OPENING

DRIVE ME CRAZY -- Various theaters

ELMO IN GROUCHLAND -- Various theaters

GUINEVERE -- Harvard Exit

LUCIE AUBRAC -- Seven Gables

MYSTERY, ALASKA -- Various theaters

PERFECT BLUE -- Varsity Calendar

PLUNKETT AND MACLEANE -- Various theaters

ROMANCE -- Egyptian

SITCOM -- Grand Illusion

SPLENDOR -- Varsity

SUGAR TOWN -- Various theaters

T-REX: BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS -- Pacific Science Center

THREE KINGS -- Metro, Northgate, others


REPERTORY & REVIVAL

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD -- The Seattle Asian Art Museum

THE CENTURY OF CINEMA -- Grand Illusion

DAVID & LISA -- Grand Illusion

FILM NOIR FOREVER -- Seattle Art Museum

GOETHE: RARE AND ONSCREEN -- Speakeasy

LEILA -- Varsity Calendar

SPEAKING IN STRINGS -- Little Theatre

SURRENDER DOROTHY -- Little Theatre

TALK CINEMA -- Pacific Place 11


COMING SOON

October 8 -- The Seattle Underground Film Festival, The Limey, Random Hearts, Bedrooms and Hallways, Lost Souls, Simpatico, The Big Tease, Bandits, Superstar

October 15 -- Fight Club, Happy Texas, Stop Making Sense, The Story of Us, Head On


MOVIES & EVENTS

The 13th Warrior
Viking movie starring Antonio Banderas chock full of entertaining battle scenes and little else. Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Uptown

The Acid House
More vomiting and junkie-chic melodrama in this trilogy of stories from Irvine Welsh (of Trainspotting fame), with a great soundtrack and lots of dark humor. 18+ ONLY. Varsity

*The Adventures of Robin Hood
This is the good version with Errol Flynn -- you know, the cinematic heartthrob of the '30s -- as the hero of Sherwood Forest. Part of the Free Family Film series in Volunteer Park. In brilliant Technicolor! Sat Oct 2 at 1:30, FREE. Seattle Asian Art Museum

American Beauty
Kevin Spacey stars as Lester Burnham, a semi-typical suburbanite recalling the last year of his life. He's married to Carolyn (Annette Bening), a bitchy real estate agent more interested in the appearance of success than true happiness. Their daughter Jane (Thora Birch) is also unhappy, saddled with an awkward beauty that doesn't play in high school, and alienated from her dad because he lusts after every girlfriend she brings home. When a mysterious teen with a camcorder moves in next door, people learn to see themselves more clearly and everything changes, not always for the better. The first film of Broadway director Sam Mendes, the writing is snappy enough, and the actors are good enough, that you nearly forget how artificial the whole set-up is, this look at suburban life through the recollections of a dead, disgruntled pedophile. (Andy Spletzer) Factoria, Guild 45th, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Better Than Chocolate
The setup is typical TV sitcom: Budding artist Maggie (Karyn Dwyer) falls in love with free-spirited Kim (Christina Cox), hours before she learns her mother and brother will be spending the summer with her. The catch? She's not out to mom yet. Despite complications, everything works out jim-dandy, like you knew it would. (Gillian G. Gaar) Broadway Market

*Black Cat, White Cat
Emir Kusturica charts three generations of corruption in the former Yugoslavia through two families of black marketeers. In a nod to nostalgia and to hope, the grandfather figures are noble in their corruption and the grandson figures have hope of living without corruption. It's that generation in the middle who muck it up for everyone else (and who presumably got the country into the trouble it's in now, even though the war is never mentioned). The whole thing builds to a marriage (are the young lovers going to get to be together?). Kusturica is brilliant at squeezing comedy out of violence, though the movie does stretch on longer than it needs to. Oh, and the music is fantastic. (Andy Spletzer) Harvard Exit

The Blair Witch Project
Fake documentary about students who get lost in the woods. The video will be released in October. Uptown

*Blue Streak
Set in post-Rodney King, post-riot, post-O.J. Simpson L.A., Blue Streak is unexpectedly funny. It involves a black jewel thief, Miles Logan (Martin Lawrence), who has to con his way into the white LAPD so as to recover a stolen jewel he unluckily left in their building while it was under construction. Once in the department, he makes friends with the cops, gets a promotion, and before long he is brutalizing suspects in ways that impress his jaded colleagues, who are all under the eagle/legal eyes of public defenders. Martin Lawrence is in top form, and an unusually strong cast (including Luke Wilson, David Chappelle, Peter Greene) all give great performances. Most amazing of all is the smart direction from Les Mayfield, the man who brought us Encino Man and Flubber. Though not without flaws (it is, off course, a rehash of themes exploited by Eddie Murphy's Beverly Hills Cop and 48 Hrs), the end result is satisfying. For once, here is movie that is manic enough and mad enough to keep up with Martin Lawrence. (Charles Mudede) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Metro, Northgate

*Bowfinger
Steve Martin's clever script celebrates a low-rent would-be producer (Martin) who dedicates his life savings ($2,184) to finally directing a feature film in which he surreptitiously films the world's biggest action star (Eddie Murphy), and builds the film around him. The laughs are plentiful, Murphy gives two of his best performances, and director Frank Oz moves things along at an energetic clip. (Bruce Reid) Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro

*The CENTURY OF CINEMA
You may be sick of hearing goatee-stroking film buffs and pot-bellied film critics drool and fuss over Citizen Kane, but wait. Suspend all doubt, and get your jaded self over to a screening (a 35mm archival print!) of this 1941 classic and discover for yourself why Orson Welles IS THE FUCKING MASTER! Sat-Sun Oct 2-3 at noon. Grand Illusion

David & Lisa
Frank Perry's '60s teen outcast classic, in which a boy (Keir Dullea) who has a compulsive disorder and cannot be physically touched and a girl (Janet Margolin) with multiple personalities cautiously fall in love while in an institution. Fri-Sat Oct 1-2 at 11. Grand Illusion

Dog Park
I thought I knew everything about America. I pride myself on having absorbed so much information about this culture that even its most intricate aspects are visible to my eyes. Then I watched Dog Park and I just didn't get it. Nothing I've seen about America can explain this movie to me. Why would someone make it? What possible pleasure could be experienced from watching a film about bland thirtysomething urbanites who derive great satisfaction from walking their dogs in a city park. Is this supposed to be a funny? Should I be laughing or crying or both? I just didn't get it. So distressing was my failure to make sense of this, I was about to pack my bags and return to Zimbabwe. But then I learned Dog Park was made by Canadians. THAT explains everything. I know absolutely nothing about the Canadians, and judging from this film I don't want to. (Charles Mudede) Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11, Varsity

DOUBLE JEOPARDY
Libby Parsons' (Ashley Judd) perfect life is straight out of J. Crew, at least until she's framed for her husband's murder and goes to jail. While in prison, Libby discovers her husband is very much alive and shacked up with a family friend. Six years later she's released and she heads out on an obsessive quest to get her son back. Tommy Lee Jones is the gruff 'n' tough parole officer who tracks her down when she violates parole, but ends up taking her side when he sees how driven she is to clear her name. Despite the tense moments and brief thrills, the movie asks too much of you. Judd is supposed to be so sympathetic and likeable, they must have thought you'd be too busy rooting for her to notice the farfetched circumstances or gaping holes in logic. Even with her undeniable beauty and talent, Judd can't possibly save this blurry mess. (Min Liao) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

Drive Me Crazy
She's All That starring Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

Earth
In 1947, India was split up by the British and Pakistan was born. Director Deepa Mehta sets her new melodrama in one resulting border town, but a documentary about the chaotic events would have been much more dramatic. (Andy Spletzer) Broadway Market, Egyptian

Elmo in Grouchland
Elmo and grouches. Elmo makes us grouchy. Go to hell, Elmo. Redmond Town Center, Uptown

FILM NOIR FOREVER
Cigarettes are everywhere, ladies are sexy broads with red lipstick, and men have hats and stubble. There are more intellectual aspects involved when describing film noir -- history, style, lighting, elements of plot -- but eh... film noir can be fun, too. SAM's popular series starts with Criss Cross (1948), a backstab-heavy "B-noir" starring Burt Lancaster and Stephen McNally. Thurs Oct 7 at 7:30, $48 full series pass; call 625-8900 for more details. Seattle Art Museum

For Love of the Game
For love of misogyny! Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) is a 40-year-old pitcher throwing in his last game, which happens to be a perfect game, a no-hitter. Jane (Kelly Preston) is his girlfriend who has decided to end their relationship because... well, Billy has been nothing but an asshole to her for the past five years. Over the course of the game, Billy is "in the zone," flashing back to the past, re-living his mistakes. By the end, he has thrown the perfect game and learned absolutely nothing about himself. Still, Jane takes him back. Costner's attempt to resurrect the magic of his '80s baseball movies does little but make women look stupid -- stupid for falling for someone like Billy Chapel, stupid for staying with him when he's such a prick, and stupid for taking him back simply because he's thrown a perfect game and now that he's retiring he needs something in his life to replace baseball, a woman. Ugh. (Bradley Steinbacher) Cinerama, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

GOETHE: RARE AND ONSCREEN
This may be your only chance to catch four never-released and not-on-video film versions of the formidable Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's writings. Straight from the Goethe-Institut to our humble Speakeasy. This week, see Peter Gorski's Faust (1960), in German only. Tues Oct 5 at 8; call 568-6051 for more details. Speakeasy

Guinevere
A young woman (Sarah Polley) falls for an older man (Stephen Rea). From the woman who wrote The Truth About Cats and Dogs. Reviewed this issue. Harvard Exit

*The Iron Giant
Giant robot falls to earth, befriends a local boy, and eats lots of metal. An animated film from Warner Brothers. Uptown

Jakob the Liar
In the latest Holocaust comedy, Robin Williams is a Jew in a Polish ghetto during the Nazi occupation. He falls into an ingenious lie about harboring an illegal radio, and becomes a hero to his desperately deprived community. Unlike Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful, Jakob the Liar doesn't go off with the wild abandon that would have made it both heartbreaking and hilarious. Director Peter Kassovitz has muted the proceedings with self-conscious pathos and too many close-ups of a pensive, overburdened Williams. Without being propelled by comic invention, the film hits a dramatic peak without ever having reached a corresponding comedic high. Ultimately, it's a risky film that doesn't take enough risks. (Steve Wiecking) Grand Alderwood, Metro, Pacific Place 11, Southcenter

*Leila
A woman discovers that she cannot conceive children, and she is devastated. Her husband is supportive, and doesn't really mind their childless future. But her mother-in-law's solution? "Bring in a second wife!" Don't even get us started on in-laws and their goddamn meddling. Thurs Sept 30 at 4:20, 7, 9:35. Varsity Calendar

Lucie Aubrac
I'd like to say that the French are better than anyone else at making historical epics. Unfortunately, that would be a lie. They probably make as many bad ones as the British; we're just lucky enough not to be subjected to near as many of them. Which brings me to Lucie Aubrac, a pointless French historical epic about a bunch of Resistance fighters standing up to those darn Nazis. Director Claude Berri (Jéan de Florette, Germinal) drains any sense of politics, intrigue, and humor out of the story, instead focusing on one woman who busted her Resistance-fighting husband out of Nazi jail. The most interesting thing about this period of time regards how the French government caved in to Nazi leadership, but that is never dealt with here. The Resistance is good, Nazis are bad, and that one traitor was bad too! Vive la Resistance! (Andy Spletzer) Seven Gables

Mark Twain's America in 3D
Officially the scariest title currently at the IMAX Theater. But hey! Take a risk! Who knows? Maybe you'll LOVE Huck Finn, "Injun Joe," life on the Mississippi, and examples of racist times in U.S. history on a GIGANTIC screen. Pacific Science Center

The Minus Man
There is nothing worse than a serial killer who thinks he's smart but is actually a great bore. Similarly, there is nothing worse than a director who thinks he's smart but is actually a great bore. The Minus Man is guilty of both of these sins, and should be punished. (Charles Mudede) Broadway Market

Mumford
Lawrence Kasdan makes movies about whiney white people; movies like The Big Chill and Grand Canyon (often referred to as "the worst movie ever made" here at the office). His new film, Mumford, is no exception. Dr. Mumford (Loren Dean) is the town of Mumford's #1 psychologist, only he's not really a psychologist, but rather a man in hiding who is only pretending to be a psychologist. This, by itself, is a fine premise for a film, but (surprise!) Mumford never really goes anywhere. In fact, it's rarely even funny. There are a lot of fine actors wandering through, but they never have anything very funny to say or do, which is a problem since Mumford is supposed to be a comedy. Still, it's no Grand Canyon, so there is an upside to everything. (Bradley Steinbacher) Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro

*The Muse
Through the advice of a successful friend (Jeff Bridges), screenwriter Albert Brooks employs the services of Sharon Stone, a purported Divine Muse, in hopes that she will inspire him to write a smash comedy for Jim Carrey. Brooks takes a wily and well-deserved stab at the superficial industry that has kept him second-string for so many years. Albert Brooks has always been just as brutal to himself as he is to society, and it's this brutal quality that is somewhat lacking in The Muse, despite the fact that you probably won't find a smarter comedy this year. (Steve Wiecking) Uptown

Mystery, Alaska
There is really no excuse for how bad this film is. I saw it a year ago, before it was shelved until now, and was utterly shocked. Based on a true story of hockey players in small-town Alaska given the opportunity to play the New York Rangers in an exhibition match, the movie plays like The Mighty Ducks for grownups, complete with fucking, cursing, and boozing. Who would think that's a good idea? Oh, David E. Kelley, the creator of such TV hits as Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal, The Practice, and the upcoming Snoops. Rather, this is the same David E. Kelley that wrote the summer bomb Lake Placid. Can they beat the professionals or not? That's the money question, and we have to hold our breath as the deciding puck flies through the air in slow motion. Damn! Some people are truly shameless. Of course, director Jay Roach (Austin Powers) must share some of the blame. (Charles Mudede) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Metro, Pacific Place 11

Perfect Blue
An animated psychological thriller from Satoshi Kon about a pop music star who ends up as a soap opera actress; scary enough, yes. But then her character's life begins to resemble her own, and reality and fiction become intertwined. Fri-Thurs Oct 1-7 at (Sat-Sun 1:30, 3:30), 5:30, 7:30, 9:30 (Fri 11:30). Reviewed this issue. Varsity Calendar

Plunkett and Macleane
Two swindlers who wear tights and wigs (because that was the style of the time). Neptune, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Romance
An uncut, uncensored, provocative French film, titled Romance. We all know what kind of movie this is. Pure smut. Don't see this with your parents. Fri-Thurs Oct 1-7 at (Sat-Sun 1, 3:10), 5:20, 7:30, 9:40; 18+ ONLY. Reviewed this issue. Egyptian

Run Lola Run
A young Berlin hipster named Lola has 20 minutes to find enough money to stop her boyfriend from being killed. German filmmaker Tom Tykwer tells the story three times, each with different but equally incredible twists, surprises, tangents, and endings -- which is exactly what makes this movie fun to watch. (Charles Mudede) Harvard Exit

Runaway Bride
Director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) reunites with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere to make another cheerful movie about two opposites who attract and (of course) end up together. What develops is typical Hollywood Lite. (Min Liao) Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16

*Sitcom
And you thought the American suburban family was fucked up. The new film from French screenwriter/director Francois Ozon (See the Sea, A Summer Dress), Sitcom is a black comedy featuring sex, rampant emotions, and a laboratory rat. Fri-Thurs Oct 1-14 at (Sat-Sun 3), 5, 7, 9. Reviewed this issue. Grand Illusion

*The Sixth Sense
Months after being shot by a former patient, child psychologist Bruce Willis has become obsessed with that failure, and his marriage is suffering. Meanwhile, he has started treating a new patient who, as you probably know from the ads, sees dead people. Though the direction of the story by M. Night Shyamalan is often obvious, the structure of his script is very smart. Most impressive is that we don't see the boy's ghosts for half the film. When we do it's quite scary, particularly knowing these are the dead people he sees all the time! (Andy Spletzer) Factoria, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

Speaking in Strings
A documentary devoted to Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg: the Musician (famous classical violinist) and the Woman (depression, controversy, and dubbed by fans as "the bad girl of violin"). In this film by childhood friend Paola di Florio, Nadja explores her life, work, and struggles. Thurs-Sun Oct 7-10 at 5:30, 7:30, 9:30. Little Theatre

Splendor
Gregg Araki is the mediocre low-budget filmmaker who made a splash in the early '90s with the AIDS road movie The Living End, then moved on to his "teen angst trilogy," the dubious highlight of which was the empty-but-flashy style of The Doom Generation. His movies once fit squarely into the New Gay Cinema, but he's since embraced his heterosexuality. Now he's made Splendor, a love letter to his girlfriend and lead actress, Kathleen Robertson (Beverly Hills 90210). Veronica (Robertson) falls for two different guys at a party: Abel (Johnathon Schaech) is a sensitive rock critic, and Zed (Matt Keeslar) is a highly sexual drummer. Because the boys immediately fall in love with her, they all end up moving in together. Then she falls for a Hollywood TV director. Then she gets pregnant. The writing is horrible, the jokes fall flat, the characters are all unlikable, and Veronica's narration is the worst ever put onto film. Splendor is excruciating. (Andy Spletzer) Varsity

Stigmata
Stigmata basically refashions the possession of The Exorcist as a no-big-deal event that not only cheers up its protagonists, it might even save the world. Patricia Arquette -- a truly awful actress who will probably always get juicy parts for her willingness to play out any humiliation on camera -- stars as Frankie Paige, a twentysomething hairdresser/party girl who suddenly gets stigmata. The Catholic Church sends out an investigator (Gabriel Byrne). Before long the antagonistic Cardinal (Jonathan Pryce) is ordering a suspicious halt to the Church's investigations. Stigmata is atrocious: bad acting, silly attempts to generate mood by dumping a monsoon season rain on Pittsburgh, an annoying rock video aesthetic. It's so atrocious, in fact, that it sometimes threatens to become fun, but by the end turns out even worse than you could have imagined. (Bruce Reid) Lewis & Clark, Pacific Place 11

Stir of Echoes
Screenwriter David Koepp is squarely behind the storytelling controls on Stir of Echoes, his latest directorial effort. Kevin Bacon stars as a working-class family man in Chicago who goes under hypnosis and awakens with frighteningly powerful psychic intuition. Once the setup is over, the film starts to crumble away into formula, allowing us to notice the gaps in its logic -- deadly in a genre piece. Unlike the superior The Sixth Sense, which it resembles (psychic child, restless ghosts, unwitting adults), Stir of Echoes doesn't twist itself into something surprising. You'll know halfway through what Koepp takes the entire film to reveal. (Steve Wiecking) Pacific Place 11, Varsity

Sugar Town
Alison Anders (Gas Food Lodging, Grace of My Heart) takes a look at the L.A. music scene. Broadway Market

Surrender Dorothy
Writer/director/actor Kevin Di Novis' bleak story about a sadistic bully who cruelly dominates his homeless junkie "friend" into helpless submission by withholding his heroin and forcing him to dress in drag, do housework, and become a slave. Thurs-Sun Sept 30-Oct 3 at 5:30, 7:30, 9:30. Reviewed this issue. Little Theatre

T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous
T-Rex eschews the standard documentary format for a completely fictionalized story. The set-up's admittedly corny: Budding paleontologist Ally (Liz Stauber) doesn't get enough attention from her dad (thirtysomething's Peter Horton), so she ends up going back in time for face-to-face encounters with real dinosaurs, including the titular 'rex herself. Though the 3D effects are present from the start of the film, your senses are really awakened when you're transported to dino land and those frisky lizards are leaping all around you. The FX are so realistic, you'll swear you can feel the breath of Big Mama TR, and no matter how many times you've seen 3D films, you'll still be hard pressed to not duck when boulders and dino bones come whizzing straight at you. (Gillian G. Gaar) Pacific Science Center

Talk Cinema
A Sunday morning series devoted to "secretly" screening upcoming independent, art house, and foreign films. Post-film discussions are moderated by guest speakers. This week, it's The Stranger's own Andy Spletzer. Through Dec 19. Sun Oct 3 at 10 am, $15 single/$99 series pass; call (800) 551-9221 for more details. Pacific Place 11

*The Thomas CrowN Affair
The new Thomas Crown Affair manages to keep the fun tone of the '68 version and update it at the same time, which is not an easy trick. Thomas Crown is a billionaire businessman who likes to rob art museums on the side. When a beautiful insurance investigator (Rene Russo) comes to town to recover a painting, she immediately suspects Thomas Crown. They fall for each other, all the while playing a flirtatious game of cat and mouse. (Bradley Steinbacher) City Centre, Grand Alderwood, Metro

Three Kings
Four soldiers try to steal a pile of gold from an Iraqi bunker just after the Gulf War. Reviewed this issue. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Northgate