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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

May 20, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Ready, set, SIFF!

Those of you here in Seattle know what I’m referring to: The Seattle International Film Festival, all three-and-a-half-weeks and 256-feature-films of it, kicks off tonight with a gala screening of “The Extra Man.” (Brief movie report: Not quite as good as directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s “American Splendor,” but much better than their “The Nanny Diaries.” Lovely role for Kevin Kline, as an eccentric Manhattanite with a hobby of escorting elderly society ladies; lovely work by Paul Dano as Kline’s young roommate who’s got a few things to figure out about himself and his sexuality. Quirky and mostly charming. Not quite as good as the book, by Jonathan Ames, but then again the book’s terrific.)
Perhaps you’ll be at the gala opening-night party tonight; perhaps you’ll be in line over the next few weeks as movies screen all over town. And perhaps you’ll see something great. One of the most frustrating things about SIFF — which I’ve been covering for nine years now — is its sheer volume, which is unwieldly and overwhelming and which too often leads to films that aren’t worth the bother. To find the good stuff — and there’s plenty of it — and have a good time, here are a few hints: Beware the New American Cinema section; notoriously a hiding place for filler. (Then again, there’s always a few wonderful films lurking there, so beware critics making sweeping statements.) Browse the documentary list closely, as there’s always treasure there. Go to Pacific Place if it’s pouring rain, because that’s the only venue where you line up inside, not out on the sidewalk. Check out www.siff.net, or see our daily schedules in the Times, to see which screenings will have filmmaker/actor guests present for Q & As.
And consider this list, which I’ve put together in response to several reader queries. These are SIFF films that will be opening for a regular run after the festival. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t see these films during SIFF — some of them will have guests attending, and there’s an undeniable buzz to being the first to see something. (Remember “The Hurt Locker” — this year’s big Oscar winner — screened at SIFF last year before coming to theaters, with director Kathryn Bigelow present.) But, if you’re trying to choose between more than one screening, it’s helpful to know which one you’ll get another chance at. Here’s the list of what I know right now; no doubt more titles will be added soon. Dates are for the film’s Seattle release and may change. Happy SIFF-ing!
George A. Romeo’s Survival of the Dead (May 28)
Splice (June 4)
Bass Ackwards (June 11)
Ondine (June 18)
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (June 18)
The Oath (June 18)
Agora (June 18)
Mic Macs (June 18)
Holy Rollers (June 25)
Winter’s Bone (June 25)
I Am Love (June 25)
Cyrus (July 2)
Perrier’s Bounty (July 16)
The Concert (July 16)
The Extra Man (July 30)
Respiro (July TBD)
Jean-Michel Basquait: The Radiant Child (August 6)
Farewell (August 6)
Mao’s Last Dancer (August 6)
Get Low (August 13)
Hipsters (August 13)
The Tillman Story (August 20)
Cairo Time (August 27)
The Last Train Home (Oct. 22)
Nowhere Boy (fall)

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