Till Human Voices Wake Us

dir. Michael PetroniIn this semi-gothic romantic agony, Guy Pearce plays an urbane doctor who returns home to rural Australia to bury his late father, and once there embarks on a memory-soaked erotic reverie prominently featuring the ghost of his boyhood love, played by Helena Bonham Carter.

Like many of its genre forbears, Till Human Voices Wake Us wraps itself around an unfortunately shallow and easy-to-predict plot development that's presented as a revelation long after the film has stopped being compelling. There are all kinds of nice premises at work, and the acting is as good as one could hope, given the film's enslavement to atmosphere. (The truth is, this is a Roger Corman movie that's been dolled up as a high-rent romance.) Additionally, Pearce and Bonham Carter make a very sexy pair of lovers (even if one is just an astral projection). The problem, at long last, is that the film is long and boring, all setup and no payoff, and makes you want to fall asleep. At least the title lets you know that going in. SEAN NELSON

Satellites 2003

dir. various

Thurs-Sun April 17-27.After ambitious beginnings as an alternative festival scheduled to do battle with mighty SIFF, Satellites, now in its sixth year, has settled into an identity wholly independent (or "undependent," as the saying goes) from its more mainstream-minded counterparts. One absolute certainty is that Seattle now has more film festivals than anyone knows what to do with. Even more certain is the fact that Satellites has established itself as one of the most reliable among them; its pledge to present "screens from outer spaces" represents a commitment to cooperative programming (the festival is produced by a coalition of nearly every alternative film concern in town) of good work from people whom you've probably never heard of (Jason Gutz, Wes Kim), and whom a few of the more assiduous cinephiles among you will have known for years (Jon Behrens, Peter Rose). PLEASE CONSULT MOVIE TIMES FOR A COMPLETE SCHEDULE. Screenings will be held at University Heights Center (5031 University Way NE), the Little Theatre, Grand Illusion, Rendezvous, Consolidated Works, UW Hutchinson Hall, Aftermath (928 12th Ave E), and 911 Media Arts Center. SEAN NELSON

Anger Management

dir. Peter SegalIt's unofficially recommended that one wear a helmet when viewing the Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson comedy Anger Management, so as not to cause damage to the right frontal lobe due to repeated self-administered head slapping. However, the movie is so bad you'll want to die before it's over. Sandler--who has the most oval-shaped head EVER--is only funny in one of Anger Management's most ridiculously implausible scenes, when he's forced by self-help guru Buddy Rydell (Nicholson) to stop his car on a busy New York bridge and sing "I Feel Pretty" as enraged morning commuters whiz by. It's only a tiny bit funny, prompting a bemused lip-puckering at best--about all anyone but the most cretinous moron can muster after Buddy's exhaustingly flubbery fart fouls the duvet in a previous scene. Haw. See, there are two kinds of angry people: the exploder and the imploder. Sandler is an imploder whose boss is a dickhead. Funny, huh? No, just 101 minutes of Stupid Stupid Movie, accompanied by Stupid Stupid You for paying $10 to see it. KATHLEEN WILSON

Ghosts of the Abyss

dir. James CameronAs the girl sitting next to me during this film--a 3-D IMAX journey to the bottom of the sea for a glimpse at the wreckage of the sad Titanic--said, "Wow, you could kiss him." That's right: the 3-D glasses work, and you certainly feel like you're right there with crew members (like James Cameron and Bill Paxton) as they prepare to go under. Unfortunately, rather than wanting to kiss them, I wanted to slap them as they oohed and ahhhed and repeated, "Wow. This is history. Wow. This is amazing. Wow. Look at the craftsmanship still intact. Wow. It's so big."

I might have shared in their excitement--yeah, I got chills once or twice when I felt like I could touch the famed wreckage--but thanks to Cameron choosing to plop the creepy footage in the background behind computerlike pop-up screens of the robot cameras and the observing crew members themselves, there was too much technology in the way. JOSH FEIT

Bulletproof Monk

dir. Paul HunterBulletproof Monk concerns a nameless monk (Chow Yun-Fat) who, after extensive training in martial arts, is appointed to guard an ancient Buddhist scroll that holds immense cosmic powers. The movie starts in the early 1940s, in the middle of World War II, with a team of mountain-climbing Nazis who have somehow managed to take a short break from regular duty to search for total power in the misty regions of Tibet. The total power will make it possible for the leader of the Nazi team (Karel Roden) to realize his dream of all German dreams: a master race of pure Aryans. The mission fails, the crafty monk gets away, and the movie jumps 60 years into the future. We are now in New York City, but very little has changed: The Nazi (a great-grandfather with a small army of CIA agents, at this point) still wants the secret scroll, the monk (whose youth has been preserved by an ancient spell) is still protecting the secret scroll, and young Americans are recruited to battle on either side of this immemorial conflict. Finally, after all these years, Chow Yun-Fat has successfully translated his Hong Kong charm into the language of popular American cinema. CHARLES MUDEDE