The Seattle International Film Festival starts Thursday and will run through June 9 featuring over 400 films from more than 80 countries.
Seattle film critic David Chen can’t wait. Chen is the editor-at-large of Slash Film and co-hosts “The Tobolowsky Files,” a radio program featuring true stories of life, love, and Hollywood as told by actor Stephen Tobolowsky.
Chen shares his excitement with KUOW by previewing his most anticipated movies.
“The Spectacular Now,” May 24 at SIFF Cinema Uptown; May 25 at Harvard Exit
This coming-of-age story starring Shailene Woodley, who was a hit in “The Descendants” with George Clooney, could be a “Little Miss Sunshine”-type festival breakout film according to Chen.
“The Way, Way Back,” May 25 at SIFF Cinema Uptown; May 26 at Egyptian Theatre
According to the plot summary, it’s an "uproarious comedy about the funny and sometimes painful summer vacation of an awkward 14 year old and his dysfunctional family;" starring Steve Carrel, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell and Maya Rudolph.
Chen says it looks to touch on the classic elements of youth: “Kids who are growing up, having trouble doing it, and maybe they meet people who help them along the way.”
“We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks," May 17 and May 18 at SIFF Cinema Uptown
This documentary from Oscar winner Alex Gibney explores the story of Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and the largest leak of classified documents ever released to the public.
“Sometimes it feels like documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney pumps out movies faster than the seasons change, but even the most lackluster of his films contain at least a few profound truths here and there. Gibneys' exploration of the Wikileaks saga is sure to shed some interesting light on this controversial topic,” says Chen.
“V/H/S/2,” May 18 at Egyptian Theatre; May 21 at AMC Pacific Place
Moving over to the horror side, this sequel to the 2012 cult hit is an anthology from seven directors centered around a pair of investigators who discover a collection of sadistic short films.
Chen comes to the defense of the found-footage style film and says, “While the first V/H/S suffered from an incredibly weak book-ending premise and some ho-hum segments, this sequel apparently fixes both of those issues and becomes more than the sum of its parts.”
“Stories We Tell,” May 17 at Harvard Exit; May 19 at SIFF Cinema Uptown
Director Sarah Polley, of the critically acclaimed “Away From Her,” makes a genre-twisting turn by exploring a family’s secrets through varying narratives of different members within the family.
“I wasn't a huge fan of Sarah Polley's last effort, ‘Take This Waltz,’ but I’ve heard this film is remarkable, very personal and moving,” says Chen. “Polley is a relatively new and young talent, and I'm eager to see what she does with such a personal premise.”