Pixar’s “Inside Out,” “Tig” and “The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor” are among the films recommended by Seattle Times reviewers.
On SIFF’s final weekend, highlights include a screening of the once-presumed-lost 1916 silent film “Sherlock Holmes” (starring William Gillette, who played the role 1,300 times on stage) at 4:15 p.m. June 6 at the Egyptian; a tribute to actor Jason Schwartzman, with a screening of his new film, “7 Chinese Brothers,” at 5:30 p.m. June 6 at the Harvard Exit; a special SIFF presentation of the new Pixar film “Inside Out” (see below); a live screenplay reading of “Rebel Without a Cause,” featuring America Ferrera and Raúl Castillo, as a tribute to the late screenwriter Stewart Stern at 1:30 p.m. June 6 at the Harvard Exit — and guests, guests everywhere.
The festival ends June 7 with a gala screening of “The Overnight” at Cinerama, with star Schwartzman and other guests in attendance.
See below for recommendations of the final weekend; for more information, see siff.net.
“Eisenstein in Guanajuato” ★★★
Seattle International Film Festival
Through June 7 at Egyptian, Uptown, Pacific Place, Harvard Exit, SIFF Film Center, Kirkland Performance Center. Individual tickets are $11 weekday matinees ($9 SIFF members), $13 evening/weekend shows ($11 SIFF members); various ticket packages available. Box office: 206-324-9996, siff.net or at festival venues.
Peter Greenaway takes on the legend of Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein’s early-1930s Mexican misadventures, which were suspended when he ran out of funds from his sponsor, Upton Sinclair. The result: an outrageous comic-erotic extravaganza that has more of a narrative arc than most Greenaway movies. It’s also sexually explicit; the actors playing Eisenstein and his handsome, seductive tour guide have no apparent inhibitions before the cameras. (7 p.m. June 6, Harvard Exit; 5 p.m. June 7, Uptown) — John Hartl
“Excuse My French” ★★★
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The jaunty tone of this Egyptian film is established early and confidently by veteran director Amr Salama. When the smart but spoiled 12-year-old hero, Hany, is forced to hide his Coptic Christian status in a chaotic Muslim school, he uses brains and brawn to combat the bullies. It’s almost impossible to watch Hany’s adventures without thinking of recent accounts of the beheadings of Coptic Christians, but the bloodshed here is relatively tame. (6:30 p.m. June 5, Pacific Place; 4 p.m. June 6, Pacific Place; 8 p.m. June 7, Kirkland Performance Center) — J.H.
“Fourth Man Out” ★★★
One of the festival’s funniest crowd-pleasers, this well-cast coming-out comedy focuses on Chris and Adam, best friends since forever, whose relationship is threatened by Adam’s admission, on his 24th birthday, that he’s gay. Aaron Dancik’s script is filled with zingers that target homophobia, sexism and childhood fears of betrayal, and first-time director Andrew Nackman handles it all with grace and style. Only the ending feels a little forced. (2:30 p.m. June 6, Uptown) — J.H.
“the great alone” ★★½
Greg Kohs’ documentary follows the familiar trajectory of most inspirational sports docs — struggle, triumph, serenity — but he’s picked an intriguing sport and character: Lance Mackey, whose father co-founded the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, and whose challenges in attaining and maintaining championhood have been many. At the film’s center, endearingly, is Mackey’s affectionate relationship with his dogs, whom he calls “my boys.” Lots of icy, treacherous trail footage, too, for those looking to shiver from a cinema seat. Kohs, Mackey and producer Jonathan Hock are scheduled to attend both screenings. (7 p.m. June 5, Pacific Place; 3 p.m. June 7, Kirkland Performance Center) — Moira Macdonald
“The Grump” ★★★
From Finland comes this funny fish-out-of-water comedy about a stubborn Luddite who is injured and moves in with his son and daughter-in-law. Dad is a borderline racist who thinks a car alarm signals the presence of a “lady driver,” and he’s appalled that the daughter-in-law is the chief bread winner in the family. Left alone at home, he battles a cellphone, a microwave and other impenetrable devices. The sight gags are sometimes worthy of Jacques Tati. Director Dome Karukoski is scheduled to attend the screening. (4 p.m. June 5, Uptown) — J.H.
“KEY HOUSE MIRROR” ★★★
Like “A Beautiful Mind,” this Danish production suggests the assumptions and fantasies that dominate the thinking of a mentally ill person. In the most devastating sequence, a desperate woman in the early stages of dementia fumbles with keys that don’t fit a lock on her home — because she sold the house a year ago. And forgot. (3 p.m. June 5, Kirkland Performance Center; 6:30 p.m. June 6, Uptown; 4 p.m. June 7, Pacific Place) — J.H.
“The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor” ★★★
Much of what we know about the Cambodian Holocaust, which took an estimated 2 million lives from 1975 to 1979, comes from the 1984 movie “The Killing Fields,” and its Oscar-winning star, Dr. Haing S. Ngor. In 1996, Ngor was killed, possibly assassinated for his outspoken criticism of the regime. Arthur Dong, the director of “Coming Out Under Fire,” tells this strange, sad, unresolved story with remarkable clarity. He will attend both screenings. (6 p.m. June 5, Kirkland Performance Center; 12:30 p.m. June 6, Uptown) — J.H.
“Inside Out” ★★★★
Pixar Animation Studios has been struggling just a bit of late — “Cars 2,” “Brave” and “Monsters University” weren’t quite classics — but this dream of a movie, directed by Pete Docter (“Up”), whooshes it back to the top. It all takes place, enchantingly, inside the head of an 11-year-old girl, complete with raging emotions voiced by A-list pros (among them: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling). You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to bring every girl you know — of any age. If you can’t get into the SIFF screening, it’s in theaters June 19. (10 a.m. June 6, Pacific Place) — M.M.
“The Overnight” ★★½
SIFF ends not with a bang but a whimper — or, rather, with a sex comedy that eventually, um, peters out. The first half-hour, as a new-to-L.A. couple meet their rather strange new neighbors, is tantalizing, with Jason Schwartzman very funny as a blissfully serene know-it-all — he’s wonderfully condescending, as if he’s literally on a higher plane gazing down. But, as clothes are shed and secrets come to light, it all becomes … alas, pretty dull. Schwartzman, actor Judith Godreche and writer/director Patrick Brice will attend. (6 p.m. June 7, Cinerama, followed by closing-night party at MOHAI) — M.M.
Two years ago, comedian Tig Notaro contracted a near-fatal infection, lost her mother after a freak accident, and learned that she had cancer. From those events came an instant-classic stand-up routine, starting, “Hello. I have cancer.” This likable documentary follows Notaro in the wake of that routine as she puts her life back together; you find yourself rooting for this frank, funny woman who knows how lucky she is: “It could have been my last show ever, that bombed awkwardly, and then I died.” Director Kristina Goolsby and Notaro will attend both screenings. (6 p.m. June 6, Uptown; 1:30 p.m. June 7, Pacific Place) — M.M.
“The Wolfpack” ★★★
“This is like 3D, man,” enthuses a teenage boy in Crystal Moselle’s haunting, creepy and often fascinating documentary, walking in a park with his brothers — he, and all of them, have rarely been outdoors. Confined to their shabby Manhattan apartment by an overprotective and very strange father, the boys turn to movies to create their reality. The film, a Sundance Film Festival grand jury prize winner, quietly watches them; it’s like briefly joining a highly intelligent yet vaguely feral brotherhood. (7 p.m. June 5, Uptown; 11 a.m. June 6, Egyptian) — M.M.