* Amélie
"Oh la la la la." Egyptian, Fri-Sat at midnight.

Bucket of Blood
"The last time I saw Phyllis, she exploded." Rendezvous, Thurs at 7:30 pm.

This monthly screening series of short films with free food and a pay-as-you-exit policy, curated by the Puget Sound Cinema Society. For more info: University Heights Center, Thurs at 8 pm.

The Farm: Angola, USA
This humanizing documentary about inmates at America's harshest prison presses some very effective buttons, while sidestepping the liberal clichés one might expect. Once again, we see the rehabilitation process, its mitigating disappointments, and lingering hopes. (SEAN NELSON) Little Theatre, Thurs-Sun at 7 pm.

* Fight to the Max
Despite its awkward title and the occasional cinematographic tendency toward Bruce Weber-style homoerotic black-body fetishism, Fight is an amazingly uplifting story about prison boxing and the ways it gives convicts not only an outlet for aggression, but a vehicle for the order and reason absent from the rest of their penitentiary regimen (to say nothing of their lives outside). (SEAN NELSON) Little Theatre, Thurs-Sun at 9 pm.

A Grin Without a Cat
See review this issue. Grand Illusion, Fri-Thurs at 7:30 pm.

The Happiness of the Katakuris
See review this issue. Varsity, Fri-Mon at 1:45, 4:15, 7, 9:30 pm.

Look Out Sister
Louis Jordan stars in a this 1947 independently produced black musical about a singing cowboy. Rendezvous, Wed at 7:30 pm.

The Miles Davis Story
A drug addict, abusive husband, and frail human being who suffered from all manner of illnesses throughout his life (sickle cell disease, diabetes, and recrudescent hip complications), Miles Davis was one of the greatest musicians of the last century. A documentary on the life and times of a misunderstood man. JBL Theater, Wed at 7, 9:30 pm.

The Pill
The end of chastity as we know it, the development of the oral contraceptive has sent this country into an uncontrolled spiral toward Gomorrah--turning pious young women into raging she-devils and god-fearing young men into sex crazed bohemians. Celebrate the downfall of Western civilization with a video documentary just in time for the Roe v. Wade anniversary. New Freeway Hall, Thurs Jan 16 at 7:30 pm.

Punk International
A wise man (David Berman) once said that punk died the day the first kid said "punk's not dead." Try telling that to the Korean kids at the center of Our Nation, one of these two short docs that examine artificial and organic strains of the punk rock among foreign communities. The other--representing the organic--is Beyond the Screams, which chronicles the rise of first generation punk in Latino subcultures in East L.A., Chicago, Mexico City, and elsewhere. (SEAN NELSON) 911 Media Arts Center

After six years of success in the Bay Area as the Camera Cinema Club, this film preview series returns as "Sneak" in Seattle. For more information check out the website Pacific Place, Sun at 10 pm.

The Warriors
Grand Illusion, Fri-Sat at 11 pm.

Wish You Were Blade Runner
The Rendezvous' "Synchronicity Series" stretches the madness ever further with Ridley Scott's dark and moody vision of 21st-century L.A., set to the tune of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. Rendezvous, Fri-Sat at 7 pm.


25th Hour
We spend the first half of 25th Hour trying to figure out who turned in heroin dealer Ed Norton. Is it his girlfriend? One of his two best friends? Could it be his father? Then all of a sudden we're not in that movie at all. The mystery is solved summarily, and we're left with nearly another hour to go and not a single three-dimensional character to fill it with. All in all, 25th Hour is no train wreck; it's more like the collapse of a rickety little scooter. (BARLEY BLAIR)

* 8 Mile
But 8 Mile works because you believe the story behind it. (JENNIFER MAERZ)

* About Schmidt
About Schmidt stars an exhausted Jack Nicholson as Warren Schmidt, an Omaha actuary facing the nothingness of retirement. When he awakes next to his wife, who bores him immensely, he finds himself at the top of the slope of slow time that leads down to an ordinary death. Overall, an entertaining film, whose comedy alone sustains the entire picture. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Adam Sandler's 8 Crazy Nights
Or "Cartoon Retard--The Movie"!

* Adaptation
Spike Jonze has created a rich entertainment with enough meta-plot twists to fuel half a dozen lesser movies, and brilliant performances by Chris Cooper and Meryl Streep. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Analyze That
Ten seconds after this film is over, it will disappear completely from your memory. Even though it was much funnier than you hoped it would be, you'll only remember how hard you laughed when Billy Crystal drooled sushi all over the table. (MATT FONTAINE)

Antwone Fisher
Although not a great movie, it is actually refreshingly restrained. Denzel Washington directs with the same dignity and craft that he brings to his work as an actor. The performances are realistic but not self-consciously so, the filmmakers avoid drowning the film in syrupy music, and the production design gives us deep, dramatic settings without stealing focus. (MATT FONTAINE)

Bowling For Columbine
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. (SEAN NELSON)

Catch Me If You Can
Long stretches of Catch Me If You Can are filmed so lazily, in a manner so devoid of energy, that the entire enterprise falters, producing more of a shrug than general excitement. Add to that a script that stumbles between oversentimentality and near-cartoonishness, and the end result is a thrilling, near-unbelievable story rendered dull and even more unbelievable. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

* Chicago
Basically, the last hour of Chicago is a mess. In addition to not trusting his material, director Rob Marshall doesn't appear to trust either of the two movie-musical solutions he picks. Nevertheless, I recommend Chicago. If you didn't get to see the Broadway revival, you should catch it. You'll have to endure Richard Gere as Billy Flynn, of course, but it's a small price to pay to watch the Fosse-inspired choreography and Catherine Zeta-Jones' star-turn as Velma Kelly. (DAN SAVAGE)

Die Another Day
Two hours of workmanlike action and suspense, and a battery of sexual innuendo about as subtle and charming as a herpes sore. (SEAN NELSON)

Rarely do freshmen make the drumline, but thanks to his phat chops, my man Devon makes the cut. Of course we all know that you can take the boy out of the 'hood, but you can't take the 'hood out of the boy. What this film presupposes is, maybe you can? (JONATHAN MAHALAK)

* The Emperor's Club
Though the first third of The Emperor's Club plays like Dead Poets Society redux--genius teacher inspires emotionally undernourished trustafarians to excellence--the picture's trajectory is far subtler, and more troubling. (SEAN NELSON)

Trite drug-dealer shootouts and karaoke-video-quality shots of romance and heartache.

The story of an Irish father (Pierce Brosnan) who in 1954 got his children back from church custody through a little lawyering and a whole lot of angel rays. (BARLEY BLAIR)

* Far From Heaven
Todd Haynes' pitch-perfect inclusion of sexual confusion and racial bigotry into Douglas Sirk's original mix gives him the power to transcend his source material and create a melodramatic masterpiece all his own. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Frida is yet another artist's story that has been stripped of nuance. (EMILY HALL)

* Gangs of New York
Combining real history, richly imagined historiography, and classical melodrama, Gangs of New York tells the story the birth of a nation as a violent, ritualistic collision between two men. Daniel Day-Lewis gives the kind of performance that makes you feel proud to be a member of the human race. (SEAN NELSON)

A Guy Thing
Jason Lee plays Jason Lee in another faceless comedy starring Jason Lee. Also featuring Julia Stiles, infidelity, Selma Blair, and some potential relational incest. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Pacific PLace, Redmond Town Center, Woodinville 12

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a thunderous bore. (SEAN NELSON)

The Hot Chick
Now I understand why other cultures want to bomb us. (TAMARA PARIS)

* The Hours
Script by David Hare, whose previous work I regard as self-absorbed Brit-babble, from a novel I haven't read by Michael Cunningham, about a writer whose life is a lightning rod for stupidity about mental illness and feminism. Altogether, I hoped the movie was a shapeless pasticcio that would let me make cruel fun. I was so wrong. This is a really good movie. (BARLEY BLAIR)

* Jackass: The Movie
Jackass is a perfect film. (SEAN NELSON)

Just Married
See review this issue.

Kangaroo Jack
If there's one thing that I love more than talking animals in sunglasses, it'd have to be Christopher Walken. Well I'll be damned! Two great tastes.... Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Pacific Place, Woodinville 12

The Lion King
"Slimy... yet satisfying."

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The film resonates so deeply, despite its potentially embarrassing fantasy trappings, because the filmmaker recognizes that violence and sacrifice are unavoidable aspects of the survival of civilizations. (SEAN NELSON)

Maid in Manhattan
While pretending to tell the truth about class distinctions, Maid depends too hard on the pretty American fiction that such distinctions are only a matter of money. (EMILY HALL)

* My Big Fat Greek Wedding
I love how this movie has been playing for like 25 years and has made 200 grillion dollars and no one I know has seen or even heard of it. (SEAN NELSON)

This cop drama, which depicts the investigation of a murdered undercover narcotics officer, succeeds thanks to the absolutely brilliant pace of its story. (SEAN REID)

National Security
The sea of advertising for National Security (starring Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn) features rather prominently the image of a crazed Martin Lawrence stalking the streets of California wielding a handgun. ?!?! How quickly we forget, how quickly we forget. Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Woodinville 12

Nicholas Nickleby
Douglas McGrath's adaptation of Charles Dickens' 800-page novel is simply entertaining. As I've never read the book (and don't intend to), I can't determine what was removed and what was preserved in this adaptation, or know how such changes affected the original content or purpose of the story. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

One Hour Photo
One Hour Photo is at best a mildly surprising thriller, and at worst a rather dull affair. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

* The Pianist
Despite appearances to the contrary, the film is not about the indomitable spirit of a survivor. It's about how low a human being can sink in order to live, and the depths of abasement a race is capable of withstanding in order to avoid extinction. The Pianist stares into the abyss of the Holocaust and finds nothing looking back. (SEAN NELSON)

A live-action version of Italy's most beloved fairytale about engorging appendages.

Rabbit-Proof Fence
See review this issue.

Real Women Have Curves
A simplistic and thought-provokeless tale about one spirited teenage member of the underclass' struggle to individuate her young self in the context of her traditional, stifling, almost-poverty-stricken family. (MICHAEL SHILLING)

Spirited Away
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)

Standing in the Shadows of Motown
A functional if not exactly riveting documentary about the session musicians who composed the backbone of the Motown sound but whom no one has ever heard of. (SEAN NELSON)

* Star Trek: Nemesis
This action-heavy sequel's narrative is cleaner and more efficient than most of its predecessors'. While this bodes well for the movie--it's rather good--it doesn't, necessarily, for the future of the series. (KUDZAI MUDEDE)

* Tadpole
Tadpole is a witty, intelligent, and unsentimental coming-of-age comedy in which the a precocious preppie teen's lustful projections (onto his stepmom, whoa!) are part of a much larger picture, and the lusty boy is a too-smart-for-his-own-good kid who learns a lesson about snobbery and poseurdom. (SEAN NELSON)

Talk to Her
Talk to Her, Spain's camp bad boy Pedro Almodovar's latest film, contains no drugs or sex, and I didn't even notice until it was over. The movie unfolds with grace and still manages to shock while being funny, strange, morally complex, and moving. (NATE LIPPENS)

Treasure Planet
Updating Robert Louis Stevenson's pirate classic for the space-age is a fun conceit. Unfortunately, kids simply aren't going to pay attention to this well-intentioned, but truly square rendition of Stevenson's bawdy novel. (JOSH FEIT)

Two Weeks Notice
When I walked into the theater to watch the non-chemistry of Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant try to make an audience weep with happiness in Two Weeks Notice, I was absolutely positive my shell could not be cracked. Well, I didn't cry, but I'm still ashamed to admit that I actually liked Two Weeks Notice, mostly because there is no "rescuing" going on in the movie--just a rich guy and a dedicated lawyer trying like hell not to fall in love with each other. (KATHLEEN WILSON)

The Wild Thornberrys
Nickelodeon's marginally successful animated series --The Movie!