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Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal
Press Screenings May 31 - June 2

Seattle International Film Festival
Press Screenings

Good afternoon!

Folklife is in full swing here at Seattle Center, so there's plenty of fare food to be had if you're braving the crowds to catch some Uptown and Film Center screenings this weekend. Due to the holiday weekend, we are starting our press screenings for the week on Tuesday, but we have public screenings starting at 11:00 AM on Monday morning, so there's no shortage of films to watch!

See you at the movies,

Eddy Dughi
Membership Coordinator

Press screenings for the 42nd Seattle International Film Festival take place Monday through Thursday at 10 AM, 12 noon, and 2 PM (unless otherwise noted) at AMC Pacific Place (600 Pine St). Screenings will not take place on Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day). Screenings are open to all credentialed press on a first-come, first-served basis.

When attending press screenings, please bring your SIFF-issued pass and check in with SIFF staff before entering the theater. Late seating is not permitted.

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SIFF's capsule summary: "The Secret Festival is exactly what it says-all screenings are secret. What we can tell you is that you need to purchase a special Secret Festival pass to attend the screenings that occur on the four Sundays of the festival at 11 a.m. sharp."
SIFF link: Secret Festival

Because of the rules of the Secret Festival, I can't tell what we saw. 6 Almost Good

Review: I enjoyed the movie, but I can't say it was a great film. And because of the rules of the Secret Festival, I can't say what it was. Yes, I know it's a wicked taunt to tell about it with no more details than saying I was there and can't discuss it. But that's how it works.

One slight hint: some people who were present for the announcements before the film started said that it was screened in honor of SIFF co-founder Dan Ireland.

Language: I'm not telling.

Rating: I'm not telling.

Screening: Sunday 11 am, started a little late because the line was checked into the theater slowly, SIFF Cinema Egyptian.
Audience: 95% full, somewhere between 476 and 590 seats, depending on what sources I check.

Goodies: Indian buffet right after the film.

Ads: I don't know; I didn't get into the theater until after the front credits, so I didn't even know the title of the film until afterwards.

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SIFF's capsule summary: "Set in the vast snowy wilderness of 11th-century Norway, this epic action adventure, based on historical legend, is like "Game of Thrones" on skis, as two members of a warrior clan raise swords and arrows to protect the infant heir to the throne." (Norway, 2015, 100 minutes, Nils Gaup)
SIFF link: The Last King

In 1204 Norway, King Håkon is killed while his heir Håkon Håkonsson is a toddler. King Håkon is a Birkebeiner – the political party that favored the common people and rule from the northern city of Trondheim – and the Bagler party – favored by the church, petty nobles, and merchants – want Håkon Håkonsson dead too. His mother and a band of Birkebeiner men sneak him away to safety of a remote farm, until a ruthless Bagler and his men figure out the hiding place, forcing another escape through forests, mountains, and harsh weather.

Although knowledge of history provides a spoiler for the end of the story, the adventure is how they get there.

8 Very Good Director Nils Gaup has done several early Scandinavian history films, including the Oscar-nominated Pathfinder. This isn't quite that good, but it's a solid, entertaining adventure film with plenty of medieval spectacle. Writer Ravn Lanesskog changed some historical details (Håkon Håkonsson was born shortly after his father's death, another Håkon was renamed "Gisle" to reduce name confusion, etc.) and invented lots of details that weren't covered in the first written records (some 60 years later) of the events, but he started from a story with a lot of drama – and lots of skis, horses, axes, swords, and snow. The main adult character follows a classic hero's journey.

The acting is generally solid but the story tends to overshadow the acting. The props and sets look good, but I'm not sure they're entirely historical. The camera work is excellent, and the scenery is beautiful. The score is sometimes too much, exaggerating the drama rather than staying subtle and supporting the action on-screen.

The film has its flaws, but the adventure is solid enough that the film works well as an action movie. On that basis, I rate it very good.

Language: Norwegian

Rating: I don't think this film has a US rating (yet), but I'd guess it would rate a "PG-13", on the basis of extensive but not-too-graphic violence.

Screening: 1:30 pm, Egyptian.
Audience: less than one-third full, somewhere between 476 and 590 seats, depending on what sources I check.

Snacks: lots of party goodies.

Ads and announcements:

  • SIFF 2016 trailer — This trailer has a disco theme, and it's a lot of fun.
  • Last Cab to Darwin — This looks like a good old-age drama.
  • Tanna — This is a drama about a war between two hunter-gatherer tribes that is settled by a planned marriage between a young woman from one tribe to someone in the other tribe. Unfortunately, the young woman was planning to marry someone in her own tribe.
  • Thank you volunteers — Time for applause. This clip had a funny disco theme.
  • In-person announcement — I think SIFF Programming Assistant Shruti Swaminathan was the one who introduced the film and the house rules.
  • Short pre-film clip — This was yet another with the disco theme.

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Press Screenings May 23-26

Seattle International Film Festival
Press Screenings

Dear [pass-holder or press member],

Festival is officially rolling! I hope you've seen a few screenings, complete with our full kit of Festival trailers and bumpers– I think our creative team has outdone themselves this year. I'm hoping to see some of our new dance moves at some parties this year.

We have so much more excitement in store!

See you at the movies,

Eddy Dughi
Membership Coordinator

Press screenings for the 42nd Seattle International Film Festival take place Monday through Thursday at 10 AM, 12 noon, and 2 PM (unless otherwise noted) at AMC Pacific Place (600 Pine St). Screenings will not take place on Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day.) Screenings are open to all eligible passholders on a first-come, first-served basis.

When attending press screenings, please bring your SIFF-issued pass and check in with SIFF staff before entering the theater. Late seating is not permitted.

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SIFF's capsule summary: "Woody Allen's new film, set in 1930s Hollywood and New York City, is a bittersweet romance starring Jeannie Berlin, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart, Corey Stoll and Ken Stott." (USA, 2016, 96 minutes, Woody Allen)
SIFF link: Café Society: Opening Night Gala

Jewish New Yorker Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) moves to Hollywood to work for his uncle Phil (Steve Carrell). He falls for Phil's secretary Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), in spite of Vonnie's warning that she has a boyfriend. Meanwhile, back home in New York, his family gossips about his gangster brother Ben (Corey Stoll), who runs a night club that eventually provides the title of the film.

5 Fair Woody Allen wrote and directed the film. On the directing side, he's excellent; it seems he can direct films like this one in his sleep. The shots are composed very nicely, and the cinematography (by Vittorio Storaro) is beautiful. The sets and costumes are nice, but they don't try to compete with Downton Abbey or the Baz Lurhmann Gatsby. The music is wonderful. The acting is excellent throughout.

But although Allen is spot-on as a director, this is not one of his showpieces as a writer. The story just doesn't go anywhere – or at least not anywhere all that interesting. The jokes are generally funny, but not numerous enough to carry the film through the dead spots in the story. The bit-part actors get the best jokes, particularly the death jokes. There are quite a few older-man, younger-woman jokes, and although they're mostly funny, I often cringed after laughing because of Allen's personal history. For this to be a good film, it needed either a better story, or so many laughs that the story didn't matter. The comedy is almost-good, and the story is poor; overall the writing is lackluster.

In spite of the first-class directing, acting, cinematography, period details, and music, the film fails on the weakness of the writing. Overall, I rate the film fair.

Maybe Woody Allen should think about slowing down his pace to give his writing more time, or if he wants to crank out a film every year, he might consider alternating between directing someone else's writing and directing his own.

Language: English.

Rating: This film has a US rating of "PG-13", which seems on target.

Screening: 7 pm, McCaw Hall (Seattle opera house). The opera house is wonderful for opera, but it's just not a good place for film. The sound doesn't fill the space evenly, and the screen's aspect ratio looked squashed (from the 2.0:1 it was shot in down to maybe 1.85:1). At least the shortcomings of the venue didn't spoil a great film this time.
Audience: mostly full, 2963 seats (advertised capacity).

Snacks: lots of party goodies.

Ads and announcements:

  • SIFF artistic director Carl Spence spoke.
  • SIFF board chairman Brian LaMacchia spoke.
  • Seattle Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas presented the Mayor's Award to Washington Film Works and Amy Lillard.
  • SIFF 2016 trailer — I recognize hardly any of the film clips in this one, but it's cool.
  • Presenting Princess Shaw — I already saw this film in a press screening. As a documentary, it's OK, but as a collection of music, it's wonderful.
  • Thank you volunteers — Time for applause. This clip had a Lord of the Rings theme, appropriate because Viggo Mortensen is one of this year's guests of honor.
  • (More that I don't remember; I didn't take notes this year.)


Presenting Princess Shaw – Live

One of the films featured at this year's SIFF is Presenting Princess Shaw. I saw the film, and as a documentary it tells a good story, but doesn't tell it very well – but the music is so good that I enjoyed the film anyway.

The true highlight of this Opening Night Gala was a live performance by "Princess Shaw" (Samantha Montgomery) herself. She sang with an off-stage (presumably recorded) accompaniment, and she was excellent. Her singing was right on, and she had stage presence that held the attention of the almost-3000 audience.

I wish we could have had 96 minutes of her singing instead of the film.


The Red Carpet Experience

Like most years, "J" and I support SIFF. This year, we did so mainly by buying the "Red Carpet Experience" upgrade for the opening night party. We arrived through a mess of rush hour traffic (fortunately light, by Seattle standards) and a valet parked our car. (I forgot to give the driver my wireless key, and had to give it to a valet supervisor so they'd be able to lock up the car during the evening.) We checked in, and straightened out a small ticket mix-up (SIFF sent us two copies of one ticket, rather than two different tickets) with a volunteer, then stood in a short line to be photographed on the red carpet. I look forward to figuring out where to view the pictures.

Inside, we got our gold wrist band and went in to the fancy area of the party. Treats included a tasty pasta salad, a nice fresh spinach salad, cheese and crackers, and probably some less healthy goodies that I didn't seek out. Beverages were abundant, as usual at SIFF parties; I indulged on a little merlot.

We mingled, and met lots of perennial SIFF acquaintances and friends. One introduced us to the acting managing director of SIFF; I had met her before at the members' preview event, but didn't realize that until we met her again. We saw an assortment of SIFF staff, including the programmer credited with bringing my favorite-so-far SIFF 2016 film, The Lure, to Seattle.

As usual, my film-themed necktie drew quite a few compliments, even though I didn't make a new one this year.

At the appointed time, opera house staff started herding us into the main hall for the announcements, the singing, and the film.

After the film, we returned to the fancy party area. They had some of the same treats as before, plus some additions: sliders (tasty, but not one of my usual indulgences), spicy gazpacho (yummy), and desserts (including some very good cheesecake). The space was more crowded than it had been before the show, so it was harder to spot people we knew.

While we were there, we picked up our Red Carpet gift bags. The contents included the big SIFF book, a hard-cover 50-year retrospective book about the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, a portion bottle of tequila, a larger bottle of vodka, some sample items from Babeland, a really nice camera strap, a DVD about Chihuly glass art, assorted smaller trinkets, lots of coupons, and lots of snack foods. It all came in a nice black SIFF-logo bag. And because there were two of us, we got two of everything.

Although the food was (presumably) better and the lines almost certainly shorter than the main party for the hoi polloi, my guess is that the main party was more fun. We probably would have migrated there if we had stayed later, but unfortunately J's feet were killing her; she was wearing new shoes, and they just didn't agree with her feet. So we called it a night fairly early, bringing home some samples of cheesecake for "L", who had spent the evening at our house with "T".

In spite of the dud film and our (relatively) early departure, it was a very fun evening. Just dressing up, going out, and playing it fancy was nice. And the "Princess Shaw" song was a treat – live singing in a venue that's meant for live performances.


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Press Screenings May 16 - 19

Seattle International Film Festival
Press Screenings

Dear [pass-holder or press member],

I hope you've been enjoying the press screenings so far! We're all incredibly busy preparing for Opening Night, where I hope you'll join us to usher in the Festival properly with an exciting film and fantastic party.

I would like to remind you once more that we will not be using queue cards for line management at any SIFF 2016 screening. Passholders will be required to be in the designated Passholder line, which will open 60 minutes prior to the scheduled screening time. The Passholder line may enter the venue 25 minutes prior to the scheduled screening time, or when the venue staff is ready to load the house. Please note there is no holding space in line for late arriving Passholders. We feel this will improve your venue experience – no more tracking down queue cards, just finding your place in line and enjoying the screening.

See you at the movies!

Eddy Dughi
Membership Coordinator

Press screenings for the 42nd Seattle International Film Festival take place Monday through Thursday at 10 AM, 12 noon, and 2 PM (unless otherwise noted) at AMC Pacific Place (600 Pine St). Screenings will not take place on Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day.) Screenings are open to all eligible passholders on a first-come, first-served basis.

When attending press screenings, please bring your SIFF-issued pass and check in with SIFF staff before entering the theater. Late seating is not permitted.

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Press Screenings May 9 - 12

Seattle International Film Festival
Press Screenings

Dear [pass-holder or press member],

It was great seeing everyone that made it to our events on Wednesday! We've been working really hard on this year's Festival, and it's really exciting to see that work begin to pay off as everyone gets back together.

This week has a fantastic lineup, and I hope you enjoy!

Best,

Eddy Dughi
Membership Coordinator

Press screenings for the 42nd Seattle International Film Festival take place Monday through Thursday at 10 AM, 12 noon, and 2 PM (unless otherwise noted) at AMC Pacific Place (600 Pine St). Screenings will not take place on Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day.) Screenings are open to all eligible passholders on a first-come, first-served basis.

When attending press screenings, please bring your SIFF-issued pass and check in with SIFF staff before entering the theater. Late seating is at the discretion of theater management and subject to availability.

Pass pickup will be available for pickup at press screenings beginning May 4th.

[Update] Unfortunately the price that we were quoted for the Seattle Center Community College garage was incorrect. Parking passes for this garage will be $125 instead of $100.

MONDAY MAY 9
THE IF PROJECT
**WORLD PREMIERE**
Press Screening: 10:00 am
Mood: Open My Eyes

USA 2016 (88 min)
Director: Kathlyn Horan
Featuring: Kim Bogucki, Renata Abramson, Tiffany Doll, Angela Vargas, LaKeisha "KeWee" Hamilton

A compassionate Seattle police officer creates a unique writing program along with a group of inmates at a maximum-security women's prison, challenging them to answer a simple question with a difficult answer: What if things had been different?

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 21 | 3:30pm | AMC Pacific Place
Sun May 22 | 11:00am | AMC Pacific Place
Director Kathlyn Horan scheduled to attend both screenings

CLOSET MONSTER
US Distributor: Strand Releasing
Press Screening: Noon
Mood: WTF

CANADA 2015 (90 min)
Director: Stephen Dunn
Cast: Connor Jessup, Aaron Abrams, Joanne Kelly, Aliocha Schneider, Jack Fulton

In this imaginative, sometimes shocking, and unexpectedly funny coming-of-age story, an aspiring special-effects makeup artist struggling with his sexuality and his fear of his macho father turns for advice to his pet hamster Buffy (named for a certain Vampire Slayer), who hilariously speaks to him in the voice of Isabella Rossellini.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 9:30pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Mon May 23 | 8:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown

SUNSET SONG
US Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Press Screening: 2:00 pm
Mood: Love

UNITED KINGDOM 2015 (135 min)
Director: Terence Davies
Cast: Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan, Kevin Guthrie

Epic, emotional, and filled with both captivating period detail and painterly visual landscapes, the latest from director Terence Davies (The House of Mirth) looks back at the life of a peasant farm family's life in pre-WWI Scotland.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 4:00pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sat May 21 | 6:30pm | Majestic Bay Theatres

TUESDAY MAY 10
SONITA
Press Screening: 10:00 am
Mood: Creative Streak

IRAN 2015 (90 min)
Director: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Featuring: Sonita Alizadeh

Winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, Sonita is a feisty teenage refugee and aspiring rapper from Afghanistan who, after her mother announces an arranged marriage, upends the foundations of documentary filmmaking with a bold request to her filmmaker: Will you buy me?

Festival Screenings:
Thu May 26 | 6:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sat May 28 | 1:00pm | Lincoln Square Cinemas
Sat June 4 | 3:30pm | Shoreline Community College

TANNA
US Distributor: Lightyear Entertainment
Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Love

AUSTRALIA 2015 (99 min)
Director: Martin Butler & Bentley Dean
Cast: Marie Wawa, Mungau Dain, Marceline Rofit, Chief Charlie Kahla

In this lush, visually breathtaking film, the first shot entirely on the island nation of Vanuatu, rebellious Wawa must choose between loyalty to her clan and her own heart when she is betrothed to a man from another tribe.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 1:30pm | AMC Pacific Place
Mon May 23 | 8:30pm | Majestic Bay Theatres

ZOOM
US Distributor: Screen Media Films
Press Screening: 2:00pm
Mood: WTF

CANADA/BRAZIL 2015 (96 min)
Director: Pedro Morelli
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Alison Pill, Tyler Labine, Mariana Ximenes, Jason Priestley, Don McKellar, Jennifer Irwin

A comic-book artist insecure about her chest size, an action-movie director lacking his cocksure advantage, and a melancholy Brazilian model-turned-novelist share an interconnected fantasy world in this delightfully meta comedy featuring original songs by Kid Koala.

Festival Screenings:
Tue May 31 | 9:15pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Wed June 1 | 9:30pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian

WEDNESDAY MAY 11
MIDSUMMER IN NEWTOWN
US Distributor: Participant Media
Press Screening: 10:00 am
Mood: Open My Eyes

USA 2016 (80 min)
Director: Lloyd Kramer

In a testament to the healing power of art, a theatre director unites the community of Newtown, Connecticut one year after the tragic school shooting of 2012 to help produce a rock musical version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 21 | 3:30pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
Sun May 22 | 5:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Director Lloyd Kramer scheduled to attend both screenings

THE OLIVE TREE
Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Show Me the World!

SPAIN/GERMANY 2016 (98 min)
Director: Icíar Bollaín
Cast: Anna Castillo, Javier Gutiérrez, Pep Ambros

A determined young woman journeys from Spain to Germany to retrieve a gnarled, thousand-year-old olive tree that is precious to her ailing grandfather after it has been sold to an energy company, in Icíar Bollaín's earthy, bittersweet fable.

Festival Screenings:
Sun May 22 | 8:30pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
Sun May 29 | 5:00pm | Renton IKEA Performance Arts Center
Wed June 1 | 6:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown

SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU
US Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Press Screening: 2:00 pm
Mood: Love

USA 2016 (80 min)
Director: Richard Tanne
Cast: Tika Sumpter, Parker Sawyers, Vanessa Bell Calloway

Spend a disarmingly romantic 1989 summer afternoon with the future president of the United States, Barack Obama, as he woos his future First Lady on an epic first date across Chicago's South Side in a real-life version of Before Sunrise.

Festival Screenings:
Sat June 11 | 7:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sun June 12 | 7:00pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Director Richard Tanne scheduled to attend both screenings

THURSDAY MAY 12
MICROBE AND GASOLINE
US Distributor: Screen Media Films
Press Screening: 10:00 am
Mood: Make Me Laugh!

FRANCE 2015 (105 min)
Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Audrey Tautou, Ange Dargent, Theophile Baquet, Diane Besnier

Michel Gondry's wildly inventive and sweetly comic celebration of friendship joins two teenage misfits—Microbe, an artist, and Gasoline, a mechanic—on an unconventional road trip through the French countryside in a homemade house on wheels.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 21 | 1:00pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
Mon May 23 | 7:00pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian

THE VIOLIN TEACHER
Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Creative Streak

BRAZIL 2015 (100 min)
Director: Sérgio Machado
Cast: Lázaro Ramos, Kaique Jesus, Elzio Vieira, Sandra Corveloni, Fernanda De Freitas

A former child prodigy reluctantly begins teaching music to youth in a troubled São Paulo neighborhood and discovers the transforming power of music, passion, and purpose in this inspiring Brazilian film based on a true story.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 9:30pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
Sat May 21 | 12:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Wed May 25 | 7:00pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian

THE LURE
Press Screening: 2:00 pm
Mood: WTF

POLAND 2015 (92 min)
Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Cast: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Jakub Gierszal, Kinga Preis, Andrzej Konopka, Zygmunt Malanowicz

A fanciful horror-tinged New Wave rock opera transpires when a pair of bewitching mermaids emerge from the sea to join a Warsaw nightclub act, then face some cruel, bloody choices when one of them falls in love with a handsome young bass player.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 27 | 9:30pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sat May 28 | 4:00pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sun May 29 | 9:15pm | Shoreline Community College
Director Agnieszka Smoczynska scheduled to attend all screenings

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SIFF's capsule summary: "A wise and tender ode to friendship of man and dog, two middle-aged men reunite in Madrid and spend four days taking unexpected detours, reflecting on loves, losses, triumphs, and regrets. Winner of five Goya Awards including Best Picture." (Spain, 2015, 108 minutes, Cesc Gay)
SIFF link: Truman

For a film made in Spain and Argentina, it had an odd start: people speaking English somewhere in North America (later identified as Canada). But soon Tomas (Javier Cámara) heads to the airport and flies to Spain to visit his dear friend Julian (Ricardo Darín), the dog Truman, and their common friend Paula (Dolores Fonzi). Why the sudden trip? Tomas has health problems, and wants to see his friend in case he doesn't make it.

8 Very Good The film was directed by Cesc Gay and written by Tomàs Aragay and the director. The pacing is solid and there's plenty of comedy, without slighting the drama. But it's the acting that really makes the film a winner; everyone is excellent.

Overall, I rate the film very good.

Languages: Spanish, with English subtitles, and some English.

Rating: I don't think this film has a US rating (yet), but I'd guess it would rate a "R", because the MPAA is prudish about even mild nudity and sex.

Screening: 2 pm, Pacific Place (room 11).
Audience: a typical SIFF press screening crowd, I'd guess fewer than 100, in about 400 seats.

Snacks: tea from home.

Ads: none at press screenings; SIFF volunteers provide announcements.

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SIFF's capsule summary: "A teenaged girl struggling to support her siblings in a dingy British housing project gets the news that her abusive father is about to be paroled in this gritty tale of adolescence evoking the teen narratives of Andrea Arnold and Pawel Pawlikowski." (UK, 2015, 97 minutes, Helen Walsh)
SIFF link: The Violators

Teenager Shelly (Lauren McQueen) cares for her adult brother Andy (Derek Barr) and younger brother Jerome (Callum King Chadwick), worrying about the possibility of parole of their dangerous and abusive father. Pawn shop owner Mikey (Stephen Lord) takes an unhealthy interest in her. Late-teen Rachel (Brogan Ellis) seems to be watching over her, though it's not clear whether she's a stalker or a protector.

4 Lackluster The first problem with this film is the sound. For one thing, the UK accents are often thick enough that they should have subtitles for US audiences (and possibly for UK audiences in other regions). For another, the sound isn't always mixed well enough to make the dialog clear.

The second problem is that the film had a number of tracking shots that needed a steady-cam (or something comparable), but lacked it. A bouncy camera gives some audience members vertigo, and tends to annoy even those who don't get dizzy from it.

A third problem is that the story (by writer-director Helen Walsh) fails to reveal enough about the mystery of Rachel's interest in Shelly until a sudden ending. It feels like the third quarter of the plot is missing; there's no gap in the chain of events, but there is a gap in what the film has revealed to the audience.

On the other hand, Shelly is a very strong, well-developed character, and the acting is solid throughout. Most UK films featuring desperate working class settings center around violent male characters, and the focus on a young woman trying to survive a difficult situation is a worthwhile twist. Still, the story would have benefited a lot from a few more drafts.

Overall, I rate the film lackluster.

Languages: English (with some very thick accents)

Rating: I don't think this film has a US rating (yet), but I'd guess it would rate a "R", due to moderate violence and a troubling sex scene.

Screening: noon, Pacific Place (room 11).
Audience: a typical SIFF press screening crowd, I'd guess fewer than 100, in about 400 seats.

Snacks: tea from home.

Ads: none at press screenings; SIFF volunteers provide announcements.

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SIFF's capsule summary: "Shedding new light on a classic composer and his relationship to modern orchestras, pianist Leif Ove Andsnes spends four years attempting to understand and interpret one of the greatest sets of works for piano ever written: Beethoven's five piano concertos." (UK, 2015, 92 minutes, Phil Grabsky)
SIFF link: Concerto – A Beethoven Journey

The film is partially about Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, who spent four years concentrating on the five Beethoven piano concertos, and partially about Beethoven as a pianist and composer. The director, Phil Grabsky, also directed In Search of Mozart, so this isn't his first classical music documentary.

7 Good The film includes frequent commentary by Andsnes about the Beethoven pieces he's studying and playing. Initially, his language is not very informative, except to convey his enthusiasm for the music; it sounds like how a concert musician might talk about music with other concert musicians. Further on in the film, he becomes more accessible, conveying why the audience should be excited about the music, rather than why he is.

The most memorable narration consists of readings from Beethoven's letters. They are very well selected to give insight about Beethoven and the music.

The central attraction of the film is the music itself. I particularly enjoyed Concerto 1, first movement. I was somewhat familiar with Concerto 2 and Concerto 3, but the rest of the music was new to me. The film covered the five concertos in sequence, and it seemed like the film spent less time on the later ones.

Since the film was about the music and the musician, the visual side of the film wasn't a central concern, which made the excellent camera work an unexpected treat. Every shot was precisely in focus – from piano keys in the close foreground to orchestra musicians in the background – except when backgrounds were intentionally de-focused to highlight the foreground. There was a weird brown stain on the wall of Andsnes's house during all of the interviews, which sometimes drew attention to itself. But in the concert shots, the camera work was clear and about as dramatic as a piano concerto could be.

Overall, I rate the film good. The film succeeds as a classical music documentary, but doesn't transcend the genre to the point that it's likely to appeal to people unless they enjoy classical music.

Somewhat off-topic:
During one section of the film, Andsnes performs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which is conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. That reminded me of the Amazon-exclusive streaming television show Mozart in the Jungle, a comedy about a young oboe player (Lola Kirke). Gael García Bernal has a major supporting role as a conductor who may be a spoof of Dudamel.

One annoying incident during the screening was an Amber Alert. The SIFF volunteers who present the press screenings ask everyone to switch off cell phones during the movies, but not everyone turns them off all the way. If a phone is switched to silent or vibrate, Amber Alerts still make the phone squeal. Phones need to be switched to airplane-mode or all the way off.

Languages: English.

Rating: I don't think this film has a US rating, but I don't recall any content that would be inappropriate for any age.

Screening: 10 am, Pacific Place (room 11).
Audience: a smallish SIFF press screening crowd, I'd guess about 75, in about 400 seats.

Snacks: tea from home.

Ads: none at press screenings; SIFF volunteers provide announcements.

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Press Screenings May 4 - 6

Seattle International Film Festival
Press Screenings

Dear [SIFF passholder or press member],

I'm incredibly excited to present the very first Press Screening schedule to you – perhaps as excited as you are to be opening it! We are looking at the start of a truly exciting Festival this year, and I hope to see those of you that can make it at the Press Screenings tomorrow morning and the Members' meeting tomorrow evening. I'm looking forward to connecting back up with those of you I haven't seen since last June!

Best,

Eddy Dughi
Membership Coordinator

Press screenings for the 42nd Seattle International Film Festival take place Monday through Thursday at 10 AM, 12 noon, and 2 PM (unless otherwise noted) at AMC Pacific Place (600 Pine St). Screenings will not take place on Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day.) Screenings are open to all eligible passholders on a first-come, first-served basis.

When attending press screenings, please bring your SIFF-issued pass and check in with SIFF staff before entering the theater. Late seating is at the discretion of theater management and subject to availability.

Pass pickup will be available for pickup at press screenings beginning May 4th.

[Update] Unfortunately the price that we were quoted for the Seattle Center Community College garage was incorrect. Parking passes for this garage will be $125 instead of $100.

WEDNESDAY MAY 4
CONCERTO – A BEETHOVEN JOURNEY
US Distributor: Seventh Art Productions
Press Screening: 10:00 am
Mood: Creative Streak

UNITED KINGDOM 2015 (92 min)
Director: Phil Grabsky
Featuring: Leif Ove Andsnes, Gustavo Dudamel

Shedding new light on a classic composer and his relationship to modern orchestras, pianist Leif Ove Andsnes spends four years attempting to understand and interpret one of the greatest sets of works for piano ever written: Beethoven's five piano concertos.

Festival Screenings:
Mon May 23 | 6:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Wed May 25 | 4:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown

VIOLATORS
Press Screening: noon
Mood: Dare

UNITED KINGDOM 2015 (97 min)
Director: Helen Walsh
Cast: Lauren McQueen, Brogan Ellis, Stephen Lord, Liam Ainsworth

A teenaged girl struggling to support her siblings in a dingy British housing project gets the news that her abusive father is about to be paroled, in this gritty tale of adolescence evoking the teen narratives of Andrea Arnold and Pawel Pawlikowski.

Festival Screenings:
Sun May 22 | 8:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Wed May 25 | 6:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown

TRUMAN
US Distributor: FilmRise
Press Screening: 2:00 pm
Mood: Love

SPAIN/ARGENTINA 2015 (108 min)
Director: Cesc Gay
Cast: Ricardo Darín, Javier Cámara, Dolores Fonzi
A wise and tender ode to friendship, of man and dog, two middle-aged men reunite in Madrid and spend four days taking unexpected detours, reflecting on loves, losses, triumphs, and regrets. Winner of five Goya Awards including Best Picture.

Festival Screenings:
Sun May 29 | 4:30pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Mon May 30 | 6:30pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Fri June 3 | 9:00pm | Shoreline Community College
Director Cesc Gay scheduled to attend May 29 and 30 screenings

THURDSAY MAY 5
HOW MOST THINGS WORK
Press Screening: 10:00 am
Mood: Open My Eyes

ARGENTINA 2015 (93 min)
Director: Fernando Salem
Cast: Verónica Gerez, Pilar Gamboa, Marilú Marini, Miriam Odorico, María Ucedo

When her father passes away, sheltered Celina takes over his job as a traveling encyclopedia salesperson, training with a veteran saleswoman and setting out on her first road trip in order to earn enough money to travel to Italy and find her mother.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 21 | 5:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sun May 22 | 3:30pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
Mon June 6 | 3:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Director Fernando Salem scheduled to attend May 21 and 22 screenings

SLASH
Press Screening: noon
Mood: WTF

USA 2016 (101 min)
Director: Clay Liford
Cast: Michael Johnston, Hannah Marks, Michael Ian Black, Missi Pyle, Jessie Ennis

Sexually questioning high-school freshman Neil (Michael Johnston, Teen Wolf) discovers a new creative outlet when his new friend Julia (Hannah Marks, Awkward) takes him down the rabbit hole of online erotic fan fiction.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 4:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sat May 21 | 8:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Director Clay Liford scheduled to attend both screenings

PRESENTING PRINCESS SHAW
US Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Press Screening: 2:00 pm
Mood: Creative Streak

ISRAEL 2015 (80 min)
Director: Ido Haar
Featuring: Kutiman, Samantha Montgomery

An inspirational true-life fairy tale about a talented black woman from a poor New Orleans neighborhood whose a cappella YouTube performances capture the attention of an Israeli music producer, turning her into an international singing sensation.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 7:00pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sat May 21 | 1:00pm | AMC Pacific Place
Princess Shaw (Samantha Montgomery) scheduled to attend both screenings

FRIDAY MAY 6
HORIZONS
Press Screening: 10:00 am
Mood: Creative Streak

SWITZERLAND/CUBA 2015 (70 min)
Director: Eileen Hofer
Featuring: Alicia Alonso, Viengsay Valdés, Amanda de Jesús Pérez Duarte

An observational documentary showcasing the discipline and dedication of three generations of Cuban ballerinas, including Alicia Alonso, the 93-year-old founder of the National Ballet of Cuba who refused to give up her work even after losing most of her eyesight.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 3:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Tue May 24 | 7:00pm | AMC Pacific Place

THE LAST KING
US Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Press Screening: noon
Mood: Thrill Me!

NORWAY 2015 (100 min)
Director: Nils Gaup
Cast: Thorbjorn Harr, Jakob Oftebro, Kristofer Hivju, Pal Sverre Hagen

Set in the vast snowy wilderness of 11th-century Norway, this epic action adventure, based on historical legend, is like Game of Thrones on skis, as two members of a warrior clan raise swords and arrows to protect the infant heir to the throne.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 7:00pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
Mon May 23 | 9:30pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian

INDIGNATION
US Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Press Screening: 2:00pm
Mood: Love

USA 2016 (109 min)
Cast: James Schamus
Featuring: Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Tracy Letts, Linda Emond, Danny Burstein, Ben Rosenfield

Frequent Ang Lee collaborator James Schamus steps into the director's chair to adapt Philip Roth's novel about an independent-minded college student (Logan Lerman, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) at odds with the mindset of 1950s America.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 21 | 6:30pm | AMC Pacific Place
Sun May 22 | 3:00pm | Lincoln Square Cinemas
Director James Schamus scheduled to attend both screenings

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My caucus experience

I live in a caucus state. The rules for participating are pretty simple: sign a pledge that you are registered to vote in Washington, live in the precinct, and – for at least the day of the caucus – identify as a Democrat. As a precinct committee officer (PCO), I automatically presided over my precinct's caucus.

Each of the people present signed a page stating their initial preference: Clinton, Sanders, "uncommitted", or other. Using a formula, the votes were used to calculate preliminary delegate counts. (Five Sanders, one Clinton, zero uncommitted, zero for the guy who wrote in his own name.)

Next, up to three people per preference group could speak on behalf of their choice, and then everyone was allowed to state their final preference, if the speeches changed their minds. (No one did.) So the five-one allocation stood.

I spoke for "uncommitted", on grounds that I mostly preferred Sanders's vision, but felt Clinton would be more likely to win in November, and "uncommitted gave me the opportunity to keep Sanders in play long enough to pull Clinton further left, but still vote for her in the end.

After the delegate allocations were settled, the caucus split into Clinton and Sanders groups. Since there was no "uncommitted" group, I joined the Clinton group, as did the other uncommitted. Because I was the only one in the Clinton group who had the next-level caucus day free, I was elected the delegate by default.

I don't know what happened in the Sanders group, except that the Sanders delegates were mostly first time voters, plus one 60ish woman. I signed everyone's delegate and alternate credentials, signed the precinct envelope, and returned it to the site coordinator.

At the next-level caucus, the check in line took two hours. My name was not on record as a delegate. I was sent to a supervisor, who searched for my precinct envelope – which was missing. The supervisor knew me as a PCO (and thus the person who signed the envelope), and approved me, but by then initial check in had closed.

I could have stuck around and tried to check in before the final check in, but I had thing to do at home, and I knew (from previous caucuses) that the actual business of the next-level caucus (after final check in) would take a long time. (I later heard that it ran almost two hours past the scheduled end, four hours after I left.) I found a crowd of eager alternates, and told them a caucus rule most didn't know: if a precinct doesn't have enough delegates or alternates to fill its allocation, alternates for the same candidate from other precincts may be selected (by lot) to fill the vacancies. Then I went home.

Thus, I was a disenfranchised caucus voter. Maybe an alternate filled in, maybe not; maybe my precinct's lost envelope wiped out its representation. And if I had stuck it out for four more hours, I could have been counted. But I was not.

A lot of stories in the news report voting problems. In Republican states, it's often by design, to disenfranchise people who tend to vote for Democrats. But here, because I could see a lot of the process, I trust that it was not by design – it was a screw-up by a volunteer in a volunteer operation. And, I trust, an honest screw-up.

My point? Although some voting problems are intentional disenfranchisement, in a lot of cases it's a simple, honest screw-up.


Why I favored ClintonCollapse )

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I did most of my taxes this year, and reached a point where I decided it would be worth the upgrade from H&R Block TaxCut 2015 Basic to Deluxe. Early in the process of working through my taxes, I ran into a screen offering the upgrade, but I skipped it because I thought Basic would be fine. But when I went back to look for the upgrade screen, I wasn't able to find it again. After some searching in the program, I tried an assortment of web-search terms to find instructions on the H&R Block web site and elsewhere. I didn't find the answer anywhere, and phoned H&R Block customer service.

Even the customer service agent didn't find the answer right away, but he did eventually, and walked me through it. It's probably too late for most people this year, but if the software developers don't fix the problem in future editions, maybe this description will turn up in web searches for others in future years.

Here's a summary of the procedure:

Click through to see the details.Collapse )

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This is my edited version of this blank Oscars ballot with my picks and predictions filled in.

Click here to view the table. It"s fairly large.Collapse )

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There are a lot of Oscar ballots around, but I have my own way of doing it: with columns to check for personal favorites, picks for guesses about what the Academy will choose, and a blank space to fill in the actual winners. I've been doing it this way for several years, with various revisions along the way. This one is all blank; you can print it and use it if you like.

Later I'll share my own selections, so I'm on record before the winners are announced, but I've seen uncommonly few of the films this year so I'll have quite a few " — " ("I haven't seen it") marks on my own ballot unless I can make it to the Oscars marathon screenings, and even that will only cover the best-picture nominees.

Click here to view the table. It"s fairly large.Collapse )

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For this Festivus, I offer this small airing of grievances:

I don't like gift cards.

Sure, I appreciate a gift. I appreciate receiving a little extra money that I can spend on things. I even like them, to a point, as a last resort for when I have to give someone a gift, but can't think of anything that they'd like.

But gift cards are not my favorite kind of gift.

The worst problem is when a gift card is for a business that I wouldn't normally shop, either because it's out of the way, or doesn't sell things I'd want to buy.

If it's for a business where I shop, but not frequently, it's something I need to keep track of until I have a reason to go there, or until I decide to make a special shopping expedition just to use up the card.

Another problem is that the amount on a gift card rarely matches the amount of an actual purchase. If the amount on the card is less than what I'd spend at a given business, it's either worthless, or it's an obligation to spend more money just to use up the card. If the amount on the card is more than I'd spend at a business, it's something I have to keep track of for several visits – and eventually it will end up with a small balance that requires spending more money to use up the card.*

The only time when gift cards really work out adequately is if they're for a business where I shop often enough that I will use up the card promptly enough that I don't misplace it.

So what are the alternatives?

One is to thing up a gift that's actually something I'd like, but that I don't already have. That's difficult. Usually if I'd like to have something, I'll buy it myself. The main reason I wouldn't buy it myself is that it's too expensive, and in that case, it's probably too expensive to expect as a gift too. A big risk with physical gifts is that they are not something the recipient would like. That leaves the recipient with something that they need to either re-gift, try to return (and then spend the store credit, if the store doesn't offer cash refunds), or donate. And if they go through the mail, they cost the giver more to send.

Another possibility is the universal gift card: money. Sure, it doesn't show any creativity. In an exchange of gifts, it can lead to the silly outcome of each person giving the other the same thing. But at least it's something that will always be useful to the recipient.

Yet another possibility is to give gifts on occasions when one knows what the recipient would like, and give them then, instead of feeling an obligation to think of a gift on traditional gift occasions.

People often say that it's the thought that counts. Sometimes just expressing the thoughts in a nice way is as good as a gift.

* At least some businesses are nice enough to give out change in cash when the remaining balance on a card after a purchase is too small to be useful.

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In 2001, reporters at the Boston Globe started to suspect a pattern of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. Only a few incidents had come to light, but were there more cases that were disappearing under cover of confidential settlements? Was there a cover up, and if so, how high did it go in the hierarchy? All the way to the cardinal? Could they find proof strong enough to publish the story?

This film is partially about the abuse cases, but it's more about the investigative news reporters who pursued the case. The title, Spotlight, is the name of the investigative journalism team that pursued the case.

The directing, by Tom McCarthy, is excellent, particularly in presenting the ensemble cast that keeps it clear what each one is doing. The pacing and suspense are solid, and the emotional impact of the abuse stories. The screenplay, by Josh Singer & the director, is also excellent, compressing years of work by the Spotlight reporting team on a complicated case into just over two hours.

Each of the individual contributions by the cast was solid, but what was really impressive about the acting is how well the cast worked as a team, with no one trying to upstage anyone else. If anyone stood out, it was Rachel McAdams, the only woman in the film with significant screen time. Most of the acting was excellent, or at least very good. Only a couple of the name actors (John Slattery, Paul Gilfoyle) are from Boston, and rather than trying to fake a Boston accent and getting it wrong, they wisely stick with neutral accents. Instead, various bit players provide the Boston accents.

The period details all looked on target. (One, featuring a large billboard, was one of the film's few comic relief moments.) The score, by Howard Shore, supported the mood of the film without intruding.

9 Excellent The film gets just about everything right. It's excellent, and one of the best films of the year.

As a newspaper film, Spotlight is on a par with All the President's Men. There's a link between the two films: the Globe editor who oversaw the priest, Ben Bradlee Jr, is the son of the late Washington Post editor Ben Bradleee, who oversaw the Watergate investigation portrayed in All the President's Men.

Language: English.

Rating: This film has a US rating of "R", for bloody violence.

Screening: 4:15 pm, SIFF Cinema at the Uptown (medium screening room).
Audience: I counted 17 people, of 284 seats (posted capacity). Small crowd, but it was a Tuesday matinee.

Snacks: a glass of wine.

Ads:

  • TV5 Monde — This French-language television channel is a long-time SIFF sponsor.
  • Keep film in Washington — This clip advocates continuing Washington state's film production incentives.
  • SIFF education — This clip promotes SIFF's education programs.
  • "SIFF members get it" — I know most of the people in the background of this clip (and Carl, of course), though not the three actors.
  • No talking or texting — An on-screen request for good behavior.
  • The Princess Bride — The quote-along returns.
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — The sing-along returns.
  • Fiddler on the Roof — Tradition! The sing-along returns.
  • Moulin Rouge — Yet another sing-along.
  • Out 1 — This 1973 French New Wave film looks pretty trippy.
  • The Danish Girl — Having seen the film now, I can warn that this preview is pretty much a spoiler.
  • Carol — This film about a semi-closeted 1950s bisexual woman is a winner.
  • SIFF film projector clip — "Discover extraordinary films every day of the year."

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Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) was a Danish artist, married to Gerda Gottlieb (Alicia Vikander). Einar adopted the new identity Lili Elbe, and later became one of the first known people to undergo sex change surgery.

The film was mainly based a novel of the same title (by David Ebershoff), which was loosely based on the historical people, set in the US instead of Europe, but the film returned the setting to Europe and made some other changes to bring the story back closer to the historical people. I didn't read the book or anything more than the Wikipedia articles about Einar-Lili and Gerda, so my knowledge of how the film compares to the historical people or the novel. One obvious element the film retains from the novel is the English language: although the major characters are all Danish, they speak English throughout the film. It would make sense for them to speak English with others while traveling outside Scandinavia, their British English felt like Hollywood.

The lead performance by Redmayne is excellent, and likely to draw quite a few award nominations (in addition to the SAG award nomination he's already received). The female lead performance by Vikander is very good, but the script limited her somewhat. Supporting parts are solid too.

The directing by Tom Hooper is good, with solid pacing, interesting use of the camera, and so forth, but not in the same class as his previous Les Misérables or The King's Speech. The worst directing moment is the concluding scene, which floats away into cliche. However, the film's largest weakness is the screenplay (by Lucinda Coxon), which combines the inner struggle between Einar and Lili with the love story between Einar-Lili and Gerda, with negligible character development by the latter. I rate it fair.

The score by Alexandre Desplat is solid and doesn't intrude. His productivity is amazing. The 1920s scenery, sets, clothing, props, and so forth is another strong point.

7 Good Although the script is merely fair, this film manages to rise above it on the strength of Redmayne's acting. It's still merely good, but that acting elevates the entire film.

Languages: English, except for one scene where bit-part characters speak French; no subtitles.

Rating: This film has a US rating of "R" for a fairly mild sex scene (with female nudity), a scene with male nudity, and the MPAA's usual unease about anything involving sexual minorities.

Screening: 7 pm, Pacific Place.
Audience: I'd guess about 300 seats, around 80% full.

Snacks: Thai before, a huge "small" drink during, and a tasty dessert after the film.

Ads and announcements: no ads, just an in-person announcement that people would not be allowed to use phones.
As it turned out, a bunch of phones (even mine) chimed with an Amber Alert during the film, because Amber Alerts apparently ignore phones' "silent" setting. Sometimes even an audience that respects the rules by switching phones to silent can't win.

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The film begins with a scene absent in the original: the funeral of a young child. Although the scene is not Shakespeare, it's one of the strongest in the film, and it fits into this adaptation well.

The rest of the film is an abridged version of the play: Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) and Banquo (Paddy Considine) defeat an alliance of invaders and traitors. Three witches speak prophecies to Macbeth, and one comes true. Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard) encourages him to commit a murder, and then he keeps on killing.

Another divergence from Shakespeare has to do with the Birnam Wood; without describing it, I can say that it fits into the film well.

The director (Justin Kurzel) is at his strongest when he lets the wonderful, bleak Scottish wilderness locations and scenic composition set the mood; such scenery doesn't fit on a stage, and it takes advantage of the big screen. Another strength is the fight choreography, and the mood of the battlefield as a place of misery and death. On the other hand, sometimes there's so much blood (in mercifully muted color) that it's difficult to tell who is killing who. Another weakness is the the director let the editor (Chris Dickens) run wild with rapid-fire editing that detracts from the wonderful composition of shots, and distracts from the flow of the scenes.

The cinematography is beautiful. It appeared that there was supposed to be a lot of symbolism in the use of color, but I couldn't see a clear pattern. I assume that the cinematographer (Adam Arkapaw) was realizing the director's color choices. Sometimes the camera is hand-held for no obvious reason, which is distracting and annoying.

The screenwriters (Jacob Koskoff, Michael Lesslie, Todd Louiso) added the opening funeral and modified the Birnam Wood, but their main job was shortening the play from over two hours of dialog to 113 minutes, which includes a number of scenes that are visual and have little or no dialog. It seems like a good abridgement.

The acting is solid. Fassbender is very good, though sometimes the jittery editing undermines his performance. Most of the time, Cotillard has nothing to do except look beautiful and severe, which she does well. In her few moments out of the background, she's excellent. The other performances are also solid, but again sometimes undermined by the editing.

The score (by Jed Kurzel, the director's brother) is a mixed bag. In battle and other scenes of violence, it's excellent. But in scenes with dialog, it sometimes obscures the language.

The locations, sets, props, etc. are excellent. It's refreshing to see Early Middle Ages soldiers equipped with Early Middle Ages armor, rather than modern fantasies like stainless steel plate armor. A lot of other details looked good too.

5 Fair In spite of the admirable points – scenery, acting, battle scenes, etc., the choppy editing dragged down my opinion of the film. Overall, I rate it fair.

Language: English.

Rating: This film has a US rating of "R", for bloody violence.

Screening: 2 pm, SIFF Cinema at the Uptown (large screening room).
Audience: I'd guess about one-third full, of 515 seats (posted capacity).

Snacks: a glass of wine.

Ads:

  • TV5 Monde — This French-language television channel is a long-time SIFF sponsor.
  • SIFF education — This clip promotes SIFF's education programs.
  • "SIFF members get it" — I know most of the people in the background of this clip (and Carl, of course), though not the three actors.
  • Silence — An on-screen reminder to turn off mobile devices.
  • The Princess Bride — The quote-along returns.
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — The sing-along returns.
  • Fiddler on the Roof — Tradition! The sing-along returns.
  • Spotlight — This film about the Boston abuse-by-priests scandal is on our list.
  • Out 1 — This 1973 French New Wave film looks pretty trippy.
  • The Danish Girl — We'll see this film about a transgender person soon.
  • Carol — This film about a semi-closeted 1950s bisexual woman is a winner.
  • SIFF film projector clip — "Discover extraordinary films every day of the year."
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I'm including the introductory letter, because it has some interesting announcements other than just the films.


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