C.C. and Company
Joe Namath (!) leads a cast of motorcycle hoods through this 1970 gem that has something to do with motorcross, fashion shoots, and Ann-Margaret. Drink. Drink heavily. Linda's Tavern, Wed at 8 pm.
* Catching Out
See review this issue. Little Theatre, Sat-Sun at 5, 7, 9 pm.
See Stranger Suggests. Grand Illusion, Fri at 7, 9 pm, Sat-Sun at 3, 5, 7, 9 pm, Tues-Thurs at 7, 9 pm.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
See review this issue. Varsity, Fri-Sun at 12:30, 4:15, 8 pm, Mon-Thurs 4:15, 8 pm.
The Princess Bride
A special screening at which audience members overheard repeating the phrase "Inconceivable!" or "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya..." will be assessed a $5 surcharge. Egyptian, Fri-Sat at midnight.
* Raiders of the Lost Ark
Some people say Schindler's List is Spielberg's best picture. Some people say E.T. And some people say A.I. (though they are obviously stupid). But they are all wrong. Spielberg's best picture is this, Indiana Jones' first flick. Renton Cinema on the Piazza, Sat at dusk.
"I'd like to be a hairdresser. Or two. I'd like to be two hairdressers." Sunset, Mon at 8 pm.
Sixty Million Dollar Man
From the creator of Shaolin Soccer, Chinese comedian Stephen Chow directs and stars in a frantic action parody about an exploded man sewn back together as a shape-shifting superhero. In Cantonese with English subtitles. Grand Illusion, Fri-Sat at 11 pm.
2 Fast 2 Furious
John Singleton directs 2 Fast 2 Furious on autopilot. Maybe he's just auditioning to make videos for the musicians he cast (Tyrese, Ludacris). Gone is the sense that anyone here has an offscreen life, that anything you see could actually happen, that anything surprising or interesting will take place in the computer-generated plot. I guess we're supposed to root for Paul Walker, but only because he was the star of the last movie. Everything is surface and nothing has substance. Hell, most hiphop videos have better plots and stronger female characters than this movie, which makes for one boring road trip. (ANDY SPLETZER)
* 28 Days Later
How do you like your pop-apocalypse, sci-fi horror? If you like it loud, smart, and scary as all get out, you cannot miss this. Animal activists accidentally release a rage virus on London that turns the population into cannibalistic predators who could outrun a zombie anytime, anywhere. The unaffected few band together and end up in a military compound where the soldiers are as bad as the infected. Yes. This film kicks ass. (SHANNON GEE)
Alex and Emma
Throughout the screening of Alex and Emma, I repeatedly pulled on the small hairs of my companion's leg. He later reported this more pleasant than the movie. (EMILY HALL)
It's unofficially recommended that one wear a helmet when viewing the Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson comedy Anger Management, so as not to cause damage to the right frontal lobe due to repeated self-administered head slapping. However, the movie is so bad you'll want to die before it's over. (KATHLEEN WILSON)
Bend It Like Beckham
Essentially a traditional coming-of-age story, though with a spicy ethnic twist: A hot Anglo-Indian teenage girl in outer London pursues her dream of professional soccer stardom against the wishes of her traditional Sikh parents--immigrants who, still steeped in Indian culture, are only concerned with her educational and marriage prospects, and consequently just don't get it. Stuff happens and challenges are overcome, and Mummy and Papa come around in the end, as we know they will, but the predictable conventionality of the plot structure is expertly obscured by the pleasures of the journey. It is all charming fluff and captivating if improbable lightness, of course, but for a feel-good comedy, there is no higher praise. (SANDEEP KAUSHIK)
Just when you thought there was nothing worse than an earnest Jim Carrey comedy, it hits you like a sack of shit in the kisser--there is something worse, and that's an earnest Jim Carrey comedy that casts the overacting, overarching comedian as God. If I wanted religion and the importance of prayer shoved down my throat like a giant morality tampon sucking up every last bit of patience until I'm suffocating on it, I'd be on my knees in a pew already. But there's no reason for me--or anyone else--to sit through crap with lines like, "Miracles are single mothers of two who take their kids to soccer practice." Are you fucking kidding me? Is this a joke? No, it's not. It's the inane story of Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan, a loser who takes the Lord's (Morgan Freeman) name in vain until He gives ol' Bruce His job so Bruce can see the importance of prayer beads and learn why God doesn't help people win the lottery and stupid stuff like that. It's also yet another example of how Jim Carrey has failed to be significantly funny since In Living Color hit reruns (and I don't even know if he was funny on that show anymore). (JENNIFER MAERZ)
* Capturing the Friedmans
To watch the Friedman family fall apart after the father and youngest brother are accused of molesting kids in the family basement is like watching a Greek tragedy unfold, five people inexorably pulled down by their flaws, by personality, fate, and human failing--the angry elder brother, the bitter mother, the passive, tired father. This doesn't mean that Capturing the Friedmans is simple; you'll spend hours afterward arguing what really happened, and who behaved, in the end, the worst. Those arguments might surprise you. (EMILY HALL)
Charlies' Angels: Full Throttle
What I wanted to see was a parable about the power of an older, wiser woman striking back at the young, naïve, and pert-breasted. And Demi Moore looks amazing, it is true. But it isn't possible to read anything into this movie: if you try to apply your brain to it, it snaps back like a rubber band. Reality is just a construct anyway, subject to flat, shimmering moments of CGI. The more improbable the situation, the funnier it is (from the falling getaway truck that miraculously provides a getaway helicopter, to the big book on opera on the table in Charlie's office); Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore can barely keep their faces straight as they deliver their lines--even Lucy Liu's deadpan shows signs of cracking. Full Throttle is not so much a movie as a string of inside jokes, action sequences, costume changes, and shots of Diaz' ass, but that's the point, right? There's a story in here somewhere about the witness protection plan, an ex-Angel, and some orphans, but really it's a wet dream for both genders: Never underestimate the pure pleasure of seeing a gal throw a man through a jukebox. (EMILY HALL)
Basically, the last hour of Chicago is a mess. Nevertheless, I recommend it. You'll have to endure Richard Gere as Billy Flynn, of course, but it's a small price to pay to watch the Fosse-inspired choreography and Catherine Zeta-Jones' star turn as Velma Kelly. (DAN SAVAGE)
Daddy Day Care
Is Eddie Murphy just too busy counting his money to read scripts? Or perhaps they're all just printed on hundred dollar bills. The once-great man hits us with yet another piece of middling excrement in the form of a Mr. Mom knock-off.
Down With Love
With its retro setting and references, Down with Love not only manages to pay direct tribute to the kind of sex comedy Doris Day and Rock Hudson made memorable with Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back, but proves to be the most satisfying romantic comedy I've seen in--well, decades. (KATHLEEN WILSON)
Dumb and Dumberer
This movie is stupid. You'd only expect as much considering this film is about how Dumb and Dumber stars Harry and Lloyd came to be best friends during their high-school years. Its saving grace is that it's the kind of stupid that the majority of Americans like--every joke is about farting, poo, special education students, and short buses. And if not that, it's making some sort of sexual innuendo that would make any 15-year-old boy piss his pants with laughter. And if that's not enough to get you to crack a smile (you know, because maybe your over the age of 17), you get to hear Bob Saget yell "shit" over and over again. Who's not gonna laugh at that? (MEGAN SELING)
Fresh from SIFF, this Thai/Hong Kong horror flick centers around a young woman who, blind since she was wee, regains her sight thanks to a cornea operation. Things ain't all good, however, as a mysterious, gloomy figure keeps catching her peripheral vision. Scary crap ensues.
* Finding Nemo
A ridiculously gorgeous film, Finding Nemo proves yet again Pixar's current chokehold on big-screen animation. From the facial expressions of the fish and background shots of gently swaying sea grass, to expansive harbor shots of Sydney and the continual mist of plankton wisping by, every frame has been so detailed and obsessed over that the film stuns. Add in Pixar's gift for scripting, a gift that always makes their films tolerable for adults, and the end product is a flower of a movie, exceedingly well imagined, that is more than worth the multiplex gouging. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
From Justin to Kelly
"Run, don't walk, to see From Justin to Kelly." This command was transmitted to me by my friend Mindy in Portland, who'd just received it from her friend Marge in Los Angeles. As this was the same chain of recommendation that led me to Showgirls, I obeyed immediately, revving myself up on the way to the theater by recalling what Mindy told me of Marge's gushing: "It's just so cheap!" said Marge of FJTK's obviously harried production values. "In one scene, Justin's getting this girl's phone number, but he drops his pencil and it rolls out of the frame--and he goes and GETS IT!" However, once I sat myself in the theater, my pleasure diminished quickly, for From Justin to Kelly is so sucky it's not even funny. (DAVID SCHMADER)
The Hard Word
The eternally greasy-do'd Guy Pearce leads a band of saucy, sassy robbers in The Hard Word, an Australian caper film whose dirty eccentricities are the only things that set it apart from its other caper-heist ilk. Between the rapid-fire patter and the money-grubbing schemes, there's a reasonable bit of character development--and it's all done in wicked, kick-to-the-groinage fun. By the time the boys get to their last heist, The Hard Word starts to peter out--and no amount of ensuing gun violence helps jazz it up. But don't worry--the "bad" guys get their comeuppance and the crew walks off into the sunset, making The Hard Word ultimately a soft one. (SHANNON GEE)
Based on the popular children's book by Louis Sachar, Holes is a family drama (starring Sigourney Weaver, Patricia Arquette, and Jon Voight) about kids in the chain gang.
Gawdawful. Seriously. Watching Hollywood Homicide, two questions flared up: 1) What has happened to Indiana Jones? and 2) Why have so many critics--Roger Ebert and Slate's David Edelstein, among them--found this insipid, unfunny, clumsily constructed "buddy cop movie" worthwhile? (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
* The Hulk
Whether or not you buy the beast onscreen is dependent upon just how far you yourself are willing to leap--but the old tale has been given a modern overhaul by Ang Lee and writers James Schamus, John Turman, and Michael France for The Hulk. It may in fact be the most grown-up--and most emotionally fucked-up--comic-book movie ever assembled. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
The Italian Job
Pompous jackass (Edward Norton) and inflection-handicapped pretty boy (Mark Wahlberg) team up in The Italian Job, a remake of the 1969 heist comedy starring Michael Caine and Noel Coward, and somehow, shockingly, the result is not completely fucked--a sturdy, if unsurprising, summer fluff piece. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
* Jet Lag
Jean Reno is a frozen-food magnate. Juliette Binoche is a glitter-lidded beautician. If life were really like this, I'd be eating TV dinners with my hair coifed and my nails drying every night. Danièle Thompson, who directed the deft and deep family-drama-at-Christmas French hit La Bêche, takes an approach lighter than a misting of hairspray in this romantic comedy, which falls a little short on both the romance and the comedy. (Shannon Gee)
The question that is deftly asked by the film's rather sitcom-style (but also frequently charming) result is one of identity and youth--how hard do you hold on to either of them?--and proves that a sweet movie can also have little pockets of depth. (EMILY HALL)
Legally Blonde 2
See review this issue. Factoria, Majestic Bay, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center, Woodinville 12
The Legend of Suriyothai
Originally conceived as an eight-hour miniseries in Thailand before being trimmed down to a three-hour theatrical film and then, with the help of Francis Ford Coppola, to an American-release cut that was under two and a half hours. A huge hit in Thailand, it doesn't quite translate to our shores. Too many important events happen offscreen and the acting comes across as flat, though there are some impressively choreographed battle scenes and plenty of beheadings. (Andy Spletzer)
Man On the Train
The French are a great people, with a great cinema; but when they stink, they really stink. This film is an utter waste of your time and mine. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
The Wachowski Brothers--two über-geeks, evidently, who surely concocted the entire Matrix universe whilst scheming in their parents' basement--have veered the series' storyline sharply this time around, as what appeared to be true in the elder sibling is not necessarily true in the younger, but even if the story is still massively underwhelming (at least to me--the Matrix obsessives will undoubtedly wet themselves, and God bless them for it), the sheer audacity the Wachowskis bring to the screen for Reloaded can only be described as brilliant. Like I stated before, you will see cool shit like you wouldn't believe--cool shit that makes the original Matrix look like The Ice Pirates--and whether you buy into the Wachowskis' massive tale or not, any film that shows you something you've never seen before--indeed, never dreamed possible, really--is worth the effort. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
The Matrix: Reloaded at IMAX
Okay, so an already bloated movie is about to gain mucho weight, which means über-geeks will get a chance to see Trinity's PVC-clad heart-shaped ass in three-story-tall glory. This is an enhancement, to be sure, but much like Attack of the Clones' stint at IMAX, The Matrix: Reloaded's transition from big screen to really fucking big screen seems completely unnecessary.
A Mighty Wind
As with Christopher Guests' other films, Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, the results of A Mighty Wind are alternately hilarious and flat. So much of what makes these movies enjoyable rests on the rhythm of the improv, which is why the increasingly rigid formula is both troublesome and necessary: It's the skeleton that allows these world-class performers to let loose (Fred Willard once again steals the show). The problem is that it's become so familiar that, taken together, the three films feel like one long, predictable sketch. (SEAN NELSON)
* Nowhere in Africa
Nowhere in Africa follows a rich Jewish family that leaves Germany in 1938 and moves to Africa. There they can avoid the Nazis, but have to deal with some other issues like, oh, the lack of water. Naturally, the characters all experience guilt (you just can't have a Holocaust movie without guilt), but there are also things here you never see in any movie, such as the scene in which a swarm of locusts plunder a field of maize. The hazards of humanity and the hazards of nature are not dissimilar, this movie argues, though (at two and a half hours long) not very succinctly. Thankfully, the actor Merab Ninidze, who's very sexy, is in almost every scene. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)
Rivers and Tides
Andy Goldsworthy, the subject of this documentary, makes things out of nature--icicles, shards of stone, leaf, thorn, tufts of sheep's wool--and lets nature take them apart. There is something both arrogant and humble at work here: the very Western wrestling of order out of chaos; the kind of acceptance of entropy associated with Zen. This is probably what makes Goldsworthy such a popular artist among the well-meaning; a glossy book of photographs of his work graces the coffee table of every super-liberal environmentalist you know. For the most part, director Thomas Riedelsheimer gives this wit room to breathe, although the New Agey plinka plinka music is truly awful. Silence, I think, would have been more respectful, more surprising, more Goldsworthian. (EMILY HALL)
Rugrats Go Wild
Why does it feel like they're not even trying anymore? Why do all American animated features have to be musicals? Why is this film's biggest selling point that it marks Bruce Willis' triumphant return to voice-over? Why indeed, my friend. Why indeed. (ZAC PENNINGTON)
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
See review this issue. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place, Woodinville 12
Jeffrey Blitz's amazing documentary Spellbound chronicles eight near-teens as they compete in the National Spelling Bee. At least, that's the film's obvious premise; the less obvious one, what the documentary really is, is a love letter to America. National pride via a national bee. And there is much pride to be found. The film's subjects come from happy homes, and each is driven to take the national title; their love of words, and an eagerness to succeed, fuels the long hours of rote memorization they endure. Their parents may have money, or not, but one thing is readily apparent: The kids are bound for successful careers and lives. They are the American dream, on stage, trying to remember how to spell "logorrhea." (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
See review this issue. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Woodinville 12
The conflicts at play in Chen Kaige's Together are less overtly historical and political than his past films (The Emperor and the Assassin, Yellow Earth), but like his most well-known film in the U.S., Farewell My Concubine, Together puts a talented artist--here a violin prodigy rather than a Chinese opera star--at the center of a changing world. Instead of civil war or the Cultural Revolution, however, the battle this time is growing up in modern China. (SHANNON GEE)
* Whale Rider
Audiences at Toronto and Sundance loved this film and so will you if you like triumphant tales of charismatic youngsters who defy the stoic immobility of old-fashioned patriarchs. I like it because it captures traditional Maori ceremonies and songs on film while also showing that New Zealand is not just a backdrop for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Shannon Gee)
The Winged Migration
Following geese, cranes, swans, puffins, penguins, pelicans, and gulls, the makers of the insect documentary Microcosmos spent four years capturing impossible images of birds, via a bevy of methods and a gaggle of cinematographers, for Winged Migration, a documentary that is as much about the wonders of flight as the migration of birds.
Deliverance, with breast implants.
* X2: X-Men United
The screenplay, by Michael Dougherty and Daniel Harris, is great; it would have been disastrous for the filmmakers not to rely on it. Forgoing excessive sweaty violence for richly imaginative narrative, X2's world is brought to life even more spectacularly than the first X-Men film, with very human elements of persecution, morality, and acceptance. (JULIANNE SHEPHERD)