Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian

16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

BESIEGED--Seven Gables, Uptown

GET REAL--Harvard Exit




CANDOR--Union Garage

CIVILIZATION--The Little Theater

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS--Friday Night Cinema


FRENCH FILM NOIR--Seattle Art Museum



PAJAMA PARTY--Fremont Outdoor Cinema




TREYF--911 Media Arts



JUNE 18--Eternity and a Day, Tarzan, The General's Daughter, The Red Violin, Buena Vista Social Club

JUNE 25--Big Daddy, An Ideal Husband, Run Lola Run, Desert Blue, The Book of Life


ALASKA: SPIRIT OF THE WILD--More of a nature documentary than a ghost story. Omnidome

AMAZON--Follow an ethnobotanist through the lush rainforests of the Andes and along the rough-and- tumble Amazon River! Learn about exotic animals, medicinal plants, and Indian shamanism! Amazon's IMAX quality and the Omnidome screen vs. a back issue of National decide. Omnidome

*AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME--I have to admit, this movie cracked me up. A big, sloppy comedy chock full of nonsense jokes, sexual innuendo, and scatological humor, The Spy Who Shagged Me was obviously edited to keep in the favorite bits of Mike Myers and director Jay Roach. The story? Dr. Evil and his feral, midget clone, "Mini-Me," go back in time to steal Austin's libidinous power source, his mojo. A mojo-less Austin also goes back in time, where he meets American CIA agent Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham, in a performance more sexy than inspired). Meanwhile, Scott Evil continues to search for approval from a father who doesn't believe he's evil enough. Plot is not the point, however, surreal comedy is. Biggest surprise: Rob Lowe, as the young Number Two, does a great Robert Conrad impersonation. (Andy Spletzer) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

BESIEGED--David Thewlis is an English composer living in a cavernous apartment building in Rome, and he's got an incredible crush on his housekeeper (Thandie Newton), in this new film by Bernardo Bertolucci. Reviewed this issue. Seven Gables, Uptown

BLACK MASK--Jet Li stars in this wacky, action romp. Pacific Place 11

CANDOR--Candor, Brad Cook's new indie film, features local talent and locale while telling the story of a small town bursting with secrets and ugly realities. Sun June 13 at 5, 7, 9; $7.50. Union Garage

THE CASTLE--Australian comedies can be charming (Strictly Ballroom), but most of the time they are patronizing verging on offensive. Such is the case with The Castle, an unreliably optimistic film about low-rent neighbors trying to save their houses from the ever-expanding airport. Isn't it cute that these folks love living on poisoned ground, under buzzing high-tension wires, amid airport noise pollution? Let's cheer for these simpletons as they go to court to fight for their land! On the other hand, let's wait for the remake starring Jeff Foxworthy. (Andy Spletzer) Broadway Market

CIVILIZATION--Thomas Ince's silent film (1916) about a WWI submarine commander who is killed in battle. The Friday and Saturday night screenings will feature a live accompanying score--just like back in the old days. Fri-Sat June 11-12 at 7:30; Sun June 13 at 5, 7, 9. The Little Theater

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS--Fremont's second al fresco cinema series takes place in the Adobe parking lot, underneath the Aurora Bridge. All films will be presented with digital projection and sound. This week's feature is Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), which is being shown with a Wallace & Grommet animated short. Fri June 11 at dusk, $5 donation. Friday Night Cinema

COOKIE'S FORTUNE--Robert Altman has taken a slight but enjoyable story and applied his familiar techniques of oblique angles, ragged narration, and busy ensemble casts. A suicide is covered up, and a man is imprisoned because of it. Other stories play out about the small town of Holly Springs. Plot, however, is not the main concern of the film. If you want them, there are plenty of rueful themes flamesoating around the movie: idealized, hypocritical notions of the past and of honor, and the way family secrets hurt the person keeping them even more than the person who ferrets them out. (Bruce Reid) Uptown, Varsity

*ELECTION--A brilliant dark comedy about an unctuous overachiever's campaign for Student Council President, and the high school teacher determined to foil her. Election's style serves to plunge us completely into its characters' tiny, highly-charged world, rendering pathetic human pettiness on a nearly operatic scale. Director/co-writer Alexander Payne has infused his miniature world with enormous creativity and meticulous attention to detail: every character is unnervingly humane, the supporting cast is uniformly perfect, and you've never seen a contemporary high school so uncannily rendered. As the charmingly atrocious Tracy Flick, Reese Witherspoon gives an indelible performance; finally she has a role to compete with her star-making turn in the little-seen Freeway. And Matthew Broderick lays the ghost of Ferris Bueller to rest once and for all with his lovely portrayal of Tracy's beleaguered, would-be nemesis. (David Schmader) Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

ENTRAPMENT--Sean Connery is an ass man. His "character" spends the whole movie looking at the ass of Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask of Zorro). Not that there's anything better to do. Entrapment is a high-tech crime thriller chock full of double-crosses but short on thrills. Everybody's a master thief or a federal agent... or both! The information for every crime is flawless, the gadgets never fail, nothing ever goes wrong. Boring! Connery coasts through his role, as does Ving Rhames, but Zeta-Jones turns out to be a real disappointment. How can she be a master thief if she's so prone to temper tantrums and breakdowns? She does have a nice ass, though. (Andy Spletzer) Meridian 16, Redmond Town Center

THE ERUPTION OF MOUNT ST. HELENS--The mountain blew up in 1980, and has been blowing up on film ever since. Omnidome

EVEREST--The first IMAX footage ever shot on top of the world. Pacific Science Center

*EXISTENZ--Cronenberg's is a world where virtual reality games have become so commonplace that most people think nothing of drilling a "bioport" directly into their spine in order to plug in. Once a game starts, the player becomes a cast member in an artificial world where everything looks and feels "real," where some actions are preprogrammed and others are not. The biggest celebrities of the day are game designers, and none is bigger or more brilliant than the reclusive Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh), whose latest, greatest achievement, eXistenZ, has inspired somebody to put a death sentence on her head. David Cronenberg is working from his first original script since Videodrome, and what he's come up with is, in some ways, a revisitation to that movie's themes, and this is one of the wittiest, most perceptive movies about movies and how we think they affect us since Videodrome. (Bruce Reid) Pacific Place 11

FILMS OF MARCO FERRERI--An early Roberto Benigni flick (Seeking Asylum, 1979) in which Benigni portrays an energetic kindergarten teacher, and Tales of Ordinary Madness, based on the seedy, drunken life of grumpy poet Charles Bukowski. Thurs June 10. Grand Illusion

FRENCH FILM NOIR--The Seattle Art Museum's French film noir series comes to an end with Thieves, Andre Téchiné's examination of a complex web of personalities and emotions that link a seemingly random group of people together. Starring Catherine Deneuve. Thurs June 10 at 7:30 Seattle Art Museum

GET REAL--When two boys playfully wrestle in a gay film, you know it's not long before they both realize there's something else they'd rather be doing. In Get Real, warmly directed by Simon Shore, a heartfelt geek (Ben Silverstone) pursues the gorgeous class jock (Brad Gorton) and gains his self-respect. As a queer coming of age movie, this sweet British import doesn't really offer much of anything new, aside from fine acting (and respect for teenage girls, though they inevitably get lost in the dust). The film lacks momentum, and its stage origins are evident: Every conversation is layered and thoughtful to a fault; scenes lack the spontaneity of film dialogue, and suffer from a stillness that doesn't seem cinematic. Somehow, though, the same considerations that weigh everything down also contribute to a welcome gentleness. Unlike the trumpetings of its American counterparts, Get Real is smartly tender in conveying the idea that everybody is worthy of being loved. By the end, the film wins you over with that painful, universal longing that lies just beneath the surface of every slow dance. (Steve Wiecking) Harvard Exit

GO--There's some funny scenes, though none of them manage to avoid either cliché or a hip, ironic take on a cliché. Zero points for originality, then, but don't write the movie off entirely. There's a clutch of good performances (especially Sarah Polley and William Fichtner), and a few moments do an excellent job capturing the madcap rush of adrenaline when you're young and stupid enough to think you can get away with anything. (Bruce Reid) Admiral, City Center, Crest

INSTINCT--A celebrated anthropologist (Sir Anthony Hopkins) studying a family of gorillas in a remote jungle in Rwanda decides to abandon civilization and enter the world of the apes: following them, eating with them, sitting in the heat and rain, absorbing their mysterious ways and grunts. All of this comes to a sudden end when, in defense of his adopted family, he brutally murders two park rangers and is returned to civilization (Miami, to be exact) to pay his debt to society. In Miami, he refuses to talk with anyone. It's up to a brilliant young psychologist (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) to restore not only his voice but his humanity. Despite the evident chemistry between Gooding and Hopkins, the film feels unreal, not because of the incredible premise (in fact, I accepted the whole idea of a man joining a family of apes), but because of the absence of a realistic race context within the structure of the plot; as with Gooding's lack of reaction to the irony of a white man telling him, a black man, that he is too civilized to understand Africa. Strange. (Charles Mudede) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

INTO THE DEEP--An IMAX film in 3-D, putting you right into the aquarium. Pacific Science Center

JULIETTE OF THE HERBS--Though this film has a built-in audience of gardeners, for the rest of us there is a natural aversion to something so closely associated with hippie politics. Not to worry! Juliette de Bairacli Levy, the subject of this documentary, is a sprightly woman full of great stories about living with nomads and Gypsies in the 50-some years since publishing her first book about herbal medicine. The movie also makes a good case for herbal medicines, mainly because Levy continues to be amazed by the healing power of the herbs. Directed by Tish Streeten. (Andy Spletzer) Grand Illusion

THE KING OF THE MASKS--Zhu Xu stars as the title character, a street performer whose act involves rapidly removing a series of brightly colored masks. Old and childless, he's desperate to pass on the secrets of his art, and thinks he's made quite a wonderful match when he adopts a young boy. But the boy turns out to be a girl. The third act--which trots out some irrelevant child kidnappers and the police--goes on way too long; but story flaws aside, the acting of the two leads is perfect, and the side streets and mighty rivers of China are as lovely as always. (Bruce Reid) Metro

LATE-NIGHT SEX & RELIGION--Throughout June and July, Dennis Nyback will host the Grand Illusion's Sex and Religion Festival, which will include a wide range of arousing and divine cinema (from cartoons to silent films to stag films). This week, Mormons and morality, stag parties, Satanic animation, and delinquent sex will be in the spotlight with nightly collections of delightfully disturbing titles. Sun-Thurs June 13-17 at 11. Grand Illusion

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL--Like any good comedian, Roberto Benigni (and his co-writer Vincenzo Cerami) knows how to plant the seed for a gag early on, let it sit, then return to it much later for the payoff. The opening, which seems so frivolous, is all groundwork for what Benigni knows will be the toughest sell of his life: comedy in the Nazi camps. Employing the understatement and flamesair for timing that comedy requires, Benigni captures detail after detail in a far more devastating way than more earnest films on the subject could manage. (Bruce Reid) Harvard Exit

LIMBO--John Sayles has always been concerned primarily with the depiction of place in his films. In the best instances, his films seem to grow directly from the soil in which they take place, novelistic and natural, like a very old tree. Limbo, by comparison, seems transplanted and sickly, like an idea cast upon a barren field that has failed to take root. Sayles' place here is the last physical and emotional outpost of the American spirit: Alaska. Luminous cinematography by Haskell Wexler renders the land as a gilded promise, with golden light glancing in at acute angles, but the characterizations and heavy-handed plot fail to live up to this promise. This is the blunt and obvious Alaska of losers, dreamers, and schemers, peppered with a few de-facto modern appliances, like ex-Seattle lesbians and California tourism tycoons. The plot, which concerns ill-fated lovers on a ham-fisted backwoods adventure poorly extrapolated from Jack London's wastebasket, feels overworked and plodding. Moreover, this film is just too goddamn written: every word seems delivered in the death-throes of acting, like salmon at the end of their run. (Jamie Hook) Guild 45th

THE LIVING SEA--It's alive! See fish and waves and whales and jellyfish, all in that big-screen IMAX format. Omnidome

*LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS--Set in the East End of London, it's a fast, frantic, and frequently flamesippant ride through the social strata of gangland as four wide boys send one of their number, cardsharp Eddie (heartthrob Nick Moran), to take on local crime boss Hatchet Harry (P. H. Moriarty) at poker. They soon find themselves in debt, and Harry puts his debt collector Big Chris (soccer hardman Vinnie Jones) on their tails. It's a tidy movie--all the dead bodies are shot and accounted for--and it's also got a wicked, very English sense of humor. (Everett True) Varsity

THE LOVE LETTER--An anonymous love letter to an anonymous recipient electrifies a sleepy New England town. Kate Capshaw becomes determined to find the letter's author. With Tom Selleck, Ellen DeGeneres, and Gwynneth Paltrow's mom. Pacific Place 11

THE MATRIX--Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) has been searching for the One, a cyber-Christ who will destroy the Matrix and wake people out of their preprogrammed idea of life. He thinks he has found Him in Neo (Keanu Reeves). With the knowledge that the Matrix is a computer-created dream, Morpheus and his rebels (with equally stupid names: Trinity, Cypher, Switch, Apoc, etc.) can run and jump and fight with superhuman power, but are hunted down by super-agents who want to cleanse the system. Sure, the character names are stupid, the barroom metaphysics ("Hey, what if life is just a dream?") are simplistic, and the cyber-Christ story is predictable, but the action scenes--even the ones that use that 180 degree near-freeze frame--make this otherwise boring movie worth seeing. From the directors of Bound. (Andy Spletzer) Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Varsity

MEETING PEOPLE IS EASY--Meeting People is Easy shows, through the eyes of the performers, what it feels like to be in the rock star fishbowl. Follow the band Radiohead on the road as they deal with rabid fans, annoying journalists, surreal crowds, and the bizarre life of touring and performing. Fri-Sat June 11-12 at midnight. Reviewed this issue. Egyptian

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM--Director and adapter Michael Hoffman has an intensely melancholy take on the material; his idea of whimsy is to have Puck take a piss against a cave like some mythical barfly. The rest of the great cast deliver uneven results. Following Hoffman's lead, Kevin Kline is too somber as Bottom. Michelle Pfeiffer's Titania is fine, if a bit too grand. Calista Flockhart as Helena is, surprisingly, the only actor who consistently manages to hit the right tone (despite some McBeal-type pouts); she's as airy and just as sweetly heartstricken as the rest of this well-intended but plodding film should be. (Steve Wiecking) Guild 45th, Pacific Place 11

THE MUMMY--Neither a horror film nor action epic, The Mummy is actually a flat-out comedy. This latest retread of a horror icon throws itself into its period (the '30s) with gusto, derring-do, screwball comedy, and wisecracking sexual flirtation among the leads, and even cheerful sexism and racism. Except for the special effects, this movie may as well have come out in 1935. The very things that make The Mummy initially entertaining, however, begin to grate as the movie goes on. When Imhotep the mummy finally appears, he starts as a dull computer-generated corpse and becomes the even duller Arnold Vosloo. Despite the lack of a good villain, or even a good heroine, The Mummy remains a perfect matinee. Directed by Stephen Sommers, creator of the vastly underrated Deep Rising. (Bruce Reid) Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro

NOTTING HILL--Julia Roberts is a spoiled American star, Hugh Grant is a doddering nobody, in this cross between Pretty Woman and Four Weddings and a Funeral. Factoria, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center, Southcenter

PAJAMA PARTY--Show up in your pajamas, watch Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Pillow Talk (with dreamy Rock Hudson and Doris Day), and enjoy Faster Tiger's pajama-clad performance. Sat June 12 at 7, $5 donation. Fremont Outdoor Cinema

PSYCHO--Now that all the SIFF hoopla is over, it's time for a tried and true classic on the big screen. Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, with the ever-sinister Anthony Perkins, will be shown in a new 35mm print. Psycho will be the first in an Alfred Hitchcock series at the Egyptian, to celebrate Hitchcock's 100th birthday. Fri-Thurs June 11-17 at (Sat-Sun 12:30, 2:45), 5, 7:15, 9:30. Egyptian

PUSHING TIN--This is a therapy film for guys in the same way that Good Will Hunting was. John Cusack plays a married air traffic controller with the emphasis on "control." He's the best there is, at least until Billy Bob Thornton shows up. The movie has a perfect opportunity to branch into comedy, but it decides to do drama. Cusack's wandering eye and overblown expectations of self-control ultimately lead to trouble with his wife and a breakdown. You see, men need to give up control in order to find themselves. Or maybe they just need therapy. (Andy Spletzer) City Center

*ROBERT BRESSON FILM SERIES--Inspired by Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Bresson's Pickpocket looks at the life and mind of an obsessive pickpocket. This post-war masterpiece, known as Bresson's most famous and influential film, is the last one being shown in the Grand Illusion's Bresson series. Sun June 13 at 1, 3. Grand Illusion

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE--Certainly the idea is appealing: one of history's immortals, shown in his still-struggling youth, with eye-catching period details and a cast uniformly professional enough to carry it off with whimsy. But the film strains too much to flatter and please the audience, setting up predictable conflicts and getting out of them through the easiest ways possible. It's clever in a very simple way, content to show its hero as a great-man-in-waiting and its heroine as so improbably perfect she could only be a muse. (Bruce Reid) Metro, Uptown

*SILENT MOVIE MONDAYS--The Seattle Landmark Association's "Silent Movie Mondays" returns this summer with a collection of comedies, mysteries, and adventures. Enjoy classic silent films, live organ accompaniment, and the gilded elegance of the Paramount. This week's tribute to comedic pioneer Charlie Chaplin consists of two "featurettes." Mon June 14 at 7, $10. Paramount Theatre

STAR WARS: EPISODE I--What does it matter what we say? You'll see it anyway. The threadbare plot involves a trade dispute between the emperor-controlled "alliance" and the peaceful, enlightened Naboo people. The Jedi appear to negotiate a settlement, but alas, it won't be. And so the "drama" begins: the race to flee the planet; the crash-landing on Tattooine; the mystery-boy who joins the mission; the simmering Oedipal set-up as the Boy leaves his Mother and discovers, in her stead, Natalie Portman; and the inevitable 11th-hour solution to all problems. Lucas' obsessions with technology, with money, with salability and easy-access, too often overwhelm his abilities as a director. It is as if Lucas himself has been seduced by the Dark Side of CGI effects. Indeed, the young Darth Vader is merely a surrogate for Lucas the Director: a natural with great promise somehow given to the evil, inorganic pleasures of power and money for their sake alone. (Jamie Hook) Cinerama, Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Neptune, Northgate

TEA WITH MUSSOLINI--Franco Zeffirelli's autobiographical film, set in Florence on the brink of WWII, is about a little Italian boy who was born out of wedlock. A bastard. His father doesn't want him, so he ends up adopted by his father's English secretary, who shares babysitting duties with her female friends, also English. The ladies don't want to leave Florence, even after the war breaks out, thinking Mussolini won't want to hurt them. Turns out (surprise, surprise) that Mussolini doesn't care about them. Zeffirelli has never been a subtle filmmaker, but here he is so enthusiastic about stereotypes and manipulating emotions that the film is interesting until it becomes tiresome. Tea With Mussolini sentimentalizes the war years in much the same way as Life Is Beautiful did, never really acknowledging the atrocities of that--or any--war. As the wealthy American debutante, Cher sings one song. (Andy Spletzer) Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR--A $2 billion dollar corporation runs tests on a virtual video game that allows a person to travel to different periods in history and play out their fantasies. Hannon Fuller (Armin Mueller-Stahl), designed the program, owns the company, and enjoys traveling back to 1937 to sleep with a beautiful young woman in a glamorous hotel, all of which he created. One night he is stabbed to death in an alley, and the primary suspect is Fuller's protégé (Craig Bierko). Soon, a femme fatale (Gretchen Mol) enters the plot, claiming to be the daughter of the dead boss. The biggest error in this flawed film was to release this film so soon after The Matrix. Thematically, the films are too close. Then again, what do you expect when producer Roland Emmerich, director Josef Rusnak, and a crew full of Germans try to make a purely "American" entertainment. (Charles Mudede) Meridian 16

THREE SEASONS--This movie interweaves four thin short stories: a flower picker who meets her leperous master; a cyclo driver and deluded prostitute; an American ex-soldier (Harvey Keitel) looking for his long-lost daughter; and the last, the meanderings of a little boy who peddles cigarettes and lighters at local night clubs for his father. Why has this film been popular at festivals? Because it is virtually content-free. There's no action, no hunks, one prostitute with a heart of gold, no sex, and above all no plot. Tony Bui's film is not about the "new" Vietnam (as is supposed), but instead glorifies Vietnam's poverty from the point of view of an American tourist. (Charles Mudede) Broadway Market

*TREKKIES--Everybody has an obsession. What separates the fan from the fanatic is how far you take your obsession. Trekkies looks at Star Trek followers on both sides of the fan/fanatic fence. It's all too easy to make fun of the truly hardcore fanatic, and Trekkies wisely avoids this approach. Denise Crosby (Lt. Tasha Yar on The Next Generation) interviews the film's subjects, which encourages both fans and fellow cast members to open up, knowing she won't be condescending. But let's face it, it's the wacky fans that are the most interesting. The man who had his ears surgically altered into pointy Vulcan ones. Dr. Denis Bourguignon, who transformed his dentist's office into "Starbase Dental." Barbara Adams, who made the national news for wearing her Starfleet uniform while on jury duty in the Whitewater trial. Trekkies is a fascinating look at an often bizarre phenomenon. (Gillian G. Gaar) Meridian 16

TREYF--A documentary by and about Alisa Lebow and Cynthia Madensky, two Jewish lesbians who met at a Passover seder and fell in love. The unorthodox circumstances of their relationship are examined, along with their own issues about Jewish identity, culture, and community. Presented by Dyke Community Activists. Sat June 12 at 8, $6; Sun June 13 at 4, $4. 911 Media Arts

TWICE UPON A YESTERDAY--An English romantic comedy in the vein of Sliding Doors. A guy who looks like Eric Stoltz pines for his ex-girlfriend on the eve of her wedding, even though their break up was his fault (he was seeing another woman). Thanks to some magical garbage men, he's transported back in time to right before he broke up with her and tries to make things right. This time through, the relationship falls apart for different reasons. I hated Sliding Doors. This movie is better. I met the Spanish director María Ripoll when she presented this movie at the Women In Cinema festival last winter. She was charming. In the intervening time, I lost the tape with the interview on it, and I didn't like the movie enough to worry about it. C'est la vie. (Andy Spletzer) Broadway Market

WHALES--An up close and personal look at the largest mammals on earth. Omnidome

THE WINSLOW BOY--David Mamet adapts a play for the screen that was written long before cursing tirades were acceptable, and does an "okay" job with it. A young boy gets kicked out of military school when he's accused of stealing. We never really know if the boy, this "Winslow" boy, did it or not, but the boy maintains his innocence. The father decides to trust the boy and sue the school, causing a big public uproar in a case that nearly sinks them financially. Mamet tones down the actors' deliveries to such a point that it seems everybody is speaking in a monotone; that wouldn't be so bad if the underlying emotions were strong enough to make up for it. Ah well, it's a diverting and often dull time in the theater--kind of like seeing a play! (Andy Spletzer) Broadway Market

A WOMAN CALLED SADA ABE--The shocking Sada Abe is based on the same true story as Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses. A young woman, shamed by rape, involves herself in an affair with a married man, culminating in fourteen continuous days and nights of sado-sex and, ultimately, murder. Fri-Sat June 11-12 at 11. Grand Illusion

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