OPENING

ILLUMINATA -- Seven Gables

IN TOO DEEP -- Various theaters

GENGHIS BLUES -- Varsity Calendar

MICKEY BLUE EYES -- Pacific Place, Metro,

Oak Tree, Southcenter, Factoria

TEACHING MRS. TINGLE -- Meridian, Metro,

Alderwood, Lewis & Clark

UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN -- Meridian, Alderwood, Lewis & Clark

WHERE IS THE FRIEND'S HOME? -- Grand Illusion


REPERTORY & REVIVAL

CHILDREN'S FILM SERIES -- Grand Illusion

DIRECT CINEMA -- Grand Illusion

I, PAGLIACCI -- Little Theatre

I STAND ALONE -- Varsity Calendar

INDEPENDENT EXPOSURE 8/99 -- Speakeasy

LA STRADA -- Little Theatre

LAKE CASTAIC -- 911 Media Arts

LINDA'S SUMMER MOVIES -- Linda's Tavern

NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY -- Grand Illusion

THE TARGET SHOOTS FIRST -- The 911 Media Arts

VINTAGE CARTOONS -- Speakeasy

WHERE IS THE FRIEND'S HOME? -- Grand Illusion


Coming soon

August 27 -- Cabaret Balkan, The Astronaut's Wife, The 13th Warrior, Late August, Early September, A Dog of Flanders, The Muse, Better Than Chocolate, Dudley-Do-Right

September 1 -- Yellow Submarine, Outside Providence

September 3 -- Lovers on the Bridge, Chill Factor


MOVIES & EVENTS

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. (Andy Spletzer) Lewis & Clark, Pacific Place 11

*Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
A big, sloppy comedy chock full of nonsense jokes, sexual innuendo, and scatological humor. (Andy Spletzer) Admiral, Crest

*The Blair Witch Project
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. Though a fictional film, The Blair Witch Project is effective because it seems real. Too real, even. (Charles Mudede) Factoria, Meridian 16, Neptune, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

*Bowfinger
Movies about movies are always best when they relish both the sleazy cynicism of the business and the idealistic outsiders banding together to make the art; Bowfinger does a terrific job on both scores. Steve Martin's clever script (obviously written after some careful viewings of Tim Burton's marvelous Ed Wood) celebrates a low-rent would-be producer (Martin) who dedicates his life savings ($2,184) to finally directing a feature film. His crew is loyal, but now more than ever you need a big star to open a picture. His ingenious solution is to surreptitiously film the world's biggest action star (Eddie Murphy), and build the film around him. The laughs are plentiful, Murphy gives two of his best performances, and director Frank Oz moves things along at an energetic clip. (Bruce Reid) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree

Brokedown Palace
Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale play high school grads who get horny and competitive in Thailand, then end up jailed as fall guys for a hunky drug smuggler. For much of its length, Brokedown Palace is a slightly xenophobic guilty pleasure (with Bill Pullman thankfully back in a good, sleazy character bit), but it fizzles away into My So-Called Midnight Express. Director Jonathan Kaplan keeps things humming along, but doesn't raise the stakes high enough; the girls' imprisonment plays like an extremely troubling annoyance on the path to adulthood. Both leads are appealing, and there is some fun to be had in watching Danes in tough-talking, bad-ass mode, barking lines like, "We can't do dick in this shithole country!" With a soundtrack designed to sell, and fragrance ad shots of its sexy and mysterious locale, Palace is melodrama for the MTV generation, but without the common sense to go ahead and get really juicy. (Steve Wiecking) City Centre, Factoria, Metro, 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 some vintage slapstick from Laurel & Hardy (Leave 'em Laughing), W.C. Fields (The Dentist), and Buster Keaton (The Baloonatic), which will keep the young 'uns rolling in the aisles (Thurs Aug 19 at 11 am, 1 & Sun Aug 22 at 1, 3); then comes an UN-boring (promise!) nature documentary called The Secret Life of Plants, with a Stevie Wonder soundtrack (Tues Aug 24 & Thurs Aug 26 at 11am, 1). $3.50 kids/$5 grown-ups. Grand Illusion

*Deep Blue Sea
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. (Steve Wiecking) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Southcenter

*Detroit Rock City
Detroit Rock City is about the joys of being an adolescent male in love. In love with KISS, that is. Yes, we're back in the '70s once again, and Detroit Rock City is smart enough to celebrate the underlying goofiness of the era. Our heroes, Hawk, Lex, Jam, and Trip, are stuck in a Midwestern high school teenage wasteland, eagerly counting the hours until they can escape to Detroit for a much-anticipated Kiss concert. Until the Christian mother of one discovers their KISS tickets in her son's jacket, burns the treasured ducats, and packs him off to a creepy Christian boarding school. Detroit Rock City's funniest element shows how time really is the great leveller. En route to Detroit, our heroes have a scuffle with a carload of disco lovers, one of whom expounds on the greatness of the Village People. Twenty years on, KISS and Village People are seen as equally kitschy. And after all, they did share the same record label. (Gillian G. Gaar) Lewis & Clark, Redmond Town Center, Uptown, Varsity

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) City Centre, Redmond Town Center, Varsity

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. (Charles Mudede) Guild 45th

*DIRECT CINEMA
The Grand Illusion's Direct Cinema retrospective ends with Monterey Pop, a good concert film (particularly Otis Redding's energetic performance), and Chiefs, which follows a bunch of cops to a vacation/convention in Hawaii. Thurs Aug 19 at 5, 7, 9. Call 523-3935 for more information. (Bruce Reid) Grand Illusion

The Eruption of Mount St. Helens
The mountain blew up in 1980, and has been blowing up on film ever since. Omni-dome

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

*Eyes Wide Shut
Stanley Kubrick's last film contains an intact slice of a young couple's life (Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman): In order to study this perfect relationship, Kubrick destroys it. (Charles Mudede) Guild 45th, Pacific Place 11

*Genghis Blues
A fascinating documentary about the meeting of two cultures that couldn't seem further apart: American blues and Tuvan throatsinging (a multi-harmonic vocal style where one singer hits two notes simultaneously). Paul Pena, a blind musician with a deep, reverberating voice, has played the blues with musicians like B.B. King and Bonnie Raitt. While listening to short-wave radio, he discovered the music of the Republic of Tuva, a remote country between Siberia and Mongolia. Over a period of 10 years, Pena taught himself how to throatsing and traveled to Tuva in 1995, becoming the first American to ever win the country's throatsinging contest. Though the film drags occasionally during the "travelogue" sequences, Pena's journey and the warm reception he receives from a people who -- despite their lack of material comforts -- are far more civilized than most Americans is a testament to healing and embracing the power of music. Fri-Thurs Aug 20-26 at (Sat-Sun 12:30, 2:40), 4:50, 7, 9:10. (Gillian G. Gaar) Varsity Calendar

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. 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. (Andy Spletzer) Grand Alderwood, Uptown

I, Pagliacci
For one night only: A digital screening of the Franco Zeffirelli-directed version of the Italian opera, with Placido Domingo. Thurs Aug 19 at 7:30. Little Theatre

I Stand Alone
This film is about a human bomb called the Butcher (Philippe Nahon). His ticking began at an early age, when the Butcher lost both his parents. His situation, however, improved as a young adult: He became a horse-meat butcher, owned a small shop, got married, and had a child. But then his wife left him, and he had to bring up his daughter on his own. When his daughter matured and became a young woman, he desired her in ways fathers are not supposed to desire their daughters. This desire resulted in his almost killing a man he mistakenly thought deflowered her. The Butcher is sent to prison. He has a breakdown and ends up in a cheap hotel with no money, friends, or food -- nothing except a gun and three bullets. Despite its greatness, many people will not like I Stand Alone. Only a select few may find it funny. Thurs Aug 19 at 5:30, 7:30, 9:30. (Charles Mudede) Varsity Calendar

Illuminata
John Turturro's first directorial effort, Mac, was clumsy but sincere, and admirably modest; I didn't love it, but it promised better things if Turturro stayed behind the camera. Now he's directed his second feature, kept the clumsiness, and added pretentiousness, overblown theatricality, and dullness to the mix. If he keeps on this trajectory, his next movie will be the worst film ever made. How bad is Illuminata? Forget the fact that this story about the backstage dramatics in a turn-of-the-century theater company is all cliché; forget that everyone has to speak in florid pseudo-poetry; forget also that the supposedly brilliant play being fought over, defended, and lusted after is pure dreck. No, the surest sign of how much Turturro needs to be kept from ever directing again is that he gets a bad performance out of Ben Gazzara -- Ben Gazzara! I'd have thought that was impossible. (Bruce Reid) Seven Gables

In Too Deep
An obsessed detective (Omar Epps) wants to bring down a major gangster/crime boss named "God" (LL Cool J). This, of course, results in an intense showdown. With Pam Grier and Veronica Webb. Opens Wed Aug 25 at various theaters.

Independent

Exposure 8/99
Blackchair Productions' "Independent Exposure" series, a regular favorite at the Speakeasy, features various short films, videos, and digital work from all over the world for an all-ages crowd. Thurs Aug 26 at 7:30, $4. Speakeasy

Inspector Gadget
This movie is simply awful. I took my son (who is three) to the screening and even he lost interest. 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 terribly lame. (Charles Mudede) Grand Alder-wood, Metro, 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, Metro, Redmond Town Center, Uptown

*La Strada
The Little Theatre wraps up their circus series with Fellini's famous La Strada, in which a brutish (and very handsome) Anthony Quinn, a circus worker, drags an innocent peasant girl (the always-excellent and heartbreaking Giulietta Masina) on tour with him. Guaranteed to wrench sympathy and poignant tears, even from macho hard-asses. Fri-Sun Aug 20-22 at 5:30, 7:30, 9:30. Little Theatre

Lake Castaic
Elizabeth Hesik's short video involves artificial landscapes, environments, and surreal backdrops. Plastic vegetables, still life scenes, and giant peas & carrots always make for a profound film-watching experience! This will be shown with The Target Shoots First. Fri Aug 20 at 8, $4. 911 Media Arts

*LINDA'S SUMMER MOVIES
The perfect summer evening activity: beer and a silly movie. This week, you can forget about the usual animal-destruction flicks. Monster From a Prehistoric Planet (1966) -- you know, the giant cave bird on display in Tokyo -- shows Godzilla a thing or two about knocking down skyscrapers and causing mass urban hysteria. Wed Aug 25 at dusk, FREE. Linda's Tavern

Mickey Blue Eyes
Hugh Grant, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and James Caan star in this "Mob comedy" about an Englishman (guess who?) who falls in love with a New York mafia princess (Tripplehorn). Goofy dialect jokes and adventures ensue as Grant tries to get the girl while getting "in" with La Familia. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Southcenter

*Monsterama Madness
It's baaack... . After a brief hiatus, Fremont Outdoor Cinema returns -- this time with kitschy '60s monster movie classics like Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy (with a title like that, who cares what the movie's about?), Santa vs. The Vampire, PLUS old (and delightfully cheesy) scary-movie trailers. With a live performance by the Primate Five. Sat Aug 21 at 7, $5. Fremont Outdoor Cinema

Mystery Men
The Mystery Men are second-rate superheroes led by Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller), and including the Shoveler (William H. Macy), the Blue Raja (Hank Azaria), the Bowler (Janeane Garofalo), and the Spleen (Paul Reubens). The actors are great, the world of the film is bizarre and funny, but the whole thing slowly turns into a standard children's story where these makeshift superheroes need to learn to believe in themselves and work as a team. Blah. Though it ends poorly, there's still plenty of fun along the way. (Andy Spletzer) Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center, Varsity

Night of the Following Day
Get ready for a younger (and significantly trimmer) Marlon Brando in a clever romp about four criminals who plot to kidnap the daughter of a filthy rich businessman. Part of the Grand Illusion's "Late-Night CRIME sort-of PAYS" series. Hooray for crime! Fri-Sat Aug 20-21 at 11. Grand Illusion

Pulp Fiction
For those of you who can handle the squirmy Uma Thurman-adrenaline-shot scene and the even squirmier Ving Rhames ass-fucking scene, Quentin Tarantino's genre-inspiring, violence-embracing Pulp Fiction is screening with digital projection and sound under the Aurora Bridge. Stay away, indie copycat filmmakers. Fri Aug 20 at dusk, $5. Fremont Outdoor Movies

*Run Lola Run
A young Berlin hipster named Lola has 20 minutes to find enough money to stop her boyfriend from being killed. German filmmaker Tom Tykwer 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. (Charles Mudede) Harvard Exit

Runaway Bride
Director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) reunites with Julia 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

Script Reading & Critique
Filmmakers, screenwriters, and opinionated busybodies: Here's your chance to help a writer with his cinematic work-in-progress. Royce Scott Buckin-gham's screenplay, Little Indignities, will be the focus of this script reading/discussion. Put in your two cents about content and complexity. Mon Aug 23 at 6:30; call 464-5830 for more details. Market Theater

The Sixth Sense
Bruce Willis plays a child psychologist happily married to Olivia Williams (Rushmore). A celebratory night is spoiled when they discover that a former patient of his -- now all grown up, naked, and angry for not being "cured" -- has broken into their house brandishing a gun. Willis ends up shot. Months later, Willis has become obsessed with that case, and his marriage is suffering. Meanwhile, he has started treating a new patient who's exhibiting similar symptoms: He sees ghosts. Though the direction of the story by M. Night Shyamalan is often obvious, the structure of his script is very smart and more than makes up for that. Most impressive is that we don't see the boy's ghosts for half the film. When we do it's quite scary, particularly knowing these are the ghosts he sees all the time! (Andy Spletzer) 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. (Bruce Reid) Metro, Uptown

Star Wars: Episode I
The threadbare plot is nothing compared to the hype and nostalgia of the George Lucas marketing machine. (Jamie Hook) Cinerama, Lewis & Clark

The Target Shoots First
In 1993, 22-year-old Christopher Wilcha was hired by Columbia House because they needed a "Generation X-er" to educate corporate bigwigs on how to be grungy and alterna-cool. Armed with a hidden camera (and fascinated disgust), Wilcha made a documentary about his experiences in the offices of a music giant trying to "get with it." A funny look at the "shameless commodification of youth culture." This will also be shown with the short video Lake Castaic. Sat Aug 21 at 8, $4. 911 Media Arts

Teaching Mrs. Tingle
Kevin Williamson's directorial debut. The title was changed from Killing Mrs. Tingle because kids keep shooting eachother in schools. Reviewed this issue. Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

The Thomas Crown Affair
One of the surprising things about the new Thomas Crown Affair is that it actually improves on the original. It manages to keep the fun tone of the '68 version and update it at the same time, which is not an easy trick. Thomas Crown is a billionaire businessman who likes to rob art museums on the side. As the film opens, he pulls off a great heist, stealing a $100 million painting. This brings a beautiful insurance investigator (Rene Russo) into town to recover the painting. She, of course, immediately suspects Thomas Crown. They fall for each other, all the while playing a flirtatious game of cat and mouse. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree

Trick
Gabriel is a young, hopeful musical-comedy composer who really needs to get laid. One seemingly fortunate evening he cruises Mark, a gay exotic dancer, on the subway and thinks he's hit the jackpot. Simple as that. Or not. When director Jim Fall's feature film debut is really working (which is surprisingly often), it's smiling gently at the notion that anything between two people could ever be simple. Gabriel and Mark spend an entire night looking for a place to Do the Deed, when they should be falling in love. There's some misplaced romanticism and more than a little gay fantasy involved in rooting for the Nerd and the Stripper, but Jason Schafer's amiable script is as erotic and funny as it is unlikely. (Steve Wiecking) Broadway Market

Twin Falls Idaho
As another birthday rolls around, Siamese twins Blake and Francis Falls decide to celebrate with chocolate cake and a prostitute (Michele Hicks). When she sees them, she recoils. Then, when she notices that the weaker of the two, Francis, is sick, her motherly instincts kick in. Suddenly she can see them as people. She even starts falling for Blake, the stronger of the two. Twin Falls Idaho is a good movie. It's a smart and imaginative American independent film, much more David Lynch than Kevin Smith -- it's less about snappy pop culture references and more about striking visuals. (Andy Spletzer) Broadway Market

Universal Soldier: The Return
Jean-Claude Van Damme returns (without Dolph Lundgren) in this sequel to the film nobody cared about to begin with. Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

*Vintage Cartoons
Here's a real treat for animation junkies: Shining Moment Productions has compiled a program of early "golden era" cartoons, including a few rare shorts by cartoon pioneer Ub Iwerks and featuring classic characters like Betty Boop (eat your heart out, Jessica Rabbit), Ham & Ex, Molly Moo Cow, and Willie Whopper. Here's your chance to watch creative animation before Disney had a chance to sterilize it all. 21 and over only, due to dumb Liquor Board rules. Fri Aug 20 at 8, $5. Speakeasy

*Where Is the Friend's Home?
This film follows a loyal, determined little boy on his quest to return a friend's misplaced schoolbook. He encounters obstacles and callous adults as he treks from his own Northern Iranian village to Posteh, his friend's neighboring village. Fri-Thurs Aug 20-26 at (Sat 1, 3), 5, 7, 9. Reviewed this issue. Grand Illusion

Support The Stranger