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Broadway: The Golden Age
Next to Irish poets and Jewish mothers, theater people are the most sentimental sub-species on the planet. And given the fact that their Valhalla--Broadway--has been a corpse factory for anywhere between 25 and 50 years, it stands to reason that they'd have a lot of nostalgia to dispense. And that's exactly what they do in this documentary, whose sole reason for existence is to listen to crusty old hams like Carol Channing, Ann Miller, Charles Nelson Reilly, et al., wax utopian about the days when a show was a SHOW! If you have a soft spot for the great white way, this DV production (with some nice archival footage) will tickle it, but I can't think of a single good reason to see the thing in a theater. (SEAN NELSON) Varsity, Fri-Sun 12:50, 3:45, 6:30, 9:10 pm, Mon-Thurs 6:30, 9:10 pm. Director in attendance Mon Sept 27 at 6:30 and 9:10 pm.

* The French Connection
Here is what Pauline Kael wrote about this 1971 blockbuster: "This right-wing, left-wing, take-your-choice cynicism is total commercial opportunism passing itself off as an Existential view.... The only thing this movie believes in is giving the audience jolts." But guess what: Kael is dead and William Friedkin's classic potboiler lives on, thanks to the effortless brilliance of Mr. Gene Hackman as Popeye Doyle. (SEAN NELSON) Grand Illusion, Weekdays 7, 9 pm, Sat-Sun 3, 5, 7, 9 pm.

Get the Script to Woody Allen w/ Stage Door Canteen
A 2004 romantic comedy by New York director Keith Black and a Frank Borzage musical about a recreation center for servicemen in World War II. Rendezvous, Wed Sept 29 at 7:30 pm.

* Gozu
The most shocking thing about this 2003 film from cult-favorite shockmeister Takashi Miike, is how pedestrian and benign it seems as the beginning. Miike and screenwriter Sakichi Satô introduce two yakuza: the young, hapless Minami (Hideki Sone), and his elder "brother" in the organization, Ozaki (Shô Aikawa). The only problem in this yakuza group is that Ozaki's going crazy--as demonstrated by his darkly hilarious killing of a Chihuahua that he insists is a "yakuza attack dog." Worried about Ozaki's influence on the group, Minami's superior orders him to put Ozaki in a car, drive him out to the country, and have him disposed of. What follows from there is--dare I say it?--pretty boring, with Minami driving Ozaki around the countryside, and the two having conversations that don't really go anywhere. But then Ozaki suddenly disappears, Minami's left to his own devices to try to track him down, and a subtle demonstration of Miike's brilliance begins: slowly but surely, the darkest, funniest sort of surrealism begins to worm its way into the bewildered Minami's tale. I won't spoil the bizarre events Minami's subjected to--instead I'll use the clichéd "has to be seen to be believed" line, and throw in the fact that by the end credits, some utterly fucking unexpected plot twists leave Gozu in a place so far removed from its prosaic opening that it's hardly recognizable as the same film. (ERIK HENRIKSEN) Varsity, Fri-Sun 1:10, 4, 7, 9:50 pm, Mon-Thurs 7, 9:50 pm.

Haack: The King of Techno
See Stranger Suggests. Northwest Film Forum, Fri-Sun 8:30 pm, Tues-Thurs 6 pm.

Johnny Eager
SAM's lesser-known film noir series opens with this 1942 film starring Lana Turner and Robert Taylor. Seattle Art Museum, Thurs Sept 30 at 7:30 pm.

Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy
The funny boys of Canadian TV made their feature debut in is 1996 film. Egyptian, Fri-Sat midnight.

Last Man Standing
Filmmaker Paul Stekler takes a look at a pair of Texas elections in 2002. Capitol Hill Library, Wed Sept 29 at 6:30 pm.

Moog
If this documentary about the legendary synthesizer pioneer accomplishes just one thing, it's to settle the debate about how you pronounce his name. It's not Moog like "droog," it's Moog like "rogue," with a long Dutch "o." The other interesting thing is seeing this man, who positively invented an entire form of musical endeavor, driving around North Carolina in a crappy car, tending his garden, and telling stories all with the same care and precision with which he oversees the production (by hand) of every keyboard that bears his name. Of interest only to musicians, I'd warrant, especially electronic practitioners, but for them, it's as rich a goldmine as Theremin, An Electronic Odyssey. (SEAN NELSON) Northwest Film Forum, Fri-Sun 6, 7:45, 9:30 pm, Tues-Thurs 7:45, 9:30 pm.

One Wonderful Sunday
This sentimental story by Kurosawa is about a poor couple in post-war Tokyo. Movie Legends, Sun Sept 26 at 1 pm.

Sonic Acts
A documentary that traces the history of electronic music. Northwest Film Forum, Fri-Sun 5, 6:45 pm.

THUNK w/ Everyday Something
Two snowboarding videos produced by Think Thank and Neoproto. Premier, Thurs Sept 30 at 8:30 pm.

Up Close & Personal
Not all the festival entries are great (Soleil Moon Frye's Sonny Boy, about a road trip with her father, who is teetering on the brink of Alzheimer's devastation, feels, if anything, too personal to watch), but its two closing works demonstrate the best the form can offer. The Sheriff looks at a small-town law enforcer, revealing a wealth of contradictory human frailties, while Rockets Redglare! is a straight-up biography about a fringe-dwelling artist with a life so tragic you almost can't believe how sweet he is--even at 675 pounds, wasted on methadone. We should all be so fascinating. (SEAN NELSON) All screenings take place at Northwest Film Forum. Sonny Boy, Thurs Sept 23 at 7 and 9 pm. The Sheriff, Thurs Sept 23 at 7 pm. Rockets Redglare!, Thurs Sept 23 at 9 pm.

* The Warriors
Part horror, part camp, and part violent paranoid masturbation fantasy, The Warriors should make any lover of cult cinema come out and play. (SEAN NELSON) Grand Illusion, Fri-Sat at 11 pm.

NOW PLAYING


* The Bourne Supremacy
Forget the plot. Remember the dizzying fight scenes, the indefatigable cloak and dagger in which everyone is the smartest person in the room (and Bourne is the smartest of them all), the best car chase ever filmed (fact!). Remember director Paul Greengrass's masterful handheld choreography. Best of all, remember the supporting cast: Brian Cox, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles, Franka Potente, all of whom, along with Damon--whose robotic beauty has never better served a character than this one--help to elevate the Robert Ludlum pulp into a high lowbrow masterpiece. (SEAN NELSON)

Bright Young Things
Stephen Fry knows just how to treat Evelyn Waugh's comic dialogue--the hilarity pounces out of nowhere, and it's lethal. When Stockard Channing, playing the evangelical Mrs. Melrose Ape, concludes her brilliantly loony exhortations and introduces her choir of American girl-angels, you might expect that the mirth has crested. But then the girls up the ante, launching lustily into the venerable hymn "Ain't No Flies on the Lamb of God." I think I nearly cried. (ANNIE WAGNER)

Bush's Brain
See review this issue. Director will be in attendance Fri Sept 24 at 7:15 pm.

Cellular
A man receives a call on his cell phone, and the caller claims to have been kidnapped. But his cell battery is running out....

Collateral
As polished and pleasant as all this scenery is (and as good as both Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx are), Collateral nonetheless fails, both as a thriller and as yet another entry into Michael Mann's brooding-men oeuvre. What may have been intended as a thinking man's thriller--patient, observant, character-driven--is thoroughly derailed by a surprising source: Mann's inability to shoot action. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

Criminal
A remake of the Argentinean film Nine Queens (in which a con man takes a new apprentice under his wing--but is he merely doing a scam?), Criminal is twisty to a fault, delivering a ridiculous huh? ending that fairly well undermines the entire endeavor. If the hackasaurus M. Night Shyamalan has taught us anything it is that a twist for a twist's sake does nothing for either the film or the audience, no matter how cool it looks. Criminal looks cool, but in the end, despite the always-welcome presence of both John C. Reilly and Maggie Gyllenhaal, it will leave you pissed off. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

A Dirty Shame
See review this issue.

Faster
A documentary about the "pinnacle of motorcycle racing": the MotoGP championship.

Festival Express
There's not much movie to Festival Express. It's just (beautiful) performance footage, behind the scenes b-roll, and some modern day reminiscences from key talking heads. The concert scenes are as good as the bands themselves. The Grateful Dead are way better than you'd think, especially since they hadn't devolved into the year-round wankathon they're now remembered as. And I'm not much of a Janis Joplin fan, but the film shows her at her peak. Buddy Guy's rendition of "Money" is astonishing, though, if only for his guitar tone, and The Band's raw, funky genius is rescued from the polish and choreography of The Last Waltz. What makes the film indelible are the train scenes, where all these amazing musicians hang out, jam, drink, and get high for a solid week, stopping only to play amazing shows and restock the liquor cabinets. The Utopian vibe casts the beginning of the end of the rock era in a light that's too sweet to be bittersweet. Best of all is an impromptu singalong of "Ain't No More Cane," featuring a very wasted Rick Danko, Janis Joplin, and Jerry Garcia, whose casual camaraderie and romantic triangulation glows with warmth. Then you realize that everyone in the frame is dead and it hits you like a freight train. (SEAN NELSON)

First Daughter
Katie Holmes of Dawson's Creek fame plays the college-bound daughter of a U.S. president.

* The Forgotten
See review this issue.

* Garden State
Zack Braff's debut film, Garden State, which he wrote, directed, and stars in, may very well be a similar act of egogasm (when you put Simon and Garfunkel on the soundtrack of your examination of disaffected twentysomethings, you're just asking for it), but it features enough odd grace notes among the rampant navel-gazing to warrant a watch. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
The fight and battle sequences are impressively complex, but the long sections of philosophizing are laughably simple. The director, Mamoru Oshii, forced his film to confront and answer the biggest of all questions about human existence. But Descartes has no business being in the land of anime. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

* Hero
Initially, Yimou Zhang, the director of such intimate character pieces as Raise the Red Lantern and To Live, may seem an odd choice to successfully rekindle the flaming swords and arrows of the martial arts genre, but from the opening frames he sells you. Hero melds modern wirework effects with the director's own mastery of character to create an awesome chop-socky epic with an honestly moving emotional backbeat. This time, at least, the hype can be believed. I could watch it every night. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Intimate Strangers
Directed by Patrice Leconte, Intimate Strangers has a strong start and a weak finish. The opening is strong because the premise actually works. But once the accountant is exposed, the comedy dies and a drama is born. With the comedy gone for good, all that's left to enjoy are the film's set designs and the cinematography, which works hard to capture the bourgeois elegance of Sandrine Bonnaire's face. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

The Last Shot
See review this issue.

Maria Full of Grace
Following an angelic (i.e., stunningly gorgeous) young woman--pregnant and sick of life in her one-factory town--who joins up with the local drug lord for a single trip across the Colombian border, this first film from writer-director Joshua Marston is an admirably restrained, even-handed debut that wisely avoids making sweeping societal pronouncements, shrinking Maria's world--whether she's in rural Colombia or big-city New Jersey--to the small circle of people who directly impact her life. (ADAM HART)

Mr. 3000
Mr. 3000 (Bernie Mac) is an aging former baseball star who, upon discovering that several of his namesake 3000 hits were mistakenly counted twice, vows to regain his dignity, glory, and nickname by returning to the field.

* Napoleon Dynamite
In this charming new film, 24-year-old writer/ director Jared Hess mines the nebulous area between popular chic and weirdo freak, where outcast attributes are both quality, subtle comedy, and a charmingly dark part of our collective high-school unconscious. (JENNIFER MAERZ)

* Red Lights
The story turns not on suspense, but on genuine mystery; is this hallucination, memory, fantasy? Before it's all over, the film has defied the viewer's desire to know what kind of film it is--though you could certainly call it dark. Not all of it adds up. Too many surreal episodes leave you wondering which characters and events were real and which were imagined. But like its chief forebear, Eyes Wide Shut (there are shades of Godard's Weekend, too), Red Lights submerges itself in the metaphorical dark corners of contemporary marriage and shines a mesmerizing (if slightly unsettling) beacon. (SEAN NELSON)

Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Alice (Milla Jovovich) survives a dastardly laboratory incident! But now she has to flee from the undead! The horror.

* Shaun of the Dead
See review this issue.

Silver City
Silver City is a toothless political satire weighted down by self-satisfaction, lame performances, and a plot that seems to understand that its only purpose is to motorize the anti-George W. Bush allegory that beats ineffectually where the film's heart should be. (SEAN NELSON)

* Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Director Kerry Conran has managed to make something in Sky Captain that both harks back and leaps forward at the same time, and it is without a doubt, on a purely technical level, one of the bravest major studio pictures ever released. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2
They're smart, they've got big heads (proportionally speaking). What more do you need to know?

Tae Guk Gi
Here is a truism: When the battle scenes in a war movie become too graphic, the movie essentially becomes an antiwar movie. This is the case of Tae Guk Gi, an epic about two brothers who are swept into the middle of the civil war between North and South Korea. The movie, which is directed by Je-Kyu Kang, makes obvious statements about how the war was meaningless--there were no real differences between the enemies, and ultimately what took place was brother killing brother, father killing son, son killing sister. However, these apparent criticisms of the civil war (which has yet to be resolved), and war in general, are not as powerful as the images of combat--exploding bodies, bullets striking heads and guts, grenades blowing off limbs. To show this is in great detail, which Tae Guk Gi does, is to make a final case against the state of war. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Uncovered: The War on Iraq
To make his claims against Bush's war convincing, in Uncovered Robert Greenwald does a very clever thing: He interviews only men and women who are veterans of America's intelligence communities--soldiers, spies, policymakers, and information analysts. These are not liberals; they are people who've been employed by some of the most powerful and deadliest institutions in the world. And so when they say Bush deceived the American public, and that the war has done greater damage than good, it strongly confirms what the liberals have known all along: There was no justification to attack Iraq a second time. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Vanity Fair
The problem with Reese Witherspoon as Becky is linked to the way this film tries to reinvent her character. Thackeray's secret sympathy for his conniving protagonist--who is so bad she even hates children--always seeps through the cynical narration. Becky Sharp is great because, no matter how much we admire her pluck from the safe distance of the 21st century, she was a terrible bitch. Mira Nair does not agree. (ANNIE WAGNER)

What the #$*! Do We Know?!
This ungainly, inane film purports to be about quantum physics but is really about the power of positive thinking, with a midlife-crisis plot (starring Marlee Matlin) and some childish cartoon figures and a series of talking heads who can't stop using the word "paradigm." (EMILY HALL)

When Will I Be Loved?
See review this issue.

Wimbledon
In this wretched, soulless tale of love on the courts of Wimbledon, tennis boy Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) meets tennis girl Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst) when a serendipitous keycard mix-up sends him into her hotel suite just as she's finishing her shower. The shower door is made of frosted glass to keep things from steaming up too quickly. The girl's controlling daddy is out doing errands or something. And a fortuitous alignment of heavenly bodies, as reported by news broadcasts that pop up sporadically throughout the film, has sent a comet of love sparkling through the sky over the lithe young athletes' heads. As the plot progresses, it turns out that sex is good for Peter's game, and very bad for Lizzie's. The best thing about this excruciatingly predictable movie is the dorky, good-omen ball boy, who pops up whenever it looks like Peter is about to lose. Sexual intercourse alone does not win tennis matches, it appears. You need a ball boy, too. (ANNIE WAGNER)

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