May 22 at SIFF: John Jeffcoat's 'Amplified Seattle' rocks the Neptune
"Amplified Seattle" — short documentaries about local bands such as The Maldives and Tea Cozies — is one of the highlights of Seattle International Film Festival on May 22. Also: "I Am Love," "Nowhere Boy," "Queen of the Sun."
Seattle International Film FestivalDaily through June 13 at several venues in Seattle, Kirkland and Everett. For complete schedule and ticket information, call 206-324-9996 or go to www.siff.net.
Movies listed without capsule descriptions did not screen in advance for critics.
Admiral Theater, 2343 California Ave. S.W., Seattle
1:30 p.m. — "Turtle: The Incredible Journey"
3:45 p.m. — "The Actresses"
6:30 p.m. — "The Big Dream"
9 p.m. — "George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead"
Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., Seattle
11 a.m. — "City of Life and Death": Comparable with "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan," director Lu Chuan's harrowing war drama is the definitive film about the atrocious "Rape of Nanking" in 1937. Superbly filmed in black and white, it's an unflinching chronicle of death and survival as the Japanese Army invades Nanking to slaughter thousands of Chinese soldiers and innocent civilians. Not for the squeamish, this film made news recently when the Chinese government pulled it from the schedule of the Palm Springs Film Festival. — Jeff Shannon
2 p.m. — "Loose Cannons"
4:30 p.m. — "Northwest Connections"
7 p.m. — "I Am Love": Lavishly and gorgeously filmed (there's a close-up of a raspberry that will knock you out), "I Am Love" is Italian opera turned cinema; unashamedly melodramatic and gloriously over-the-top. Tilda Swinton (speaking Italian; is there anything she can't do?) plays a Milan businessman's wife who falls, thoroughly and recklessly, in love with her son's friend. Director Luca Guadagnino finds beauty in every frame, and the ever-changeable Swinton lights up the movie like an ash-pale torch. — Moira Macdonald
9:45 p.m. — "The French Kissers": Hervé (Vincent Lacoste) hangs out with pimply losers at school while Aurore (Alice Trémolière) is popular with cooler kids. That makes it necessary to hide Aurore's relentless desire to kiss and kiss Hervé, despite his callousness and self-congratulation that a great girl likes him. Such is this raunchfest's story, which is otherwise a grotesque take on adolescent misadventures with intrusive moms, weird educators and onanism. Cameos by Valeria Golino and Irène Jacob help. — Tom Keogh
Midnight — "Tucker & Dale vs. Evil"
Harvard Exit, 807 E. Roy St., Seattle
11 a.m. — "A Little Help"
1:45 p.m. — "Shadows": John Cassavetes made his directing debut with this 1959 shoestring-budget tale of an interracial romance. The movie's independence from studio fare no longer makes its style seem particularly unique or startling, but the rough edges hint at the young filmmaker's potential. According to Fred Kaplan's fascinating book, "1959: The Year Everything Changed," the list of celebrities who helped finance it included Hedda Hopper and William Wyler. — John Hartl
4:30 p.m. — "Queen of the Sun": Local talent worked on this fascinating new documentary from Taggart Siegel, the Portland-based director of the "The Real Dirt on Farmer John." Siegel circled the globe to interview the world's most passionate beekeepers, and their testimonials make this an irresistible romance about the essential role that honeybees play in maintaining earth's fragile ecosystem. It's also a cautionary tale with a hopeful outlook, as eco-friendly trends signal a revival of bee colonies decimated by pesticides and "monoculture" crop farming. Siegel is scheduled to attend. — J.S.
7 p.m. — "Crab Trap"
9:15 p.m. — "Between Two Worlds"
Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle
11 a.m. — "The Chef of South Polar": A Japanese film for foodies, set in Antarctica, sounds promising. But unless you like slow-as-molasses slapstick routines, spiced with bathroom humor, "Chef" may leave you colder than intended. The premise: Eight Japanese scientists, stuck at a meteorological station in Antarctica's interior for a year, go through their ramen noodles too quickly and don't take it well. Blandly winsome Masato Sakai, in the title role, can't quite carry the picture. — Michael Upchurch
2 p.m. — "Amplified Seattle": Armed with a Canon digital SLR camera and his own abundant talent, Seattle-based director John Jeffcoat (whose romantic comedy "Outsourced" won SIFF's top audience award in 2007 and was recently developed into an upcoming NBC sitcom) shot these 13 bio-portraits of Seattle rock bands as companion pieces to MTV's "$5 Dollar Cover Seattle" series. Each engaging segment captures local musicians in their element (including The Maldives, Tea Cozies, The Spits, Moondoggies and others), collectively forming a time-capsule chronicle of Seattle's vibrant music scene. Jeffcoat is scheduled to attend the screening. — J.S.
4 p.m. — "Rapt": A taut if unremarkable thriller about a wealthy industrialist and apparent family man (Yvan Attal) whose shadowy life with mistresses and gambling becomes fodder for the French press after he is kidnapped. Attal is outstanding as a strange aristocrat whose sense of secretive privilege only seems to intensify from his ordeal, but at more than two hours, "Rapt's" emphasis on the skewed values of major players in the drama grows wearisome. A U.S. remake is in the works. — T.K.
7 p.m. — "Nowhere Boy": Certain details of the Beatles' origins are near-religious for fans: Lennon meeting McCartney, Lennon reconciling with his estranged mother, etc. "Nowhere Boy" knows some viewers will be moved by a fleeting sight of the red gates of Liverpool orphanage Strawberry Field; others will simply be curious. This wonderful film about the troubled adolescence of John Lennon appeals to both groups. Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff are superb in the leads. — T.K.
9:30 p.m. — "Bodyguards and Assassins"
Pacific Place, 600 Pine St., fourth floor, Seattle
11 a.m. — "Huacho"
1:30 p.m. — "Father of My Children": Mia Hansen-Løve's moving account of the crackup of a once-successful French film producer takes an almost casual approach to one man's catastrophe. He enthusiastically plays with his kids, shares a romantic moment with his wife and maintains a cool surface despite his company's looming debt. But gradually he begins to feel trapped, and we share his sense of helplessness. — J.H.
4:30 p.m. — "Twisted Roots"
7:30 p.m. — "Cyrus"
9:30 p.m. — "Holy Rollers": No young actor can play defiant vulnerability quite like Jesse Eisenberg, and his talents enlighten Kevin Tyler Asch's otherwise rote drama about a 20-year-old Orthodox rabbi-in-the-making who gets caught up in the drug trade, smuggling Ecstasy and other drugs from Europe to the U.S. while believing — at the beginning, anyway — that it's "medicine." A predictable tale of innocence corrupted, based on a true story that's probably much more intriguing than this movie. — M.M.
SIFF Cinema, McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle
11 a.m. — "We Shall Overcome"
1:30 p.m. — "Put 'Em Up"
7:30 p.m. — "Ambiente"
9:30 p.m. — "Pandemonium Boulevard"
Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., Seattle
1 p.m. — "From Time to Time"
3:45 p.m. — "The Robber"
6:30 p.m. — "The Milk of Sorrow"
9:15 p.m. — "Perrier's Bounty"
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