COMING SOON

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, O, Soul Survivors, Summer Catch, That Obscure Object of Desire, Thomas In Love, Vulgar


NEW THIS WEEK

American Outlaws
Every generation needs a Young Guns, but this one, featuring twentysomething hunk slabs Scott Caan (who looks about as old West as a Volkswagen Bug), Will McCormack, Gabriel Macht, and Colin Farrell as the James-Younger gang, looks particularly shabby. Also featuring Ali Larter, Timothy Dalton, and Ronny Cox. Metro

* Bitches in Heat
See Stranger Suggests. The Northwest Film Forum's retrospective of films whose central characters are beautiful, powerful, oversexed, ball-stomping maneaters, takes a strong, well-programmed look at the semi-conscious male terror of strong women that continues to dominate American film. This week's entries include Queen Bee, Female Trouble, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Grand Illusion

Bread and Tulips
Reviewed this issue. Sweet, dopey, predictable, and still charming, Bread and Tulips is the story of a housewife discovering why freedom is so much more romantic than life at home. (Emily Hall) Seven Gables

Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Reviewed this issue. Mamma mia! A sumptuously filmed, intellectually hollow adaptation of Louis de Berniere's novel, Corelli's Mandolin, starring Nicolas Cage, Penélope Cruz, and Christian Bale. Metro

* CHILDREN'S SUMMER FILM SERIES
Movies for kids and their custodians. This week: Cartoon Craziness, a retro-cavalcade of cartoons from the '70s, heyday of the mainstream hippie animator, the only time a stoner like Shaggy could be voiced by a square like Casey Kasem. The program includes bits of The Groovie Ghoulies (remember Wacky and Packy? Those loveable mutts from M*U*S*H?), Josie and the Pussycats, and Casper the Friendly Ghost. Far out. Then, a little anime with Panda! Go Panda!, worthy by its title alone (have you ever seen a panda "go"?), in which two pandas and a little girl befriend a tiger. (Sean Nelson) Little Theatre

* The Deep End
Reviewed this issue. A shrewd concoction that offers up all the elements of noir suspense as a decoy for a smart emotional examination of a mother and son, starring Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic, and Peter Donat(!). Harvard Exit

Depth of Focus
A rabidly idealistic monthly screening of short films. This month's theme: "The Language Show," an exploration of the "written, spoken, and visual languages in film," featuring works by the likes of Peter Rose, Herman Weinberg, Charles Chaplin, Alfred Leslie, and Walter Lantz, as well as local films by Lynn Shelton, Serafina Smith, and the Mysterious Tentmaker. Presented by the Puget Sound Cinema Society, a group that claims this monthly event to be the only one "dedicated to the complete range of cinema, in a manner neither pretentious nor kitsch." Pay what it's worth. Thurs Aug 16. University Heights Center

FREMONT OUTDOOR MOVIES
The summer tradition of movies viewed in parking lots continues; this one is at N 35th and Phinney (across from Redhook Brewery). This week--Fight Club. Sat Aug 18.

LINDA'S SUMMER MOVIES
Back again for a seventh season, Linda's Summer Movies is the original outdoor drinking/film-watching extravaganza, presented, as always, FOR FREE!! By the time the plot falls apart, you'll be too drunk to care!! This week: Cartoon Classics. Wed Aug 22.

Lumumba
Lumumba is not bad, but certainly hard to watch. This has nothing to do with the graphic scenes of blood and bullets that open and close the film, or with the tragic nature of the story, but the fact that the tragic story takes place in Africa. Anywhere else this story would have new life, but in Africa it is a weary story: young, promising leader (Patrice Lumumba) murdered by double-crossing general (Joseph Mobutu); European (Belgium) exploitation of Africa's (Congo) natural resources; tribalism; and so forth. The film stars my favorite actor, Alex Descas, who has appeared in several films by Claire Denis and Olivier Assayas. This time, however, he is not a sensitive urban soul, but one of the worst dictators in modern Africa, Mobutu. If you don't know anything about Africa then I recommend you watch this informative film, but if you know too much about Africa, and have even spent time on the continent of sorrow, then avoid this film and watch something more uplifting, like Rush Hour 2. (Charles Mudede) Varsity

* Nosferatu
A screening of F. W. Murnau's truly frightening Nosferatu (1922), the first film adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Silent, with English titles and music. Fri Aug 17. Secluded Alley Works

* OUSMANE SEMBENE TRIBUTE
An ongoing retrospective of the films of Africa's greatest director. This week: Mandabi (The Money Order), and Borom sarrett, Sembene's early short about a cart driver who makes an impossibly small living carrying poor people from one sad destination to the next on his donkey-pulled wagon. The Money Order is about a very traditional man who has two wives, too many children, and is unemployed. One day he receives a money order of considerable value from his nephew. The money order does not relieve the old man from poverty but instead directly exposes him to the heat of the new economy. (Charles Mudede) Little Theatre

People Will Talk
Light-handed treatment of heavy social issues is the order of the day in this film starring Cary Grant as the progressive, sensitive, music-loving, anti-McCarthyist Dr. Noah Praetorious. Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Seattle Art Museum

PINHOLE CINEMA
Pinhole cameras: they're not just for looking at a solar eclipse anymore. This is a program of moving pictures made using the archaic technology of pinhole photography, whose fuzzy images make the medium an evolutionary forebear of Pixelvision. Includes films by Charles Comerford (who will be leading a pinhole cinematography workshop next week) and Brian Frye. Little Theatre

* Poltergeist
Lesson #1: If you're going to build a subdivision, make sure you don't do it on the consecrated Indian burial grounds, or you might end up losing your daughter to the television. Of course, living in the suburbs, that'll probably happen anyway. Tobe Hooper's '80s classic holds up really well. Egyptian

Rat Race
Reviewed this issue. Resurrecting a genre that died in the early '60s, then died again in the early '80s, this is an all-star (if you count Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Lovitz, and Seth Green as stars) romp in which many broad characters race each other for a $2 million jackpot. Trust your instincts: The movie is ass. Factoria, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

* Starwoids
Before the world discovered that George Lucas' The Phantom Menace was a horrendous piece of space garbage drifting through the cosmos like so much digital debris, human beings--lots of them--actually stood in line for 42 days and nights in Hollywood, avidly hoping to gain access to the film's 1999 premiere. Feudal (futile?) society asserted itself in the queued-up nerd nation; Starwoids is a documentary of that phenomenon, shot from right in the thick of the line, and promises to be fascinating, if a little sad. 911 Media Arts Center

THEWARRENREPORT'S DISTINGUISHING FEATURES
This week: Magic in the Water, local filmmaker Rick Stevenson's family-friendly tale of a Nessie-esque sea monster. Seattle Art Museum

TWIN PEAKS/DAVID LYNCH FESTIVAL NIGHT
The David Lynch nostalgia industry revs up its gears for this evening, which will feature a screening of Blue Velvet, and several clips from Lynch's famous TV series. The real highlight (not counting the appearance of a bevy of TP's supporting cast members) should be the premiere of I Don't Know Jack, a documentary about the late, great character actor Jack Nance, whose performance as Henry in Eraserhead established the definitive Lynch icon for all time. Seattle Art Museum

* The Wide Blue Road
See Stranger Suggests. Gorgeous, moving, and pro-Socialist to boot, Gillo Pontecorvo's 1957 classic about a ruggedly individualistic dynamite fisherman (the great Yves Montand) who refuses to adapt to the times finally gets a proper U.S. release. You have to see it. Egyptian


CONTINUING RUNS

* A.I.
If you like this film, you will be the only person you know who does, so prepare yourself for some abuse. (Sean Nelson) Pacific Place 11

America's Sweethearts
This film is a total gyp. (Kathleen Wilson) Factoria, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

American Pie 2
The first American Pie was all about male humiliation, with each male character enduring some sort of horrific trauma--accidentally drinking someone's come, explosive diarrhea, premature-ejaculation broadcast over the Internet, etc.--before the film was through. But what kept the film from sinking completely into the toilet was the fact that the filmmakers actually had something to say about sex and adolescence, even if it was fairly simplistic. American Pie 2, unfortunately, has very little to say, which doesn't make it all bad, just not as surprising as the original. Then again, it is a sequel, so how much can we really expect? (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

* The Anniversary Party
Though it skirts the edges of a dozen poisonous pitfalls (vanity production, written and directed by actors, movie about movie people, et al.), this party actually winds up being a very good examination of the inner life of a gaggle of rich, famous, and beautiful people who spend a day and night at the titular celebration. The extended sequence where all the characters take Ecstasy contains the most accurate onscreen drug consumption of any movie I've ever seen. (Sean Nelson) Uptown

The Closet
An accountant at a condom factory realizes he's about to be fired. Divorced, alienated from his 17-year-old son, he contemplates suicide, but is instead given some rather odd advice from his neighbor, a retired psychiatrist: Announce at work that you are gay, and the powers that be will be too frightened to fire you, lest they get slapped with a nasty lawsuit. The accountant takes his neighbor's advice, and, well, hilarity ensues. Or, if not hilarity, at least a few laughs here and there. (Bradley Steinbacher) Guild 45th

* The Crimson Rivers (Les Rivières Pourpres)
Though this film takes its cues from American thrillers of the most manipulative variety, being French, it does so with a certain élan. The plot follows two detectives, Jean Reno as a gruff Parisian and Vincent Cassel as the hippest of provincials, whose separate investigations dovetail at an elite school high in the French Alps. Someone is torturing and brutally (but beautifully--the cinematography's gorgeous!) murdering key school administrators and planting the bodies to force discovery of first the motive then the identity of the vengeful killer. Tension builds and story accelerates as the trail of frozen corpses turns to fresh kills and the detectives themselves are caught by the slippery murderer. (Sarah Sternau) Broadway Market

Dr. Dolittle 2
In his second outing as the only man on Earth who can communicate with animals, Eddie Murphy finds himself a reluctant spokesman for a forestful of fuzzy creatures (including a mafia of beavers and raccoons) about to face the bulldozers of an evil logging company. The scenario is the standard American comedy insult, but some of the jokes are really good. (Sean Nelson) Admiral

* Enlightenment Guaranteed
This super-engaging story of two German brothers waylaid in Tokyo on their way to a Japanese Zen monastery is a study in unclassifiability: elements of farce (their travel fiasco lands them in lederhosen before long) mingle with serious human drama and an abiding desire for spiritual credence, though the hapless brothers are basically foolish, a Teutonic Laurel and Hardy. The video photography gives the film a guileless quality, not unlike a demo recording, that lends immediacy to the proceedings which, in hands less skilled than those of director Doris Dörrie, might have grown tendentious. Hurry to see it. (Sean Nelson) Broadway Market

Female Trouble
Divine stars as Dawn Davenport, a noir-styled bitch in heat whose parents' neglect (they won't buy her the right shoes) leads her to a life of sin and dissolution. I can't remember if this is the one where the giant lobster fucks Divine or the one where Divine rapes him/herself. I do know that it's not the one where he eats poo. That's Pink Flamingos. Still, if you like John Waters films, this is one. (Sean Nelson) Grand Illusion

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Fantastic worlds, crackpot mysticism, and spectacular animation--Final Fantasy may, at first glance, seem like just another cartoon blockbuster, but upon further inspection the film's true colors come to life: The end of acting is near. Call me an alarmist, but the animated characters in Final Fantasy are such a leap forward that the future may actually be visible. (Bradley Steinbacher) Meridian 16

* Ghost World
Fans of Daniel Clowes' epochal comic novel about the listless inner teen life have been awaiting this adaptation by Crumb director Terry Zwigoff for years now, and the film delivers, though not in the direct way you might have anticipated. Clowes' super-detached geek queens Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) have graduated from high school, and, bored, they answer a personals ad placed by über-dork vinyl junkie Seymour (an R. Crumb surrogate played brilliantly by Steve Buscemi). As an experiment, Enid decides to educate Seymour in the ways of love, and her world begins to crumble. (Sean Nelson) Neptune

Greenfingers
This is a bland British comedy about a bunch of murderers and thieves who become gardeners in prison. They get so good at planning and planting gardens that, in the end, they get to have tea with the Queen. All told, it's a pretty good reflection of the confused state of mainstream British cinema--predictable, cloying, and non-funny in every way. Even Helen Mirren is bad in it. The one thing Greenfingers has going for it is Clive Owen, star of last year's brilliant Croupier, who plays the lead thug horticulturalist. Owen is so good, so convinced and convincing in certain scenes, that you can only assume he thought he was in a different movie than the rest of the cast. He thought he was in the movie that didn't blow. (Sean Nelson) Harvard Exit

* Hedwig and the Angry Inch
With its charming pop-art magical realism, cinematic flashbacks, and the ability to present intimate documentary-style footage of Hedwig's misfit band on tour with their charlatan business manager (an excellent character addition), the movie version of Hedwig emphasizes the rich plot far better than the stage version did. Although, admittedly, the movie's ending--a Christlike nude walking across a city street, with a close-up on Mitchell's ass--is still wildly obscure. (I could never figure out Tommy or Rocky Horror either.) No matter, you'll be sorry when this bright blue bubblegum ball of a movie comes to an end, and find yourself breathlessly glued to the credits, wanting more of Hedwig's sweet songs, bona fide drama, and confused joy. (Josh Feit) Broadway Market

Jurassic Park III
Though the 20 minutes it spends in expository build-up--Sam Neill is back as the skeptic hero paleontologist, lured into going to the dinosaur island by some "rich adventurers" (who are actually middle-class Ohioans looking for their son)--are nigh on interminable, once the dinosaurs show up and start screaming and chomping and smashing people and each other, this movie makes its worth known. (Sean Nelson) Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Majestic Bay, Meridian 16, Oak Tree

The King is Alive
The King is Alive begins with a lonely bus cutting across the vast Namibian desert. The bus takes a wrong turn, and the driver and his passengers (Western tourists) end up stranded in the middle of nowhere. But we are not in the middle of nowhere--we've actually returned to a familiar place. This is Gilligan's Island, except now we are surrounded by a sea of sand dunes. Yes, we thought we were going to a brand new narrative, but we're stuck in the same place, with the same story, which is structured by the same dichotomy (man versus nature). And herein lies the great disappointment of this type of Scandinavian cinema: no distance, or distortions, or veils, means we are subjected to the unchanging ugliness of the same--rather than the changing beauty of the same, as in A.I., Swordfish, The Score, and other excellent Hollywood films. (Charles Mudede) Varsity

Kiss of the Dragon
An incomprehensibly plotted, ultraviolent bloodstorm nearly redeemed by the elegance and inexplicably potent moral gravity of Hong Kong superstar Jet Li, who manages to remain lovable even as he's driving a pair of chopsticks deep into another human being's trachea. (Tamara Paris) Pacific Place 11

Legally Blonde
In Legally Blonde, Reese Witherspoon plays a Southern California Barbie doll named Elle Woods. Elle possesses charming, asexual, lobotomized good cheer and an encyclopedic knowledge of shoes and hemlines. When her boyfriend dumps her (she's "not serious enough"), she decides to win him back by attending Harvard Law School, getting in even though her brain operates, with the savantish exception of matters of fashion, at the level of a 10-year-old. The movie isn't much, but Witherspoon, before whom all living young actresses should cower, owns every frame of it. (Michael Shilling) Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

Made
Walking out of Made, I tried to conjure the perfect phonetic sound to properly describe it. The winner: "nyeh," as in "whatever." Here is a film that exists for no other reason than to revisit the "magic" between Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, and your admiration for Made may depend on just how brilliant you found Swingers, their first project. If you thought it was great, then by all means go. But, if like me, you found it vastly overrated, only marginally entertaining, and more than occasionally annoying (especially that Vaughn fucker), you'd be better served elsewhere. That said, it's a comedy about the mob, and there are some good moments. (Bradley Steinbacher) Broadway Market

Monkey's Mask
Strangely schizophrenic Aussie whodunit in which a dyke private dick investigates the mysterious disappearance of a tragic teen girl "poet" ("your cock has all the words/you ram them into me till I can't stand up") by diddling around with her professor, played by Kelly McGillis, who, 15 years after Top Gun, is looking a bit like Jan Michael Vincent with breast implants (sad). The film looks good and there's a lot of sex, but the mystery simply isn't one, and more than that, the literary world portrayed is a total embarrassment to anyone who's ever read a book. What really kills it, though, is the pseudo Sam Spade voice-over. (Sean Nelson) Broadway Market

Original Sin
This psychoeroticsexualogical thriller starring Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas isn't half as bad as early press reports led one to believe. That said, it's still pretty goddamn bad, with its sweaty, swarthy tale of revenge, lust, and obsession, ultimately masking the real movie underneath: a tone poem about Jolie's lips, forever in tight close-up. Banderas is a believable hero/dupe, and both leads are easy on the eyes, but the would-be erotic luster remains largely theoretical, subsumed under the heavy pastiche of Cubano iconography. (Sean Nelson) Aurora Cinema Grill, Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Redmond Town Center

Osmosis Jones
A disjointed mix of shoddy live-action and slick animation that will be watched in junior high health classes for generations to come. It looks like the Farrelly Bros. pitched this concept to a producer when they were loaded, and received the green light when they were in a black-out. The live sequences look like they were shot over the weekend by a couple of guys with a hangover. An unshaven and startlingly slovenly Bill Murray, shuffling through the proceedings as an unhealthy zoo-keeper, oozes contempt from his very pores. But the animation, starring Chris Rock as a renegade white blood cell battling Laurence Fishburne as a lethal virus, is eye-popping, inventive and lushly colorful. If you would like to learn more about the hypothalamus or simply enjoy watching Bill Murray spray venom, don't let me stop you. (Tamara Paris) Grand Alderwood, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

* The Others
A well-executed gothic horror film in a Jamesian vein, starring Nicole Kidman as a postwar mom on a tiny British isle desperate not to let the new servants (including the great Fionnula Flanagan) expose her "photosensitive" children to daylight. The claustrophobic tension of the incredible house (the film's only set, and its true star) mounts through the eerie film as the truth, like the characters' lives, unfurls methodically in this truly frightening endeavor from Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar. As an added bonus, the always-gripping Christopher Eccleston (Jude, Elizabeth) has a supporting role. (Sean Nelson) Aurora Cinema Grill, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Planet of the Apes
At first glance, Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake has everything you could wish for in a summer blockbuster--i.e., massive budget, marginal script, entertaining result. But, upon further inspection (a.k.a. actually watching it), it turns out to be the stupidest film of the year. Sure, sure, it's fun to watch good actors frolic about in brilliant chimp makeup, but the story--which the credits list as being based upon a book by Pierre Boulle (although I doubt the book was nearly as stupid as this film)--is so ridiculous, so unnecessarily convoluted to the point of inanity (not to mention poorly thought out), that the end result actually becomes an insult to the audience. (Bradley Steinbacher) Cinerama, Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Majestic Bay, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11

The Princess Diaries
In this G-rated Pygmalion, bespectacled, curly haired, Doc Martens-sporting wallflower Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) discovers she's heir to the throne of Genovia and, courtesy of "princess lessons" from her queenly grandmama (Julie Andrews), blossoms. When will Hollywood learn that girls with glasses aren't ugly? (Heather Muse) Aurora Cinema Grill, Factoria, Majestic Bay, Meridian 16, Metro

Rush Hour 2
Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan reteam as a black cop and a Chinese cop in this sequel which, being exactly as funny and entertaining as its predecessor, transcends all critical inquiry. Zhang Ziyi, from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is in it, though. (Bradley Steinbacher) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Northgate, Redmond Town Center, Varsity

* The Score
This is a fully functional, if perfunctory heist film that benefits greatly from its attention to the procedure of safecracking and breaking and entering, to say nothing of the utterly relaxed brilliance of its three lead actors, Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, and best of all, Marlon Brando. Though it's legitimately sad to see Brando (who now makes Sydney Greenstreet look like Kate Moss) as enormous as he is, the comic grace with which he glides through this otherwise inferior work--and again, it's totally watchable and entertaining--makes you remember that he really is the best of all time. (Sean Nelson) Factoria, Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

* Sexy Beast
Gal Dove (Ray Winstone) is a retired gangster living high on a hill in the Costa del Sol, enjoying a lethargic existence. But he is as out of place here as the heart-shaped ceramic tiles on the floor of his pool. Bad news arrives in the shape of Don Logan (Ben Kingsley, so great), there to coax Gal back to England for a job. Gal resists, but Don won't take no for an answer, setting in motion a verbal boxing match so artful and intense it turns the sprawling Spanish vista into a pressure cooker in which Gal is forced to reckon for his ill-had comforts. A voice buried deep within Gal tells him and us that this can't last. Don is that voice, given brutal, relentless human form. In the fallout of their confrontation lies one of the finest films in recent memory. (Sean Nelson) Guild 45th, Uptown

Spy Kids
A director's cut of Robert Rodriguez's wildly successful franchise mustard seedling, Spy Kids Redux boasts 20 minutes of new footage, including several new scenes of Marlon Brando improvising, and a long sequence set in a French plantation that never made the original cut. Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16

* Under the Sand
While on holiday at their summer home in western France, Jean vanishes during a swim, leaving his wife Marie, played by the indefatigably beautiful Charlotte Rampling, to be ravished by loneliness. Upon her return to Paris she is encouraged to begin dating again, but can't shake the feeling that Jean is still alive, refusing to come to terms with the "closure" her friends demand of her. (Sean Nelson) Varsity

Support The Stranger