THE DINNER GAME -- Guild 45th

THE IRON GIANT -- Meridian 16, Metro, others

MY LIFE SO FAR -- Uptown

MYSTERY MEN -- Pacific Place, Varsity, others

THE SIXTH SENSE -- Meridian 16, Metro, others


Metro, Oak Tree, others

TRICK -- Broadway Market


BACK TO FILM SCHOOL -- Broadway Performance Hall





DANCING & DATING -- Fremont Outdoor Movies

DIRECT CINEMA -- Grand Illusion

FINAL RINSE -- Grand Illusion



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED -- Little Theatre






THE SEVEN FACES OF DR. LAO -- Little Theatre




August 13 -- Twin Falls Idaho, The 13th Warrior, Bowfinger, I Stand Alone, Brokedown Palace, Detroit Rock City

August 20 -- Illuminata, Genghis Blues, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Mickey Blue Eyes, The Adventures of Sebastian Cole, Love Stinks


*THE 3RD MAN -- This newly restored, 35mm, uncut British version of Carol Reed's 1949 Cannes winner is about a pulp author who stumbles upon a murder and conspiracy theory. With Orson Welles. Thurs Aug 5 at 4:40, 7, 9:20. Varsity Calendar

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

AMAZON -- An IMAX examination of the lush forests and exotic animals of the Amazon river basin. Omnidome

AMERICAN PIE -- The story should be familiar to anyone who came of age in the '80s: Four high school seniors make a pact to lose their virginity before they graduate. Basically, it's Porky's, but updated to include some actual female characters and a pro-female orgasm message. (Andy Spletzer) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

*AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME -- A big, sloppy comedy chock full of nonsense jokes, sexual innuendo, and scatological humor. Plot doesn't matter as much as each successive comedy bit, which is probably why people who laughed during the show came out feeling cheated. Personally, I liked it in much the same way I enjoy those "blooper" shows on TV, light and stupid entertainment to be enjoyed and then discarded. (Andy Spletzer) Meridian 16, Redmond Town Center, Varsity

AUTUMN TALE -- Set in the sun-washed Côte du Rhone countryside, the film follows wine maker Magali (Béatrice Romand) and her passive search for love, and the choices made for her by her daughter and her friend. Like love, the storyline turns corners and stumbles; it lingers too long on useless images and arguments, but veteran director Eric Rohmer's fine ear for dialog and silence, not to mention the well-rounded characters, holds one's interest. (Traci Vogel) Broadway Market

*BACK TO FILM SCHOOL -- A collection of first films by now-famous directors, including Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, Orson Welles, and David Lynch. Fri-Sat Aug 6-7 at 6, 8, 10, $7.50. Call 329-6651 for more information. Broadway Performance Hall

BESHKEMPIR: THE ADOPTED SON -- A coming-of-age story set in Kyrgyzstan. A young teenage boy learns about life, death, first love, and coming to terms with his heritage, in a remote rural village where even owning a bicycle is a luxury. An interesting look at another culture, this is a slow and thoughtful film -- perhaps too slow for some. Fri-Sun Aug 6-8 at (Sat-Sun 1, 3), 5, 7, 9. (Gillian G. Gaar) Varsity Calendar

BIG DADDY -- Adam Sandler plays a smart guy with a dumb life who finds himself basically adopting the five-year-old son of his roommate Kevin (Jon Stewart). After many pee jokes and puke gags, the movie rolls to its predictable conclusion. While no one expects Big Daddy to be anything remotely resembling Citizen Kane, the film feels like about two minutes of preparation went into it. Of course, no matter what flaws the movie may have, I still love Adam Sandler. (Kathleen Wilson) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16

*THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT -- If the desert is a place for delirium, the forest is the place for panic, and panic is exactly what this stunning and extremely unsettling new film is all about -- panic charged by the fear of the unseen, of unreason, of the monster lurking behind the trees, the spirits among the leaves, the dead under the stones, the souls in the river. The premise for the film is this: In 1994, while shooting a documentary on the myth of "The Blair Witch," three film students mysteriously disappeared in the woods. The missing trio included director Heather Donahue (who, like the rest of the cast, uses her real name in the film), sound engineer Michael Williams, and cameraman Joshua Leonard. A year later, their video and film cameras, along with the footage, are found in the basement of an abandoned home, and the footage has been put together into the film you are watching. The Blair Witch Project is effective not only because of the woods, but because the film seems real. Too real, even. (Charles Mudede) Factoria, Meridian 16, Neptune, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB -- Director Wim Wenders and musician Ry Cooder collaborate on this documentary on the Cuban super-group, the Buena Vista Social Club. Winner of the Golden Space Needle for Best Documentary. Broadway Market

*CHILDREN'S FILM SERIES -- The Grand Illusion's Children's Summer Film Series continues with a program of local short films with the directors/cast members (some in costume!) in attendance (Thurs Aug 5 at 11 am, 1; Sun Aug 8 at 1, 3); then comes an all-time animation classic: Long before there was Babe, there was the farm animal classic Charlotte's Web. Tues and Thurs, Aug 10, 12, at 11 am, 1. $3.50 kids/$5 grown-ups. Grand Illusion

D.FILM DIGITAL FESTIVAL -- If last week's WebFlicks showcase at 911 piqued your interest, then be sure to attend this event at the Moore. All films shown at D.FILM are made with computers and other types of intimidating technology. With a performance by Live Nude Girls. Sat Aug 7 at 8; $9.50 advance/$10.50 door. Reviewed this issue. The Moore Theatre

DANCING & DATING -- Fremont's second outdoor cinema will be showing Saturday Night Fever on Friday, August 6, then The Graduate on Saturday, August 7. Fremont Outdoor Movies

*DEEP BLUE SEA -- When a group of scientists and a hunky shark wrangler start messing with genetics in their underwater laboratory right before a big storm at sea, all I can think is: Somebody up there likes me. Deep Blue Sea is horribly shot, creatively bankrupt, and gloriously derivative, and I'd like to personally thank director Renny Harlin for everything he does wrong. Not since Anaconda have we been blessed with a People-Eating Flick so deliciously oblivious to its own crap. It borrows handily from all four Jaws films, right down to the Vengeful Shark motif used to such stunning effect in Jaws: The Revenge. I should also add that this film contains what must be one of the All-Time Great Munch Moments, an efficient and ridiculous chomping that occurs maybe halfway through the film and could quite possibly cause you to piss yourself with glee. Go to a matinee and thank me later. (Steve Wiecking) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Southcenter

DICK -- The one-joke scenario is this: The fall of the house of Nixon really came about through the inadvertent actions of two 15-year-old girls. But hold on before writing Dick off as yet another retro look at those wacky, wacky '70s. The transformation of Arlene (Michelle Williams, of Dawson's Creek fame) and Betsy (Kirsten Dunst) from oblivious teens to "secret youth advisors" to the President is a hoot, especially when Arlene transfers her affections from Bobby Sherman to Tricky Dick (resulting in a hysterical dream sequence). And it's not just Nixon's straight-laced crew that's sent up. Will Ferrell and Bruce McCulloch are an improbably doofy Woodward and Bernstein. Even Nixon (Dan Hedaya) himself is humanized. There's something sweet about seeing him getting schnockered while glumly watching Love American Style as wife Pat snores in the background. (Gillian G. Gaar)

THE DINNER GAME -- Written and directed by the master of the French farce, Francis Veber, The Dinner Game is an excellent comedy. The story is about a circle of well-to-do snobs who bring idiots to dinner parties to make fun of them. One of these snobs, a publisher, discovers the greatest idiot of all time and can't wait to show his friends; but as luck would have it, he hurts his back and winds up stuck at home with this idiot. Rumor has it that DreamWorks is planning to make an American version of this film, but I highly recommend you watch the original. There is no way this film can be adequately translated into our culture... there is just no way. (Charles Mudede) Guild 45th

*DIRECT CINEMA -- The "Direct Cinema" documentarians allowed for many fascinating portraits, as can be seen in the Grand Illusion's two week series. The opening night feature is Frederick Wiseman's Titicut Follies, shot in a Massachusetts mental hospital for the criminally insane. It's usually mentioned as his masterpiece, but it's too rambling and unstructured to be considered informative, and there's a whiff of freak show about some scenes. After that comes two showbiz profiles from the Maysles Brothers: Showman follows movie producer Joseph Levine around for a few weeks, and What's Happening, chronicles the Beatles first trip to America. I wasn't surprised at all to find the rotund, waddling Levine a fascinating subject, and the Beatles' glib and boring. The week continues with Shirley Clarke's The Cool World, an improvised story of drug dealing youth that I hear nothing but great things about, and D.A. Pennebaker's Bob Dylan film Don't Look Back. Call 523-3935 for more information. (Bruce Reid) Grand Illusion

DROP DEAD GORGEOUS -- Drop Dead Gorgeous really, really wants to inherit the audience for smart comedies like There's Something about Mary -- so much so that the writer even includes a Developmentally Disabled Adult to laugh at. When the movie's only "big laugh" falls on his head, the viewer really starts to sympathize with political correctness. It is coy and cloying "big hair satire" at its worst, with nary a color consultant in view. Where oh where is Jose Eberhart? (Traci Vogel) Grand Alderwood, Metro, Uptown

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 Cente

*EYES WIDE SHUT -- Stanley Kubrick's last film contains an intact slice of a young couple's life (Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman): We see that they are beautiful and successful, that they are adored and desired by friends, and that they have an incredible apartment filled with tasteful art and furniture. In order to study this perfect relationship, as with the scientific research that tries to determine an atom's composition by destroying it, Kubrick destroys their relationship. It all starts with a stick of marijuana and her subsequent admission that she almost left him for a navy officer years ago. Upon hearing this, he loses all sense of ground and everything breaks apart. In Eyes Wide Shut Kubrick dissects marriage, and it is fascinating. (Charles Mudede) Factoria, Guild 45th, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

*FINAL RINSE -- The Grand Illusion hosts the World Theatrical Premiere of this rock-and-roll hair movie about a serial killer who stalks, slays, and then coifs big-haired rockers. With a cast that includes rock thespians Joey Ramone and Sebastian Bach, along with a killer performance by Batman's Frank Gorshin, the movie is spiked with musical acts that include the Last Hard Men (featuring Bach, Kelly Deal [of the Breeders], and Jimmy Flemion [of the Frogs]), Brooklyn's Biohazard, punk pioneers the Dictators, and the '80s hair band Slaughter. Directed like a fast-paced version of Douglas Sirk by the suave and handsome Robert Tucker, the silliness of the storyline belies the wit and cleverness of this unusual movie. Part spoof, part cop-thriller,

part Russ Meyer, part Jack Webb, and part The Metal Years, Final Rinse turns out to be every bit as subversive as a good John Waters film. Fri-Sat Aug 6-7 at 11:30. Robert Tucker, the handsome director, will be in attendance. (Robert Tucker) Grand Illusion

THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER -- Simon "Con Air" West's new "thriller" pretends to be about the importance of women to the armed forces. It features the graphic rape of a female captain, a brutal, fetishistic murder, and the idea that anything outside the missionary position can only be the result of emotional scarring. John Travolta spends his time questioning the kind of suspects who spill the beans after five minutes of scrutiny, and Madeleine Stowe is around to assure us that Travolta is heterosexual. (Steve Wiecking) City Centre, Lewis & Clark

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH -- The classic characters in Cecil B. DeMille's portrait of life under the Big Top gives a reality slap to the kid in all of us who thought circuses were just about cotton candy and sparkly elephants. Charlton Heston (as a hard-ass ringmaster), Jimmy Stewart (as a tortured man beneath a clown's painted smile), and Gloria Grahame (as the Ringling Bros. den mother) pops our fantasy balloons about what circus life is really like. Thurs-Sun Aug 5-8 at 5:30, 8:30. Little Theatre

THE HAUNTING -- Digital ghosts aren't scary. That's one of the biggest problems with this "horror" film, along with major plot holes and questionable motivations, such as: Why is Liam Neeson doing an expensive fear study on just three people? And how come these hand-picked subjects don't seem extra scared when they're in the creepy house? Director Jan De Bont (Speed 2: Cruise Control) was obviously excited with the idea of making a haunted house movie, but he has no idea how to tell a ghost story. The performances are good (Lili Taylor is particularly good as the woman who is calmly obsessed with the ghosts of the house, of course), but the whole mood is shot thanks to the inclusion of the dumb digital ghosts. For me, the best special effect was a curtain blowing in the wind. If only the rest of the film had that kind of simplistic restraint. (Andy Spletzer) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Metro

*HE WHO GETS SLAPPED -- This silent film features Lon Chaney as a scientist who escapes from the lab to the clowning and slapstick profession. With a live accompanying score, performed by Alex Guilbert. Wed Aug 11 at 7:30 only. Little Theatre

AN IDEAL HUSBAND -- Just what we needed, another British period piece dealing with class issues. Yawn. Sir Robert Chiltern (Jeremy Northam) is an upstanding politician being blackmailed by Mrs. Cheveley (Julianne Moore). Everyone in the movie seems like they're play-acting at being high society folks. I'm sure that's fun for them, but it's no fun to watch. (Andy Spletzer) Harvard Exit, Seven Gables

INSPECTOR GADGET -- This movie is simply awful. I took my son (who is three) to the screening and even he lost interest. One hour into the film, he began begging me to take him home. He was right. Nothing in Inspector Gadget is good: the gadgets are stupid, the story is stupid, Matthew Broderick is awful, and his sidekick (the jive-talking car) is a lame attempt at imitating the magic of Eddie Murphy's dragon in Mulan. The biggest mistake of this sorry film, though, was in the roles of Gadget's dog and niece. In the regular Saturday show they work out all the crimes while the idiot inspector is elsewhere following the wrong fucking clues. Here, they are severely de-emphasized, while Gadget's boy-like desires for the scientist who created him (Joely Fisher) are over-emphasized. "I didn't like it!" my son said to his mother when we returned home, and that is the best review I have heard thus far. (Charles Mudede) Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

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

THE IRON GIANT -- Giant robot falls to earth, befriends a local boy, and eats lots of metal. An animated film from Warner Brothers. Factoria, Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

LA MARIE DU PORT -- Marcel Carné directs Jean Gabin (Le Jour se Leve) in this scandal-tinged tale of an aging man who falls in love with his mistress' 18-year-old sister. Thurs Aug 5 at 5, 7, 9. Grand Illusion

LINDA'S SUMMER MOVIES -- The perfect summer evening activity: beer and a silly movie. This week's film, just in time for all the astronaut fuss lately, is Countdown (1967), wherein egomaniac-astronaut James Caan flips out after discovering that the Russians might beat the U.S. in landing on the moon. Wed Aug 11 at dusk, FREE. Linda's Tavern

MY LIFE SO FAR -- The creators of Chariots of Fire finally reunite. No word on whether new wave composers Vangelis will also be making a return. Uptown

*MY SON THE FANATIC -- Perhaps the biggest surprise is that, as the title suggests, the main character in the movie is the dad, not the son. This is not an exploration of the culture clash between father and son as much as a portrait of a man who's taken his life for granted, never realizing how far he's been drifting from his wife and son. Parvez (Om Puri) is a mild-mannered Pakistani taxi driver who's lived in England for 25 years. His main clients are the town's prostitutes and the travelers who use them. He has a particular fondness for Bettina (Hilary and Jackie's Rachel Griffiths), and as the movie begins he recommends her to a new visiting client (Stellan Skarsgård). Meanwhile, his wife rightfully feels neglected by him, and his son rejects his godless hedonism by converting to Islam, which gives us the title. Of course, "work" and family life come into conflict, and the movie turns out to be one of the most interesting character studies since Affliction. (Andy Spletzer) Uptown

MYSTERY MEN -- Second-rate superheroes get their chance to fight crime when Captain Amazing disappears. Starring Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, William H. Macy, Janeane Garofalo, with an appearance by Tom Waits. Reviewed this issue. Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center, Varsity

NOTTING HILL -- He's a shy, burned-in-the-past seller of travel books; she's a universally acclaimed and desired actress. Unfortunately, as too often happens in modern day romantic comedies, the men have been thought out to the last detail, but on the female side motivations are left hanging. Charming but empty. (Bruce Reid) Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

PRESTON STURGES MINI-FEST -- SAM's Preston Sturges retrospective comes to a close with 1944's The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (Thurs Aug 5 at 7:30), with WWII hottie Betty Hutton as a small town girl who finds herself pregnant the morning after a party for departing troops. An attempt at a quickie wedding spirals into madcap chaos; the last film in the series is Hail the Conquering Hero (Thurs Aug 12 at 7:30), about a WWII Marines reject who pretends he's a brave war hero when he returns to his home town. Call 625-8900 for more details. Seattle Art Museum

THE RED VIOLIN -- For their follow-up to the marvelous Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, director François Girard and his co-writer Don McKellar have fashioned another loosely structured ode to music, this time following a legendary violin as it passes through various (well, three or four) owners before it winds up in auction. Unfortunately, the stories shown (a miraculous prodigy, a fiery virtuoso's love woes, and a crackdown on Western music during China's cultural revolution) aren't particularly interesting, and if you know any violin lore already you'll wish they'd included variations on some of the instrument's wilder histories. (Bruce Reid) Broadway Market

*RUN LOLA RUN -- A young Berlin hipster named Lola has 20 minutes to find enough money to stop her boyfriend from being killed. As a friend once wrote, "This could only be a movie." Here, that's exactly the point. The young German filmmaker Tom Tykwer is so keenly aware that this is a movie, he tells the story three times, each with different but equally incredible twists, surprises, tangents, and endings -- which is exactly what makes this movie fun to watch: It's a celebration of the "grand illusion" that is cinema. The playful and frivolous approach dilutes any serious content, which is fine when fluff can be this fun. (Charles Mudede) Harvard Exit

RUNAWAY BRIDE -- Romantic comedies starring Julia Roberts have become the mashed potatoes of '90s cinema: comforting, familiar, benign. In Runaway Bride, director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) reunites with Roberts and Richard Gere to make another cheerful movie about two opposites who attract and (of course) end up together. This time, Roberts is a small-town hardware store clerk on her fourth wedding attempt; Gere is the sophisticated urban reporter writing about the serial groom-ditcher. What develops is typical Hollywood Lite, with plenty of the usual Julia Roberts Movie Close-Ups (the impeccable hair, that Play-Doh mouth) and adorable moments with swelling music and great clothes. What doesn't develop is any sort of credible storyline, and the viewer is left with lots of sticky sweetness and disappointment. (Min Liao) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Northgate, Pacific Place 11

SCREENWRITER'S WORKSHOP -- This week's Screenwriters Salon will have a new media twist as writer/director Greg Roach (writer/designer of The Madness of Roland, the world's first multimedia-interactive novel) enlightens "old-school film buffs" about interactive script-writing and filmmaking, and the new techniques involved. Mon Aug 9 at 7; for more details, call 623-3180. Alibi Room

THE SEVEN FACES OF DR. LAO -- Tony Randall plays seven different members of a mysterious road-show circus, in this satire adapted by Twilight Zone writer Charles Beaumont and directed by legendary animator George Pal. Sat-Sun Aug 7-8 at 1, 3:15. Little Theatre

THE SIXTH SENSE -- A young boy sees ghosts while Bruce Willis' marriage falls apart, in this smart and moody ghost story. Reviewed this issue. Factoria, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER, UNCUT -- When four sweet little tykes sneak into an R-rated movie, they are so enthralled by the dirty language that they can't or won't stop repeating it, even in front of shocked school authorities or parents. This eventually leads to a war with Canada. This brilliant premise allows South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to vent against the MPAA in their continued struggles against the NC-17 rating, while managing a deft end-run around critics who might complain about the cartoon's effect on children. But the same frat-boy short attention span that allows for some genuinely outrageous belly laughs also gets the better of them, and their few good ideas get buried amid much silliness and nasty sideswipes -- not to mention too many dumb songs. And where's Jesus, that short-tempered, underachieving deity who's one of the TV show's brightest spots? (Bruce Reid) Meridian 16, Metro

STAR WARS: EPISODE I -- What does it matter what we say? You'll see it anyway. The threadbare plot is nothing compared to the hype and nostalgia of the George Lucas marketing machine. Darth Vader as a boy, young Obi-Wan, computer generated characters, whatever. You'll see it anyway. (Jamie Hook) Cinerama, Lewis & Clark

TARZAN -- Oddly enough, there's never been a cartoon feature film about the Lord of the Apes. Leave it to Disney to fill the gap. Initially, the film has an awkward start. Young Tarzan's friends are the usual too-cutesy comic sidekicks, and the father/son conflict is a bit too obvious -- and trite. The adult Tarzan is another matter entirely. Tarzan's flights through the trees are an astonishing display of state-of-the-art animation; he doesn't so much swing through as surf the forest. When other humans enter the story, there's further emotional depth, and rather than bogging the whole thing down with numerous musical numbers, the characters hardly sing at all. The songs are largely performed by an off-screen narrator, Phil Collins. (Gillian G. Gaar) Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Redmond Town Center

THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR -- Pierce Brosnan stars as a billionaire who steals art for the thrill of it. Reviewed this issue. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree

TRICK -- Two men looking for a place to have sex end up falling in love during the search. Reviewed this issue. Broadway Market

THE WILD WILD WEST -- Set just after the Civil War, President Grant is teaming up the action-packed West with inventor Artemis Gordon (Kevin Kline) to stop the mad inventor Dr. Loveless (an entertainingly hammy Kenneth Branagh). You see, Loveless is bitter that the South gave up so easily in the war, and he wants to disintegrate the "United" States. Once his giant mechanical spider is introduced the movie goes downhill, but it's too late to spoil the goodwill the first half has built up. This movie is not nearly as bad as everybody says it is. It's just summer fluff. (Andy Spletzer) Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Uptown

THE WOOD -- A bunch of guys reminisce when one of them is about to get married. Meridian 16

WORLD'S BEST COMMERCIALS -- The only reason why you would watch this "Olympics of advertising" is to see exotic commercials from other parts of the world. Though the American Express commercial featuring Jerry Seinfeld headlines this year's program, it is the commercials from South Africa, Brazil, Singapore, Australia, and Europe that are the reason to watch this collection. I especially enjoyed the hyper-graphic public announcements from Australia, made to deter Australian drivers from speeding. Also, the Dutch commercial emphasizing the importance of learning English by showing a pristine middle-class family stepping into a car, turning on the radio, and delighting in a catchy English pop song that's saying: "I want to fuck you in the ass, I want to fuck you in the ass, I want to fuck you in the ass!" Commercials don't get any better than that. Mon-Thurs Aug 9-12 at 5:45, 7:30, 9:15. (Charles Mudede) Varsity Calendar

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