BEYOND THE MAT -- Meridian 16, Metro, others

DETERENCE -- Varsity

ERIN BROCKOVICH -- Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, others

FINAL DESTINATION -- Pacific Place 11, others


MIFUNE -- Harvard Exit



CARTOON NOIR -- Varsity Calendar

FALLEN ANGELS -- Little Theatre

FILMS OF JIRI MENZEL -- Grand Illusion

FREE RADIO -- Speakeasy



LATCHO DROM/FLAMENCO -- Varsity Calendar


THE RAVEN TRILOGY -- Grand Illusion

SALT OF THE EARTH -- Seattle Musicians' Union Hall


SPIDER BABY 2000 -- Grand Illusion





TICKLE TORTURE FILMS -- Seattle Art Museum, UW Ethnic Cultural Theatre

WE SPEAK FOR THE TREES -- 911 Media Arts


March 24 -- Here on Earth, Whatever It Takes, Waking the Dead, Kadosh, Such a Long Journey

March 31 -- The Skulls, The Road to El Dorado, High Fidelity, Whipped, The Silence, A Moment of Innocence, The Price of Glory


*All About My Mother
Pedro Almodovar's highly acclaimed new film, a mature look at women (with the obligatory drag queen). Metro

American Beauty
Entertaining fluff. Take your typical suburban satire (midlife crisis, bitchy wife, disaffected youth), throw in some admittedly excellent performances, and what you get is the front-runner in this year's Oscar race. (Andy Spletzer) Aurora Cinema Grill, Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Guild 45th, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Antonio Gaudi/Baraka
Double feature! An exploration of Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi's unique, whimsical, and sometimes erotic works, shown with Baraka, Ron Fricke's "visual tone poem" spanning 24 countries. Thurs March 16: Antonio Gaudi at 4:10, 7:30, and Baraka at 5:40, 9. Egyptian

Asian American Short Films
Part 2 in the series AxA: Multi-Directions in Asian American Film & Video is called "Within/Beyond: Asian American Women & Film," featuring shorts that challenge the stereotype of Asian females. A filmmaker panel will follow the screening. Thurs March 16 at 3:30, 5:30, FREE. The Wing Luke Asian Museum

*Being John Malkovich
It's the best film of 1999, and it has a monkey in it. Coincidence? We don't think so. Meridian 16, Varsity

Beyond the Mat
Beyond the Mat is a documentary that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the world of pro wrestling. First time director Barry W. Blaustein is an unabashed wrestling fan, providing near-reverential narration ("I don't why I like it, I just always have") and a surprisingly poignant depiction of his subjects. The most harrowing footage has the wife and children of wrestler Mick Foley (a.k.a. Mankind) breaking down in tears and screams as they watch Daddy being pummeled on the head with a metal folding chair. Wrestling comes across as an addiction for men like Terry Funk, whose arthritic knees can't keep him from the ring, as well as Jake "The Snake" Roberts, a fallen star who's forsaken his family for life on the road, boa constrictor in tow. You won't figure out why wrestling's so popular, but like the best bout, it's a helluva show. (Gillian G. Gaar) Meridian 16, Metro, others

*Boys Don't Cry
Bellingham native Hilary Swank deserves every accolade she's received for her portrayal of Brandon Teena, a boy born in a girl's body, who was killed by hateful people who couldn't, or just wouldn't, understand. Broadway Market

Cartoon Noir
A feature-length collection of animated shorts that avoid the cold perfection and boring cleanliness of digital, computer-soaked work. Fri-Mon March 17-20 at (Sat-Sun 2, 3:50), 5:40, 7:30, 9:20. Varsity Calendar

The Cider House Rules
Based on the John Irving novel, a period piece about life and abortion. Aurora Cinema Grill, Guild 45th, Uptown

The Closer You Get
A group of rural Irish blokes put an ad in the Miami Herald looking for young and sexy American brides. Isn't that funny? Well, the Irish lasses get their revenge by inviting a bunch of Spanish fishermen to the big dance. Laughing yet? The only funny line has to do with drunkenness. After being 86'd by the only pub in town, the main character (Ian Hart) says, "That's okay. It's not like I'm an alcoholic or anything. I can always drink at home." Ah yes, the Irish. Whatta buncha drunks. (Andy Spletzer) Meridian 16, Seven Gables

A cheap rip-off of the classic nuke thriller Fail Safe. Starring Turk 182! Varsity

Drowning Mona
A wacky comedy about a really mean woman (Bette Midler), and the town that is happy to see her die. Aurora Cinema Grill, Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11

Erin Brockovich
Julia Roberts is Norma Rae! Sound terrible? Well, in supergreat director Steven Soderbergh's hands, it just might be brilliant! Reviewed this issue. Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, others

*Fallen Angels
Hipster Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai's (Chung King Express) action/art film explores an underworld of neon-lit style and neo-new wave. "Visually voluptuous," says the Village Voice. See also Stranger Suggests. Thurs-Sun March 16-19 at 5:30, 7:30, 9:30. Little Theatre

Six glorious weeks of weekend screenings, showcasing the works of humorist/humanist Czech New Wave filmmaker Jirí Menzel. In Capricious Summer (1967), a priest, an ex-major, and a bathhouse manager in a sleepy resort town experience a "coming of middle age" together as a magician and his gorgeous assistant arrive in town. Sat-Sun March 18-19 at noon. Grand Illusion

Final Destination
Just because a director comes from The X-Files doesn't mean he's clever. At least Final Destination doesn't have one of those Jacob's Ladder or Sixth Sense trick endings. That's the best I can say about it, outside of the fact that a couple of the deaths in this "mood piece" are really funny. Unfortunately, it's not a comedy. Okay, so when a boy has a vision about the plane he's about to take crashing in a big fiery ball, he freaks out and gets kicked off the plane, along with several other people. Then the plane crashes. Spooky. But you can't cheat death, and so the survivors start dying, one by one. That's the point of the movie. You can't cheat death. It never gets any more clever or complex than that. If you must cheat, then sneak into a screening without paying. That'll show 'em. (Andy Spletzer) Pacific Place 11, others

*Free Radio
Shot entirely on video, San Francisco filmmaker Kevin Keyser's smart, fascinating documentary about the phenomenon of "micropower broadcasting" is an exciting crash course on the history and current state of struggling, illegal indie radio stations across the country. The impressive group of free radio activists he rounded up tell their tales effectively, boast about their burgeoning successes, and vent about the greedy FCC. There's also the often funny sound bites from FCC reps and other suits, stuttering in official tones about "interference" and "potential dangers." Several experts respond with counterpoints about First Amendment rights and fighting corporate power -- instantly inspiring you to flick on your little Realistic and search for the first tinny hints of a revolution taking place on the cramped airwaves. Fri March 17 at 6, 9:15, $5 (benefit for Studio X, a new local netcasting facility). (Min Liao) Speakeasy

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Jim Jarmusch's take on the action genre. Starring Forest Whitaker. Reviewed this issue. Neptune

*Holy Smoke
Ruth (Kate Winslet), on vacation in India, attends the religious service of a guru and falls head over heels into it. Her family fears she's been brainwashed, so they force Ruth into meeting with cult deprogrammer P. J. Waters (Harvey Keitel), flown in from America at great expense. Inevitably, sex becomes a way to balance their power relationship. The two leads deserve credit for such brave, honest performances, but save most of the praise for director Jane Campion, once again pushing everything to its bitter conclusion and then, surprisingly but coherently, going past even that. (Bruce Reid) Harvard Exit

Independent Exposure
Once again, Independent Exposure has a fine list of short films to offer. The most abstract short of the month is called "Matrix Variant," a hypnotic series of mutating shapes and patterns accompanied by soft electronic music. The longest short is a comic look at the mechanics of modern capitalism, called "Lunch Money," by Fudd Films. And finally, the best short is "Portrait of Lloyd," by Lisa Shannon, which looks at a day in the life of an old alcoholic, whose thoughts are barely coherent and whose heart is still bitter about his marriage to a woman who is now long dead. Thurs March 23 at 7:30, $4. (Charles Mudede) Speakeasy

The impressive lineup of Jewish cinema (documentaries, features, and shorts) continues through the weekend, with additional screenings of the previously sold-out Yana's Friends on Mon-Tues March 20-21. Call 622-6315 or visit for more details. See Movie Times for specific showtimes. . City Centre

Latcho Drom/Flamenco
A double feature, consisting of Tony Gatlif's music-enhanced journey tracing the 1,000+ year history of the Roms ("gypsies"); and Carlos Saura's cinematic love letter to the vibrant color and energy of the art of Flamenco. Tues-Thurs March 21-23; Latcho Drom at 7:30, and Flamenco at 5:25, 9:35. Varsity Calendar

A rare group of contemporary, experimental (read: goatee-stroke-inducing, clove-cigarette-smoking, smarty-artsy) shorts by women. The first series focuses on collage, Super-8 assemblages, and found footage; the second series consists of international perspectives on the human psyche. Thurs-Sun March 23-26 at 5:30, 7:30, 9:30. Little Theatre

A Map of the World
Sigourney Weaver pulls out all the emotional stops in a performance that's being hailed as one of those great, emotional performances. The movie's not supposed to be all that good, though. Broadway Market

Immediately after his wedding to the boss' daughter -- a move we quickly gather was motivated less by love than as another step up the corporate ladder -- Kresten gets a phone call informing him that his father has died. "You never told me you had a father," the new bride complains. "I didn't want you to know I come from the sticks and have a retarded brother," he explains. Given that set-up, it shouldn't come as any surprise that the mercenary, soulless Kresten mellows during his sojourn at the country house, that he actually learns something about life from his brother, and that when a hooker gets worked into the plot as a new housekeeper, she turns out to have a heart of gold. This is the latest effort under the Dogme95 banner, which only conclusively proves that all the interesting gimmicks in the world (and Dogme has been one of the more entertaining) can't help a story as dull, hackneyed, and offensive as this. (Bruce Reid) Harvard Exit

Miss Julie
I would like to hate Mike Figgis, but I can't. I'm a sucker for pretentious films, and Mike Figgis (along with Peter Greenaway) makes the most pretentious films in the world. His latest effort, Miss Julie, is based on a play by Swedish playwright August Strindberg, written in 1884. Set during a midsummer festival, it's about a neurotic nobleman's daughter (Saffron Burrows) who seduces an ambitious footman (Peter Mullan) in a big kitchen. I have to be honest: I liked this film for the very reasons many will despise it: the pretentious photography (entirely shot with a hand-held camera), the pretentious editing, and the pretentious screenplay. (Charles Mudede) Pacific Place 11

Mission to Mars
One thing I don't need -- nor, frankly, ever thought I would see -- is a feel-good Brian De Palma film, yet the director's latest hired-gun assignment proves just that, an attempt to show off De Palma's soft and tender side. Guess what? Not only doesn't he have one, that lack is precisely what gives his best films their unique, demented kick. Without it, Mission to Mars is exactly what the ads look like: a misty-eyed and misty-headed sci-fi tale so proud of its naive, half-baked ideas about heroism, honor, and The Meaning of It All, it never realizes what a thoroughly dull and predictable mess it is. (This, instead of what I had hoped the ads were hinting at; namely, a vicious satire/rip-off of Kubrick's 2001!) De Palma, the professional, can't help but pull off the suspense scenes with flair, and they offer the few lively moments; but De Palma the cynic -- the one I'm more fond of -- should've used his slasher expertise to eviscerate the script. (Bruce Reid) Cinerama, Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Metro, Northgate, Pacific Place 11, Southcenter

My Dog Skip
Another heartwarming tale of a boy and his dog. Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

The Next Best Thing
Rupert Everett knocks up Madonna and they decide to keep the baby, despite the fact that he's gay and she's not! Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

The Ninth Gate
Johnny Depp, playing a dealer of antique books, gets involved in a mission to open the ninth gate of hell, thus springing Satan. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

In the first scene of Orphans, four siblings gather around the open casket of their mother, who is to be buried the following day. Each of these adult children of the dead Scottish mum snips off a lock of hair and lays it on her corpse -- a piece of themselves to follow her into the hereafter. It's the most uplifting moment in this relentlessly depressing, nihilistic, and violent film. In the 24 trying hours which elapse between the opening scene and the funeral, one of the brothers is stabbed, the sister falls out of her wheelchair twice, two drunks play darts on a gagged barkeep's ass, a delivery boy decimates his leg with a shotgun, and the roof of a church is blown off in a flash storm, crushing the Virgin Mary statue. Writer-director Peter Mullen should receive some kind of award -- say, Most Unremitting Downer of the New Millennium. (Rick Levin) Uptown

Pitch Black
A small crew is stranded on a desert planet, and they must escape before the eclipse brings out all the nasty monsters that are afraid of the light. Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Pacific Place 11

Three Viking epics from Icelandic director Hrafn Gunnlaugsson premiere in Seattle this week. The first, 1984's When the Raven Flies, is the revenge story of a hunky, Christian Irishman who hunts down his parents' killers (damn Vikings!) all the way to Iceland. Gunnlaugsson's famed attention to historical detail is evident here, right down to the furry little ponies ridden bareback by grimy, scraggly warriors, their shoes barely missing the ground. The ubiquitous battle scenes are presented in classic spaghetti-Western style, with our lone hero exhibiting superhuman fighting and survival skills. The suspenseful tale is enhanced by a snappy soundtrack, though at times the pan flute gets a bit too reminiscent of Jethro Tull. Both Shadow of the Raven (1988) and White Viking (1991) continue the theme of "violence only begets violence," and further explore the clash in medieval Iceland between paganism and Christianity, but with more of an even-handed treatment of the two. When the Raven Flies, Fri-Sat March 17-18 at (Sat 2:45), 4:45, 7, 9:30 (director will attend Fri at 7 & 9:30); Shadow of the Raven, Sun-Mon March 19-20 at (Sun 2), 4:30, 7, 9:30; and White Viking, Tues-Thurs March 21-23 at 4:30, 7, 9:30. (Melody Moss) Grand Illusion

*Rear Window
Voyeur in a wheelchair gets his come-uppance when he witnesses a murder and tries to do something about it. Harvard Exit

Reindeer Games
The movie opens with five dead Santas, then flashes back to show the stupid criminals whose actions led up to that situation. Starring dopey Ben Affleck, which is countered by the fact that it's directed by veteran John Frankenheimer. Metro, Pacific Place 11, Red-mond Town Center

Jet Li stars in this martial arts, gangland version of Romeo and Juliet. Starts Wed March 22. Metro, others

Salt of the Earth
The Labor Documentary Series continues with this tale of injustice, class, ethnicity, and feminism in the workplace. Salt of the Earth chronicles the Empire Zinc Mine strike, and inspires viewers to demand social change. Discussion to follow. Fri March 17 at 7, FREE, donations accepted. Seattle Musicians' Union Hall

A full week of entertaining, modern films from that sweet, politically neutral region of blond, fair-skinned, extremely happy people. See Stranger Movie Times for detailed listings. Sat-Fri March 18-24, at the King Cat Theater and the Broadway Performance Hall. Opening and Closing Nights, $17; individual screenings, $8; call 682-1770 for more info. Reviewed this issue. Broadway Performance Hall, King Cat Theater

*Showgirls w/David Schmader
Showgirls, the Paul Verhoeven/Joe Eszerhas (also known as Team T&A) debacle, has achieved a tremendous cult following among those who love camp 'n' catfights. So who better to narrate the film -- in the tradition of Mystery Science Theatre -- than our own David Schmader? It'll be a scream, we promise. Wed March 22 at 8. Little Theatre

Spider Baby 2000
The 1964 bizarre classic, about the eery home life of the demented Merrye family, who all suffer from a mental disease that causes them to regress to a psycho-infantile state of savagery and cannibalism. With Lon Chaney Jr. as the sick & twisted family's caretaker and chauffeur. Fri-Sat March 17-18 at 11:30. Grand Illusion

The Stendhal Syndrome
After watching this truly awful film, I've decided that one doesn't watch Dario Argento's movies for quality filmmaking; one watches them because their stupidity is truly shocking. Stendhal Syndrome (1996) is about a beautiful police officer, Asia Argento (yes, the director's daughter), who is brutally raped not once but twice by a "depraved slasher" (the graphic depiction of which deserves no comment). Asia is also afflicted by a bizarre phenomenon known as Stendhal syndrome, which is "a psychological reaction to artwork that makes the viewer fall unconscious." I don't know how this odd "psychological reaction" and the rapist's rampage across Rome are linked, and I suspect the director doesn't either. What matters here is not the art history mumbo-jumbo, but the hyper-graphic depiction of hyper-violent acts -- the real reason why many adore Argento's stupid films. Fri-Sat March 17-18 at midnight. (Charles Mudede) Egyptian

Strategies for Success
A FREE workshop for fledgling local non-profit groups! The focus will be on producing promotional media projects, and how to use resources like video and the web more effectively. Wed March 22 at 7, FREE. 911 Media Arts

Such A Long Journey
Roshan Seth is featured in this elaborately moral comedy (with a twist of Kafka) about a Bombay bank clerk whose life takes a turn toward dissolution when he does a favor for a shady old friend. Part of the Shooting Gallery Film Series. The "club night" screening is Mon March 20 at 7, $15, and includes a discussion afterward. Call 877-905-3456 for more info. Uptown

*The Terrorist
(India, 1998) Santosh Sivan's beautifully photographed tale of a 19-year-old revolutionary's decision to become a suicide bomber. Fri-Thurs March 17-23 at (Sat-Sun 1:30, 3:30), 5:30, 7:30, 9:30. Reviewed this issue. Egyptian

Tickle Torture Films
A nine-film tour of HIGH-larious short films from Northwest filmmakers. The screening on Sat March 18 will benefit the production of another in-progress and undoubtedly funny short film, Peeping Tom Theatre, while additional screenings at the UW Ethnic Cultural Theatre will be strictly for profit and laughs. Titles include Trevor Fife's Steaming Weenies, Jesse Wine's International House of Feet, and Dan Monaghan's The Dirt on Mom. Sat March 18 at Seattle Art Museum at 7, $12 (benefit); Thurs-Sun March 23-26 at UW Ethnic Cultural Theatre, (Sat-Sun 4:30), 6:30 and 8:30, $6. Seattle Art Museum, UW Ethnic Cultural Theatre

The Tigger Movie
From the fever dreams of Christopher Robin comes this movie about a maniac tigger who gets into all kinds of trouble. Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

Movie based on the early, violent play by William Shakespeare, with plenty of scenery chewed by Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. Broadway Market

Director Mike Leigh takes his flair for social realism and points it straight at the Victorian struggles of mediocre artists/high-minded entertainers, Gilbert and Sullivan. Broadway Market

We Speak for the Trees
A batch of passionate documentaries about the fading beauty and presence of trees and wilderness, and the struggles that environmentalists endure to protect them from destruction. Includes Luna: The Stafford Giant Tree Sit, which chronicles the two-year political statement made by famed tree-hugger Julia "Butterfly" of Northern California. Thurs March 23 at 8, $4. 911 Media Arts

Garry Shandling plays a horny alien sent to Earth on an intergalactic mission to woo and impregnate a single female of the species. As a comedy, it's gutless and predictable; as a romance, it's as cold and lonely as deep space. (Rick Levin) Uptown

The Whole Nine Yards
Matthew Perry freaks when he discovers a professional killer (Bruce Willis) has moved in next door. Hilarity, of course, ensues. Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

Wonder Boys
Any film that can make an audience stomach Michael Douglas is a minor accomplishment. Curtis Hanson's film does more than that -- this is Douglas' finest performance in years. Vulnerability is far from his forte (and so is likability, for that matter), but somehow Douglas relaxes into a casual, harried weakness, and it's actually his reserve that allows you to believe that so much of what happens could unfold so naturally. Hanson, fresh from the success of L.A. Confidential, wisely stays cool and lets his camera pick up the quirks as they come. There's an appealing looseness to the dialogue, yet when Douglas says he has to save Toby Maguire because "sometimes people just need to be rescued," like the film around it, the scene has a gentle gravity. (Steve Wiecking) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

From the director of Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion comes the millennial adventure X, in which the fate of humankind rests on one young man's shoulders. Varsity Calendar, Metro

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