COMING SOON

Austin Powers in Goldmember, The Country Bears, My Wife Is an Actress, Read My Lips, Tadpole, Tuvalu


NEW THIS WEEK

Baltimore Because
911 Media Arts Center presents an evening of short films created in the thriving vacuum of Baltimore, MD's Creative Alliance of Moviemakers (CAmm). Featuring Rocky IV, a "deadpan, animated critique" of the film of the same name. 911 Media Arts Center

Bedknobs & Broomsticks
Angela Lansbury, a trio of cockney orphans, and some cartoons battle Nazis with the aid of a flying bed. Moore Theatre

Cinema Paradiso
This evergreen Italian moisture factory receives a re-release that allegedly incorporates 48 minutes of new material, which, if nothing else, will make Giuseppe Tornatore's rank (and yes, okay, effective) sentimentality last even longer, thus requiring surplus Kleenex for all the weepers. (SEAN NELSON) Uptown

* Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
This attempt to wed emotionally reticent drama with the exhilarating freedom of Hong Kong-genre filmmaking finds its rhythm and earns its accolades once it gives its heart over to the young and engaging Zhang Ziyi. (Bruce Reid) Fremont Outdoor Movies

The Deuce
The most exciting documentary ever made about Icelandic American immigrants in the town of Mountain, North Dakota. It's like Moulin Rouge... on aaacciiiiiid! Nordic Heritage Museum

Eight-Legged Freaks
Not as bad as you'd think, not as good as it should've been, Eight Legged Freaks is 90-minutes of trés stupid fun--a B-grade flick given an A-grade release during the business' busiest season. With a "pedigree" that includes the dunderheaded David Arquette, former MTV-babe Kari Wuhrer, and comedian Doug E. Doug, the story (such as it is) involves giant mutant spiders running amok over a small Arizona town. Hilarity and rampant gunfire ensues. Said hilarity reaches its climax near the end with one of the most inspired sight gags I've ever witnessed. Without giving it away: It involves a massive queen spider and a bottle of perfume, and you'll laugh, trust me. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER) Varsity, TKTKTK

Flesh Gordon
The Earth is in danger of societal collapse as a mysterious sex ray eminating from the planet Porno sends the world's population into Caligual chaos. Our only hope? "Send for Flesh!" This new 35mm print of the original director's cut features never-before-seen footage. Egyptian

Glorifying the American Girl
With a skelton framework, this 1930 film is essentially a patchwork screen adaptation of Broadway legend Florenz Ziegfield's famous "Follies" showcase. The smalltown-girl-with-big-city-dreams storyline essentially devolves into a cavalcade of stage performances by the likes of Mary Eaton, Helen Morgan, Rudy Vallee, and Johnny Weismuller. Scored by and featuring Irving Berlin. Rendezvous

Gory, Gory, Hallelujah
Down on their collective luck, four prospective deities on the hunt for their corner of the holy trinity decide to hit the road for a cross-country motorcycle trip to the Big Apple. Who will emerge as the true, um, Son of God: female Jesus, Jewish Jesus, black Jesus, or "rock & roll bisexual" Jesus? And why is blasphemy so goddamn popular? Little Theatre

* Home Movie
Reviewed this issue. A funny, short documentary about freaky people and their freaky abodes. (SEAN NELSON) Varsity

If You Could Only Cook
Herbert Marshall stars as a wealthy businessman dissatsified with his personal and professional life in this 1935 comedy. A chance meeting with an unemployed cook (played by Jean Arthur) affords him a change of pace, by way of a prince-to-pauper style role as butler to a sentimental mobster. Seattle Art Museum

K-19: The Widowmaker
This workable Cold War intrigue plot--a Soviet nuke-sub commander is forced to risk the lives of his men rather than seek help from Americans--is long to begin with, but the moral tensions of the story might have been enough to carry it through... if the film weren't completely submarined by the casting of Harrison Ford in the lead role. I mean, Liam Neeson as a Russian is bad enough. We've all seen Schindler's List. We all know Neeson can't do accents. He's a known quantity. But Ford's pitiful patois makes Neeson look like Meryl Streep. It's embarrassing on a Kevin Costner scale; on a Sofia Coppola in Godfather III scale. I mean, what the fuck? Did he think we wouldn't notice? Jesus, what a botch. (SEAN NELSON) Neptune, TKTKTK

Latcho Drom
Tony Gatlif's music-enhanced documentary, completely void of narration, tracing the Asian and European travels of a particular group of Roms ("Gypsies"). HUB Auditorium

* Lovely & Amazing
This follow-up to the similarly graceful Walking and Talking is a shrewdly respectful character study of a fractured family of women trying to ride herd on their raging neuroses. Fantastic acting and sensitive writing underscore the simple DV directorial approach. (SEAN NELSON) Harvard Exit

Lucky Bum Tour
Portland based "Undependent" filmmakers Bill Daniel and Vanessa Renwick present a screening of their exploits in experimental and documentary film and video. Daniel's The Girl on the Train in the Moon is a film installation exploring the phenominon of hobo graffiti and freight riding, all based in the setting meant to resemble a hobo campsite. Renwick's newest work, RICHART, is a portrait of an obsessive junk artist. Little Theatre

Man With a Movie Camera
One day in the life of Moscow (circa 1929), as filmed by Dziga Vertov's "kino-eye." HUB Ballroom

More Drug-Scare Films
The anti-drug propaganda that dominated my junior high health classes will remain forever burned in my memory. I'll never forget the image of the heroin addict shivering through withdrawal, the coke addict with a nose like melted plastic, or the PCP freak who thought he could fly and ended up paralyzed. Of course, those images did little to prevent my classmates and I from experimenting with evil chemicals, but they're good for a laugh now. As part of their "drive-in at a bar" summer series, tonight Linda's is showing drug hysteria films of the '60s and '70s on the back patio. You'll never snort angel dust and jump off your roof again. (JENNIFER MAERZ) Linda's

MULLETVILLE
Revenge and Miller High Life populate this troublingly named, locally produced picture. A film student seeks to humiliate his high-school tormentors by way of celluloid. Little Theatre

Never Again
A straight man (Jeffery Tambor) and a straight woman (Jill Clayburgh) in their 50s meet in a gay bar. Wrinkly-ass, post-menopausal sex scenes ensue. Oh, and hilarity. Can't forget that hilarity. With Michael McKean as a transvestite prostitute! Metro, TK

NW Student Animation Fest
Animation students from schools including the University of Washington and Evergreen State, showcase their talents in tonight's Northwest Student Animation Fest. 911 Media Arts Center

* Shadow of the Vampire
E. Elias Merhige's Shadow of the Vampire revisits the set of film director F. W. Murnau's 1922 horror classic Nosferatu to tell an imagined story of Murnau (John Malkovich) and his obscure star Max Schreck (played brilliantly by Willem Dafoe). Full of charm and whimsy, the film walks a subtle tightrope between creepiness and hilarity. (Caveh Zahedi) Belltown Outdoor Cinema

Shag Carpet Sunset
From a talented local independent filmmaker comes a beautifully shot and smartly constructed feature that concerns... sigh, a slacker who... sigh, won't grow up because... sigh, he doesn't see the point. Sunset manages to overcome the '90s clichés built into its conception by way of brains, comely actors, and good old film sense, but you can't help wishing the filmmakers had chosen a more compelling central character than "Tuck," who hosts a puppet show on cable access, drinks a lot, and ambles around Seattle like the losers we all knew, and were, 10 years ago, until we realized that it was neither an interesting nor artistically fruitful gesture. (SEAN NELSON) Little Theatre

Stuart Little 2
Stuart Little is a cute little cartoon mouse with Parkinson's... wait, didn't we use that joke already? Anyway, cats and CGI mice channel the voices of Nathan Lane, Michael J. Fox, and Steve Zahn in this further bastardization of classic childhood literature. Metro, TKTKTK

Summer Shorts
A three day hodgepodge of all things brief. The showcase ranges from misguided (the one-note Apoplexy) to brilliant (Synchrony in Estrus, a revolting animated universe that shames the Brothers Quay). The "Look! I've Got A Camera!" films are mercifully few, represented by the subsections, "Look! I Painted On The Film!" (Light Painting) and "Look! My Apartment!" (Tested). Baristas fails to make coffee funny, and then Matches fails to prevent modern dance from being funny. Finally, more treats: the winsome El Viejo makes high drama out of lost glasses, while Passion seems to be memory itself, lost love printed on celluloid. (MATT FONTAINE) Little Theatre

Theodora Goes Wild
A small town is thrown into upheaval when the repressed local librarian (Irene Dunne) pseudonymously pens a steamy bestseller in Richard Boleslawski's 1936 screwball comedy. Seattle Art Museum

Time Lapse Film Hour
Sara Pelligrini has put together a compilation of Time Lapse films which will play over and over again in the background while you talk, drink, and eventually forget that any films are playing. Rendezvous


CONTINUING RUNS

* 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 who 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. (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)

* The Bourne Identity
All preliminary evidence tends to suggest that the film isn't worth bothering with. 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)

The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
Right off the bat I should mention that this movie's plot--some bobbins about espionage and international intrigue--stinks to high heaven. Also the acting and dialogue are rather duff. In this case, however, that stuff is superfluous; this movie runs on the charisma of Steve Irwin and boy, he can fling around charisma with the ferocious abandon of a shit-throwing monkey on acid. In this film Irwin juggles poisonous snakes and spiders as well as wrestling a pair of crocodiles. It's safe to say that he's completely mental, which accounts in some part for his phenomenal screen presence... so take that, Ben Affleck. A fun matinee. (KUDZAI MUDEDE)

Elling
The success of this comedy in its native country, Norway, offers conclusive evidence that the closer one gets to the Arctic Circle the stranger the sense of humor becomes. Nothing in the world would convince anyone who lives near the equator that this film about two madmen attempting to reenter regular society as roommates is in the least bit funny. To its credit, Elling does have a few remarkable shots of Oslo. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

* 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)

Halloween: Resurrection
Hang on a second... this is aNOTHER Halloween film? That makes five. Jamie Lee Curtis is in it, too, along with Busta Rhymes. The last one (Halloween H20--get it, 'cause 20 years?) was garbage, as were numbers two and three. So, the fact that this one deals with reality TV bodes what? Ill!

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. Quibbles aside, this new adaptation is revolting. 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, Hilary 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. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

Juwanna Mann
I dunno. Juwanna punchinthenose?

Like Mike
The good news: Crispin Glover is in the film, playing the Fagin-like head of a "group home" for racially diverse orphans; this means the filmmakers aren't completely callous morons. The bad news: the movie, which concerns a kid who climbs up on power lines to retrieve some magic Nikes that make him a pro basketball star, is every bit as mediocre and irresponsible as the trailer suggests. (SEAN NELSON)

Lilo & Stitch
Most people will be going to see this film because (a) it's Disney, (b) it's faux-vintage Disney, replete with hand-painted watercolor backgrounds, or (c) because he or she is five years old. You, however, will go to see this film because the protagonist, a little orphan child named Lilo, sits around her bedroom listening to rock and roll and commanding her big sister to "Leave me alone to die!" The plot is ripped from Frankenstein, and then tweaked to make the mutant adorable and intent on reform. Not too shabby, for a Disney flick--Lilo is the studio's best since Aladdin, and it's a tad less racist, too. (ANNIE WAGNER)

Men in Black II
Aside from a few signs of life, this film is an exercise in the going through of motions. Smith does his ingratiating narcissism shtick, Jones shows up after half an hour and does his stony hound dog routine, and digital spaceships crash in clouds of digital dust. When director Barry Sonnenfeld is living up the B-movie aspects of the movie's trappings--the sense of being there just to provide a foil for the special effects--Men in Black II (and no, I can't call it MIIB because fuck you) gives you the momentary sense that it was made by creative people with a good sense of humor. But all the humor is self-aware, and self-directed. It's like the whole joke is that the movie was even made. I call that crass. (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 A Clockwork Orange) that ends with a cop-out. Still, a worthy effort, and much more intriguing than most sci-fi. (SEAN NELSON)

Mr. Deeds
The fundamental structure that this production preserves from Capra's original--and perhaps the only plausible grounds for that film's selection in the first place--is a roller coaster of sentimentality. Sandler's take on the sentimental is a world apart from Gary Cooper's; more sly than earnest, the requisite sappy ending functions to reassure rather than stir the viewer. (ANNIE WAGNER)

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 Powerpuff Girls
This movie sets out to explain the suspicious circumstances by which Professor X (the Puff Daddy) came to give room and board to three female preschoolers for whom he carries not so much as a birth certificate or a even a receipt--somewhat unsettling in these times of high-profile kidnapped white girls. Nonetheless the opening credits of the TV show bang out this story in about twenty seconds; it takes the movie 80 minutes. Consequently, this movie's not at all as much fun as watching the show because the overall pace is far less frenetic. Still, comparisons to preposterous greatness aside, this motion picture is mightily worthy. (KUDZAI MUDEDE)

Reign of Fire
Reign of Fire reads like a flag-waving response to recent history. It's the year 2020, New York City's in flames again, and disagreeable dragons (read terrorists) have destroyed Earth and extinguished most of the human population. It's up to swarthy British hero Quinn (Christian Bale) and American renegade Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey), who sports a suspiciously unsoiled American flag patch on his bomber jacket, to save the survivors with vigilante actions. Evil must be stopped at any cost; there's even a scene where a glowing Van Zan, bathed in silver light, leaps toward the mouth of his napalm-breathing enemy. "Is that dragon's breath?" a child asks Quinn, as a fetid wind rumples his hair. Yes it is, and boy does it stink. (TIZZY ASHER)

* Road to Perdition (PRO)
Starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Jude Law--a ridiculously stellar ensemble--Road to Perdition tells a rather simple tale, and it tells it nearly perfectly. A hit man (Tom Hanks) sees his family slaughtered, save for his oldest son. Father and son hit the road to exact revenge. Perdition transcends every revenge film currently documented within my brain. Mendes, working once again with Conrad Hall has fashioned a heartfelt, exquisite, and above all, patient revenge epic. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

Road to Perdition (CON)
Sam Mendes has done the impossible: he has made a film that is even more smug, phony, and wasteful than American Beauty. Despite my esteemed colleague Steinbacher's heady praise, I must call bullshit on the steaming pile of witless self-satisfaction that is Road to Perdition, which steals its look (including several exact images) from the Coens' Miller's Crossing, purging that superior film's sense of humor and necessary awareness and replacing it with a catchpenny moralism that wants to have everything--its violence, its sympathies, and its casting--both ways. Hanks offers no menace, which means that his hit man character is all tell; not an insurmountable problem until Mendes makes the son stare guilelessly up at him for the whole film like he's a God. Oh, I know the son is supposed to think he is, but shouldn't the audience get to feel it a little? All the film's father-son vectors feel over-willed, under dramatized, and the gangster genre undergoes no significant transformation (despite what the hype would have you believe). Road to Perdition (and guess what: Perdition is the name of a town, not just an offensively portentous title) is the ultimate example of Hollywood's lamest sleight of hand: wipe the smile off your face, spend a lot of money, make with the metaphors and somber tones and sooner or later the audience is going to have to assume that you're smarter than you really are. (SEAN NELSON)

* 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. (SEAN NELSON)

Sunshine State
A cinematic soap opera of familial and neighborly drama centers around a small stretch of Florida coastline. Employing writer/director John Sayles' benchmark standards for dialogue and acting--the cast includes Edie Falco, Mary Steenburgen, Timothy Hutton, and Alan King--the film uses a tug of war over prime resort real estate to showcase both natural history and human frailty.

Time of Favor
Joseph Cedar's Time of Favor, which swept the 2000 Israeli Academy Awards, wants desperately to qualify as a sensitive appraisal of life on an Israeli settlement. Unfortunately, the film delivers this meditation wrapped up in a heart-stopping thriller cum defiant romance--and there's nothing like sex masquerading as rebellion to weigh a story down. (ANNIE WAGNER)

* 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
An Adrian Lyne film, in which another brand-new black SUV speeds down a street freshly hosed down to produce the perfect pointless sheen while Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez make soft-lit, glossy love and Richard Gere pines commercially. (TAMARA PARIS)

Uzumaki
A small Japanese town becomes obsessed with spirals in this manga-inspired horror film. Spirals? Yes, spirals.

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. The violence is top-notch, but during quiet moments and simple transitions, the film is almost laughably bad. (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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