On Screen: The Way Back, Wendy, Onward

Yikes! It’s a city is under siege by coronavirus; so be careful out there. Note that out of an abundance of caution, previously-highlighted Children’s Film Festival Seattle has cancelled or postponed the remainder of its closing weekend schedule.

If you do head out to the cinema, a couple major new releases might be worthwhile. Ben Affleck as an alcoholic basketball coach in The Way Back (not to be confused for a prequel to 2013 indie coming of age drama The Way Way Back). Reviews are surprisingly not catastrophic. Pixar has sometime Avengers Chris Pratt and Tom Holland assembling as animated elf brothers on a quest to bring their dead elf father back from the dead in Onward. The general consensus seems to be “it’ll make you cry” which is pretty much on brand for what people have come to demand from the studio.

Elsewhere, seven years after making an impressionistic splash with Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin is back with Wendy, an intriguing and offbeat take on the Peter Pan story that mines similar emotional and magic realism terrain as his debut. Reviews are decidedly mixed, but the look and soundtrack have the looks of being something to get swept up in if you’re in the right mood. (SIFF Uptown)

Finally, a reminder that three of this week’s well-reviewed films open around town:

  • Morgen liked Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson’s The Banker, a true life story of the country’s first black bankers in a time of redlining. Before heading to Apple+ it gets a run at iPic Theaters in Redmond.
  • Chris was enraptured by The Traitor,┬áMarco Bellochio’s epic retelling of the case of Tommaso Buscetta, a mafioso bigshot turned cooperating witness against his former compatriots in the Cosa Nostra organization. The decades-spanning mafia drama plays starting today at SIFF Uptown.
  • Chris also liked Greed, a new Michael Winterbottom expose of late stage capitalism that casts Steve Coogan as a “fashion mogul, billionaire many times over, and a complete piece of shit.” It’s in wide-release, including AMC Seattle 10 and Pacific Place.