AltWeeklies Wire

'North Face': An Alpine Tragedy Becomes a Harrowing Filmnew

Director Philipp Stölzl makes the movie a tad more political (i.e., anti-Nazi) than it needs to be, but Benno Fürmann's stoic performance reduces the story to its harsh, true fundamentals. Of the risks in climbing (as in life), he says, "You can be the best, but it's still a lottery."
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  02-08-2010  |  Reviews

'District 13: Ultimatum' — More Stunts, Pleasenew

Less a sequel than a remake of the exhilarating 2006 French action flick that introduced parkour to American audiences, D13:U only works when at full sprint. In the rotting, riot-prone, walled-off banlieues of near-future Paris, David Belle returns as the endlessly inventive ghetto acrobat.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  02-08-2010  |  Reviews

The Exceptionally Cranky Life of Brother Theodorenew

To those who remember his appearances on David Letterman's show in the '80s, Brother Theodore was a German-accented, white-haired old crank whom Dave tried to goad—without much success—into a smile.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  01-25-2010  |  Movies

Dinner & a Movie: My Date With Sandra Bullocknew

Dinner-and-a-movie joints face two main challenges: 1) having the clout to book first-run pictures from studios and 2) pricing a menu above the cheese-drenched nachos at Pacific Place yet below the $100-plus you can spend for a dinner date at Gold Class.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  01-25-2010  |  Profiles & Interviews

'Strongman': Like 'The Wrestler,' Only Realnew

Ten years in the making, Strongman both anticipates and follows The Wrestler: Stanley Pleskun is no longer young, keeps hoping for his luck to change, and ekes out a living as a scrap-metal dealer. (He inks the design on his costume with a Sharpie.)
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  01-11-2010  |  Reviews

'Leap Year': Amy Adams Deserves Betternew

Leap Year belongs to the Prada-backlash subgenre of women's pictures—epitomized by The Proposal — in which smart, stylish women must be muddied, abased, ridiculed, and degraded to get their man.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  01-11-2010  |  Reviews

'Died Young, Stayed Pretty': Grunge Artifacts, Suitable for Framingnew

Several local artists are featured in Eileen Yaghoobian's fan-ish documentary about rock-poster designers. In her film, she lets the artists speak for themselves — which is both a good and a bad thing.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  01-11-2010  |  Reviews

An American Journey: Commemorating Robert Frank’s Landmark Booknew

Driving from New York to San Francisco, Robert Frank couldn't have foreseen how his photo essay The Americans would define both him and his adopted country. This short documentary is one of several tributes this year marking the 50th anniversary of that landmark book.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  12-21-2009  |  Profiles & Interviews

'The Maid': From Chile, One of the Year’s Best Moviesnew

Not many films, or actresses, would let the central female role of a movie be underestimated for so long. Blank-faced, bone-tired, and implacable, Catalina Saavedra delivers a wonderful, slow-brewing performance as Raquel, a 41-year-old Chilean maid who's served one family her entire working life.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  12-07-2009  |  Reviews

'Ninja Assassin' is a Hard-R Blood-Fest with Much CG and Many Severed Limbsnew

Having braved zombies in 28 Days Later, Naomie Harris now faces a centuries-old clan of ninjas who have been hiring themselves out, Blackwater-style, as government mercenaries. Sad to say, the undead were more fun.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  11-30-2009  |  Reviews

'Planet 51' Mainly Succeeds at Reminding You of All the Better Movies That Inspired Itnew

Handsome doofus Chuck is a chip off the Buzz Lightyear block, and Planet 51 lacks Pixar polish (particularly in its writing). Still, it's not a bad knockoff.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  11-23-2009  |  Reviews

The Vignettes in 'Act of God' are a Random as Lightning Bolts Themselvesnew

Jennifer Baichwal skips from Canada to France to Mexico, never explaining who her subjects are or arguing why their near-death experiences should be linked. It's just a haphazard travelogue of terror, like 33 Short Films About Glenn Gould Being Struck by Lightning.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  11-02-2009  |  Reviews

'Black Dynamite': Like 'Shaft' Played for Laughsnew

Thoroughly silly and enjoyable for film geeks who know the old '70s blaxploitation canon, Black Dynamite suffers from the Grindhouse paradox: As Quentin Tarantino discovered, not everyone outside his immediate circle of friends actually cares that much about lovingly reviving cinematic curios of the past.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  10-19-2009  |  Reviews

'The Boys Are Back': Clive Owen Learns to Cook and Nurturenew

In the Oscar derby for Best Actor, is it better to die or to grieve? Clive Owen opts for the latter in this strained, sentimental adaptation of a memoir by widowed English journalist Simon Carr.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  10-05-2009  |  Reviews

'No Impact Man': What’s the Big To-Do About Doing With Less?new

Is No Impact Man a landmark documentary? Is the book a Walden for our time? Not really. Both, in a modest, agreeable fashion, tell us what we already know: We buy too much, we waste too much, and we're using up resources disproportionate to our presence on the planet.
Seattle Weekly  |  Brian Miller  |  09-28-2009  |  Reviews

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