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SIFF Capsule Recap #2 (CANNIBAL, THE DOUBLE, TIME LAPSE, ANOTHER)

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In keeping with the rules and regs of the Seattle International Film Festival, reviews for most films will  be kept to brief capsules (75 quick words of glory) until their respective local release. So in my pursuit to oust my opinion without breaking regulation, expect more and more capsule recaps in the coming weeks as I seek to hit that magic number of 40 films of SIFF’s 40th anniversary. So, short and sweet reading for you, much more time for movie watching for me. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Cannibal (Caníbal)

dir. Manuel Martín Cuenca star. Antonio de la Torre, Olimpia Melinte, Delphine Tempels (Spain)

Carlos leads a double life: one as an upstanding citizen/fashion-forward tailor, the other as a connoisseur of human flesh. When the sister of one of his victims nervously rolls into town, Carlos accidentally becomes coiled with her search and discovers a new range of emotions: ones that don’t start and end in his stomach. Manuel Martín Cuenca‘s slow building and deliberate pacing adds depth to Antonio de la Torre‘s somber shade of monster but his film, though unflinching, still lacks a central tension: of exposure, imprisonment, or worse. (C)

The Double

dir. Richard Ayoade star. Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor (UK)


If Terry Gilliam had made Fight Club, it probably would have looked a lot like Richard Ayoade‘s The Double. Set in a steampunk dystopian tomorrowland, Jesse Eisenberg lays down august double duty, first as Simon James, a meek, nay spineless, employee in a dungy, Orwellian basement cubicle maze. When James Simon, his carbon copy in the looks department but his exact social opposite – James is an exceedingly debonair social-climber – moves in, Simon’s small world is irrevocably jolted. Grubby set design and hallucinatory foley work, set against the motif of closing doors and characteristic-less cultural nowhere, aid Ayoade’s prevailing sense of cautious pessimism in this thrilling, darkly comedic romp. (B-)

Another

dir. Jason Bognacki star. Ana Paula Redding, Leone Sergio Bognacki, David Landry, Maria Olsen (USA)

Cheap-looking even by independent movie standards, this cultish schlock stars some of the worst performances this side of day time cable (Ana Paula Redding, *shutters*). With acting this ham-fisted and downright embarrassing, watching Another is an exercise is intelligence bludgeoning. Jason Bognacki‘s direction is comprised of shaky cam after-FX and inexplicably fuzziness that clouds our view of the “horror” onscreen, as if he’d taken cues from a pirated Bourne DVD. It’s a sad pile of crud that should be walked out on; a joker’s stain on SIFF’s lineup. (F)

Time Lapse

dir. Bradley King star. Danielle Panabaker, Matt O’Leary, George Finn, Amin Joseph, Jason Spisak (USA)

Bradley King‘s mildly thought-provoking indie sci-fi swims around in the lazy river that is time. But Time Lapsewhich sees a camera that takes pictures 24-hours in the future – is undercut by weak performances across the board. There’s a provocative allure to King’s examination of determinism versus free will at play but they’re never mined to satisfactory results. Instead, the real marvel of his deux ex machina is left to dry out like reagent on a Polaroid. For a movie that’s all about time, it’s only partially worthy of yours. (C-)

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Click through for Part 1: JIMI: All is By My Side, Zip Zap and the Marble Gang, Hellion, Fight Church and stay tuned for the next collection of four in this whopping ten part series.

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2014 SIFF Offers 435 Films, I Offer 25 Must Sees

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Update June 3: More reviews added, no standing replacements.

Update May 17: Seeing that some of these didn’t live up to expectation, some prior “Must Sees” have been yanked and new additions have taken their place. After all, who doesn’t love some corrections and omissions?!

For its 40th, the Seattle International Film Festival is again raising the bar on itself, this year offering a whopping 435 films including 198 feature films, 60 documentaries, and 163 short films from 83 countries. Of those, 44 are world premieres, 29 North American premieres and 13 US premieres. All this amongst a slew of festival favorites from this year and last. Let’s just say that the odds of seeing them all just got that much slimmer. 

Kicking the festival off is Oscar-winner (12 Years a Slave) John Ridley‘s Jimi: All is By My Side, a zero frills biopic that chronicles the afro-ed classic rocker’s year in Britain leading up to his iconic Woodstock performance. And all by his side is 12 Years alum Chiwetel Ejiofor who will be in attendance May 19 (6 PM @ The Egyptian Theater) to talk about his new film Half of a Yellow Sun, an African-produced historical drama about Nigerian’s civil war through the 60s. Ejiofor will also take place in a Q&A with an audience eager to speak with the Academy Award nominee that same evening.

The festival will close June 8 at the glorious Cinerama with The One I Love starring Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men) and Mark Duplass (The League) which saw strong reviews opening at Sundance and is said to mix elements of modern romance with “Twilight Zone” twists and turns. Add it to the ever growing “To See” List.

But likely the most exciting and anticipated film of the festival will be found in SIFF’s Centerpiece Gala in Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood on Saturday, May 31 @ 5 PM. I had the great fortune of being amongst the first audience to see this at Sundance and it did nothing short of blow me away. Though I don’t want to be greedy and steal away the seats of those yet uninitiated to Boyhood, I look forward to experiencing it again and may not be able to resist a second viewing.

Since it’s all but impossible to see everything at SIFF, I have a list of 25 must sees that should put you on the right track for this year’s festivities.

The 25 Must Sees of SIFF 2014