400 Blows
"C'est peut-etre un question de glandes." Rendezvous, Wed at 7 pm.

Apollo 13
"I'm so hungry I could eat the ass end out of a dead rhinoceros." Screening with astronaut Fred Haise in attendance. Museum of Flight, Fri at 7 pm.

Beautiful Works: Four Films By Claire Denis
Attractive people frequently gaze at each other in Denis' films, staring at each other's surfaces not in the hope of finding an answer to the mystery of their mutual attraction but in the pure wonder (and often the joy) of being attracted at all--as happens, near the opening of Nénette et Boni, between the baker (Vincent Gallo) and his voluptuous wife (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), whose body also attracts the eyes and fuels the erotic fantasies of a young customer (Grégoire Colin). But Nénette et Boni shows the healthier, happier consequences of attraction--voluptuous dreams, satisfied lovers managing a local bakery. More often, the attraction initiated by the eyes of Denis' characters deforms into madness, long-term sorrow, or death. For example, the sprawling story in I Can't Sleep (1994) is entirely set at the torpid end of a failed romance between a handsome Caribbean immigrant (Alex Descas, the Denzel Washington of the French-speaking world) and a Parisian (Béatrice Dalle, whose "physical attributes" Denis has correctly defined as "unbelievable"). (CHARLES MUDEDE) Grand Illusion, see Movie Times for specific information.

See review this issue. Varsity, Fri-Sun at 1:30, 4:15, 7, 9:30 pm, Mon-Thurs at 7, 9:30 pm.

* Chicken Run
"Pushy Americans, always showing up late for every war." Seattle Art Museum, Sat at 1:30 pm.

"I don't appreciate your ruse, ma'am." Egyptian, Fri-Sat at midnight.

Death Race 2000
"You know Myra, some people might think you're cute. But me, I think you're one very large baked potato." 911 Media Arts, Fri at 8 pm.

Fuck the System... and More!
Those Oregonian anarchists are at it all over again, and this time they're getting particularly amorous with something called "the system." Independent Media Center, Fri at 7 pm.

Kids, Koko, and Kar Krashes
An evening of madcap, with four shorts from the 1920s including Koko's Earth Control, Lissies of the Field, Two Tars, and the Little Rascals short Thundering Fleas. Hokum Hall, Fri at 7, 9 pm, Sat at 2 pm.

Laurie Anderson on Screen
The Rendezvous pays loving tribute to the only performance artist you've ever heard of (yeah, the one with the hair) with a screening of some collected videos. Rendezvous, Mon at 7, 9 pm.

Men and Animals Film Tour 2003
Chicago independent filmmakers Jim Finn and Dean Rank pack up the van and take to the road for a 25-venue national tour of their recent short works. Little Theatre, Wed at 8 pm.

Mothers/Daughters In Reaction
See review this issue. Little Theatre, see Movie Times for details.

Northwest Film Forum Auction
The Northwest Film Forum presents its annual auction fundraiser, replete with live music, "celebrity guests," and the premiere of the NWFF's original short film Kodachrome Confidential. Russian Community Center, Sat at 7 pm.

Tom Dowd & the Language of Music
Working with everyone from Cream to Coltrane over his decade-spanning career, late New York-born record producer and engineer Tom Dowd is paid tribute in the Seattle premiere of this new documentary. JBL Theater, Wed at 7, 9 pm.

A 1979 classic from the apparently rich history of the "Italian Zombie genre," this late-night screening of Lucio Fulci's Zombie is a festival of flesh-eating fun. "Festival of flesh-eating fun"? What the fuck am I talking about? Grand Illusion, Fri-Sat at 11 pm.


* Adaptation
Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze have created a rich entertainment, stuffing their movie with enough meta-plot twists to fuel half a dozen lesser movies and bringing it to the screen with brilliant performances by Chris Cooper and Meryl Streep. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Agent Cody Banks
"When it comes to girls, I suck." That's the central conflict in Agent Cody Banks, a dumb movie about a smart teenager who leads a double life. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

Anger Management
It'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. (KATHLEEN WILSON)

Bend It Like Beckham
Essentially a traditional coming-of-age story, though with a spicy ethnic twist: A hot Anglo-Indian teenage girl in outer London pursues her dream of professional soccer stardom against the wishes of her traditional Sikh parents--immigrants who, still steeped in Indian culture, are only concerned with her educational and marriage prospects, and consequently just don't get it. Stuff happens and challenges are overcome, and Mummy and Papa come around in the end, as we know they will, but the predictable conventionality of the plot structure is expertly obscured by the pleasures of the journey. (SANDEEP KAUSHIK)

Better Luck Tomorrow
Evidently, this first-time film from Justin Lin caused quite a stir at Sundance, though after watching it I find whatever controversy it created a little perplexing. The story of a pack of overachieving Asian high-school students turning to crime for kicks in suburbia, the film is little more than Goodfellas and Boyz N the Hood spackled together with an Asian cast, directed with overly hyper flare by Lin, and purchased by MTV films for release to teens and tweens nationwide. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

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. He wants to say something great, but ultimately doesn't. (SEAN NELSON)

Bulletproof Monk
Finally, after all these years, Chow Yun-Fat has successfully translated his Hong Kong charm into the language of popular American cinema. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Chasing Papi
Okay, so get this: Some dumb schmuck is engaged to three women in three different cities, right? All right, so then, like, all of a sudden, they're all in the same city, okay? What happens next? Local television affiliate syndication. For all of eternity.

* Chicago
Richard Gere is a small price to pay to watch the Fosse-inspired choreography and Catherine Zeta-Jones' star turn as Velma Kelly. (DAN SAVAGE)

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, every good con movie needs a good con. Unfortunately, Confidence is missing exactly that, inserting in its place yet another annoying performance by Dustin Hoffman. Starring Edward Burns and a bunch of other people nearly as irrelevant, Confidence moves at the kind of clip that can only be described as desperate. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

* The Core
The Core is not as bad as you have undoubtedly assumed. Seriously. The Core offers mindless, escapist entertainment--the thrill of a summer blockbuster released in the spring. And for that, the film is worthwhile. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

* The Good Thief
Based on the 1955 French classic Bob le Flambeur by Jean-Pierre Melville, whose assured direction and cash-poor location filmmaking are widely considered precursors to the French New Wave, Neil Jordan directs this remake as a sort of tribute to the stylings associated with later New Wave films. Jordan is commenting on Melville's film as much as remaking it, so if you can see the original first, do so--but either way you should have a good time. (ANDY SPLETZER)

Head of State
Chris Rock stars in a film about a Washington D.C. city councilman (who yells a lot) turned unexpected presidential hopeful (who yells a lot).

Based on the popular children's book by Louis Sachar, Holes is a family drama (starring Sigourney Weaver, Patricia Arquette, and Jon Voight) about kids in the chain gang.

* The Hours
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)

House of a Thousand Corpses
First-time feature director Rob Zombie loads his debut with so many tricks of the music video trade, from split-screens to oversaturated video, the biggest shock is that he makes it work. The immoral of the story? Don't make fun of inbred-looking rednecks, particularly when they're putting on a Halloween talent show for you, because they'll likely kill you. (ANDY SPLETZER)

When a film is as close to Psycho as Identity is, you hope it will bring something new to the table. Ah, well. Identity won't go down in history as the clever spin on Norman Bates it wants to be, but because it borrows so heavily from Hitchcock, it's not without some taut suspense. Some will enjoy the thrill-kill ride. Others will easily dodge the plot twists. No one, however, will escape the shrieking music cues. (SHANNON GEE)

It Runs In the Family
Opening. See review this issue. Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Woodinville 12

* Laurel Canyon
Though it may seem like Laurel Canyon is a bedroom farce between hippies and yuppies, the film is in fact a smart, emotionally insightful exploration of the multigenerational consequences of the quest to live free. (SEAN NELSON)

The Lizzie McGuire Movie
Opening. Disney's impeccable live-action legacy continues with a big-screen version of the impossibly saccharine children's television series. It's sort of like watching television--but you know, really big. AND you get to pay for it! Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Majestic Bay, Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center, Woodinville 12

Malibu's Most Wanted
The wigga son of a wealthy politician is introduced to C.O.M.P.T.O.N. by Juilliard-trained street thugs. Sensitive treatment of complicated racial stereotypes follows.

A Man Apart
A Man Apart, which stars beefy Vin Diesel as a streetwise DEA agent who rolls with real niggaz, is to Traffic what crack is to cocaine--instead of matching or going beyond Traffic it soon dispenses with its noble concept, kicks into reverse, and returns to the old opera of cowboy vs. the others. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

* The Man Without a Past
Aki Kaurismäki's latest has charmed audiences at film festivals around the world, and it's easy to see why. Bathed in the perpetual golden light of northern Finland, the movie looks absolutely gorgeous. The camera rarely moves, which emphasizes the strong compositions Kaurismäki set up with cinematographer Timo Salminen. The pacing is slow but confident, and once you lock into its rhythm it becomes completely engaging. Above all the movie is funny, eschewing the gross-out humor so popular today for the more gentle humor of silent films. (ANDY SPLETZER)

A Mighty Wind
As with Christopher Guests' other films, Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, the results of A Mighty Wind are alternately hilarious and flat. So much of what makes these movies enjoyable rests on the rhythm of the improv, which is why the increasingly rigid formula is both troublesome and necessary: It's the skeleton that allows these world-class performers to let loose (Fred Willard once again steals the show). The problem is that it's become so familiar that, taken together, the three films feel like one long, predictable sketch. (SEAN NELSON)

* Nowhere in Africa
Nowhere in Africa follows a rich Jewish family that leaves Germany in 1938 and moves to Africa. There they can avoid the Nazis, but have to deal with some other issues like, oh, the lack of water. Naturally, the characters all experience guilt (you just can't have a Holocaust movie without guilt), but there are also things here you never see in any movie, such as the scene in which a swarm of locusts plunder a field of maize. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

Old School
Here's a film that relies on a whole list of old clichés (marriage is a ball and chain; the school losers vs. the campus suits) to deliver comedy that's actually really funny in a dumb kind of way. (JENNIFER MAERZ)

Phone Booth
I swear I'm just as shocked by this as you are, but dig this: Phone Booth, the new film by Joel Schumacher--yes, that Joel Schumacher--is pretty damn good. Somehow--Grace of God? Shadow director?--the man who ruined Batman, the chump behind Bad Company and Flatliners, has managed to make a film worth seeing. A gimmick gone wild, it breezes past in 80 quick minutes, starting from a sprint and only stumbling somewhat at the very end. (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. There's no heroism in the picture, and all redemption is tempered by the knowledge of what's coming next. It's here, in the deeply Eastern European black comedy of this knowledge, that the film and its maker mark their territory most boldly. For all the possible autobiography of the story, The Pianist is most personal when it stares into the abyss of the Holocaust and finds nothing looking back. (SEAN NELSON)

Raising Victor Vargas
Victor lives on the Lower East Side and has no worldly ambitions; all he has to speak of is a crush on Juicy Judy, who wears hoop earrings and too much makeup and thinks all guys are "dogs." Neither one of them has a phone at home, which suggests a rather improbable courtship, though they manage to run into each other enough times on neighborhood rooftops and at public swimming pools, and to the surprise of no one in the audience it all works out--each character (even among the overbearing and richly caricatured families) comes to a sensitive, deeper understanding of one another's longings and insecurities, which is a clean, comforting way to end a movie, but it's never how things turn out in life. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

The Real Cancun
Opening. See review this issue. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Metro, Pacific Place, Woodinville 12

Talk to Her
Talk to Her unfolds with grace and still manages to shock while being funny, strange, morally complex, and moving. (NATE LIPPENS)

A View From the Top
Playing out like something of a saccharine, low-rent version of Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, A View from the Top is pure ocular Wonder Bread--featureless, familiar, and entirely inoffensive. (ZAC PENNINGTON)

What a Girl Wants
Amanda Bynes, Colin Firth, and Kelly Preston star in Girls Gone Wild: London Edition, in a film filed somewhere between "Coming of Age," "Fish Out of Water," and "Product Placement Opportunity."

X2: X-Men United
Opening. See review this issue. Cinerama, Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Majestic Bay, Neptune, Oak Tree, Pacific Place, Redmond Town Center, Woodinville 12

Opening. See review this issue. Metro