What’s happening on Seattle’s movie scene this week.
Here are snapshots of what our reviewers thought of the movies opening this week in the Seattle area. (Star ratings are granted on a scale of zero to four.)
★★★½ “Whitney” (R; 120 minutes): Kevin Macdonald’s smart, heartbreaking documentary lets us experience the music alongside the life of the singer who was gone too soon. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times arts critic
★★½ “The First Purge” (R; 97 minutes): This prequel — the fourth, most violent “Purge” — imagines what went down, and why, with the initial 12-hour crime-and-murder spree allowing the U.S. citizenry to blow off steam with zero consequences. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
★★ “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (PG-13; 125 minutes): Starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, the plot-heavy sequel to the 2015 Marvel superhero hit feels overstuffed with ever so many story elements. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Soren Andersen, Special to The Seattle Times
“Bleeding Steel” (R; 109 minutes): This consistently ridiculous sci-fi movie — which involves an undercover cop protecting his daughter, the recipient of an artificial heart developed by a doctor researching the engineering of semi-cyber supersoldiers or some such — does give Jackie Chan several opportunities to strut his death-defying stuff. Full review. Varsity. The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews. — Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
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“The King” (R; 107 minutes): Wildly ambitious, thoroughly entertaining and embellished with some snaky moves, Eugene Jarecki’s documentary is a lot like its nominal subject, Elvis Presley. In part, it tells the familiar story of the poor little boy who became a king. But Jarecki has a second, larger and more complicated story he wants to address, too: that of the United States. Full review. SIFF Cinema Uptown. — Manohla Dargis
★★ “Boundaries” (R; 104 minutes): Shana Feste’s estranged-family road movie is essentially the tale of one woman and the terrible, frustrating men in her life. That’s an interesting story right there — how Laura (Vera Farmiga) navigates the boundaries she has set in place with her con-man father (Christopher Plummer) and philandering ex (Bobby Cannavale), while also trying to parent her teenage son (Lewis MacDougall). But “Boundaries” gets distracted from this with all the bells and whistles of a road trip. The film fails to draw a boundary with itself — going on too long, adding too many over-the-top characters and shying away from the real issue at hand: How can Laura draw a boundary and be respected by the men in her life? The film never answers that questions. Multiple theaters. — Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“Eating Animals” (not rated; 94 minutes): Christopher Quinn’s documentary makes a persuasive, far-ranging case against factory farming, which it skewers from philosophical, epidemiological and even economic perspectives. Narrated by Natalie Portman and based on a book by Jonathan Safran Foer, the movie doesn’t advocate vegetarianism. But it seems impossible to come away from it without wanting to know more about where your meat comes from. Meridian. — Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
“Gabriel and the Mountain” (not rated, for mature audiences; 131 minutes): In July 2009, the body of a young Brazilian named Gabriel Buchmann was found near a mountain trail in Malawi. He had been taking a year to travel the world before starting a graduate program at UCLA. The last months of Buchmann’s life are the subject of this film by his friend Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa that is a perceptive and poetic hybrid of documentary and fiction. It’s a work of art that is full of life. In English, Portuguese, Swahili, Chichewa and French, with English subtitles. Grand Illusion, through Thursday. — A.O. Scott, The New York Times