Weekend Film Agenda August 28

ink_imageContemporary science fiction films typically rely very heavily on their special effects to tell their stories, effects which are often quite costly. It doesn’t take a fortune to make a good movie, though. Case in point: Ink (YouTube trailer here), the new release from Double Edge films, a story about the forces that battle for human souls through their dreams that manages to tell an intriguing story with powerful visuals every bit as stunning as you’d expect from a big ticket production from the majors even though it was shot on the usual shoestring indie budget. The benevolent Storytellers give people good dreams that inspire and give hope. The Incubi use nightmares to attack and destroy. Caught between them is a man who must face down his own demons to rescue his little girl when she is stolen away by the Incubi. This extraordinary new film screens for two nights this weekend at Northwest Film Forum, Friday and Saturday at 11 pm.

Also at NWFF: Over a hundred thousand protesters took to the streets of Burma in 2007, the start of a rebellion against government oppression. As in Iran this year, the Burmese government shut down the media and free communication in and out of the country, forcing citizens to use new technologies to make their voices heard. Members of the Democratic Voice of Burma took to the streets to film the rebellion as it was happening and then smuggled their footage into Thailand to share it with the rest of the world. Burma VJ shows you the stories they fought so hard to tell.

Much closer to home is the Columbia Basin in Southwestern Washington, an area still struggling to recover from its past as a source of plutonium production in the 1940s. Arid Lands is a thoughtful documentary about the many different perspectives and opinions on the largest environmental clean up site in the world, featuring insights from Yakama Indians, farmers, housing developers, environmental activists and radiation scientists. Also playing at NWFF.

Many a frustrated actor has tried breaking free of typecasting by taking on a completely new type of role, but few have succeeded so well as Tyrone Power in 1947’s Nightmare Alley, on screen at the Grand Illusion. Best known at the time as the lead in a series of popular romances, Powers turns to the dark side as a drifter who takes on a job as a carnival barker where he becomes fascinated by the show’s Geek, who bites the heads off of live chickens in exchange for a bottle of rotgut and a place to sleep. When he’s not watching the Geek, he’s worming his way into the arms of the widow of a mentalist, using her to learn her late husband’s tricks before deserting her for another woman. Even after achieving success with his new wife, Powers remains dissatisfied and he soon joins forces with an unethical psychiatrist who helps him bilk the wealthy by convincing them he can communicate with their deceased loved ones. He charges them plenty, but it’s him who pays the highest cost in the end.

The tough and lovely ladies of the Rat City Rollergirls are the stars of Blood on the Flat Track: The Rise of the Rat City Rollergirls, an excellent locally produced documentary about the first two seasons of the popular local league. At Central Cinema.

SAM pairs a series of short films by Stan Brakhage, David Rimmer, and Yoko Ono with a screening of Two-Lane Blacktop, a cult film from 1971 in which James Taylor and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson star as a couple of disaffected young men who race their souped up ’55 Chevy across the backroads of America. August 28 at 7:30 pm.

Midnight at the Egyptian: This is Spinal Tap. a movie that by now should require no more introduction.

It’s the 40th anniversary of Woodstock and director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) celebrates with Taking Woodstock, a comedy inspired by the true story of young Elliott Tiber who leaves behind the happening Greenwich Village scene to help his parents run their motel in upstate New York. Hoping to get some new business for the motel, he calls the producers of some hippie rock festival who’ve just had their permit request turned down. The rest is, literally, history. At Metro Cinemas.

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