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What I want to see at SIFF, so far

Things have been busy here at Crow Central and I haven't had much time to really sit with the Seattle Times' SIFF Guide and plot my viewing for the three week festival, but here's what's piqued my interest so far. Links (hopefully) go right to the SIFF site you can get plot synopsis, times and ticket info. Battle In Seattle is the big Opening Night Gala Screening on Thursday May 22nd with Charlize Theron in attendance to introduce the film. I know we're all probably supposed to take the film and this chapter in our city's history seriously, but the trailer made me bust out giggling. "Some came for a conference...others came for a cause...a few came for a confrontation," especially during the shots of anarchists (who, if you remember the media constantly reminding us, were all apparently from Eugene, Oregon) breaking windows and spray painting buildings. Yes, I know property damage isn't funny. But Andre Benjamin in a turtle costume is. This will be great to watch with a big enthusiastic crowd, and the party afterward should be awesome. My Effortless Brilliance--I've been curious about this one from Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton (writer/director of We Go Way Back and a short called Moral Centralia on the new Seattle Women In Film DVD from Typecast Films and the 911 Media Arts Center) since I read Sean Nelson's article in The Stranger about his experience screening the film at SxSW. The description says it all: "Two ex-buddies and and enigmatic third wheel navigate their way through an awkward weekend chopping wood, matching wits and ultimately embarking on a late-night, booze soaked cougar hunt". Sold! Choke-- Written and directed by Clark Cregg (the man from SHEILD in Iron Man to some, FBI agent Michael Casper/Quo Vadimus owner Calvin Trager to Aaron Sorkin enthusiasts), starring Sam Rockwell as a sex addict (with a compulsive-masturbator best friend) who lives off the money he makes pretending to choke on food at fancy restaurants. It's an adaptation of the novel by Chuck "Fight Club" Palahniuk. Accelerating America--The world premiere of a documentary that sounds uplifting in a Stand and Deliver kind of way. Director Timothy Hotchner will be at both screenings. 32A--Ah, to be 14 again and only have to worry about giggling with your friends, having mammoth crushes on cute boys and getting your first bra. Just one of what looks like many coming of age tales at this year's festival. Encounters at the End of The World--Can the world handle another documentary about Antarctica? When it's made by Werner Herzog, the answer is a resounding YES. Great Speeches from A Dying World--Speaking of Mr. Herzog, Linas Phillips, who made Walking to Werner, has ten of Seattle's homeless people recite a famous speech from history that they can relate to, uncovering their stories along the way. Idiots And Angels--A new, strange feature from animator Bill Plympton. Letting Go Of God--The wonderful Julia Sweeney will be in attendance at both screenings of her new documentary about her conversion to atheism. If you've seen God Said Ha!, you know how Sweeney has a knack for drawing the viewer in and weaving together an engaging story. If you haven't, come rent it today. Others of note include Yellow, an homage to Giallo by local filmmaker Semih Tareen, Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go, Mongol (one of the elusive movies nominated for Best Foreign Film), Nocturna ("a magical blend of Monsters Inc. and Hayao Miyazaki"), Catherine Breillat's The Last Mistress, Triangle, Patti Smith:Dream of Life, Song of Sparrows and Sparrow, Takashi Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django (part of the Midnight Adrenaline series), and When Did You Last See Your Father?, which, along with And Then She Found Me and Mamma Mia!, promises to round out the summer of Colin Firth. If you haven't picked up a Times SIFF Guide yet, we've got plenty in the store. And if you're feeling nostalgic about past SIFF films, we've got a whole section of them up for rent right now. Remember when Pump Up The Volume won the Golden Space Needle? Ah, good times... So, what do you want to see at SIFF?

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