Top 5 SIFF Picks for Memorial Day Weekend

TSB at SIFF 2012

We’re well into the thick of the SIFF soup by now, and this long weekend’s bringing a boatload of cinematic goodies, in Everett even. As usual, check the SIFF updates page to see which films are already sold out or are selling fast. Individual tickets for most films cost $11 for the public and $9 for SIFF members. Matinees are a bit cheaper ($8/$7) and those who are more willing to commit can consider all sorts of passes still for sale as well as slightly discounted packs of tickets in bundles of 6 or 20.

Enclosed, please find some of the choice offerings for your Memorial Day Weekend consideration:

  • Paul Williams Still Alive Throughout the 1970s Paul Williams was one of the most inescapable presences in popular culture–he penned mammoth hits for Barbra Streisand, The Carpenters, and David Bowie, recorded his own hit records, surfaced on literally dozens of episodes of popular episodic and talk TV shows, and starred in Battle for the Planet of the Apes and The Phantom of the Paradise. Director Stephen Kessler’s documentary starts out unapologetically wallowing in nostalgia, then becomes a funny and engaging character study as its subject gradually opens up about the foibles and addictions that knee-capped his career and personal life. The movie, almost without trying, also presents a valid revisionist case for the relevance of Williams’ songwriting: The lyrical content of some of his Carpenters chart-toppers makes Joy Division sound like the Spice Girls. (Friday May 25 6:30 p.m. @ Egyptian; Saturday May 26 6 p.m. @ SIFF Uptown)
  • The Art of Love No one does bawdy effervescence like the French, and when a Gallic romantic farce elicits Woody Allen comparisons it’ll pretty much draw a significant portion of the SIFF audience–myself included–like flies to honey. (Saturday May 26 3:30 p.m. and Wednesday May 30 7 p.m @ Egyptian, Saturday June 2 6:30 p.m. @ Kirkland Performance Center)
  • Two for the Road  This romantic drama ar about the rocky metaphoric and physical roads travelled by two lovers (Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney) sometimes feels like an artifact of its time (1967) with its occasional lapses into naiveté. But it’s a riveting star vehicle for Hepburn–never allowed to be so nakedly human on camera before or after–and Finney. If you’re only used to the latter as the crotchety character actor from Erin Brockovich and Miller’s Crossing, prepare to be surprised at his rugged, acerbic charm as a romantic lead. (Sunday May 27 2:30 p.m. @ Egyptian)
  • John Dies at the End Oscar winner Paul Giamatti turns up in Don Coscarelli’s mind-fuck of a horror-comedy in which a couple of slouches gain telekinetic powers (and must save the world) from an extra-potent hallucinogenic drug. Coscarelli has made a career out of doing genre pulp with style and humor–his last feature, Bubba Ho-Tep, brought the SIFF Midnight crowd to their feet a few years back. (Saturday May 26 11:59 p.m. @ Egyptian)
  • Wrinkles (Arrugas) is based on a graphic novel about a retired banker living in an assisted-care facility. It may not sound like fodder for a great animated movie, but Wrinkles garnered Goya Awards for Best Animated Film and Best Screenplay, as well as critical huzzahs galore–and a dose of surrealism reputedly gives the movie poetic visual spark. (Friday May 25 11 a.m. @ Pacific Place, Sunday May 27 5:30pm and Monday May 28 @ SIFF Uptown)