All or Nothing, The Core, Devil Got My Woman, Dual-Projector Shorts, Enemies Closer, Evil Dead, Family Fundamentals, Frida, Go for Broke, How's Your News, I Spy, International Horror Film Shorts, The Santa Clause 2
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Skinny asshole makes fun of fat, bug-eyed buffoon. Featuring Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, and Lon Chaney Jr. Consolidated Works, Fri-Sun at 10 pm
George Romero meets a modern Hong Kong shopping mall as a whole mess of flesh-eating zombies take on a band of captive mall employees with names like Woody Invincible, Crazy Bee, and Sushi Boy. Grand Illusion, Thurs at 11 pm.
Bootleg Sunday Night
In the spirit of the Secret Film Festival, Consolidated Works screens a secret show that for some legal, financial, or moral reason, is otherwise unavailable for authorized viewing. Consolidated Works, Sun at 10 pm.
* Bride of Frankenstein
James Whale's sentimental horror fave, in which romance is a jolt of electricity, a shock of white hair, and thou in the laboratory. Consolidated Works, Fri-Sun at 8 pm. (Sean Nelson)
* the comedian
This fantastic documentary chronicles Jerry Seinfeld's re-descent into the world of the working stand-up and is dedicated to the proposition that comics are among the worst people on the planet. To be reviewed next week. Metro, Daily (12:30), 2:30, 4:40, 7:15, 9:20. (SEAN NELSON)
* Dog Soldiers
Soldiers on a training exercise run across some blood stains where a squad of special-ops forces used to be, and embark on a mission to find out what exactly wiped them out. As it happens, the answer is werewolves. This smart and scary horror film has as much respect for the werewolf genre as it does for the military, which is a rare combination. The camaraderie between the soldiers is palpable, and the decisions they make in fighting their unknown opponents are proper, which makes each defeat that much harder to take. Dog Soldiers is the kind of a movie where, if you play the "What would I do in that situation?" game, the answer is simple: You would die. Go ahead and see for yourself. (ANDY SPLETZER) Grand Illusion, Fri-Thurs at 9 pm, no show on Mon.
Following the 2000 Presidential Election, filmmaker Dan Moore began the quest for a national truth--posing to "everyday folks" a question he himself couldn't seem to answer. The subsequent footage became Fishy, what sounds like a Michael Mooreian documentary that crosses the country searching for some vague universal answer. 911 Media Arts, Fri at 8 pm.
* GINGER SNAPS
Ginger and Brigitte are teenage sisters living the deadened life of the underage suburbanite--so, naturally, they dream of bloodshed. Fantasy becomes reality when Ginger is attacked by a wild animal in the woods one night, and then recovers with unnatural speed, only to discover that she has become a sexually rapacious werewolf. Rowr. Grand Illusion, Fri-Sat at 7 pm, 11 pm, Sun-Thurs at 7 pm, no screening on Mon.
* The Grey Zone
See review this issue. Seven Gables, Seven Gables Weekdays (4:30), 7, 9:20; Sat-Sun (2:10), 4:30, 7, 9:20. No 7 pm show Mon or Wed.
Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages
Benjamin Christensen's 1922 Swedish horror classic, a dark, eerie docu-drama (a heavy influence on those Blair Witch kids) with live accompaniment by Elysian. Little Theatre, Thurs at 8 pm.
Hell Hole High
Three students sent to Hell Hole High battle manic parents, abusive teachers, video surveillance, and a slow, clunky script in this locally produced feature. Native American shaman, lesbian seductresses, drug addicts, and S&M punishers crowd a little color into this campy comedy, which mixes forced dialogue and crappy computer animation with a bumbling plot about a bunch of young, stubborn misfits who attempt to triumph over an evil system and end up finding love in unusual places. (JENNIFER MAERZ) Rendezvous, Thurs at 7 pm
Hurray For Bollywood
With an explosion of Busby Berkley excess comes the Grand Illusion's Hurray For Bollywood, a new monthly screening series of India's curiously popular "Bollywood" cinema. Features are in Hindi without subtitles, but the focus here has nothing to do with storyline--and who could keep up anyway in face of all that spectacle? Grand Illusion Mon Oct 28 at 6:30 pm
I'll Sing for You
The story of celebrated Malian singer Boubacar Traore's ("Kar Kar" to his fans) triumphant return to his homeland following years of relative obscurity. JBL Theater, Wed at 7 pm, 9pm.
See review this issue. Little Theatre, Fri-Sat at 7 pm, 9 pm.
See Stranger Suggests. Varsity, Fri-Sun at 1:20 pm, 4:10 pm, 7 pm, 9:40 pm, Mon-Thurs at 7 pm, 9:40 pm.
See review this issue. Harvard Exit, Fri-Sun (12:30), 2:40, 4:50, 7:15, 9:30; Mon-Thurs (4:50), 7:15, 9:30.
* The Phantom of the Opera
The most romantic stalker film of all time comes to Benaroya Hall for one night only. (Jamie Hook) Benaroya Hall, Mon Oct 27 at 4 pm, 7 pm.
Silence of the Lambs
"It puts the lotion in the bucket!" Egyptian, Fri-Sat at Midnight.
See review this issue. Little Theatre, Sun at 6:30 pm, 8 pm, 9:30 pm.
SUPER-8 OPEN SCREENING: 8-en Alive!
This monthly, theme-based screening series at the Little Theatre is open to anyone with a reel. Just drop your film off at the theater 48 hours prior to the screening, and boom: you're in the show. This month: spooks and ghouls and blood and guts and gore. Little Theatre, Wed at 8 pm.
The Year of My Japanese Cousin
A mid-'90s relic where All About Eve meets Singles in a union that's just about as successful as it sounds. Starring Selene Vigil of 7 Year Bitch (with an appearance by Kurt Bloch) and featuring soundtrack contributions by Young Fresh Fellows, Gas Huffer, the Fastbacks, and the aforementioned 7 Year Bitch.
* 8 Women
On the surface, jealousy is the combative common ground the film's eight women share in the home of a murdered man--who is a husband, a father, a brother, a son-in-law, and a philanderer in relation to the various characters. The women candidly sing and dance to their inner feelings, while hiding away their jealousies or hurling bold suspicions at one another. (KATHLEEN WILSON)
A suggestion for a better title: "Inept." Written/directed by Traffic scribbler Stephen Gaghan, Abandon is a futile exercise in suspense. In fact, the only real reason to go see it is Katie Holmes (for me at least; for women, there's Benjamin Bratt). The story? A rich student at some unnamed east coast college went missing two years ago, and is suspected to be dead. A local cop (Bratt) is assigned to try and figure things out, and the trail leads him to the missing student's former girlfriend (Holmes). But wait! Maybe the missing student has returned? And maybe he's really a murderer? Whatever. Abandon will be gone from theaters...oh, by the time you're reading this, so it doesn't really matter anyway. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
See review this issue. Metro, Uptown
The Banger Sisters
After her daughter's eye-catching turn as a young groupie in Almost Famous, Goldie Hawn plays an aging one in this cloying, aggravating piece of false, middlebrow claptrap. After being fired from her bartending job (for drinking on the job! Whatta buncha fascists!) she road trips to Phoenix, where her former partner in fashionably random sex with musicians Lavinia (Susan Sarandon, squandered), has sold out to become a rich, anal-retentive soccer mom. (SEAN NELSON)
Starring two popular rappers, Ice Cube and Eve, Barbershop is about a young man (Ice Cube) who reluctantly runs a barbershop he inherited from his recently departed father. He has big ambitions and so does not recognize the social importance of the small business. The best parts of the movie take place in the barbershop--the most complete or sophisticated argument in the movie concerns the scientific difference between good booty and bad booty. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
Bowling For Columbine
A film about a huge subject, desperately grasping for a thesis. For a while, Moore seems on to something--a culture of fear endemic to our country--but in the end, he shortchanges the psychological complexity in favor of cheap shots. It's too bad, because the movie and the director have so much momentum; Moore, for all his pomposity, is the only man alive who could get a film like this made and seen. He clearly cares, and considering his influence with lockstep liberals, he had the opportunity to say something great here. He almost does, but ultimately doesn't. Can't, maybe. Because he isn't really a social critic, he's a demagogue. His art is being a self-righteous smartass, which makes it all the more frustrating when you agree with him. (SEAN NELSON)
Hollywood's first hiphop romance, Brown Sugar is fucking filled with rappers, who are on the whole bloated and boring. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
* The Fast Runner
Although the filmmakers have lovingly reconstructed every detail of prehistoric Inuit culture--this being the first feature-length film entirely in the Inuktitut language--by recording life on the infinite tundra with digital-video intimacy, they keep the characters palpably real. Inside glowing igloos and behind roiling teams of sled dogs, the viewer sees a legend sprout from the ice. (MATT FONTAINE)
This movie has a little bit of everything: It's bad ass comes from blaxploitation (Samuel Jackson); its pace and action from Hong Kong cinema (director Ronny Yu); its object of desire from La Femme Nikita (Emily Mortimer); and comedy/sidekick from lad films (Robert Carlyle). The result is utter rubbish. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
This adaptation of the A.E.W. Mason novel about the glory of Her Majesty's Empire is a good deal more skeptical than its predecessors. But while director Shekhar (Elizabeth) Kapur's revisionist eyes find some chilling contrasts, the overall effect is that of a pre-built battleship being crammed into a whiskey bottle. (SEAN NELSON)
A haunted old 1953 cruiseliner in the Bering Sea is the setting for this gorey horror flick. Opening with a graphic scene that involves a dance floor full of people getting cut in half (all at once!), the film never gets easier to watch. Ghosts, carnage, and surprise twists keep you on the edge of your seat in this plot-weak but effects-heavy supernatural thriller. And the scene where every mystery is explained is kick-ass: The nefarious scheme, set to techno music, plays out in front of the heroine (former ER star Julianna Margulies). (AMY JENNIGES) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Pacific Place, Varsity, Woodinville 12
Written by Krzysztof Kieslowski (director of the Three Colors trilogy) and directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), Heaven begins with an English schoolteacher, Cate Blanchett, attempting to assassinate a notorious drug dealer with a bomb. But she bungles the mission and accidentally kills two girls, their father, and a cleaning lady. The terrorist is captured, and during the interrogation a young Italian police officer, Giovanni Ribisi (who is actually great in this film), instantly falls in love with her. The terrorist eventual falls in love with the police officer. Both accept their fate, escape from the police station, and dreamily drift to the blue nothingness of the end. Heaven is beautiful. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
* Igby Goes Down
A sharply observed film down to the upturned collars and half-Windsor knots, Igby gets to the heart of its characters without either indicting or apologizing for its cultural framework. (SEAN NELSON)
* In Praise of Love
It's appropriate that no story is apparent here, because the film spends so much time pondering the very idea of Story, which, in French, is the same word as history, which offers classic Godardian inversions--double entendres that are also double negations. (SEAN NELSON)
Jackass: the Movie
See Stranger Suggests. Your girlfriend secretly wants to see this movie. Sure, she's comfortable with your six-figures and 401k, your Volvo, that IKEA couch--but don't delude yourself, pal. She may never admit it to your face, but she'd give it all up in a second for the slightest chance at a single night with one of these MTV knuckle-draggers. And no, I am not projecting. (ZAC PENNINGTON) Factoria, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center, Woodinville 12
Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie
The computer-animated version of the pamphlets you find at bus stops.
The story of four young associates of La Cosa Nostra lost in a small Montana town, looking for a suitcase of money gone missing, Knockaround Guys has nothing original to offer in matters of plot or themes. So unless you'll watch anything wiseguy-related, you can wait for this one to come out on video. (MICHAEL SHILLING)
Lilo & Stitch
Lilo is the studio's best since Aladdin, and it's a tad less racist, too. (ANNIE WAGNER)
The Man From Elysian Fields
Andy Garcia plays a novelist with a well-reviewed debut book currently gathering dust in the remainder bin. Desperate for money, our hero becomes a gigolo under the wing of escort proprietor Mick Jagger. Lucky for him, his first client just happens to be a super-hottie (Olivia Williams), who just happens to be married to an aging, impotent literary giant (James Coburn), who just happens to be stuck on his farewell novel. Unfortunately, the Faust trope runs out of gas, because everyone starts playing this ludicrous scenario so completely straight that all you can see are the wires. (SEAN NELSON)
* Moonlight Mile
I know this film looks like a sappy weeper, and it kind of is, but as a story of bereavement, commitment, and coming of age (and finding the limits of each), it is also funny, smart, and exquisitely well acted by Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, and Jake Gyllenhaal. (SEAN NELSON)
American audiences are hot for foreign films about food. Sandra Nettelbeck's Mostly Martha, a German production, is compatible with this American fantasy--but the result feels much less crude than the escapist "foreign" fantasies American audiences have become accustomed to. (ANNIE WAGNER)
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
This romantic comedy is based on the one-woman show of Second City alumna Nia Vardalos, who also directs. It tells the story of 30-year-old Toula who searches for love and self-realization.
One Hour Photo
Directed by Mark Romanek (who has made some amazing music videos), One Hour Photo is at best a mildly surprising thriller, and at worst a rather dull affair. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
* Paid In Full
See review this issue. Meridian 16
The fourth (4ever, get it?) Pokémon film features another series of absurdly named, unbarably cute beasties that inexplicably shoot fire from every pore. And don't the kids just love it?
Starring Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Punch-Drunk Love is a confused story--not confusing to the audience, but confused within itself. Paul Thomas Anderson seems to have so much to say, so many bizarre scenarios to explore and see through to the end, that the film as a whole suffers. So much is happening that very little registers. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
* Red Dragon
Clunky and breathtakingly unoriginal, Brett Ratner's film is an absolute paint-by-numbers affair. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
The Ring, despite its relatively brief running time, takes its own sweet time unfolding. And while such a leisurely pace would normally be to its benefit (after all, the best horror films are generally slow, quiet, moody pieces), Gore Verbinski's (The Mexican) direction, along with Scream 3 scribe Ehren Kruger's hack-job, makes for rather dull going. There are a few jumps here and there, along with one startling image near the end involving a TV, but for the most part The Ring just sorta trudges along, rarely surprising, often befuddling. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
Road to Perdition
Sam Mendes has done the impossible: He has made a film that is even more smug, phony, and wasteful than American Beauty. (SEAN NELSON)
The Rules of Attraction
An artfully mediocre adaptation of a sub-mediocre novel, in which college life is reduced to hammy venality, vindictive promiscuity, and literal toilet humor. Full to bursting with fatal flaws, Roger Avary's film is at least nice to look at; but James van Der Beek's lead performance as a self-hating lothario is an unconscionable embarrassment for the ages. (SEAN NELSON)
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Lee Holloway, a slightly retarded nymphet secretary just released from a loony house, who develops a subversive relationship with her employer, played by James Spader. Part of Secretary's singular quality is that the heroine's problem is never resolved. She entrenches herself deeper and deeper in her "sick" dependency, and ultimately, it becomes her virtue. (MEG VAN HUYGEN)
Signs would have been exceptional if not for the necessity of elaborate surprises. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
In spite of its conspicuous cute deficiency, Spirited Away is by all means a striking visual composition--just make sure you're not drowsy going in. (ZAC PENNINGTON)
Sweet Home Alabama
A lesson that's already been taught in one hackneyed comedy after another--namely, that poor white Southern folk are fat, dumb, and wear Jaclyn Smith, but the boys are hot and they ain't as stupid as city folk think, 'cause they have heart. (JENNIFER MAERZ)
You see, there's this guy, a kinda shady guy, who's British but is a master of Kung Fu, and his job is to transport materials--shady materials, of course, because, as stated before, he's a kinda shady guy. All hell breaks loose--not spectacular hell, but more of a muddling, dimwitted hell. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
The Truth About Charlie
Jonathan Demme's remake of the 1963 thriller Charade, starring Marky Mark as Cary Grant, and the stellar Thandie Newton as Audrey Hepburn. Metro, Uptown
A wonderful cast, lovely cinematography, and an almost Zenlike pace cannot overcome the fact that this story is about a 104-year-old guy who's doing it with a teenager! He is approximately six times her age! Yuck! (TAMARA PARIS)
The Tuxedo is a bad kung fu film because it spends too much time and energy developing its sorry plot (a spy spoof), and the fight scenes are worth shit. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
* Welcome to Collinwood
After a slow start, Collinwood takes off under the steam of the chemistry between the actors, who attain moments of sublime slapstick. Another reason to see this film is the brilliant Michael Jeter, who plays a sad and sweet Quasimodo-esque thief with a powerful and lovely humanity. (MICHAEL SHILLING)
Oleander is a waste of talent (Michelle Pfeiffer and Renée Zellweger may not be great actresses, but they're better than this movie lets them be) as well as time. (SEAN NELSON)
Just how bad is XXX? Worse than you've imagined. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)