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A VERY SPECIAL EDITION of movie happenings

Gah! This week is jam packed with movie and movie-like stuff!  We'll get to some of what's playing on some screens around town in a moment, but first, some very Special Events film and film-related events:

THE MOVIE ORGY--Our friends at Grand Illusion Cinema celebrate their ninth anniversary as an independent non-profit cinema on Saturday, March 31 with Joe Dante's 1968 epic film footage mash-up (we talked about it with him on our podcast). You can RSVP to this FREE festive event (beer & wine & snacks will be available for purchase) at


UNDEFEATED--Seattle native TJ Martin's won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for his film following one season of a struggling inner city high school football team. It finally opens here in town on Friday at The Varsity The Stranger's Jen Graves will be moderating a Q & A  there on Friday night.  You can raise a toast to Mr. Martin's win on Sunday, April 1 from 5-7pm at Northwest Film Forum with a special celebratory  Happy Hour. "Mix and mingle, with light snacks, a free glass of wine courtesy of The Stranger, and discount prices on local wines and beers from our bar."


SEATTLE DEAF FILM FESTIVAL is Friday, March 30 through Sunday, April 1 at Kane Hall on the UW campus. They'll have a variety of shorts and features by, about, and for the Deaf community. You can find the full roster of films on their website.


OCCULTURAL FILM SERIES: MAGICK IN CINEMA WITH BRIAN BULTER at Thursday, April 5 at 7pm Northwest Film Forum. You can read more about this on our blog and visit our special rental section of occult-in-film titles before you go.


BICYCLE FILM SHORTS FESTIVAL is on Friday, March 30 at REI Seattle featuring cycling cinema presented by the Cascade Bicycle Club.


EMERALD CITY COMIC-CON--The largest comic book and pop culutre convention in the Northwest takes over the Washington State Convention Center this weekend Friday, March 30 to Sunday, April 1. The impressive guest list includes: George Takei, Edward James Olmos, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin, Kevin Conroy (voice of Batman in the Batman: The Animated Series), Billy West (voice of Fry on Futurama),  James & Oliver Phelps (Fred and George from the Harry Potter films), Kevin Smith & Jason Mewes (who will record a live podcast Sunday) Mr. Wil Wheaton, and many others.


EUGENE MIRMAN COMEDY FESTIVAL--Mr. Mirman and his humorous friends host several evenings of comedy in town. On Friday night at The Neptune there's the excellent podcast Star Talk Live with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Paul F. Tompkins, Mr. Mirman and Kristen Schaal. There are two shows on Saturday, one at The Crocodile and one back at The Neptune. Visit the festival homepage for all the details and special guest


And now, here's what's playing on some screens around town:

SIFF Cinema

Opening Friday, March 30

KID WITH A BIKE--"Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, this deeply moving new film by the Dardenne brothers (L’enfant, Rosetta) delves into the emotional life of troubled 11-year-old Cyril (newcomer Thomas Doret). When his father abandons him, Cyril obsessively tries to find his bicycle—after all, his father must have cared about him enough not to sell that off, he reasons."

RAJ KAPOOR & THE GOLDEN AGE OF INDIAN CINEMA--This weekSIFF continues 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 Barsaat/Monsoon, Shree 420, and Aag/Fire. Visit the series' main page for a full list of the week's films & showtimes.


Saturday, March 31

BACK TO THE FUTURE with LEA THOMPSON--SIFF's very special presentation of BTTF has been sold out for a while now, but you can always head down to the Uptown anyway and try to catch a glimpse of this: "Thompson will arrive at the Uptown in a visual spectacular not to be missed, leading a procession of over two dozen DeLoreans, courtesy of the Pacific Northwest DeLorean Club." There will be an 11pm screening of the film without Ms. Thompson but with trivia and the corresponding fabulous prizes, pre-show videos, and more.


Saturday, March 31 & Sunday, April 1

BIG--Who wouldn't want to skip the evils of adolescence at go right to being an adult? Penny Marshall's Big reminds us to be careful what we wish for in such matters. The movie is part of SIFF's Films4Familes series.


Tuesday, April 3

DIE HARD--It's one of the greatest action films and one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time. Yippy Kay Yay, etc.


Thursday, April 5

THE SOUNDS OF SILENTS WITH A SIDE OF SCHTICK--"For your viewing pleasure, revel in an exceptional collection of early cinema––shorts ranging from 1907-1934 that include the first film of Orson Welles, an abstract masterpiece, Pathé Brothers masterworks and one of the first films ever shown in the U.S. Each film is accompanied by a newly written original score by members of the Seattle Composers Alliance and the Seattle Jazz Composers Ensemble and performed live by our chamber orchestra! In between films, Moisture Festival transports us even further into this singular era of entertainment history with a carefully curated and curious collection of vaudeville acts, all presented by our Master of Ceremonies, the inimitable Kevin Joyce." Twenties-style fashion is encouraged!


Continuing runs

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

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


Northwest Film Forum

Friday, March 30--Wednesday, April 4

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."


Friday, March 30--Thursday, April 5

KATI WITH AN I--"For his first documentary feature, Robert Greene shares with us an intimate portrait of his half-sister Kati. Incorporating a lifetime of home movies, recorded phone conversations and the lushly textured cinematography of Sean Price Williams, Greene focuses on the moment in Kati’s life which, for many of us, is a familiar dividing line between childhood and the adult world: graduation from high school and the decisions that follow...A worthy addition to the documentary genre of intimate portraits of ordinary people, like Stevie and Billy the Kid."

THE CHRISTENING--"The film is loosely based on the real story of a man from the Polish provinces who, after operating as a criminal in his hometown, finds himself in Warsaw. He hopes to change his luck and to escape from the criminal past he left behind. Unfortunately, there is a mafia sentence against him." Marcin Wrona’s film is recommended for those who enjoy the work of Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Bronson)


Friday, March 30

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) or get the Complete Collection for just $19.95.

SCI-FI CHEAP DATE--"In celebration of the Emerald City Comicon weekend, curators Jacques Boyreau, Tim Colley and Darren Aboulafia have concocted a SuperTrash mix of sci-fi-fantasy trailers, blistering 80s metal and provocative situations, including a meditation upon fire itself. This 90-minute program will delight nerds of all genders and possibly be worthy of taking notes."


Central Cinema

Friday, March 30--Tuesday, April 3

SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER--The only things I remember from this Mike Myers movie are open mike poetry and the Bay City Rollers. I need to get to the CC this week.

12 MONKEYS--Nineties sci-fi plague goodness with Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt (in an Oscar-nominated peformance). It's also playing with captions on Wednesday, April 4.


Wednesday, April 4

TV DINNER--The wonderful people at GeekGirlCon present a tribute to BatGirl and Catwoman with episodes from the still-not-on-DVD 1960s Batman.


Thursday, April 5

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



Grand Illusion Cinema

Friday, March 30 and Sunday, April 1

BRINGING UP BABY--Directed by Howard Hawks, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, it's arguably the greatest screwball comedy of all time. The GI is showing a new 35mm print.  You must go.


Friday, March 30--Thursday, April 5

HIS GIRL FRIDAY--I can't say anything about this classic film starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. I can only swoon.


Late Night: Friday, March 30

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.

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