ANNA AND THE KING -- Pacific Place, Metro, Oak Tree, others

BICENTENNIAL MAN -- Aurora Cinema Grill, Pacific Place, others




STUART LITTLE -- various theaters

THE WAR ZONE -- Broadway Market




CAREFUL -- Little Theatre



FILM NOIR FOREVER -- Seattle Art Museum


IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE -- Grand Illusion


OUT OF SEASON -- Varsity Calendar


TALK CINEMA -- Pacific Place 11


December 22 -- All About My Mother, Sweet and Lowdown, Any Given Sunday, Man on the Moon, Liberty Heights

December 25 -- Galaxy Quest, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Cradle Will Rock, The End of the Affair


All About My Mother
Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's drama about a grief-stricken woman (Cecilia Roth) who loses her son. She travels to Barcelona to find the father he never knew. With Penelope Cruz. Opens Wed Dec 22. Egyptian

An IMAX examination of the lush forests and exotic animals of the Amazon river basin. Omnidome

*American Movie
Mark Borchardt's life was going nowhere. Growing up in a lower-middle-class neighborhood on the northwest side of Milwaukee, he found his life spinning out of control through alcoholism and unrealized dreams. In 1994, he taught himself how to use 16mm film equipment and started making Coven (rhymes with "woven," not "oven") and writing the script for the autobiographical feature Northwestern. After he had shot half of Coven, the project disintegrated, thanks in part to too much drinking and partying. Around that time, he met Chris Smith. The result is American Movie, a funny and inspiring film about overcoming obstacles in your life and your environment in order to realize your dream. (Andy Spletzer) Metro

Anna and the King
Jodie Foster, Chow-Yun Fat, and a cast of dozens in this would-be epic retelling of The King and I, but without the music, which, of course, is the only good thing about The King and I. Reviewed this issue. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

Annual Christmas Spectacular
A collection of Christmas shorts, back to back. Titles include the brilliantly creepy "Santa & Punch & Judy," "Christmas Rhapsody," the animated "Mole & The Christmas," plus others. Fri-Sat Dec 17-18 at 11:45. Grand Illusion

Anywhere But Here
Wayne Wang's latest, about a mother-daughter pair (Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman) who leave their cozy life in Wisconsin for Beverly Hills. Wang avoids the sugary chick-flick trap, and succeeds in making an interesting, honest, and significant relationship film. (Min Liao) Metro, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

*Being John Malkovich
Not only does director Spike Jonze explore aspects of storytelling through filmmaking that more established directors would never think to try; not only does this film 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, Being John Malkovich is also damn funny and entertaining. You gotta see it to believe it. (Andy Spletzer) Meridian 16, Neptune

Bicentennial Man
The Martins are your basic family of the near-future. Despite never being shown working or exerting themselves, they enjoy a disgracefully opulent lifestyle. To increase their sickening amount of leisure time, the man of the house (Sam Neill) purchases a robot (Robin Williams) to cook them waffles and perform various menial tasks. Then, in a completely revolutionary and unforeseeable development, the family discovers that the robot is developing a personality! Hilarity and sentimentality both fail to ensue as the audience is never persuaded to give a damn about "one robot's 200 year journey to become an ordinary man" so that he, too, can experience the same decadence everyone else seems to be enjoying, including fireside brandy, expensive sweaters, and, of course, android-human sexual relations. The performances are unspectacular, and Williams' tired schtick will have you longing for the comparatively brilliant robot/human drama of Short Circuit 2. (Jason Pagano) Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11

The Bone Collector
A brilliant NYPD detective (Denzel Washington) is 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 death is better than becoming a "zucchini." But suddenly there is a brutal but brilliant criminal menacing New York City, and he meets a beautiful woman (Angelina Jolie) who helps him catch this psycho. Now life has meaning! In the end, he gets the criminal and the girl without ever leaving his bed. (Charles Mudede) Aurora Cinema Grill, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

Boys Don't Cry
Boys Don't Cry pushes myriad societal hot buttons. Sexuality. Gender. Masculinity. Why we even care about such labels is an indication of how frightened we are about ambiguities. The film is based on the true story of Brandon Teena, a girl who was murdered for living life as a boy. Hilary Swank, a Bellingham native, imbues Brandon with an infectious charisma, but the rest of the film could be seen as an indictment of the American psyche. (Gillian G. Gaar) Broadway Market

Breakfast of Champions
Bruce Willis, Nick Nolte, and Albert Finney star in Alan Rudolph's adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's famed novel. Reviewed this issue. Varsity Calendar

Captain Powder: The Snow Sports Genre
Gravity-defying snowsports are worshipped in tonight's trio of adrenaline-soaked shorts: "The Captain Powder Movie," "The Walrus Dreams," and "Locals Only" look at the supernatural spirit of crystalline snow, the poetic, Zen-like quality of snow stunts, and the wild lives of ski bums, respectively. Thurs Dec 16 at 8, $5. 911 Media Arts

A surreal film from Canadian director Guy Maddin, about a European alpine town filled with obsessed residents who can only speak in hushed tones to eachother, never raising their voices above a whisper, for fear that anything louder will cause an avalanche. Bizarre, wintry paranoia fills their lives. Shown with Hospital Fragment, Maddin's new short. Thurs-Sun Dec 16-19 at 5:30, 7:30, 9:30. Little Theatre

The Cider House Rules
Toby Maguire learns the upside of abortion from dirty Dr. Michael Caine. John Irving adapts his novel for the screen. Lasse Hallstrom (My Life as a Dog) directs. Reviewed this issue. Guild 45th, Uptown

*Consumer Christ Cabaret
The local Super 8 movie club, The SuperDuper 8s, is hosting this evening of Christmas-themed movies, including Rachel Lord's Barbie porn and Andy Spletzer's "Anatomy of a Martyr," where Pontius Pilot must defend Judas for betraying the Christ. Wed Dec 22 at 8, FREE. Sit & Spin

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
The title rhymes. That's funny. It stars Rob Schneider, the "Copy Guy" from Saturday Night Live. That's not funny. Aurora Cinema Grill, Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Varsity

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) City Centre, Grand Alderwood, Guild 45th

*Doomed Planet
Digital-cinema impresario Alex Mayer is ready to bring his Armageddon comedy, Doomed Planet, back to the big screen -- this time in finished form, polished and ready for post-WTO viewing. The film's world premiere will take place on the historic Kalakala, and will be a benefit for the Kalakala Foundation. Filmed and edited digitally and featuring eclectic cameos, Doomed Planet -- about rival anarchist cults in the streets of Seattle on the eve of the millennium -- will surely draw a few eery comparisons to our city's recent real-life melodrama. Other WTO-themed short films will also be screened. Fri Dec 17 at 9, 11; $8 suggested donation; wear warm clothing. The Kalakala

End of Days
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays ex-cop Jericho Cane, an unrepentant alcoholic who stopped believing in God when He killed his wife and child. The very sexy Robin Tunney plays Christine York, an innocent girl who was born with the mark of the devil on her arm. When Cane rescues her from murderous priests, he becomes involved in an epic struggle between Satan (Gabriel Byrne), his intended bride (Tunney), and the end of life as we know it. As Satan, Byrne is fantastic; the perfect antihero, always bemused by the folly of the pathetic humans. Director Peter Hyams doesn't get enough credit as a satirist, but here he does it again. The smart-aleck villain, the tortured hero, the wacky sidekick (Kevin Pollak), the sexy girl literally overcoming her demons, Rod Steiger as a crazy priest, the pope in a wheelchair, a dead guy on the ceiling -- End of Days has it all. (Andy Spletzer) Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11

*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. (Andy Spletzer) Meridian 16, Metro

SAM's popular series concludes, appropriately enough, with The Harder They Fall (1956) -- Mark Robson's dark, cold examination of the boxing world. Starring Humphrey Bogart (the king of trench coats and all things noir) in his last role. Thurs Dec 16 at 7:30. Call 625-8900 for more details. Seattle Art Museum

*Filmmakers Forum: Jim Taylor
Writer/satire expert/funny guy Jim Taylor -- who provided the smart wit and sass for several hits, like this year's Election -- will be talking about writing in cinema, adapting novels for films, writing partnerships, and his collaboration with writer/director Alexander Payne. Don't miss this chance to pick the brain of a successful Hollywood screenwriter. Plus, he'll be showing the original ending to Election. Mon Dec 20 at 7, $5. Market Theater

Robert DeNiro is a homophobic ex-cop who suffers a stroke; Philip Seymour Hoffman is the drag queen he goes to for singing lessons (a form of speech therapy). The acting is atrociously bad, the characters are sloppy caricatures, the plot holes gape wide enough to lose yourself in, and the look of the film is cluttered and garish. Joel Schumacher's quest to go down in history as the worst movie director ever continues. (Bruce Reid) Pacific Place 11

The Green Mile
Stephen King is a great writer, as seen in his ability to make the most generic stories interesting, surprising, and fun to read. But the stories themselves are usually not very good, which is why the movies based on the books are often so bad: the writing isn't there to save them. In a present day nursing home, Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer) recalls the pivotal moment in his life 60 years ago when he looked like Tom Hanks and was in charge of a prison's death row and a magical prisoner was admitted who changed everybody's life. The bulk of this three-hour movie is his flashback. Yawn. Director Frank Darabont takes on big subjects like capital punishment, violence, and racism, and simplifies them to the point where you don't even have to think about 'em. Now where's the fun in that? (Andy Spletzer) Factoria, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

*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. Michael Mann is one of the best technical directors around, able to put together a glossy-looking film without it appearing like one big commercial. 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) Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

*It's a Wonderful Life
Frank Capra's 1946 Christmas classic, with Mr. Nice Guy Jimmy Stewart and Mrs. Perfect Donna Reed. A Grand Illusion tradition, this year with a beautiful new print. Friday's screening is part of the Grand Illusion's Holiday Party, starting at 7, where they'll give the 3rd Annual George Bailey Memorial Award to George and Rebecca Latsios, founders of Scarecrow Video. Congrats! Sat-Sat Dec 18-25 at (Sat-Sun 2), 4:30, 7, 9:30; no matinee on Dec 25. Grand Illusion

*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. (Andy Spletzer) Harvard Exit

*Man of the Century
Johnny Twennies (Gibson Frazier) is a hard-boiled reporter straight out of the '20s or '30s, but living in the '90s, in this good piece of indie-film fun. Thurs Dec 16 at 5, 7, 9. Grand Illusion

*Mansfield Park
This adaptation of Jane Austen's novel tells the story of Fanny Price, a precocious girl from a poor family sent to live with wealthy relatives, who treat her special gentility as nothing more than the pretensions of a greedy beggar. Indomitable in the face of societal and familial restraints, she opens herself up to the wonders and sorrows of the world, maturing into a clever writer and gaining the devotion of her beloved Edmund. With Austen a perplexingly hot commodity for the past few years, it's a valid concern to worry what new angle anyone could possibly bring to the author's cunning romantic satires. Mansfield Park, though, has an unusual slant, highlighting class degradation and sexual frankness, and expanding the book's passing references to the slave trade as supple counterpoints to Fanny's plight. (Steve Wiecking) Harvard Exit

Those who treasure ironic titles need look no further than this trio of Guy de Maupassant tales as filmed by Ophuls. Here "pleasure" is examined through the sad story of an old man trying to recapture his youth in dancing halls; the wistful story of a group of prostitutes confronted with the loss of their own innocence during a country sojourn; and the tragic story of a painter who doesn't love his model enough -- or perhaps too much. Ophuls' roaming camera is stunning as always (the brothel, to pick one famous example, is never entered, but instead viewed through every window and doorway the camera can reach), but it's his equanimity and perceptive understanding of how time can run away from anyone, even lovers, that makes this a great film; that, and one of the finest casts ever assembled for a French movie. Sat-Sun Dec 18-19 at noon. (Bruce Reid) Grand Illusion

Naturally Native
In this season of very long films, this one just feels long. Three Native American sisters decide to start up a cosmetics business based on ancient tribal recipes. "After School Special" doesn't even begin to describe this film's patronizing tone (the fact that it "means well" only makes it more annoying). Thankfully, the super-attractive sisters make it vaguely watchable. (Andy Spletzer) Broadway Market

Olympic Glory
International athletes and adrenaline junkies show off their skills and defy gravity at the 1998 Winter Olympics at Nagano. Omnidome

Out of Season
A lesbian love story set in a small beach community, about an unexpected romance between a diner cook and a woman caring for her dying uncle. Directed by Jeanette L. Buck. Thurs Dec 16 at 4:50, 7, 9:10. Varsity Calendar

The first wave of a Japanese invasion? See that which has brainwashed a generation of American children. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Pacific Place 11

Ride With the Devil
Ang Lee's thoughtful look at the defining time in the history of America: the Civil War. Featuring Jewel in a supporting role. Reviewed this issue. Uptown

Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne's portrait of a poverty-stricken but determined girl who tries to find independence and a better existence. Obstacles, of course, ensue. Winner of the Palm d'Or at this year's Cannes festival. (Bruce Reid) Broadway Market, Egyptian

Like Abbott & Costello, DeNiro & Scorsese, or even peanut butter & jelly, Hollywood producer David Selznick and suspense master/director Alfred Hitchcock collaborated and combined their strengths and talents, and produced memorable, impressive results. The pair's work -- Rebecca, Spellbound, Notorious, and The Paradine Case -- will be shown (in new 35mm prints) this week. Fri-Tues Dec 17-21, five days only; see Movie Times for details. Egyptian

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 Grimm's 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, Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Varsity

The Source
A documentary about the Beat Generation, and all the major players (Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg) of the bohemian cultural movement during the '50s and '60s. With the exception of the dramatic readings of seminal beat texts by Johnny Depp (who does an excellent Kerouac), Dennis Hopper (who does an okay Burroughs), and John Turturro (who does a terrible Ginsberg), this film offers notthing new, expecially to us old and still-in-denial beats. (Charles Mudede) Metro

*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. (Bruce Reid) Broadway Market

Stuart Little
The least realistic computer animated character ever (have you seen the ad?) cavorts and gambols through this certain travesty of E.B. White's classic. Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Talk Cinema
The last of session of this Sunday morning series, devoted to "secretly" screening upcoming independent, art house, and foreign films. Post-film discussions are moderated by guest speakers. Sun Dec 19 at 10 am, $15; call 800-551-9221 for more details. Pacific Place 11

*Toy Story 2
In the tradition of The Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, and Bride of Frankenstein, Toy Story 2 is a sequel that's even better than the original. Because this is essentially a kids' film, the outcome's a foregone conclusion, but it's still a total blast, from its trick beginning to its all-is-well ending. Even the bad guys don't get punished in a mean way. Most ingeniously, the film manages to poke fun at mass consumerism and collector-mania while still inducing a desire to purchase at least one of the film's toys. (Gillian G. Gaar) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

Tumbleweeds is refreshingly free of Hollywood comment. That is to say, it's without swelling music cues, and is populated by average-looking folk whose epiphanies, if they have them, float by without "potential Oscar clip" tattooed on their backsides. Affecting moments come and go, and it doesn't take long to realize that nothing much is going to happen. It's not much longer before you decide you're really going to like this film, which thrives on the subtle wonders of its two lead performances. Janet McTeer and Kimberly J. Brown have ease and comfort between them, and their quicksilver transitions from frustration to affection give Tumbleweeds the right to call itself an original. (Steve Wiecking) Uptown

The War Zone
Tim Roth proves as rivetting behind the camera as he is in front, with his directorial debut about a family collapsing due to the monstrous, incestuous father. Reviewed this issue. Broadway Market

The World Is Not Enough
Instead of giving the Bond bad guys something to do, the story tosses in Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist in hotpants, and the rest of the film is pure paint-by-numbers. Michael Apted proves to be so bad at directing action that even when Brosnan and Richards are disarming a nuclear bomb aboard some sort of speeding tunnel contraption at 70 mph, I was forced to stifle a yawn. Even the flashy credit sequence is dull. After 19 films, maybe Grandpa needs to go to bed. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Meridian 16, Metro, Northgate, Redmond Town Center, Southcenter

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