Spencer interviews directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau from Silent House.
Spencer interviews noir expert Eddie Muller, in honor of SIFF‘s series Noir City.
Recently premiering locally at the Seattle International Film Festival, and now playing in select cities, Submarine stars Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate, an awkward and self-conscious teenager whose internal monologue we hear throughout the film. While accurately described as a coming of age story, it is a quirky alternative to the typical tropes of the genre. The movie plays like a Welsh version of Wes Anderson’s Rushmore with its offbeat sense of humor.
I like a documentary that lets me realize how little I know about a subject. Hot Coffee, from director Susan Saladoff, makes that its goal. The film points out the ways certain areas can be information voids for most laypeople (even reasonably educated ones), without us realizing it. Specifically, it talks about the concept of tort reform—and I know many of my law-school-graduate friends will find it abhorrent that I didn’t really know the meaning of the term. I was definitely with the ignorant people-on-the-street in this case. Tort reform…that’s probably good, right? I feel like I’ve been told that’s good…
Every Saturday night The Tomb of Terror opens, unleashing reviews of the obscure and the classic in horror cinema.
At one time, John Landis was on one of the best rolls of any comedy director. Following the cult success of Kentucky Fried Movie in 1977, he made the comedy classics National Lampoon’s Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, and my vote for best horror film of all time, An American Werewolf in London. Then Twilight Zone: The Movie happened. We’ve all heard the story. Vic Morrow and two illegally-hired child actors were killed when a special effect went bad and caused a helicopter to fall from the sky. Even though Landis was acquitted of all charges related to the incident, it has haunted him his entire career since. He still managed a couple of hits after this incident, including the iconic music video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the Eddie Murphy vehicle Coming to America. Unfortunately, his 90s output mainly consisted of failure (Beverly Hills Cop III) after failure (The Stupids) after failure (Blues Brothers 2000). Burke and Hare, which is playing as part of the 2011 Seattle International Film Festival, is his first narrative feature in twelve years and is also his best in nearly twenty.
Though it shares a similar title to the recent American Paul Giamatti film, Win/Win, from the Netherlands and screening as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival, tells a very different story. Ivan, played by Oscar Van Rompay, works for a large financial services firm in Amsterdam. He begins by toiling away in obscurity on the lower floors of the office. However, he seems to have a natural ability to notice patterns in numbers, pricing, and market fluctuations. He gains notice by providing anonymous tips to the stock traders on the upper floors via Post-It note. One day, Stef, one of the top traders at the firm, recognizes Ivan’s abilities and takes him under his wing. Stef categorizes everyone he meets by how much they make and what kind of car they drive. Under his tutelage, Ivan becomes the brightest up-and-coming star on the trading floor. He quickly makes the company millions, and his new-found notoriety also catches the notice of the office receptionist, the lovely Deniz (Halina Reijn).
There’s a point in the film The Off Hours, from local writer and director Megan Griffiths, when our main character, Francine, answers a casual question about how long she’s worked as a waitress at a truck stop diner. An attractive and somewhat troubled woman, Francine seems like maybe she’s in her late twenties. So her answer—”Twelve years, on and off”—jolted me a little. Twelve years? I’m 28, I’ve worked at the same place for five years, and it feels like forever. How would twelve years feel, at this point in time? But it’s just a shrugged-off fact for Francine. It’s not that it’s insignificant to her story; it’s that it’s simply treated as another straightforward detail in the encompassing, plodding world created by the film.