Turtle: The Incredible Journey (2009) Documentary Film Review

Director: Nick Stringer United Kingdom, 2009 I am a Loggerhead turtle. I break out of shell and sand. I traverse the land to reach the sea. The crabs and gulls see me as prey, but I am determined, I must satiate this driving hunger that permeates my being, I must continue forward. It is along the Gulf Stream that I navigate. Heading north on my float-sum raft with companions in the shape of sea horses and fish that have camouflage exteriors to mimic the vessel we reside upon. I am still soft shelled. I need to grow and rest. A strange stillness envelopes our journey. We have been driven off course into a timeless Sargasso sea. Within moments a great

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Cyrus (2010) Film Review

Directors: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass USA, 2010 Brothers, and Cyrus co-directors, Jay and Mark Duplass have not shied away from their stated intent to make ‘genre films.’ It’s an odd conceit from a duo who’ve been lumped in with the for-better-or-worse-entitled ‘mumblecore’ movement; a style more prone to moody atmospheres and sparse dialog than showboat character acting and predictable plot developments. I suppose it’s fitting then that Cyrus splits the difference between the two. The plot is fairly formulaic – lonesome divorcee John C. Reilly befriends equally lonesome single mother Marisa Tomei at a swanky LA dinner party.  Their courtship quickly escalates, only to be sabotaged by Tomei’s needy, 21 year old man-child, Cyrus (played by Jonah Hill). Photo by Chuck Zlotnick

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Henry Of Navarre (Henri 4) (2009) Film Review

Director: Jo Baier Cast: Julien Boisselier, Joachim Krol, Hannelore Hoger, Ulrich Noethen, Armelle Deutsch, Chloé Stefani, Gabriela Maria Schmeide, Roger Casamajor, Sven Pippig, Sandra Huller Country: Germany Year: 2009 Henry Of Navarre is a historical dramatization that attempts to document the period of Henry IV’s ascension to the throne and the religious wars which preceeded it. But despite the film’s loftiest intentions, a weak script and an even weaker crew burden it to the point of no recovery. All of the characters in the film are just that — characters — and they fulfill their general beings with mind-blowing one-dimensionality. Take, for instance, Henry Of Navarre (Henry IV) himself. While generally loved throughout his reign, Henry is shown in the

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Mao’s Last Dancer (2009) Film Review

Mao’s Last Dancer Director: Bruce Beresford Australia, 2009 Based on his bestselling autobiography, the dramatized story of Li Cunxin escaping from Communist China is not a particularly unique one. Handpicked from a dusty village in rural China, a young Li is forced to abandon his family and attend the most prestigious (and rigorous) arts school in all of China. At first, Li is inattentive, unmotivated. But, after viewing a tape of Baryshnikov (another ballet dancer who defected from his communist homeland), Li is inspired to become the greatest ballet dancer in the entire world. His fame eventually leads him to an exchange program with the Houston Ballet Company. It is here in America where his talents and love for ballet

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Prince Of Tears (2010) Film Review

Prince Of Tears is a historical drama directed by well-known Hong Kong film director, Yonfan. A look into 1950s Taiwan, the film documents a young family during an era when Communists — and suspected Communists — were questioned and detained by the Taiwanese government. It is a tale of simultaneous betrayal and loyalty, where best friends turn into enemies and women take on lovers to secure social status. It offers a glimpse into a controversial era in Taiwanese history that is rarely discussed or even known outside of the country. Prince Of Tears utilizes expertly crafted sets and cinematography to give viewers a look back into a time where some families were torn apart by simple accusations and others were

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The Hedgehog (2010) Film Review

When 11-year-old Paloma (Garance Le Guillemic) decides that she wants to commit suicide on the date of her next birthday, she has 165 days left to go. By viewing her mother, who talks to house plants, and her father, who is well-intentioned but has nothing much more to offer, Paloma concludes that her life is bound to be horrible. Her promise to herself comes with one self-assigned stipulation, though; while other people might make climbing Mt. Everest their lives’ greatest goal, Paloma aims to make a film. She begins to do so with her father’s 8mm camera, filming everyone and anyone who will allow her to. With The Hedgehog (Le Herisson), director Mona Achache brings Muriel Barbery’s novel to life

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Seattle International Film Festival 2010: 05/21-05/30 Week Round-Up

This week’s recommended picks! Go to the website for the Seattle International Film Festival for more details. Between Two Worlds A man returns to his homeland in Sri Lanka — post its 26-year civil war — to discover that the repercussions of war last far beyond wars themselves. SHOWTIMES Mon, May 24 @ 5:00pm (SIFF Cinema) Mon, May 31 @ 1:00pm (Everett Performing Arts Center) The Chef Of South Polar The story of Antarctic researchers turning to eccentric clothing and extravagant foods to cope with loneliness, The Chef Of South Polar (Nankyoku ryôrinin) is feel-good and overflowing with food. SHOWTIMES Mon, May 24 @ 7:00pm (Harvard Exit) Wed, May 26 @ 6:30pm (Admiral Theatre) The Maldives Perform Riders Of The

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Countdown to Zero (2010) Documentary Film Review

Countdown to Zero Director: Lucy Walker USA, 2010 Countdown to Zero shakes off all the dirt, rumors, myths, and outright lies when it comes to the danger of nuclear terrorism. Using John F. Kennedy’s famous quote comparing nuclear weapons to the hanging sword of Damocles as a framework, director Lucy Walker’s documentary sheds light on how relatively simple it is to manufacture a nuclear weapon. The engineering is ancient technology, apparent to any scientist with a slight knowledge of ballistics. The materials are poorly guarded and easily smuggled to the black market. Even the weapons themselves are bought and sold without much hassle. The repeated theme that we are helpless when it comes to the threat of nuclear assault can

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Seattle International Film Festival 2010!

Countdown to Seattle International Film Festival! It begins May 20th and runs through June 13th. We’ll be there, with bells on! It’s going to be yet another great film-going summer in Seattle.

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Oddsac, With Members Of Animal Collective!

Tonight! At the Egyptian in Seattle. Be there or be square. With special guests director Danny Perez and members of Animal Collective. $15. 7pm & 9pm. Tickets available at the door, cash only. Walk up ticket sales and will-call pickup starts at 6pm at the theater. Many more cities announced soon, DVD/iTunes release in June. Ω

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Northwest Film Forum’s Visual Music Series

The relationship between visuals and music are starting to be explored ad nauseum by musicians of all calibers and stages in their careers, but it’s important to take a look back on the forces and individuals who have brought our musical-visual synthesis to its current popularity. Northwest Film Forum’s upcoming Visual Music series will help to do just that. Taking place between April 9th and April 14th, 2010, it will showcase experimental films that pioneered concepts and techniques that are being used today. Says series curator Peter Lucas, “The history of visual music is a fascinating intersection of artists and disciplines. Many people don’t realize that visual art and design expanded into the realm of moving image as early as

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Portland International Film Festival 2010 : 02/25-02/27 Weekend Round-Up

This weekend (plus Thursday)’s recommended picks! This is the last weekend of the Portland International Film Festival, so if you haven’t seen a movie yet, get out there. Forever Enthralled Chen Kaige tells the story of Chinese opera singer, Mei Langfang, who experienced world-wide fame, only to have his career threatened when he refused to sing under the Japanese occupation. SHOWTIMES Tue, Feb. 23 @ 8:15pm (B1) Thu, Feb. 25 @ 7:00pm (C21) The Inheritors The Inheritors takes you behind-the-scenes of the daily lives of hard-working people in Northern Mexico. Often working long hours under rough conditions, entire families partake in labor in order to survive. SHOWTIMES Thu, Feb. 25 @ 6:00pm (B3) Sat, Feb. 27 @ 2:45pm (WH) The

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