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  • Framing Pictures is back

    Framing Pictures is busting out all over, or about to. Tomorrow—Friday, Feb. 15, 5 p.m.—brings our monthly conversation at Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave. (between Pike and Pine). So many things to talk about, we may not get to them all. SIFF's tribute to the inspired animation from Studio Ghibli ... Fellini's 8 1/2 at the Grand Illusion ... Miguel Gomes' highly praised Tabu at NWFF ... Steven Soderbergh's last (really?) film, Side Effects ... why people insist on talking of movies in terms of what they're "about" (Zero Dark Thirty endorses torture?) instead of what they are (Zero Dark Thirty provocative, challenging, ambiguous). And perhaps more.
         And more definitely includes our November 2012 session, belatedly coming to The Seattle Channel tonight, Feb. 14, 8:30 p.m. Comcast/Xfinity has it at 21 on your dial—or 321 if you dare look at us in HD.
         And that session will also be available online at The Seattle Channel website, any minute now.
         Whichever and wherever, it's always free. Do join us.

  • Chasing Mavericks

    Everybody involving in the making of Chasing Mavericks swore this surfing film would be different. Well, good intentions don't hang ten.
  • Holiday feast, New Year's hangover

    Jazzed at the prospect of two months packed with holiday pleasure, from Thanksgiving turkey feasts to Christmas' orgy of gift-giving and getting? Jump-start your cinematic fun by turning off your Smartphone and your iPad and your monster-screen TV! 'Tis the season when movie marquees sparkle and shine, luring us into 2012's biggest, best and sexiest flicks.
  • 3, 2, 1 ... Frankie Go Boom

    Kathleen Murphy finds that, "Though deliciously rude and crude, 3, 2, 1 ... Frankie Go Boom possesses a surprisingly sweet heart."

  • War of the Buttons

    During one week last year, two film versions of Louis Pergaud's popular 1912 book War of the Buttons dueled for pride of place on French theater screens. Having hit the American critical and commercial jackpot with French imports like The Artist and The Intouchables, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was happy to snatch up the Buttons guaranteed by helmer Christophe Barratier to be an entirely "new" take on the familiar story (already filmed three times) about country kids playing at war. 

  • Framing Pictures seeks connection

    The October conversation takes place this coming Friday the 19th, 5 p.m. at Northwest Film Forum. Herald/KUOW film critic Robert Horton, Parallax View linksman Bruce Reid, and I shall settle onto (and try to keep from sliding off) our chairs for an hour-and-a-half of movie talk. Still at left is from the Australian Wake in Fright, with Donald Pleasence, always a party animal. 

  • Fall movies: Embracing or escaping reality?

    Used to be that hidden in the dark of a movie theater full of anonymous fellow travelers, we could get lost in dreams and nightmares, sometimes wildly fantastic, sometimes as real as right now.
    But these days, the flickers, so promiscuously accessible in portable frames and big-screen rec rooms, have lost a good deal of that private, privileged magic.

  • Liberal Arts

    A syllabus of smart ideas rather than a persuasive life-changing journey, Josh Radnor's Liberal Arts is another in a long line of recent cinematic Bildungsroman. That fancy literary handle describes stories about sensitive souls, usually a young man, coming of age—or trying to—courtesy of eye-opening and/or mind-blowing experiences. Hollywood and indie helmers alike continue to be hot for a particular big-screen variant of this genre: movies about not-so-young Peter Pans stuck in something like permanent adolescence, dudes still struggling to make it over the hump into adulthood.

  • Getting 'Lonesome' at Framing Pictures

    The three amigos convene for Framing Pictures' September session at the usual cantina (Northwest Film Forum) this coming Friday, Sept. 14, at 5 p.m.
  • Fall Movie Preview

    Suggests Kathleen Murphy at MSN/Movies:
    Step back and catch your breath with these cool fall picks coming your way.
  • Premium Rush

    Premium Rush
    opens on a helmeted bike messenger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) flying slo-mo across the screen, a long-legged bird against the sky. How daredevil biker Wilee (as in Coyote) came to be so dangerously and beautifully airborne requires backtracking through a thriller narrative packed with twists and turns to eventually fetch up where we began.
  • Framing Pictures ... Action!

    Framing Pictures is due for its August outing this coming Friday, Aug. 17, 5 p.m. at Northwest Film Forum. Click "Read More" to do just that.

  • Step Up Revolution

    Reprising the franchise’s surefire money-minting strategy, Step Up Revolution detonates five or six hyperkinetic dance extravaganzas in dazzling 3-D, timed to obliterate a traditionally saggy storyline. In the Step Up mythology, dreamers, losers and misfits always pull themselves up by their bootstraps, hoofing their way out of mean streets to fame—e.g., prizes, dance scholarships, Nike contracts. It’s a showbiz fairy tale as old as the movies; what’s surprising is how successfully this stale slice of the American Dream sells, in a marketplace supposedly dominated by the hip-kid demographic.

  • Framing Pictures was framed

    Framing Pictures for Friday, July 13, 5 p.m. at Northwest Film Forum will likely feature talk about Margaret, the Kenneth Lonergan picture most of the few people who have seen it regard as a masterpiece. Given only limited theatrical release, the film is now out on disk in its theatrical version (two-and-a-half hours) and also an extended cut (three hours). Lonergan stands by both versions ... but can he explain why only the theatrical version is offered in Blu-ray? Talk about perversity.
          Also likely to be touched on: Jean Renoir's peerless 1937 classic Grand Illusion, opening a week's run at NWFF this very night; a SIFF showcasing of vintage films as preserved by the Library of Congress (Keaton, Fritz Lang, W.C. Fields); and the dean of American film criticism, Andrew Sarris. Who knows, maybe Kathleen Murphy can be persuaded to say why she's changed her mind about Channing Tatum. Sharing the panel with her will be Richard T. Jameson and Bruce Reid (Robert Horton is away just now).
          Attendance is free. You can pay for some beer or wine if you like. 1515 12th Ave, between Pine and Pike.
          Yes, that is us in the picture for a change. If you'd like to catch our June 15 session, visit http://www.seattlechannel.org/AnEveningWith/

  • Red Lights

    Kathleen Murphy writes:

    Paranormal investigators Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) spend their time finding the fraudulent in every outbreak of the weird and inexplicable. "We look for red lights," Weaver's perpetually pinch-faced prof lectures her class. "Discordant notes ... things that shouldn't be there." And there you have it, the spot-on definition of Red Lights, a discordant thing that shouldn't be there, or here, or anywhere.
  • Framing Pictures X 2

    The Friday the 13th movies are such a crummy franchise that they should absorb any real-world curse attending that date when it turns up on the calendar. Or so we tell ourselves as we prepare for the next Framing Pictures outing, Friday, July 13, 5 p.m. at Northwest Film Forum. Co-founder Robert Horton will not be available for this session, but Richard T. Jameson and Kathleen Murphy look forward to talking movies with flâneur extraordinaire Bruce Reid. It's way too early to know what we're talking about ... wait, that didn't come out right. Just so we know what we're talking about when the 13th rolls around. Attendance is free; beer and wine, not. NWFF is at 1515 12th Ave.
          But wait, there's more. The June 15 event was preserved for posterity by a crew from The Seattle Channel (21 on your dial), and an only slightly edited version of that will be televised starting the night before our next session! We talked about Montgomery Clift, the world of Jan Svankmajer, the fanboy dissing of Ridley Scott's Prometheus, and the kickoff of the Jean Arthur series at SAM, among other things. At this point the Xfinity program guide lists five showings: 8:30-10 p.m. Thursday, July 12; 10-11:30 p.m. Friday, July 13; twice on Saturday, July 14, at 5-6:30 p.m. and 9-10:30 p.m.; and in the wee hours of Sunday the 15th, 1:30-3 a.m. What this looks and sounds like, we have no idea, but we invite you to check it out. And many thanks to producer Shannon Gee. —RTJ

  • Son of Framing Pictures

    Framing Pictures is due for hanging again. Hanging out with, that is. This Friday, June 15, from 5 p.m. till around 6:45, Robert Horton, Richard T. Jameson, and Kathleen Murphy will settle onto chairs in the smaller auditorium at Northwest Film Forum for another round of conversation about movies. The panel is considering talking about Montgomery Clift, the subject of a three-film salute at Seattle Art Museum, and perhaps someone to cue a discussion of why certain actors become important at certain times in life. SAM is also gearing up for a six-film summer series of screwball comedies starring the incandescent Jean Arthur. And how can it be that Ridley Scott's Prometheus isn't being embraced by the fanboys? Plumb the mystery at NWFF,1515 12th Ave. (between Pine and Pike on Capitol Hill). No money need change hands, unless you want some beer or wine to go with the conversational flow.

  • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
    Third in the lucrative series, this European adventure grabs you up for a brightly colored, fast-action odyssey full of energy and pizzazz—and never lets go. Three-dimensional effects are integral in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, climaxing in a spectacularly surreal laser light show under the Biggest Top ever. All in all, a "Mad"-cap romp that plays it straight....
  • The Samaritan
    "Like most casualties of Noirland, Foley (Samuel L. Jackson) is pretty much DOA from the get-go."

    So begins Kathleen Murphy's review, which continues to begin on the next page.... 
  • Framing Pictures' dark shadows

    Nothing's set in stone, we are but dust in the wind, and anyway Mitt Romney is going to claim credit for whatever we accomplish. So at Framing Pictures this Friday, May 11, 5 p.m. we may or may not get around to all these topics we've proposed for ourselves. Tim Burton has a new movie, Dark Shadows, which cues us to consider the improbable nature of his success in the mainstream film industry. Also, Dark Shadows is a salute to and embroidery on a late-Sixties TV show some of us know well—not necessarily the same some-of-us who came to the boffo hit The Avengers knowing well the comic book superheroes comprising the title ensemble. What size role does a shared past play in the reception—or tuning out—of movies such as these? Speaking of the past, our hosts Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave.) have a Preservation film series underway—ever heard of Rex Ingram? How about the late Amos Vogel, Ernest Callenbach, and Charles Higham, three men who made different sorts of mark on film culture? We should remember. Please join the conversation with Robert Horton, Kathleen Murphy, and me. It's freewheeling, and free. —RTJ

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