August: Osage County
Often, miserable characters make for miserable movies. But August: Osage County, which was adapted from Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play, is in the Tennessee Williams school of storytelling: not because we're dealing with a cast of seriously dysfunctional, heat-addled alcoholics, but because of the sheer, melodramatic pleasure it offers. When Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts go at it, it's like watching two drag queens fight—wigs are strewn. Letts' screenplay is surprisingly funny, and the cast delivers all-in performances, anchored by Streep's ferociously monstrous turn. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
The Best Offer
See review this issue. Living Room Theaters.
Biographies of Objects
Four Swedish films from 1970 that examine "the history of crafts and the making of things," like paper and glass. Screens as part of the NW Film Center and Yale Union's Production/Distribution film series; more at nwfilm.org. Whitsell Auditorium.
A 1988 film in which demons cause a town's children to "turn into rebellious, head-banging hellions." Director in attendance. Hollywood Theatre.
For the latest installment of Broad Spectrum, the Hollywood Theatre's "film series for women audiences," they've been kind enough to show my 2001 film Ghost World. It's a very good movie! I based it off of my critically acclaimed graphic novel, which I also titled Ghost World, and which, of course, I also wrote and drew. Everybody can agree that these two things are very good, and that I made them, and that I am an artist. SHIA LABEOUF Shia LaBeouf's Hollywood Theatre.
Broadway Danny Rose
"I don't wanna badmouth the kid, but he's a horrible, dishonest, immoral louse. And I say that with all due respect." Whitsell Auditorium.
On the downside, it's a crappy-looking, not-screened-for-critics, found-footage horror flick about a lady getting pregnant with Satan. On the upside, that's a pretty snappy title! Various Theaters.
The 1934 melodrama, followed by 1933's Supernatural. Screens as part of the NW Film Center's Treasures from the UCLA Film & Television Archive series; more at nwfilm.org. Whitsell Auditorium.
"An extended essay focused on that smallest thing permeating our everyday lives." (You know how sometimes it's impossible to tell if an arthouse film is for real or if it's an elaborate parody of arthouse cinema?) Screens as part of the NW Film Center and Yale Union's Production/Distribution film series; more at nwfilm.org. Whitsell Auditorium.
Encounters at the End of the World
Gorgeous and melancholy and surreal, Encounters is the result of director Werner Herzog's trip to Antarctica, where the National Science Foundation sent him to interview the brave, strange souls who work at the remote McMurdo research station, and explore the unforgiving, alien landscapes that stretch out around that tiny speck of civilization. Herzog's charmingly gloomy voiceover floats over cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger's stunning visuals of Antarctic volcanoes and the otherworldly ocean ecosystems that thrive underneath thick shelves of ice, and the filmmaker's usual mopey reflections set a tone that's at once uplifting and somber (he calls the Antarctic "a seemingly endless void" at the film's outset, and things only get more cheery from there). It's nothing short of astonishing. ERIK HENRIKSEN Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
"There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning." This screening features beers curated to go with "the characters and scenes" of the film—but no curated drugs, which seems like a missed opportunity. Hollywood Theatre.
Fire in the Blood
Dylan Mohan Gray's Sundance-approved documentary about how "Western pharmaceutical companies and governments aggressively blocked access to low-cost AIDS drugs for the countries of Africa and the global south in the years after 1996." Whitsell Auditorium.
Gotham a Go Go
Three episodes of the classic Batman TV series—followed by an afterparty at Club 21 with "novelty bat-records" and "bat-tastic videos." Hollywood Theatre.
Spike Jonze's latest, in which a man (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with his phone's artificially intelligent operating system (Scarlett Johansson), might be his best yet. Hacky film critics are going to write about how Her is a film about our relationship with technology, but it isn't. Her is a film about our relationships. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The Last Waltz
See Film, this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
It hasn't been that long. Moreover, Operation Redwings—the 2005 operation against an insurgent leader in Afghanistan that killed 19 Navy SEALs and Special Ops forces and inspired Peter Berg's Lone Survivor—is part of a conflict that hasn't fully resolved. Society hasn't processed this war, so to add misleading fictions into the mix feels, at best, premature. MARJORIE SKINNER Various Theaters.
Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
The Nut Job
Another cartoon for your dumb kids. Various Theaters.
"To me, marriage is a sacred institution. So tell me, you and the wife do it doggystyle or what?" Laurelhurst Theater.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The latest comedy from Seattle director Brady Hall (the immaculately titled Hello, My Name Is Dick Licker). Director in attendance. Whitsell Auditorium.
Speciesism: The Movie
This doesn't sound annoying at all. Academy Theater.
Sundance Short Films
Eight short films from last year's Sundance Film Festival. Hollywood Theatre.
That Cold Day in the Park
Robert Altman's 1969 film. Screens as part of the NW Film Center's Treasures from the UCLA Film & Television Archive series; more at nwfilm.org. Whitsell Auditorium.