Film, video, animation and dramas; all by kids in grades K-12!
* 28 Days Later
After a brief scene in a lab, 28 Days Later begins in a hospital bed, with a patient who has just awoken from a coma. The young man soon discovers that there are now only two races: those who are infected by the disease that makes them raving mad and murderous, and those who are not. Teaming up with a young woman (Naomie Harris), a father (Brendan Gleeson), and his daughter (Megan Burns), the four decide to leave the safety of a fortified apartment complex and follow a radio signal broadcasting from an army post based in Manchester. The signal promises protection from the zombies--but upon arriving at the army camp, they discover an even worse enemy. (Charles Mudede)
See review this issue.
See My What a Busy Week
Capturing the Friedmans
See review this issue.
* Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
An over the top hyper-sexual music video starring Drew, Cameron, Lucy, and that bitch, Demi. As you might expect, the Angels battle to restore order in a loosely plotted tale about corrupt federal agents in cahoots with mobsters to expose people in the witness protection program. You won't care much about plot, though, with all of the explosions, high-tech motorized vehicles, and T&A. (Katie Shimer)
* City of God
City of God chronicles gang warfare in one of the most impoverished and depraved slums in Rio de Janeiro. It revolves around a young man named Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues) as he struggles to get high, get laid, and finally get a real job in photography so he can get out of the slums. He narrates the film in a dazed, almost aloof tone as waves of drugs, guns, and murder swirl around him. Lush mounds of twisting story lines and visual treats pile up, your eyes greedily devouring them like candy, but never seeming to quite get full. (Justin Sanders )
* DC Video
Guerilla skateboard footage from the nation's capital. This is the real, raw shizzle.
* Down With Love
With its retro setting and references, Down With Love manages to not only pay direct tribute to the kind of sex comedy Doris Day and Rock Hudson made memorable with Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back, but it proves to be the most satisfying romantic comedy I've seen in, well, decades. Ewan McGregor is Catcher Block, the unapologetic playboy with the swinging bachelor pad and Renee Zellweger is Barbara Novak, the beautiful author with whom he becomes smitten. (Kathleen Wilson)
This Hong Kong horror production features a beautiful young blind woman (Mun) who undergoes a cornea transplant. When they take off the bandages, she is able to see even more than most of us. That's right, she sees dead people. The Eye has some good, chilling moments, but it's as benevolent as it is scary. When it appears to be concluding, the film gets a second wind and plunges into a subplot that's more spiritual thriller than horror. It's an entertaining film, if somewhat predictable. Hardcore fans of fear will probably not be shaken. (Marjorie Skinner)
A Family Affair
Starring and directed by Helen Lesnick. A film about a Jewish mom who is the head of her local PFLAG chapter and determined to see her lesbian daughter married.
Louis Sachar adapted his own book for the film version of Holes, and it shows. With the help of Fugitive director, Andrew Davis, the film is a shimmering web of story threads, perfectly woven together. The film shows us Stanley Yelnats, who is sent to Camp Green Lake, a hellhole in the middle of the desert, for stealing a pair of shoes he didn't steal. There, he is forced by the camp's psychotic director (Sigourney Weaver) to dig large holes in the sand, under the burning sun, as correctional therapy. (Justin Sanders)
This 1973 adaptation of Harold Pinter's play gracefully makes the leap from the stage to the screen. And, it does so with an all-star cast, plucking the best actors from London and Broadway stages.
* The Hulk
Whether or not you buy the beast onscreen is dependent upon just how far you yourself are willing to leap--but the old tale has been given a modern overhaul by Ang Lee. In fact, it may be the most grown-up--and most emotionally fucked-up--comic-book movie ever assembled. (Bradley Steinbacher)
* The Italian Job
Taking the name (and not much else) from the '60s Michael Caine Cockney classic, The Italian Job remains true enough to the heist formula to end up surprisingly gratifying. (Andrew Wright)
See review this issue.
* Last Waltz (1978) plus Lost Planet SeriAl Episode 1
Scorsese proves he can RAWK with this loving documentary about The Band's final performance. New 35 mm print.
* Laurel Canyon
An outwardly airtight, upwardly propelled couple (Christian Bale and Kate Beckinsale) reluctantly relocate to the crumbling, groupie-haunted manse of his rock producing, partying mother (Francis McDormand). Romantic entanglements, Oedipal spit-takes, identity crises, and Kip Wingeresque excess swiftly follow. (Andrew Wright)
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
See review this issue.
* Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, & Blonde
More than any other actress, 27-year-old Southerner Reese Witherspoon embodies American ideals at their most... idealistic, representing the beauty, altruistic savvy, and awesomely fine-tuned dental hygiene we so admire in our finest citizens. A former cheerleader/debutante with a Stanford education, Witherspoon is the vision of moral upstandingness--the perfect fusion of Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly. She has even birthed a child and kept her figure. That's why we believe she can and will change the world through animal rights in Legally Blonde 2, in which Witherspoon reprises her amazing role as Elle Woods, whose desire for truth, justice, and the American way equalizes her unapologetic materialism. (Julianne Shepherd)
* Legend: Director's Cut
Tom Cruise plays a "forest boy" who sets off on a quest to steal back a unicorn's horn from the lord of evil and save the fairy princess. He is helped on his way by elves, pixies, and all manner of mythic creatures. Well.... That should put those pesky gay rumors to rest once and for all. (P.S. The movie is actually a stunning visual creation, crafted by Ridley Scott, who may not be good for much, but he's good for stunning visual creations). (Sean Nelson)
Life In Vine
In case you weren't informed, 1999 was a particularly "suspenseful" year for Oregon's vineyards. With wry humor and careful insight, director Matt Giraud looks into the wine making industry right here in our own valley. Gee whiz. After the screening, there will be wine tasting to rinse the taste of aristocracy from your mouth.
A film about exactly what it says it's about: maids. The maids chill on a bus and the maids move us with their warmth and insight. But all that really matters about this film is that it's written and directed by Fernando Meirelles, creator of City of God, one of the coolest filmmakers alive.
Man on the Train
Director Patrice Leconte brings us this oft-told tale of two aging men from vastly different backgrounds coming to understand and-yes-even like each other. One is a retired poetry teacher, the other a bank robber preparing for his last heist. Despite the unbelievable premise, the acting is fine, the story is sweet, and there's nothing much else to it. Hey, I like "sweet" as much as the next guy, but c'mon. I'm kinda busy here. (Wm. Steven Humphrey)
* The Mormon Church
The Clinton Street explores the catalogue of Wetzel O. Whitaker, Mormon filmmaker and a genius of scare tactics and morality. Refresh yourself on valuable life-lessons with films like Worth Waiting For, and become convinced to convert after Whitaker's scathing The Search for Truth.
* Nowhere in Africa
Nowhere in Africa follows a rich Jewish family that leaves Germany in 1938 and moves to Africa. There they can avoid the Nazis, but have to deal with some other issues like, oh, the lack of water. Naturally, the characters all experience guilt (you just can't have a Holocaust movie without guilt), but there are also things here you never see in any movie, such as the scene in which a swarm of locusts plunders a field of maize. The hazards of humanity and the hazards of nature are not dissimilar, this movie argues, though (at two and a half hours long) not very succinctly. Thankfully, the actor Merab Ninidze, who's very sexy, is in almost every scene. (Christopher Frizzelle)
Only the Strong Survive
The spotlight has moved past Motown, Stax Music, and much of soul music, but not all of the musicians are pushing up tulips yet. In fact, even with one foot in the rest home, some are still working. Wilson Pickett, Sam Moore, Mary Wilson of the Supremes; these are not just blasts from the past but are alive, kicking, singing, and bling-blinging. Director Chirs Hedegus (Down From The Mountain) takes his camera to Memphis and catches up with some of the hardest working men and women of showbiz.
Morris had a difficult childhood because--even though his single mom was a good gal--she was always dating abusive losers. So now he's an adult, spending a couple years in a clean and friendly mental institution under the supervision of a pretty doctor who he's admiringly writing a book about. When she decides to release Morris, he's reluctant, but finds life on the outside fulfilling, and keeps writing, delivering chapters of the book to her. It's when Morris starts dating a woman named Raven that his doctor starts to become concerned, wondering if Morris is more dangerous than she thought. I can't tell you whether she's right, but I can tell you that the film is an entertaining, plot-driven thriller. First-time (Seattle-based) director, Alec Carlin, puts together a slick story. PLUS, he'll be on hand, to talk about it. (Katie Shimer)
An overwhelmingly Canadian portrait of one sweaty bank manager's gambling addiction, and the enormous fraud he perpetrates to sustain it. The film is portentous and humorless. Philip Seymour Hoffman is a great actor, but the only crucial difference between this performance and other recent ones (e.g. Love Liza) seems to be the moustache on his lip. (Sean Nelson)
Pirates of the Caribbean
See review this issue.
* Raising Victor Vargas
Victor Vargas is a sexy fucker and he knows it: The opening shot of this movie (in which the lithe, crass, and beguiling 18-year-old begins undressing as he prepares to fuck a fat girl who has promised not to tell anyone) is not unlike those Antonio Sabato Jr. underwear ads from the '90s. Victor lives on the Lower East Side and has no worldly ambitions; all he has to speak of is a crush on Juicy Judy, who wears hoop earrings and too much makeup and thinks all guys are "dogs." Neither one of them has a phone at home, which suggests a rather improbable courtship, though they manage to run into each other enough times on neighborhood rooftops and at public swimming pools, and to the surprise of no one in the audience it all works out--each character (even among the overbearing and richly caricatured families) comes to a sensitive, deeper understanding of one another's longings and insecurities, which is a clean, comforting way to end a movie, but it's never how things turn out in life. (Christopher Frizzelle)
* Raw Deal Short Film Explosion w/ Films by Rob Hatch
See My What a Busy Week pg 17
* Russian Ark
There's no denying that Russian Ark''s considerable buzz quotient depends solely on one dilly of a stunt; namely, a single 96-minute Steadicam shot. Whether this amounts to anything more than an empty high-wire act is open to personal interpretation; however, its technical bravura is impossible to deny. Requiring a cast of thousands and seven months of rehearsal time, the film chronicles a lucid dreamer's ghostly waltz through St. Petersburg's opulent Hermitage Museum, previously a palace to the Czars. The faceless, perplexed narrator soon meets up with an overbearing 19th Century French nobleman in the same helplessly voyeuristic boat. The unlikely duo then proceeds to trade national philosophies and personal musings for the remainder of the running time, as history becomes increasingly unstuck around them. (Andrew Wright)
* Searching for Paradise
A college-aged Audrey Tautou look-alike deals simultaneously with the death of her father and her downright obsession with an actor played by Chris Noth (the hottie who plays Big on Sex and the City). She buys a video camera to document her father's last days, and also to make tapes of herself to send to the actor. After her father kicks the bucket, she heads to New York for some downtime and then ends up chasing Chris Noth around, pretending to be a journalist. A sweet and surprisingly realistic depiction of young confusion that you can't help but love. (Katie Shimer)
* Shots on the Docks w/ Jack Heyman
See a short film showing the police raid of a peaceful anti-war protest at the Oakland port on April 3. Jack Heyman, a member of the International Labor Worker's Union discusses his subsequent arrest and the creation of the Jack Heyman Defense Fund.
Sick Puppy Film Festival
Right on to poor taste and right on to independent filmmaking. This year's crop of gross-out flicks in the Sick Puppy festival is full of poop, blood, toothless hobos, and pussy lickin' puppies. Unfortunately, most of them aren't very funny, but they're good little showcases of low-budget special effects. Like Olympia Diner, in which a fat girl ravishes bags of fast food and then shits herself to death. Longer films, like Rough Cut and Return To Purgatory, aren't very sick, but they're kind of funny. Sickness stands way out, as a black and white fantasy about a bound and gagged woman, but it's like two seconds long. Overall, this is a pretty straightforward exercise in gross, but not gross enough to carry the fact that it's mostly pointless humor. Your 13-year-old nephew will love it. (Marjorie Skinner)
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
Dreamworks latest animated adventure, with voices by Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Do kids really care about that shit?
Spellbound is a documentary that follows eight pre-teenage contenders in the 1999 National Spelling Bee finals. The cast includes an inner-city girl from D.C. who looks like she's going to barf every time she steps up to the microphone. Another is a hyperactive spaz from New Jersey who fidgets nonstop, firing off stupid jokes in weird robot voices. Their mannerisms and facial expressions, as they writhe under the pressure, are worth about a trillion bucks a pop. (Marjorie Skinner)
A mousy, frigid English woman (Sarah), who writes popular mysteries, retreats to her publisher's mansion in the south of France. Then his illegitimate daughter Julie shows up unexpectedly; a slutty, bratty French vagina--I mean, character. The film follows the women as they eventually become friendly, and the uptight Brit mellows out with weed, swimming, and sex. A thriller element enters the film, shifting it suddenly from stereotypical Odd Couple stuff to highly improbable, anemic drama. By the end of the film, it's revealed why things have became so cardboard and predictable. But it's an extremely flimsy excuse for mediocrity. On the other hand, Julie shows a ton of skin and has sex with a succession of nasty older men, which is fun to watch. (Marjorie Skinner)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
While T3 might work as a slightly overwrought allegory of governmental excess gone wrong, as a vehicle for entertainment it plain SUCKS. Every ounce of creativity was put into wrecking vehicles and blowing shit up, Nick Stahl and Claire Danes are mere window dressing, and Arnie has obviously stopped trying altogether. Say what you will about his lack of acting ability; in his past roles, he would at least put out a modicum of effort. Now, when he utters his textbook monosyllabic lines ("Get out." "I'll drive." "I'll be back."), one can almost see his mind drifting off to long, luxurious dinners entertaining heads of state in the Governor's mansion. (Wm. Steven Humphrey)
* Video Slam 1st Heat
It's the first heat of Orlo's video slam where they'll be showing the best four minute videos about stumps. Come at 7 pm to sign up with your own stump video (must be under 4 minutes) and at 7:30 pm to view.
* Whale Rider
Audiences at Toronto and Sundance loved this film and so will you if you like triumphant tales of charismatic youngsters who defy the stoic immobility of old-fashioned patriarchs. I like it because it captures traditional Maori ceremonies and songs on film, while also showing that New Zealand is not just a backdrop for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Shannon Gee)