The Ad and the Ego, Adam Sandler's 8 Crazy Nights, Alias Betty, The Dark Crystal, Hillbillies in Hollywood, Polterchrist, Solaris, Treasure Planet, Virgin of Lust
Episodes 3-12 of the iconic '70s PBS series that we can now all blame for humanities two great plights: homosexuality and reality television. Little Theater, Sun-Wed at 7 pm, with additional screening Tues at 9 pm.
See review this issue. Metro, call theater for times.
Low-budget exploitation director Al Adamson's swansong following 20 years of titles like I Spit on Your Corpse, The Naughty Stewardesses, and Blazing Stewardesses, featuring a talking chimp in a diaper. Let me repeat that: a talking chimp in a diaper. Not available on video. Grand Illusion, Fri-Sat at 11 pm.
El Crimen del Padre Amaro
See review this issue. Harvard Exit, daily at 1:20 pm, 4:10 pm, 7 pm, 9:45 pm
An Evening With Jon Jost
An independent filmmaker for roughly 30 years, Jon Jost hosts a screening of his 1999 experimental digital video essay Six Easy Pieces, in correspondence with a master filmmaking class at 911 Media Arts Center this weekend. 911 Media Arts University Heights Center, Fri at 8 pm.
Flames, scarves, vomit-induced asphyxiation: rock and fucking roll. JBL Theater, Wed at 7 pm, 9 pm.
Hurray For Bollywood
With an explosion of Busby Berkley excess comes the Grand Illusion's Hurray For Bollywood, a new monthly screening series of India's curiously popular "Bollywood" cinema. Features are in Hindi without subtitles, but the focus here has nothing to do with storyline, and who could keep up anyway in face of all that spectacle. Grand Illusion, Mon at 6:30 pm.
* I'm Going Home
See review this issue. Grand Illusion, Fri-Thurs at 7 pm, 9 pm, no show Mon.
The Most Dangerous Game
The 1932 classic tale of a bored hunter who decides to spice up his sport by stalking humans on a remote island. Stars Fay Wray, Joel McRae, and Leslie Banks. Rendezvous, 7:30pm.
"This is a fuck!" Egyptian, Fri-Sat at midnight.
See review this issue. Egyptian, Fri-Sun 2:30 pm, 7:15 pm, Mon-Thurs at 7:15 pm, with holiday screening Nov 28 at 2:30 pm.
new this week
Die Another Day
See preview this issue. Neptune, Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center, Woodinville 12, Factoria, Lewis & Clark
The Emperor's Club
See review this issue. Metro, Meridian 16, Woodinville 12, Grand Alderwood
A feature-length Mountain Dew commercial, but without all that regard for captivating plot.
The Friday After Next
See review this issue. Meridian 16, Lewis & Clark, Grand Alderwood
Interview With the Assassin
It's always a lot of fun when a fake documentary fools you into wondering whether it's real or not. Alas, this dopey, sub-X-Files conspiracy pseudothriller, concerning a man who claims to have really pulled the trigger on JFK, never hooks you, even for a second. There are tense moments, and lead actor Raymond J. Barry turns in a fine performance, but the whole conceit (Mr. Grassy Knoll hires an unemployed TV cameraman to tell his story) just reeks like ashtray in Oliver Stone's dorm. (SEAN NELSON) Uptown
A young psychology student is plagued by the nightmares of her childhood in Wes Craven's latest debacle. Varsity
* 8 Mile
Directed by Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys), the movie tells the story of Jimmy Smith Jr. (Eminem), a working-class kid who begrudgingly crashes with his jobless, trailer-dwelling mom (Kim Basinger), a woman who lives off bingo and bad men, while his predominantly black posse supports him through the underground battle halls of Detroit. It's the Marshall Mathers version of the underdog-done-good idea, a concept presented in various films over the years, from The Karate Kid to Hoop Dreams. But 8 Mile works because you believe the story behind it. (JENNIFER MAERZ)
* 8 Women
On the surface, jealousy is the combative common ground the film's eight women share in the home of a murdered man--who is a husband, a father, a brother, a son-in-law, and a philanderer in relation to the various characters. The women candidly sing and dance to their inner feelings, while hiding away their jealousies or hurling bold suspicions at one another. (KATHLEEN WILSON)
Starring two popular rappers, Ice Cube and Eve, Barbershop is about a young man (Ice Cube) who reluctantly runs a barbershop he inherited from his recently departed father. The best part in the movie concerns the scientific difference between good booty and bad booty. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
* The Bourne Identity
I'll be hornswaggled if The Bourne Identity isn't a tight, satisfying exponent of its genre. (SEAN NELSON)
Bowling For Columbine
For a while, Moore seems on to something--a culture of fear endemic to our country--but in the end, he shortchanges the psychological complexity in favor of cheap shots. He wants to say something great, but ultimately doesn't. Can't, maybe. Because he isn't really a social critic, he's a demagogue. (SEAN NELSON)
Hollywood's first hiphop romance, Brown Sugar is fucking filled with rappers, who are on the whole bloated and boring. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
The reason this documentary will stand as a work of greatness for decades to come is simple: It absolutely nails the psychology of the standup comic, the most narcissistic, petty, self-obsessed, hateful, and bitter breed of entertainer known to mankind. (SEAN NELSON)
* Far From Heaven
In both style and substance, Far from Heaven pays homage to Douglas Sirk's classic 1956 melodrama All That Heaven Allows, uping the ante by introducing intricate new threats to his heroine's true love--threats that would've landed Sirk's film in the studio censor's blender. But Todd Haynes' pitch-perfect inclusion of sexual confusion and racial bigotry into Sirk's original mix gives him the power to transcend his source material and create a melodramatic masterpiece all his own. (DAVID SCHMADER)
* 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. (MATT FONTAINE)
Femme Fatale couldn't be much more real, which means it also couldn't be much more fake, and that's why it couldn't be much better. It's got everything a proper Brian De Palma movie should have: sex, cameras, surveillance, manipulation, mistaken identity, doubles, lesbians, impalement, elaborate split-screen action, withering humor, and more self-awareness than a narcissists' convention. (SEAN NELSON)
Frida is yet another artist's story that has been stripped of nuance and turned into a paean to something indiscriminately called "living," here with requisite Latin heat and groaning tables of erotically charged food. (EMILY HALL)
A haunted old 1953 cruiseliner in the Bering Sea is the setting for this plot-weak but gory-effects-heavy horror flick, in which ghosts, carnage, and surprise twists keep you on the edge of your seat. (AMY JENNIGES)
* The Good Girl
When it comes to deep, dark cinematic comedy, Miguel Arteta and Mike White have cornered the market. Following 2000's Chuck & Buck comes The Good Girl, which explores similarly perverse terrain--the soul of a woman trapped by fate and circumstance, driven to commit acts of deeply iffy morality and legality. Starring Jennifer Aniston (who, incidentally, aces the role, bringing a beautifully understated gravity to the character), doe-eyed Jake Gyllenhaal, and John C. Reilly (who scores another supporting-role home run). (DAVID SCHMADER)
Half Past Dead
At the bloated age of 51, tired Zen action hero Steven Seagal (a.k.a. "Last Ponytail Standing") plays an FBI agent on the hunt for a high-tech criminal genius (Morris Chestnut)--planning to break into a maximum security prison and rough up Ja Rule.
Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, is a thunderous bore. The plot is some garbage about destiny and magic and spiders and snakes--if you're planning on seeing it, you either already know the plot or won't want to. Only a kid could stand it, but no kid worth a damn is going to want to sit through a 161-minute movie in which nothing exciting or funny happens, and in which our hero is never truly jeopardized. Harry is just a charmed little guy who gets everything he wants and always saves the day. (SEAN NELSON)
Almost proof that chemistry can trump originality. Almost. An update of the '60s TV show, I-Spy slaps the brilliance of Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson together and places them in a creaky, fairly inane plot. There are explosions, fights, and an invisible military jet (no, really), but what makes the flick tolerable is the humor of its stars. Murphy and Wilson's talents are wasted here, to be sure, but what little breathing room is given proves superduper entertaining. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
* Jackass: The Movie
Jackass is a perfect film. (SEAN NELSON)
Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie
The computer-animated version of the pamphlets you find at bus stops.
Men in Black II
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)
* Moonlight Mile
I know this film looks like a sappy weeper, and it kind of is, but as a story of bereavement, commitment, and coming of age (and finding the limits of each), it is also funny, smart, and exquisitely well acted by Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, and Jake Gyllenhaal. (SEAN NELSON)
Sandra Nettelbeck's German production is much less crude than the escapist "foreign" fantasies American audiences have become accustomed to. (ANNIE WAGNER)
Starring Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Punch-Drunk Love is a confused story--not confusing to the audience, but confused within itself. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
Real Women Have Curves
A simplistic and thought-provokeless tale about one spirited teenage member of the underclass' struggle to individuate her young self in the context of her traditional, stifling, almost poverty-stricken family. Every major scene devolves into sloganeering, a champagne socialist's daydream of life in the po' house. Real Women is a lowest-common-denominator piece of silky propaganda. (MICHAEL SHILLING)
* Red Dragon
Clunky and breathtakingly unoriginal, Brett Ratner's film is an absolute paint-by-numbers affair. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
There are a few jumps here and there, along with one startling image near the end involving a TV, but for the most part The Ring just sorta trudges along, rarely surprising, often befuddling. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
The Santa Clause 2
The most unnecessary sequel since Silent Night, Deadly Night 4.
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Lee Holloway, a slightly retarded nymphet secretary just released from a loony house, who develops a subversive relationship with her employer, played by James Spader. Part of Secretary's singular quality is that the heroine's problem is never resolved. She entrenches herself deeper and deeper in her "sick" dependency, and ultimately, it becomes her virtue. (MEG VAN HUYGEN)
In spite of its conspicuous cute deficiency, Spirited Away is by all means a striking visual composition--just make sure you're not drowsy going in. (ZAC PENNINGTON)
Standing in the Shadows of Motown
A functional, if not exactly riveting documentary about the session musicians who comprised the backbone of the Motown sound but whom no one has ever heard of. The Funk Brothers (a mixed-race collective of amazing players) can be heard on every Detroit-era Motown hit, but because of the way the star singers were marketed, they very often didn't even receive credit. The movie does them justice by telling the story, but slips into miscalculation by having the fellas play the old hits live, accompanied by some of today's least impressive stars (Joan Osborne, Me'shell N'degeocello, Levert). The performances just reinforce the star power of the original Motown stable. (SEAN NELSON)
Sweet Home Alabama
A lesson that's already been taught in one hackneyed comedy after another--namely, that poor white Southern folk are fat, dumb, and wear Jaclyn Smith, but the boys are hot and they ain't as stupid as city folk think, 'cause they have heart. (JENNIFER MAERZ)
You see, there's this kinda shady guy, who's British but is a master of Kung Fu, and his job is to transport materials. This other guy, who's American, hires him to transport something and it turns out to be a really hot Chinese woman. And then, all hell breaks loose--not spectacular hell, but more of a muddling, dimwitted hell. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
* The Truth About Charlie
A remake of Stanley Donen's Charade, a communion-wafer-thin '60s comedy. The film, like its predecessor, is a smart kind of dumb; a romp with a love of movies, faces, and all things Francophile at the center. (SEAN NELSON)
* The Weight of Water
Sean Penn, Catherine McCormack, Josh Lucas, and Elizabeth Hurley congregate on a sailboat for a bit of sexual tension and artistic/historical speculation with a dab of violence (a little Knife in the Water, a little Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) in this flawed-but-worthy Kathryn Bigelow movie. (SEAN NELSON)
Just how bad is XXX? Worse than you've imagined. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)