OPENINGThe 24 Hour Woman--Metro, Pacific Place 11 Affliction--Meridian 16, Redmond Town

Center, Seven Gables Jawbreaker--City Center, Factoria, Grand

Lewis & Clark October Sky--Factoria, Grand Alderwood,

Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree Office Space--Factoria, Grand Alderwood,

Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

REPERTORY & REVIVAL5000 Fingers of Dr. T--Little Theater Black History Month Movies--Seattle

University Black History Month Screenings--New

Freeway Hall Destiny--Egyptian Experimental Films--911 Media Arts FLAV'A FEST--911 Media Arts, Alibi Room,

Henry Art Gallery, Kane Hall HASKELL WEXLER--Grand Illusion Incredibly Strange Films--Cinema 18 Independent Exposure--Speakeasy Leaving Las Vegas--Seattle Art Museum Pecker--Egyptian Reet, Petite, & Gone--Grand Illusion Shockproof--Grand Illusion Struggles in Steel--Seattle Musicians'

Union Hall Survival Research Laboratories--Little

Theater Talk Cinema--Pacific Place 11 UNIVERSAL HORROR--Egyptian

COMING SOONFebruary 26--8mm, Close Up, 200 Cigarettes, Deep End of the Ocean, The Other Sister, The Lady from Shanghai

March 5--Cruel Intentions, Analyze This, A Hard Day's Night, Pushing Tin, Windhorse, Bably Geniuses, Steam: The Turkish Bath

MOVIES & EVENTSThe 24 Hour Woman--I love Rosie Perez. She radiates the kind of manic energy that inspires me, when I experience it (about once every five years), to vacuum out the trunk of my car. Perez has found a more lucrative way to channel this energy: portraying manic women on film. Here, Perez plays television producer Grace who, freshly married to her show's co-host Eddie (Diego Serrano), unexpectedly finds herself expecting. At first, since the pregnancy boosts her show's TV ratings, she's okay with it, but soon begins to wonder how she's going to manage to do it all. When the child arrives it's clear she can't, and the ensuing onslaught of obligations sends Grace over the edge. Director Nancy Savoca does a nice job of juxtaposing daytime TV baby hype with the real thing, and she doesn't give in to a happy ending, but in the end the film comes off as blearily didactic. (Traci Vogel) Metro, Pacific Place 11

5000 Fingers of Dr. T--A new 35mm print of this Dr. Seuss classic about a boy who has nightmares about his piano teacher. Sat-Sun Feb 20-21 & 27-28 at 1, 3. The Little Theater

Affliction--Paul Schrader's much lauded adaptation of the Russell Banks novel, starring the Oscar-nominated Nick Nolte and James "F**kin'" Coburn! Reviewed this issue. Meridian 16, Redmond Town Center, Seven Gables

Alaska: Spirit of the Wild--More of a nature documentary than a ghost story. Omnidome

American History X--Racist skinhead goes to jail and learns the error of his ways. Starring Ed Norton. Pacific Place 11

Beavers--Find out what makes them so darn eager. Pacific Science Center

Black History Month Movies--In celebration of Black History Month, Seattle University is hosting screenings and lectures in their easy to find Shafer Auditorium. Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown plays Fri Feb 19. Free movie with free popcorn. Seattle University

Black History Month Movies--Two short documentaries about the 1940s all-female, multiracial jazz band: International Sweethearts of Rhythm and Tiny & Ruby: Hell Divin' Women. Wheelchair accessible. Dinner at 6:30, films at 7:30, call 722-6057 for more information. New Freeway Hall

Blast From the Past--Basically, this is a Cold War Encino Man. After 35 years of living in a fallout shelter with his parents, who believe a nuclear holocaust occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Adam (Brendan Fraser) emerges on the surface in Los Angeles in search of supplies and a woman to marry. Cue romantic hilarity! As Adam wows L.A. hipsters with his simple head, he woos a young, cynical woman conveniently named Eve (Alicia Silverstone) with his simple heart. Blast From the Past is harmless tripe, quickly produced and quickly forgotten. The cute moments number in the hundreds but they add up to nothing, so your smile evaporates even before you reach the car. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Uptown

Central Station--Dora (Fernanda Montenegro), who writes letters for the illiterate poor, takes in Josue (Vinicius de Oliveira) after his mother his killed. Walter Salles' affecting new film risks sentimentality in order to steer close to issues of the human heart, but it's blessed by two impeccable performances from Montenegro and de Oliveira. (Matthew Stadler) Broadway Market

A Civil Action--A hotshot lawyer (John Travolta) takes on big business. Pacific Place 11

Destiny--Director Youssef Chahine was 71 when he made this film two years ago, and there's an old pro's confidence in the combination of high-minded idealism and audience-grabbing melodrama used to tell the story. Set in 12th-century Andalusia, the humanist philosopher Averroes, a high judge, educates the caliph's two sons. The region's healthy pluralism, though, is under threat from religious fanatics who brook no deviation from their interpretation of the Koran. There's plenty of other stories--and characters--along the way designed to keep you entertained. Some of these step over the line and become ridiculous; and compared to Elizabeth's murky conspiracies, the sun-drenched political intrigues here seem simplistic in their clear division between right and wrong. I understand why Chahine--whose last film was banned in Egypt after pressure from religious extremists--would see things in such black and white terms, but despite several skillfully directed scenes there's not nearly enough complexity to keep things interesting, however many storylines he throws in. Mon-Thurs Feb 22-25 at 4:15, 7, 9:45. (Bruce Reid) Egyptian

*Elizabeth--This film details the ascension of queen Elizabeth; her transformation from a naîve and sensual girl into a hard-hearted ruler who chopped off the heads of her enemies. Kapur films this brutal tale with a vibrancy and urgency matched by no other British or French costume drama. He photographs his subject, the pale and rosy Cate Blanchett, with the same shameless affection with which Josef Von Sternberg's camera captured Marlene Dietrich. There's also a splendid performance by the Australian actor Geoffrey Rush as the somber security chief to her Majesty the Queen. (Charles Mudede) Guild 45th, Meridian 16

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

Experimental Films--A screening of nine films by local avant garde filmmakers Jon Behrens and Steve Creson, including the newly minted Why Does Carol Eat Brown Bread. Thurs Feb 18 at 8, $4. 911 Media Arts

FLAV'A FEST--The fourth annual Seattle Black Film and Video Festival presents FLAV'A FEST IV, with script readings, film, video, and multimedia presentations, and a closing night celebration. This week: a script reading Monday at the Alibi Room; a free screening of America's Dream, about the post-slavery South; a multimedia performance, California Screaming, at the Henry Art Gallery on Wednesday; and a screening of Drylongso at UW's Kane Hall. More to follow. Mon-Sun Feb 22-28; call 682-6552 for more info. 911 Media Arts, Alibi Room, Henry Art Gallery, Kane Hall

*The General--A romp through the modern Irish underworld by veteran director John Boorman. Martin "The General" Cahill was an annoyance to the IRA as well as the police up until August 18, 1994, when he was shot to death in front of his home. Boorman starts the picture with Cahill's murder, then actually runs the film backward before moving into a flamesashback of a young Cahill stealing food in the Hollyfield slums. Right off the bat, he establishes a light but respectful touch, and a quick pace that packs a lot of information into an easy-to-follow story. As Cahill, Brendan Gleeson is the perfect mix of charm, kindness, and cruelty, while Jon Voight, as the police detective who could never quite catch him, layers in a begrudging admiration for the man nevertheless. (Andy Spletzer) Metro

*Gods and Monsters--Excellent film about the death (and life) of James Whale, one of Hollywood's first "out" gay directors, and famous for Frankenstein and his bride. Broadway Market

HASKELL WEXLER--The Grand Illusion and the Little Theater continue their tribute to Haskell Wexler, one of the greatest American cinematographers of all time, with a whole buncha movies. Grand Illusion, The Little Theater

Hilary and Jackie--Based on the true story of the world famous cellist Jacqueline du Pré, the explosive Emily Watson plays Jackie, and the more sedate Rachel Griffiths plays her sister Hilary. The film depicts Jackie's rise to international fame, and then, of course, her inevitable fall to death. Though predictable direction (by Anand Tucker) works counter to the film's goals, I have a bigger bone to pick with it: I'm tired of the films which portray brilliant woman as neurotic, cold, and sterile. (Charles Mudede) Harvard Exit

Incredibly Strange Films--The Acme Cinema Group presents films from 1920-1980, which include (according to their press release) "weird satanic stag films, propaganda films about how safe DDT is, drivers ed films, weird drug scare films, Nazi propaganda films..." and more. Sat-Sun Feb 20-21 at 8, $5. Cinema 18

Independent Exposure--Blackchair Productions' short film and video program returns with various works by international film, video, and digital artists, with a dual theme of Valentine's Day and Black History Month. Thurs Feb 25 at 7:30, $4. Speakeasy

Jawbreaker--If the latest batch of teen flicks are starting to grate, you might enjoy chomping down on this hot rock. The setting's another SoCal high school, but the mood is strictly black comedy, referencing everything from Carrie to River's Edge to Heathers to Hole's "Miss World" video. Reagan High's top clique of babelicious babes have accidentally killed one of their buds. Not only that, there's a witness: nerdier-than-thou Fern Mayo (Judy Evan Greer). What to do? Clique leader Courtney, aka "Satan in high heels" (Rose McGowan), buys Fern off by letting her join the gang. A quick makeover later, and Fern becomes "Vylette." But does a conscience still beat within? While you wait to find out, check out the raft of hip bit players: Marilyn Manson, without makeup, as a sleazy barfly; Pam Grier as foxy Detective Vera Cruz; Jeff Conaway (Grease's Kenickie) as a befuddled daddy, and the Donnas as the house band at the senior prom. (Gillian G. Gaar) City Center, Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark

Leaving Las Vegas--In this segment of the ongoing series sponsored by the Northwest Alliance for Psychoanalytic Study, Mike Figgis' acclaimed film about a man trying to drink himself to death provides an excellent case study in self-destruction. Fri Feb 19 at 7, $7. Seattle Art Museum

Life Is Beautiful--Like any good comedian, Roberto Benigni (and his co-writer Vincenzo Cerami) knows how to plant the seed for a gag early on, to let it sit, then return to it much later for the payoff. The opening, which seems so frivolous, is all groundwork for what Benigni knows will be the toughest sell of his life: comedy in the Nazi camps. Employing the understatement and flamesair for timing that comedy requires, Benigni captures detail after detail in a far more devastating way than more earnest films on the subject could manage. (Bruce Reid) Harvard Exit, Redmond Town Center

Little Voice--The only reason to see this film is to hear Jane Horrocks sing a bunch of cover songs. Is that any reason to go see a movie? (Andy Spletzer) Broadway Market

Message in a Bottle--Theresa Osborne (Robin Wright Penn) finds a bottle on the beach. Inside is a note--a cheesy love poem written to a woman named "Catherine." Obsessed, Theresa sets-out to find the note's author. The man she tracks down is a sad widower named Garret Blake (Kevin Costner), who lives a quiet life rebuilding boats. After a whirlwind courtship, they fall in love. But can Theresa get Garrett to get over his dead wife? The answer is, who cares? Message In a Bottle is dull, dull, dull--a romance that goes nowhere, and all the sweeping music in the world can't save it. Costner plays his character as if he were a retarded little boy, completely undermining Penn's "strong female character" (if she's so strong and intelligent, why does she fall in love with a retard?). Only Paul Newman rises above this sap, and that's because--well, because he's Paul Newman. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

My Favorite Martian--The Disney live-action well continues to run dry, here with another big screen TV remake, this one starring Christopher Loyd. Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

My Name Is Joe--For the first, glorious two-thirds of this movie, it's something wholly new and unexpected: a romantic comedy, Ken Loach style. Joe is a recovering alcoholic on the dole, and Sarah is a social worker too kind and committed to be beaten down by the misery she sees daily. As they fumble into a relationship we're with them all the way; it doesn't hurt that the two actors are so wonderful in their roles. But Ken Loach will be Ken Loach, and some part of him won't let these two decent people be happy. So a drug-wrecked younger couple gets dragged in for Joe to look after, and some vicious gangsters that could have come from any movie. The director should rewatch his own Raining Stones and remind himself that sometimes ending a story just happy enough to get by is heartbreaking enough. The movie is very good; but I'm convinced a lighter touch would have made it even better. (Bruce Reid) Broadway Market

October Sky--NASA wants you! They want you to dream about Mars, to long for lunar landings, to drivel over spacers, saucers, and satellites. Why? Because they are sinking, because people have lost interest, because Carl Sagan is dead and the Cosmos died with him, because they need our tax money. Enter Hollywood: the desire factory. The two have shamelessly colluded to make October Sky, based on a unmemorable memoir called Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam Jr., a NASA engineer. Set at the time Sputnik orbited the sky and freaked America, this movie is about four working class Virginia boys, who against all odds win a big national science contest with their rocket theories. Yes, it's an American fable. There is, nevertheless, a great down-to-earth performance by Chris Cooper, of John Sayles fame (he always does that "I'm working-class down to the bone" thing so well!); but after that, you can forget this piece of sentimental propaganda. Look NASA, we don't care about space anymore. When will you folks get that thorough your heads? (Charles Mudede) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree

Office Space--The creator of Beavis and Butthead tries his hand at directing living, breathing actors in this Dilbert-esque send-up of corporate America. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

Patch Adams--Robin Williams plays hippie doctor Hunter "Patch" Adams who, after suffering a nervous breakdown and spending time in a mental hospital, decides to become a doctor so he can "help people." He does this by making an ass out of himself. (Bradley Steinbacher) Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16

*Payback--Porter (Mel Gibson) is double-crossed by his partner and his wife during a robbery, and is left for dead. He's not--at least, not physically. He becomes obsessed with retrieving his cut of the robbery, $70,000. Unfortunately, his ex-partner used the money to buy his way into "The Outfit" and can't easily get it back. Nobody can; there's too much bureaucracy. Initially, I was afraid this would be just another Mel Gibson action-comedy. It's violent, but not really a comedy. Once again, Mel Gibson is a guy with nothing to lose and little to gain, betrayed by life and barely surviving in a hostile world. The script is solid, with performances perfectly suited to the material. Using the same source material as John Boorman's Lee Marvin vehicle Point Blank, Payback holds its own, and should attract the same crowd that made Seven a success. Directed and co-written by L.A. Confidential's Brian Helgeland. (Andy Spletzer) Factoria, Meridian 16, Northgate, Redmond Town Center, Southcenter, Varsity

Pecker--John Waters satirizes New York art snobs by bringing them to Baltimore. A pleasant film that doesn't always work. Fri-Sat Feb 19-20 at midnight. Egyptian

*Reet, Petite, & Gone--These are great all-American musical films! The first is Rufus Jones for President, which features a very young Sammy Davis Jr., who is more a homunculus (a little man) than an actual boy, dancing and singing with a top hat on his head and a pork chop in his hands. His mother is played by a then-beautiful and very curvy Ethel "brick house" Waters, long before she became Ethel "chubby" Waters in Cabin in The Sky and Ethel "the mammy" Waters in Pinky. The other one, Reet, Petite, and Gone, stars Louis Jordan, the father of modern Rhythm-and-Blues (so the learned jazz scholar, Leonard Feather, claims). Jordan recently had something of a revival when Spike Lee used his infectious "Beans and Cornbread" song on his Malcolm X soundtrack (Louis Jordan is also to be found on the Swingers soundtrack singing the delightful tune "Knock Me a Kiss"). Both of these films may offend certain people, as they were made in the '30s and are by no means politically correct. Nevertheless, one can't help but admire with their pomp, their energy, their "good-time" jazz, and all of those full-bodied American woman. Yes, this was the age of long legs and sharp shoes. (Charles Mudede) Grand Illusion

Rushmore--You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a gushing review about Rushmore, but if you expect this new bitter-sweet comedy to be GREAT, then you're bound to be disappointed--but, thankfully, not too disappointed. Wes Anderson (of Bottle Rocket fame) directs, and the result is a bouncy, yet strangely unemotional confection. Max (Jason Schwartzman), a teen prep school dreamer, befriends a much older steel tycoon (Bill Murray). Max's scholastic life hits the fan when his plans to impress a teacher he's fallen for (Olivia Williams) gets him expelled. To make matters worse, Murray falls in love with the very same woman. In the end you're left with solid performances all the way around, a few good laughs, and otherwise not a lot to write home about. Walk, don't run. (Wm. Steven Humprey) Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Neptune, Redmond Town Center

Saving Private Ryan--Stephen Spielberg glamorizes WWII with this big, fake story of the search for a missing soldier. City Centre, Lewis & Clark, Varsity

Shakespeare in Love--Shakespeare in Love, the fictionalized story of the writing of Romeo and Juliet and the playwright's affair with a remarkable woman, who longs to act despite Elizabethan laws against females on stage, is the season's surprise hit. Certainly the idea is appealing: one of history's immortals, shown in his still-struggling youth, with eye-catching period details and a cast uniformly professional enough to carry it off with whimsy. But the film strains too much to flatter and please the audience, setting up predictable conflicts and getting out of them through the easiest ways possible. It's clever in a very simple way, content to show its hero as a great-man-in-waiting and its heroine as so improbably perfect she could only be a muse. (Bruce Reid) Factoria, Guild 45th, Lewis & Clark, Redmond Town Center, Uptown

She's All That--Hunky Zach (Freddie Prinze, Jr.)--senior class prez, sports star, and honor student (clearly a Type A personality here)--has been dumped by his airhead girlie, Taylor. Zach bets his friends he can take any other girl and, within weeks, turn her into a prom queen über-babe, though the gal chosen for the makeover (Rachael Leigh Cook) looks suspiciously babe-like from the beginning. A largely inoffensive way to kill an hour and a half. (Gillian G. Gaar) Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Pacific Place 11

Shockproof--This week's segment of the Grand Illusion's ongoing Sam Fuller series features a new 35mm print of this 1949 film, about a female ex-con involved in a love triangle, written by Fuller and directed by Douglas Sirk. Sun Feb 21 at 1, 3. Grand Illusion

*A Simple Plan--Hank (Bill Paxton), his brother Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton), and Jacob's drunk friend Lou (you wouldn't recognize the actor's name) find a bag of money in a crashed airplane and decide to keep it. Then their lives go to hell. Paxton is perfectly self-absorbed as the guy who thinks he's smarter than the rest, while Billy Bob Thornton is the heart of the film, giving a performance that makes the whole thing worthwhile. Directed by Sam Raimi. (Andy Spletzer) Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree

Simply Irresistible--Sara Michelle Gellar stars in an American remake of Like Water for Chocolate. She plays a bad cook who becomes a master chef of witchery and food thanks to a magic crab. Meridian 16, Redmond Town Center

Stepmom--Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts battle for the affection of Ed Harris' kids. What is truly astonishing about Stepmom is that its banal plot is carefully structured to side-step any political references and greater social concerns. The single function of this movie is to try and make the audience cry. (Charles Mudede) Pacific Place 11

Struggles in Steel--Part of the Winter Labor Video Series, this film examines black steel worker's experiences with racism. Abe Adams, legislative rep for Local 7945 of the United Steel Workers of America, will speak. Fri Feb 19 at 7, FREE. Seattle Musicians' Union Hall

Survival Research Laboratories--Two documentaries from the renowned collective Survival Research Laboratories, featuring enormous fighting robots: A Scenic Harvest from the Kingdom in Pain and The Pleasures of Uninhibited Excess. Thurs-Sun Feb 25-28 at 5, 7, 9. The Little Theater

Talk Cinema--A Sunday morning series of film previews of upcoming independent, art house, and foreign films, with post-film discussions moderated by guest speakers. This is a "surprise" package: audiences don't know which films will be shown or who the guest speakers will be. Children of Heaven and Affliction have already screened. Sun Feb 21 at 10am, $18; for more information call 1-800-551-9221 or visit www.talkcinema.com. Pacific Place 11

*The Thin Red Line--I don't think it's a great film, but as I talked about it with friends for hours afterwards, the movie rattled and shifted, refusing to settle down. A World War II movie with very little fighting and a gorgeous pantheistic salute to what must be every last species of flamesora and fauna found on the South Sea islands, The Thin Red Line is a portrait of humanity so intimate we're privy to the innermost thoughts of many of the characters, yet so distanced that most of them blur together into one mud-caked soldier. Is this all complex design or just confusion? Come to think of it, that's one of the questions the film asks, as it stares impassively at the beauty and the terror. (Bruce Reid) Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Varsity

UNIVERSAL HORROR--New 35 mm prints of classic Universal Studios horror films of the '30s and '40s, featuring goth faves Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, among others. Until Sun Feb 21.

Varsity Blues--Part coming-of-age drama, part teen sex-romp, Varsity Blues is completely harmless, never trying to reach beyond its limited intentions. It's the type of film 13-year-olds will think is stupid but will still go to see twice. If you are over 13, one screening is more than enough. (Bradley Steinbacher) Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11

Waking Ned Devine--This small Irish film tells the story of a town brought together by the death of a denizen who held a winning lottery ticket (Ned Devine, played with convincing rigor mortis by Jimmy Keogh). When a member of the town decides to impersonate Ned so that they can all claim the money, narrow misses and hilarity ensues. (Traci Vogel) Metro, Uptown

Whales--An up close and personal look at the largest mammals on earth. Omnidome

You've Got Mail--Basically, a re-tread of the proven Sleepless In Seattle formula: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan meet, act cute, and fall in love. Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11

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