COMING SOON

Like Mike, Men in Black II, The Powerpuff Girls


NEW THIS WEEK

'70s Saturday Morning Cartoon Classics
The real bummer about being a kid, as everyone knows, is that it's hard to get booze. But now, those sweet, sweet babies at Linda's have made it easy to relive childhood while imbibing, by showing this cavalcade of animation in a alcoholic setting. Includes: Josie and the Pussycats, Groovie Ghoulies, and the Star Trek cartoon dubbed in French! Linda's

* Addicted to War
The Seattle Independent Media Center is offering an encore presentation of Frank Dorrel's Addicted to War--Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism for all of those who missed the hard-hitting documentary the first time around. The film will show at noon and 2:30 pm on Saturday. Independent Media Center

Belltown Outdoor Cinema
The list of opportunities to watch movies outdoors expands with this series, which gets underway with a screening of O Brother, Where Art Thou? Belltown Outdoor Cinema

BY DESIGN--Entropy: New Work
NWFF's By Design series wraps up with this bevy of shorts and videos intended to "blur the line" between the arts of design and filmmaking. Featured artists: Shynola, Eyeball (both of whom also blur the line between names and objects), Ryan McGinness, Geoff McFetridge, Rodney Ascher, Tubatomic, p2, and more. Little Theatre

City of Lost Souls
Brazilian Mario (an ambivalent hit man) and Chinese Kei (a hairdresser) are lovers on the run from Japanese yakuza and a competitive Chinese gang, trying to make a boat to Taiwan with the help of a Russian guy whose purpose is unclear. Along a way strewn with violence and back-stabbing they become unlikely celebrities, thrown toward a fate that's inevitable and cruelly just. Souls makes much of its deliberate chaos, with displaced, dislocated characters, warring ethnic groups, and a plot that lurches and stalls, although not without a certain elegance. It's also full of violence that doesn't seem to come from anywhere, and since it's so hard to follow the different strands of who wants what from whom, the clashes of nationalities, the alignments and rifts, this violence is maddeningly free-floating, and all the scarier because of it. This is not the surprising vengeance at the heart of Miike's fucked-up and stunning (literally) Audition, which saves its nasty little surprise for the end, but a kind of ongoing trial by blood. (EMILY HALL) Grand Illusion

Doctor Dolittle
Rex Harrison was talking (and singing) to the animals some 30 years before Eddie Murphy got the idea to dress up in a fat suit and do a bunch of fart jokes. That said: the original isn't particularly watchable either, unless you are bewteen the ages of 5 and 10, or first saw it when you were. This movie always reminds me, though, of Gilda Radner's song about talking dirty to the animals. (SEAN NELSON) Paramount Theatre

The Emperor's New Clothes
A quaint, curiously disappointing movie in which the great Ian Holm reprises a role he played to unstoppably brilliant comic effect in Time Bandits: Napoleon. Clothes' primary flaw lies in its conceit, which resembles that of hapless Royal Tenenbaums novelist Eli Cash's book Old Custer ("We all know Custer died at Little Big Horn; what my book presupposes is: maybe he didn't?"). Real Bonaparte died in exile on the rock island of St. Helena. Movie Bonaparte somehow enters the plot of The Man in the Iron Mask from a new angle, trading places with an identical double, and sneaking back to the motherland... where no one believes he's the real thing. It's cute, and Holm is always a total pleasure to watch, but the real story has so much more going on that the fable version just feels misguided. And P.S. Napoleon was a monster, not a lovable curmudgeon. (SEAN NELSON) Varsity

Grease
Get it? 'Cause it's actually a horrible movie with shitty songs written in a vaguely '50s idiom but produced for maximum late-'70s disco-shadow airplay. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! I love it, too! (SEAN NELSON) Fremont Outdoor Movies

Heroes & Villains
Another anything-goes collection of "tiny pictures"--no-budget Super 8 shorts in the finest microcinema tradition--this time loosely organized around the theme of good versus evil, with music by the indomitable Chris Ballew and Tad Hutchison. The best of the bunch is the puppet show "Pablo & the Bird"; director Jeremy Sedita gently acknowledges the home-movie roots of his medium while coaxing perfect performances from his toddler cast. Also notable are the wonderful makeup job in "Never Trust a Zombie" and the absurdist vignette about dental hygiene from the titular "Heroes & Villains" series. (ANNIE WAGNER) Market Theater

Hey Arnold! the Movie
A cartoon movie about a cartoon TV show. It's about time, too! I'm guessing Arnold is a nerd who outsmarts some greedy capitalists. Metro, Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Woodinville 12

* John Sayles Retrospective
See Stranger Suggests. Two double features from the venerable indie stalwart (before he lost it): The Brother From Another Planet and Lianna (Fri-Sun June 28-30); and Return of the Secaucus 7 and his masterpiece, Matewan (Mon-Wed July 1-3). (SEAN NELSON) Varsity

* Legend
Tom Cruise plays a "forest boy" who sets off on a quest to steal back a unicorn's horn from the lord of evil and save the fairy princess. He is helped on his way by elves, pixies, and all manner of mythic creatures. Well.... That should put those pesky gay rumors to rest once and for all. (P.S. The movie is actually a stunning visual creation, crafted by Ridley Scott, who may not be good for much, but he's good for stunning visual creations). (SEAN NELSON) Egyptian

Mr. Deeds
Reviewed this issue. Seven words no one has ever said: Adam Sandler is the new Gary Cooper. Yes, it's a remake of the Frank Capra movie, and yes, it's garbage. Metro, Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Grand Alderwood

The Revenge of the Creature
Were it not for the presence of the great John Agar, this sequel to The Creature From the Black Lagoon might have been completely unwatchable. Fortunately, there'll be an improv troupe on hand to add funny dialogue. What will they think of next? (SEAN NELSON) Paradox

* The Best of Both Coasts
The staggering popularity of the recent Satellites program East Meets West has necessitated an encore screening of works by NY and Seattle film and video makers, including Steve Creson, Janice Findley, Joel Schlemowitz, Sandra Gibson, Rachel Lordkenaga, Jeanne Liotta, Jon Behrens, Jenny Packard, Jacob Burckhard, Reed O'Beirne and MM Serra. Fri June 28 only at 7:30 and 9:30 pm. Rendezvous

* Varmints
See Stranger Suggests. A documentary about the conflict between prairie dog exterminators and humane scientists. 911 Media Arts Center


CONTINUING RUNS

13 Conversations About One Thing
Despite being infinitely better than like-themed yuppie redemption stories (e.g. Pay It Forward), this interweaving meditation of faith, faith, and coincidence still feels like a random series of convenient super-narrative strategies, rather than the circumstantial tapestry it means to be. The acting is both superb (Alan Arkin) and clumsily hyperintentional (Matthew McConnaughey), and the same thing goes for the writing, which finds ways to place its characters in crux moments, but cops out by forcing all these cruxes to connect. An impressive effort, with severe reservations. (SEAN NELSON)

* About a Boy
Directed by Paul and Chris Weitz (of American Pie infamy), this tale of male mid-life angst centers around Hugh Grant's Will, an idler of hilarious proportions. Living off a fortune earned and perpetuated by his one-hit-wonder musician father, Will has no idea his life is meaningless until he meets a 12-year-old boy whose depressed mother (Toni Collette) forces Will to provide guidance, except that the kid is far more mature than his begrudging father figure. Will can't conceive that his life is unfulfilled, and whenever anyone tries to inform him of what's missing, he digs in his heels and fights to stay a bastard, making his inevitable transformation all the more authentic. (KATHLEEN WILSON)

Bad Company
At the end of the 20th century, meteorites obsessed our cinematic nightmares (see Deep Impact, Armageddon). At the start of the 21st century, these "extinction level" meteorites have been replaced by nuclear bombs. But the nukes that spook our age are not the organized arsenal of the Cold War (Dr. Strangelove to War Games), but small, user-friendly gadgets that can fit comfortably into a laptop case. Also, these nuclear bombs are not managed by big governments but bought and sold on the open market, like used cars. This is the interesting part of Bad Company: it magnifies the most popular nightmare of the day. Outside of that, the film offers nothing but deep boredom. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

* Bartleby
A deft, wonderfully acted transposition of Melville's famous meditation on/screed against soul-killing bureaucracy. This adaptation (shot on video) plays as a kind of existential TV drama, set in a modern office, and starring the great Crispin Glover, probably the only man alive who can credibly take the role of a cipher who says almost nothing other than, "I would prefer not to" and make him a compelling figure. His mysterious mantra, coupled with the depressing cheeriness of the set design, give Bartleby an everyman heft, sidestepping the inherent problems of the story, and turning the classic tale into a timeless, absurdist allegory for despair. (SEAN NELSON)

* The Bourne Identity
All preliminary evidence tends to suggest that the film isn't worth bothering with. It's a spy thriller, which Hollywood has long since forgotten how to do right, starring Matt Damon, who, despite being a fine actor, is ineluctably associated with Ben Affleck, who is currently starring in a weak-ass spy thriller of his own. Bourne is directed by Doug Liman, who also made Swingers, which is locked in a death match with Boogie Nights for the title of Worst Movie of the Past 10 Years That Everyone But Me Seems to Love. And it's based on a novel by Robert Ludlum. 'Nuff said. But I'll be hornswaggled if The Bourne Identity isn't a tight, satisfying exponent of its genre. The intrigue is intriguing, the tension is tense, and the action is artful. But let's be frank: what really makes the movie swing is the violence. The fight scenes, in which Bourne instantaneously "remembers" his training in the art of lethally kicking your ass, are killer. They make you clench your fists and punch the air in front of your seat. It's violence with consequences--as illustrated by Clive Owen's excellent death scene--but it's violence: clean, quick, and compelling, like movie violence ought to be. (SEAN NELSON)

Brotherhood of the Wolf
It's not just that the plot (about a superwolf laying waste to the French countryside in the 1700s and a scientist with amazing fighting prowess sent to track it down) grows less and less sensible; not just that the lead actor is a second-rate Christopher Lambert; not just that the sex scenes are lurid and yet untitillating; not just that everyone (including a transplanted Iroquois and scuzzy French mercenaries) knows kung fu--Brotherhood of the Wolf is all of this and more, a special French fusion of the pretentious and the inane. Were it not so long, this would be camp fun. But it is long. So very long. So very, very, very long. (BRET FETZER)

Changing Lanes
Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Affleck are involved in a fender-bender rendering Jackson immobile. Affleck speeds off, unknowingly leaving behind an extremely important document; a bitter Jackson misses an important custody hearing, and a grand old feud is born. Who wins? You won't care. (KUDZAI MUDEDE)

* CQ
Debut feature from Roman Coppola that turns its stylish design (it's set in Paris, 1969) to make an effective emotional story about a young filmmaker torn between Art and reality. (SEAN NELSON)

Dagon
Based on a short story by macabre master H.P. Lovecraft, Dagon tells the story of a boating accident off the coast of Spain that sends a young couple to the fishing village of Imboca looking for help. As night falls, people start to disappear and things not quite human start to appear. Paul finds himself pursued by the entire town. Running for his life, he uncovers Imboca's dark secret: they pray to Dagon, a monstrous god of the sea. And Dagon's unholy offspring are freakish half-human creatures on the loose in Imboca.

Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
Jodie Foster plays a stentorian nun (Catholic males: begin masturbating now), and Kieran Culkin plays the recipient of her stentority in this engaging tale of thwarted sexual energy in parochial school. (SEAN NELSON)

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
An insufferably Lifetime adaptation of the insufferably Oprah novel about an intergenerational cabal of insufferably quasi-Southern Gothic ladies. (TAMARA PARIS)

* Enigma
Despite its compelling story--Enigma was a Nazi encryption machine that enabled the Germans to creat unbreakable codes during WWII; unbreakable, that is, until every math and science nerd in Great Britain got to working on it--and attractive cast--Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Jeremy Northam, Saffron Burrows--Enigma fails to generate much of the heroic suspense it aims at. (SEAN NELSON)

Enough
Jennifer Lopez has had just about enough of her abusive husband (Bill Campbell from The Rocketeer), so she takes some self-defense classes so that she can murder him! You go, girl! Movie = garbage. (KATHLEEN WILSON)

* 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 very ice. I can't wait to go to sleep so I can dream that I am there again. Do not miss this extraordinary film. (MATT FONTAINE)

The Importance of Being Earnest
Rupert Everett looks terrible--his face appears to be sliding off his skull, and he's as neckless as a football player. And he should simply stop playing straight men, because he's the most unconvincing lover this side of Passions. Southerner Reese Witherspoon is far too California-girl to play an English lass, with her "I studied with the same voice coach as Gwyneth" accent. Even these quibbles aside, this new adaptation is revolting, too arch by half and with Everett and Colin Firth (who plays Jack Worthing as a kind of stuttering Hugh Grant-type) swallowing all of Oscar Wilde's best lines. You lose everything by method-acting Wilde; his charm lies in all the stagy absurdity of drawing-room social intercourse. Thank God for Judi Dench, steamrolling her way through a terrible situation. (EMILY HALL)

* Insomnia
Every once in a great while, a film comes along that breaks the "remakes-are-always-shitty" rule. Christopher Noland's Insomnia is one of those films. Not only does it match its Danish original, but in many ways it tops it--no minor feat when you take into account the fact that it stars Robin Williams as the villain. Also starring Al Pacino, Hillary Swank, and the great Martin Donovan, Noland's thriller takes its time to unfold, giving each performer ample scenery to gnaw on before arriving at a tight finale. Go see it. (Sidenote: And it's really fucking weird watching Mork fire off a shotgun.) (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

* Italian for Beginners
The characters of Italian for Beginners begin in a state of despair. This being a romantic comedy, their lives begin to intersect through a series of coincidences-coincidences that could feel contrived, but due to the rough integrity of the script, performances, and direction (shaped in part by the monastic rigors of the Dogme 95 ethic), they feel like the organic waywardness of life. (BRET FETZER)

Juwanna Mann
I dunno. Juwanna punchinthenose? But seriously folks.... This is a movie about a black man who gets thrown out of the NBA for his bad attitude and whose humbling comeuppance is playing with girls.

* Late Marriage
What's best about director Dover's impressive debut chronicling the collision of sex, love, and family duty in modern-day Israel is how unsentimentally he portrays committed love, in all its forms. Whether recording a passionately ambivalent fuck between love-hungry singles or the perpetual resentment between married pairs, Late Marriage refuses to romanticize the struggles--or triumphs--of finding Love Everlasting. Plus, it's got the best sex scene I've seen in years. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Lilo & Stitch
An animated film about a Hawaiian girl who adopts a dog (really an alien genetic experiment) that falls to Earth near her island home. She embraces her new pet and teaches him "ohana"-the "Hawaiian concept of family." Good thing the dog isn't a haole tourist....

* Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Right down to Frodo's face on the poster, Fellowship is all about rising above doubts (rather than stepping up to convictions), and all the special effects in the world can't convey that. Even though it's not perfect, this movie still kicks fucking ass. (SEAN NELSON)

* Minority Report
Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise team up for this well-made futuristic thriller, based on a story by Phillip K. Dick, and featuring several special effects that are identical to ones used in Attack of the Clones. Report works best when Tom Cruise is actually running--he's a future-crimes cop being set up to commit murder--and when the maddeningly glorious Samantha Morton is actually freaking out. Complex in good ways, simple in others, the film marks Spielberg's second attempt at allegorical Kubrick paean (check the allusions to Clockwork Orange) that ends with a cop-out. Still, a worthy effort, and much more intriguing than most sci-fi. (SEAN NELSON)

Monsoon Wedding
At first, it seems like Mira Nair is just doing family drama. The film is stylish, brisk, witty, and beautifully filmed. But within the patchwork of marriage melodrama, Monsoon Wedding presents a subversive argument about the insidiousness of progress and its fluid relationship with tradition. (SEAN NELSON)

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.

The New Guy
Why is the obnoxious-dweeb-turned-obnoxious-chick-magnet plot still selling? Why do people pay money for this shit? Why? Why? No. Tell me. Why? (MEG VAN HUYGEN)

* The Piano Teacher
Handjobs. Blowjobs. Rape. Porn. Peeing. Peeping. Bondage. Beatings. Vaginal mutilation. And incest--all set against the insufferably stilted world of Viennese classical music. Maverick director Michael Haneke's latest creation (abomination?) follows a lonely, repressed middle-aged virtuoso pianist (Huppert) and her sadomasochistic relationship with a lovestruck young student (Benoit Magimel). The film broke the bank at Cannes, winning Best Actress, Best Actor and the Grand Jury Prize. While not nearly as brutal as Haneke's Funny Games (1997), Teacher renders an unflinching autopsy of a dream deferred. (FRED MEDICK)

The Rookie
In The Rookie, Dennis Quaid and Disney bring to the screen the real-life story of a baseball player-turned Texas high-school science teacher-turned baseball player. (SONIA RUIZ)

Scooby-Doo
The story is that the Mystery Inc. gang has been reunited and recruited to investigate Spooky Island, a Halloween/Mardi-Gras theme park that's inhabited by demons who steal people's souls. They're commissioned by Rowan Atkinson, who poses as a concerned proprietor but is actually evil instead. He and his demons need a completely pure soul to sacrifice for some voodoo thing, so they lured the kids there to abduct Scooby. There's a midget and a Mexican lucha libre wrestler who go around assaulting the gang. Then everybody's at a beach party, and Fred and Daphne have this sexual undercurrent, Shaggy and Scooby have a fart contest, and Velma gets drunk with some dude. It's not even non sequitur in a funny way. It's cheap and desperate. There's no place for demonic repossession and Busta Rhymes in a Hanna-Barbera production. It's a goddamned shame is what it is. (MEG VAN HUYGEN)

The Scorpion King
Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock, brings his ham-fisted acting and perfectly sculpted eyebrows to the big screen for this adventure flick.

Spider-Man
As filmed by Sam Raimi, Spider-Man trots out a predictable (and cloyingly Victorian) boy-girl story that wastes Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) as a screaming damsel in distress, Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe) as a cackling villain, and Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) spouting a bunch of pre-fab platitudes. (JOSH FEIT)

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
A cartoon about magic horses. If you like magic horses, you'll LOVE this cartoon.

* Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones
Attack of the Clones delivers exactly what you should expect from a Star Wars movie. It is big. It is fun. It is an event. From the opening surge of John Williams' familiar score, to the final optical zooming out to the words "Directed by George Lucas," Episode II lives up to the Star Wars myth--a myth that has always meant "stupid fun." Don't agree? Go back and watch the first three. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

* The Sum of All Fears
Despite all appearances, there are two good things about the new Tom Clancy movie with Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan. One is a bold plot twist that comes so suddenly that it reconfigures the whole experience in an instant, and almost tricks you into thinking the film is better than it is. The other good thing, almost a great thing, is the casting of Liev Scrheiber in the role of John Clark, CIA spook, and all-around spy genius. Clark is the grease in the gears, the genius-hero who speaks a dozen languages and can garrote a guard while hacking into a mainframe without ever being seen or heard. Schreiber came to Seattle to discuss his role, saying that his research revealed that most CIA guys are language students who get rooked into service, but whose real ambitions lie behind desks. Asked how he felt about representing this big Hollywood action picture to the press, Schreiber said, "Well, I like it. I think they did a good job. But I have to confess that the real reason has more to do with my belief that the real story lies with Clark. I think there's a lot more to that character that could--and might--be explored in a sequel. So, yes... I may have ulterior motives." (SEAN NELSON)

* Undercover Brother
At first glance, Undercover Brother just looks like a Blacksploitation Austin Powers. Which it is. Fortunately, it happens to be funnier that Austin Powers. No, seriously. I mean it. Littered with gags, some of which fire, many of which don't, it is perfect summer fare--a grand opportunity to get baked and spend an afternoon at the movies (if you're want to do that--and I'm not condoning such behavior, mind you). The story? Does it matter? (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

Unfaithful
"Who do you suppose the target audience is for this film?" my fella whispered in the dark. "Movie execs who wanted to make another In the Bedroom but couldn't escape their Fatal Attraction tendencies," I murmured in reply, and we turned back to the screen where another brand-new black SUV sped down a street freshly hosed down to produce the perfect pointless sheen while Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez made soft-lit, glossy love and Richard Gere pined commercially. (TAMARA PARIS)

Windtalkers
Nicolas Cage plays Sergeant Joe Enders, assigned to keep Private Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach), a "Windtalker", (Navajo code breaker) out of harm's way. This involves killing many, many Japanese soldiers, along with single-handedly causing more explosions than were seen in the entire Pacific Theater during the war. Such pyrotechnics are John Woo's specialty, and they are suitably impressive. The only problem is, they don't belong in this movie. As a director, Woo has always had the technical skills to take your breath away, but his New World work has been saddled with clunky, borderline-inept hokum. Simply put, when Woo isn't destroying something, his American work is riddled with cheese--cheese that is much easier to ignore in his Hong Kong work. Windtalkers is so cheesy, so clunky and hokey, that it nearly offends. The violence is top-notch, but during quiet moments and simple transitions, the film is almost laughably bad. The story of the WWII Windtalkers is fascinating, maybe even important. Unfortunately, here it has been squandered. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

* Y Tu Mamá También
As two Mexican teenagers frantically fuck, the boy, Tenoch (Diego Luna), pleads/demands that the girl not screw any Italians on her impending European trip with her best friend. Meanwhile, that best friend is having rushed pre-departure sex with her boyfriend, Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal), who is also Tenoch's best friend. When the girls have left, we settle down to watch these two boys spend an aimless summer. Everything gets thrown sideways when they meet a sexy older woman (that is to say, in her 20s) named Luisa. Y Tu Mamá También is a brilliant, incisive core sampling of life in Mexico. It's both slender and profound; the movie's greatest pleasures are often its smallest ones-even the title comes from a tossed-off bit of banter. Any individual moment could be trivial, silly, pointless, even embarrassing-but the accumulation of moments has a devastating scope. (BRET FETZER)

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