Seattle International Film Festival 2018 Wrap-Up

ef87bb37d9eeb0f90349e88ae209cf63562e9e06The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival ran from May 17th to June 10th. That’s 25 solid days of movie madness. It kicked off with the premiere of Isabel Coixet’s The Bookshop, starring Emily Mortimer as a widow who uses her “bibliophilia” to open the hearts and minds of the conservative residents of a small English town.

SIFF’s juicy centerpiece was a movie that will undoubtedly take America by storm in the coming months: Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You. Riley was on hand to introduce his surreal social justice comedy to a sold-out crowd.

Gus Van Sant closed out the fest with Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot. The latest offering from the veteran indie director stars Joaquin Phoenix as John Callahan, a celebrated Portland cartoonist who struggles with substance abuse and being confined to a wheelchair.

Melanie Lynskey spent an afternoon talking to fans about her impressive career and promoting Megan Griffiths’ latest outing, Sadie. Lynskey stars as a working-class single mother who underestimates her angry teenage daughter (Sophia Mitri Schloss).

HIGHLIGHTS:
People often ask me for recommendations from the festival, and I’ll have 1 or 2 titles to tout. But there were so many standouts this year, that my answer is, “How much time to do you have?” I try to focus on female-centric films and this year’s lineup made it easy…

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Film Review: The Long Dumb Road

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The Long Dumb Road resembles an update of Albert Brooks’ 1985 masterpiece, Lost in America. Only instead of yuppies attempting to emulate Easy Rider, we follow a 19-year-old boy who wants to experience “the real America” before matriculating to college and manhood. Director Hannah Fidell, heretofore known for dramatic fare like A Teacher and 6 Years, joins forces with Carson Mell (Another Evil) to breathe new life into the odd couple road trip comedy.

Fresh off his sheltered suburban Austin upbringing, Nathan (Tony Revolori, The Grand Budapest Hotel) documents his trip on a 35 mm Pentax camera, operating as if his photos of dive bar patrons, abandoned buildings, and strip malls are groundbreaking works. But when his mini-van won’t start, his trip changes course both figuratively and literally. His car trouble serendipitously leads to Richard (Jason Matzoukas, The League, The House), a mechanic who has just tendered his middle-fingered resignation from his employers. Richard is upbeat and friendly, albeit rough around the edges. Nathan admits that he’d hoped to meet interesting people on his trip and as Richard puts it, “I’m interesting as fuck!” So, Nathan agrees to give Richard a ride in exchange for his services…

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