Seattle International Film Festival runs through
June 17 at venues in Seattle and Bellevue. SIFF Cinema
(321 Mercer St.), the Egyptian (801 E. Pine St.), Harvard Exit (807 E. Roy St.), Neptune (1303 N.E. 45th St.), Pacific Place (600 Pine St.) and Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave.); and Thursday through June 17 at Lincoln Square Cinemas (700 Bellevue Way N.E., Bellevue).
Main box office: Pacific Place, second level. Eastside ticket office: Lincoln Square Cinemas. Ticket prices are $5-$10; various passes also available; 206-324-9996 or www.seattlefilm.org.
For a complete schedule, visit www.seattlefilm.com or pick up The Seattle Times' film-festival guide at any Western Washington Tully's Coffee location or SIFF screening venue. Please call ahead (206-324-9996) to verify schedule; all screenings are subject to change.
The Seattle Times provides daily coverage of the festival in Northwest Life (Mondays-Thursdays and Saturdays), Ticket (Fridays) and Entertainment & the Arts (Sundays), or online at www.seattletimes.com/movies.
11 a.m. — "Team Everest: A Himalayan Journey" Director Andy Cockrum is scheduled to attend the screening.
2 p.m. — "Gunga Din"
4:30 p.m. — "Monster Camp": Portland-based director Cullen Hoback's enjoyable documentary follows a group of Northwesterners immersed in the game Nero. It's sort of like Dungeons & Dragons in costumes but out in the woods over a weekend. "Monster Camp" introduces us to several of its cheerful practitioners, letting what first seems odd slowly make sense to the uninitiated. "I think as an adult, one of the best gifts you can give yourself is the permission to go and pretend," says one player. Judging by the numerous smiles in this film (and, surely, in its audience), it's hard to argue. 82 minutes. Director Hoback is scheduled to attend the screening. (Moira Macdonald)
7 p.m. — "Knocked Up": Let me be the first to say that the B-52s' "Rock Lobster" is an absolutely inspired soundtrack choice for a drunken sex scene. Unfortunately, much of the rest of Judd Apatow's comedy is fairly uninspired. It's the story of a not-very-well-acquainted couple (Katherine Heigl, Seth Rogen) facing an unexpected pregnancy, and like Apatow's "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," it has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments (many from Leslie Mann as Heigl's tightly wound sister, a sort of screwball shrew). But also like "Virgin," it's far too long and padded; snip out half an hour and there might be a tight little comedy here. As is, it runs out of steam long before the delivery room. 129 minutes. (M.M.)
9:45 p.m. — "Monkey Warfare": Reginald Harkema's would-be comedy about a pair of Toronto ex-radicals (Don McKellar Tracy Wright) and their cute young drug dealer (Nadia Litz) never gets moving; its characters, for the most part, make pronouncements rather than speak to each other. Harkema interrupts the action with odd musical montages, never letting us get close to the trio; by the time we finally learn what's behind their deadpan nihilism, it's too late to care. The ending is abrupt and pointless. 75 minutes. Director Harkema is scheduled to attend the screening. (M.M.)
11 a.m. — "Murch" Directors David and Edie Ichioka are scheduled to attend the screening.
1:30 p.m. — "Red Road": In Andrea Arnold's moody, hypnotic thriller (a prizewinner at Cannes last year), a young Glasgow widow (Kate Dickie) works as a security guard, spending her days in a cavelike bank of closed-circuit TV screens. One day, she spots a man who represents something dark in her past; slowly, inexorably, the movie focuses in on the two of them as she enacts a shocking plan of revenge. Dickie, her face drawn and resolute, gives an honest, often moving performance, and the movie emerges as a haunting reminder of the depths to which grief can drive us. 100 minutes. (M.M.)
4 p.m. — "Youth Run Amok"
6:30 p.m. — "Paris, je t'aime" Actor Elias McConnell is scheduled to attend the screening.
9:30 p.m. — "The Price of Sugar"
11 a.m. — "Waiter"
1:15 p.m. — "Fair Play"
3:30 p.m. — "The Singer"
6 p.m. — "A Battle of Wits" : A refreshingly different Hong Kong historical epic, writer-director Jacob Cheung's 131-minute film takes place in 370 B.C., when the Mozi cult in China was proposing alternatives to warfare. Andy Lau from "Infernal Affairs" is charismatic as the loner hero, who insists on using imagination rather than muscle to stop an army of 100,000 seemingly determined soldiers. From the moment he sends his magic arrow into the sky, instantly shrinking the enemy's confidence, the movie casts a spell, though Cheung doesn't entirely succeed in finding a balance between cast-of-thousands spectacle and the more intimate story he needs to tell. 131 minutes. (John Hartl)
9 p.m. — "Rescue Dawn": The closest thing to a Hollywood film that Werner Herzog will ever make is this fact-based Vietnam War tale of a harrowing escape from a POW camp by Dieter Dengler, an American (though German-born) soldier. Herzog has told this story before, in Dengler's own words in the documentary "Little Dieter Needs to Fly"; here, he casts a lean, fast-talking Christian Bale as the cocky pilot. It's a vivid, competent and at times compelling drama, with good work by Bale and a hauntingly fragile Steve Zahn. The music's so lush, it's almost war as opera. 120 minutes. (M.M.)
Midnight — "Aachi & Ssipak": In Mike Judge's futuristic satire, "Idiocracy," the world is reduced to creatures who speak mostly in monosyllabic, scatological grunts. This energetically stupid South Korean cartoon, which sets new records for the uses of human excrement in a feature-length film, could have been spawned by the same universe. The characters, including an infantile group known as the Diaper Gang, are defined largely by how well and how often they defecate (or don't). "You're the worst actor in this movie," declares one character. But as these video-game monsters machine-gun each other into oblivion, who's judging the nuances of performances? 90 minutes. (J.H.)
Northwest Film Forum
11 a.m. — "Screenwriters Salon"
2 p.m. — "Behind the Headlines"
4:30 p.m. — "4 Elements"
6:30 p.m. — "A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory" : Yet another aimless "Factory Girl"-style movie about a casualty of Andy Warhol's Factory. Danny Williams, an acclaimed film editor who worked with the Maysles brothers on documentaries, was apparently Warhol's lover before he either committed suicide or accidentally drowned. Directed by Esther B. Robinson (Williams' niece), the documentary uses many interviews with friends and relatives to suggest that the Factory was no 1960s commune but a cultish vipers' nest of ambitious lackeys. What's next? Full-length bios of Viva and Paul America? 75 minutes. Director Robinson is scheduled to attend the screening. Only a few tickets left. (J.H.)
9 p.m. — "Life in Loops (A Magacities RMX)" Only a few tickets left.
11 a.m. — "Surf's Up"
1 p.m. — "The Yacoubian Building"
4:15 p.m. — "After This Our Exile"
7:15 p.m. — "Fish Dreams"
9:45 p.m. — "12:08 East of Bucharest"
11 a.m. — "Three Minute Masterpieces": Eleven super-short, winning films, selected from a field of more than 100 entries in a contest sopnsored by The Seattle Times, Seattle Film Institute and SIFF.
1 p.m. — "A Life Among Whales": Bill Haney's brief but remarkably informative documentary is both an educational overview of the plight of a species and a deft portrait of a man blissfully content with his work. Biologist/activist Roger Payne, a calm and friendly presence, speaks of whale "singing" and its closeness to human song, of the practice of whaling ("a festival of machismo brutality"), and of what whales can teach us. The film includes some lovely ocean photography, including a stunning shot of a whale's tail aloft in the sea at sunset, reaching like some curious, immense sculpture. Shows with the short film "Sharks: Stewards of the Reef." 57 minutes. (M.M.)
4 p.m. — "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox"
6:30 p.m. — "Gypsy Caravan": Jasmine Dellal's enjoyable if repetitive documentary follows four Gypsy musical groups as they appear for the first time together on a sold-out, six-week American tour. It's a melting-pot road movie, celebrating the styles of musicians from Macedonia, India, Spain and Romania. It also acknowledges the lethal prejudices that wiped out many of their relatives during the Holocaust — and continue to haunt them even when they visit 21st century California, where strangers find them "scary." Persecution has made them defensive, proud and disciplined, and tied to each other in sometimes surprising ways. 111 minutes. (J.H.)
9:30 p.m. — "Vanaja" Director Rajnesh Domalpalli is scheduled to attend the screening.
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