COMING SOON

Billy Elliot, Blow Dry, Chain of Fools, Dream of Light, Eve, The Exorcist, From the Edge of the City, Goya in Bordeaux, Urban Legends: Final Cut, Urbania, Woman on Top


NEW THIS WEEK

Almost Famous
Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire) directs this autobiographical tale about a young boy getting insulted by rock critic Lester Bangs. Opens Fri Sept 15; see review this issue. Grand Alderwood, Guild 45th, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree

Bait
Jamie Foxx stars as another black man under surveillance by White America. Opens Fri Sept 15. Meridian 16, Oak Tree

*The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack
Folk music hero Ramblin' Jack Elliott learned to play guitar from Woody Guthrie, but taught his daughter other lessons. Opens Fri Sept 15; see review this issue. Broadway Market

*Being John Malkovich
It's the best film of 1999, and it has a monkey in it. Coincidence? We don't think so. Fri-Sat Sept 15-16. Egyptian

*Benjamin Smoke
Riveting, beautifully composed, funny, sad, and spilling over with excellent music, this sublime film should not be missed. Opens Fri Sept 15; see review this issue. Varsity Calendar

Duets
Why see this mishmash of cheesy product placements and a dozen contradictory genres? Not for Gwyneth as a skinny showgirl doing karaoke--see what I mean about contradictions? For Paul Giamatti. You may have forgotten his name, but his head and jowls make a figure eight, bags like eggcups under his eyes--first-rate comic apparatus. The script gives him nothing, the camera is either up his nose or jerking off in some awkward middle distance, and still he made me laugh out loud singing "Hello, It's Me." If he had two solos instead of one, I would recommend the movie. (Barley Blair) Opens Fri Sept 15. Metro

Going Places
Northwest Film Forum helps keep Super-8 alive with a lovely evening of lovingly made Super-8 "postcards." To submit a film, contact deb@wigglyworld.org, or call 329-2629. Wed Sept 20. Little Theatre

*Hiroshima, Mon Amour
The first 12 minutes of Alain Resnais' stunning debut are so powerful, so artfully crafted that it's no wonder the rest of the film--let alone his entire career--failed to live up to the potential they show. Still, 12 minutes as good as these are rare in any career. As the camera cuts from the intertwining of lovers to the streets of Hiroshima to the stark, brutal visions of bomb victims, all to the lyrical rhythm of Marguerite Duras' gorgeous prose, our eyes and minds and hearts are simply washed clean as a sheet. The film that ensues--about an affair between a French actress in Hiroshima to make a film about peace, and a Japanese architect who grows obsessed with her--is lovely and delicate, unafraid to embrace meaning and stunningly composed. But those first 12 minutes--ravishing! (Jamie Hook) Opens Fri Sept 15. Grand Illusion

Human Resources
Director Laurent Cantent (The Sanguinaires) evidently made this passable film for French television, judging by the numerous fades to black that remove us from the story every 15 minutes. The film would be a real treat on TV: telling the simple tale of an eager young idealist trying to reform management at a small-town factory while his working-class family and upbringing crumble around him, Human Resources is well acted and admirably realistic. But the film is lost on the big screen--too humble, too simple, visually uninspired. Why it was chosen over other, finer fare for the Shooting Gallery's prestigious film series is beyond me. (Jamie Hook) Opens Fri Sept 15. Uptown

*Jules and Jim
Truffaut's best-loved work uses the tale of a decades-long ménage à trois to tell the story of Europe in the 20th century. Henri Serre and Oskar Werner are never less than effortless as the handsome, gallic Jim and the sweet, teutonic Jules, respectively. But it is Jeanne Moreau's Catherine that brings people back to this movie so often, because she is a pure creation of light itself. In fact, the film abounds with such sunny imagery--the three of them leaning out the windows; Catherine backlit as she walks by the Seine; Catherine and Jules in a sunlit, alpine field--that it is the perfect recommendation for a blustery, gray fall day. (Jamie Hook) Thurs-Sun Sept 14-17. Little Theatre

*Last Year at Marienbad
Along with Hiroshima, Mon Amour, the first installment of "Indefinite Time," the Grand Illusion's 10-film Alain Resnais retrospective. Sat-Sun Sept 16-17; see Stranger Suggests. Grand Illusion

Lovers Lane
This awful, thoroughly unenjoyable, locally made horror film sets the genre back another decade or so with its pitiful, machine-made plot about an escaped serial killer, its horrendous writing, and its tepid acting. The tittie shots, gratuitously stuck in to assure a domestic cable release, are the most compelling evidence in the building case against capitalism Seattle has yet produced. Worst of all, the whole films comes limping in on the crutch of Local Filmmaking, proving yet again that when it comes to making movies, Seattle is still sucking its thumb and wetting its pants... doing the Hula Hula dance. (Jamie Hook) Issaquah Theatre

MARIO BAVA FESTIVAL
Second Avenue Pizza's mini-festivals continue with a series of films by the Italian master of horror Mario Bava (1914-1980), whose career as a cinematographer, director, and writer encompassed more than 50 films. This weekend includes Kill Baby Kill, Planet of the Vampires, and The Mask of Satan. Thurs-Sat Sept 14-16. Second Avenue Pizza

*Planet of the Apes
Tonight's "From Dusk until Dawn" party includes screenings of Planet of the Apes, The Road Warrior, and Enter the Dragon. Also showing at the West Seattle Walk-In, with music by Primate Five. Fri-Sat Sept 15-16. See Stranger Suggests. Fremont Outdoor Cinema, West Seattle Walk-In Cinema

RESFEST 2000 DIGITAL FILM FESTIVAL
RESFEST is to filmmaking what The Cuisinart Cookbook is to the culinary arts. You know when you read a recipe in The Cuisinart Cookbook for "Cuisinart Chicken Kiev," and it turns out the only thing you do with the Cuisinart is make bread crumbs? Well, a similar justification is at work in RESFEST, which selects films according to the relatively arbitrary criteria of their relation to digital technology. The results are mediocre at best, as in the case of The Joust, a simple but nicely rendered short. However, a far larger proportion of the work on display varies from dully commercial (Jet-Set Download) to absolutely meretricious (Pasta for War; Delerious Pink) There are better ways to spend $10. (Jamie Hook) Thurs-Sun Sept 14-17. Cinerama

Songs for Cassavetes
Perhaps the DIY aesthetic is meant to be dull. Certainly, this documentary of the Olympia and Washington, DC DIY music scenes makes that case. How they managed to take performers as diverse and supposedly exciting as the Make-Up, Dub Narcotic Sound System, Sleater-Kinney, and Unwound and make them all seem like a bucket of old gray paint is the one true achievement of this film. Those with a true obsession for these bands, or recent transplants from Evergreen who want to see their classmates in the crowd scenes at YoYo-a-Gogo will be enthralled--most of the rest of us will fall asleep. (Jamie Hook) Wed Sept 20. JBL Theater at EMP

*Time Regained
Time Regained is Chilean director Raúl Ruiz's brillliant adaptation of the final volume of Proust's In Search of Time Lost. It is also arguably the best adaptation of Proust to date. Opens Fri Sept 15; see review this issue. Egyptian


CONTINUING RUNS

*The Art of War
This is a dazzling film. A dizzying film. Its structure is so baroque, so complex, so color-bright that it's totally incomprehensible. All we understand and enjoy is the fluid movements of the hero (Wesley Snipes) through underground sex clubs, rainy streets, corporate lobbies, office spaces, and cyberspace. Vertiginous, delirious, unstable, beautiful--this is the best action film you'll watch this year. You'll not, however, understand it. (Charles Mudede) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11

Autumn in New York
The most compelling question this movie begs is not one about the moral solvency of having sex with someone young enough to be your daughter, it's the one about the moral solvency of having sex with your daughter. You see it, and tell me Winona Ryder's character, Charlotte, isn't Richard Gere's character's daughter. Ewww. (Jamie Hook) Factoria, Meridian 16, Redmond Town Center

Backstage
Backstage exposes and celebrates the cash-saturated lifestyle of the big-time rap star, who, when not on stage boasting about his riches, is staying in posh hotel rooms drinking champagne, smoking weed, getting teenage girls to strip, flying in private jets, and cruising glittering strips in stretch limos. You must watch this film to see what unfettered capitalism does to normal people, the mass madness it induces. Indeed, it's a world where, as Marx once said, "everything solid melts into air." (Charles Mudede) Meridian 16

Bless the Child
The Christ child has been snatched by Scientologists! Quick! Call in the hardened homicide detective who dropped out of the seminary! Hire interns to animate flying spooks! Lurk around a casting call for the next Street Fighter CD-ROM and hire anybody with a facial piercing! Rent a stage in Studio City that has spraypainted bricks so we'll know it's the Big Apple. Lure Christina Ricci into playing a junkie who gets decapitated four minutes into the movie! Hurry, there's little time left! (Tamara Paris) Pacific Place 11

*Bring it On
Universal Studios' marketing goons have not a goddamn clue what a great movie they've got on their hands. It's so sad--they keep playing it off like it's some nasty jiggle-fest (which in part it is) with no redeeming qualities (which it has plenty of). Best of all, the film is funny in a pre-postmodernist way--remember what that was like? When irony was just a brand of humor instead of a cynical philosophy? It was (and is) funny! (Jamie Hook) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

*Cecil B. Demented
Armed with guns, a 16mm camera, and an Otto Preminger tattoo, Cecil and his crew kidnap Hollywood starlet Melanie Griffith and force her to appear in their underground opus, about the revenge unleashed upon Baltimore theaters by a ragtag group of cineastes disgruntled by the commercial failure of a Pasolini festival. The plot and locale should have keyed you that we're in John Waters territory. This is the director's most gleefully anarchic work in years--aided mightily by Griffith's smart self-caricature--and if the film's characters aren't seen with the same indulgent fondness Waters displays in his best films, it's still a suitably ridiculous delight. (Bruce Reid) Varsity

The Cell
The succulent Jennifer Lopez and the ever-more dissolute Vince Vaughn disappear into the mind of serial killer Vincent D'Onofrio, who is building an interesting career exploiting his rubbery anonymity. The stunning visuals are lifted whole from Damien Hirst, Mathew Barney, The Bros. Quay, and others, but remain creepily potent. (Tamara Paris) Factoria, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center, Varsity

Coyote Ugly
I'm going to list all the great things about this latest "Jerry Bruckheimer feel-good flick": (1) Melanie Lynskey (who plays the "goofy best friend") does a fabulous New Jersey accent; (2) John Goodman is adorable as Funny Dad. (3) There's a cute cat in one of the scenes. (4) The outfits are pretty. (Min Liao) Pacific Place 11

The Crew
Scorsese's Goodfellas get skewered (but good) in this rude romp about a quartet of aging gangsters limping along in retirement in Miami, who accidentally slip back into the "life" with ridiculous complications. Watch for the cleverest "action movie" sequence ever committed to celluloid. It's well worth the price of admission! Squeak! Squeak! (Tamara Paris) Grand Alderwood

*The Devil in Miss Jones
This classic work of smut is the only pornographic film my sainted mother will admit to having seen. She won't tell me if she recalls the double penetration scene (the pioneering double penetration scene, we should point out), nor has she ever commented on the anal scene. Anyways, bring your wife, bring your friends, and see where it all started. This was, and remains, a truly great, greatly filthy movie. (Jamie Hook) Grand Illusion

Dolphins
One square mile of the Atlantic Ocean. Ten bottlenosed dolphins. Every moment captured on video. No outside world contact. No luxuries. Who'll outlast the others to win $500,000? Pacific Science Center IMAX

The Eruption of Mount St. Helens
One volcano. Ten seismologists. Every moment captured on video. No outside world contact. No luxuries. Who'll outlast the others to win $500,000? Omnidome

Everest
One world's tallest mountain. Ten sherpas. Every moment captured on video. No outside world contact. No luxuries. Who'll outlast the others to win $500,000? Pacific Science Center IMAX

Extreme
One half-pipe. Ten guys named Lance. Every moment captured on video. No outside world contact. No luxuries. Who'll outlast the others to win $500,000? Pacific Science Center IMAX

*The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Not exactly a mockumentary, but a strange new hybrid--a mocking documentary. Boasting faux solemn narration by RuPaul and a vertiable Greek chorus of sock puppets, the filmmakers glibly attempt to manipulate and humiliate their subject. But as her tragically funny tale unfolds, something unexpected occurs--Tammy Faye transcends our expectations. (Tamara Paris) Metro

The Five Senses
True, the masseuse, the man going deaf, the baker of cakes, the man with the sensitive sniffer, and the ophthalmologist account for each physical sense, but the film isn't about senses at all; it's about sensuality beyond the senses...a delicate, lovely portrayal of the spaces between people. (Evan Sult) Metro

*Girl on the Bridge
A ravishing, breezily paced tale of amour fou, Girl on the Bridge stars Daniel Auteuil as a Svengali-like knife-thrower who meets his perfect foil in Vanessa Paradis' Adele. What makes the film great, though, is Leconte's feel for the effect of place on people: The roads are beckoning, Monte Carlo is impulsive, and Istanbul is confusion itself. Auteuil is never less than his dour self, and Paradis--a gap-toothed woman, it's worth noting--is stunning throughout. (Jamie Hook) Metro

Highlander: Endgame
The fourth installment of the highly popular Highlander series pits immortals Connor Macleod (Adrian Paul, from the television series) and Duncan Macleod (Highlander stalwart Cristopher Lambert) against the suitably pestilent Kell, an immortal who, in his younger years, looked uncannily like a Gaelic messiah. It all culminates in a movie that isn't good, but isn't particularly offensive--the result of some supreme effort, when one considers how inextricably entrenched in mediocrity this franchise is. (Kudzai Mudede) Factoria, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center, Southcenter

Hollow Man
Kevin Bacon delivers another fine, nuanced performance as the megalomaniacal scientist who uses his newfound invisibility to act out his sick, twisted sexual desires. Hey, it's a Paul Verhoeven film... what did you expect? Not a good time, I hope. (Bruce Reid) Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11

Love and Sex
Breiman's lighthearted, witty little cupcake of Californication takes on the lowlights of one young woman's sexual experiences--getting past her unlucky thirteen and hoping Mr. Fourteen is a step above the past. Famke Janssen and Jon Favreau are uncommonly charming in this multiplex tryout. After she's made a second feature with a stronger writer, let's look forward to Breiman's third movie. (Ray Pride) Harvard Exit

Michael Jordan to the MAX
One basketball superstar. Ten endorsement deals. Every moment captured on video. No outside world contact. No luxuries. Who'll outlast the others to win $500,000? Seattle IMAX Dome Theatre

Mysteries of Egypt
One sacred tomb. Ten pharoahs. Every moment captured on video. No outside world contact. No luxuries. Who'll outlast the others to win $500,000? Omnidome

Nurse Betty
Betty, a diner waitress, settles comfortably into a thick confusion after accidentally witnessing her sleazy husband's murder and decides to drive from Fair Oaks, Kansas to Los Angeles in pursuit of her favorite soap-opera character, "Dr. David Ravell," whom she believes is her long-lost true love. On paper, this all sounds so great--interesting, silly, action-packed, dramatic, full of potential. But what director Neil LaBute produces onscreen is surprisingly disappointing. What wrecks Nurse Betty is how smug and emphatically self-aware it is, how painstakingly, annoyingly, way-too-deliberately quirky it becomes. (Min Liao) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Neptune, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps
Eddie Murphy deserves some kind of special award for playing six characters, all of whom interact with (and even perform oral sex on) one another, but the screenwriters deserve to be banished for all the lame gross-out jokes that litter the story. (Bradley Steinbacher) Pacific Place 11

The Original Kings of Comedy
True comedic greats have an ability, much as great drummers have, to maintain a solid underlying rhythm while impetuously improvising the tempo and pace, and the fusion of the two dynamics must appear effortless at all times. The Kings, on the other hand, toil and labor for every laugh, for every moment of comedic sincerity. (Kudzai Mudede) Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16

Psycho Beach Party
Tomboyish Chicklet (Lauren Ambrose) struggles to infiltrate the male-dominated subculture of surfing and catch Starcat, the dude of her dreams. Her quest is complicated by her multiple-personality disorder, not to mention the fact that someone is knocking off her pals, one by one. Though production values in this campy romp are often excruciatingly low, its good-looking cast of veteran television teens seem to be having a blast deconstructing the homoerotic, sadomasochistic, mentally disturbed subtext of the deceptively frothy surf genre. (Tamara Paris) Metro

The Replacements
What do I think about this fucking film? It's impossible to believe all that money went into it. Now my parents were in town from Africa last week, and they told me things are getting worse, people are hungry and starving. Well, what does this have to do with this film? Waste! That's what. Waste. Waste of time, waste of food. Waste of money. (Charles Mudede) Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16

Saving Grace
If you've seen a Cheech and Chong film, you've seen every gag here: absentminded cops oblivious to the cloud of smoke around an acquaintance's head; balding, potbellied hippies lighting up to the strains of a sitar; two sweet old ladies, inadvertently stoned and gorging themselves on candy bars. If these situations sound remotely amusing to you, you might as well go. (Bruce Reid) Aurora Cinema Grill, City Centre, Guild 45th

Scary Movie
Scary Movie is largely a satire of the Scream films--which are already satires (go figure). Though it certainly has some knee-slappers, most of the infantile jokes simply go on way too long. (Melody Moss) Uptown

Shower
Contrary to what the lady's bottom in the advertisement promises, this film is populated almost exclusively by melancholic old men who predictably complain about youth and argue amongst themselves. Wonderfully cast, well scripted, and lovingly filmed, Shower is comfort food for the cinema--bland, but soothing. (Jamie Hook) Seven Gables

*Space Cowboys
Alongside voting and worrying about your body, one of your duties as an American is to see every Clint Eastwood film released, regardless of individual failures, hyperbole, plot holes, or any other mitigating factors whatsoever. He alone has earned that right. Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

The Tao of Steve
Chunky, attitudinal Dex (an extraordinarily charming Donal Logue, a prizewinner at Sundance) teaches kindergarten. He's great with women and drifting a decade out of college when an old college friend shows up and doesn't fall for his line. Hyperarticulate and hypersexed, Dex must learn the meaning of his words and his heart. Funny stuff. (Ray Pride) Harvard Exit

This is Spinal Tap
Smell the glove once again with David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel, and Derek Smalls in a new 35mm print. Metro

*This is What Democracy Looks Like
The Independent Media Center waded through more than 300 hours of footage to emerge with this street-level record of last November's WTO protests in spite of a bad week for free speech, to say the least. Narrated by Susan Sarandon and Spearhead's Michael Franti. Independent Media Center

Turn it Up
This movie offers us the struggling rap artist's weltanschauung. At the center of the universe is the rapper (in this case Pras, of Fugees fame), and from that fixed point we look out at the world around him. We see how he experiences capitalism, love, crime, family, friendship, and art. For those who are connoisseurs of hiphop cinema this will not disappoint you, but if you are just looking for a movie to watch with a black theme or lead, then miss this and watch The Art of War. (Charles Mudede) Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16

The Watcher
It's refreshing to see Keanu Reeves in a movie that is so beleaguered by its own faults that it can hardly blame the mercurial acting talents of the slow-motion-bullet-dodger for its own miserable shortcomings. Make no mistake: Reeves' performance as quite possibly (and quite unintentionally) the most disinterested big screen serial killer in recent memory is predictably laughable. However, I believe that the makers of this movie, sensing the impending threat of Mr. Reeves' disagreeable offerings, spared no expense upon damage limitation. Hence, The Watcher is a frightfully unimaginative, by-the-numbers thriller with no plot twists, no clever bits, horrendous slow motion dance sequences, few thrills, and anemic character development, successfully leaving Reeves well within his depth. (Kudzai Mudede) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Northgate

The Way of the Gun
Christopher McQuarrie's The Way of the Gun is an evil film, though not for the self-conscious reasons it would have you accept. Rather, it is evil because secretly it does not know what it is, because it is adrift in a world that is too opiated to confront its soulless convictions, because it comes from a place that has confused the fantastical and the realistic, because it has no higher god to which it would supplicate, only a simple-minded belief in the false sanctity of Hollywood filmmaking--which, from Birth of a Nation onward, has always gladly accommodated well-intentioned shame, provided it presents itself with sufficient flair. (Jamie Hook) Factoria, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

What Lies Beneath
A well-preserved pair of thoroughbred movie stars find that all is not well in their gorgeous New England home, what with the dead girl in the tub and all. The whole damn thing is ripped right out of the Hitchcock how-to manual, so of course it succeeds fantastically at its admittedly simple goal: scaring you so badly you throw your popcorn all over the people in the row behind you. (Tamara Paris) Aurora Cinema Grill, Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16

Whipped
"Amanda Peet is primed to explode!" --Rolling Stone "Dear Lord, if only it were true!" --The Stranger Aurora Cinema Grill, Grand Alderwood, Pacific Place 11

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