* HOLLYWOOD THEATER'S ANNUAL MOVIE MEMORABILIA SALE
Thousands of original movie posters, publicity photos, buttons, and more will be for sale from a dozen different vendors. Buy your Christmas presents! Saturday, 8:30 am-2 pm.

Ariel
Aki Kaurismaki's film is the heart-twisting story about a sleepy-eyed laborer who sets off for the bright lights of the big city of Helsinki after the mines close. Everything goes great, until it doesn't. Guild Theater

* Bad Santa See review this issue.

Billabong Odyssey
A team of world-class surfers travels the globe looking for monster waves (of the three-stories high variety) and for the most part are successful. There are shots of waves that demonstrate their incredible beauty and power, and there are also shots of the obligatory not-very-interesting surfers who yammer on incessantly about the "idea" of wave riding. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Fox Tower 10

Bounce Ko Gals
Apparently, Japanese businessmen are so hard up for chicks that they'll pay 100,000 yen just to eat dinner with one... especially if she's still in high school. Bounce Ko Gals follows a few young Japanese girls in their search for easy money that ends up not coming so easily. Unfortunately, the film doesn't give a lot of insight into the girls, and the subtitles are hard to read, which makes the movie more confusing than engaging, and not very sexy to boot. (Katie Shimer) Clinton Street Theater

Calamari Union
Wry, droll and deadpan, Aki Kauriskaki examines the weirdness that is beautiful and the beauty that is weird in Helsinki. A pair of down-and-out Finns take off on a mock epic road trip. Guild Theater

The Cat in the Hat See review this issue.

Regal Cinemas, Lake Twin Cinema, Oak Grove 8 Theater, St. Johns Theater

* Cyrano de Bergerac
Italy's 1925 version of the classic play about a guy with a big nose, a big vocabulary, and a big something else. Whitsell Auditorium

Elephant
Elephant shows us a couple days in the life of two grumpy teens who go all Vice City on their Portland high school. Both the boys are cardboard characters who shop for guns on the internet, play violent video games, and have a brief homosexual affair. Neither is likeable, neither evokes sympathy. Their fellow high school students, however, are worse. (Katie Shimer) Fox Tower 10

* Elf
It's no secret that Will Ferrell is one funny mo-fo, and yet to this point in time his movie roles have been limited to comic relief. Elf begs the question: Can Ferrell carry a feature-length film, and can he do it wearing tights in every scene? The answer is yes, because Ferrell, for all his goofiness, has the uncanny ability to take himself utterly seriously. Regal Cinemas

The Embalmer
A creepy Italian film about an extremely short embalmer and mob-affiliate, Peppino, who falls for Valerio, an extremely hot cook. The film tracks the unhealthy, repressed homosexual desires of Peppino, who does things like hire prostitutes for himself and Valerio, apparently just so they can be having sex in the same room, even if not with each other. Then Valerio gets a girlfriend, knocks her up, and it all ends poorly. It's a strange, sad story, but the film is a little sluggish and depressing. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre

Flower of Evil
A French film about a wealthy family who is inconvenienced when one of their women decides to run for mayor. Fox Tower 10

Gothika See review this issue.

Regal Cinemas

Hamlet Goes Business
Perhaps the most adapted play ever, from Ethan Hawke to Mel Gibson, this time the story about a troubled son revenging his father's death is set up as a simultaneously silly and serious film noir. Directed by Aki Kaurismaki, the battle is not over the empire of Denmark, but the rubber duckie market. Guild Theater

* The Haunted Mansion
Eddie Murphy learns valuable lessons about workaholism from the ghosts at a haunted mansion. Like A Christmas Carol redux. Or ripoff. Opens Wednesday Nov. 26.

* The Human Stain
Director Robert Benton spends most of the film relationship between a professor (Sir Anthony Hopkins, a Welshman playing a Jew who is actually an African American) and the last love of his life, a janitor played by a terribly thin Nicole Kidman. City Center 12, Koin Center

In the Cut
Mark Ruffalo sells out to Hollywood in this entirely unscary, unsexy, unthrilling movie about a detective, a crime witness, and their boring love affair. Also stars Meg Ryan. Laurelhurst

* Invisible aka The Damned House of Hajn
After Petr and his new bride Sona move into the family's gothic mansion, Petr realizes the house is cursed and he's competing with Sona's insane uncle to get her in the sack. Whitsell Auditorium

* June Night
Ingrid Bergman plays Karen, a woman who is shot by her boyfriend when she tries to leave him. She survives the attack, relocating to Stockholm, but soon enough the media outs her. Fifth Avenue Cinemas

* Kill Bill: Volume 1
Unlike the meandering plots of Tarantino's previous films, Kill Bill is dead-on simple: Uma Thurman stars as "The Bride"--an assassin who's shot in the noggin on her wedding day by a band of killers sent out by her former boss, Bill. Unfortunately for the prop masters who had to come up with a kajillion gallons of fake blood, The Bride didn't die--and after snapping out of a coma, she commissions a samurai blade from a venerable sword-maker and sets off to slice and dice everyone who dared ruin her perfect day. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas

La Femme Nikita
A hottie French prisoner is forced into becoming an assassin, but can't tell a soul about her profession. Laurelhurst

Leningrad Cowboys Go To America
A talentless Siberian rock band sets out to take America by storm. From a used Cadillac car lot in NYC (staffed by none other than Jim Jarmusch) the band takes off on a screwball road trip. Guild Theater

* Love Actually
Yes, it's frequently saccharine, and it's a Christmas movie, but it has an incredible cast. Any movie with Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, and Laura Linney is going to have to work its ass off to suck. Love Actually doesn't even work its ass off. Several of its many love-themed story threads are genuinely moving, and several of its scenes are surprisingly hilarious. (Justin Sanders) Oak Grove 8, Regal

* Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
The year is 1805 and Napoleon is running roughshod over Europe. The only thing stopping France from infecting the whole of the continent is the tiny island of England, which may be lacking in ground forces, but kicks ass on the high seas. Russell Crowe plays Cap'n "Lucky" Jack Aubrey, one of Britain's finest seamen, who runs afoul of a Frenchy frigate boasting twice the guns and manpower. Barely escaping with their lives, Cap'n Jack becomes obsessed with the Froggie warboat, and vows to send ship and crew to the bottom of the briny blue. However, best friend and ship doctor Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany) fears his Captain has slipped off the deep end, and "Lucky" Jack must find a middle ground between swabbing his enemy's decks in blood and his own humanity. Regal Cinemas

The Match Factory Girl
Revenge can often be measured as the exact height between a person's high and low moments. Finnish director Ari Kaurismaki takes a downtrodden factory worker and gives her a new dress and a one-night stand. Her sudden change in fate sends her spirits soaring, but they soon crash into the banal reality of her life. Guild Theater

* Men With Guns
John Sayles film about a widowed doctor who revisits his medical students who are on rural assignment in war torn Central America. When he arrives he learns one of his students has been killed and begins a political quest. PSU Smith Memorial Union Rm 225

The Missing
Opens Wed Nov. 26. See review this issue.

* Mr. Show Season 1 & Run Ronnie Run
The cult comedy show, Mr. Show, followed up by Run Ronnie Run, written by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross (of Mr. Show), and starring David Cross, about a redneck who gets his own reality show. Tonic Lounge

Mystic River
For all the "inexorability" and "meditation" of its violence, Mystic River feels desperately contrived. Whether director Clint Eastwood has some deep understanding of the nature of violence remains unclear. What is certain is that he knows how to make a movie, even a dumb one, well worth watching. I only wish someone would send him some better books. (Sean Nelson) Regal Cinemas

* A Night at the Opera
A 1935 Marx Brothers movie about the wacky shenanigans of two opera singers and a business manager bent on success. Cinema 21

* Persona
An actress who refuses to speak convalesces on a remote island with only a chatty nurse for company. Fifth Avenue Cinemas

* Pieces of April
Starring Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, and Oliver Platt, Pieces of April has a look and feel that I hesitate to label "documentary-like." Gritty due to its transfer of digital to celluloid and mainly handheld, there is a certain spontaneity in the film, almost an improvised feel, that is enhanced by the sharp cast. Clarkson is particularly good, becoming the heart of the film that the rest of the group rotates around. (Bradley Steinbacher) Fox Tower 10

* Pied Piper
Jiri Barta's hugely ambitious animation project following the legend of the Pied Piper, using wooden puppets, oil paintings, and footage of live rats. Preceded by two Czech short films, Golem and The Last Theft, both by Barta as well. Whitsell Auditorium

Radio
Combining the two most odious tools at Hollywood's disposal--celebrities portraying the mentally handicapped and Cuba Gooding Jr. --Radio is something like Rudy meets The Waterboy. With "heart." Oh, the heart. Regal Cinemas

* Royal Tenenbaums
A family of geniuses reunite from their separate, but equally fucked up lives. Old Town Pizza

* Shattered Glass
Stephen Glass, a fast-rising writer and editor for the New Republic, scandalized the journalism world in 1998 when it was unearthed that an article he penned for his employer, titled "Hack Heaven," was an outright fabrication. Shattered Glass chronicles Glass' exposure and tumble. Despite some minor flaws, the film shows us in an intelligent fashion how the reputation damage to the New Republic came about, and gives us a smart portrayal of Stephen Glass the man. (Bradley Steinbacher) Fox Tower 10

The Singing Detective
This is not a pleasant movie. It's caught somewhere between a darkly comic portrayal of a pulp fiction writer with a chronic skin disease, and a darkly serious portrayal of that same pulp fiction writer's chronic insanity. It follows both paths with equal intensity, but somehow ends up being neither funny enough to make us laugh, nor serious enough to make us think or cry. Robert Downey, Jr.'s incredible performance is a double-edged sword. His disgusting-looking, self-absorbed, bed-ridden fellow is so repulsive on so many levels we can hardly tolerate him for 10 minutes, let alone two hours. This is perhaps the greatest performance you'll ever find completely unwatchable. (Justin Sanders) Fox Tower 10

* Sinister Cinema
More local films than you can shake a stick at, all in the comfort of your local watering hole, DV8.

* The Station Agent
Fin McBride (Peter Dinklage), The Station Agent's protagonist, was born a dwarf, and has built up a stone-faced resistance to the stares and slurs directed at him daily. When he inherits a small abandoned train station in rural New Jersey, he leaves the city and makes the shack his home. Within a day, the locals notice him and are banging on his door. (Brian Brait) Fox Tower 10

* Step into Liquid
Liquid focuses on a myriad of obsessive wave-riders and what makes them tick. Director Dana Brown features a charismatic cast of daredevils and oddballs; though big wave rider Laird Hamilton exhibits steely-eyed nerve while navigating monster-sized swells, Liquid isn't just about tanned surfer gods. There's also an older group of fun-seekers tackling the two-foot waves of Lake Michigan, and a Texas trio who surf the wakes of oil tankers. However, cinematography makes or breaks a surf flick, and Liquid certainly delivers. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Laurelhurst

* Stoked See review this issue. Cinema 21

Sylvia
Tackling as elusive and controversial a subject as Sylvia Plath is ambitious, which is probably why Christine Jeffs' film (starring Gwyneth Paltrow) works in fits and starts, sometimes opting for the burnished lens of Hollywood and forced poetic imagery. Paltrow affects the groomed, upper-middle-class accent her character requires, though imbues it with a labored sarcasm that stings more like The Royal Tenenbaums than Fulbright scholar. Sure, Plath's poems teeter with sharp wit, but Paltrow's wry delivery can't transcend Gwyneth Paltrow playing Sylvia Plath. (Julianne Shepherd) Cinemagic

* This is Spinal Tap
Smell the glove once again with David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel, and Derek Smalls, in this band mockumentary by Christopher Guest. Ash Street

Timeline
Opens Wed Nov. 26. See review this issue.

Tupac: Resurrection
The success of the documentary Tupac Resurrection, which attempts to do nothing less than produce a saint from MTV videos, news reports, and intimate interviews, is that it focuses less on his music and more on his actual life--his childhood in New York, his teens in Baltimore, his early 20s in the Bay Area, and, finally, the transformation of this ordinary life into a pop life. Narrated by Tupac himself, as if from the grave ("I always knew I was gonna be shot"), the most important revelation the documentary has to offer is that Tupac was not a thug to begin with, but something of a geek who took ballet lessons, read Shakespeare, and wrote poetry in notebooks. (Charles Mudede) Regal Cinemas

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
A Czech cult classic, Valerie tells the story of a 13-year-old girl entering not only into womanhood but into a Gothic cult of vampires and witchcraft. Whitsell Auditorium