What’s Seattle Saying – February 22, 2013

WhatsSeattleSayingLogoEach week, Should I See It will be looking to its left and to its right, collating the thoughts of many of the film reviewers and writers located in and around the Seattle community.

OPENING IN SEATTLE THIS WEEKEND (February 22, 2013):

    • Bless Me, Ultima
    • Dark Skies
    • Snitch

See what the Seattle critics say about these films…after the cut!

 

 

BlessMeUltimaBLESS ME, ULTIMA
Starring: Luke Ganalon, Miriam Colon
Rating: PG-13 (for some violence and sexual references.)
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 106 Minutes
Director: Carl Franklin

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Based on the controversial novel by acclaimed author Rudolfo Anaya, BLESS ME, ULTIMA is a turbulent coming-of-age story about Antonio Marez (Luke Ganalon), a young boy growing up in New Mexico during World War II. When a mysterious curandera named Ultima (Miriam Colon) comes to live with his family, she teaches him about the power of the spiritual world. As their relationship grows, Antonio begins to question the strict Catholic doctrine that he has been taught by his parents (Dolores Heredia and Benito Martinez). Through a series of mysterious and at times terrifying events Antonio must grapple with questions about his own destiny, the relationship between good vs. evil and ultimately how to reconcile Ultima’s powers with those of the God of his church – Film website.

WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT Bless Me, Ultima?

Check - YesAdam Gehrke, Adamgehrke.com
“…as an examination of American history in the Southwest the film does achieve a clear snapshot of our past.”

Check - YesRobert Horton, Everett Herald
“A plain but effective adaptation of Rudolfo Anaya’s classic novel of Hispanic culture, set in New Mexico after World War II.”

X - NoAllan Almachar, The MacGuffin
Bless Me, Ultima feels like it has something important to say but can’t find the right words to say it.”

Check - YesJohn Hartl,The Seattle Times
“…handsome, well-cast but frustratingly choppy adaptation…”

Four of our local critics found time to take a look at Bless Me, Ultima, and the results were mixed. One praise, one pan, and one view squarely in the middle, this quiet, independent release is hoping to find an audience with Hispanic moviegoers and beyond that targeted demographic. Nationally, critics were much more in favor of it and while our small sample-set is mixed, Rotten Tomatoes scores the film with an impressive 81%.

DarkSkiesDARK SKIES
Starring: Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton
Rating: PG-13 (for violence, terror throughout, sexual material, drug content and language – all involving teens.)
Genre: Horror
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Director: Scott Stewart

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
From the producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister comes Dark Skies: a supernatural thriller that follows a young family living in the suburbs. As husband and wife Daniel and Lacey Barret witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family, their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the Barret family is being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lacey take matters in their own hands to solve the mystery of what is after their family. – The Weinstein Company.

WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT Dark Skies?

I wish we could tell you. Joining an almost weekly list of films not screened for critics, with two more coming next week (sigh…), Dark Skies has not yet crossed the eyes of our local panel. Nationally, the consensus of those who billed their bosses for a Friday morning out at the movies, has been subpar (36%), but not historically bad, as is the case with many films withheld from critical review. Director Scott Stewart (Priest, Legion) has delivered two of the worst films possible in the last few years and many feel Dark Skies is a marked improvement. Wish we could tell you more about it, but The Weinstein Company wouldn’t let us.

SnitchSNITCH
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Barry Pepper, Susan Sarandon
Rating: PG-13 (for drug content and sequences of violence.)
Genre: Action
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Director: Ric Roman Waugh

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
In the fast-paced action thriller SNITCH, Dwayne Johnson stars as a father whose teenage son is wrongly accused of a drug distribution crime and is looking at a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Desperate and determined to rescue his son at all costs, he makes a deal with the U.S. attorney to work as an undercover informant and infiltrate a drug cartel on a dangerous mission — risking everything, including his family and his own life. - Summit Entertainment.

WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT Snitch?

Check - YesAdam Gehrke, Adamgehrke.com
“…it’s hard to see Johnson as a hulking underdog of sorts, but we can safely stamp “pass” across this one.”

Check - YesSara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
Snitch is hardly original…but it does have style, it certainly has energy and it remembers to put story and character before action.

Check - YesTim Hall, The People’s Critic@SeattlePI.com
“…a steady action thriller that reminds us why we all wanted Dwayne Johnson to do action movies in the first place.”

X - NoBrad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
“…too long for its own good and it’s trying too hard to be something it’s not with a leading man that simply isn’t…”

Check - YesMoira Macdonald,The Seattle Times
“…a competent if unremarkable film…”

Met with mostly begrudging recommendations, Snitch delivers just enough to give it an overall approval from our panel of critics. Again, with a smaller than normal sample-set, the film performed better here than nationally, where critics have been indifferent and Rotten Tomatoes has levied the score at 52%.

FINAL CONSENSUS
Our panel frequently remind people to avoid the new movies this weekend and get ready for the pending 85th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday. All nine Best Picture nominees are available either in theaters or on home video/video on demand, so settle in with some popcorn, jammies, and a blanket no matter where you are and see some pretty impressive films from the year recently passed.

WHAT’S SEATTLE SAYING’S OSCAR PREDICTIONS

The following panelists released Oscar predictions by press time for Sunday’s 85th Annual Academy Awards ceremony (articles are linked with their names):

Brian the Movie Guy, Robert Horton, Edward Davidson (MacGuffin), Benjamin Rendell (MacGuffin), Sara Michelle Fetters, Brad Brevet, Moira Macdonald, Ian Dinsmore, and Michael Ward.

Based on their “ballots”, here are your expected winners for the 85th Oscar ceremony:

Best Picture: ARGO
Best Directing: STEVEN SPIELBERG, Lincoln

Best Actor: DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, Lincoln
Best Actress: JENNIFER LAWRENCE, Silver Linings Playbook
Best Supporting Actor: TOMMY LEE JONES, Lincoln
Best Supporting Actress: ANNE HATHAWAY, Les Misérables

Best Adapted Screenplay: ARGO
Best Original Screenplay: AMOUR

Best Animated Feature: WRECK-IT RALPH
Best Foreign Language Film: AMOUR

Best Animated Short Film: PAPERMAN
Best Cinematography: LIFE OF PI
Best Costume Design: ANNA KARENINA
Best Documentary Feature: SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
Best Documentary Short: INOCENTE
Best Film Editing: ARGO
Best Live Action Short: CURFEW
Best Makeup & Hairstyling: LES MISÉRABLES
Best Original Score: LIFE OF PI
Best Original Song: SKYFALL (“Skyfall”)
Best Production Design
: ANNA KARENINA
Best Sound Editing: LIFE OF PI
Best Sound Mixing: LES MISÉRABLES
Best Visual Effects: LIFE OF PI

FINAL PROJECTED TALLY OF WINNERS:
Life of Pi – 4
Argo – 3
Les Miserables – 3
Lincoln – 3
Amour – 2
Anna Karenina – 2
Curfew – 1
Inocente – 1
Paperman – 1
Searching For Sugar Man – 1
Silver Linings Playbook – 1
Skyfall – 1
Wreck-It Ralph – 1

EXPECTED OPENINGS IN SEATTLE NEXT WEEK:

  • 21 And Over
  • Jack The Giant Slayer
  • The Last Exorcism Part II
  • Phantom

What’s Seattle Saying surveyed critics include:

Adam Gehrke, AdamGehrke.com
Brian The Movie Guy, KOMO Radio/Star 101.5 FM/Brianthemovieguy.com
Robert Horton, Everett Herald
Brian Zitzelman, Examiner.com
Erik Samdahl, FilmJabber
Laremy Legel, Film.com/Rope Of Silicon
Staff Reviewers from The MacGuffin
Sara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
Tim Hall, The People’s Critic@SeattlePI.com
Brad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
Staff Reviewers from The Seattle Times
Ian Dinsmore, Seattleite
Michael Ward, Should I See It

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