OPENING

THE 13TH WARRIOR -- Various theaters

AND LIFE GOES ON... -- Grand Illusion

THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE -- Pacific Place 11, Varsity, others

BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE -- Broadway Market

A DOG OF FLANDERS -- Pacific Place 11, Metro, others

DUDLEY DO-RIGHT -- Various theaters

LATE AUGUST, EARLY SEPTEMBER -- Varsity Calendar

THE MUSE -- Various theaters

OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE -- Opens Wed Sept 1

YELLOW SUBMARINE -- Opens Wed Sept 1


MOVIES & EVENTS

The 13th Warrior
The much-delayed big screen version of Michael "The Hack" Crichton's novel Eaters of the Dead. With plenty of sword-related violence, senseless fires, and Antonio Bandera's manly grimaces. Various theaters

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. Pacific Place 11

And Hope to Die
Rene Clement's 1972 film about a gang of criminals who hatch an elaborate kidnapping plan -- only to discover that their intended victim dies unexpectedly. Fri-Sat Aug 27-28 at 11:30. Grand Illusion

*And Life Goes On...
Making art out of tragedy is a helpful, perhaps even necessary way to help people heal, but some distance is required lest the effects appear exploitative. Abbas Kiarostami's And Life Goes On... is one of the finest artistic responses to real-life devastation I've seen -- wise, humane, humble in its goals. I'd be lying if I didn't report some discomfort seeing such a perfectly composed creation just days after TV coverage of the earthquakes in Turkey. The film is based upon the director's return to the region of Iran where he'd shot an earlier film after a devastating quake. The director and his son revisit dusty roads and small towns scarred or destroyed by the disaster; they meet people quietly, heroically going on with their lives. Not merely a masterpiece, this becomes one of those very greatest of films, where life just seems to flow on, completely oblivious to the cameras lucky enough to capture it. (Bruce Reid) Grand Illusion

*Animator's Social
Andrew and Amy Collen -- the team behind Happy Trails Animation, an advertising and industrial video animation firm -- will be screening four of their own shorts at 911's popular animator's gathering: Wildfire, Bob's Choice, Hero Sandwich, and Garden Variety. There will also be an open screening session for those who need constructive criticism (VHS tapes only). Thurs Aug 26 at 8, $3. 911 Media Arts

The Astronaut's Wife
Johnny Depp is an astronaut. Charlize Theron is his wife. When the astronaut comes home from space, something has "changed" about him, and he tries to kill his wife. Pacific Place 11, Varsity, others

*Bedazzled
In conjunction with "Archigram" (a '60s British concepts/architecture exhibit), the Henry Art Gallery will be screening the 1967 British comedy Bedazzled, which features a young Dudley Moore as a cook who explores the Seven Deadly Sins with the Devil himself (Peter Cook). Thurs Aug 26 at 6; pay what you wish. Henry Art Gallery Auditorium

Better Than Chocolate
Despite an increasing number of gay-themed films, there still isn't a first-rate lesbian comedy out there (though The Killing of Sister George is unintentionally hilarious). Better Than Chocolate isn't first-rate, but it's close. The setup is typical TV sitcom: Budding artist Maggie (Karyn Dwyer) meets and falls in love with free-spirited Kim (Christina Cox), mere hours before she learns her mother and brother are spending the summer with her. The catch? She's not out to mom yet. Despite complications, everything works out jim-dandy, like you knew it would. The film's weaknesses are the amateurish performances by secondary characters, and the unbelievable naiveté of Maggie's mother. That said, the film has far more substance than dreck like Bar Girls or It's in the Water, depicting discrimination not only in straight society, but in the gay community as well. See interview with director Anne Wheeler in this issue. (Gillian G. Gaar) Broadway Market

*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, 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 the UN-boring (promise!) nature documentary The Secret Life of Plants, with a Stevie Wonder soundtrack (Thurs Aug 26 & Sun Aug 29 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) Lewis & Clark, Pacific Place 11

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) Uptown, Lewis & Clark, Varsity

Dick
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. 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

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) City Centre

A Dog of Flanders
Period piece/kiddie fare about a wonderful boy and his wonderful dog. With Cheryl Ladd and Jon Voight (soon to be known as "Angelina Jolie's dad"). Metro

Dudley Do-Right
Brendan "George of the Jungle" Fraser plays a stupid Canadian (wow, that's redundant!) Mountie who patrols the residents of Semi-Happy Valley. Grand Alderwood

The English Patient
This epic WWII-era film (and total chick flick) starring Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott-Thomas as ill-fated lovers is screening with digital projection and sound under the Aurora Bridge. Sheer perfection or drippy melodrama? You decide. Fri Aug 27 at dusk, $5. Fremont Outdoor Movies

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

*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

*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. (Gillian G. Gaar) Crest

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. Lewis & Clark, others

*Independent Exposure 8/99
This month's Independent Exposure offers 13 short films from around the world with no unifying theme or structure, so they come at you as random as images in a dream. One of these dream fragments, Bubble Numb, is an Australian film that captures the waking hours of a self-contained urban moment. Another stunning fragment is Granada, by Chicago filmmaker Jim Finn. This features a group of murderous flamenco dancers dancing their steps of death on the rooftop of a Chicago building. And then there is Dissing D.A.R.E., by Diane Nerwin and Les Le Veque. This is my favorite dream (in this case nightmare), with its complex editing of media fragments reaching the condition of music. Indeed, this is the turntablism of filmmaking. Thurs Aug 26 at 7:30, $4, all ages. (Charles Mudede) Speakeasy

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. Metro

*Jailbait Double Feature
Conservatives, judgemental Christians, and party poopers: stay away! For the rest of you, get ready for Harold and Maude, Hal Ashby's friendship tale between a young man and an elderly woman, and Lolita, everybody's favorite older-man-lusting-over-a-little-girl scenario. With a live performance by Circus Contraption. Sat Aug 28 at 7, $5. Fremont Outdoor Cinema

*Late August, Early September
Director Olivier Assayas' (Irma Vep) film about a tangled group of friends in Paris trying to deal with a mutual friend's impending death. A huge hit at the Seattle International Film Festival. Fri-Thurs Aug 27-Sept 2 at (Sat-Sun 2:20), 4:40, 7, 9:20. Reviewed this issue. Varsity Calendar

*LINDA'S SUMMER MOVIES
Put your beer goggles on: Cream, the U.K. film that documented the fervor and thrill of Cream's last show at London's Royal Albert Hall (including interviews with the band) will be screened for your blurry amusement. Wed Sept 1 at dusk, FREE. Linda's Tavern

The Man Who Drove With Mandela
Greta Schiller's portrayal of Cecil Williams, a theater director and ANC member who acted as cover for Nelson Mandela in the '60s. This documentary benefits enormously from Williams, a larger-than-life, dapper gent whose homosexuality and political activism were kept resolutely separate in a way that isn't quite understandable today. Thurs-Sun Aug 26-29 at 5:30, 7:30, and sometimes 9:30. (Bruce Reid) Little Theatre

Mickey Blue Eyes
It's obviously a matter of taste, but when Hugh Grant keeps himself in check I think he's an effortless, appealing comic actor. Mickey Blue Eyes makes good use of Grant's strengths: his self-effacing acceptance of his masculinity and the unerring precision of his very particular sense of timing. Newly engaged to bright Jeanne Tripplehorn, the unwitting daughter of a Mafioso (a nicely laid-back James Caan, who needs more to do), Grant, an irreverant art auctioneer, is drawn by happenstance into the shady dealings of her family. What ensues is more silly than smart -- there should have been smoother surprises to pop out at us -- and it never goes for broke in the wild way it thinks it does, but director Kelly Makin mines Grant's wuss factor for all it's worth. You'd have to be awfully stingy not to get a few laughs out of it. (Steve Wiecking) Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Southcenter

The Muse
A desperate Hollywood screenwriter (Albert Brooks) turns to an inspirational goddess (Sharon Stone) when he needs to come up with a blockbuster. Reviewed this issue. Factoria

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

Outside Providence
A coming-of-age tale written by those zany Farrelly Brothers, who made There's Something About Mary. With a gruff Alec Baldwin and George (Norm on Cheers) Wendt. Opens Wed Sept 1 at various theaters.

*Pizza, Zombies, & Robots
Join those wacky guys over at 2nd Ave Pizza in Belltown for their semi-regular movie "festivals" -- where all things nostalgic, kitschy, and most of all fun, rule the movie screen (plus it's good eatin'). This week's inexplicable theme is Zombies vs. Robots. Thurs-Sat Aug 26-28, FREE. 2nd Ave. Pizza

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. (Bruce Reid) Harvard Exit

*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. 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 Salon
Ok, all you sci-fi-cinema nuts: Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher will be lecturing on various topics including script-writing, adapting novels to the screen, and making the transition from screenwriter to director. He'll probably plug his upcoming directorial debut The Minus Man, too. Mon Aug 30 at 6:30, FREE. Market Theater

The Sixth Sense
Bruce Willis plays a child psychologist who is shot by a former patient of his, now all grown up, naked, and angry for not being "cured." Months later, he's become obsessed with that failure, and his marriage is suffering. Meanwhile, he has started treating a new patient who, as you probably know from the ads, sees dead people. 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 dead people 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. 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

Teaching Mrs. Tingle
Unfortunately, Kevin Williamson's directorial debut lacks the courage of its convictions, and fails to live up to its full potential. Anyone familiar with Helen Mirren's work won't be surprised that she steals the film (as Mrs. Tingle, the much-hated teacher). This is partly because villains traditionally get the best lines, but Mirren's skill really comes through because of the physical limitations of the role -- her character is immobile for over half the film. Even tied up, Tingle presents a threat, for her clear-eyed assessment of other people allows her to subtly manipulate her captors. The kids might be in charge, but Tingle's still calling the shots. (Gillian G. Gaar) Lewis & Clark, Factoria, 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

*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. Thurs Aug 26 at 5, 7, 9. Grand Illusion

Yellow Submarine
The Egyptian celebrates its return and facelift with a revival of the Beatles' flick Yellow Submarine. Egyptian

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