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Press Screenings - SIFF 2016, Monday May 23 [May. 27th, 2016|09:27 am]
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MONDAY MAY 23
SLEEPING GIANT
My rating: ***
IMDB rating: 7.0
US Distributor: Film Buff
Press Screening: 10:00am
Mood: Dare
CANADA 2015 (90 min)
Director: Andrew Cividino
Cast: Jackson Martin, Reece Moffett, Nick Serino

Risk taking leads to an inevitable conclusion in this Coming of Age film. Well made, with unlikable characters.

Festival Screenings:
Mon May 30 | 3:30pm | Lincoln Square Cinemas
Tue May 31 | 7:00pm | AMC Pacific Place
Thu June 2 | 4:30pm | AMC Pacific Place


PATHS OF THE SOUL
My rating: *** 1/2
IMDB rating: 8.1
US Distributor: Icarus Films
Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Show Me The World!

CHINA 2015 (115 min)
Director: Zhang Yang
Cast: Yang Pei, Nyima Zadui, Tsewang Dolkar, Tsring Chodron, Seba Jiangcuo

Chinese auteur Zhang Yang makes a docu-drama about a Tibetan pilgrimage. Alternately fascinating and boring.
Festival Screenings:
Thu May 26 | 6:30pm | Lincoln Square Cinemas
Fri May 27 | 4:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Director Zhang Yang scheduled to attend both screenings


DISORDER:
My rating: *** 3/4
IMDB rating: 6.3
US Distributor: IFC Films
Press Screening: 2:00pm
Mood: Thrill Me!
FRANCE/BELGIUM 2015 (101 min)
Director: Alice Winocour
Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Diane Kruger, Paul Hamy, Zaïd Errougui-Demonsant, Percy Kemp

Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone) gives a tightly wound performance as a veteran with PTSD hired as a bodyguard for a wealthy man's wife (Diane Kruger) in a sleek and tense thriller from Alice Winocour, writer of 2015 Oscar®-nominee Mustang. I was as jumpy as the star in this film. Perhaps it was the music, or maybe I just drank too much coffee.

Festival Screenings:
Thu May 26 | 9:30pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Fri May 27 | 4:00pm | Lincoln Square Cinemas
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Press screenings - SIFF 2016 - THURSDAY MAY 19 [May. 27th, 2016|09:19 am]
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RARA
My rating: ***
IMDB rating: 7.9
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Press Screening: 10:00am
Mood: Open My Eyes

CHILE/ARGENTINA 2016 (92 min)
Director: Pepa San Martín
Cast: Mariana Loyola, Agustina Muñoz, Julia Lubbert, Emilia Ossandon, Daniel Muñoz, Michaele Cristi

A young girl on the cusp of adolescence has her home life thrown into upheaval when her father, dismayed that his daughters are being raised by a lesbian couple, seeks to regain custody.

Festival Screenings:
Tue June 7 | 6:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Wed June 8 | 3:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Director Pepa San Martín scheduled to attend both screenings

ICE AND THE SKY
My rating: ****
IMDB rating: 6.9
US Distributor: Music Box Films
Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Show Me the World!

FRANCE 2015 (89 min)
Director: Luc Jacquet
Featuring: Claude Lorius

Oscar®-winning director Luc Jacquet (March of the Penguins) returns to Antarctica, this time with explorer and glaciologist Claude Lorius, to explore humanity's effect on the climate of the planet through air bubbles containing millennia-old clues.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 21 | 11:30am | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Wed May 25 | 7:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown

The High Sun
Original title: Zvizdan
A replacement press screening
MY rating: ****
IMDB rating: 7.2
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Press Screenings - SIFF 2016 - Wednesday, May 18 [May. 19th, 2016|06:48 pm]
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WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD MEN GONE
My rating: ****
Original title: Hundeliv
WORLD PREMIERE
Press Screening: 10:00am
Mood: Love
DENMARK 2016 (93 min)
Director: René Frelle Petersen
Cast: Julie Brochorst Andersen, Simone Lykke, Alexandre Willaume

Looking for her biological father, Sofia and her naïve half-sister Olivia come upon a PTSD-suffering soldier. This film presents a harsh reality and a satisfying ending.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 9:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sun May 22 | 11:30am | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Tue May 31 | 9:00pm | Lincoln Square Cinemas
Director René Frelle Petersen scheduled to attend May 20 & 22 screening

TICKLED
My rating: **
IMDB rating: 8.4
US Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Press Screening: Noon
Mood: WTF
NEW ZEALAND 2016 (92 min)
Director: David Farrier & Dylan Reeve

Competitive tickling? This is not a joke. The film makers were sued in Federal Court to try to prevent this film from being shown. The intricate path to the source of this 'sport' leads to some surprising answers.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 21 | 4:00pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Tue May 24 | 9:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown

KEDI
My rating: *****
IMDB rating: 8.6
Press Screening: 2:00pm
Mood: Show Me the World!
TURKEY 2016 (79 min)
Director: Ceyda Torun

I did not see this film during press screenings, because I want to see the animated short, Simon's Cat, that plays along with it, saw it Saturday at the Egyptian. I rated it 5 *'s because it is about cats!

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 21 | 11:00am | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sat May 28 | 3:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Mon May 30 | 12:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Director Ceyda Torun and producer Charlie Wuppermann scheduled to attend May 28 & May 30 screenings
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Press Screenings - SIFF 2016 - Tuesday, May 17th [May. 18th, 2016|07:03 pm]
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CARNAGE PARK
My rating: *1/2
IMDB rating: 6.1
US Distributor: IFC Midnight
Press Screening: 10:00am
Mood: Thrill Me!
USA 2016 (86 min)
Director: Mickey Keating
Cast: Ashley Bell, Pat Healy, Alan Ruck, Darby Stanchfield, James Landry Hébert, Larry Fessenden

A horror film that does not succeed on any level as far as I could tell.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 12:00midnight | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sun May 22 | 9:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown

DEMON
My rating: ****
IMDB rating: 6.4
US Distributor: The Orchard
Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Thrill Me!
POLAND/ISRAEL 2015 (94 min)
Director: Marcin Wrona
Cast: Itay Tiran, Agnieszka Zulewska, Tomasz Schuchardt, Andrzej Grabowski, Adam Woronowicz,Tomasz Zietek

This horror film succeeded on many levels: It was truly creepy; it was based on a Jewish legend; it intimated the guilt felt by the Poles for the holocaust; and it had good creepy music by music by Krzysztof Penderecki (who wrote the music for the Shining.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 9:30pm | AMC Pacific Place
Thu May 26 | 9:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown

DON’T THINK TWICE
My rating: **3\4
IMDB rating: 7.0
US Distributor: The Film Arcade
Press Screening: 2:00pm
Mood: Make Me Laugh!
USA 2016 (92 min)
Director: Mike Birbiglia
Cast: Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Tami Sagher, Chris Gethard

I didn't find the behind-the-scenes action of an improv group in NYC to be that interesting. There was not enough improv in it to make it that funny.

Festival Screenings:
Fri June 10 | 7:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sat June 11 | 11:00am | AMC Pacific Place
Director Mike Birbiglia scheduled to attend June 10 screening
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Press Screenings - SIFF 2016 - Monday, May 16th [May. 17th, 2016|05:37 pm]
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BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, THE ADVENTURE CONTINUE
My rating: ***
IMDB rating: 6.3
Press Screening: 10:00am
Mood: Thrill Me!
FRANCE 2015 (97 min)
Director: Christian Duguay
Cast: Félix Bossuet, Tchéky Karyo, Thierry Neuvic, Margaux Chatelier, Thylane Blondeau

The Adventure Continues was not as good as the original. The dog was still beautiful, as was the, but some of the scenes required more disbelief suspension than I could muster. The scene in the cave was particularly unbelievable.
Still it was enjoyable.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 4:30pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
Sun May 22 | 11:00am | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sat May 28 | 1:00pm | Shoreline Community College


BUGS
My rating: ***1/2

A last minute substitute for Ants on a Shrimp made me just as glad, because I was not looking forward to the originally planned movie. In Bugs, the Nordic Food Lab tests for flavor and sustainability, with the emphasis on taste.

Festival Screenings:
Sat June 4 | 11:00am | Pacific Place 11
Sun June 5 | 4:00 pm | Pacific Place 11


THE FREE WORLD
My rating: ****
IMDB rating: IMBD RAting: 7.1
US Distributor: IFC Films
Press Screening: 2:00pm
Mood: Thrill Me!
USA 2016 (100 min)
Director: Jason Lew
Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Elisabeth Moss, Octavia Spencer, Sung Kang, Waleed Zuaiter

Recently released after being falsely imprisoned, an muslim-convert ex-con (Boyd Holbrook) meets the troubled wife (Elisabeth Moss) of a particularly nasty cop and begins a sultry romance that sends his fresh start down a dark and dangerous path. An unconventional treatment of a conventional story.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 9:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Mon May 30 | 8:30pm | Shoreline Community College
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Press Screenings - SIFF 2016 - Week 2 - Thursday, May 12 [May. 13th, 2016|12:16 pm]
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THURSDAY MAY 12
MICROBE AND GASOLINE
My rating: ***1/2
IMDB rating: 6.6
US Distributor: Screen Media Films
Press Screening: 10:00am
Mood: Make Me Laugh!

FRANCE 2015 (105 min)
Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Audrey Tautou, Ange Dargent, Theophile Baquet, Diane Besnier

I like road trips. Although their vehicle is sub-standand, it's fun. Audrey Tatou has top billing, but she has very little screen time.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 21 | 1:00pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
Mon May 23 | 7:00pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian

THE VIOLIN TEACHER
My rating: ***
IMDB rating: 7.8
Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Creative Streak
BRAZIL 2015 (100 min)
Director: Sérgio Machado
Cast: Lázaro Ramos, Kaique Jesus, Elzio Vieira, Sandra Corveloni, Fernanda De Freitas

The teacher makes a difference to low income kids, but maintains his own identity.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 9:30pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
Sat May 21 | 12:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Wed May 25 | 7:00pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian

THE LURE
My rating: ****
IMDB rating: 6.1
Press Screening: 2:00pm
Mood: WTF

POLAND 2015 (92 min)
Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Cast: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Jakub Gierszal, Kinga Preis, Andrzej Konopka, Zygmunt Malanowicz

A fanciful horror-tinged New Wave rock opera transpires when a pair of man-eating mermaids emerge from the sea to join a Warsaw nightclub act. This was the wackiest polish film I've ever seen! Very enjoyable, though!

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 27 | 9:30pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sat May 28 | 4:00pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sun May 29 | 9:15pm | Shoreline Community College
Director Agnieszka Smoczynska scheduled to attend all screenings
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Press screenings SIFF 2016 - Week 2 Wednesday, May 11 [May. 11th, 2016|07:28 pm]
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MIDSUMMER IN NEWTOWN
My Rating: **
US Distributor: Participant Media
Press Screening: 10:00am
Mood: Open My Eyes
USA 2016 (80 min)
Director: Lloyd Kramer

In a testament to the healing power of art, a theatre director unites the community of Newtown, Connecticut one year after the tragic school shooting of 2012 to help produce a rock musical version of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." A nice idea, but this documentary did not live up to the ideals.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 21 | 3:30pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
Sun May 22 | 5:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Director Lloyd Kramer scheduled to attend both screenings

THE OLIVE TREE
My rating: **3/4
IMDB Rating: 7.5
Original Title: El Olivo
Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Show Me the World!
SPAIN/GERMANY 2016 (98 min)
Director: Icíar Bollaín
Cast: Anna Castillo, Javier Gutiérrez, Pep Ambros

A determined young woman journeys from Spain to Germany to retrieve a gnarled, two-thousand-year-old olive tree that is precious to her ailing grandfather after it has been sold to an energy company, in Icíar Bollaín's earthy, bittersweet fable. In this film, no one communicates honestly to anyone else. We are kept guessing along with the characters.

Festival Screenings:
Sun May 22 | 8:30pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
Sun May 29 | 5:00pm | Renton IKEA Performance Arts Center
Wed June 1 | 6:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown

SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU
My rating: ***
IMDB rating: 6.2
US Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Press Screening: 2:00pm
Mood: Love

USA 2016 (80 min)
Director: Richard Tanne
Cast: Tika Sumpter, Parker Sawyers, Vanessa Bell Calloway

Spend a disarmingly romantic 1989 summer afternoon with the future president of the United States, Barack Obama, as he woos his future First Lady on an epic first date across Chicago's South Side. When was the last time a film was made about a sitting president?

Festival Screenings:
Sat June 11 | 7:00pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sun June 12 | 7:00pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Director Richard Tanne scheduled to attend both screenings
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Press screenings SIFF 2016 - Week 2 Tuesday, May 10 [May. 10th, 2016|10:00 pm]
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SONITA
My rating: ****
IMDB rating: 7.9
Press Screening: 10:00am
Mood: Creative Streak
IRAN 2015 (90 min)
Director: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Featuring: Sonita Alizadeh

Winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, Sonita is a feisty teenage refugee and aspiring rapper from Afghanistan who, after her mother announces an arranged marriage, upends the foundations of documentary filmmaking with a bold request to her filmmaker: Will you buy me? I had not expected to like this documentary as much as I did. Sonita was appealing and the outcome of the film was somewhat suspenseful. Recommended.

Festival Screenings:
Thu May 26 | 6:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sat May 28 | 1:00pm | Lincoln Square Cinemas
Sat June 4 | 3:30pm | Shoreline Community College


TANNA
My rating: ***3/4
IMDB rating: 7.4
US Distributor: Lightyear Entertainment
Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Love
AUSTRALIA 2015 (99 min)
Director: Martin Butler & Bentley Dean
Cast: Marie Wawa, Mungau Dain, Marceline Rofit, Chief Charlie Kahla

This lush, visually breathtaking film, the first shot entirely on the island nation of Vanuatu, is a Romeo and Juliet story. I had the erroneously idea that Vanuatu was two beaches with some mud between them. What a misconception!

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 1:30pm | AMC Pacific Place
Mon May 23 | 8:30pm | Majestic Bay Theatres

ZOOM
My rating: ***
IMDB Rating: 7.0
US Distributor: Screen Media Films
Press Screening: 2:00pm
Mood: WTF
CANADA/BRAZIL 2015 (96 min)
Director: Pedro Morelli
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Alison Pill, Tyler Labine, Mariana Ximenes, Jason Priestley, Don McKellar, Jennifer Irwin

Emma is drawing a comic-book about Edward, who is making film about Michelle, who in turn is writing a book about Emma. They share an interconnected fantasy world in this somewhat hard to follow meta comedy featuring original songs by Kid Koala.

Festival Screenings:
Tue May 31 | 9:15pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Wed June 1 | 9:30pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
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Press screenings SIFF 2016 - Week 2 Monday, May 9 [May. 10th, 2016|09:43 pm]
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THE IF PROJECT
My rating: ***
**WORLD PREMIERE**
Press Screening: 10:00am
Mood: Open My Eyes
USA 2016 (88 min)
Director: Kathlyn Horan
Featuring: Kim Bogucki, Renata Abramson, Tiffany Doll, Angela Vargas, LaKeisha "KeWee" Hamilton

A writing program at a maximum-security women's prison, challenges them to answer: What if things had been different?
The answers range from the superficial to the overwhelming emotional.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 21 | 3:30pm | AMC Pacific Place
Sun May 22 | 11:00am | AMC Pacific Place
Director Kathlyn Horan scheduled to attend both screenings

CLOSET MONSTER
My ratine **1/2
US Distributor: Strand Releasing
Press Screening: Noon
Mood: WTF
CANADA 2015 (90 min)
Director: Stephen Dunn
Cast: Connor Jessup, Aaron Abrams, Joanne Kelly, Aliocha Schneider, Jack Fulton

A boy is given a hamster by his departing mother, she (the hamster) becomes his confidante and best friend. Nothing new here except the hamster.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 9:30pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Mon May 23 | 8:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown

SUNSET SONG
My rating ***
US Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Press Screening: 2:00pm
Mood: Love
UNITED KINGDOM 2015 (135 min)
Director: Terence Davies
Cast: Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan, Kevin Guthrie

Visually lush in Pre-World War I Scotland; although there are some surprises, we know what happens.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 4:00pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sat May 21 | 6:30pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
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Press screenings SIFF 2016 - Week One - Friday, May 6 [May. 7th, 2016|04:27 pm]
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HORIZONS
My rating **
IMDB rating: 7.7
Original title: Horizontes
Press Screening: Friday, May 6, 10:00am
Mood: Creative Streak
Switzerland/Cuba 2015 (70 min)]
DOCUMENTARY
Director: Eileen Hofer
Featuring: Alicia Alonso, Viengsay Valdés, Amanda de Jesús Pérez Duarte

Three generations of Cuban ballerinas, including Alicia Alonso, the 93-year-old founder of the National Ballet of Cuba who refused to give up her work even after losing most of her eyesight. At first I couldn't understand why the camera seemed out of focus. I guess it was trying to give an idea of what Mme. Alonso experienced. The other two ballerinas were given so little screen time as to be unmemorable.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 3:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Tue May 24 | 7:00pm | AMC Pacific Place


THE LAST KING
My rating: ***3/4
IMDB rating: 6.2
Original title: Birkebeinerne
US Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Press Screening: Friday, May 6, 12:00pm
Mood: Thrill Me!
Norway 2015 (100 min)
Director: Nils Gaup
Cast: Thorbjorn Harr, Jakob Oftebro, Kristofer Hivju, Pal Sverre Hagen

This action packed historical epic is set in the vast snowy wilderness of 11th-century Norway. Some
of the scenes stretch the boundaries of credulity, but didn't affect my enjoyment. I'll be sure to tell my friends who ski to go see it. I kept thinking of the Norwegian origins of the biathalon, except here they're using bows and arrows, not guns.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 20 | 7:00pm | Majestic Bay Theatres
Mon May 23 | 9:30pm | SIFF Cinema Egyptian


INDIGNATION
My rating: ****3/4
IMDB Rating: 7.6
Press Screening: Friday, May 6, 2:00pm
Mood: Love
USA 2016 (109 min)
Cast: James Schamus
Featuring: Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Tracy Letts, Linda Emond, Danny Burstein, Ben Rosenfield

One of the best screen-plays I've seen. The alienation felt by a Jewish college student from his family and school perfectly conveys the atmosphere in the USA in the 1950s.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 21 | 6:30pm | AMC Pacific Place
Sun May 22 | 3:00pm | Lincoln Square Cinemas
Director James Schamus scheduled to attend both screenings
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