LIMITED RUN

At the Earth's Core

The filmmakers behind Warlords of Atlantis tackle the formidably wacky subject of the winged monsters who dwell at our planet's molten core. Grand Illusion, Fri-Sat 11 pm.

recommended Au Revoir, les Enfants

A gentle, semi-autobiographical film by Louis Malle that's full of fearsome facts. Julien Quentin is the Louis Malle character, a student at a Catholic boarding school in the French countryside where the priests are openly hostile to the German occupiers. Several new students, including one Jean Bonnet (né Kippelstein) are hurriedly matriculated at the school, and soon Jean and Julien are fast friends. Julien catches onto Jean's secret, but he can't quite make sense of its meaning. "Are we Jewish?" he asks his mother. It's one of the most poignant and least sentimental Holocaust movies I've ever seen. (ANNIE WAGNER) Museum of History and Industry, Thurs June 1 at 7:30 pm.

recommended Battle for the Minds

A 52-minute doc about the conservative sea change at the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1980s. Keystone Church, Fri June 2 at 7 pm.

recommended The City of Lost Children

Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro's film tells the story of a little girl named Miette who must face a nightmarish world of creepy adults and frightening villains who have lost the ability to dream. Central Cinema, starts Wed June 7 at 7, 9:30 pm. Continues through June 11. (Late show 21+.)

Festival!

A documentary about the 1967 Newport Folk Festival, Festival! delivers a long series of candid performances by artists who ultimately changed the musical landscape. You see young Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and even the late Johnny Cash. You've never given more than a small chunk of time with each artist, but the movie also spends time interviewing the fans and fanatic followers—hippies, mostly. Smelly ones. Through their eyes, you see just what an important moment it was for music and its inevitable evolution. (MEGAN SELING) Northwest Film Forum, Mon-Thurs 7, 9 pm.

recommended M

Fritz Lang's distinguished 1931 classic captures pre-war Germany in the grasp of a child murderer-framed with unnerving patience and a surprisingly effective use of early sound. Grand Illusion, Weekdays 7, 9 pm, Sat-Sun 3, 5 pm.

May Fools

A 1990 Louis Malle movie set in May 1968, and featuring many French country dinners. Museum of History and Industry, Thurs June 8 at 7:30 pm.

Pizza

Matt (Ethan Embry) is a 30-year-old career pizza deliveryman with a high IQ and squandered potential. Cara-Ethyl (Kylie Sparks) is a waddly, verbose high-school theater geek without friends. On the eve of Cara-Ethyl's 18th birthday, Matt allows her to join him for a night of philosophical pizza adventures, unlikely bond-formation, and much learning and teaching of lessons. Cara-Ethyl gapes at penises and cocaine! Matt pretends to like his life (but boy is he sad inside)! They hurt each other's feelings! They forgive! Pizza, for all its indie stylings, falls into some painfully predictable quirky-teen-loser-comedy rhythms, but it's not wholly without charm. Matt and Cara-Ethyl, shouldering their twin indignities (of being a loser and a fatso, respectively), share a few sincerely funny and sweet moments, and some of Cara-Ethyl's blurts ("Sorry to involve you in our fisticuffs" or "Like the savvy possum, I played dead") are awesomely weird. And my eyeballs aren't complaining about the opportunity to gaze upon Ethan Embry. (LINDY WEST) Northwest Film Forum, Sat-Sun at 5 pm. Continues through June 11.

recommended Seattle True Independent Film Festival 2006

See preview. SIFF's pokey underbelly takes place at three venues, two of which serve booze, and one of which serves delicious food. Abby Singer, Market Theater (MT), Sun at 5:40 pm; Big City Dick, Rendezvous (R), Sun at 8 pm; Buckle Brothers, MT, Sat at 3:35 pm; Creatures From the Pink Lagoon, R, Sat at 8:15 pm; Dansk Stil, Central Cinema (CC), Sat at 1 pm; Echoboom, CC, Sat at 6:45 pm; Flogging Margaret, MT, Sat at 8 pm; Glow Ropes, CC, Sun at 8 pm; The Hole Story, MT, Sun at 3:20 pm; In Broad Daylight, R, Sat at 6:30 pm; Midnight Money, Central Cinema, Sun at 11 am; One Night in Portland; R, Fri at 8:15 pm; True Independent (panel discussion), MT, Sat at 1 pm; The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah, CC, Sat at 10 pm; SALT, R, Fri at 8:15 pm; Self-Medicated, CC, Sun at 1 am; Simply FOBulous, CC, Sun at 3:30 pm; Starbucking, MT, Sat at 6 pm; Waiting for NESARA, CC, Sat at 3:30 pm; Wally, MT, Sat at 11 am; Weekend Film Challenge, CC, Sat at 11 am and MT, Sun at 11 am.

recommended The T.A.M.I. Show

A 16mm archival concert film shot, over one weekend in 1964 and featuring performances by Chuck Berry, James Brown, the Beach Boys, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, and more. Catch it now or forever plug your ears. Post-screening party at NWFF with Studio 66 DJs on Fri June 2 at 11 pm. Northwest Film Forum, Fri-Sun 7, 9 pm. Post-screening party at NWFF with Studio 66 DJs on Fri June 2 at 11 pm.

recommended The Triplets of Belleville

Writer-director-animator Sylvain Chomet invokes the same absurdly entertaining nostalgia that Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro tapped into for Delicatessen and City of Lost Children. The world Chomet has created contains the same deadpan sadness that lies at the base of those films—the world may be a cold and lonely place, but with a little inventiveness you can prosper. (ANDY SPLETZER) Central Cinema, Thurs-Fri 7, 9:15 pm.

NOW PLAYING

Akeelah and the Bee

Keke Palmer, who is 11 years old and plays Akeelah, is a charming, promising actress who is constantly made to do sappy things you pretty much only find in afterschool TV specials. Angela Bassett tries her damnedest to make Akeelah's mother resemble a real human being grappling with real problems, but the characters that writer/director Doug Atchison has dreamed up are pure foam. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

American Dreamz

Based on the material reality gave the writers to work with, this movie should've been fucking hilarious, right? Not so much. (MEGAN SELING)

An American Haunting

A horror movie about nineteenth century demons... and incest! With Donald Sutherland, Rachel Hurd-Wood, and Sissy Spacek.

Art School Confidential

Art School Confidential is a movie about whether it is worse to be an art poser or a serial killer. The serial killer character has a strike against him from the start, since he is strangling strangers all over campus. But, we learn, the killer is a sensitive, wounded painter who has been driven to madness by the corruption of the art world. In the end, our hero, the freshman art student, decides to adopt the identity of the serial killer. How else will he get a gallery show? Oh, Daniel Clowes. What Pratt Institute must have done to you. (JEN GRAVES)

The Break-Up

Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston squabble toward an uplifting ending in this Peyton Reed (Down With Love) film.

recommended Brick

Brick is a hardboiled detective narrative retrofitted to high school, where homeroom lockers fill in for smoky offices, assistant principals apply police-commissioner levels of heat, and everyone talks in a knowingly archaic, rapid-fire patter. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Curious George

I LOVED Curious George as a kid, and I still do. But I hate, hate, HATE this movie. (MEGAN SELING)

The Da Vinci Code

Everything about this movie is boiled until tough. The cinematography (by Cinderella Man's Salvatore Totino) is without flair; Tom Hanks is charmless; Audrey Tautou looks like a dusty china doll; and the scavenger-hunt plot is stretched out over 149 draining minutes. Only Ian McKellen wrings any fun out of the movie, but then again, he gets two crutches to play with. (ANNIE WAGNER)

Down in the Valley

Down in the Valley fancies itself a post-Western: Edward Norton's performance as an anachronistic gunslinger is ragged and formidable, and the camera observes the way the exurbs encroach on the desert (and vice versa) with an impartial eye. But there's as much Lolita in its tale of flushed love, and the filmmakers pay this strain little mind. (ANNIE WAGNER)

Friends with Money

Friends with Money atones for its shortcomings in the plot department by kicking unprecedented ass in the great-actress-triumvirate-of-delight department: Joan Cusack, Frances McDormand, and Catherine Keener. But it's still a movie about the emotional pain of building an addition to one's house. (LINDY WEST)

recommended Goal! The Dream Begins

Goal! The Dream Begins, the first in a projected trilogy espousing the wonders of soccer, hits all of the hoary old inspirational bull's-eyes—and maybe even invents some new ones. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Just My Luck

Lindsay Lohan's last role as a teen queen, according to the New York Times. The red-headed miss gets kissed and gets unlucky.

Kinky Boots

It's getting pretty tiring, this cinematic obsession with prying open the clam-tight minds of the English working class. (ANNIE WAGNER)

The Lost City

The Lost City is about Havana, the city Andy Garcia lost in 1959 when he was five years old. In the last days of decadent Cuba—the Cuba of hot dancers, handsome mobsters, and percussive music—Fico Fellove (Garcia) is a club owner who's indifferent to politics but committed to his family. However, Fico's younger brothers are political, and against the will of their father, they join the revolution. The movie is long, and Fico's sadness is infinite. Like a powerless boy, there is nothing he can do to stop the world from changing. He can only play the piano and hold back bitter tears. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Lucky Number Slevin

This frenetic pastiche of a movie is about a pudgy-cute dude named Slevin (Josh Hartnett) who inadvertently wades into an all-out race war—excuse me, noble blood feud—between The Boss (Morgan Freeman) and The Rabbi (Sir Ben Kingsley). But most of the time Lucky Number Slevin looks like a feature-length advertisement for Target home décor. (ANNIE WAGNER)

recommended Mission: Impossible 3

Clearly, in retrospect, what the Mission: Impossible franchise needed was a director young and hungry enough to shoot the moon, yet humble enough to work comfortably within the system. In short, a TV guy. Enter Alias/Lost creator J. J. Abrams, whose television work displays a genuine affinity for the ol' cloak and dagger, as well as a winningly snarky knack for subverting the dustier conventions of same. His feature debut lives up to his small-screen predilections. Abrams's script, cowritten with Alias cohorts Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, finds Tom Cruise's IMF hotshot semi-retired to instructor status and on the cusp of settling down with adorable nurse Michelle Monaghan. Before long, however, circumstances draw him back into the field, in the person of Philip Seymour Hoffman's sociopathic arms dealer with a grudge. Stuff goes boom. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont is a not-very-good movie about old ladies: cute ones, nice ones, grumpy ones, dead ones. (LINDY WEST)

Over the Hedge

This movie is about cartoon animals with feelings who learn lessons about junk food and waste and suburban sprawl. There are three funny parts. 1. RJ the Raccoon teaches the other animals about big fat humans: "The human mouth is called a piehole." 2. The exterminator is fooled by a lawn flamingo: "Those things are so lifelike. Curse you, plastic moldsman!" 3. A cat's pick-up line: "Inside, I have a multi-leveled climby thing with shag carpet." Wait. I fucked up. Number three's not funny. The rest—despite an all-hits-no-misses cast and an awesome Ben Folds soundtrack—is a shrill combo of recycled jokes, less than hilarious mayhem, and demonic porcupine babies. But the kiddie audience loved it. In the climactic moments, when Stella the Skunk pops her anal plug and fills evil Gladys's house with skunk stank, they burst into triumphant applause. (LINDY WEST)

Poseidon

Poseidon, the mega-budgeted revamp of 1972's upside-down ocean-liner opus, would most likely be a pretty lousy movie in any situation, with dialogue and characterizations that often inspire the wrong sort of giggles, but the still-vivid memories of the effects of an actual, real-world tsunami—to say nothing of the possibility of United 93 playing at the same multiplex—quickly snuff out any hopes of vicarious thrills. Aside from a solid performance by the perennially undervalued Kurt Russell, it's just a bummer, through and through. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

RV

Sissyman Bob Munro (Robin Williams) is a big dumb jerk who can't say no to his germaphobic asshole boss, so instead of taking his selfish family on vacation to Hawaii, where he was finally gonna have the time to sex up his attention-starved wife), he rents a giant RV, and drags Snootypants and his two jerky kids to Colorado where he'll secretly attend a business meeting his boss is requiring him to go to. Catch is, Dude doesn't know how to drive the RV or work the poop-emptying machine. You can imagine the hilarity that ensures. (MEGAN SELING)

See No Evil

A horror movie about a bunch of teen delinquents sent to clean a dilapidated hotel.

The Sentinel

A disgraced former Secret Service agent (Michael Douglas) tries to save the President.

recommended Silent Hill

Until a late appeal to logic interrupts the fun, the new goth-friendly splatter flick Silent Hill delivers a freshly rancid freakout of the sort that's intelligible only to some dank level of your subconscious. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

The Sketches of Frank Gehry

The two great things about Sydney Pollock's documentary on the starchitect Frank Gehry (whose real name is Frank Goldberg) are, one, it does not mention the EMP (though it does show its curves and bright surfaces three or so times), and two, the harsh criticisms that are leveled at the starachitect by postmordern theorist Hal Foster. Gehry's buildings, Foster argues, are less architecture and more a logo like the Nike sign. The rest of the documentary features Gehry's famous fans (Michael Eisner, Bob Geldof, Dennis Hopper, Julian Schnabel) saying things that are as empty as the buildings he designs. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

recommended Stick It

A defiant teen with a taste for extreme sports, Haley (a smokin' if not particularly complex performance from Missy Peregrym) is, like her predecessor in Bring It On, much more hardcore than the pantywaist sport she's forced to take up. The rationale in Stick It is a little hazy—something involving a spectacular dirt-bike crash, an easily influenced judge, and a hefty cash prize in an amateur sport—but it does the trick. Haley has to train at Vickerman Gymnastics Academy with a coach from hell. Then Stick It veers off the sports-movie formula. The run-up to the big meet deemphasizes sweat and competition, opting instead for a delirious Busby Berkeley-style stretching circle against a bright red background. Routines on the uneven parallel bars are superimposed in one time-delayed sequence full of giants and releases and dismounts. And the climax isn't so much about perfect execution as it is about one ex-gymnast (Bendinger, natch) and her contradictory feelings about the alien psychology of the sport. (ANNIE WAGNER)

recommended Thank You for Smoking

As a work of satire, Thank You for Smoking is safely and securely dated. The book it's adapted from (by conservative novelist Christopher Buckley) was published in the mid-'90s, when tobacco lawsuits were flying fast and loose and the word "probe" was rampant in headlines in the Washington Post. But what the movie loses in relevance, it gains in absurd comedy. (ANNIE WAGNER)

recommended The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada is a masterpiece, flat out. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

recommended United 93

There are very good reasons to sit through United 93. On the emotional register, the film hits a perfectly chosen note, neither aggressive enough to seem callous nor excessively deferential, which would have felt mawkish. (ANNIE WAGNER)

recommended V for Vendetta

As a work of cinema, V for Vendetta is no Batman or Matrix. But its timing (it opened the day before the third anniversary of the second Iraq war) is impeccable. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Wah-Wah

Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson, Emily Watson, and Julie Walters join forces to make a big waste of time. Wah-Wah is a social, political, and artistic disaster that has Swaziland as its location and the late '60s as its era. The empire is down to its last breath, and all that's left for its subjects is booze and wife-swapping. But in the middle of this dissolution, there is a lonely white boy who needs love, who needs a country. What is going to happen to him when the empire dies? What role will he play in a world that is deracialized? It's just too horrible to imagine. How I hate this movie. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

recommended Water

Chuyia (Sarala) is a plump 8-year-old with a stick of sugarcane clenched tight in her fist; she barely seems to notice she's on her way to be married. But married she'll be, and shortly thereafter, her husband will die. In 1930s India, Chuyia the child-widow is shunted off to an ashram, condemned to spend the rest of her life shaved bald and desperately poor. Deepa Mehta's final film in a socially engaged trilogy, Water addresses an issue that's relatively remote from the concerns of Western audiences. The characters, however, are awfully familiar. Chuyia shakes up the pit of crones with her (of course) irrepressible spirit. One of the widows (Lisa Ray) is a beautiful, doomed prostitute with a heart—nay, an entire cardiovascular system—composed of gold. Will she run away from the ashram and marry a sexy follower of Gandhi? Your guess is as good as mine (and I've already seen the movie). Still, Mehta and cinematographer Giles Nuttgens illustrate their story with images that do much more than awaken the prescribed moral outrage. The trail of colors leads you through the narrative gently, and pushes the melodrama upward into a starker, purer realm. (ANNIE WAGNER)

The Wild

A Disney movie about escaped zoo animals.

X-Men: The Last Stand

Yes, Wolverine gets to kick some minor ass, and thankfully Storm isn't entirely useless this time around, but to what end? If a mutant with amazing powers can't... you know, amaze, then why should we bother to care? The X-Men films have never lived up to the intelligence of the original comics, but they've never shied away—or completely ignored—that intelligence either. X-Men: The Last Stand, under director Brett Ratner's abysmal care, is too scared to tackle the big ideas. He has given us the summer blockbuster he wants to see—unfortunately, most everyone who enjoys movies has better taste. It's a shameful way for the trilogy to end: not with a brain, but with a whimper. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)