OPENING

AMERICAN MOVIE -- Varsity Calendar

BEYOND THE CLOUDS -- Grand Illusion

LAST NIGHT -- Broadway Market

LEGEND OF 1900 -- Pacific Place, Metro

SLEEPY HOLLOW -- Meridian, Guild 45th, Oak Tree, others

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH -- Meridian, Metro, Oak Tree, others


REPERTORY & REVIVAL

ARTIFICIAL LIFE: FILM SERIES -- Consolidated Works

BILLY WILDER CLASSICS! -- Egyptian

BROKEN STAR -- Grand Illusion

COMING APART -- Grand Illusion

FILM NOIR FOREVER -- Seattle Art Museum

JIMMY ZIP -- Varsity Calendar

MEET MARTHA COLBURN -- Cinema 18

OPTICAL PRINTING WORKSHOP -- WigglyWorld

SKI AND SNOWBOARD FILMS -- REI

SON OF ART FILMS -- 911 Media Arts

SPECTRES OF THE SPECTRUM -- Little Theatre

TALK CINEMA -- Pacific Place 11


COMING SOON

November 24 -- Toy Story 2, Mansfield Park, End of Days, Flawless

November 26 -- Rosie, Man of the Century, Beefcake, Douglas Sirk film series

December 3 -- The Adventures of Sebastian Cole, Get Bruce!, Holy Smoke, Man of the Century


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 Beauty
Entertaining fluff. Take your typical suburban satire (mid-life crisis, bitchy wife, disaffected youth), throw in some excellent performances (Kevin Spacey hams it up brilliantly, while Annette Bening and Chris Cooper give life to the most cardboard of characters), and you've got an art-house cross-over film that can appeal to everybody. Even me. (Andy Spletzer) Factoria, Guild 45th, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

American Movie
A brilliant documentary about a desperate would-be filmmaker, and his magnum opus -- a horror movie entitled Coven. Reviewed this issue. Varsity Calendar

Anywhere But Here
Wayne Wang's Anywhere But Here tells the story of Adele (Susan Sarandon) and Ann (Natalie Portman), a mother-daughter pair who leave their cozy life in Wisconsin for Beverly Hills. The daughter is reluctant to leave her friends and family, and hates her impulsive mother for dragging her away. The mom, impatient and terrified of the stagnancy in their tiny hometown, craves more glamour and adventure for herself and Ann, and strains for a sunny California existence that simply isn't there. What could be just another sugary chick flick, in Wang's hands manages to become something interesting, honest, and significant. (Min Liao) Factoria, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

ARTIFICIAL LIFE: FILM SERIES
The Consolidated Works film series continues with the Seattle Premiere of The Ad and The Ego. Advertising is evil! That's the "controversial" idea that this hour-long anti-consumerism infomercial is selling. You've heard the arguments a thousand times: Everybody thinks they're immune to advertising, even though we live in a world chock full o' advertisements. A bunch of "experts" chime in with the same doom-and-gloom message: Ads are evil. What makes this film tragic -- and almost worth seeing -- is when you take their pedantic pronouncements of how "we" are affected by advertising, and change them into the first person. Suddenly, the academic is talking about how he doesn't feel good about his social skills, and the one woman hates her own body-image. With an annoying sound design by Negativeland. Thurs-Sat Nov 18-20 at 8, $7. (Andy Spletzer) Consolidated Works

The Bachelor
Comedy. Romance. All of these. STOP. Chris O'Donnell: Charming. Renee Zellweger: Heartbreaking. STOP. Second act: Greek. Restrooms: Stink. STOP. Third act: Redundant. Characters: Redeemed. STOP. Deus ex machina: Disaster! Finale: Fiasco! Claymore mine under seat: Kills 20! STOP. Losing oxygen to brain. STOP. Please God, STOP. (Wolf Blitzer, CNN) Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

*Being John Malkovich
Being John Malkovich is better than most every other film out there right now because, beneath the surreal world it's so happy to exploit, there is an emotional vein that is so strong and so sad, if filmed as anything other than a comedy, the movie would be devastating. Not only does director Spike Jonze explore aspects of storytelling on film that more established directors would never think to try, not only does it thoughtfully explore philosophical issues like identity and desire (and eventually, immortality), and not only is it one of the most emotionally honest movies in theaters today, it's also damn funny and always entertaining. You gotta see it to believe it. (Andy Spletzer) Meridian 16, Neptune

The Best Man
Not only is this the best black film released this year, it's also the best romantic comedy. A group of college friends are reunited for the marriage of a professional football star and his college sweetheart. With the exception of the too-long wedding scene at the end, the movie is simply delightful. Directed by Malcolm Lee (Spike Lee's cousin), this is a strong debut full of good writing and superb performances. (Charles Mudede) Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16

Beyond the Clouds
Finally, Italian master Michelangelo Antonioni's 1995 film gets a Seattle release. Reviewed this issue. Grand Illusion

*BILLY WILDER CLASSICS!
On the 40th anniversary of the American classic Some Like It Hot, the Egyptian is showing a series of films by its director, Billy Wilder. The celebrated film will share a double bill with one of three other Wilder films: The Apartment (Fri-Sun Nov 19-21); The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (Mon-Tues Nov 22-23); and One, Two, Three (Wed-Thurs Nov 24-25). Egyptian

The Bone Collector
The trailer for this film is grossly unfair. The Bone Collector is not that bad. The story concerns a brilliant NYPD detective (Denzel Washington), confined to his bed after a work-related accident, always afraid a sudden seizure will turn him into a vegetable. He decides life is not worth living, that he will not recover, and that death is better than becoming a "zucchini." But suddenly there is a brutal but brilliant criminal menacing New York City, and a beautiful woman (Angelina Jolie) to help him catch this psycho. Now life has meaning! In the end, he gets the criminal and the girl without ever leaving his bed. By the way, if you are expecting Denzel to kiss the lady lead, you will again be disappointed. As the woman sitting next to me at the screening said: "Damn! they only touch hands! In Pelican Brief he just got a big hug, and in Virtuosity he saved the white lady and her daughter and still he didn't get some!" (Charles Mudede) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Northgate, Redmond Town Center

Boys Don't Cry
Boys Don't Cry pushes myriad societal hot buttons. Sexuality. Gender. Masculinity. Why we even care Cry is not an easy film to watch; the rape and subsequent murder are unrelentingly harsh. Even the reason the story is "interesting" is depressing: Had Brandon been a real man killed in a senseless murder, his death wouldn't have merited one national headline. (Gillian G. Gaar) Broadway Market

Bringing Out the Dead
Not to be crude and businesslike, but we found this on the Web: "It may have opened like a Martin Scorsese film, but it's dying like a Nicolas Cage picture."

*Broken Star
A goofy and obscure "B" western from 1956, which is unavailable on video and worth seeing if you're a lover of Westerns, or you think bad movies are funny. Fri-Sat Nov 19-20 at 11:30. Grand Illusion

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. Broadway Market

*Coming Apart
A smokin' hot revival of Milton Moses Ginsberg's 1969 film about a guy (Rip Torn) who secretly films the women who come visit him, often for sex. New 35mm print! Thurs Nov 18 at 4:45, 7, 9:15. Grand Illusion

Dogma
Of course, the controversy surrounding Kevin Smith's new film is overblown. Sure, God is a woman (Alanis Morissette), the Christ-figure (Linda Fiorentino) works in an abortion clinic, new characters like the 13th Apostle (Chris Rock) and a muse-turned-stripper (Salma Hayek) are added characters, but it's all a way for Smith to ruminate on the importance of faith. The plot begins when two angels who have been kicked out of heaven find a loophole that'll get them back in. Other angels believe their return would prove the fallibility of God, and negate existence. I never bought this premise (besides, The Prophecy took the idea of jealous angels striving to regain God's attention to a bigger and better extreme), but even so, Dogma has some nice ideas -- particularly about the vengeance of the Old Testament God. (Andy Spletzer) Grand Alderwood, Guild 45th, Uptown

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 jumps parole to find her son. Tommy Lee Jones is her gruff 'n' tough parole officer who tracks her down, but ends up taking her side against this bastard. Though deftly sidestepping gaping plot holes, even with her undeniable beauty and talent, Judd can't possibly save this blurry mess. (Min Liao) Aurora Cinema Grill

The Exorcist
Load up on green pea soup and watch everybody's favorite "child possessed by the Devil" movie. Cinerama

Felicia's Journey
Bob Hoskins plays a lost and lonely man who takes in a young runaway. He's got a dark and nasty secret. Directed by Atom Egoyan. Reviewed this issue. Harvard Exit

*Fight Club
With Fight Club, David Fincher has made his best film yet, taking a bleak story -- written in the first person with a detached sense of humor -- and matching 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. Only then does the story spin 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) Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Metro

FILM NOIR FOREVER
SAM's popular series continues with The Prowler (1951), with Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes (Thurs Nov 18 at 7:30). Call 625-8900 for more details. Seattle Art Museum

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 wannabes 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) Pacific Place 11

*The Insider
Despite the ad campaigns, The Insider is not an indictment of big, evil tobacco. The real story is about bungled journalism and broken integrity, with a healthy dose of paranoia thrown in for good measure. As a big-budget Hollywood drama, perhaps even as a thriller, The Insider is just about as perfect as you can get. Mann is one of the best technical directors around, able to put together a glossy-looking film without it appearing like one big commercial. Every performance in the film, from Russell Crowe and Al Pacino, to Christopher Plummer's brilliant rendition of Mike Wallace, will undoubtedly be deemed Oscar-worthy at the end of the year. However, though meant to be a cautionary tale about media accountability and how easily good journalism can be corrupted, The Insider is far too slick, and comes across as typical Hollywood mayhem instead of the "based-on-actual-events" drama originally intended. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

Island of the Sharks
At first glance, Island of the Sharks might seem like yet another run-of-the-mill IMAX nature documentary; no flashy 3D work, no front seat view in a thrill ride. But the film works hard to find some stunning imagery, and succeeds. One of the most breathtaking shots is beneath a large school of hammerhead sharks, a fish whose appearance is both disturbing and compelling. Sharks and seals are also shown (separately) herding a school of fish into an immense, squirming ball, making them easier to pick off and devour. Don't worry if you're faint-hearted, though; the film's violence is boringly PG, mostly. (Gillian G. Gaar) Pacific Science Center

Jimmy Zip
Local director Robert McGinley's latest film, about a pyromaniac runaway who becomes an apprentice to a brilliant metal sculptor. A "punk mythology" starring Brendan Fletcher and Robert Gossett. Thurs Nov 18 at 4:30, 7, 9:20. Varsity Calendar

Last Night
A Canadian film (run for the hills!) about the last night on earth. Reviewed this issue. Broadway Market

Legend of 1900
Now dig this: There's this black guy (Bill Nunn) who works in the steamy belly of a transatlantic ship called the Virginian; he is as big and as loud as John Henry. One day this John Henry of a black man finds a small white boy abandoned in the ship's ballroom by some desperate immigrants. The black man becomes the father to this boy, and names him 1900. Suddenly the big black man dies for no real reason (plotwise, that is) except that, well, most black fathers leave their kids soon or later. The boy, who never leaves the ship, grows up to be Tim Roth. As an adult, 1900 becomes a world famous Jazz pianist. When 1900 sees a beautiful girl (Melanie Thierry), he just stands there and doesn't bust a move. One day he attempts to leave the boat and start a new life on land, but he can't leave the ship. The ship eventually meets a fateful end. Sure it's Giuseppe Tornatore -- you know, the Cinema Paradiso guy -- but have you noticed he has not made a decent film since Cinema Paradiso? Jesus, I wish some people would get a clue. (Charles Mudede) Metro, Pacific Place 11

Light it Up!
What were they thinking? Everybody knows we need a Republican president before anyone can sell a students-under-siege, pro-militia movie like this. Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Uptown

*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. Meanwhile, 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, compressing 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 you can quote me on that. (Andy Spletzer) Broadway Market

Meet Martha Colburn
Monsters, vampires, blood, dismembered bodies, satanic noises, these are few of Martha Colburn's favorite things. Her films are charged with a madness that is not for its own sake, but a madness that is highly political, a madness that is there only because it is reflecting (too directly) a society that is, all in all, mad. Penises fly through the air and are happily devoured by medusa-like women, horses jump over the crouches of beautiful models, fangs grow out of the mouths of soccer-moms, sun-soaked paradises turn into bloody nightmares -- while in the background some demonic narrator is saying something sinister to a soundtrack of instruments that are not so much played as banged against a wall. I cannot say that I hate her films and the excruciating forms of madness they unleash; but I can say that I'm a coward for not to liking them more. Some of her stuff is too real for me, and as T.S. Eliot once said, some of us "can not bare too much reality." See also Stranger Suggests. Sat Nov 20 at 9, $5. (Charles Mudede) Cinema 18

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc sucks. It's your basic French epic: Girl has visions from God, girl leads French armies to victory, girl gets burned at the stake. Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) takes this story and does absolutely nothing with it. Neither Joan, nor the French army generals, nor the filmmakers ever question the fact that Joan may very well be delusional. With her rise to fame predetermined, this is actually a remake of Braveheart, the only differences being that The Messenger's battle scenes are not as good (though there are some hilarious Monty Python-style decapitations), and Milla Jovovich is prettier than Mel Gibson. (Andy Spletzer) City Centre, Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

Music of the Heart
Meryl Streep plays Roberta Guaspari, a woman who taught inner city kids how to play violin, then had a documentary and a big feature film made out of her story. Unfortunately, they've taken the film crews out of the story. Metro, Pacific Place 11

Optical Printing Workshop
Optical printers allow filmmakers to make straight-up copies of their films, or add optical effects like split-screens and superimpositions. Learn how to use Wiggly-World's new optical printer in this class. Sun Nov 21 at 11am-4, $25; call 329-2629 to reserve a spot. WigglyWorld

Pokémon
Reviewed by 9-year-old film critic Sam Lachow: "I would give the movie four stars. It was just like, at the, um, beginning, it was kind of boring. And Mewtwo was kind of like, he was weird. I like how it showed Mewtwo, like what he really is. He was really bad. There wasn't enough pokémons. Some parts were a little boring, but when they got to that big war -- when Ashe was walking out, and saying, 'I'm not gonna let you do this,' I thought it was dramatic. I kinda liked the ending, but it wasn't really alot like a happy ending.... No victory, like the person didn't faint, or anything." (Compiled by Jamie Hook) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

*Princess Mononoke
As anyone who's seen a Hayao Miyazaki film will attest, the story you follow is secondary to the sights you behold. The craggy reality of his twisting tree trunks capped with windblown tufts of leaves; the weighty presence of the rocks, whether rough or slicked smooth by water; the breathtaking vividness of light when the clouds part; the crouched expectancy of animals at rest -- all of these are rendered as gorgeously as any animation I've ever seen, and in fact make a better plea for ecological sanity than the sometimes heavy-handed script. The only downside to how glorious Miyazaki's images are is that he knows it, and occasionally lingers too long. (Bruce Reid) Pacific Place 11, Varsity

*The Sixth Sense
A little boy sees dead people while Bruce Willis sees his marriage disintegrate. Aurora Cinema Grill, Meridian 16

Ski and Snowboard Films
Ski film producers Teton Gravity Research offer up this year's white hot adventure, The Realm, a film full of, well, skiing adventures. Seattle-based filmmaker Riley Morton presents Locals Only, a film that's also about skiing and snowboarding. Fri Nov 19 at 7, $6; call 425-646-0199 for more info. REI

Sleepy Hollow
Johnny Depp plays Constable Ichabod Crane, sent to upstate New York in order to solve a rash of beheadings utilizing his newfangled "forensic science." The year is 1799, and the townsfolk believe the Headless Horseman is behind all these killings. Turns out they're right. Tim Burton's latest film is as dark as the original Grimms fairy tales, full of witches, stormy nights, and lots and lots of beheadings. Really, it's impressive just how many heads get cut off. The horseman's vengeance is tied in with a conspiracy of the town elders, and it's up to Crane and the bewitching Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci) to uncover their secrets. The deadpan politeness and mannered acting style is often amusing, but it keeps the movie from becoming rip-roaring fun. Still, I liked it. (Andy Spletzer) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Guild 45th, Meridian 16, Oak Tree

*Son of Art Films
The thing about art films is they can achieve a level of beauty that is so concentrated, so unrestrained, that it becomes otherworldly. There is no other film form in the world that could make floating, homoerotically-charged clones singing sampled fragments of soul classics to triphop noise in some space ship that Barbarella (queen of the galaxy) would find very cozy -- a staggeringly beautiful moment! This is only just one moment (in Bjorn Melhus' Toast, Cornflakes, No Sunshine) out of many others that 911 is to present during the Son of Art Films program. Other beautiful moments can be found on Set Apart by Marianna Haniger. She uses three channels of video on a singular space so that the image is distorted in a ghostly, spirit-roaming way. These are just two highlights of the program. There is much more, and the people at 911 confidently assured me they'll be "the latest in cutting edge and experimental video." Fri Nov 19 at 8, $4. (Charles Mudede) 911 Media Arts

*Spectres of the Spectrum
Craig Baldwin should be paranoia's poster boy. For him, every outdated educational film or forgotten kinescope contains a thousand hidden links to the great, ongoing, unseen battle between good and evil. For his latest, Spectres of the Spectrum, an underground group of TV broadcasters rebel against the state's plan to realign the earth's electromagnetic field. Beyond some freshly shot footage, the bulk of the film consists of Baldwin's witty, informative, revisionist history of the electronic age, from Ben Franklin's kite to big business' hijacking of television and the Internet, told through a skillful collage of found footage. Tesla's story gets narrated by Orson Welles, Adm. Nimitz pops up on a '50s TV show to explain nuclear submarines, and Bill Gates get hit in the face with a pie. It all fits together into a seamless, terrifically entertaining whole -- even the creepy guy with the turban. Thurs-Sun Nov 18-21 at 5:30, 7:30, 9:30. (Bruce Reid) Little Theatre

*The Straight Story
Rather than making the journey of hundreds of miles on a riding mower a quixotic, life-defining quest, The Straight Story is even more about an interesting but unremarkable road trip taken by a quite remarkable man. David 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

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. Sun Nov 21 at 10 am, $15; call 800-551-9221 for more details. Pacific Place 11

Three Kings
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) Grand Alderwood, Uptown, Varsity

Train of Life
The third Holocaust comedy in two years! Nothing spells rib-ticklin' fun like genocide! Broadway Market

The World Is Not Enough
The 1,000th Bond movie, starring Pierce Brosnon as Bond (duh!). Factoria, Meridian 16, Metro, Northgate, Redmond Town Center, Southcenter

Support The Stranger