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Cinema stuff for the week of Friday the 13th! (of July)

There's a lot going on this week, so let's get right to it:

SIFF Cinema hosts two special film events this week. The first is on Friday with the Totally Stacked Video Contest, an evening of "funniest/weirdest/loveliest/creepiest films about Seattle Culture that are under five minutes," judged by SIFF artistic director Carl Spence, Tacoma Art Museum curator Rock Hushka, and The Stranger's Jen Graves  You, the audience, will get to vote for the People's Choice Award. Tickets are just $5 and available online. The listing specifically mentions: "Drinks available for purchase at the theater. Short films are better with drinks."

Second, on Sunday, July 15, there's Sundance ShortLab: Seattle, a day-long event featuring discussions with Sundance short film programmers about how shorts are selected for festivals, a presentation by esteemed locals writer/director Lynn Shelton and cinematographer Ben Kasulke on the craft of filmmaking, and a conversation with director Todd Haynes. The Stranger's David Schmader will be moderating Haynes' panel. He mentions on SLOG that "a little less than a third of the panel's 105-minute running time will be devoted to screening a classic early Todd Haynes short that will remain nameless." Confidential to Mr. Haynes: We'd be honored if you stopped by to visit your director's section here at the store.

A flood of new films open this week at SIFF Cinema, including festival highlights The Invisible War, a disturbing documentary on rape in the military, Paul Williams Still Alive, a different sort of "where are they now" look at the legendary singer/songwriter, and Grassroots, based on Grant Cogswell's campaign for Seattle City Council.  There's also the impressive ensemble of retirees (Judi Dench! Bill Nighy! Maggie Smith!) in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the non-stop violent action of Scarecrow staff favorite The Raid: Redemption.

In shorter SIFF Cinema runs, the Films4Families series continues Saturday and Sunday with Mary Poppins, a movie that, much like Ms. Poppins herself, is practically perfect in every way. On Saturday there's Best of God, author/comedian/director Owen Egerton's collection of absurb God moments in popular culture (like Willie Aames' Bibleman and anything Kirk Cameron has said in the last decade). The Next 50 Series continues Wednesday, July 18 with a free screening of No Woman No Cry , a portrait of at-risk pregnant women in four corners of the world from director Christy Turlington Burns. Then on Thursday, Alamo Drafthouse's own Master Pancake Theatre delivers live comedy and much-needed skewering to Twilight. Held over from last week, the Duplass' brother's Do-Deca Pentathlon plays Saturday through Monday, and on Saturday there's another chance to see Danny Boyle's production of Frankenstein with Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch trading the roles of doctor and monster.


Northwest Film Forum this week welcomes a lovely new print of Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion, part of their ongoing 35mm: The Celluloid Dream series. YOU MUST SEE THIS FILM. Especially on 35mm. We can't stress this enough.

In shorter runs at NWFF, Friday and Saturday night there's Juan of the Dead, a comic, satirical look at life in Cuba...with zombies! Unfinished Spaces, a documentary on Cuba's long-unfinished National Art School building, runs Friday through Sunday with a special introduction by architect and author John Loomis on opening night. Then on Wednesday and Thursday night, Easy Street Records presents I Want My Name Back, a documentary about rap pioneers The Sugarhill Gang and their ongoing battle with Sugar Hill Records.

Framing Pictures, NWFF's monthly gathering of local film critics, is Friday night at 5pm. The film chat is FREE and beverages will be available.


Central Cinema invites you to snap IN to it with Cher and Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck and enjoy the smooth vocal stylings of Nick Rivers Mel Torme Val Kilmer in Top Secret! On Tuesday there's a TV Dinner with four episodes of Married...With Children (for you youngsters, this was Ed O'Neill's first TV family).  Madison Market and the good folks at Think Local present the documentary Fixing The Future: Building Local Jobs, Income & Sustainabilty on Wednesday. Then on Thursday there's the Totally 80s Sing Along TO THE MAX! with Madonna, Prince, Blondie, and this.


Grand Illusion Cinema has two MUST SEE movies this week: the love triangle noir Gilda starring the luminous Rita Hayworth, and on Saturday July 14 there's Star Wars Uncut--a shot-for-shot remake of Episode IV: A New Hope made by you, the Internet! The GI says, "Built out of 15-second segments by 473 volunteers, it's a marvel of manic, crowdsourced enthusiasm and a testament to the film's legacy." I can't wait to see what fans have done with this. Should I wear my Princess Leia outfit to the show?

In the GI's Late Night viewing spot on Friday & Saturday night, there's the spooky modern haunted house story The Pact.

Trader Joe's Silent Movie Mondays continues at the Paramount Theatre, first with a noon matinee double feature of Impossible Voyage and The Kid then a 7pm screening of L'Argent, which from the plot description sounds like a silent-era Bonfire of the Vanities.

For your alfresco film pleasure, Fremont Outdoor Cinema is showing Ghostbusters, one of the rare films in cinema history that never gets old no matter how many times you've seen it, on Saturday night. On Thursday, Outdoor Movies at Magnuson Park has The Adventures of Tintin, Scarecrow staff-approved for enjoyable outdoor viewing adventure.


Monday at King's Hardware on scenic Ballard Avenue, you can enjoy Thelma and Louise out on the back patio with the cool beverage of your choice.


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