Here are a few selections of new releases and revivals that are playing this weekend and throughout the week in Seattle.
In The Rite (directed by Mikael Håfström, starring Anthony Hopkins) an American seminary student travels to Rome to attend exorcism school. If only my college had offered this as a study abroad semester. The film is “inspired by true events”, a horror movie cliché made more hallow with every crappy movie that invokes this phrase in its trailer. I blame The Exorcist for starting this trend, but the Texas Chainsaw Massacre deserves blame as well. The “true events” concept was pushed to the extreme in the dreadful Exorcism of Emily Rose from 2005, which attempted to build a reasoned and logic-based argument for believing in Satanic possession—it failed. The Rite, which opens this weekend, also uses the “true events” hook. Like any of these horror movies some of the audience will believe it unquestioningly and others will remain skeptical, let’s just give this hackneyed marketing device a rest. (Regal Meridian, 1501 7th Ave, 12:30, 1:50, 3:50, 4:50, 6:40, 7:40, 9:20, 10:20 p.m. and Landmark Metro Cinemas, 4500 9th Ave, 1:15, 4:20, 7, 9:50 p.m.)
Also opening this weekend is The Mechanic, starring ladies man Jason Statham, which looks fabulous in a gratuitously violent way. (AMC’s Pacific Place 11, 600 Pine St, 11:15 a.m., 12:20, 1:45, 3, 4:20, 5:45, 7:15, 8:15, 9:50, and 10:45 p.m.)
Sci-fi Fantasy Week begins at Cinerama (2100 4th Ave). Today and Sunday through Thursday they will present Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (12:30 p.m.), 2001: A Space Odyssey (3:30 and 11 p.m.), and Avatar 3D (7 p.m.) and on Saturday they will screen SIFF’s Sci-Fi Fantasy Film Festival (starts at noon). Paul Allen is SO STOKED!! Coincidentally or not, you will also be able to catch Close Encounters Of The Third Kind when it plays this midnight at the Egyptian. Paul Allen is double stoked! (Egyptian Theater, 805 E Pine St, Friday and Saturday, midnight.)
Get swept away with romance and adventure with the John Huston’s African Queen (1951) starring Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Everything you ever need to know about love is in this movie. It’s the original Romancing the Stone. (Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, 6:30 and 8 p.m.) Afterwards, you can watch an exceptional Jaws-like shark adventure movie, Mako: The Jaws of Death. Sharks get revenge! (Friday, 11 p.m.) What’s better than a supremely bad grindhouse flick on Friday is an even worse one on Saturday. Grand Illusion will screen Chih-Hung Keui’s Crippled Avengers from 1981, a film that does nothing to raise the profile of the disabled. Before the film they present Trailer War!! featuring the most bizarre, shocking and offensive trailers from the vaults at Grand Illusion and the Portland Grindhouse Film Festival. Good times! (Saturday, 9 p.m.)
If you think a French comedy sounds like a contradiction in terms, you’re mostly correct. However, Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle from 1958 is a masterpiece of physical comedy, comedic timing and understated delivery. The Northwest Film Forum suggests this clip as proof that sometimes the French can make you laugh…on purpose.
(Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, Friday-Thursday, 7 and 9:15 p.m., additional shows Saturday and Sunday at 4:30 p.m.)
Ryan Hicks is Sponsorship Manager for Three Dollar Bill Cinema, a film fan and contributor to Seattle Gay Scene.