Top Film Picks

We got the inside scoop from Carl Spence, artistic director and film expert at Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), on his top film picks for the holiday season.

Whether you know it or not, the Oscar season has begun in earnest and the opportunity to see the best films of the year is now in full force. Major film studios, independents and specialized film distributors premiered their prestige titles in early September with the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals, and these films are now rolling out in cinemas across the country through the holiday season.

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ARGO- An edge-of-your-seat espionage thriller infused with the perfect amount of humor and a great send-up of Hollywood. Terrifically written and directed by Ben Affleck, it has Oscar written all over it.

THE SESSIONS- Helen Hunt and John Hawkes star in this touching and humorous film that revolves around strikingly intimate sex therapy sessions. A provocative and groundbreaking performance by Helen Hunt in which she exposes much more than just her body.

LINCOLN- Covering just four months of the president’s life in 1865, Daniel Day-Lewis transforms himself into Lincoln with his quaintly personal style of statesmanship. Also look for Sally Field in the Oscar category this year.

Opening Nov 21

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS- Paramount/Dreamworks has Oscar hopes for this epic tale combining stories from Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, The Sandman and Jack Frost inspired by William Joyce’s New York Times-bestselling Guardians of Childhood  book series which takes place 200 years before the setting of the film.

THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK- A major critical and audience hit at the Toronto Film Festival (it won the Festival’s Audience Award), this bittersweet comedic love story boasts winning performances from Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence as the troubled pair at the story’s core. The film is complemented by terrific performances by costars Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles, Chris Tucker and Dash Mihok.

LIFE OF PI- (SIFF Cinema Uptown) Acting novice turned movie star Suraj Sharma landed a part in one of the year’s most ambitious movies. Directed by Ang Lee and based on the bestselling metaphysical novel by Yann Martel, this film about an Indian boy who survives a shipwreck only to be stranded on a lifeboat with a Tiger is one of the season’s most anticipated films!

Opens Nov 23 (SIFF Cinema Uptown)

CAFÉ DE FLORE- A personal favorite of mine – Jean-Marc Valle (C.R.A.Z.Y.) returns with the elegant and heart wrenching CAFÉ DE FLORE, a decades-spanning, often mystical rumination on love and destiny that tells two seemingly unrelated stories set in 1960s Paris and present-day Montreal. Exquisitely directed and starring Vanessa Paradis and Kevin Parent.

Coming Nov 30

PRINCESS BRIDE- “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” The swashbuckling fairy tale to end all swashbuckling fairy tales returns to the big screen at SIFF Cinema Uptown complete with quote along subtitles for all the best lines, free inflatable sword props, and Rodents of Unusual Size LIVE in the auditorium!

ANNA KARENINA- A high-concept adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel, Keira Knightly should get serious Oscar and Golden Globe consideration for her performance in this new film from Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice). She plays the titular heroine opposite Jude Law (as Alexei Karenin) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Albert Nobbs), who plays Count Vronsky.

For more information about SIFF visit here.


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