All That Glitters, Jeepers Creepers, Juliet of the Spirits, Knockaround Guys, O, Quadrophenia, Soul Survivors, Wet Hot American Summer


All Over the Guy
Sensitive Eli (Dan Bucatinsky, who also wrote the screenplay) and commitment-phobic Tom (Richard Ruccolo) are thrown together by their straight friends. In one quirky, spunky little scene after another they laugh, kiss, and bicker, struggling against what the audience knew during the opening credits: that this unlikely duo will fall in love. Duh! (Tamara Paris) Broadway Market

An American Rhapsody
We've all done it: You're sneaking across the heavily-guarded border of Communist Hungary on your way to refuge in America, and in the heat of flight you suddenly notice something's missing--whoops!--I thought you brought the baby. Young Suzanne grows up Hungarian, while her family basks in the full glow of '60s capitalism before retrieving her a few years later. But Budapest beckons her back, despite the lure of TV, hula hoops, and Coca-Cola. Stars Nastassja Kinski, Tony Goldwyn, and Scarlett (Ghost World) Johannson. Harvard Exit

* Apocalypse Now Redux
Reviewed this issue. Three and a half hours of Grand Guignol-style philosophical quandary, starring Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando, and Dennis Hopper. Cinerama

Bubble Boy
It's a comedy rule: There's nothing funnier than a kid with a rare terminal disease engaging in broad slapstick farce. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the comedic cousin of John Travolta's career-sparking cipher, a kid whose lack of an immune system can't keep his libido at bay. Rumor has it there's a sequel in the works: Sickle Cell Sammy and the Magic Hammer. Harvard Exit, Metro

Movies for kids and their custodians. This week: Panda! Go Panda!, worthy by its title alone (have you ever seen a panda "go"?), in which two pandas and a little girl befriend a tiger. (Sean Nelson) Little Theatre

* Crumb
Welcome to the eerie world of Robert Crumb, underground comix artist extraordinaire, and his heartbreakingly fucked-up American family. The most disturbing thing that emerges in Terry Zwigoff's riveting, hilarious documentary is the idea that for all his sexual perversity, misanthropy, and general outsiderness, Robert is the healthiest member of his family. (Sean Nelson) Egyptian

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
Woody Allen and Helen Hunt play bitter rivals at a 1940s insurance agency who, under post-hypnotic suggestion, turn into thieves, liars, and lovers. The supernatural contrivance is one Allen has used before, to better effect, in his very funny chapter "Oedipus Wrecks" from the underrated trilogy New York Stories. In that film, the device makes a schzlubby guy come to his senses, ditch his shiksa goddess, and take up with a nice, albeit crazy, Jewish girl. In Scorpion, it makes a busty, powerful blonde fall head over heels for a man twice her age. In that difference lies the sad truth about Woody Allen's movies: Though they will always be beautifully crafted totems of cinematic design and crack comic timing (even when the jokes fall flat), the human side of their universe is growing less and less tethered to a recognizable universe every time. Poorly cast (Hunt is awful, Charlize Theron is squandered, and what the hell is Dan Aykroyd doing there?), awash in discomfitting dirty old mannishness, and after all that, still gorgeously directed, Scorpion is a pretty sad comedy. A side note: When Groucho Marx was six years younger than Allen is now, he had the sense (following a series of shitty Marx Bros. movies) to preserve the intergrity of his persona and jump to TV. Allen is too talented a filmmaker for me to suggest a similar move, but maybe he should stop trying to be the romantic lead, even in farce. It's fucking embarrassing. (Sean Nelson) Guild 45th

* Diary of a Chambermaid
Reviewed this issue. An unsentimental look at a repressed provincial family during the rise of fascism in 1930s France, from Luis Buñuel. Varsity

* Downtown 81
See Stranger Suggests. A time capsule of NYC in the new wave, starring Jean Michel Basquiat (as himself), with a special appearance by the Plastics, one of Japan's finest exports since sushi. Grand Illusion

Featuring Fishtank and Mother & Son. When documentarians examine their home lives, the results are often hypnotic and sad, full of the uncomfortable honesty that goes hand in hand with misunderstood artists' desires for revenge against the ones who misunderstood them first and best: Mom and Dad. Somewhere between courage and exploitation, the family documentary is almost always riveting. This screening presents two video docs, the first about a family of grody Brits sniping one another into the ground, and the second about an elderly mother and her middle-aged son, who more or less do the same. 911 Media Arts Center

The summer tradition of movies viewed in parking lots continues; this one is at N 35th and Phinney (across from Redhook Brewery). This week--Wizard of Oz, followed by the Pink Floyd "soundtrack version." Sat Aug 25.

Ghosts of Mars
Where have you gone, John Carpenter? Time was you could count on Carpenter to churn out A-plus B-grade genre pictures like Halloween, Escape From New York, and later, They Live, and In the Mouth of Madness. His latest effort--which stars the great Ice Cube as the Snake Plisskenesque "Desolation" Williams, a convict on the matriarchal colony of Mars who becomes a guerilla hero when a bunch of Marilyn Manson-looking creeps starts killing up everything in sight--is just tired. With a few exceptions, the dialogue is stiff, the acting forced, and the villains (always Carpenter's weak spot) completely silly. (Sean Nelson) Varsity

* Independent Exposure
This monthly program of rare (and sometimes wonderful) independent shorts by underground artists from around the world has found a new home, after a fire destroyed the beloved Speakeasy. The new location is at Vital 5 Productions, and can be found at 2200 Westlake Avenue (at Denny). This month: the sizzling summer edition. Thurs Aug 23. (Sean Nelson) Vital 5 Productions

Invasion of the Bee Girls
Sexploitation classic in which something like gamma rays turn women into queen bees who mate and then kill. With skirts so short, where do they hide their stingers? Grand Illusion

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is intended to be Kevin Smith's swan song to the characters (and universe) he created starting with Clerks. But as it turns out, it's more of an off-key jingle than a song. Ridiculously juvenile, often painfully unfunny, it shows Kevin Smith's true talent as a filmmaker: entertaining himself, his friends, and 13-year-old Internet geeks who think he's a god. Despite whatever protests those folks may loft to the contrary, the fact still remains that the film is a piece of shit. There are a handful of funny moments, sure, but in the end all that is left is a steaming pile of fag jokes, numerous variations of the word "fuck," and direction so completely void of inspiration it often stuns. (Bradley Steinbacher) Lewis & Clark, Metro, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Back again for a seventh season, Linda's Summer Movies is the original outdoor drinking/film-watching extravaganza, presented, as always, FOR FREE!! By the time the plot falls apart, you'll be too drunk to care!! This week: Monster from a Prehistoric Planet. Wed Aug 29.

Nanook of the North
Rumor has it this film was staged. That doesn't dilute its timeless beauty as a document of rugged country livin', Eskimo-style. Secluded Alley Works

An ongoing retrospective of the films of Africa's greatest director. This week: Emitai. In this film, the cold logic of capitalism brings down not one man but a whole village, which once lived by the truth of the seasons and the soil. At one brilliant point in the film, the dying chief of the besieged village calls forth the Gods and begs them to help his people and destroy the invading French army that wants to steal their rice and incorporate them into the capitalist mode of production. When the Gods do nothing, he yells at them, "If I die, then you die." He then dies, and that is the end of the Gods. (Charles Mudede) Little Theatre

Featuring Candor and 3 Idiots With Guns. This free screening is billed as a send-off screening party for the cast and crew of two (locally produced?) films headed out to the New York International and Los Angeles Independent Film and Video Festival(s). You know what that means: food and alcohol! Best of luck, y'all. Union Garage

Summer Catch
No, not a story of hot, generation Y fishmongers... this is a baseball movie starring the acharismatic Freddie Prinze Jr. as a minor league pitcher who dreams of the majors in between trying to get laid with trashy townies. Redemption, love, and copious K's ensue. Metro

* That Obscure Object of Desire
Reviewed this issue. A man on a train expresses his unquenchable thirst for a woman (played by two actresses) who refuses to let him drink from her fountain. One of Luis Buñuel's most revered creations. Varsity

Thomas in Love
Agoraphobic Thomas Thomas hasn't left his apartment in eight years, nor has anyone passed through the air-lock that leads in. In this Blade Runner-like future, Thomas (Benôit Verhaert, in voice only) can live his life via computer and videophone: He has sex, argues with his mother, and arranges for vacuum cleaner repair at a safe remove from everyone. One day, in the name of shocking him into improvement, Thomas' therapist recommends that he engage with a real woman instead of his Sextoon pal Clara. What follows is a kind of reverse Bubble Boy as he tries to let childlike Melodie (Magali Pinglaut) and then hapless Eva (Aylin Yay) under his skin. But Thomas is grumpy, snide, and--shades of Humbert Humbert--a little pervy (he likes women who cry); it's truly hard to give a shit about his emotional welfare despite the film's philosophical queries about technology and isolation. (Emily Hall) Egyptian


* A.I.
If you like this film, you will be the only person you know who does, so prepare yourself for some abuse. (Sean Nelson) Pacific Place 11

America's Sweethearts
This film is a total rip-off. (Kathleen Wilson) Grand Alderwood, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

American Outlaws
A preposterous and completely unnecessary retelling of the infamous James-Younger gang's robbery spree in the Wild West. The Dawson's Creek gang is more like it. Hell, in this laughable disaster the tough guys throw male model tantrums over unflattering "Wanted" posters and even the horses wear hair gel. Don't be swayed by the film's tagline, which claims that "Bad is Good Again." Trust me: A film this bad stays bad. (Tamara Paris) Aurora Cinema Grill, Factoria, Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

American Pie II
The first American Pie was all about male humiliation, with each male character enduring some sort of horrific trauma--accidentally drinking someone's come, explosive diarrhea, premature ejaculation broadcast over the Internet, etc.--before the film was through. But what kept the film from sinking completely into the toilet was the fact that the filmmakers actually had something to say about sex and adolescence, even if it was fairly simplistic. American Pie II, unfortunately, has very little to say, which doesn't make it all bad, just not as surprising as the original. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

* The Anniversary Party
Though it skirts the edges of a dozen poisonous pitfalls (vanity production, written and directed by actors, movie about movie people, et al.), this party actually winds up being a very good examination of the inner life of a gaggle of rich, famous, and beautiful people who spend a day and night at the titular celebration. (Sean Nelson) Uptown

Bread and Tulips
Saddled with a loud, bombastic, plumbing fixture-selling husband with a hair-trigger temper and two disaffected teenage boys, Rosalba (the utterly lovely Licia Maglietta) seems all but eclipsed by her family. When, on a summer vacation in the south of Italy, her tour bus leaves a rest stop without her, she seizes the opportunity to head home to Pescara for some quality time alone. Instead, she ends up in Venice: prime romantic real estate, yes, but also a superior place to lose yourself. Which she promptly does after falling in with an eccentric crowd that includes an aging anarchist florist, a wacky masseuse straight out of Ally McBeal, and Fernando Girasole, a sad, suicidal maitre d'. (Emily Hall) Seven Gables

Captain Corelli's Mandolin
From its winding, ancient cobblestone streets to its gorgeous Adriatic vistas, the Greek island of Cephallonia is disarmingly beautiful. This beauty lords over Captain Corelli's Mandolin, an adaptation of the Marquez-ian (if I may) novel by Louis de Bernieres, to the point that there's little room left in the camera's eye for matters of story or character. Which is fine, because in those areas, not much is going on. The cast is like a bunch of conscripted waiters, and as head waiter, Nicolas Cage states everything like it's the special of the day. It's especially sad to watch Cage, who, after a brief respite of quality in The Family Man, uses Corelli to continue his brutal downward slide as an actor. (Michael Shilling) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Majestic Bay, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

The Closet
An accountant at a condom factory realizes he's about to be fired. Divorced, alienated from his 17-year-old son, he contemplates suicide, but is instead given some rather odd advice from his neighbor, a retired psychiatrist: Announce at work that you are gay, and the powers that be will be too frightened to fire you, lest they get slapped with a nasty lawsuit. The accountant takes his neighbor's advice, and, well, hilarity ensues. Or, if not hilarity, at least a few laughs here and there. (Bradley Steinbacher) Guild 45th

* The Crimson Rivers (Les Rivières Pourpres)
Though this film takes its cues from American thrillers of the most manipulative variety, being French, it does so with a certain élan. The plot follows two detectives, Jean Reno as a gruff Parisian and Vincent Cassel as the hippest of provincials, whose separate investigations dovetail at an elite school high in the French Alps. (Sarah Sternau) Broadway Market

* The Deep End
Though it comes dressed in the icy blue clothes of a suspense thriller, The Deep End is a far more interesting creature. Using its intricate plot as shrewd camouflage, the film serves as an examination of the evolving relationship between a lonely mother and her gifted teenage son, whose sexuality (homo) is such an impenetrable subject that Mom (the ineffable Tilda Swinton) would rather navigate a murder cover-up, blackmail, and death threats than talk to the lad directly. Throw in a hunky, menacing Croatian (Goran Visnjic, very good) who appears--demanding a hefty paycheck--with a very private videotape linking the son and the murder victim, and you have the ingredients of a deceptively engrossing (or engrossingly deceptive?) potboiler, where the plot takes many an implausible turn, but the real action takes place in the lead character's mind. (Sean Nelson) Harvard Exit

* Enlightenment Guaranteed
This super-engaging story of two German brothers waylaid in Tokyo on their way to a Japanese Zen monastery is a study in unclassifiability: elements of farce (their travel fiasco lands them in lederhosen before long) mingle with serious human drama and an abiding desire for spiritual credence, though the hapless brothers are basically foolish, a Teutonic Laurel and Hardy. The video photography gives the film a guileless quality, not unlike a demo recording, that lends immediacy to the proceedings which, in hands less skilled than those of director Doris Dörrie, might have grown tendentious. Hurry to see it. (Sean Nelson) Crest

Female Trouble
I can't remember if this is the one where the giant lobster fucks Divine or the one where Divine rapes him/herself. I do know that it's not the one where he eats poo. That's Pink Flamingos. Still, if you like John Waters films, this is one. (Sean Nelson) Grand Illusion

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Fantastic worlds, crackpot mysticism, and spectacular animation--Final Fantasy may, at first glance, seem like just another cartoon blockbuster, but upon further inspection the film's true colors come to life: The end of acting is near. Call me an alarmist, but the animated characters in Final Fantasy are such a leap forward that the future may actually be visible. (Bradley Steinbacher) Meridian 16

* Ghost World
Fans of Daniel Clowes' epochal comic novel about the listless inner teen life have been awaiting this adaptation by Crumb director Terry Zwigoff for years now, and the film delivers, though not in the direct way you might have anticipated. (Sean Nelson) Neptune

* Hedwig and the Angry Inch
With its charming pop-art magical realism, cinematic flashbacks, and the ability to present intimate documentary-style footage of Hedwig's misfit band on tour with their charlatan business manager (an excellent character addition), the movie version of Hedwig emphasizes the rich plot far better than the stage version did. (Josh Feit) Broadway Market

Jurassic Park III
Though the 20 minutes it spends in expository build-up--Sam Neill is back as the skeptic hero paleontologist, lured into going to the dinosaur island by some "rich adventurers" (who are actually middle-class Ohioans looking for their son)--are nigh on interminable, once the dinosaurs show up and start screaming and chomping and smashing people and each other, this movie makes its worth known. (Sean Nelson) Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16

Legally Blonde
The movie isn't much, but Reese Witherspoon, before whom all living young actresses should cower, owns every frame of it. (Michael Shilling) Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11

Walking out of Made, I tried to conjure the perfect phonetic sound to properly describe it. The winner: "nyeh," as in "whatever." That said, it's a comedy about the mob, and there are some good moments. (Bradley Steinbacher) Broadway Market

Original Sin
This psychoeroticsexualogical thriller starring Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas isn't half as bad as early press reports led one to believe. That said, it's still pretty goddamn bad, with its sweaty, swarthy tale of revenge, lust, and obsession, ultimately masking the real movie underneath: a tone poem about Jolie's lips, forever in tight close-up.(Sean Nelson) Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16

Osmosis Jones
A disjointed mix of shoddy live-action and slick animation that will be watched in junior high health classes for generations to come. An unshaven and startlingly slovenly Bill Murray, shuffling through the proceedings as an unhealthy zookeeper, oozes contempt from his very pores. But the animation, starring Chris Rock as a renegade white blood cell battling Laurence Fishburne as lethal virus, is eye-popping, inventive and lushly colorful. If you would like to learn more about the hypothalamus or simply enjoy watching Bill Murray spray venom, don't let me stop you. (Tamara Paris) Grand Alderwood, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

* The Others
A well-executed gothic horror film in a Jamesian vein, starring Nicole Kidman as a postwar mom on a tiny British isle desperate not to let the new servants (including the great Fionnula Flanagan) expose her "photosensitive" children to daylight. The claustrophobic tension of the incredible house (the film's only set, and its true star) mounts through the eerie film as the truth, like the characters' lives, unfurls methodically in this truly frightening endeavor from Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar. As an added bonus, the always-gripping Christopher Eccleston (Jude, Elizabeth) has a supporting role. (Sean Nelson) Aurora Cinema Grill, Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Planet of the Apes
At first glance, Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake has everything you could wish for in a summer blockbuster--i.e., massive budget, marginal script, entertaining result. But, upon further inspection (a.k.a. actually watching it), it turns out to be the stupidest film of the year. Sure, sure, it's fun to watch good actors frolic about in brilliant chimp makeup, but the story--which the credits list as being based upon a book by Pierre Boulle (although I doubt the book was nearly as stupid as this film)--is so ridiculous, so unnecessarily convoluted to the point of inanity (not to mention poorly thought out), that the end result actually becomes an insult to the audience. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Majestic Bay, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

The Princess Diaries
In this G-rated Pygmalion, bespectacled, curly haired, Doc Martens-sporting wallflower Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) discovers she's heir to the throne of Genovia and, courtesy of "princess lessons" from her queenly grandmama (Julie Andrews), blossoms. When will Hollywood learn that girls with glasses aren't ugly? (Heather Muse) Aurora Cinema Grill, Factoria, Majestic Bay, Meridian 16, Metro

Rat Race
Rat Race should not be considered an actual chase comedy but a clone of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Cannonball Run I and II, and Million Dollar Mystery, brought to you by a movie industry so short on ideas that it's now peddling third-generation photocopies of itself to an audience raised on replicas (apologies to D.C. Berman) and desperately nostalgic for 20 years ago. (Jason Pagano) Factoria, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

Rush Hour 2
Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan reteam as a black cop and a Chinese cop in this sequel which, being exactly as funny and entertaining as its predecessor, transcends all critical inquiry. Zhang Ziyi, from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is in it, though. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Northgate, Redmond Town Center

* The Score
This is a fully functional, if perfunctory heist film that benefits greatly from its attention to the procedure of safecracking and breaking and entering, to say nothing of the utterly relaxed brilliance of its three lead actors, Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton, and best of all, Marlon Brando. (Sean Nelson) Meridian 16, Redmond Town Center

* Sexy Beast
Gal Dove (Ray Winstone) is a retired gangster living high on a hill in the Costa del Sol, enjoying a lethargic existence. But he is as out of place here as the heart-shaped ceramic tiles on the floor of his pool. Bad news arrives in the shape of Don Logan (Ben Kingsley, so great), there to coax Gal back to England for a job. Gal resists, but Don won't take no for an answer, setting in motion a verbal boxing match so artful and intense it turns the sprawling Spanish vista into a pressure cooker in which Gal is forced to reckon for his ill-had comforts. (Sean Nelson) Uptown

Spy Kids
A director's cut of Robert Rodriguez's wildly successful franchise mustard seedling, Spy Kids Redux boasts 20 minutes of new footage, including several new scenes of Marlon Brando improvising, and a long sequence set in a French plantation that never made the original cut. Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16

* Under the Sand
While on holiday at their summer home in western France, Jean vanishes during a swim, leaving his wife Marie, played by the indefatigably beautiful Charlotte Rampling, to be ravished by loneliness. Upon her return to Paris she is encouraged to begin dating again, but can't shake the feeling that Jean is still alive, refusing to come to terms with the "closure" her friends demand of her. (Sean Nelson) Varsity