OPENING

THE BAT WHISPERS -- Grand Illusion

FIGHT CLUB -- Meridian, Metro, Oak Tree, others

HAPPY, TEXAS -- Guild 45th, Pacific Place

HEAD ON -- Broadway Market

MATING HABITS OF THE EARTHBOUND HUMAN

THE OMEGA CODE -- Uptown, Lewis & Clark

STOP MAKING SENSE -- Egyptian

THE STORY OF US -- various theaters


REPERTORY & REVIVAL

BEDROOMS & HALLWAYS -- Egyptian

CARTOONS FROM THE 1930s -- Speakeasy

CENTURY OF CINEMA -- Grand Illusion

EMERALD REELS SUPER 8 LOUNGE -- Alibi Room

FILM NOIR FOREVER -- Seattle Art Museum

FISTS OF FREEDOM -- New Freeway Hall

GOETHE: RARE AND ONSCREEN -- Speakeasy

THE MAGIC FLUTE -- Little Theatre

OLYMPIA FILM FESTIVAL -- Capitol Theater

SEATTLE HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL -- 911 Media Arts

SITCOM -- Grand Illusion

SPIKE & MIKE'S CLASSIC FESTIVAL OF ANIMATION -- Varsity Calendar

THE STEPFORD WIVES -- Grand Illusion

TALK CINEMA -- Pacific Place 11

TURNING ON IS COPPING OUT -- Bailey/Coy Books


COMING SOON

October 22 -- The Straight Story, Bringing Out the Dead, On the Ropes, The Best Man, Crazy In Alabama, Body Shots, Joe the King, Bats, That's the Way I Like It, Three to Tango, Truffaut: A Celebration, Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

October 29 -- Being John Malkovich, Julien Donkey-Boy, Boys Don't Cry, Caligula, Music of the Heart, The House on Haunted Hill, Terror Firmer


MOVIEs and 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 Beauty
Kevin Spacey stars as Lester Burnham, a semi-typical suburbanite recalling the last year of his life. He's married to Carolyn (Annette Bening), a bitchy real estate agent more interested in the appearance of success than true happiness. Their daughter Jane (Thora Birch) is also unhappy, saddled with an awkward beauty that doesn't play in high school, and alienated from her dad because he lusts after every girlfriend she brings home. When a mysterious teen with a camcorder moves in next door, people learn to see themselves more clearly and everything changes. The first film of Broadway director Sam Mendes, the writing is snappy enough, and the actors are good enough, that you nearly forget how artificial the whole set-up is, this look at suburban life through the recollections of a dead, disgruntled pedophile. (Andy Spletzer) Factoria, Guild 45th, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Bandits
A German rock 'n' roll movie about a group of girls who break out of prison and go on tour. Varsity

The Bat Whispers
(1930) A rare chance to see Roland West's restored 35mm CinemaScope print of this early sound-era thriller, about a criminal named "The Bat" roaming the dark streets of a city ripe for corruption. A remake of West's 1926 silent film, The Bat, which, of course, inspired the Batman comics. Fri-Thurs Oct 15-21 at (Sat-Sun 3), 5, 7, 9. Reviewed this issue. Grand Illusion

Bedrooms & Hallways
Rose Troche (Go Fish) is back with another witty romantic comedy. This time around, with a virtually lesbian-free plot, Troche explores the sexual confusions of a group of London men. Thurs Oct 14 at 5:20, 7:30, 9:40. Egyptian

Better Than Chocolate
The setup is typical TV sitcom: Budding artist Maggie (Karyn Dwyer) falls in love with free-spirited Kim (Christina Cox), hours before she learns her mother and brother will be 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. (Gillian G. Gaar) Broadway Market

*Blue Streak
Unexpectedly funny. A black jewel thief, Miles Logan (Martin Lawrence), has to con his way into the white LAPD so as to recover a stolen jewel he unluckily left in their building while it was under construction. Once in the department, he makes friends with the cops, gets a promotion, and before long he is brutalizing suspects in ways that impress his jaded colleagues, who are all under the eagle/legal eyes of public defenders. Martin Lawrence is in top form, and an unusually strong cast (including Luke Wilson, David Chappelle, Peter Greene) all give great performances. (Charles Mudede) Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree

Cartoons From the 1930S
Shining Moments Films' vintage cartoon series returns. Four classic Halloween-inspired films, including a Betty Boop cartoon and a King Kong parody, and other surprises. Fri Oct 15 at 8 & 10, $5, 21+ only. Speakeasy

*The CENTURY OF CINEMA
The "Century of Cinema" series pulls up to the Bates Motel this week as Hitchcock's masterpiece Psycho is screened, representing the best of '60s cinema. Sat-Sun Oct 16-17 at noon. Grand Illusion

Double Jeopardy
Libby Parsons' (Ashley Judd) perfect life is straight out of J. Crew, at least until she's framed for her husband's murder and goes to jail. While in prison, Libby discovers her husband is very much alive and shacked up with a family friend. Six years later she's released and she heads out on an obsessive quest to get her son back. Tommy Lee Jones is the gruff 'n' tough parole officer who tracks her down when she violates parole, but ends up taking her side when he sees how driven she is to clear her name. Despite the tense moments and brief thrills, the movie asks too much of you. Judd is supposed to be so sympathetic and likeable, they must have thought you'd be too busy rooting for her to notice the farfetched circumstances or gaping holes in logic. Even with her undeniable beauty and talent, Judd can't possibly save this blurry mess. (Min Liao) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

Drive Me Crazy
She's All That starring Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11

Elmo in Grouchland
Elmo and grouches. Elmo makes us grouchy. Go to hell, Elmo. Redmond Town Center, Uptown

*Emerald Reels Super 8 Lounge
The Emerald Reels Super 8 Lounge -- where the grainy visuals of Super 8 films blend with the sexy sounds of local DJs -- is ready for its Fall premiere. Featuring classics from Danny Plotnick, Martha Colburn, and two experimental films by Mexican Super 8 master Ricardo Nicolayevsky, among others. Mon Oct 18 at 9, $3, for submission info call 284-6940. Alibi Room

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

*Fight Club
David Fincher's brilliant new film about disenchanted men beating the hell out of each other so they can

feel something in their lives. Reviewed this issue. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree

FILM NOIR FOREVER
Cigarettes are everywhere, ladies are sexy broads with red lipstick, and men have hats and stubble. There are more intellectual aspects involved when describing film noir -- history, style, lighting, elements of plot -- but eh... film noir can be fun, too. SAM's popular series continues with Vincente Minelli's Undercurrent (1946), starring Kate Hepburn and Robert Mitchum (Thurs Oct 14 at 7:30); then get ready for Nightmare Alley (1947), with Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell (Thurs Oct 21 at 7:30). Call 625-8900 for more details. Seattle Art Museum

Fists of Freedom
No, the film has nothing to do with fisting. The Freedom Socialist presents this documentary looks at the controversial 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, where track champions Tommie Smith and John Carlos shoved politics into the genteel sports world by raising their fists in a Black Power salute as they received their medals. A pot roast dinner (vegetarian option available) will precede the screening. Sat Oct 16 at 6:30, $7.95 for dinner & movie, childcare available, call 722-2453. New Freeway Hall

For Love of the Game
For love of misogyny! Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) is a 40-year-old pitcher throwing in his last game, which happens to be a no-hitter. Jane (Kelly Preston) is his girlfriend who has decided to end their relationship because... well, Billy has been nothing but an asshole to her for the past five years. Over the course of the game, Billy flashes back to the past, re-living his mistakes. By the end, he has thrown the perfect game and learned absolutely nothing about himself. Still, Jane takes him back. Ugh. (Bradley Steinbacher) Aurora Cinema Grill, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

GOETHE: RARE AND ONSCREEN
This may be your only chance to catch never-released and not-on-video film versions of the formidable Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's writings. Straight from the Goethe-Institut to our humble Speakeasy: This week, Marcel Ophuls' Clavigo (1970) will be shown (in German with English subtitles), along with the short Schmidt Who Is All the Same to Me. Tues Oct 19 at 8; call 728-9770 for more details. Speakeasy

Guinevere
Harper (Sarah Polley) is a crushingly insecure 20-year-old who embarks on an affair with a photographer (Stephen Rea) at least twice her age. In telling her story, director Audrey Wells is able to not only deal honestly with female sexuality, but to present it and its accompanying personal growth in a light that does not completely defame the involvement of a Lothario. I have a feeling it won't work for everybody: There's a cool polish to it where others might want some edges, but for whatever Wells may have done too slickly, she did make a film in the United States that shows a woman's rite of passage as an event with no losers and no winners, only participants. That, in and of itself, is an achievement. (Steve Wiecking) Harvard Exit

Happy, Texas
A quirky comedy about two escaped prisoners posing as gay beauty pageant experts. Reviewed this issue. Guild 45th, Pacific Place 11

Head On
A teenager discovers a little something about himself while spending one night getting stoned out of his mind and going to dance clubs. Broadway Market

*The Iron Giant
Giant robot falls to earth, befriends a local boy, and eats lots of metal. An animated film from Warner Brothers. Admiral, Aurora Cinema Grill, Crest

*The Limey
In Steven Soderbergh's latest, fading '60s icon Terence Stamp plays an unstoppable force of vengeance searching for the person responsible for killing his daughter. Fading '60s icon Peter Fonda plays a downwardly mobile record exec who used to date her. Here, Soderbergh expands on the style he began to explore in Out of Sight, the layering of visual flashbacks and flash-forwards grounded with dialogue. Whereas most filmmakers pad their films to two hours or more, this layering compresses what would normally be a two-hour movie into 90 action-packed minutes that keep moving and keep you thinking. The Limey is one of the best films of the year, and Steven Soderbergh is one of the most interesting filmmakers working today. I can't wait to see what he does next. (Andy Spletzer) Neptune

The Magic Flute
This Ingmar Bergman flick will be screening concurrently with the Seattle Opera's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Bergman's examination of the opera world involves a more behind-the-scenes glimpse of the cast, as the Scandinavian performers prepare backstage for their roles. Originally made for Swedish TV, this is a favorite among Bergman fans. Thurs-Sun Oct 14-17 at 4, 6:30, 9. Little Theatre

Mark Twain's America in 3D
Officially the scariest title currently at the IMAX Theater. But hey! Take a risk! Who knows? Maybe you'll LOVE Huck Finn, "Injun Joe," life on the Mississippi, and examples of racist times in U.S. history on a GIGANTIC screen. Pacific Science Center

Mating Habits of the Earth-bound Human
Directed by Jeff Abugov, who has worked on several TV sitcoms like Cheers, Roseanne, and Grace Under Fire, the premise of this new comedy is this: One night a week on the "Galactic Discovery Channel," aliens all over the universe get to watch and learn the mating habits of humans. The documentary is narrated by none other than David Hyde Pyrce, who stars as Kelsey Grammer's uptight brother in Frasier, and the human subjects are Carmen Electra (woman) and Mackenzie Astin (man). We observe their first encounter and exchange of phone numbers (in a night club), their first awkward fuck (at her place), their first passionate fuck without a condom (at a cabin), their consequent marriage (in a church), and baby (in a hospital). Throughout this romantic comedy, I had the distinct impression that something was missing. Days later it suddenly struck me: it needed a laugh track. (Charles Mudede) Broadway Market

*The Muse
Screenwriter Albert Brooks employs the services of Sharon Stone, a purported Divine Muse, in hopes that she will inspire him to write a smash comedy for Jim Carrey. Uptown

*Olympia Film Festival
One of the sharpest festivals in the United States, the 16th Annual Olympia Film Festival throws together a wide variety of films and performances, combining the old (George Lucas' THX-1138) with the new (Craig Baldwin's Spectres of the Spectrum). The midnight shows are particularly strong, from their "All Freakin' Night" marathon to the ultra-charming and emotionally honest films of Caveh Zahedi. Fri-Sun Oct 15-24. Tickets available at Scarecrow Video, or call 360-754-6670 for more information. Capitol Theater

The Omega Code
The Christian channel, the one with the woman with the purple hair, takes a stab at spreading God's word in theaters with this movie about the end of the world, and one man's race to save as many souls as he can before the music stops. Lewis & Clark, Uptown

Perfect Blue
An animated psychological thriller from Satoshi Kon about a pop music star who ends up as a soap opera actress; scary enough, yes. But then her character's life begins to resemble her own, and reality and fiction become intertwined. Varsity

Random Hearts
If you can imagine Kristin Scott Thomas as the new Audrey Hepburn and Harrison Ford as the new Carey Grant, you may be able to infuse Random Hearts with the class and meaning to which it aspires. With the pace and feel of an old movie, the plot plods from cocktail angst to small revelation: When Police Sergeant "Dutch" Van Den Broek's (Ford) wife dies in a plane crash, he discovers that she's been having an illicit affair with a Congresswoman's (Thomas) husband. Poor ol' Dutch slides right into anguish, and tries to drag Thomas down with him. But Thomas' character will have none of that -- she's determined to buck up and carry on. Perversely, they fall in love. Random Hearts is a fine vehicle for two solid actors (who actually evidence real chemistry) -- an entertaining enough addition to Ford's "If I Can't Save My Wife, I Might As Well Kill Myself" genre. (Traci Vogel) Factoria, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center, Southcenter

Romance
An uncut, uncensored, provocative French film, titled Romance. We all know what kind of movie this is. Pure smut. Don't see this with your parents. 18+ ONLY! 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. 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. (Min Liao) Aurora Cinema Grill

SEATTLE HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL
Not for the blissfully ignorant or the faint-of-heart. This series of political and often disturbing films run the gamut of human rights issues, in countries all over the world. From Cambodian struggles to war-ravaged Bosnia to post-massacre Tiananmen Square, these shorts examine the violence, hardship, and struggle of suffering people while you sit in your soft, plush theater seat. Oct 14-17, $5, call 720-1452 for more info. 911 Media Arts

*SEATTLE UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL
The inaugural festival wraps up on Thurs Oct 14 at the Hugo House, and on Sun Oct 17 at Cinema 18. The final weekend includes the usual mix of old and new, narrative and experimental, with one must-see being a screening of the films of Martha Colburn on Sat at 7:30. Call 860-8590 or go to seattleundergroundfilm.com for more info; see complete listings in the Stranger Movie Times. Cinema 18, The Richard Hugo House

*Sitcom
The television sitcom is an almost baroque image of stasis, a constantly spinning wheel that never moves forward. That is precisely the image that Françoise Ozon explodes in his hilarious debut feature, Sitcom, which entertains even as it rips every standard of decency to shreds. Thurs Oct 14 at 5, 7, 9. (Bruce Reid) Grand Illusion

*The Sixth Sense
Months after being shot by a former patient, child psychologist Bruce Willis has 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. 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) Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

Spike & Mike's Classic Festival of Animation
This latest round of animated shorts could have been assembled with a bit more care (it's as randomly hit and miss as ever), but I suspect my favorites are someone else's downers, anyway; all I can do is assure you that something's bound to catch your eye. Sometimes the digital stuff is cold and creepy (intentionally so in the case of the eerie "Bingo," a clown nightmare), though "VHX/Carrhot" provides a hysterical look at carrot exploitation flicks (don't ask, just watch). There's "Hum Drum," a funny new Aardman piece (no claymation this time); a lovely, watercolor memory called "The Queen's Monastery"; a psychedelic tribute to Busby Berkeley featuring live, dancing hands; and the sweet, Oscar-winning "Bunny," with a moving, end-credit song from Tom Waits. All in all, 17 shorts and the opportunity to see where animation is taking us. Not revelatory, but worth the trip. Until Thurs Oct 21 at (Sat-Sun 2), 4:30, 7, 9:30; all ages welcome! (Steve Wiecking) Varsity Calendar

The Stepford Wives
Sure, they've been called '70s kitsch, but don't be surprised if you recognize some of the irritating yet sinister "perfect" traits the Stepford Wives have. Let's face it, everybody has a Stepford in their life. Fri-Sat Oct 15-16 at 11. Grand Illusion

Stir of Echoes
Kevin Bacon hears dead people. Uptown

Stop Making Sense
An '80s treat: Jonathan Demme focuses on the Talking Heads in all their new wave splendor, as culled from four nights of live performances. Fri-Thurs Oct 15-21 at (Sat-Sun 1:30, 3:30), 5:30, 7:30, 9:30, (Fri-Sat 11:30). Reviewed this issue. Egyptian

The Story of Us
Rob Reiner's new film, about a 15-year marriage that is breaking up. Starring Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11, Seven Gables

Superstar
Let's not kid each other: Superstar is an uninspired, disposable movie that looks like it was made for about two bucks, but if Molly Shannon's Mary Catherine Gallagher character, her painfully awkward Saturday Night Live Catholic schoolgirl, is someone you long to see pursuing her dreams then you will frequently laugh despite yourself. Unlike "Stupid Movie King" Adam Sandler, whose goofiness only extends to the point at which he can still get laid or have frat guys wanting to buy him beers, Shannon's comic energy is shamelessly, exquisitely unattractive (which means she's 10 times truer and funnier). Although director and Kids in the Hall alumnus Bruce McCulloch doesn't clear up all of the jokey deadwood, the film also features Shannon's fellow SNL gem Will Ferrell, and is, for hardcore fans, worth at least a guilty matinee. (Steve Wiecking) Cinerama, Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Oak Tree

T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous
Budding paleontologist Ally (Liz Stauber) doesn't get enough attention from her dad (thirtysomething's Peter Horton), so she ends up going back in time for face-to-face encounters with real dinosaurs, including the titular 'rex herself. The 3D FX are so realistic, you'll swear you can feel the breath of Big Mama TR, and no matter how many times you've seen 3D films, you'll still be hard pressed to not duck when boulders and dino bones come whizzing straight at you. (Gillian G. Gaar) Pacific Science Center

Talk Cinema
A Sunday morning series devoted to "secretly" screening upcoming independent, art house, and foreign films. Post-film discussions are moderated by guest speakers. Through Dec 19. Sun Oct 17 at 10 am, $15 single/$99 series pass; call 800-551-9221 for more details. Pacific Place 11

*The Thomas Crown Affair
The new Thomas Crown Affair 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. When a beautiful insurance investigator (Rene Russo) comes to town to recover a painting, she immediately suspects Thomas Crown. They fall for each other, all the while playing a flirtatious game of cat and mouse. (Bradley Steinbacher) City Centre, Metro

Three Kings
At the end of the war, four U.S. soldiers (George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze) find a map leading to a bunker where gold stolen from Kuwait is being stashed, and must decide whether to help the natives who were encouraged by President Bush to rise up against Saddam and are now being slaughtered, or just steal the gold. In its efforts to be a comedy and a drama, as well as an action movie, Three Kings actually pulls it off, despite an occasional misstep. You laugh while you're in the theater, curse the U.S. as you leave, then relax in your La-Z-Boy once you get home. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Northgate

Turning On is Copping Out
Cliff Chase's Super 8 parody of "Say No to Drugs" films aimed at schoolchildren, Turning On is Copping Out has been well-received at Super 8 film festivals all over the country; see what all the tongue-in-cheek fuss is about. Screened with a reading of Queer 13, a compilation of stories by gay and lesbian writers recalling the seventh grade. Thurs Oct 14 at 7, FREE. Bailey/Coy Books

Wolves
One of the most mythical and misunderstood creatures in nature finally gets some screen time, in this 3D documentary from the National Wildlife Federation. Pacific Science Center

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