OPENING

BEING JOHN MALKOVICH -- Neptune

BOYS DON'T CRY -- Broadway Market

CALIGULA -- Egyptian

THE GRANDFATHER -- Broadway Market

THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL -- Meridian, others

JULIEN DONKEY-BOY -- Varsity

MUSIC OF THE HEART -- Meridian, Metro, others


REPERTORY & REVIVAL

ARTIFICIAL LIFE: FILM SERIES -- Consolidated Works

CENTURY OF CINEMA -- Grand Illusion

DIRECTING ACTORS (ISN'T SCARY) -- WigglyWorld

FAUST -- Paramount Theater

FILM NOIR FOREVER -- Seattle Art Museum

HAUNTED LITTLE KIDS' THEATRE -- Little Theatre

INDEPENDENT EXPOSURE -- Speakeasy

LESBIAN & GAY FILM FESTIVAL -- Egyptian

MIRA: THE LATINO FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL -- 911 Media Arts

NEW DANCE CINEMA -- Little Theatre

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD -- Grand Illusion

TALK CINEMA -- Pacific Place 11

TRUFFAUT CELEBRATION -- Varsity Calendar


COMING SOON

November 5 -- Princess Mononoke, The Insider, The Bone Collector, The Bachelor, Paulina, Man of the Century, Dry Cleaning

November 10 -- Light It Up

November 12 -- The Messenger: Joan of Arc, Felicia's Journey, Anywhere but Here, Dogma, Train of Life, Pokemon, Jimmy Zip, Women in Cinema Film Festival


MOVIES & EVENTS

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 setup 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

*ARTIFICIAL LIFE: FILM SERIES
In conjunction with the rest of the hubbub surrounding the new arts center, Consolidated Works, their eight-week film series continues with Colossus: The Forbin Project (in which a U.S. super-computer teams up with a Soviet arms control computer, and the two join forces to outsmart their governments and take over the world) and Demon Seed (about the wife of an artificial intelligence researcher who is forced to produce a "hybrid humanoid"). The series is short on overplayed Blade Runner-type films, instead choosing to show stuff like Cronenberg's Videodrome, films by the Brothers Quay and Survival Research Laboratories, and Warhol's Sleep -- so we can easily recommend buying the series pass. Films start at 8, $7/series pass $30. Consolidated Works

Bats
When army-engineered flying mammals invade a small Texas town, sheriff Lou Diamond Phillips starts chomping his cigar and acting self-consciously butch. Luckily, strident supermodel zoologist Dina Meyer is on hand to reflect on Chinese bat mythology. Director Louis Moreau shakes his camera a lot and bludgeons his sound effects crew, though I'll be damned if you can ever tell what's going on. The film is almost completely without suspense, but its paint-by-numbers slavishness to genre is fairly hysterical for fans of unintentional humor. The crawling, seething, rubber bat puppets that everybody's wrestling with are huge fun and, better still, sweaty mad doctor Bob Gunton is around to tell us why he created a breed of genius, mutant, flesh-eating bats: "Because I'm a scientist! That's what we do. We make things better." Happy Halloween, suckers. (Steve Wiecking) Cinerama, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Pacific Place 11

*Being John Malkovich
Spike Jonze's brilliant film about a puppeteer (John Cusak) who finds a portal in his office that leads directly into John Malkovich's brain! Reviewed this issue. Neptune

*The Best Man
Of the small number of black films that were released this year, this is by far the best. And not only is it the best black film, it's also the best romantic comedy of the year. Its story concerns a group of college friends who are reunited in New York City for the marriage of a professional football star and his college sweetheart. With the exception of the wedding scene at the end, which goes on a bit long, the movie is simply delightful. Directed by Spike Lee's cousin, Malcolm Lee, this is a strong debut from a director who, in the years to come, will flourish into something wonderful. He is a good writer and pulled superb performances from his entire cast, especially Terrence Howard, whose portrayal of an unrepentant Epicurean stole the show. Nia Long -- "the woman with hips for days," as one critic in a local black newspaper called her -- is in top form. And then there is Taye Diggs, who must be the most handsome man working in Hollywood. I wish I was him. I wish I had those muscles. I wish I had those eyes. (Charles Mudede) Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Oak Tree

Body Shots
Never have I seen an audience boo a movie at a free screening, but that's exactly what happened at the screening of Body Shots. And they were right. Meant as a cautionary tale for 20-something club goers who drink too much and commingle with the opposite sex -- often with disastrous results -- the film is really just a poorly made Afterschool Special for college grads. So bad is this film that I'm seriously considering billing New Line Cinema for the two hours time I wasted watching it. Conservatives argue that violent films destroy morality in this country, yet films like Body Shots are undoubtedly the real cause of violent acts in society. After watching it, I wanted to beat the crap out of somebody just because it existed. (Bradley Steinbacher) City Centre, Varsity

Boys Don't Cry
The true story of Brandon Teena, a teenage girl who faked being a boy and was killed for doing so. Reviewed this issue. Broadway Market

Bringing Out the Dead
As a comic portrait of NYC paramedics flailing against the overwhelming terrors of nighttime in a city out of control, Bringing Out the Dead excels -- especially in its efficient, well-acted trio of possible responses to the chaos: withdrawing into self-serving indifference (John Goodman); seeing it all as cosmic burlesque, God's joke on humanity, and enjoying the ride (Ving Rhames); and going insane (Tom Sizemore). Unfortunately the movie's not about them. Instead, Nicolas Cage mopes his way through a less convincing and over-familiar story of a damaged man seeking redemption through the forgiveness of a good woman. No point blaming Martin Scorsese; he's found such niceties as plot and character increasingly irrelevant. The surprise is that the once-over-lightly script comes from the usually dependable Paul Schrader. There are enough whip-pans and rock video moments to enjoy the movie, but not to hide the fact that you've seen it all before. (Bruce Reid) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, 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. Metro

Caligula
It's funny what sticks with you. A decade after seeing Caligula all I remembered was the giant decapitation machine, Malcolm McDowell in bed with a horse, and Helen Mirren's sexy smile. How I forgot the wine-engorged soldier, the fisting of the bridegroom, the dwarf sex, or Peter O'Toole is beyond me. As that sordid list implies, Caligula at least had the potential to shock, throwing millions of dollars and a big name cast (plus a Gore Vidal script) at the life of the most notorious Roman emperor; unfortunately, Tinto Brass's direction is several leagues beneath incompetent, filming the cluttered sets and endless grotesques so ineptly you can't even tell what's going on, let alone be affected by it. This movie is even worse than Fellini Satyricon; though not noticeably stupider, it shares a curdled, self-indulgent misanthropy. Fri-Thurs Oct 29-Nov 4 at (Sat-Sun 1:45), 5, 8:15, (Fri-Sat 11:30); 18+ only. (Bruce Reid) Egyptian

*CENTURY OF CINEMA
The "Century of Cinema" series brings us right smack in the middle of the '80s with David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) -- a dark, fascinating rollercoaster that starts with an abandoned ear, and takes you through murky layers of sex, twisted humor, brutal truths, loss of innocence, and a creepy soundtrack. You will also never look at Dennis Hopper quite the same way again. With Isabella Rossellini and Kyle MacLachlan. Sat-Sun Oct 30-31 at noon. Grand Illusion

Cinema on the Kalakala
A night of music and scary movies, including the silent vampire film Nosferatu and music by the Black Cat Orchestra and a couple of DJs. All money raised will benefit the Kalakala. Sat Oct 30 at 9, $10 donation, call 634-3817 for more info.

Crazy in Alabama
Antonio Banderas directs his wife Melanie Griffith in what is likely her best film since, um, A Stranger Among Us? City Centre, Grand Alderwood, Varsity

Directing Actors (Isn't Scary)
Calling all directors: It's not just about the camera. Peter Wick -- winner of the "Most Promising Director" award at the New York Independent Film Festival -- will show you how it's done when it comes to working with those "actor types" and coaxing a great performance out of your cast. Lots of discussion and participation expected, so bring your enthusiasm. Sun Oct 31, 11 am-4, $25. WigglyWorld

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. Six years later she's released and 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, but ends up taking her side when he sees how driven she is to clear her name. Though deftly sidestepping gaping plot holes, even with her undeniable beauty and talent, Judd can't possibly save this blurry mess. (Min Liao) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

Faust
F.W. Murnau's silent classic will be shown with live music and a live translation from German to English by none other than Teller, of the duo Penn & Teller. Sun Oct 31 at 7, $20, call 682-1414 for more info; See Stranger Suggests. Paramount Theater

*Fight Club
Based on the novel by Portland's Chuck Palahniuk (the bastard child of Kurt Vonnegut and J.G. Ballard), Fight Club is a surprisingly faithful adaptation of a book most people would consider unfilmable. And it's damn good. After Seven, David Fincher became popular as a director of dark and depressing films, and with Fight Club, he's made his best film yet. He has taken the bleak story, written in the first person with a detached sense of humor, and has matched its tone perfectly. A disenfranchised guy (Edward Norton), hooked on support groups for the terminally ill, gets a grade-school crush on a fellow support group tourist (Helana Bonham Carter), then meets a rebel (Brad Pitt) with whom he starts a masochistic fight club. That is when the story spins way over the top. The movie may be two and a half hours long, but it flies by. If you even remotely liked it, you'll want to see it again. (Andy Spletzer) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Southcenter

The Grandfather
Long and boring, this is what people think about when they say they hate foreign "art" films. Set in turn-of-the-century Spain, The Grandfather shows women in positions of power and influence. It looks to be a feminist take on history, right? But when the titular grandfather returns determined to find which of his two granddaughters carries his blood (his daughter-in-law had an affair, of course), we learn that society has been falling apart since men started relinquishing control to women. By the end he learns to deal, but it takes two-and-a-half hours of crushing boredom to get him there. (Andy Spletzer) Broadway Market

Happy, Texas
Two escaped prisoners steal a mobile home. It breaks down outside the tiny town of Happy where, oddly, everyone seems to be expecting them. They discover they're supposed to be a gay couple whose business is pageants, and they've been hired to help the town's grade-school pageant wanna-bes brush up on pageant etiquette. So the two decide to rob the local bank. There's no deep message in Happy, Texas. It's simply about characters finding each other and not finding each other, and the fun comes in laughing with, not at, the characters. (Gillian G. Gaar) Guild 45th, Pacific Place 11

Haunted Little Kids' Theatre
Kids, bring your adults! Gather (in full costume, of course) for classic Halloween kids' films (the scary Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters, plus a scary surprise), a "haunted theatre," and PRIZES for the best kid's costume! Thurs-Sun Oct 28-31 at 4, 6, 8; $5. Little Theatre

The House on Haunted Hill
A remake of the classic horror tale, suped-up with expensive special effects and a B-grade cast. Factoria, Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

Independent Exposure
The last Independent Exposure of the season, the "Halloweird" edition, will proviede -- along with the video smorgasboard -- snacks and drinks for those of age. It's a pretty good batch of shorts, too. "Devil Tour '94" slyly compares news reports on a guy who dresses up as the devil. Also incorporating news footage to tell the true story of two guys arrested for a supposedly Satanic killing, and the town's reaction to it, "The Acid King" is a tight and compelling short. There's a mixed bag of other shorts, including a couple of fairly abstract pieces that are quite compelling: "Looking, Dim" and "7 Minutes to Live My Death." And pushing the limits of religious good taste is "Cardinal Sin," a sexy, dirty piece about Jesus and a nun. Check 'em out. Thurs Oct 28 at 7:30, $4, 21+ only. (Andy Spletzer) Speakeasy

Island of the Sharks
Opening Sat Oct 30! For another nature-lovin', 3-D experience, go underwater near Cocos Island in the Pacific Ocean! The deep seas are bulging with manta rays, sea turtles, exotic fish, and the highest concentration of sharks on the planet. Pacific Science Center

julien donkey-boy
Harmony Korine's latest effort, about a schizophrenic boy and his family. Co-starring wacko director Werner Herzog! Reviewed this issue. Varsity

LESBIAN & GAY FILM FESTIVAL
The festival comes to a close with a 5:30 screening of The Brian Epstein Story and an 8:30 screening of Why Not Me? followed by a party. Thurs Oct 28, call 323-4274 for more info. Egyptian

*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) Seven Gables

MIRA: THE LATINO FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL
Seattle's celebration of Latino cinema, culture, and arts returns for a third year to 911 Media Arts and the Grand Illusion. This year's treats include the Northwest premiere of Carlos Bolado's Baja California: El Limite del Tiempo, the Sundance favorite Paulina (about a child who is bought from her parents and sold to a cruel "owner"), and the avant-garde experimental short The Sacred Confessions and Holy Smoke Trilogy. Theater and dance performances, rare archival films, contemporary shorts packages, and panel discussions will also be part of the festivities. The opening night party (Thurs Nov 4, $7) -- with food, beverages, and a special selection of films -- will be open to the public. Thurs-Sun Nov 4-7; for more details, call 682-6552, or go to www.mirafestival.com. See next week's Stranger Movie Times for complete listings. 911 Media Arts

Music of the Heart
This would-be salute to the power of music to enrich the young suffers from many flaws, foremost being that it's not really about music or young people. Like the documentary Fiddlefest upon which it's based, Music of the Heart opts instead for an uncritical endorsement of the rigid teaching methods of New York violin teacher Roberta Guaspari, played here by Meryl Streep at her weepiest for the first half, her most headstrong for the second. From that willful schematizing, you can guess how much the script depends upon setting up cardboard problems only to sidestep them. Director Wes Craven is as blithely exploitive as ever, punching all the right buttons, but he should have had a hand in the writing; his own films have better ideas underpinning them. The second half is more to the director's liking, and things punch up a bit. Overall, though, the film is so paint-by-numbers drab you could scream. (Bruce Reid) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Uptown

NEW DANCE CINEMA
Seattle's own dance-theater company 33 Fainting Spells and WigglyWorld bring modern dance and film together in this brief festival of international works. Split into three programs, these movement-rich films showcase the talents of directors and choreographers alike. See the Stranger Movie Times for complete listings. Thurs-Sun Nov 4-7. Little Theatre

Night of the Living Dead
The 1968 cult favorite about flesh-eating zombies, the results of a high-radiation space experiment gone awry. Still gory after all these years. Fri-Sat Oct 29-30 at 11. Grand Illusion

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

*On the Ropes
Set in the impoverished Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, the film shatters preconceptions by using the local boxing gym and three of its fighters as examples of the determination of the neighborhood's residents. At the center of this story is the Bed-Stuy gym's trainer, Harry Keitt, himself a recovering addict and surrogate father to all his fighters. Like the fighters he trains, Harry is riddled with self-doubt and struggles for redemption. The direction is deft and filled with such nuance that you feel for the characters without ever feeling manipulated. In the end, this "boxing film" is more a story of humanity; how the determination and focus developed inside the ring is applied to life. Until Nov 4 at (Sat-Sun 3:15), 5, 7, 9. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Grand Illusion

Random Hearts
Two people (Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas) discover they were being cuckolded by their now-dead significant others, and find comfort in each other's arms. Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

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

*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

The Story of Us
A couple who should be divorcing decide -- in a big, fake ending -- to stay together. Grand Alderwood, Metro, Pacific Place 11

*The Straight Story
Judging by the portrait given of him in The Straight Story, the late Alvin Straight was honorable, polite, and old-fashioned in his sense of propriety, family, and privacy. All of which is to say, you'd never have heard of him if he hadn't ridden a lawnmower hundreds of miles to visit his estranged brother. The most beautiful aspect of David Lynch's wonderful movie is how clearly it finds that to be a shame. Rather than making the journey a quixotic, life-defining quest, The Straight Story is even more about an interesting but unremarkable road trip taken by a quite remarkable man. Lynch's name is so synonymous with violence and twisted sex that it's sometimes hard to remember that nearly everything he's done has been about decent people who were seduced, often literally possessed, by an evil force outside themselves. Blue Velvet wasn't great because it pissed off a bunch of moral standard-bearers, and The Straight Story isn't great because it will charm many of those same people. Both achieve greatness thanks to an endless fascination with how wondrous and mysterious each and every person can be. (Bruce Reid) Harvard Exit, Redmond Town Center

The Super Duper 8S' Creepy Cabaret
Each of the Super Duper 8s made a scary short film for this evening, and "Horror Hosts" Dr. Hipnotika & the Death-tones will provide more creepy atmosphere. Show up in costume for this Halloween Eve film fest. Sat Oct 30 at 9, $3 w/ costume, $6 if you're a loser. 2nd Ave. Pizza

Superstar
Let's not kid each other: Superstar is an uninspired, disposable movie that looks like it was made for about two bucks, but for hardcore fans, it's worth a guilty matinee. (Steve Wiecking) Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11

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 31 at 10 am, $15 single/$99 series pass; call 800-551-9221 for more details. Pacific Place 11

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

Three to Tango
Guess what: it's really, really bad. Oscar (Matthew Perry) is an architect who, with the help of his gay business partner Peter (Oliver Platt), tries to land a job designing a building for asshole tycoon Charles Newman (Dylan McDermott). The catch? The tycoon asks Oscar to keep tabs on his mistress, Amy (Neve Campbell), because he thinks Oscar is gay and therefore "safe." Hilarity ensues as Oscar and Amy fall for each other, and somehow the whole city of Chicago becomes convinced Oscar is gay. Ha ha ha ha ha! Three to Tango is a pointless exercise in romantic comedy, and would be offensive if it weren't so retarded. By the time Oscar is turning down an award for Chicago Gay Man of the Year -- announcing he's not really gay and getting a standing ovation from a room full of gay people -- you've been pounded with so much stupidity and so many failed jokes, you don't have the energy to be offended. Maybe that's the point. The film misfires from beginning to end. Misfires? Actually, I'm not sure it was ever really loaded. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Metro, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

*TRUFFAUT CELEBRATION
The Varsity's tribute to French film director Francois Truffaut boasts new 35mm prints and an impressive lineup of his cinematic accomplishments! See the Stranger Movie Times for detailed listings. Until Thurs Nov 4. Varsity Calendar,"

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