You have to say it with the exclamation point. You should hear it in your head with that exclamation point. Because Roar is a movie that should not be. Noel Marshall, a film producer, agent, husband to Tippi Hedren, and notably not an animal trainer, blew $17 million trying to direct his first (and ultimately only) film, which mostly starred a few hundred untrained lions, tigers, pumas, panthers, jaguars, and cheetahs. Helping him in this quest were a rotating cast and crew (turnover is high when management is insane) and a few people who apparently couldn't escape: Marshall's cinematographer (future Speed director Jan de Bont), and Marshall's family (Hedren, Hedren's daughter Melanie Griffith, and two sons), all of whom he nearly got killed. Initially panned and buried upon release in 1981, Roar was revived by Drafthouse Films a few years ago, and they're bringing "the most dangerous film ever made" back in partnership with our own Hollywood Theatre for a special livestream event that includes a post-screening Q&A with "actor"/family member John Marshall. Proceeds benefit the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, providing assistance to theater employees furloughed during the COVID crisis.
(Wed April 15, 4 pm, Vimeo.com, $9.99) VINCE MANCINI
The Stranger presents: Silent Reading Party
Our big sister paper's monthly Silent Reading Party is so popular in Seattle that every seat is taken and there’s a line out the door before the party even starts. It has been replicated in cities around the world, but The Stranger did it first, and The Stranger does it best. Now, for the first time, you can attend The Stranger’s Silent Reading Party from anywhere in the world. Make yourself a snack, pour yourself a drink, and read whatever you feel like reading silently, to yourself, as resident musician Paul Moore plays exquisitely soft piano music for you and everyone else in the party—everything from Erik Satie to Radiohead to Duke Ellington. A perfect way to make a solo night at home feel a little less lonely, it’s also great for couples or families who want an excuse to turn off the TV and get some reading done.
(Wed, April 15, 6 pm, $5-20) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
What We Do in the Shadows
If you haven't seen the vampire mockumentary this FX show is based on, start there. It's arguably the funniest thing director Taika Waititi has ever made, which is no small feat. Once you're done with that, start this show, which is a continuation of the supernatural universe begun in that movie, centering on a completely different set of fussy, maladjusted vampires and their mistreated familiar. Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement is one of the showrunners, so the quality of the writing never dips; Matt Berry and Natasia Demetriou star so the performances are maybe even better than the movie's; and as a reward for binging all of season one in a day (which is shockingly easy), season two starts tonight on FX.
(Movie: Now streaming, Kanopy via MultCo Library, free; TV Series: Now Available, Hulu, $5.99 per month, free trial here)
The Sims 4
For millions of people, Animal Crossing is the gaming obsession that's helping them get through their sheltering-in-place situation. But a lot of people don't have a Nintendo Switch—and can't get one anytime soon either (production is down, and not everyone's got the spare $300+ just laying around anyway). But if you've got a PC or a laptop, and $5 handy, you can download The Sims 4, the latest version of the original lifestyle simulator. Sure, you're not an adorable Duplo-esque figure shaking trees and getting bit by tarantulas on the orders of a domineering owl; but you're still interior designing virtual residences, dressing up avatars in ridiculous clothes, and taking time off of your regular job to do virtual jobs that are just as time intensive. It's great! And way cheaper, too.
(Now Available, Amazon.com, all ages))
Dolemite is My Name!
Of the many stars of the Blaxploitation genre of the early ’70s, Rudy Ray Moore may not be the most famous, but he was certainly the most original. After recording several comedy albums, he used the money to self-produce his starring vehicle, 1975’s Dolemite—about a rhyming pimp trained in kung fu who takes revenge on the rival who put him in jail. In Dolemite Is My Name, Eddie Murphy plays Moore from his days as a struggling comedian/singer/dancer who worked as a record store manager, to making comedy albums and eventually willing his cinematic visions to life. The film deftly captures the hardship of inner-urban life in the ’70s, where classism and privilege kept Black entertainers who were unwilling to play the game out of the mainstream. Dolemite Is My Name is a bittersweet, filthy-mouthed comedy that also sneakily educates its audience in the Black experience.
(Now Available, Netflix, $8.99 per month, free trial here) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Even if you think you haven’t heard soulful British indie-folk artist Michael Kiwanuka, you probably have—especially if you’ve ever tuned in to the HBO drama series Big Little Lies, for which his song “Cold Little Heart” was used as the intro theme. But the singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has been coming into his own ever since he stepped onto the scene in 2012 with Home Again; his 2016 sophomore album Love & Hate was nominated for numerous awards in Europe and peaked at number one on the UK albums charts. And now us Americans are finally catching on. Kiwanuka, his new 14-track LP, has also been met with critical acclaim. Kiwanuka welcomes you into his musical world with the original “You Ain’t The Problem,” followed by “Rolling,” which sounds like it could be plucked from 1970. JENNI MOORE