Go Tigers!, Iron Ladies, Iron Monkey, Jabberwocky, Joyride, K-Pax, Liam, Max Keeble's Big Move, Serendipity, Tortilla Soup, Training Day


* Bullfighter and the Lady
Budd Boetticher, with his steely westerns and bullfighting sagas about death and retribution, is exactly the kind of director America needs now. His career ruined his health and his marriage, and even resulted in the death of one of Mexico's greatest bullfighters when Carlos Arruza and several others were slaughtered in a car crash during shooting on a film. But Boetticher's vision of bravery in the face of death shines on in films like The Bullfighter and the Lady (1950), in which a brash young American's irresponsibility brings death to a legendary bullfighter. The American, like our country today, is forced for the first time to fight for his own survival and honor. Short of giving away the ending, it should be noted that he eventually triumphs without launching a massive ground invasion of Afghanistan. (Nathan Thornburgh) Grand Illusion

* Chain Camera
See Stranger Suggests. Acclaimed documentarian Kirby Dick has created a unique film giving the means of production to his subjects. Ten Los Angeles high school students were enlisted to shoot themselves--not with guns for a change, but with video cameras--to create a cinema verite chain letter. (Sean Nelson) Little Theatre

Creature from the Black Lagoon
The old fish-man must deal with explorers on the Amazon--and with Jet City Improv adding new dialogue. Bring a can of food for Northwest Harvest and get $1 off admission. Paradox Theater

* 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. 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

Don't Say a Word
Michael Douglas plays a New York shrink whose daughter is kidnapped by evil men who want only one thing: the six-number code locked away in the fashionably distressed head of Brittany Murphy, who is one of Douglas' patients. Metro

An ongoing series of films that risk subjective indulgence in an attempt to yield objective truth. This week: Highschool Revisited, featuring Chain Camera, with which acclaimed documentarian Kirby (Sick) Dick has created a unique film giving the means of production to his subjects. Ten Los Angeles high-school students are enlisted to shoot themselves--not with guns for a change, but with video cameras--to create a cinéma vérité chain letter. Little Theatre

Hearts in Atlantis
Anthony Hopkins plays a magical old geezer with the power to see the future or some shit in this new Stephen King adaptation from Scott Hicks, the guy who directed Shine. Will Hopkins (who's undeniably great... when he's not in crappy films) and the redoubtable Hope Davis be enough to redeem this heaving torrent of moist schmaltz? Metro

I Love You, Alice B. Toklas
And so does Gertrude Stein. Time, however, has not been so kind to this unremittingly dated film about a super-square '60s businessman who learns the joys of getting high, getting laid, and dropping out. Peter Sellers is always a pleasure to watch, but this film is kind of shitty, truth to tell.

* Independent Exposure
This monthly program of rare (and sometimes wonderful) independent shorts by underground artists from around the world can now be found at Vital 5 Productions, which can be found at 2200 Westlake Avenue (at Denny). This month's theme: Northwestern Exposure. Thurs Sept 27. (Sean Nelson) Vital 5 Productions

Journey to a Hate-Free Millennium
The main event of this gala is a screening of a documentary focusing on three hate-based murders--the crucifixion of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Texas, and the Columbine shooting spree--in an attempt to reveal the social cost of hate crimes, and, possibly, to propose a solution. Also scheduled to appear are Judy Shepard (Matthew's mother) and the Seattle Men's Chorus. Seattle Opera House

* L.I.E.
Reviewed this issue. Some movies implicate their audience by making them cheer on a dastardly act. This painfully beautiful drama does the reverse: It makes us dread an event which never comes, and when it doesn't, forces us to reevaluate our feelings not just about the film and its characters, but about the moral universe they inhabit. The story concerns a young boy in Long Island whose sheltered life turns rocky, much to the delight of a neighborhood chicken hawk. But despite the potentially lurid trappings, the film is an unsettlingly sensitive dramatization of the process of growing up out of the shadow of parental protection. (Sean Nelson) Neptune

* Performance
Reviewed this issue. This greatest and most vile of all the psychedelic films from the late '60s stars the great James Fox (as a repressed gay cockney thug on the run from his boss) who finds first shelter, then metaphysical crisis in a dilapidated Notting Hill mansion inhabited by Mick Jagger, a dissolute rock star. Though the film is a moral quandary and an artistic solipsism, it's hypnotic and riveting nonetheless. The best line comes from Fox, who watches Jagger ponce around the living room with a microphone, and then declares, "Comical little geezer; you'll look funny when you're 50." (Sean Nelson) Grand Illusion

* Rock Opera
See Stranger Suggests. Gentlemen, start your bongloads. This is a stoner movie from deep in the heart of Texas. Little Theatre

Sordid Lives
Reviewed this issue. Olivia Newton-John's triumphant return to the silver screen is an event that will surely be celebrated around the world. Too bad the movie is ass. Varsity

Third Antenna
A documentary about the radical nature of drag. Re-Bar

Vertical Ray of the Sun
Reviewed this issue. The director of The Scent of Green Papaya tells this story of a tightly knit Vietnamese family, offering candid observations of everyday rituals, potentially destructive secrets, and the closeness of two siblings that borders upon the incestuous. Egyptian

Ben Stiller plays a supermodel in what looks like an Austin Powers knockoff. If it were anyone other than Stiller (and his brilliant co-star, Owen Wilson), this would seem like very bad news. Since it is Stiller, it shall--no, must--be funny. Please, someone, be funny. Metro


America's Sweethearts
This film is a total rip-off. (Kathleen Wilson) Pacific Place 11

American Pie II
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 II, unfortunately, has very little to say, which doesn't make it all bad, just not as surprising as the original. (Bradley Steinbacher) Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro, Redmond Town Center

* Apocalypse Now Redux
Seeing Redux is akin to hearing the Beatles' Anthology: You have to, if only out of curiosity. And with the refurbishment and digital remastering of Walter Murch's inestimably powerful sound design, you really have to see it--in a great theater, right now, today. Among the new bits are a few minutes more of vintage Marlon Brando as the vainglorious Kurtz, some nice moments of masculine camaraderie on the boat, and a long, gorgeous sequence set in a ghostly French plantation. While none of these new scenes are at all necessary, all but one are interesting extensions of thematic concerns running through the original. What Redux amounts to is less a director's cut than a revisitation of a work so massive in scope as to have been heretofore not only unfinished, but unfinishable. NOTE: All that may have been true until September 11th, but the thought of seeing this movie now is is practically unimaginable, not just because of the killing and explosions, but for the length; can anyone not think about the war for 200 uninterrupted minutes? (Sean Nelson) Cinerama

Bread and Tulips
Saddled with a loud, bombastic, plumbing-fixture-selling husband with a hair-trigger temper and two disaffected teenage boys, Rosalba (the utterly lovely Licia Maglietta) seems all but eclipsed by her family. When, on a summer vacation in the south of Italy, her tour bus leaves a rest stop without her, she seizes the opportunity to head home to Pescara for some quality time alone. Instead, she ends up in Venice: prime romantic real estate, yes, but also a superior place to lose yourself. Which she promptly does after falling in with an eccentric crowd that includes an aging anarchist florist, a wacky masseuse straight out of Ally McBeal, and Fernando Girasole, a sad, suicidal maitre d'. 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
From its winding, ancient cobblestone streets to its gorgeous Adriatic vistas, the Greek island of Cephallonia is disarmingly beautiful. This beauty lords over Captain Corelli's Mandolin, an adaptation of the Marquez-ian (if I may) novel by Louis de Bernieres, to the point that there's little room left in the camera's eye for matters of story or character. Which is fine, because in those areas, not much is going on. The cast are like a bunch of conscripted waiters, and as head waiter, Nicolas Cage states everything like it's the special of the day. It's especially sad to watch Cage, who, after a brief respite of quality in The Family Man, uses Corelli to continue his brutal downward slide as an actor. (Michael Shilling) Aurora Cinema Grill, Pacific Place 11

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) Uptown, Varsity

Come Undone
While on a seaside family vacation, teenager Mathieu falls for Cédric, a free-spirited boy who is his emotional opposite. Mathieu begins a journey of self-discovery that leads him to painful choices about his family and his future. Broadway Market

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
Woody Allen and Helen Hunt play bitter rivals at a 1940s insurance agency who, under post-hypnotic suggestion, turn into thieves, liars, and lovers. Poorly cast (Hunt is awful, Charlize Theron is squandered, and what the hell is Dan Aykroyd doing there?), awash in discomfitting dirty old mannishness, and after all that, still gorgeously directed, Scorpion is a pretty sad comedy. (Sean Nelson) Aurora Cinema Grill, Uptown, Varsity

* The Deep End
Though it comes dressed in the icy blue clothes of a suspense thriller, The Deep End is a far more interesting creature. Using its intricate plot as shrewd camouflage, the film serves as an examination of the evolving relationship between a lonely mother and her gifted teenage son, whose sexuality (homo) is such an impenetrable subject that Mom (the ineffable Tilda Swinton) would rather navigate a murder cover-up, blackmail, and death threats than talk to the lad directly. Throw in a hunky, menacing Croatian (Goran Visnjic, very good) who appears--demanding a hefty paycheck--with a very private videotape linking the son and the murder victim, and you have the ingredients of a deceptively engrossing (or engrossingly deceptive?) potboiler, where the plot takes many an implausible turn, but the real action takes place in the lead character's mind. (Sean Nelson) Grand Alderwood, Harvard Exit, Oak Tree

* Down from the Mountain
This is a very good documentary, made by one of the great documentarians (D.A. Pennebaker), documenting a top-flight concert of bluegrass/old-timey hillbilly music performed by the folks who made the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?. The film is subtle and observational, offering a casual glimpse of a fine night of music made by real Nashville musicians--the kind who look like soccer moms and bartenders. In a way, Mountain is like a real-world response to the casual flippancy of Altman's Nashville, which delighted in mocking these same kind of folks. All that aside however, the movie had the bad fortune to screen on Tuesday, Sept 11 at noon, and so it was impossible to sit through more than 45 minutes of it. Yes, because of the terrorists--but more directly because my parents live in Nashville and attended that concert, and told me all about it. All I wanted to do was go call them. (Sean Nelson) Varsity

* 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) Broadway Market

Ghosts of Mars
Where have you gone, John Carpenter? Time was you could count on Carpenter to churn out A-plus B-grade genre pictures like Halloween, Escape From New York, and later, They Live and In the Mouth of Madness. His latest effort--which stars the great Ice Cube as the Snake Plisskenesque "Desolation" Williams, a convict on the matriarchal colony of Mars who becomes a guerilla hero when a bunch of Marilyn Manson-looking creeps starts killing up everything in sight--is just tired. With a few exceptions, the dialogue is stiff, the acting forced, and the villains (always Carpenter's weak spot) completely silly. Even for a Carpenter fan (and I am), this is hardly worth bothering with. (Sean Nelson) Pacific Place 11

The Glass House
Leelee Sobieski, the gossamer young beauty who now looks less and less like a young Helen Hunt and more and more like human beauty given form, stars with Diane Lane and Stellan Skarsgard in this weak ass waste of time and talent. Leelee plays a troubled young hottie whose parents die in a horrible car crash. Fortunately, they had made arrangements for a couple of friends to take care of the kids in such an unlikely event. Unfortunately, the foster folks are murderous embezzling junkies! Films that squander Stellan Skarsgard should be brought up on charges. (Sean Nelson) Factoria, Grand Alderwood, Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Metro

Everything about this ill-conceived and clumsily constructed remake of A Star is Born seems strangely swollen: Mariah Carey's ego, her shiny cheeks (apparently stuffed with nuts), and her painfully taut breasts brimming with saline. It's no wonder the poor thing exploded and checked herself into the loony bin before the doomed premiere. Max Beesley, as a studly Norman Maine in leather pants, uses his considerable charisma to make the best of a bad situation. Imagine flaying Mark Wahlberg and then carefully draping his hide over an intelligent, resourceful English actor like Tim Roth. Delectable! I'm sad to say that the only genuine moment of emotion elicited by this disaster was another disaster--a soaring helicopter shot of the twin towers. The opening night audience didn't so much gasp as moan. (Tamara Paris) Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Metro, Oak Tree, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Haiku Tunnel
A clever little movie about a "temp" who becomes a "perm," and suddenly finds himself face-to-face with the perils of workplace commitment. Though the film is often charming and very funny, it leans very heavily on the googly eyed self-effacement of lead actor and co-writer/director Josh Kornbluth. If you don't like Kornbluth, you can't like the film. (Sean Nelson) Guild 45th

Happy Accidents
Was Marisa Tomei a fluke? Find out when she meets, woos, and beds Vincent D'Onofrio in this cinematic charmer tinged with science fiction. Is D'Onofrio really from 500 years in the future? And, more importantly--if she sleeps with him, will she become her own grandmother? Broadway Market

Keanu Reeves plays the sleaziest man on the planet, who winds up coaching a kids' baseball team in the projects so he can pay off a gambling debt. He soon becomes a decent man. At one point in the early stages of this picture's production, someone must have pointed out that this script was a bloody mess, and that it provided totally unconvincing evidence that such a foul creature (Reeves' character) could be worthy of vindication. Thus, America's best-loved idiot (Reeves proper) was brought on board to give this character an intrinsic innocuousness. Therefore the wounds of the script were left to gush untended; the anguish of the viewer is simply interminable; and the banality of poor Keanu Reeves has been raped. (Kudzai Mudede) Factoria, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

* 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. (Josh Feit) Broadway Market

Andreas and Claire were once young lovers in post-WWII Belgium. Now, half a century later, they find themselves neighbors in Melbourne, where Andreas has been a widower for 30 years and Claire is in an agreeable though passionless marriage. Unable to resist the tug of nostalgia, they resume their tempestuous affair, much to the chagrin of their loved ones. A big hit at Cannes and SIFF alike. Harvard Exit

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is intended to be Kevin Smith's swan song to the characters (and universe) he created starting with Clerks. But as it turns out, it's more of an off-key jingle than a song. Ridiculously juvenile and often painfully unfunny, it shows Kevin Smith's true talent as a filmmaker: entertaining himself, his friends, and 13-year-old Internet geeks who think he's a god. Despite whatever protests those folks may loft to the contrary, the fact still remains that this film is a piece of shit. There are a handful of funny moments, sure, but in the end, all that is left is a steaming pile of fag jokes, numerous variations of the word "fuck," and direction so completely void of inspiration it often stuns. (Bradley Steinbacher) Grand Alderwood, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree

Jeepers Creepers
A brother and sister on a road trip are hunted down by a force of evil for no particular reason. Jeepers Creepers is a welcome break from all those self-aware teen horror flicks of the '90s. Instead of trying to be clever, this movie attempts to sustain a creepy mood throughout its running time, and it nearly succeeds. With a church made of corpses, references to Duel and The Birds, and a demon villain who never explains himself, Jeepers Creepers has a lot going for it. Unfortunately, I did not find the banter between the brother and sister endearing, so I didn't care if they died or not. But maybe that's just me. Maybe you should see this movie and judge for yourself. (Andy Spletzer) Pacific Place 11

The Musketeer
The story of the Three Musketeers, done up with Crouching Tiger-style rope-and pully-acrobatics. A silly idea? Indeed. So silly it just might be brilliant. Tim Roth stars. Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Majestic Bay, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

* O
This intelligent, effective film transposes the plot and characters from Shakespeare's Othello to an American high school. This time, Othello (Odin--a very convincing Mekhi Phifer) and Iago (Hugo--Josh Hartnett, very good) are not soldiers embroiled in a war with the Turks, but the star and utility players, respectively, of a prep-school basketball team bound for the state championship. When the coach (Martin Sheen in full coronary mode), who's also Hugo's dad, favors Odin over his son, the tragic course of events is set in motion. All the big Othello themes--jealousy, love, manipulation, hearsay, and betrayal--are in the paint. (Sean Nelson) Grand Alderwood, 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 her 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, and 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) Lewis & Clark, Majestic Bay, Metro, Pacific Place 11, Redmond Town Center

Rat Race
Rat Race should not be considered an actual chase comedy, but a clone of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Cannonball Run I and II, and Million Dollar Mystery, brought to you by a movie industry so short on ideas it's now peddling third-generation photocopies of itself to an audience raised on replicas (apologies to D.C. Berman). (Jason Pagano) Factoria, Meridian 16, Metro, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center

* The River
A difficult but rewarding film from Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-Liang (The Hole), in which a young man's exposure to a polluted river leads to a throbbing neck pain and a look inside a very fucked-up family. (Sean Nelson) Grand Illusion

Rock Star
Mark Wahlberg returns to his Marky Mark roots as a cover-band singer who lives the ultimate cover-band singer's dream: The real band calls and asks him to join. Based loosely on the true story of that one dude who replaced Rob Halford when his Judas Priest bandmates discovered Halford was gay. Um, duh.... Aurora Cinema Grill, Factoria, Grand Alderwood, 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

* 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 DeNiro, Edward Norton, and best of all, Marlon Brando. (Sean Nelson) Meridian 16

* 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. (Sean Nelson) Uptown

* Together
Q: What do you get when you combine a '70s commune full of Swedish hippies, a soundtrack that features hits by ABBA and Nazareth, and a VW bus painted with flowers? A: This strangely sitcommish but thoroughly engaging little movie. Just when you think it's going to Cute Hell, the filmmakers add a wrinkle of probing intellectualism or kinky human frailty to keep things interesting. Throw in a middle-class domestic-abuse refugee and her kids, a pre-op transsexual, some hilariously passive-aggressive dialogue about the importance of non-aggressiveness, a nymphomaniac, and a central character who suffers like a sweet-natured Job trying to keep the whole thing together (as it were); stir; cock your head in wonder; and enjoy. (Sean Nelson) Guild 45th

Two Can Play That Game
A.k.a. The Sistas. This movie has the single most laughable trailer since Kevin Costner's The Postman. Audiences have been howling and hissing for months now at the cloying teaser for this tale of upscale black women turning the playa tables on a bunch of emotionally shallow black men. The movie might be fine, but it looks like an affront to all people, regardless of color, gender, or social stratum. Lewis & Clark, Meridian 16, Redmond Town Center

Wet Hot American Summer
The people behind The State are responsible for this Meatballs-to-the-wall lampoon of the pubescent summer-camp comedy. It seems hard to imagine anyone doing it better than that Mr. Show sketch about the Tibetan Monks and the rich fat kids, though. I'm just saying. Cast includes Janeane Garofalo. (Sean Nelson) Broadway Market

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