OPENING

GUN SHY-Meridian, Oak Tree, others

SARAGOSSA MANUSCRIPT-Egyptian

SCREAM 3-Various theaters

SIMPATICO-Pacific Place, others

WEST BEIRUT-Varsity Calendar


REPERTORY & REVIVAL

BEST OF BRITISH FILM-Seattle Art Museum

ENTER THE DRAGON-Kalakala

FESTIVAL OF FAMILY FILMS FROM ASIA-Seattle Asian Art Museum

THE FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI-Grand Illusion

HAMLET-Egyptian

HOU HSIAO-HSIEN RETROSPECTIVE-Grand Illusion

THE KENNEL MURDER CASE-Grand Illusion

LA GRANDE BOUFFE-Varsity Calendar

O AMOUR NATURAL-The Little Theatre

OUTSIDE IN: NEW CHINESE FILM-Henry Art Gallery Auditorium

PSYCHOLOGY AND FILM-Seattle Art Museum

THE STICKY FINGERS OF TIME-The Little Theatre

THREEPENNY OPERA-The Little Theatre


COMING SOON

February 11-Holy Smoke, The Beach, Mr. Death, My Best Fiend, The Third Miracle, The Tigger Movie, The Big Tease, Snow Day, The Cup

February 18-Rear Window, The Interview, Boiler Room, The Whole Nine Yards, Hanging Up, Skulls, Diamonds, Pitch Black, Kestrel's Eye


MOVIES & EVENTS

Alaska: Spirit of the Wild
More of a nature documentary than a ghost story. Omni-dome

*All About My Mother
Pedro Almodovar's highly acclaimed new film, a mature look at women (with the obligatory drag queen). Harvard Exit

Amazon
An IMAX examination of the lush forests and exotic animals of the Amazon river basin. Omnidome

American Beauty
Entertaining fluff. Take your typical suburban satire midlife crisis, bitchy wife, disaffected youth), throw in some excellent performances (Kevin Spacey hams it up brilliantly, while Annette Bening and Chris Cooper give life to the most cardboard of characters), and you've got an art-house crossover film that can appeal to everybody. Even me. (Andy Spletzer) Varsity

Angela's Ashes
In a miserable Depression-era America, and then, woefully, the slums of Ireland, Frank McCourt watches his mother, Angela (Emily Watson), suffer while three of his siblings die in squalor and his ne'er-do-well father (Robert Carlyle) drinks away their money and, with time, his own wounded soul. Though Alan Parker's film provides vivid, loving re-creations of almost all of the most cherished passages from McCourt's best-selling reminiscence, Angela's Ashes is curiously unmoving in cinematic terms. It's a fine film that seems strangely static; it has all of the book's drama and almost none of its own-though Watson's stoic sadness could not be better suited to the material, and there are great degrees of love and confusion in Carlyle's pained silences. Better still are all of the child actors. The film ends up doing justice to a devastating book without being devastating itself. (Steve Wiecking) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Guild 45th, Meridian 16, Oak Tree

Anna and the King
Thailand hates it, the movie-going public is indifferent, and Jodie Foster has since decided not to star in the sequel to Silence of the Lambs. What else can go wrong? Pacific Place 11

Any Given Sunday
Oliver Stone takes on football, with all the pomp and bombast you'd expect. Starring Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, and a surprisingly good Jamie Foxx. Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16

*Being John Malkovich
It's the best film of 1999 and it has a monkey in it. Coincidence? We don't think so. Meridian 16, Varsity

BEST OF BRITISH FILM
SAM's series of British comedies and dramas continues with David Lean's Brief Encounter (1945), featuring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard (Thurs Feb 3 at 7:30); the following week, it's Carol Reed's Odd Man Out (1946), with James Mason and Kathleen Ryan (Thurs Feb 10 at 7:30). Call 625-8900 for more info. Seattle Art Museum

The Cider House Rules
Based on the John Irving novel, a period piece about life and abortion. Starring sexy child-actor Tobey Maguire. Guild 45th, Redmond Town Center, Uptown

Cradle Will Rock
Tim Robbins' messy but entertaining look at Orson Welles' political struggles with the titular play in 1936. Harvard Exit

Dogma
Potty-mouthed writer/director Kevin Smith takes on faith and poop-monsters in his love letter to the Catholic religion. Uptown

Down to You
Freddie Prinze, Jr. (She's All That) and Julia Stiles (10 Things I Hate about You) join forces to make yet another lame teen movie. Though trying to put together one of those typical college love affairs that "everybody" experienced, director Kris Isacsson populates the movie with characters you've never met: she "summers" in France, he's the son of a famous cooking show host, and his best friend is a porn star who talks like a pre- tentious Shakespearean actor (excuse the redundancy). Despite the fact that three sophomore coeds were swooning over everything Prinze did in the sparsely attended showing I attended, Down to You makes a good case for never again making a love story set in college. I say, let 'em swoon over the college-aged TV stars! (Andy Spletzer) Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

The Emperor

and the Assassin
Chen Kaige's The Emperor and the Assassin lives up to its epic title. All that the word "emperor" implies (resolute ruler, insane dreamer, ornate palaces, opulent chambers, royal robes) and all that the word "assassin" implies (secrecy, solitude, control, celerity, efficiency, professional conduct) informs and structures every aspect of this spectacular edifice, which certainly stands as one of the great technical and artistic achievements of Chinese cinema. Nearly three hours long, the movie has everything: court intrigue, weeping mothers, slaughtered children, roaring armies, and wide-open grasslands where the horse is king and the sky endless. It also has in it the most beautiful actress in the world, Gong Li. (Charles Mudede) Broadway Market

*The End of the Affair
Self-tortured Ralph Fiennes stars with the amazing Julianne Moore and the beleaguered Stephen Rea in this story about a love triangle and God. Pacific Place 11, Seven Gables

*Enter the Dragon
In conjunction with the Chinese Lunar New Year (this year is, appropriately enough, the Year of the Dragon), the Kalakala Foundation will be screening the Bruce Lee classic, with live music from Seattle's hipster DJs until 2 am. A benefit for the Kalakala. Fri Feb 4 at 9, $10, 21+. The Kalakala

The Eruption of Mount St. Helens
The mountain blew up in 1980, and has been blowing up on film ever since. Omnidome

Eye of the Beholder
Ewan McGregor is a government surveillance expert who's gone off the deep end since his wife ran off with their child; now he spends his days spying on neighbors and holding imaginary conversations with his daughter. (The actor is badly miscast-way too young and charismatic to play a reclusive workaholic at the end of his tether.) Tracking mystery woman Ashley Judd, he becomes obsessed, convinced that she's a killer who is, at heart, a scared little girl he can protect. The film has an attractive, high-tech slickness (gradually stripped away as it progresses), but despite the voyeurism and casual amorality of its hero, it just isn't ruthless or perverse enough to compensate for its shallowness or the absurdity of its plot. Brian DePalma could have made a masterpiece out of this; instead it's just another extended music video with some thriller elements tossed in. (Bruce Reid) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro

Fantasia 2000
The latest Walt Disney sweeping-animation-and-classical-music extravaganza, this time in thrilling 3D. Bring your own mind-altering substances. Pacific Science Center

FESTIVAL OF FAMILY FILMSFROM ASIA
A series of family films from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and India. This week, animation! First, a short film from Japan about an alligator with a bad tooth, then the feature-lenght Taiwanese film Grandma and Her Ghosts. Sat Feb 5 at 1:30, FREE. Seattle Asian Art Museum

*The Flowers of Shanghai
Hou Hsiao-hsien's latest film, Flowers of Shanghai, takes place in 19th-century brothels; the "flowers" of the title are flower girls, essentially prostitutes-though that's too crude a word for these women, who are more like paid companions, afforded much more dignity and respect than the average streetwalker. In one sense, the movie is about money and possessions, about paying off debts and buying one's freedom, but in a greater sense, it's about gossip. Characters are talked about, and we draw our initial impressions of a character from this gossip. But as the characters are allowed to reveal themselves to us, we realize how simplistic these initial "overheard" descriptions were. Again and again, Hou records his characters' transitions from "gossip subjects" into people. Combine master storytelling with some of the most gorgeous camerawork in the world and, despite the slow pace, you have one of the most gripping films playing in this fair city. Until Thurs Feb 10 at (Sat-Sun 2:30), 4:45, 7, 9:15. (Andy Spletzer) Grand Illusion

Galaxy Quest
The cast of a Star Trek-like show are recruited by a (presumably good) alien race to save them from a (presumably bad) alien race. Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

Girl, Interrupted
Suicidal Susanna (Winona Ryder) is sent to a mental institution where she learns a bit about how self-involved she's been in her young life. The movie is set in the late '60s, so people smoke a lot. Also starring Angelina Jolie as a very social sociopath. Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Metro, Northgate

The Green Mile
Tom Hanks' death row is forever changed when a magical prisoner is admitted. (Andy Spletzer) Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Gun Shy
Liam Neesom and Sandra Bullock in a caper/romantic comedy. Ouch. Meridian, Oak Tree, others

Hamlet
(1948) A new 35mm print of the classic Shakes-pearean tale. With Laurence Olivier as Hamlet, and Jean Simmons (rrowr!) as the nubile Ophelia. Thurs Feb 3 at 5, 8. Egyptian

*HOU HSIAO-HSIEN RETROSPECTIVE
Recognized worldwide as one of the "giants of the modern cinema," Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien is admired for his precise, spiritual filmmaking, rich narratives and characters, and examination of Taiwan's unique and turbulent history. The Grand Illusion's weekend matinee series continues with Hou's Dust in the Wind (1986), in which two passionate lovers defy their elders by quitting school and moving to Taipei, where life in the big city presents challenges for the young couple. Sat-Sun Feb 5-6 at noon. Grand Illusion

The Hurricane
With the exception of dependable Denzel Washington, The Hurricane is marked by weak performances. The movie is based on a true story about Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a star boxer who was framed for multiple murders by a racist cop. Hurricane (played by Denzel) spent the next 20 years behind bars, where he wrote a book, thought a lot about the nature of American racism, and had a song devoted to him by Bob Dylan. The only interesting take this film has on his story is that it shamelessly portrays white Canadians as morally superior to their barbarian, gun-toting brethren south of the border-a myth they have treasured since the days of slavery. (Charles Mudede) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree

Island of the Sharks
Them there's SHARKS on the IMAX screen! Swim with the fishes at your peril. Pacific Science Center

Isn't She Great
Michael Korda's New Yorker reminiscence about Valley of the Dolls author Jacqueline Susann was a complex portrait of a woman who was a real character. Andrew Bergman's embarrassing movie based on that article is paper-thin junk about a character who is not a real woman. Bergman and writer Paul Rudnick, unlike Susann, don't know what to do with a great gimmick. Bette Midler has always been one of the more gregariously likeable screen personalities, yet she seems worn here long before her Susann begins to waste away from cancer, as though she's decided that Rudnick's limp script just isn't worth fighting. It isn't. The film conspires to turn Midler/Susann into Auntie Mame, complete with a coarse, wisecracking actress sidekick (played by Stockard Channing as if she, too, knows the jig is up). A scant few one-liners actually work, but this is tired, cheap entertainment that doesn't even bother to go camp. Even Jackie must be yawning somewhere. (Steve Wiecking) City Centre, Factoria, Grand Alderwood

The Kennel Murder Case
(1933) Director Michael Curtiz (you might know him from his other film, a little movie called Casablanca) brings us a late-night murder mystery with William Powell as "Philo Vance," detective extraordinaire. Fri-Sat Feb 4-5 at 11:30. Grand Illusion

La Grande Bouffe
Marco Ferreri's scandalous black comedy about four men who retire to a mansion in the French countryside-and plan on eating themselves to death! With Marcello Mastroianni as one of the aspiring gluttons. Thurs Feb 3 at 4:20, 7, 9:40; 18+ ONLY. Varsity Calendar

Magnolia
Paul Thomas Anderson weaves together the story of eight generic characters in a cinematically fun package. At three hours, the movie is way too long, particularly when it stops to try and flesh out the "characters," but some of the showy visuals make this movie worthwhile. (Andy Spletzer) Aurora Cinema Grill, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Neptune, Pacific Place 11

Man on the Moon
An underperforming, shallow, yet still entertaining movie about the off-putting comedian Andy Kaufman. Starring Jim Carrey. Aurora Cinema Grill, City Centre, Metro

Mansfield Park
A poor girl is sent to live with wealthy relatives where she becomes the most popular girl there, thanks to her lower-class enthusiasm and upper-class pride. Based on the novel by Jane Austen. Broadway Market

Next Friday
Those who enjoyed Friday and Players Club will not be disappointed by Next Friday. The story is just as bad. It's about an escaped prisoner who wants to kill Ice Cube, so Cube's father (John Witherspoon) sends him off to the safe suburbs to stay with his uncle, who bought a big house there after winning a million bucks in the lottery. But Cube soon learns that his uncle is about to lose his house (back taxes) and needs money ($3,200) to keep it. So it's up to Cube to save the day. Now I must make a confession. This film is way too crude for my tastes; there is not one drop of intelligence (or beauty) in the whole damn thing, and Cube's depiction of women is more than deplorable-they are either stupid, or horny, or liars, or all three. And as for his portrayal of Chicanos, no white director could get away with that, and, in this regard, I think Cube should not be exempt from harsh criticism simply because he is from "tha hood." (Charles Mudede) Redmond Town Center, Uptown

O Amour Natural
A documentary exploring the effect Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade's erotic poetry had on Brazil's culture and national consciousness. Including scenes with elderly Brazilians reciting his lusty poetry out loud and clips of young hotties in string bikinis, this film gives puritanical Seattleites a glimpse of the unabashedly sexy sensibilities of modern-day Brazilians. Thurs Feb 10 at 5:45, 9:15; Rendezvous Reading Series and Moustache Contest at 7:30. Little Theatre

Olympic Glory
International athletes and adrenaline junkies show off their skills and defy gravity at the 1998 Winter Olympics at Nagano. Omnidome

*OUTSIDE IN: NEW CHINESE FILM
This series of modern/avant-garde Chinese films continues (note day and venue changes!) with Chen Kaige's King of Children (Thurs Feb 3 at 7:30, $6); followed by Wong Kar-Wai's indie favorite Chunking Express (Thurs Feb 10 at 7:30, $6), a low-budget, shoot-from-the-hip film about two lonely, heartbroken cops (in parallel storylines) who find tentative love with loopy women. Henry Art Gallery Auditorium

Play It to the Bone
Too much of the road trip, not enough boxing behind-the-scenes scenes, and no one to root for. Not a great formula for a movie. Meridian 16, Redmond Town Center

PSYCHOLOGY AND FILM
The Northwest Alliance for Psychoanalytic Study's monthly film series pays tribute to solid mental health by exploring how we relate and respond to beauty and aesthetics. This month's feature, The Sheltering Sky (1990), is from director of gorgeous films (and sometimes dirty old man) Bernardo Bertolucci, who takes viewers on a visual, spiritual, and existential journey through the Sahara Desert (the cinematography is lovely). With John Malkovich and Debra Winger. Fri Feb 4 at 7, $7; call 443-1831 for details. Seattle Art Museum

Saragossa Manuscript
(Poland, 1965) A new, fully restored, three-hour, 35mm print of this "counterculture favorite" by Wojciech Has. Also known as "Jerry Garcia's favorite film." See also Stranger Suggests. Fri-Thurs Feb 4-10 at (Sat-Sun 1), 4:30, 8. Egyptian

Scream 3
The third, and last, installment in the horror franchise. Who will die this time? Who cares? Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Northgate, Pacific Place 11

Simpatico
Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Not that we're passing judgment or anything. Reviewed this issue. Pacific Place 11

Snow Falling on Cedars
An island in the postwar Pacific Northwest is the setting for a murder trial that reunites reporter Ishmael Chambers (Ethan Hawke) with Hatsue Miyamoto (Youki Kudoh), the great love of his young life, who was sent to a Japanese-American internment camp and now suffers besides her accused husband, Kazuo (Rick Yune). Hicks has created a truly stunning visual design for the story, weaving burnished memories into every gorgeously wounded frame. Still, what fells the film is its lack of a compelling center; it starts to bore you without anyone to carry its consuming passions. Smoking around its edges are intriguing details about the appalling treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II, but the romance that supposedly burns beneath all the pain of history is as remote as the hollowed cedar tree that acts as a touchstone for its lovers. (Steve Wiecking) Factoria, Metro, Pacific Place 11

*The Sticky Fingers of Time
(1997) An indie film debut from Hilary Brougher and Good Machine Productions, in which "dreamy" 1950s pulp-fiction novelist Tucker Harding finds herself time-traveling against her will to present-day life, where she discovers an old tabloid article depicting her own murder. Adventure ensues in this "neo-noir lesbian chic flick." A Seattle theatrical premiere. Thurs-Sun Feb 3-6 at 5:45, 7:30, 9:15. Reviewed this issue. Little Theatre

Stuart Little
A well-dressed mouse (voice of Michael J. Fox) is adopted by a family. Really, what more do you need? Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

Supernova
In Event Horizon, the space crew comes across a magical sphere and it ends up being hell. In Barry Levinson's Sphere, an underwater research crew discovers a sphere and it ends up being a spoiled brat. In Supernova, a deep space ambulance/hospital comes across a sphere and it is very sexy. This is why Supernova is the better film: Nothing beats a sexy sphere. Though the film is uneven (one has the impression it was supposed to be as slow and considered as Tarkovsky's Solaris, before it was recut by the studio), it is still a beautiful film to watch. Ice blue in color, it has gorgeous sets, a sensuous spaceship, a computer named Sweetie that's coming to terms with her nascent erotic impulses, two great-looking leads (James Spader and Angela Bassett-whose floating sex scene is regrettably short), and, most importantly, the best "jump" to hyper-space sequence I have ever seen on the big screen. (Charles Mudede) Pacific Place 11

Sweet and Lowdown
Woody Allen casts Sean Penn as a self-absorbed musician who falls in love with a mute. Varsity

The Talented Mr. Ripley
Matt Damon is typecast as a loveable psychopath who falls in love with the life of Dickie Greenwood (played by the fantastic Jude Law). Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Threepenny Opera
A 16mm print of G.W. Pabst's 1931 adaptation of the classic operatic collaboration. Part of the Little Theatre's Opera Series. See also Stranger Suggests. Wed Feb 9 at 7:30. Little Theatre

*Titus
Prideful General Titus (Anthony Hopkins) ritually sacrifices the eldest son of pleading, defeated Goth Queen, Tamora (a ferocious Jessica Lange), and sets in motion a dizzyingly vicious hurricane of vengeance. What's most remarkable about Julie Taymor's film is her ability to tell Shakespeare's thrilling, violent tale while successfully damning the cruel legacy of human nature; she has her meat and eats it, too. Her carnivorous ensemble, meanwhile, tears into it with drooling finesse. Almost everyone in the large cast has a juicy bit, including a preening Alan Cumming as an infantile emperor, and Harry Lennix as Aaron, the spiteful, oppressed Moor. If the film sometimes seems caught within the frame, like a series of psychedelic set-pieces on a particularly tractable stage, it's more than made up for with the force of Taymor's vision. Her astonishing final flourish sees nightmarish tumult as the mindless extension of a child's game, and turns Titus into a cry for a better world. (Steve Wiecking) Cinerama

*Topsy-Turvy
In just over two and a half hours, director Mike Leigh details the complex processes (both personal and national) that make a big expensive art project possible. Leigh has never ventured into this territory before, let alone this era-but now, late in his career, he has decided to step back and make a film about what he is: an artist. He does this by telling the story of Gilbert and Sullivan-the composer/writer team that produced comic (or light) operas in the mid- and late-19th century-and their production of the highly successful opera The Mikado. What is most impressive about this film is that it examines the intricacies and mechanisms of the production of a "popular" art form by using secondary genre artists. This is brilliant, because it becomes an investigation of the systems of art, rather than the final production. In that way, Topsy-Turvy works as an investigation of filmmaking, something Leigh knows a lot about. (Charles Mudede) Broadway Market

*Toy Story 2
The second highest-grossing animated film of all time (behind The Lion King). Woody and Buzz take on issues of death and collectability. Grand Alderwood, Metro, Pacific Place 11

*West Beirut
Best friends hang out, roam around, and revel in the fun of being out of school as civil unrest, hints of war, and impending destruction hang over Beirut, Lebanon in 1975. Fri-Thurs Feb 4-10 at (Sat-Sun 2:30), 4:45, 7, 9:15. Reviewed this issue. Varsity Calendar