by Robert Horton
I’m a Seattle native, and I think a lot about the importance of civic memory, especially in the rush-rush-rush of the booming metropolis that Seattle has become. We must hold on to the people and the places that made this town what it was. So anybody who loves film in Seattle should pause to consider the contribution of Dan Ireland, who died on April 14 in Los Angeles.
Dan and Darryl Macdonald came down from Vancouver, B.C., to open the Moore Egyptian Theatre in Seattle in 1975. But they didn’t just “open” the theater. They dolled it up, taking the Moore, a 1907-era palace long in decline, and slapping an Egyptian motif all over it. The idea was slightly cool, slightly corny, more than slightly camp—a signature blend for the duo. They started the Seattle International Film Festival in 1976, moved operations to the next incarnation of the Egyptian, on Pine Street, in 1980, and built SIFF into the gonzo party it is today. It can be argued that the festival hasn’t topped its run in the 1980s, when it became known for launching foreign titles and American indies (though nobody called them that then) and played host to a fabulous roster of visiting filmmakers. Read More
by Melanie Reed
We love them, we hate them, we fear them, we want to be like them, we want to be unlike them, we want them to love us. These thoughts about our parents shape our lives. For their part, they love us, they neglect us, they compete with us, and they retain a memory of when we were still in diapers. Why make a film about one’s parents? Documentary “tributes,” as appropriate as they may be if the parents are aging or famous, become more interesting when family connections are also explored, in ways that let a complex shape unfold. These kinds of film treatments approach a suspenseful mystery story that, in including many angles, is often only partially revealed.
by Greg Carlson
Another Record Store Day is upon is, and the vinyl business is a-booming. Recent articles from music and business websites alike have been treating 2015 vinyl sales as if they were stock from a hot e-commerce company, praising their 32% growth and over $400 million in revenue. When analyzing the surge of vinyl sales, Forbes included a list of the top 10 best-selling albums of 2015, with a decent mix of classic albums and current artists that cater to several generations of music aficionados. In at number 10 was the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. The cinephile in me was happy to see a movie soundtrack represented among Adele and Arctic Monkeys. Seeing as the GotG soundtrack consists of popular hits from the ‘70s, listening to it on a vintage audio device is apt. If you’re a Guardians purist, and argue that the ideal way to experience this soundtrack is on cassette, you’re in luck – Disney thought of you during 2014’s Record Store Day’s Black Friday Sale. Read More
by John S
IT’S LIKE THIS: This month, the Scarecrow Project is celebrating Earth Month by reviewing “World War Tree” movies. Which, I guess, denotes films wherein plants and flora play some pivotal part, for better or worse, in the unfolding narrative. Our review today is the awesome 1978 entry in the distinguished and utterly creepy Body Snatcher series. Just like the 1970s themselves, this movie is gorgeous, colorful, freaky, terrifying, and bizarrely hilarious – all at the same time. It’s a hell of a trip, man.
By Norm Nielsen and Melanie Reed
A film can be like literature, like music, or like a painting. Robert Altman’s 1977 film 3 Women looks like a soft watercolor landscape painting and evokes an oneiric mood. Gerald Busby’s atonal musical score is also designed to wrench the viewer out of normality. The psychodrama storyline is secondary to the tone, which shifts from humorous to sad, then to dread, and finally to defiance. Although it was written, produced, and directed by one of America’s foremost filmmakers of the New Hollywood Era, 3 Women feels very European, possibly because Altman modeled his approach on Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2, and Luis Buñuel films like The Exterminating Angel.