COMING SOON

Full Frontal, Happy Times, Les Destinees, Martin Lawrence Concert Movie, Master of Disguise, Me Without You, Sex & Lucia, Signs, What to Do in Case of Fire


NEW THIS WEEK

AFEST 2002: Through the Lens
Northwest Asian American Theatre presents this "festival of Asian filmmakers." The annual festival celebrates new work by APA filmmakers here in Seattle, and beyond. Films playing over the 12 day festival include Rabbit in the Moon, Diwali, Revolutionary Love, Calling Tokyo, Yah Yah, and Vision Test. For ticket information or reservations, call 340-1049. Theater Off Jackson

Austin Powers in Goldmember
Reviewed this issue. Spoiler alert: the best character name in the film is Dixie Normous. Metro, Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Lewis & Clark, Grand Alderwood

Avant Garde Giants
Leave it to Linda's to provide the best gear-crushing, eyeball-filleting white noise imaginable to accompany your evening's dose of vermouth and hallucinogens. Featuring the films of Dali, Manray, Hans Richter, and more. Linda's

BAM Film Festival Premiere
Northwest experimental filmmakers show off their wares in this debut screening of juried films. Discussion to follow. Bellevue Art Museum

* Bird Dog
Here's a surprise: A feature-length independent film, produced in the NW, that has nothing to do with coffee, slackers, or punk rock. And guess what: It's rather good. The writing is strong, the picture looks fantastic, and the actors are game. (I know this is condescending, but what a pleasure to see a local movie that actually feels like a movie and not like an exercise in pretending to be a filmmaker.) Bird Dog is about a used car salesman/history buff/aspiring writer who becomes obsessed with regional history in an unconscious effort to forestall the inevitable admission that he is what he is. That's not a very good synopsis, but I hope it leads you to see the movie anyway, 'cause I bet you'll dig it. (SEAN NELSON) Little Theatre

Caravaggio
Derek Jarman's 1986 biopic of the late-renaissance painter Michelangelo Merisa da Caravaggio offers no narrative surprises. You have seen it before, and in this movie you will see it again: great artists are selfish, great artists have enormous sexual appetites, devouring young bodies (male and female) the way a sea devours a drowning person; finally, the life of a great artist burns brightly but quickly--they must die young. Derek Jarman does not contribute anything new to the story of the great artist, but his film does have moments that are beautiful beyond all words. I counted at least four scenes which transcended the limits of reality and entered a plane of sensitivity that only the language of music could explain. (CHARLES MUDEDE) Grand Illusion

* The Cockettes
Reviewed this issue. Revolutionary sexual anarchists or sissy mary queerbaits? You be the judge! (SEAN NELSON) Varsity

The Country Bears
Disney's flawless live-action legacy continues, in this moving adaptation of everyone's favorite former Disneyland animatronic attraction. (I'm still holding out for a theatrical release of Captain Eo). Featuring Christopher Walken, Toby Huss, and the voice of "I see dead people." Metro, Meridian 16

Dazed and Confused
"That's what I like about these high-school girls--I keep getting older, they stay the same age." Egyptian

Fire
Mid-'90s smut all the way from New Delhi about two sisters-in-law in equally loveless marriages finding slow-motion sex scenes in one another's arms. LGBT Community Center

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
"Whoever double-crosses me and leaves me alive, he understands nothing about Tuco." Fremont Outdoor Movies

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 a butler to a sentimental mobster. Seattle Art Museum

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter
Northwest Harvest, Wing-It Productions, and Jet City Improv brings us another "Twisted Flick"--this time, the target is the 1966 sci-fi/horror/Western in which... oh, nevermind. The Paradox

* Keeping the Faith
Any film that begins with a drunken priest staggering through the streets of New York and tumbling into a garbage pile is automatically fine by me. (Kathleen Wilson) Jewish Community Center

Know the Score: the Great Chase
Warren Etheredge presents a screening of film clips designed to teach the public how to score. The power of positive scoring will be illustrated with the help of clips from such classics as The French Connection, Bullitt, The Rock. Benaroya Hall

* Modesty Blaise
See Stranger Suggests. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shlocked Me. Grand Illusion

* My Wife is an Actress
Charlotte Gainsbourg plays a married actress who has a fling with Terence Stamp. Need we say more? I mean, how French do you want it? Guild 45th

* Poster Children--Zero Stars
You know you love the Poster Children, because the Poster Children are fucking loveable. This is a documentary about one of the great undersung midwest indie rock bands of the last 20 years. I haven't seen it, but I do love the Poster Children, so how bad could the movie be? (SEAN NELSON) 911 Media Arts Center

Rabbit in the Moon
Of the many documentaries I have seen on the subject of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, this one stands out as the best. It seems to say more about the true humiliation of the internment, and doesn't hold back or have the silence and reservations of the other documentaries. It would appear that people are now more willing to express their thoughts, and director Chizu Omori was there to put it on film. (Charles Mudede) Theater Off Jackson

Read My Lips
No, it's not the Braille porno you've been waiting for, but a dark French thriller psychologique (btw, in France, they pronounce the "p"). Lips is about a hearing impaired office worker who compensates for her nagging sense of being underused by hiring a strapping young trainee to liven things up at work. The upside: He's handsome and virlie (played by the excellent Vincent Cassel). The down: He's an ex-con with no skills... except for violence. Uptown

* The Royal Tenenbaums
Gene Hackman, Angelica Huston, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Owen Wilson, and Bill Murray (rocking a Professor Barnacle beard) are an extended family of neurotic geniuses whose bastard of a patriarch (Hackman) wants to bring closer together. Too bad they hate his guts. The film is hilariously funny, dryly tender, and impeccably designed. (SEAN NELSON) Belltown Outdoor Cinema

SNEAK
After six years of success in the Bay Area as the Camera Cinema Club, this film preview series returns as "Sneak" in Seattle. The film titles are not revealed until the film starts, so it's a cinematic lottery. The movie is followed by a special guest (usually someone from the film) and a discussion, which, depending on what's been screened, could be thrilling or excruciating. For more information check out the website www.sneakfilms.com. Pacific Place

* Some Like it Hot
I have watched this movie a million times and still can't help but split into laughter when Tony Curtis pretends to be a playboy millionaire with a broken heart. Pure genius. (Charles Mudede) Jewish Community Center

Tadpole
Gary Winick's 2002 Sundance Director's Award winning DV production follows the path of 15-year-old Oliver Grubman--an intelligent, self-assured prep school student who has set his sights on the unlikely affections of his father's new wife (Sigourney Weaver). Also starring the always intoxicating John Ritter. Uptown

Under the Roofs of Paris
One of the first French films with sound, Rene Claire's 1930 tale of love's pursuit ultimately works on the strength of its sonic restraint. With selective use of the actors' voices, Claire was able to use the power of sound without being forced to succumb to its visual limitations. 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)

* 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)

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)

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)

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)

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!

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.

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

The Importance of Being Earnest
Rupert Everett looks terrible. (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?

K-19: The Widowmaker
This workable Cold War intrigue plot-a Soviet nuke-sub commander is forced to risk the lives of his men (and the fate of the planet) 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. 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)

Like Mike
At one point fairly early on, I stopped taking notes on the film and just started noting the corporate logos I saw on screen. Here's the list: Nike, Krispy Kreme, Staples, Gatorade, AT&T, TNT, NBC, Jansport, Minute Maid, Coke, Sprite, Sheraton, Crystal Geyser, Mars, Spalding, ESPN, Sharp, Rite Aid, Vicks, USA Today, Washington Mutual, Phat Farm, Scrabble, Yahoo, Independence Day (the movie). I may have missed a few.... (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)

* 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. (SEAN NELSON)

* 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)

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.

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!

* No Man's Land
War is-guess what?-hell in this story of the Bosnia-Serbia conflict, circa 1993. Surrounded by UN "peacekeepers," clumsy media vultures, and their warring rival factions, two soldiers cross into the zone between the bullets and clash about the war's origins and costs. (SEAN NELSON)

* 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)
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. 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)

Scooby-Doo
It's a goddamned shame is what it is. (MEG VAN HUYGEN)

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)

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.

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.

Tuvalu
Tuvalu is a long and wonderful dream. Like all dreams, the movie has a quasi-oedipal premise (an old man owns a public swimming pool in a crumbling building, which is barely maintained by his repressed son, who, like Buddha, has never left the building in his life). Like all dreams, the movie is highly erotic (there is a beautiful woman who loves the young man; the young man loves her too, but he can only express his desire by smelling her underwear). And like all dreams, the movie is scary at times (there is an evil capitalist who wants to demolish the building, make a profit, and get the girl). Though it is impossible to separate this dream film from the works and aesthetics of such directors as Emir Kusturica, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, it is still worth watching simply because it is funny and has an excellent ending. (Charles Mudede)

* Undercover Brother
At first glance, Undercover Brother just looks like a Blacksploitation Austin Powers. Which it is. Fortunately, it happens to be funnier than 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)

Uzumaki
The success of Uzumaki as a horror movie depends largely upon whether you can imagine becoming obsessed by a visual pattern (much as the success of Pi as a thriller hinged upon your ability to sympathize with paranoia about a number). The film tells the story of high-school student Kirie (Eriko Hatsune) and the ancient curse that devastates her hometown of Kurozu-cho. The flashy editing can be excessive at times, and the too-cute effect of swirling spirals through landscapes kept reminding me of my computer screensaver. Nonetheless, Uzumaki is a fresh take on a tired genre, and its pleasures outweigh its limitations. (ANNIE WAGNER)

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