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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 17 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 42
2014 SLGFF Preview - Final Weekend
Arts & Entertainment
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2014 SLGFF Preview - Final Weekend

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

As the 19th annual Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival draws to a close, moving to Pacific Place for the final weekend of shows, the eclectically programmed event uses cinema to crisscross into just about every conceivable corner of the LGBT spectrum. There's quite a bit to choose from, not the least of which is a family-friendly screening of the 1979 classic The Muppet Movie, as fitting an archival selection (if you spend the time thinking about it) as anything our friends at Three Dollar Bill Cinema could have chosen for this year's event.

The closing night film is Susanna Fogel's Life Partners with Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs and Adam Brody, and by all accounts the 'Chasing Life' showrunner has apparently crafted a surprisingly perceptive, yet also funny, sweet and endearing, feature-length narrative debut. Sadly, a screener for this one wasn't forthcoming so in the end audiences will have to decide for themselves whether the film has been worthy of its early buzz. Personally, I'm kind of excited to see for myself as I'm a fairly big fan of all three actors and think Fogel has talents her ABC Family television series failed to fully capitalize on.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts in regards to a number of this final weekend's cinematic offerings. Enjoy!

Final Weekend Capsule Reviews:

Anita's Last Cha-Cha (Oct 17, Pacific Place, 7:00 pm) Sweetly endearing Filipino import that works best during its initial act where it introduces charming 12-year-old Anita with ferociously fiery and unabashedly playful aplomb. Film loses its way a bit towards the end, the inherent melodrama of the climactic sequences weighing things down a fair bit. Overall, however, this is something a minor delight, the first two-thirds in particular an engaging treatise on first crushes and awakened romantic curiosities that's universal in its magnetic authenticity.

The Dark Place (Oct 18, Pacific Place, 9:45 pm) Painfully clich├ęd and mordantly paced thriller about an estranged son, Keegan Dark (Blaise Embry), returning home to his family's vineyard only to find himself embroiled in a cryptic mystery, the fate of his family's estate and who will ultimately control it resting on its outcome. Movie takes forever to get going, and even at only 90 minutes this is a long, almost unendurable slog to nowhere of interest that tried my patience pretty much right from the start. The only truly redeeming quality is David Berry's sublime cinematography, the film having a magnetic visual allure to it that at least in some small way makes up for at least a couple of its more obvious, and in the end odious, shortcomings.

In the Turn (Oct 18, Pacific Place, 7:15 pm) I love this film. It's just so close to perfect I absolutely cannot get enough of it, this documentary chronicling The Vagine Regime roller derby team's embracing and celebration of a 10-year-old Transgender child as heartwarming and as euphoric as anything I've seen all year. Miraculous but never heavy-handed, the movie paints an even-handed portrait of youthful exuberance and adult acceptance that's so all-encompassing the result borders on astonishing. As close to a must-see motion picture as anything this year's SLGFF has offered up for viewing.

Kumu Hina (Oct 18, Pacific Place, 2:30 pm) Inspiring and thoughtful documentary highlighting an aspect of Hawaiian culture most won't even know exists let alone has been celebrated for time untold, directors Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson presenting things in a straightforward, at times bordering on didactic, fashion. At the center of everything is Hina, a 'manu,' a person celebrated for embracing both male and female aspects of their personality. It's an intriguing, borderline fascinating, portrait, and if not for the moderately uninspired matter-of-fact approach on the part of the documentarians this potentially could have been something close to exceptional.

Match (Oct 17, Pacific Place, 7:15 pm) Based on the Tony Award-winning play, writer/director Stephen Belber's Match is a joy from start to finish, featuring a glorious star turn from Patrick Stewart as a wily, highly eccentric choreographer worth the price of a ticket all in its lonesome. A bit too obvious at times, and, somewhat oddly, while Matthew Lillard is sublime as one half of a Seattle couple who head to New York to seek him out, the usually reliable Carla Gugino feels strangely miscast as his fiery wife. Still, there's tons to enjoy, not the least of which is a crackerjack finale that had me grinning from ear to ear, the resulting enterprise exceedingly entertaining even if all facets aren't working in complete tandem for the entirety of the film's 90-minute running.

The Muppet Movie (Oct 18, Pacific Place, 12:30 pm) 'Why are, there so many, songs, about rainbows? And what's on the o---ther side...' Just go for gosh sakes. You know you want to. Go make that rainbow connection and have an amazing day afterwards.

Xenia (Oct 18, Pacific Place, 7:00 pm) Another movie I wish I liked more than I actually do, this Greek-Belgium-French co-production isn't without its merits, not the least of which are the central performances of its main two young stars Kostas Nikouli and Nikos Gelia. But the movie meanders way too much, at almost 130 minutes it's also frustratingly long, never embracing its ideas and themes fully enough to make sitting through the film until the end worthwhile. Pretty to look at, not without some stunning, affectingly emotional vignettes, Xenia is nonetheless disappointing, taking forever to build to a conclusion I saw coming long before it finally came to pass.

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2014 SLGFF Preview - Final Weekend
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