Saturday, Aug 24, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 40 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website




 

 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 31 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 44
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Shelton's Laggies a lively, energetic romp
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

LAGGIES
Now Playing


While at her best friend Allison's (Ellie Kemper) wedding, the high-strung, controlling type-A head plastic of her former high school clique, Seattleite Megan (Keira Knightley) has a minor nervous breakdown after catching her father, Ed (Jeff Garlin), engaging in some impromptu risqué business mere moments after longtime beau Anthony (Mark Webber) surprises her with a marriage proposal. Too shocked to think coherently, the aimless 28-year-old drives out into the night, ending up in a local grocery store parking lot making the off-the-cuff decision to buy alcohol for a handful of teenagers.

One thing leads to another, and soon Megan is avoiding her troubles by taking refuge in the home of high schooler Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz), telling friends and family she's leaving for the week to attend a self-help seminar. While the teen's father Craig (Sam Rockwell) admittedly finds it odd this young woman is hiding out with his rebellious yet impressionable daughter, he's also too good-natured and easygoing to send her packing like he should. It's a crazy situation, to be certain, but it's also just the sort of vacation from the real world Megan needs, and by revisiting her youth she just might learn what it means to be a responsible adult, and move forward with her life like those closest to her have been hoping for some time now.

Director Lynne Shelton's Laggies is, without questions, her most accomplished film to date. While lacking the cutting razor-sharp wit of either Humpday or Your Sister's Sister (both of which she scripted), the movie itself is so breathlessly energetic, so full of life and comedic inspiration, the fact it's not as profound or as revealing as the filmmaker's prior efforts is hardly disastrous. If anything, working with neophyte screenwriter Andrea Seigel has invigorated Shelton, and there are moments here that had me grinning ear to ear in vivacious joy.

It starts with Knightley. Coupled with her endearing turn in Begin Again, the actress is on a splendiferous roll, returning to her personable roots showcased to such great effect in early turns in films like Bend It Like Beckham and Pride & Prejudice. She's delightful, making what could have been an insufferable, lay-about of a character instead into a relatable charmer intent on exploring her own inner workings while trying to figure out who she is and what it is they truly want out of life. Knightley makes every twist, every turn of the woman's personality organic, natural, and even when the script contrivances fall a little into sitcom pitter-patter platitudes, the actress constantly rises above to make them feel honest and authentic.

She's matched by Moretz, who finally has a decent movie to take comfort in after a seeming string of unfortunate, mildly disappointing (Carrie, The Equalizer, Dark Shadows) to positively insufferable (If I Stay, Kick-Ass 2) misfires, and Rockwell, both of whom are sublime. The former has a spunky effervescence that bellies interior unexplored traumas aching for release while the latter is as charming and as romantically appealing as he's ever been, even if his character isn't always believable. If anything, he's more a device to help propel Megan in the proper direction than he is anything else, and it's a testament to Rockwell's immense talents that he's able to make Craig as winning and as three-dimensional as he ultimately does.

But things don't stop there, Shelton's gift for casting as glorious here as it has ever been. There are great moments of inspiration for Garlin, Kemper, Webber, Gretchen Mol (as Craig's purposefully absent ex-wife) and especially Short Term 12 scene-stealer Kaitlyn Dever, making the most of her role as Annika's quick-witted, acid-tongued best friend Misty who sees through Megan right from the start. There isn't a single moment where Dever appears on the screen that she doesn't take center stage, proving again to be a singular talent worthy of keeping a keen eye upon.

The overall arc of the film is hardly surprising, and it isn't like Seigel's script has much hidden underneath its sleeve. Where Megan is headed won't shock anyone, and as far as Shelton is concerned this is easily the most conventional and straight-forward story she has ever chosen to tell. There is a distinct familiarity to events that can be moderately uninspiring, and by the time our heroine finally decides what to do, part of me couldn't help but wonder what took her so long to figure it all out.

So what? Shelton continues to grow as a filmmaker, and with Laggies she's constructed her most cinematically inventive and visually intriguing effort to date. On top of that, she continues to improve as a storyteller, making even the most cliché and obvious dramatic and comedic elements feel fresh and alive. While not a great movie, this is certainly an entertaining one, and by the time it ends the only thing a reasonable person would want to do is watch it again immediately with little to no pause between viewings whatsoever.


Fascinating Citizenfour puts surveillance state on trial
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

CITIZENFOUR
Now playing


I don't think I learned a lot new from watching Laura Poitras' (The Oath) investigative Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour. At least, not about the information he leaked, the stuff he provided in regards to the United States and how the government has allowed the National Security Administration (NSA) unfettered access to investigate and conduct surveillance on almost every aspect of a person's life. As far as that goes, while still terrifying, while undeniably infuriating, while making one question every tweet, text, email and Facebook post, on the primary front of what exactly Snowden released, there's not a whole heck of a lot of new fuel added to the "Surveillance State" fire.

The strength of Citizenfour, then, is watching how all of this went down, how Snowden, Poitras and journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewan MacAskill ended up in a Hong Kong hotel room discussing U.S. spying practices far more universal in breadth and scope than anyone had ever imagined in their worst possible nightmares. It's a real life procedural, a you-are-there-as-it-is-actually-happening All the President's Men, Poitras and Greenwald on the ground floor of a story that is still being discussed, debated, argued about and shaped right this very second.

On that level the film is fascinating. Sitting in that hotel room with this quartet, listening to what they're saying, realizing the position they're willingly putting themselves in, all of that is extraordinary. More than that, Poitras is successful in the implanting of central questions inside the mind of the viewer. Am I being watched? Could I get in trouble for viewing this film? If I say positive words about Snowden and what he's done does that put me on some sort of watch list? Am I already on one for things I've tweeted or posted in the past? How would I know? How does spying on me make my friends, family and the rest of the gosh darn country safer? Does it even matter?

Whether you want to think so or not, all of these questions and more are important and in desperate need of being asked, and the fact Poitras is doing so is a very good thing indeed. She points the camera in Snowden's face, forces him to say why it is he is doing this, getting him to state in no uncertain terms that he knows exactly what will happen to him as far as his own privacy, his soon-to-be public persona is concerned. It's breathlessly exciting on that front, achieving a level of intimacy with the viewer that is eerie in its uncomforting all-encompassing embrace. Citizenfour isn't the best film of the year, it's likely not even the best documentary, but it might just be the most important one, and for that reason alone it needs to be seen by as many people as possible right away.


Agreeably nauseating Nightcrawler a toxic wonder
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

NIGHTCRAWLER
Now playing


Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is not one to stand idly by. He's not afraid to learn, is willing to ask questions and will do virtually anything it takes to achieve his goals. So when he comes across freelance cameraman - a 'Stringer,' according to the parlance used in the television news business - Joe (Bill Paxton) in action filming an horrific car accident he knows right then this is job for him.

Fast-forward an undisclosed amount of time, Louis is the go-to guy for Los Angeles morning television news producer Nina (Rene Russo), the man so unafraid to get to the gory center of the story she's almost beside herself in giddy anticipation every time he struts into the station. Making more money than he ever has, the young man has hired a navigator and secondary cameraman, Rick (Riz Ahmed), while also trading in his beaten down clunker of an automobile for a shiny new ride. They can be just about anywhere at the drop of the hat, listening to the police scanner with such intent you'd think their very lives depended on what was being said.

Nightcrawler wears its cynicism like a badge of honor, Louis such an abhorrent human specimen it's immediately apparent he's going to be willing to do whatever it takes to be the best stringer in all of L.A. If bodies at a car accident aren't exactly where he feels they should be, he's not above moving them around to help create a more indelible, bloodcurdling image. If he has information the police need to solve a crime, he'll withhold it until releasing what he knows serves his best interests. He negotiates contracts with cutthroat tenacity, his conscience as bleak, black and bitter as the California nights he freely wanders within like a wolf carefully stalking its prey.

The directorial debut for writer Dan Gilroy (The Bourne Legacy, The Fall), the movie is a nasty piece of work, reveling in its character's failings while at the same time offering up pointed satirical commentary on the sensationalistic leanings of the modern television news business. It asks tough questions while supplying almost zero answers, everything building to a decadently repugnant conclusion that's as fitting as it is foregone. Gilroy sits the viewer in front of a mirror, daring the audience to look away if they can, knowing full well, much like a car crash on the side of the Interstate the chances most can or will do so is practically nil.

He's got a magnificent ally in Gyllenhaal. The talented actor completely reinvents himself, Louis a serpentine chameleon who slithers and connives his way here to there doing so with cocksure certainty and stoic resilience. He bobs and weaves from one cataclysm to the next, never asking what is right or what is wrong, instead shooting away as if the only thing standing between him and success are those unlucky enough to be caught in his camera lens. No matter how disturbing or depraved an act might be, no matter how shocking a statement coming off his tongue is, I couldn't stop watching the actor, not for a single solitary second, his go-for-broke ferocity a beautiful kind of cadaverous loathsome madness that's extraordinary.

Russo comes close to matching him, her Nina virtually as cutthroat and as unscrupulous as her favorite freelancer, even though she's not willing to admit it. She hides her unwholesome truth behind a façade of forthright sanctimoniousness she thinks keeps people from realizing just how low she's willing to stoop to get ratings, something Louis sees through immediately. All of which makes her reactions when he unapologetically, almost emotionlessly, breaks her down to her core basics all the more astonishing, Russo's virtually silent emotional rollercoaster rejoinders during these sequences riveting in their complex dexterity.

As great as much of this is, and at times it's pretty darn magnificent, Gilroy's overall thesis isn't near as astonishing or as profound as I imagine he thinks it is. As already alluded to, there aren't a lot of places for all of this to go, making Louis' ultimate destination hardly a surprise, diluting the inherent shock value of the final scenes a substantial margin. The writer/director also cuts one of his primary characters a little short, and while I appreciated some of his third act decisions, and while Ahmed's overall performance is strong, Rick remains frustratingly one-dimensional throughout, making his final declarations oddly hollow.

Be that as it may, this movie works, grabbing me by the throat in the first couple of minutes and refusing to relax its grip at any point during the remainder of its almost two-hour running time. Spectacularly shot by Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood, The Town), confidently edited by Dan's brother John Gilroy (Pacific Rim, Michael Clayton), there is a look and feel to the film that, while reminiscent of other L.A. neo-noirs (mainly Michael Mann's Collateral), still achieves a tenor and an authenticity uniquely its own. Nightcrawler sticks with you like a popcorn kernel stuck in your tooth or like gum refusing to budge from the underside of your shoe, the overall picture an agreeably nauseating plunge into the sewer that is worth diving into headfirst and without a safety harness.


Seattle South Asian Film Festival 2014 Preview, Capsule Reviews SSAFF includes six films concerning LGBT issues
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

Programmed by local nonprofit Tasveer, an organization founded on the promise to curate thought-provoking artistic work of South Asians through films, forums, visual art, and performances that engage and empower the community, the 9th Seattle South Asian Film Festival presents its most ambitious slate yet. Showcasing 24 features, 17 shorts and with 18 filmmakers currently schedule to attend, the festival promises to be an absorbing showcase highlighting themes and ideas universal in scope yet also reflective of the cultures, people and countries represented.

The schedule includes two documentaries, two narrative features and two shorts revolving around LGBT subject matter, and in the case of the entries from India and Sri Lanka, comment, whether directly or indirectly, on those country's respective draconian laws concerning Lesbian, Gay and Transgender rights. All four of the features are highly worthwhile, especially Nepal's stunning Soongava: Dance of the Orchids, a Lesbian drama that might look like your typical coming-of-age coming out tale, but in the end fascinatingly becomes anything but.

A full schedule along with ticket information can be found at http://ssaff.tasveer.org/2014/. The film festival runs October 31-November 9. Following are short capsule reviews of the four LGBT-themed feature motion pictures screening during the festival, all of which I highly recommend and urge everyone to make the effort to go and see.

And You Thought You Knew Me (Saturday, Nov. 1, 5 p.m., Mobius Hall - UW Bothell) A film that taught me a new acronym, one that makes me shudder just thinking of it again, PAGFB. What's it mean? 'People Assigned Gender Female at Birth.' What's the point? It's the answer to that particular question you learn while watching Pramada Menon's absorbing documentary, each of these five disparate souls becoming activists of one sort another in large part thanks to the cruelty done to them at the time of their respective births. An unforgettable story, their collective tales are both chilling and optimistic, sometimes both at the exact same time. (Plays with In Between Days.)

Frangipani (Saturday, Nov 8., 4 p.m., Roxy Cinema - Renton) Moody, atmospheric love triangle from Sri Lanka, the movie's political agenda in regards to horrific local laws sometimes overshadows its simple, straight-forward and beautifully slight central story, three friends - two men, one woman - living with one another for reasons they cannot openly disclose, yet yearn to flaunt all the same. The movie works best when it lets actions and emotions speak for themselves, and it's only when director Visakesa Chandrasekaram take a more direct approach that things get a little overtly didactic. Still, this is a strong, character-driven drama with surprising moments of light and levity, everything building to a suitably stirring climax that suits all that came before it rather beautifully.

In Between Days (Dui Dhuranir Golpo) (Saturday, Nov. 1, 5 p.m., Mobius Hall - UW Bothell) Shot over a period of 14 months, director Sankhajit Biswas' In Between Days is a surprisingly vibrant, refreshingly honest slice-of-life documentary looking at Transgender Bengali teens Bubai and Chiranjit, best friends who are involved in the local sex trade. Landing jobs at an NGO doing HIV outreach prevention, the pair explore their dreams and desires while also coming to terms with the life they have at this very moment. Perceptive almost to a fault, at less than an hour the film can't help but bring up issues it can't hope to completely dissect in close to enough detail. At the same time, Bubai and Chiranjit's stories are impossible to forget, and the bits of hope and a yearning for a better life that permeate throughout are oftentimes earthshattering in their emotional intensity. (Plays with And You Thought You Knew Me.)

Soongava: Dance of the Orchids (Saturday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m., Mobius Hall - UW Bothell) Nepal's 2013 submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, this Lesbian coming-of-age melodrama is a powerful, thought-provoking groundbreaker that's universal in both message and theme. The story of a 22-year-old dancer who ends her engagement to take off with her best friend on an impromptu road trip, the movie is an exhilarating treatise on following one's heart and the sometimes earth-shattering consequences that can oftentimes arise from doing so. Masterful.




Dogfight: Love and cruelty during wartime
------------------------------
The Way He Looks - An interview with writer/director Daniel Ribeiro
------------------------------
Calling all Tevyes, Goldes, Lazars, and Hodels!
Seattle Musical Theatre presents Fiddler on the Roof

------------------------------
Arouet presents the world premiere of an original play: The Fierce Urgency of Now
------------------------------
CoCA's 22nd 24-Hour Art Marathon & Auction: Thursday, Nov. 13 - Friday, Nov. 15
------------------------------
Music of Remembrance to premiere new dances by Spectrum Dance Theater's Donald Byrd this November
The dynamic program will feature works by Schoenberg, Smit, Kattenburg and Terezinprisoners

------------------------------
The Seattle Public Library presents Richard Blanco's new memoir The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood on November 10
------------------------------
Margaret Cho discusses Joan Rivers, holiday plans and that Weird Al video
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
LETTERS
------------------------------
Pop goes the quartet: Well-Strung plays intriguing mix of music
------------------------------
Shelton's Laggies a lively, energetic romp
------------------------------
Fascinating Citizenfour puts surveillance state on trial
------------------------------
Agreeably nauseating Nightcrawler a toxic wonder
------------------------------
Seattle South Asian Film Festival 2014 Preview, Capsule Reviews SSAFF includes six films concerning LGBT issues
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News 2014 - DigitalTeamWorks 2014

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News