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Cinema happenings for the week of March 23

Ther are two Winona Ryder movies, two quote alongs, two teenagers-reluctantly-killing-each-other movies, and much more in this week's cinema roundup:


SIFF Cinema

Opening Friday, March 23

FRIENDS WITH KIDS--Kissing Jessica Stein's Jennifer Westfeldt wrote, directed, and stars in this charming romantic comedy featuring a stellar ensemble cast: Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, and Chris O'Dowd (the love interest from Bridesmaids).

KHODORKOVSKY--"This exhilarating documentary chronicles Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia’s richest man, in his transformation from a self-proclaimed socialist to a fully realized capitalist, and recounts the stunning turn of events that made him one of world's most famous political prisoners."


Friday, March 23

INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE--"With the twenty-first century comes a new breed of struggling independent artist: the indie game designer. Refusing to toil for major developers, these innovators independently conceive, design, and program their distinctly personal games, sacrificing money, health, and sanity to make games that are a deep form of personal expression. Indie Game captures the emotional journey of these meticulously obsessive artists who devote their lives to their interactive art."

HEATHERS--Of all of Heathers' exceptionally quotable lines, my favorite has always been one J.D. (Christian Slater) says to Veronica (Winona Ryder) while they're at the gas station: "Well everybody's life is full of static." You should definitely come out to see the cult classic on the big screen (or introduce it to a teen you know), but you should refrain from quoting along with the film. Save your cries of "Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?!" for a proper Quote-a-Long. It's part of SIFF' Class Reunion: High School Through The Ages series.


Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25

THE NEVERENDING STORY--I've seen this movie at least 25 times since I was a kid, and never in any of those viewings have I understood what name Bastian yells out the window. I'm too proud to just get the DVD and put on the subtitles. Maybe seeing it again on the big screen will finally reveal this mystery. The film is playing as part of SIFF's Films4Families series. Note: The Uptown does have Luck Dragon parking on its roof.


Tuesday, March 27

REAL GENIUS--A true nerd classic of the 80s, starring Val Kilmer and directed by Martha Coolige.There will be a Jiffy Pop popcorn race before the show.  It's part of the Back to the 80s! series AND the Not Chick Flicks series co-presented by the good folks at Reel Grrls.

THE FP--"In a dystopian future, a relentless turf war rages. Two rival gangs feud for control of rural wasteland Frazier Park ('The FP') in the deadly arena of competitive dance-fight video game "Beat-Beat Revelation." After hometown hero BTRO is slain on the dance platform by thug leader L Dubba E, his protégé younger brother JTRO (Jason Trost) goes into isolation, vowing never to duel again. One year later, The FP is in ruins, and JTRO must find the courage to return and restore order in a ruthless battle for revenge that can only leave one man dancing."


Wednesday, March 28

THE BIG LEBOWSKI QUOTE-A-LONG--Jeff "The Dude" Dowd will be in attendance for the special karaoke-style subtitled screening of the Coen Brothers classic. I'm going to go and say all the TV edit versions of the lines, such as, "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MEET A STRANGER IN THE ALPS!"  The evening, presented by the Action Pack, will also have trivia, props, and a "rug peeing contest." Bathrobes and other costumes are encouraged.


Thursday, March 29

RAJ KAPOOR & THE GOLDEN AGE OF INDIAN CINEMA--SIFF begins their twelve-film showcase of the films of actor/director Raj Kapoor, whose persona was a "wildly popular mixture of Clark Gable's swagger, Gene Kelly's showmanship, and Charlie Chaplin's sense of pathos,"  with a new 35mm print of his classic 1951 film Awaara/The Vagabond, "a modern-day version of the tale of Rama’s banishment of Sita that also marks the first appearance of the tramp persona that would make Raj Kapoor famous."


Continuing runs

LET THE BULLETS FLY--It's a comedy, a western, and a gangster movie. It stars Chow Yun-Fat and is China's highest-grossing movie ever.

PINA--Wim Wenders' Oscar-nominated documentary is a dazzling tribute to choreographer Pina Bausch. SIFF is showing it in lovely 3D.

CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE--"Director Dori Berinstein and co-writer Adam Zucker capture the magic and vivacity of the 90-year-old icon, onstage and off, past and present. Both an intimate love story and a rarefied journey inside Broadway's most glamorous era, the film is, above all, a look at an inspiring, incomparable and always entertaining American legend."


Northwest Film Forum

Friday, March 23--Thursday, March 29

GERHARD RICHTER PAINTINGS--"Gerhard Richter, one of the most significant contemporary artists of our times, granted filmmaker Corinna Belz access to his studio in the spring and summer of 2009 as he worked on a series of large abstract paintings...Gerhard Richter Painting is the penetrating portrait of an artist at work—and a fascinating film about the art of seeing." Marek Wieczorek, Associate Professor of Modern Art History at UW, will introduce the 7pm show on Wednesday, and Henry Art Museum curator Sara Krajewski will introduce the 7pm show on Friday.


Friday, March 23

BATTLE ROYALE--"An instant classic when it debuted in 2000, and the final complete directorial effort of the legendary Kinji Fukasaku, Battle Royale is a jarring, jaw-dropping look at a future Japan where a group of 42 largely delinquent ninth-graders are chosen through a governmental lottery to kill each other off.  The reason?  To reduce crime and a general lack of respect by the youth in the country. "  I know it sounds a little Hunger Games, but rememer this was done far before the book, and it's really not that simillar.  I only saw it once twelve years ago but there are parts of the film that have stayed with me ever since. I imagine the same will happen to you. If you like what you see, we have it on sale here  for $15.95 (DVD or Blu).


Friday, March 23--Sunday, March 25

GAINSBOURG, THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN--"When he wasn’t chain smoking or chasing tail, Serge Gainsbourg made music. Also an actor and director, the Casanova was known for both his talent and his appetite for scandal. The French icon tells his own story in this new docudrama."


Central Cinema

Friday, March 23--Tuesday, March 27

AIRPLANE!--Rental section spoiler alert: Scarecrow staffers are currently compiling lists of their favorite films of the 80s for a new special section. I'm seriously considering putting this at the top of mine. Surely, I can't be serious?


Friday, March 23--Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday, March 28 (with captions)

THE MATRIX--Did the sequels ruin this for you? That's too bad, because the original holds up well. Maybe it's time to give Keanu & crew another chance. Also, those sequels aren't that bad.


Wednesday, March 28

LEGEND--I totally forgot this Mia Sara/Tom Cruise unicorn love story was directed by Ridley Scott. I wish there had been some unicorns in Gladiator.


Thursday, March 29

CARTOON HAPPY HOUR--A family-friendly happy hour with classic cartoons from 5:30-7pm.

REALITY BITES QUOTE ALONG--Finally, a place where I don't have to be ashamed of having memorized this Gen X gem. I'll start: "Newsstand! He used to work at a newsstand!"


Grand Illusion Cinema

Friday, March 23--Wednesday, March 28

FAKE IT SO REAL--"Fake It So Real follows a ragtag group of wrestlers in North Carolina over the course of a week leading up to a big show. The film explores what happens when the over-the-top theatrics of the wrestling ring collide with the realities of the working-class South."


Friday, March 23--Thursday, March 29

INVINCIBLE FORCE--"Captured during 90 consecutive days (from August 29th through November 26th, 2010) with a budget of $0.00, Invincible Force meticulously documents its subject’s incredible transformation from slovenly man-child to infallible titan. Produced on obsolete video formats such as VHS, Betamax, 8mm Analog."  I'd like to take umbrage with this description for calling VHS an obsolete format.


Saturday, March 24

SCI-FI SATURDAY SECRET MATINEE--It's the LAST WEEK of The Sprocket Society's continuing series of science fiction matinees. You'll see an episode of the 1939 BUCK ROGERS serial along with a surpise movie--favorites, rarities, and cult classics from 1919-1974. March's theme is BEASTS FROM BEYOND!


Late Nights: Friday, March 23 & Saturday, March 24

TIM & ERIC'S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE--Friends-of-the-store Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim of Tim and Eric's Awesome Show! Great Job! fame have made an excellent major motion picture. Here's a review from The Atlantic to help you figure out if it's the right movie for you.


And last but not least, THE HUNGER GAMES opens at Cinerama and other theaters around town. Is it true Lenny Kravitz plays Cinna?

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