--City Center, Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree
RELAX... IT'S JUST SEX--Broadway Market
A WALK ON THE MOON--Pacific Place 11



DR. AKAGI--Egyptian

FRENCH FILM NOIR--Seattle Art Museum
FULL METAL JACKET--The Little Theater
JAPANESE GHOST STORIES--Seattle Asian Art Museum



APRIL 9--Cookie's Fortune, The Ogre, Twin Dragons, Go, Never Been Kissed, Among Giants, Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane
APRIL 16--A Chinese Ghost Story, Life, Goodbye Lover, Metroland


A teenage version of The Taming of the Shrew filmed in Seattle, which doesn't necessarily mean you should rush out and see it. Reviewed this issue. Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

*AFFLICTION--The snow-shrouded, economically depressed town of Lawford, New Hampshire, is where Wade Whitehouse (Nick Nolte) has lived his entire life: a childhood dominated by an abusive, drunken father (James Coburn), and a young adulthood of running around and getting in trouble. Now, on the depressing side of middle-age, he's Lawford's police officer; a job that entails little more than writing up traffic violations and guarding the crosswalk when the school bus empties. When a big-shot businessman dies in a hunting accident, Wade suspects murder, and he clings to that belief with the exultant certainty of a desperate man. Coburn's brutal patriarch is a sight to behold, Willem Dafoe perfectly captures the despair of the quiet man unwilling to own up to the demons he so easily recognizes in his older brother, and then there's Nolte. There are, perhaps, better actors around today, but after two viewings of Afflamesiction, I'm convinced that this is one of the greatest performances ever captured on film. (Bruce Reid) Meridian 16, Metro

ALASKA: SPIRIT OF THE WILD--More of a nature documentary than a ghost story. Omnidome

ANALYZE THIS--Paul Vitti (Robert DeNiro) is a New York mobster with problems: the pressure is killing him! With a big meeting of all the New York families coming up, he needs to get rid of his anxiety about [insert Italian stereotype here]. Enter Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal), a Jewish family therapist with [insert Jewish stereotype here]. Vitti wants Sobel to help him. Sobel just wants Vitti to leave him alone. What are they both to do? Analyze This is a [insert sarcastic film reviewer comment here], with a few laughs, but never anything special. Basically, it's exactly what you'd expect. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

ANIMATOR'S SOCIAL--A batch of animated shorts created by "locals only." Titles include Snowpea & Tofu, Crazy Wacky Climbing Guy and His Happy Little Helpers, and Le Maggot du Ballet--a 3D love story about two maggots. Thurs April 8 at 8, $3. 911 Media Arts

BABY GENIUSES--All babies can speak to each other and know the secrets of the universe, but lose the ability when they turn two years old and start to learn language skills. Dr. Elena Kinder (Kathleen Turner) runs Babyco, the world's largest manufacturer of baby products. She also has a secret lab where she's gathered some genius babies and is trying to crack their language code. As in any other children's film, corporations are evil and parents are good, and the story plays up its scatalogical humor. Unlike most children's films, the premise is very strange. Watching toddlers in a sci-fi action film is unsettling, but not as unsettling as the use of computer animation to make these kids speak. From the director of Porky's. (Andy Spletzer) Grand Alderwood, Redmond Town Center, Uptown

CENTRAL STATION--Dora (Fernanda Montenegro), who writes letters for the illiterate poor, takes in Josue (Vinicius de Oliveira) after his mother is killed. Walter Salles' affecting new film risks sentimentality in order to steer close to issues of the human heart, but it's blessed by two impeccable performances from Montenegro and de Oliveira. (Matthew Stadler) Metro

*CHILDREN OF HEAVEN--Like The White Balloon from a couple years back, Children of Heaven is a children's film, and the plot is deceptively simple. A boy loses his sister's shoes, and instead of telling their poverty-stricken parents, they share his shoes until he can find a way to make amends. Eventually, he joins a race where the third place prize is a pair of shoes, but coming in third ain't so easy. Through this sweet story, we get a glimpse of how people live through poverty, as well as the picturesque alleys that weave through Tehran. (Andy Spletzer) Metro

CHILEAN FILMS--Two documentaries. The Battle of Chile explores General Augusto Pinochet's bloody toppling of the democratically elected government in 1973. The second, Chile, Obstinate Memory, takes up the subject 25 years later. Thurs April 1 at 5, 8. Egyptian

THE CORRUPTOR--Chow Yun-Fat and Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg are falling under the influence of the Chinese mob in New York. The fight scenes are under-choreographed, the gore-factor is uncomfortably over the top, and not even Marky Mark's bare ass can save this lard-filled script. And as for Mr. Yun-Fat, doing weird impersonations of Mel Gibson and Don Johnson isn't going to cut it. (Wm. Steven Humprey) Pacific Place 11

CRUEL INTENTIONS--If you love the Mean Teen genre, you'll get a rise out of Cruel Intentions, which is quite possibly the meanest teenage flick ever made. So mean, in fact, that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under the age of 25--the average age when young adults are finally past believing it's acceptable to act even remotely like anyone in the film. Based on Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Cruel Intentions is a fucking hoot, at least until it tries to get all mushy about love. But it's also VERY steamy: bring a date you've been trying to nail and you'll probably end up doing it in the car on the way home. (Kathleen Wilson) Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16

DEEP END OF THE OCEAN--One day, Pfeiffer brings her three kids to a class reunion and loses one in the crowded lobby of a hotel. You see, seven-year-old Vincent let go of the three-year-old's hand. Turns out it was a kidnapping. Years later, the lost kid shows up at their door, and they adopt him. Everybody does the "right" thing, which is boring. Worst of all, the two most interesting events--the explanation of the kidnapping and Vincent's resolution--take up less screen time than the trailer for the film. (Andy Spletzer) Pacific Place 11

DOUG'S FIRST MOVIE--And, hopefully, his last. Grand Alderwood, Metro, Pacific Place 11

*DR. AKAGI--Shohei Imamura, one of Japan's great directors, has announced that this is his last film. If you're fearing some grand statement, don't worry; this is as wild and rollicking--and as good--as any film you're likely to see this year. It's 1945, the final stages of WWII, and in a small village spared from bomb attacks thanks to its POW camp, a group of misfits--a heroin-addicted surgeon, a drunken priest, and a prostitute who wishes to reform despite her younger sibling's pleas to keep the money rolling in with her whoring--gather around the eponymous Dr. Akagi (Akira Emoto). When the doctor's not running to patients or bickering with army brass over supplies, he's been struggling to find a cure for hepatitis. The film has so many dizzying shifts of tone it should be a mess, but it's all held together by Imamura's uncommonly unsentimental love of people, and (the only sign of the director's age) an old man's courage to do whatever the hell he feels like. Fri-Sun April 2-4 at (Sat-Sun 1:40), 4:20, 7, 9:35. (Bruce Reid) Egyptian

EDTV--Ed Pakurny (Matthew McConaughey) is our everyman (if "everyman" can mean a redneck living in San Francisco), and he's been chosen to star in a new show in which every minute of his life will be broadcast live on national television, unedited and uninterrupted, for an entire month. Slowly, the show begins to attract interest as viewers become intrigued by his budding romantic relationship with his brother's girlfriend, Shari (Jenna Elfman). Soon the nation is hooked on the minutiae of Ed's life, and his instant celebrity puts the kibosh on his relationship with anyone the cameras come in contact with. EDtv is a good-natured hoot, the likes of which we haven't seen from Ron Howard since his heyday of Splash (1984) and Night Shift (1982). Though it takes its shots at the television industry, the film's main target is the public's relationship with celebrity. (Wm. Steven Humprey) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS--Louis Malle's 1958 crime noir starring Jeanne Moreau, sometimes known as Frantic, which'll have you chanting: "Take the stairs!" Great jazz score by Miles Davis. Fri-Sat April 2-3 at 11:30. Grand Illusion

*ELIZABETH--This film details the ascension of Queen Elizabeth, and this brutal tale is filmed with a vibrancy and urgency matched by no other British or French costume drama. There's also a splendid performance by the Australian actor Geoffrey Rush as the somber security chief to Her Majesty the Queen. (Charles Mudede) Guild 45th, Meridian 16

THE ERUPTION OF MOUNT ST. HELENS--The mountain blew up in 1980, and has been blowing up on film ever since. Omnidome

EUROPEAN CINEMA & ETHNICITY--This series of screenings kicks off with Milcho Manchevski's Before the Rain. Mr. Manchevski will fly in from Macedonia to introduce the screening, then take questions after. Wed April 7 at 7, FREE. Reviewed this issue. HUB Auditorium

EVEREST--The first IMAX footage ever shot on top of the world. Pacific Science Center

FORCES OF NATURE--Ben (Ben Affleck) is trying to get to Georgia for his wedding. On the plane he meets Sarah (Sandra Bullock), a wild, bewitching woman with heavy eye-liner and streaks in her hair. The plane crashes and the two of them are forced to go by land, trapped together as one "hilarious" mishap after another thwarts their journey. Along the way, they sorta fall in love, but not really. Forces of Nature is every pathetic man's fantasy, not a female empowerment vehicle, which is surprising since it was directed by a woman. With the stable, pretty fiancé waiting for him at home (Maura Tierney), Ben struggles with his feelings for the irresponsible, sexy woman he stumbles across. In the end, love (not lust) conquers all, which is pure bullshit. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

FRENCH FILM NOIR--Seattle Art Museum's tribute to the French masters of ironic fatalism and atmospheric, poetic realism. The 10-film series kicks off with Henri-Georges Clouzot's masterful Diabolique, Thurs April 8 at 7:30. Series pass is $45. Seattle Art Museum

FULL METAL JACKET--Tribute to the late Stanley Kubrick, part one. Based on the novel by Gustav Hasford, Full Metal Jacket studies the dehumanizing effects of war, from boot camp to battlefield. Thurs-Sun April 1-4 at 5, 7:15, 9:30. The Little Theater

GOD SAID, "HA!"--Especially in the hushed and sterile aftermath of illness, humor can seem both desperately necessary and remarkably out of place. When her very close brother was diagnosed with stage four cancer of the lymph nodes--around the same time she was getting her own life together--Julia Sweeney figured it must be evidence of God's terrible sense of humor. Her brother, unable to care for himself, moved in with her. So did her mother and father. For a year the family lived together with the desperate hope that Sweeney's brother would get better without first getting too much worse. That same year, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. God Said, "Ha!" is filmed like a Spalding Gray monologue (without Spalding Gray, thank God), with Sweeney perched on a well-worn couch in the middle of a theatrically lit stage. She hardly moves at all, but she doesn't need to because her material is hilarious, humane, and utterly poignant. (Traci Vogel) Varsity

*GODS AND MONSTERS--Excellent film about the death (and life) of James Whale, one of Hollywood's first "out" gay directors, and famous for Frankenstein and his bride. Broadway Market

HILARY AND JACKIE--Based on the true story of the world famous cellist Jacqueline du Pré, the explosive Emily Watson plays Jackie, and the more sedate Rachel Griffiths plays her sister Hilary. The film depicts Jackie's rise to international fame, and then, of course, her inevitable fall to death. Though predictable direction (by Anand Tucker) works counter to the film's goals, I have a bigger bone to pick with it: I'm tired of films that portray brilliant woman as neurotic, cold, and sterile. (Charles Mudede) Broadway Market

INTO THE DEEP--An IMAX film in 3-D, putting you right into the aquarium. Pacific Science Center

JAPANESE GHOST STORIES--The first of a four week series of "Ghost Tales from the Japanese Cinema," Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu is set in 16th century Japan, and features a samurai, an ambitious pottery salesman, and a spectral princess. Sun April 4 at 1:30, $6. Series pass is $22. Seattle Asian Art Museum

THE KING AND I--An animated version of the classic Yul Brenner musical that was somehow made outside of Disney's tyrannical control. Lewis & Clark, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

THE LAST DAYS--A sobering documentary about the final year of World War II and its impact on Hungarian Jews. When the Nazis invaded Hungary in March, 1944, it was clear Germany was losing the war, yet Hitler put all his energies towards his "Final Solution." At the expense of his own war effort, he deported over 400,000 Jews from Hungary in less than three months. The Last Days mixes period footage with the testimony of five Hungarian survivors reliving the horror of their time in concentration camps. The filmmakers also track down a Nazi doctor, who covertly used bogus experiments to save prisoner's lives (he still downplays what exactly happened in the camps when he's confronted with one of the survivors). But the horror is balanced by the positive outlook of the survivors. Rather than succumbing to hatred themselves, they are all the more determined to make their lives have meaning, and their experiences be something others can learn from. (Gillian G. Gaar) Broadway Market

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL--Like any good comedian, Roberto Benigni (and his co-writer Vincenzo Cerami) knows how to plant the seed for a gag early on, let it sit, then return to it much later for the payoff. The opening, which seems so frivolous, is all groundwork for what Benigni knows will be the toughest sell of his life: comedy in the Nazi camps. Employing the understatement and flamesair for timing that comedy requires, Benigni captures detail after detail in a far more devastating way than more earnest films on the subject could manage. (Bruce Reid) Harvard Exit, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

THE LIVING SEA--It's alive! See fish and waves and whales and jellyfish, all in that big-screen IMAX format. Omnidome

*LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS--The coolest fucking British film you will see this year. Period. Set in the East End of London, it's a fast, frantic, and frequently flamesippant ride through the social strata of gangland as four wide boys send one of their number, cardsharp Eddie (heartthrob Nick Moran), to take on local crime boss Hatchet Harry (P. H. Moriarty) at poker. They soon find themselves in debt to the sum of half a million nicker, and they're not helped by the fact that Harry has put his debt collector Big Chris (soccer hardman Vinnie Jones) on their tails. It's a tidy movie--all the dead bodies are shot and accounted for--and it's also got a wicked, very English sense of humor. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels makes Tarantino look like the art school, panty-waisted wuss he undoubtedly is. (Everett True) Meridian 16, Varsity

THE MATRIX--Keanu Reeves in a wacked-out sci-fi film directed by the makers of Bound. Reviewed this issue. Factoria, Meridian 16, Neptune, Northgate, Redmond Town Center, Southcenter

THE MOD SQUAD--Claire Danes, Giovanni Ribisi, and Omar Epps play Julie Barnes, Pete Cochrane, and Lincoln "Linc" Hayes--three young adults headed straight for the big house until Capt. Greer (Dennis Farina) gives them a chance to redeem themselves the only way he knows how: by making them cops. He fails, they fail, everybody fails. This movie is a disaster, and it's my vote for the worst movie of the year so far, by far. Halfway through, just before the nausea almost made me walk out, I realized the biggest problem: director Scott Silver is too immature at this point in his "career," obviously believing style can overcome a lack of substance. His movie proves otherwise. Not that the cast helps any. The only reason I sat through the whole thing was because I realized it was, indeed, the worst movie of the year, and I couldn't let it beat me. A true lose-lose situation. Save yourself, don't go. (Andy Spletzer) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16

NAGISA OSHIMA FILMS--Death By Hanging, the 1968 film by Nagisa Oshima, is based on a true story, though you'd never guess it from watching the film. An explicit condemnation of the death penalty, the film begins with the riveting execution of a double murderer. Though his body drops through the trapdoor as the witnesses impassively watch, he doesn't die. After his revival, the prisoner claims amnesia. To jar his memory, the jailers act out his crimes. Need I mention they enjoy the re-enactments much more than the killer did his own crimes? Preaching to the choir is one thing, but this is even worse: abandoning a terrific opening and an interesting dilemma (specifically, Japan's racist treatment of Korean natives) for a pretentious, wordy, and generally obvious political diatribe. It's playing with Oshima's The Man Who Left His Will on Film, which sounds terrific. Then again, so did Death By Hanging, when I first read about it. (Bruce Reid) Grand Illusion

OCTOBER SKY--As Sputnik orbits the Earth, four working class Virginia boys win a big national science contest with their rocket theories. A standard American fable. There is a great down-to-earth performance by Chris Cooper (of John Sayles fame), but after that you can forget this piece of sentimental, pro-NASA propaganda. (Charles Mudede) Uptown

THE OUT OF TOWNERS--Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn together again in this remake of the Neil Simon film. Expect not to laugh. City Center, Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree

PINK FLOYD: THE WALL--Everybody's favorite anti-teacher, anti-fascist musical. Fri-Sat April 2-3 at midnight. Egyptian

RELAX... IT'S JUST SEX--P. J. Castellaneta's debut was the talky-but-engaging chamber piece Together Alone: two characters, one apartment, plenty to hold your interest. For his follow-up, he's gone the other way--and, to my mind, stretched himself too thin--by showing us the trials and tribulations of a dozen friends, including couples (straight and gay) and the obligatory lonely playwright. Not that the film isn't enjoyable. It's got a fair share of better-than-average sitcom zingers, a bright look, and a mostly winning cast. It's even willing to be less than smooth sailing all the way--some of these people are uncharacteristically abrasive, and there's a bit of revenge on a would-be gay basher that's unapologetically nasty. But in its effort to cover all the bases, the film comes up with a group of people not likely to hang out together all the time. This lack of believability doesn't hurt the lighter moments; but when things get serious, it's fatal. (Bruce Reid) Broadway Market

*ROBERT BRESSON FILM SERIES--The Way to Bresson is a documentary about Bresson, centered around his 1983 appearance--and award acceptance--at the Cannes Film Festival for L'Argent. A legendary control-freak, he even tries to direct a raucous festival press conference, and he's not above limiting a one-on-one interview to a single question. This movie (being video-projected at The Little Theater) is full of the information about Bresson readily available in books and articles, but also includes some nice, long clips from his films and interviews with the likes of Louis Malle, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Paul Schrader. Though not ground-breaking, or even surprising, The Way to Bresson is not a waste of time by any means, and is a good complement to the Grand Illusion's Bresson series. Sun April 4 at 1, 3. (Andy Spletzer) The Little Theater

RUSHMORE--Wes Anderson (of Bottle Rocket fame) directs this a bouncy, yet strangely unemotional confection. Max (Jason Schwartzman), a teen prep school dreamer, befriends a much older steel tycoon (Bill Murray). Max's scholastic life hits the fan when his plans to impress a teacher he's fallen for (Olivia Williams) gets him expelled. To make matters worse, Murray falls in love with the very same woman. In the end you're left with solid performances all the way around, a few good laughs, and not a lot to write home about. Walk, don't run. (Wm. Steven Humprey) Meridian 16, Metro

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN--Stephen Spielberg glamorizes WWII with this big, fake, Oscar-winning story of the search for a missing soldier. Seven Gables, Uptown

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE--Shakespeare in Love, the fictionalized story of the writing of Romeo and Juliet and the playwright's affair with a remarkable woman who longs to act despite Elizabethan laws against females on stage, is the season's surprise hit. Certainly the idea is appealing: one of history's immortals, shown in his still-struggling youth, with eye-catching period details and a cast uniformly professional enough to carry it off with whimsy. But the film strains too much to flatter and please the audience, setting up predictable conflicts and getting out of them through the easiest ways possible. It's clever in a very simple way, content to show its hero as a great-man-in-waiting and its heroine as so improbably perfect she could only be a muse. (Bruce Reid) Factoria, Guild 45th, Redmond Town Center, Uptown

STRANGE PARALLEL--A late-night 30-minute profile of singer/songwriter Elliott Smith. Thurs April 1 at 11:30, $3. Egyptian

TANGO--Conceived as a tribute to the dance, Tango opens with a narration by Miguel Angel Solà (Mario Suàrez, one of Argentina's best-known actors) describing the opening scenes of a film--the very scenes we are watching. Like the tango, the film strikes beautiful poses and pantomimes human drama. Sadly, unlike the tango, it never quite loses itself in movement. (Traci Vogel) Harvard Exit

*THE THIN RED LINE--A World War II movie with very little fighting, and a gorgeous pantheistic salute to what must be every last species of flamesora and fauna found on the South Sea islands, The Thin Red Line is a portrait of humanity so intimate we're privy to the innermost thoughts of many of the characters, yet so distanced that most of them blur together into one mud-caked soldier. Is this all complex design or just confusion? Come to think of it, that's one of the questions the film asks, as it stares impassively at the beauty and the terror. (Bruce Reid) Meridian 16

*TRUE CRIME--Set to the pace of a relaxed jazz number, True Crime concerns the final day of a black man on death row (Isaiah Washington). Out of appeals, he is to be executed at midnight, and the only man who believes in his innocence is philandering newspaper reporter (Eastwood), a man who has basically ruined his marriage because he cannot stop sleeping around. He is trying to redeem himself through this great, last cause--but he's not into any of this human-interest stuff; he is self-interested, and it is a self-interest that harms (even physically) those who are close to him. A great director, Eastwood asks for no forgiveness and makes no apologies for his character's flagrant flaws. I will say it now and forever stand by this assessment: like Miles Davis, like Samuel Fuller, like James Ellroy, like Charlie Parker, like James Cain, Clint Eastwood is a great American. (Charles Mudede) Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro

UNMADE BEDS--Nicholas Barker's debut film returns us to that problematic (but always productive) zone that rests between fiction and reality. The film is about real people--four pathetic New Yorkers looking for love--and their real frustrations, desires, and problems. The whole mess of their existence is exposed to the world. On the other hand, the film also has scenes that are completely manufactured by the director; scenes that are calculated and carefully thought out, reminding us of a great truth: it takes a lot of fiction to make film look real. Whatever Unmade Beds may be (documentary or not), the bottom line is it's a fun film, and this is due entirely to two great characters: The sexually liberal divorcee Brenda, who is trying find a man who will pay her bills (and coke); and the grumpy failed screenplay writer Mikey, with his '70s playboy pad. You really don't want to a miss a film where the main character says: "When women come into my apartment, they know they are here to fuck." (Charles Mudede) Varsity

VIETNAM, LONG TIME COMING--Documentary covering a bicycle journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City that brought veterans from both sides of the Vietnam War together. Poignant moments occur during this "unprecedented humanitarian athletic event." Sat April 3 at 11am and 2, FREE. East Ballroom, Hub, UW

VOYAGE TO THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD--Marcello Mastroianni plays a movie director returning to his childhood home in Portugal, in this, his final film. Thurs April 1 at 5, 7, 9. Grand Illusion

A WALK ON THE MOON--It's 1968, and Diane Lane meets some hippie that changes her life. Pacific Place 11

WHALES--An up close and personal look at the largest mammals on earth. Omnidome

WING COMMANDER--A poor excuse for a sci-fi film. Based on a video game. Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16.