 minutes of action-packed shenanigans filmed in 1980s Texas, John Stewart (not to be confused with TV host Jon Stewart) has your ticket with this cinematic calamity.
For his latest work, the 88-year-old director Manny Kirchheimer (Stations of the Elevated, Dream of a City) restored 16mm footage that he and his friend Walter Hess (heard of him?) shot in New York between 1958 and 1960, which shows a different version of the city we're used to seeing—one filled with quiet "in-between moments" and architecture around the boroughs.
Northwest Film Forum
After a spotlight at this year's Seattle Queer Film Festival, Hong Khaou's latest film stars Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) as a Vietnamese-born Englishman who returns to Ho Chi Minh City for the first time since childhood to reconnect with his roots after the death of his mother. There, an online date with an American clothing designer (Southside With You'd Parker Sawyers) turns into something more.
Matriarchal rituals and power are at the center of Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor's documentary, which highlights five Black femmes reflecting on their own mothers and grandmothers. This virtual screening is presented by German cultural space Goethe Pop Up.
Goethe Pop Up
The Story of Plastic
Now that the man poised for the White House doesn't love fracking and wants to significantly reduce carbon emissions by 2050, this documentary about the plastic pollution crisis should inspire you to take action for the good of the planet instead of (understandably) crying in a corner. You'll get a link to the online screening when you register, after which you can tune in to a panel discussion with local zero waste experts and activists.
Shoreline City Hall
NEWCOMER: A Seattle Hip-Hop Mixtape
Hundreds of tiny performance clips from Seattle's hip-hop underground shape this concert mosaic, screening in honor of Hip-Hop History Month.
Northwest Film Forum
A boy obsessed with his various tech devices hardly leaves the house until his grandmother dies and his grandpa (aka "Nonno") moves in. In typical Italian man fashion, Nonno introduces his reluctant grandson and a gaggle of neighborhood kids to the world of bocce ball, a sport he absolutely dominates at the local court.
Northwest Film Forum
HUMP! Greatest Hits, Volume 2
The HUMP! team is bringing back some fan-favorite amateur porn shorts from years past in the second volume of streamable compilations.
Romanian Film Festival
"The Romanian film industry has been producing international festival hits since 2004, and the so-called New Wave filmmakers and their successors have never stopped innovating. This brief but mighty film festival screens movies that range from caustically funny to fearlessly intellectual," wrote former Stranger Arts Calendar Editor Joule Zelman last year. Back for a seventh year, this online edition will pay special attention to films that inspire social change and give hope for life after the pandemic.
Sovereign Festival 2020 - Queer Black Women Film Fest
Poet and songstress Jessica Rycheal, dancer and visual artist Takiyah Ward, and other local Black womxn creators will premiere new work for this online film festival presented by Earth Pearl Collective.
Tacoma Film Festival 2020
Tacoma plays host to independent filmmakers from the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world in an intimate festival intent on examining community and showcasing perspectives from a diverse group of moviemakers. This year's online event will feature over 150 films, including Gilda Sheppard's documentary centerpiece Since I Been Down, about the immoral three-strikes law passed in Washington State in the early '90s that allowed persecutors to imprison youth. Also playing is David Cronenberg's terrifying sci-fi thriller Possessor, which Stranger film contributor Chase Hutchinson can't stop thinking about.
Last Chance to Stream
In 2017, art collector and philanthropist Agnes "Aggie" Gund famously sold Roy Lichtenstein’s painting "Masterpiece" for $165 million—apparently one of the highest-grossing artworks ever sold—to help end mass incarceration through the Art for Justice Fund. This feature doc from her daughter, Grammy-nominated filmmaker Catherine Gund, explores Agnes's legacy and her commitment to social justice issues.
Harry Chapin: When in Doubt, Do Something
Harry Chapin, the singer-songwriter and world hunger activist behind "Cats in the Cradle," is remembered by his friends Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Peter Seeger, Sir Bob Geldof, Kenny Rogers, Graham Nash, and others in this documentary from Rick Korn. A portion of proceeds from this virtual screening will benefit WhyHunger and the Harry Chapin Foundation.
Bill & Ted Face the Music
The long-awaited final chapter in the acclaimed Bill & Ted trilogy is here! In Bill & Ted Face the Music, a visitor from the future tells the '80s-bred duo that one of their songs can save the world, so they take heed and rock out for the good of humankind.
The fourth season of this popular courtly drama (which wrapped its set just as COVID was starting to spread around the world) starring British period-piece heavyweights like Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter sees outside invaders posing a threat to the monarchy. It also starts to drop some modern-ish references that put it closer to our current reality, like to young William and Harry and the beer-drinking record of Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke.
Eater’s Guide to the World: Season 1
This new series from everyone's favorite food and drink media site (second only to EverOut, of course) should be of particular interest to Pacific Northwest viewers, given that the show covers some of the best restaurants in the region (which we've listed here, like Mutsuko Soma's tiny soba restaurant Kamonegi).
Ryan Coogler's first feature, a Sundance award winner, dramatizes the true story of an unarmed young Black man (Michael B. Jordan) killed by transit officers in Oakland.
His Dark Materials: Season 2
Philip Pullman’s fantasy novels continue to get the big-budget silver-screen treatment in this BBC series starring Andrew Scott (aka the hot priest from Fleabag).
I am Greta
At just 15, Greta Thunberg sparked a global movement for climate activism by skipping school to post up outside the Swedish parliament and protest the insufficient government response to the United Nations Paris Agreement. This documentary delves into her ongoing, relentless activism.
In tried-and-true "where are they now?" fashion, this documentary, filmed over the course of five years, follows the lives of four young trans people navigating their identities in conservative Kansas City.
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special
Two age-spanning escapisms (three if you count the spirit of the holiday season) collide in this animated program celebrating not Christmas but Life Day, the Wookie holiday that centers around family, first introduced in the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special.
Brimming with the soothing ASMR you'd expect from a film set on a southern coast in the 1800s (think Portrait of a Lady on Fire, but in England), Francis Lee's latest film follows the love affair between a poor and brilliant fossil hunter (Kate Winslet) and a wealthy visitor's wife (Saoirse Ronan).
Crest - Shoreline, SeeFilm - Bremerton, and Cinemark theaters
Over a year after its 2019 Cannes premiere (where it won the festival's Coup de Coeur award), this microbudget friendship dramedy written and directed by real-life best friends Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin (who also star) is finally hitting the laypeople's big screen. In the film, they play two BFFs (woah) whose bond is put to the test after one announces that he slept with the other's fiancée.
AMC & Far Away Entertainment theaters
Treat your eyes and ears to a wealth of '80s homoeroticism at limited anniversary screenings of the campy classic.
Cinemark & AMC theaters
If the classic mother-daughter shakeup Freaky Friday were a supernatural slasher comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newtonthe as a struggling teen and a ruthless killer who switch bodies, this would be that movie. In fact, it is.
Blue Fox Drive-In (Thursday-Sunday & Wednesday) and AMC and Cinemark theaters (opening Friday)
Guardians of the Galaxy
Both the heroes and the villains in the first installment of James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy series are big jerks, but you'll somehow find yourself rooting for at least one of them—probably leading man Chris Pratt, even though he makes people call him "Star Lord"—at any given moment in the film. The director has been edging Marvel fans about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 recently, which is why there's a bevy of theaters screening this film all of a sudden, we guess.
Skyline Drive-In and Wheel-in - Port Townsend (Friday-Sunday) and AMC & Cinemark theaters
This not-very-well-received Netflix adaptation of J. D. Vance's bestselling (but also contentious) 2016 memoir centers around the Appalachian values of his white, working-class, Kentucky-based family. Here's an outtake from Alissa Wilkinson's Vox review: "I am surprised it’s as bad as it is. Written for the screen by Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water, Hope Springs) and directed by Ron Howard, it is distractingly Hollywoodified, a rich person’s idea of what it is like to be a poor person, a tone-deaf attempt to assuage a very particular kind of liberal guilt by reifying the very thing that caused the guilt in the first place. And, perhaps worst of all, it’s a very dull movie." Some people think Glenn Close is good in it.
Crest - Shoreline and SeeFilm - Bremerton
Let Him Go
Adapted from the novel by Larry Watson, Thomas Bezucha's new thriller follows a retired sheriff and his wife (played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, respectively, who also played husband and wife in the 2013 Superman movie Man of Steel) who, after the loss of their son, leave their 1960s Montana ranch to rescue their young grandson from the clutches of a dangerous family living off the grid in the Dakotas.
AMC, Cinemark, and other theaters
In 2003, Stranger critic Jennifer Maerz wrote, “'Trite' doesn't begin to describe Love Actually, a movie that America will probably gobble up like grease in a bucket of gravy because it's about love and Christmas, and who doesn't like love at Christmas? And really, who doesn't love Hugh Grant?” Enjoy this pre-Thanksgiving screening, then go read Lindy West's amazing takedown of it. (Fun fact: the title of the movie inspired West's new book, Shit, Actually.)
Jude Law plays an entrepreneur whose life takes a dark turn when he and his American family move to an English country manor in Surrey (the village where he also lived in The Holiday, a film with an entirely different vibe).
Historic Roxy Theatre - Bremerton
On the Rocks
Drawing from his own history of infidelity, Bill Murray susses out a fishy situation with his daughter's (Rashida Jones) seemingly perfect husband in this new Sofia Coppola comedy.
Crest - Shoreline; also streaming on Apple+ TV
The Outpost: Director’s Cut
Outnumbered U.S. soldiers battle Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in Rod Lurie's war film, based on actual events. This director's cut features never-before-seen scenes and an introduction from Lurie.
AMC & Cinemark theaters
Poland’s Most Phantasmally Surreal Secret Arthouse Masterpiece
"Visionary. Poetic. A masterpiece of the occult. Luminous and enrapturing. The essence of wildlife bursting with a strange beauty in the face of destruction." These are the only clues the Beacon has given for its secret screening of a Polish arthouse film. Can you guess which one? You won't know for sure until you're in your seat.
In Christopher Nolan's action-packed thriller, John David Washington stars as a secret agent who manipulates time to try to save the world from World War III. It's got a complicated storyline that will have you "shush"-ing your theater-going companions and IMAX-worthy bangs and booms.
Admiral, Pacific Place, and other theaters
This Apple original film (which will premiere in theaters this weekend only but will hit the streams in December) from the makers of Song of the Sea looks extremely magical. In a woodsy fantasy world, a seemingly normal little girl realizes she's among the storied wolfwalkers—people who transform into wolves when the sun goes down.
Crest - Shoreline, Cinemark and AMC theaters, and SeeFilm - Bremerton