The Alien Lovers (This Week’s Movies)

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Bad Black, a film in this year’s SIFF (courtesy Wakaliwood)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly.

Alien: Covenant. “Covenant is the first one that truly feels like an attempt to dumb it down to formula.”

The Lovers. “It’s grown-up and surprising, and there’s pleasure to be had in watching two accomplished performers play against each other.”

And a preview of the Seattle International Film Festival.

Movie Diary 5/17/2017

Bad Black (Nabwana I.G.G, 2016). An inordinate amount of movie-watching exhilaration is contained in this Ugandan film’s 68 minutes. It is nonsensical, crude, and tongue-in-cheek. I was grateful. (screens at SIFF)

The Net (Kim Ki-duk, 2016). This director has made like a dozen movies since 3-Iron in 2004, which means there are too few hours in the day to keep up with everything. This one, about a North Korean fisherman who accidentally steers into South Korean territory, is a barbed look at how both countries mishandle the stalemate. (screens at SIFF)

The Fixer (Adrian Sitaru, 2016). A strong, thoughtful piece from Romania about a news crew’s efforts to interview a girl who has been recently rescued from having been kidnapped into prostitution. Some points are made perhaps too easily, but they’re good points. (screens at SIFF)

Movie Diary 5/16/2017

After the Storm (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2016). Another gentle study from the director of one of my faves of last year, Our Little Sister. This one is not at that level, and it features a rather maddening protagonist (played by the lanky Hiroshi Abe), but it has some sweet and bittersweet moments. (screens at SIFF, with Kore-eda in town this weekend)

Endless Poetry (Alejandro Jodorowsky, 2016). One of the surprises of recent years was the cult-maker of El Topo returning as an octogenarian film memoirist and delivering The Dance of Reality (2013), a somewhat normal (if still wild and crazy) movie. This one picks up where that one left off, literally, and is another spirited, humorous look at Jodorowsky’s art-life as a young man. It’s insufferable at times, and the sensibility is pure Sixties, but it’s somehow hard to resist, too. (screens at SIFF)

Yourself and Yours (Hong Sang-soo, 2016). Another of Hong’s relationship-movie-as-guessing-games, very small in size but with the sense of being about something. A man scolds his girlfriend for her drinking, at which point she either begins masquerading as someone else or is mirrored by a heretofore unmentioned twin sister. (screens at SIFF)

King Snatched (This Week’s Movies)

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Charlie Hunnam: King Arthur (Daniel Smith/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. “For all the alleged comradeship meant to convey fun—at times Ritchie seems to be nodding at Robin Hood more than King Arthur—the film is joyless.”

Snatched. “The anything-goes approach that gets a big laugh from a guy getting fatally spiked by a spear gun doesn’t sit all that well next to the attempts at mother-daughter reconciliation.”

Tonight, join Framing Pictures for another free conversation about movies. From our Facebook page: “Framing Pictures rolls into May with every intention of talking about what we didn’t talk about in April: namely, “Five Came Back,” the three-part doc about the deep involvement of five top-tier Hollywood directors in covering WWII. We’ll also wander the deserts of James Gray and Werner Herzog, salute the last film by the late Andrzej Wajda, and share memories and appreciations of dear Jonathan Demme, also regrettably departed. Join the conversation in the Scarecrow Video Screening Room, 5030 Roosevelt Way N.E., 7 p.m. Friday, May 12. You do know it’s free?”

Movie Diary 5/10/2017

Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott, 2017). Sticking a little closer to the Ten Little Indians outline than Prometheus did, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. As far as directorial sympathies go, Scott seems a lot more interested in the synthetic Michael Fassbender character than the human types, and you will probably agree with him. (full review 5/19)

Diary 5/9/2017

Snatched (Jonathan Levine, 2017). Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn as daughter and mother on vacation in Ecuador, rudely kidnapped by bad hombres. A few cheerfully violent moments add some black comedy to this package. (full review 5/12)

A Dragon Arrives! (Mani Haghighi, 2016). An aggressively deranged Iranian film that begins with a shipwreck in the desert and gets increasingly surreal from there. I sense I didn’t catch everything, but it sure was interesting to see a film from Iran that does something this different. (screens in SIFF 2017)

Supernatural (Victor Halperin, 1933). An extremely bizarre melodrama about how the spirit of an executed female serial killer inhabits the body of Carole Lombard, at the same time a spiritualist (Allan Dinehart, who has a fantastically buttery chuckle) tries to fleece Lombard. Halperin made White Zombie the year before, which is understandably better known.

Movie Diary 5/8/2017

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Guy Ritchie, 2017). Ritchie eschews story almost entirely in this retelling of something like the Arthurian legends. But maybe not that much like them. Heavy on the bro-feeling. Second movie this month with Charlie Hunnam in the lead role (Lost City of Z is the other one) – a nice actor, but again making you wonder, Where is the movie star who might pull all this together? (full review 5/12)