By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
Some recommendations for the coming week at the Seattle International Film Festival:
“The Ambassador.” Both outrageous and outraged, this documentary follows journalist Mads Brugger as he bribes his way to an African ambassadorship and demonstrates how the illegal trade in blood diamonds can function with full diplomatic immunity. A movie both shocking and hilarious; 3:30 p.m. today, Uptown theater; 6:15 p.m. Sunday, Harvard Exit.
“True Wolf.” A sincere documentary about a Montana couple who adopt a wolf puppy and then decide to raise the animal as an adult. You might question this good-natured couple’s sanity at times, but the movie is dogged about advancing the idea that wolves pose little danger to man; 4 p.m. today, Uptown.
“The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” One of those rare movies that depict human goodness as a believable option for behavior in the world. A staunchly left-leaning middle-class couple in Marseilles have their ideals tested when they experience employment loss and a violent crime. Veteran director Robert Guediguian guides this with a wise touch that never feels sentimental; 4 p.m. today, Egyptian theater.
“Keyhole.” Canadian goof Guy Maddin directs this black-and-white excursion into bizarre world, which blends the gangster picture with the haunted-house movie, but might just be a really, really puzzling purgatory; 4:30 p.m. today, Uptown theater.
“Romancing in Thin Air.” The veteran Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To is so prolific, he can’t be expected to make a gem each time out. And this one is a lesser offering, although its wacky blend of media satire and morbid romance is definitely intriguing to watch. It’s about a beloved movie star who meets a modest hotel-keeper in the high mountains while on an alcoholic bender; 10 tonight, Uptown; 4 p.m. Monday, Egyptian.
“The Revisionaries.” A documentary about the Texas School Board, which was in the news recently because of the inordinate amount of sway it carries over the rest of the country’s school textbooks. As the movie shows, that sway comes from conservative evangelicals, who manage to re-write history based on their own sketchy knowledge and inclinations; 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Harvard Exit; 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Uptown.
“The Substance: Albert Hofmann’s LSD.” A surprisingly absorbing documentary about LSD, the drug once treated as full of fascinating applications for the human mind but which fell out of favor during its heyday in the 1960s; 9 p.m. Saturday, Uptown; 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Uptown.
“The Fourth State.” This German production has a strong pulpy plotline (journalist gets chewed up by Russia’s repressive system) and a movie-star performance from Moritz Bleibtreu. It might not be art, but it is, as the saying goes, pulse-pounding; 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Uptown; 9:45 p.m. Monday, Uptown.
“The Chase.” We’re promised a restored print of a 1946 film noir starring Robert Cummings, about a returning WWII vet who gets involved in shady circumstances, something that’s been known to happen in the dark world of noir; 6 p.m. Sunday, Uptown.
“Welcome to Doe Bay.” The hang-loose music festival on Orcas Island receives an amiable treatment, emphasizing how anti-big-time the whole operation is. Good music (much of it coming from Northwest bands) suffuses this documentary, of course; 9:15 p.m. Sunday, Egyptian; 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Uptown.
“Moonrise Kingdom.” The much-anticipated new film from Wes Anderson is a typically winsome affair, about two adolescents who run away from home on a New England island in 1965. The storybook doings are decorated by actors including Bruce Willis, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand; 7 p.m. Tuesday, Egyptian.
“Carrie.” Anticipating the Sissy Spacek tribute, here’s a blood-soaked glimpse of her 1976 hit, Brian De Palma’s high-school gothic about a girl with very special powers; 10 p.m. Wednesday, Uptown.
“Tribute to Sissy Spacek.” The actress herself sits down for a conversation about her career, in one of SIFF’s marquee events. She’s known as a gracious and delightful guest, so this one should be a pleasant evening; the talk will be followed by a screening of Terence Malick’s “Badlands,” another of Spacek’s terrific early roles; 7 p.m. Thursday, Uptown.