When you're not hitting refresh on Slog and Twitter for election updates, might we suggest taking a mental break with the new Frederick Wiseman doc City Hall, opening virtually at SIFF on Friday, or the beautiful and trippy Son of the White Mare at the newly reopened Beacon Cinema? Below, we've rounded up all your options for movies showing in theaters at limited capacity, at drive-ins, and online through local theaters and national platforms. 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 Seattle International Film Festival is returning (virtually) this April! You can even submit a film through January 8—something to think about.
Even if 1917 were solely the most impressive work of Roger Deakins’ remarkable career—which it is—I’d be recommending it. But the World War I movie is also one hell of a stunning storytelling experience from director Sam Mendes, co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, and editor Lee Smith. “But wait,” you say, “isn’t the whole point of this movie that there aren’t any cuts? Why did they need an editor at all?” 1917’s hook (or less generously, its gimmick) is that it’s meant to unfold in a single, unbroken take. It’s one of the rare instances of a film’s marketing actually benefiting the finished film, because of the way this knowledge is both paid off... and then subverted. BOBBY ROBERTS
Alita: Battle Angel
I can’t stop dreaming about the glimmering city in the clouds that hovers above the film’s sci-fi setting. The story (cyborg woman is found comatose in trash heap, makes heroic journey to rediscover her past and her martial arts skills) lovingly smooshes at least three story arcs’ worth of plot into a single 122-minute film. I have no idea how Alita could have been done better. I’ve read all the Battle Angel comics, which manga artist Yukito Kishiro started publishing in 1990, and I could rattle off all the differences and references in director Robert Rodriguez’s adaptation. But I’d rather talk about what this film is: a fun, exhilarating realization of a sci-fi story that, even now, audiences may not be ready for. Salazar’s sensitive portrayal—enhanced by Alita’s robotic limbs and oversized, anime eyes—only strengthens the focus on conflict and competition that makes Alita so exciting. From the very start, Kishiro’s Alita was a battle comic—a serialized story to entertain young people with artful fight scenes. SUZETTE SMITH
AMC and Cinemark theaters
The Dark Knight
Citizen vigilantes are dressing up like Batman, carrying guns, and trying to clean up the streets; a Chinese industrialist is about to launder mob money through Hong Kong; the Joker (Heath Ledger, RIP) blows into town with a meticulous plan to create anarchy; and Christian Bale is simply hot in Christopher Nolan's 2008 film.
Wheel-In - Port Townsend
The Hunt for Red October
Based on the popular Tom Clancy novel, this suspenseful movie tracks Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery, RIP) as he abandons his orders and heads for the east coast of the United States. Equipped with innovative stealth technology, Ramius' submarine, "Red October," is virtually invisible. However, when an American sub briefly detects the Russians' presence, CIA agent Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) sets out to determine Ramius' motives, fearing he may launch an attack on the U.S.
Need more Sean Connery in your life? The third installment of the James Bond series, a favorite among many 007 fanatics, features the suave special agent in a battle against a notorious villain to save the world's economy from ruin—all while sipping martinis and wooing the Bond girl of the moment, Pussy Galore.
AMC Pacific Place (Friday-Sunday) & Lincoln Theatre - Mount Vernon (Sunday-Monday); also on VOD
Jurassic Park III
The third and final installment of Joe Johnston's blockbuster dino series is a perfect campy distraction.
Rodeo Drive-In - Bremerton
From what we can tell from the trailer, Joe Marcantonio's new psychological horror sees Fiona Shaw as a sort of posh version of Ruth Gordon in Rosemary's Baby, who coopts the life and body of a pregnant woman, whose boyfriend has just tragically died, in pursuit of her unborn child.
SEEfilm Bremerton; also streaming on VOD
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.
Rodeo Drive-In (Friday-Sunday), AMC, Cinemark, and other theaters
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Join the valiant Knights of the Round Table in their struggles with deadly rabbits, sorcerous riddlers, castle-bound sexpots, and Terry Gilliam's delightfully disturbing animated sequences.
The Muppet Movie
The Muppets made their feature film debut in James Frawley's beloved, meta-inclined 1979 film, in which Kermit the Frog and friends (and hitchhikers) journey to Hollywood but are sidetracked by the nefarious restaurateur Doc Hopper. Hop on the Electric Mayhem and reaffirm the Rainbow Connection with everyone's favorite floppy puppets.
Blue Fox Drive-In
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)
Supposedly the last film in the X-Men franchise (and if Dark Phoenix is any indication, the end can't come soon enough), The New Mutants is a superhero/horror hybrid about five young mutants held captive in a scary facility. With Anya Taylor-Joy as a teleporting mutant, Maisie Williams as a werewolf, Charlie Heaton as a kid who can sort of fly, Blu Hunt as a mutant who can weave illusions, and Alice Braga as their doctor and mentor.
Pacific Place, Century Federal Way, and other theaters
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
This landmark Ken Kesey adaptation from '75 finds Jack Nicholson playing a rabble-rousing patient at a tyrannical mental institution.
AMC and Cinemark theaters
Son of the White Mare
Described in press materials as a "swirling, color-mad maelstrom of mythic monsters and Scythian heroes, part-Nibelungenlied, part-Yellow Submarine, lit by jagged bolts of lightning and drenched in rivers of blue, red, gold and green," this early-'80s Hungarian animation centers the battle between a massive cosmic oak tree that guards the underworld with the help of 77 dragons and a white horse whose godly offspring want to rid the world of evil.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise as Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael take on the evil Shredder.
AMC Pacific Place 11
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.
Wheel-In (Friday-Sunday), Admiral, Pacific Place, and other theaters
The nostalgic plot pits an old-fangled toy against a new-fangled one, but the computer animation wins out in the end.
Blue Fox Drive-In (Thursday-Sunday), Blue Fox Drive-In (Friday-Sunday), AMC, and Cinemark
Words on Bathroom Walls
A teen boy (and amateur chef) is diagnosed with schizophrenia after experiencing scary visual and auditory hallucinations, leading his single mom to send him to a school that's not so overrun with bullies.
Cinemark & AMC theaters
Streaming: Local Connection
From acclaimed director Frederick Wiseman, who's been making documentary epics for decades, comes another standout. Not to be confused with the 1996 thriller starring Al Pacino, City Hall takes a strictly observational look at the Boston City government and its Mayor Marty Walsh. When I say observational, I can't overstate how much that defines the film. City Hall doesn’t feature the typical talking heads and cutaways that make up most documentaries. Instead, we're a fly on the wall, watching meetings on meetings about the future of the city of Boston. It's often riveting and enlightening though it may not be the type of doc you pop on to unwind after a long day of doomscrolling. This is mostly due to the documentary being over four and a half hours long. WAIT! Don’t let that put you off. If that's too daunting, watch it in segments with breaks. CHASE HUTCHINSON
SIFF & Grand Cinema
Ten years after the disappearance of her young son, a woman manages a restaurant on the beach where she last heard from him. Just as she's starting to let go of the tragedy, she crosses paths with a teenager who seems eerily familiar.
SIFF & Grand Cinema
Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance
How does jazz translate to movement, and how has the form evolved with Black culture? Khadifa Wong's feature documentary Uprooted explores the significance of jazz in the 21st century through dance.
Northwest Film Forum
Virtual Moving History – Experimental Entertainment
The Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound presents two programs of artistic artifacts and obscurities, including several films by Seattle video artist Doris Chase, a collab between Seattle filmmaker John D. Pai and Malaysian choreographer Mew Chang Tsing, performances from Seattle Mime Theatre and Sally Sykes Group, and selections from the Seattle Channel’s film and video artist showcase program, Seattle Cine-visions.
Northwest Film Forum
HCC 8th Annual Film Festival
The Hibulb Cultural Center presents a day of multi-genre, viewer-submitted films that draw on the theme of "Past, Present, and Future."
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.
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.
This brilliant dark comedy follows an unctuous overachiever’s (Reese Witherspoon) campaign for student council president, and the high school teacher (Matthew Broderick) determined to foil her. You might think a movie about an election is the last thing you want to see in the midst of an actual anxiety-inducing election, but, trust us, this will do you good.
While working to qualify for their first lunar mission, astronauts Fred Armisen, Tim Heidecker, and John C. Reilly trip over their own shoelaces, so to speak, while stationed at NASA's Moon Base Simulator in a remote part of the Arizona desert.
Queen Anne-bred actor Nick Robinson has come a long way from his four-year run at ACT Theatre’s A Christmas Carol (as Seattle Times reports). The youngster stars alongside Kate Mara (House of Cards) as a student embroiled in an affair with his teacher.
FX on Hulu