Ben Affleck's direction delivers a brilliantly simple telling of a complicated story. Detailed without ever feeling dense, the film should satisfy nearly all classes of nerds (history! Politics! Science fiction! Movies!), as well as normals who just want to watch something entertaining. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
National Geographic photographer James Balog's Extreme Ice Survey took photos of glaciers as they melted over hours, days, months, and years—and captured remarkable, time-lapse images of climate change in action. Chasing Ice spends too much time on Balog and the challenges he faces in getting his footage, but the footage itself is gorgeous, majestic, and horrific. Subject Svavar Jonatansson in attendance for 7:10 and 9:20 shows on Saturday November 17. ERIK HENRIKSEN Hollywood Theatre.
David Mitchell's 2004 novel Cloud Atlas has long been considered unfilmable, and make no mistake: It still is. The new movie by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer is very much an adaptation, borrowing the basic outline of Mitchell's book to create something entirely its own. But for all the energy and flair this adaptation possesses, it's so focused on pulling off the logistics of adapting Mitchell's novel that there isn't room for much depth. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
The grandson of a recently passed Israeli German expat makes a startling discovery while combing through the titular Tel Aviv "flat" where the 98-year-old had managed to cram 70 years' worth of life: Both before and after World War II, the woman and her husband clung to, and even nurtured, a close friendship with a high-ranking Nazi apparatchik (as in, the guy who gave Holocaust enabler Albert Eichmann his start). What follows is a thoughtful examination of the nature of buried truth—the kind that lies forgotten in old letters and news clippings but also, more importantly, in the long-sealed shelves and bureau drawers inside our own minds. DENIS C. THERIAULT Living Room Theaters.
A clumsy, preachy, feature-length infomercial for AA. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
"Creative malcontents struggle to find love, money, and marijuana on the surreal streets of post-flood New Orleans." Clinton Street Theater.
A Late Quartet
See review this issue. Fox Tower.
A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman
See review this issue. Living Room Theaters.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The Loneliest Planet
See review this issue. Cinema 21.
The Northwest Filmmakers' Festival
Now in its 39th year, the Northwest Filmmakers' Festival showcases the best and most relevant output from the region. For more info, see "One of Us," Mercury, November 7. MARJORIE SKINNER Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Other Son
In 1991, during the first Gulf War, two mothers give birth on the same night, in the same hospital; one mother is Palestinian, the other Israeli. Their babies are switched at birth, a mistake that is only discovered when one of the boys registers for his compulsory service in the Israeli military. Not surprisingly, for both the boys and their families, this shocking revelation leads them to reexamine their beliefs about love, faith, and family. The boys serve as a heavy-handed but ultimately compelling excuse to ask that grand question of any Israel/Palestine conversation: Who belongs where? ELINOR JONES Living Room Theaters.
A documentary that will make you feel bad about how you eat. Clinton Street Theater.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
"I really don't care for the way your company left me in the middle of fucking nowhere with fucking keys to a fucking car that isn't fucking there. And I really didn't care to fucking walk down a fucking highway and across a fucking runway to get back here to have you smile in my fucking face." Academy Theater.
The Pursuit of DB Cooper
A film about mysterious hijacker/extortionist DB Cooper, starring Robert Duvall and Treat "Everwood" Williams. In attendance will be Marla Cooper, "DB Cooper's Niece," who will talk about mysterious DB Cooper stuff. Hollywood Theatre.
A monthly series at the Hollywood Theatre, "showing vintage and contemporary films that are obscure, neglected, and from the fringe." This month: Foxfur, "plus a surprise or two." Introduced by filmmaker Bob Moricz. Hollywood Theatre.
A Royal Affair
You can usually count on a costume drama to be pretty. And as luck and rugged good looks would have it, Mads Mikkelsen (Valhalla Rising, Casino Royale) graces his face all over the Danish period piece A Royal Affair—making it extra pretty. Following a love triangle in the late 1700s between King Christian VII of Denmark, his English queen, and the king’s trusted confidante, a German physician (Mikkelsen), it’s a sad, lush tale, with great acting, a very pleasing Mikkelsen, and just enough bodice ripping to wash down the social injustices of Denmark’s beheading-rich past. COURTNEY FERGUSON Fox Tower.
Siren Nation Film Festival
See Film, this issue. Clinton Street Theater.
We're all in love with James Bond again. Maybe it's because we nearly lost him when MGM virtually went bankrupt in 2010. Or perhaps it's due to the general global unease of the day, when there's something pretty appealing about a hero without superpowers. Maybe, and most likely, it's because Daniel Craig has now fully assumed the mantle, with his grim, tightlipped, almost thuggish 007 a worthy reinvention of Ian Fleming's character. For whatever reason, Skyfall is the most anticipated Bond movie in decades, and for the most part it doesn't disappoint. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
Smashed introduces a schoolteacher who's bottoming out hard: Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a heavy drinker in her mid-20s, for whom "fun drunk" is fast dissolving into sad, destructive, smoking-crack-under-a-bridge drunk. Winstead's smart performance utterly grounds the film, but where Smashed really succeeds is in offering a nuanced, human portrait of an alcoholic: Kate is a good person who does bad things when she's drunk. It's refreshing to see a movie that permits this kind of complexity, and it's impossible not to root for Kate as she finds the courage to take responsibility for her disease. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower.
Trapped in the Closet Sing-Along
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
VHS Variety Special
Seattle's beloved Scarecrow Video presents VHS oddities. Hollywood Theatre.
The Hollywood's series of "some of the most obscure masterpieces of the video store era." This month: Richard Pryor's Dynamite Chicken. Hollywood Theatre.