Coming Soon

American Adobo, Blade II: Bloodhunt, E.T. (20th Anniversary), Kissing Jessica Stein, Sorority Boys, Trouble Every Day, Yana's Friends

New This Week

This week: Maangamizi, an allegorical film that examines the collision of Western science on the ancient cultural heritage of Africa by way of mental patients, hospital sexual politics, and the titular great spirit. Seattle Art Museum

While American film often sequesters art from politics and social upheaval, this film festival offers an example of how intertwined these elements are. Bourlem Guerdjou's feature Living in Paradise, which is set in France during the Algerian war, tells the wrenching story of Lakhdar, an African immigrant construction worker who lives in the Nanterre shantytown. Missing his family, he sends for his wife and two children, but the conditions of the shantytown put a strain on all of them. While his wife struggles for community, Lakhdar is blinded by his own ambition. The film is an effective balancing act betwween the personal and political. Made after September 11's attacks, In My Own Skin: The Complexity of Living as an Arab in America is a 16-minute short by Nikki Byrd and Jennifer Jajeh. The unwieldy title shows the major flaw of this documentary--its ambition overwhelms its scale. It features five women as talking-head interview subjects, speaking of their experiences as Arabs in America. Tabaki (The Mourners) is a 27-minute documentary by Bahman Kiarostami that follows a group of professional mourners, men paid to weep and sing at funerals. If the idea seems absurd at first it takes on resonance over the course of the story, offering a glimpse into something foreign that transforms before the viewers' eyes. (NATE LIPPENS) Broadway Performance Hall

* Emerald Reels Super-8 Lounge
The cinematic nightclub returns after a 15-month hiatus, featuring short films by a bevy of filmmakers and music by DJ Kid Hops. To submit films, log on to To enjoy films with music and booze, just show up. Sit & Spin

* Festival In Cannes
See Stranger Suggests. The gorgeous new film by Henry Jaglom, a filmmaker who polarizes audiences with the same force as the war against terror. Broadway Market

Harrison's Flowers
One of the many sad consequences of the brutal war in the former Yugoslavia has been the steady succession of bad films that have attempted to address it. Harrison's Flowers is the latest addition to this sorry list, which was initiated by Michael Winterbottom's atrocious Welcome to Sarajevo (1997). Harrison's Flowers is about a glamorous Newsweek photographer, David Strathairn, who disappears in the heart of white darkness: ethnic Eastern Europe. His all-American wife, Andie MacDowell, goes after him, stepping over a thousand Yugo corpses to reach and rescue the only man who ever mattered to her. How I hated this film. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

An apocalyptic vision set in Winnipeg that enlists horny DJs, UFO-ologists, evil hairdressers, and rave culture in its campaign to examine the fruits of Biblical morality in contemporary Sodom. Little Theater

Ice Age
Ice Age, which was created by Blue Sky Studios, takes over where films like Shrek and Monsters Inc. left off last year. Pleasant and funny, it is littered with enough sophisticated jokes to entertain the adults, but is really nothing more than a fast-paced, shimmering toy for kids. Which is just the way it should be. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER) Metro

Call of the Cookoo and Habeas Corpus accompanied by Andy Crow on the WurliTzer Theater Pipe Organ, and two full-length talkies, Towed in a Hole and Another Fine Mess. Another fine mess courtesy of Hokum W. Jeebs. Hokum Hall

The Meaning of Life
Not the best of the Monty Python films (the members of the troupe acknowledge that it was a bit of a cash-in), Life nonetheless contains a smattering of brilliant moments, including the Mr. Creosote food orgy and Terry Gilliam's Brazil-precursor short The Crimson Permanent Assurance. (SEAN NELSON) Egyptian

Against all odds, Benjamin Bratt manages to shine as the gifted Nuyorican poet, playwright, actor, chicken hawk, and unapologetic asshole Miguel Piñero in this jumpy and jerky biopic. Piñero's dizzying ride from a con scribbling in prison to acclaimed author of a Broadway hit, and then back down to junky loser stealing his friend's television set is inherently riveting. Inexplicably, director Leon Ichaso has chosen to show Piñero unstuck in time, flashing from present-time to flashback and from B&W to color. The effect is laughably disorienting and serves to shatter any sympathies the audience might have developed for this complicated character. Poor Piñero deserves better. (TAMARA PARIS) Broadway Market

Resident Evil
Anyone who has played the original Resident Evil on their (now ancient) Sony Playstation knows that part of the game's creepy charm is its incredibly...slow...pace. The movie version, unfortunately, appears to have abandoned this, turning more toward shock value than genuine creeps. Varsity

Eddie Murphy and Robert DeNiro star in this unlikely-buddy-cop film that satirizes reality cop shows on TV. Also featuring Rene Russo, William Shatner, and Kadeem "Dwayne Wayne" Hardison. Ker-snooze. Metro

The Miracle Strip
Warren Etheridge's "Distinguishing Features" series, highlighting NW-produced films, presents Stephen Sadis' documentary about the Longacres Race Track, which highlights the urban planning wizardry of Mr. Joe Gottstein. Seattle Art Museum

Third Antenna
A documentary about the radical nature of drag. Ground Zero

This week: Leah Singer and Lee Ranaldo: Live Film Projections and Music. EMP presents the experimental filmmaker and the noise-friendly guitar innovator from Sonic Youth. If you've never seen Ranaldo work in a purely improvisatory idiom, don't miss this chance. (SEAN NELSON) JBL Theater at EMP

* What Time Is It There?
Reviewed this issue. The new work by Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-liang is another frustrating masterpiece. Varsity

The Zero Collective is a Seattle-based filmmaking group. Tonight features Professional Courtesy by Mark Price, Bill by Ben Harpold, Her Name by Rob A. Johnson, and Eighties Ending #30 by Douglas Jordon. In the spirit of collectivity, all money earned at this screening will go toward Heath Ward's The Winter of Her. 911 Media Arts Center

Continuing Runs

40 Days & 40 Nights
Josh Hartnett may be a hunk, but said hunkiness is not nearly enough to save 40 Days & 40 Nights, the latest example from director Michael Lehmann to prove that, Heathers aside, he is a complete hack. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center, Woodinville 12

All About the Benjamins
Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter in Miami who repeatedly chases down a small-time crook played by Mike Epps. They stumble upon a 20 million dollar diamond heist and team up to get the loot. The action-comedy genre is perfect for Cube, whose raps have largely been action-comedies, and Mike Epps has some really funny lines. The funniest thing, though, is the variety of ethnicities assigned to each character: The heroes are black American, the bad guy is Scottish, his underling is Mexican, the super bad lady is Chinese but negotiates the diamond deal in French with the Scot's white American girlfriend. Cube's boss is Cuban, Epps' girlfriend is Puerto Rican, and while he's a small time crook, Epps' acomplices are old Jewish ladies. Something for the whole family. (BRIAN GOEDDE) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Dracula Sucks
It's a porno made in '79. Gross. (BRIAN GOEDDE) Grand Illusion

A "supernatural thriller" that recedes from memory faster than Kevin Costner's hairline. The story (such as it is): After Costner's wife is killed, she begins to haunt him through various "creepy" (and often unintentionally hilarious) means. Why is she trying to contact him him? What secret does he need to unravel? The answer is: Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Redmond Town Center, Woodinville 12

* Gosford Park
Set in 1932, Gosford Park is an exhausted murder mystery. It takes a toxic narrative, the sort that was exploited to death by Agatha Christie, and emphasizes things Christie wouldn't emphasize (like class antagonisms, power structures within sexual relationships), and de-emphasizes things she would emphasize (like the murder, the mystery, and its solution).(CHARLES MUDEDE) Aurora Cinema Grill, Majestic Bay, Pacific Place 11, Seven Gables

That oh-so-dazzling urban urchin, Audrey Tautou, is once again caught up in an intricate web of fateful occurrences on her way to finding true love. But don't go expecting dazzling whimsy--this is a sort of anti-Amelie, whose Paris is populated with extremely unpleasant people, each and every one sweaty, conniving, red-faced, greasy, drunk, or who have spittle bubbling in the corners of their mouths. Also, I have difficulty recommending any movie that uses pigeon poop not only for a cheap laugh, but as a crucial plot point as well. (TAMARA PARIS) Metro

* In the Bedroom
This langorous, beautifully acted film about erotic and familial entanglements in a small Maine fishing town one summer builds up to three moments of utter emotional brutality so severe that the long moments in between them thrum like high tension wires. (SEAN NELSON) Metro, Uptown

The brilliant British writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch (Judi Dench, Kate Winslet), a woman who lives most decidedly in the world of ideas, succumbs to the dementia of Alzheimer's, "sailing into darkness" as she so rightly puts it. What turns this film into something more suited to the small screen is relentless sentimentalization and lack of ambition, in a story about an ambitious woman without a sentimental bone in her body. (EMILY HALL) Broadway Market, Guild 45th

* Italian for Beginners
The characters of Italian for Beginners begin in a state of despair. This being a romantic comedy, their lives begin to intersect through a series of coincidences--coincidences that could feel contrived, but due to the rough integrity of the script, performances, and direction (shaped in part by the monastic rigors of the Dogme 95 ethic), they feel like the organic waywardness of life. (BRET FETZER) Harvard Exit

John Q
John Q is a problem film. Not in the race-conflict sense, but in the class-warfare sense. The movie represents Hollywood's first attempt to address the failure of our country's health care system. Denzel Washington plays the American worker, and Anne Heche plays Enron. Enron, in this instance, takes the form of a health care corporation, with its expensive drugs and operations, and its affluent doctors and administrators. The film, of course, is timely. The layoffs and deepening recession in the real world are expressed by the part-time factory worker's frustration with the system. Though I agree with John Q's politics, it is dull and tendentious. (CHARLES MUDEDE) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center, Woodinville 12

La Ciénaga
This meandering debut by Argentinean first-time feature director Lucrecia Martel about the spiraling decay of a middle-class family (and the bourgeoisie of Argentina itself) is touching, frustrating, and fraught with believable tensions and riveting imagery. Fans of conventional narrative structure beware! (TAMARA PARIS) Grand Illusion

Last Orders
The talents of six of the finest British actors alive (Tom Courtenay, Bob Hoskins, David Hemmings, Michael Caine, Helen Mirren, and Ray Winstone) are squandered by this moist little movie about a journey to deliver a dead man's ashes to the seaside. (SEAN NELSON) Guild 45th

Monsoon Wedding
At first, it seems like Mira Nair is just doing family drama. The film is stylish, brisk, witty, and beautifully filmed (marigolds are so vibrant they would leave bright orange dust on your fingers if you touched them). But within the patchwork of marriage melodrama, Monsoon Wedding presents a subversive argument about the insidiousness of progress and its fluid relationship with tradition. Of course, it all comes out right in the end, but in getting to its satisfying resolution, it passes through so many uncomfortable revelations and unthinkable confrontations that it almost feels like watching history unfold. (SEAN NELSON) Harvard Exit

Monster's Ball
Monstrous Balls is more like it. Hank, a racist prison guard (Billy Bob Thornton, perfect) in a Georgia State Penitentiary death row, falls into a desperate affair with Leticia (Halle Berry, semi-plausible), a black woman, after both of their sons die. Via their affair, Hank is cured of racism, and Leticia is cured of grief. She even gets a truck! "I thank we're gone be all right," Hank says at the end. I thank I'm gone puke. (SEAN NELSON) Meridian 16, Neptune

Queen of the Damned
Judging by the wardrobe provided for its late co-star Aaliyah, this turgid sequel to the turgid Interview With the Vampire, also starring Stuart Townsend as a vampiric rock star, should've been called Queen of the DAMN! (SEAN NELSON) Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Woodinville 12

Doug Pray, who directed the grunge documentary Hype!, wants to restore this early hiphop order ruined by the spectacular success of the rapper. He wants to return the DJ to the center, and make him the true hero of hiphop, the one who represents what is most holy: sacrifice. The DJs interviewed in Scratch (Jazzy Jay, DJ Premier, DJ Q-Bert, and so on) consistently express ethics that are defined by an almost Buddhist-like selflessness in the service of hiphop art. The MC is corrupt; the DJ is faithful. Metro

The Time Machine
Guy Pearce and his cheekbones star in this update of the H.G. Wells sci-fi landmark. Cinerama, Factoria, Majestic Bay, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Woodinville 12

We Were Soldiers
Scrawny little bastard Mel Gibson stars in this jingoistic turd of a Vietnam War film. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Varsity, Woodinville 12

One dysfunctional family's serene weekend in the snowy country is derailed when Dad runs over a deer--thus pissing off a gaggle of mouthbreathing hunters who were on its trail--and Junior goes and wakes the vengeful spirit of a long-dead Native American. Uptown