For more info, hit http://15.africanfilmfestival.org. The director of all of the films shown this week, Souleymane Cissé, will introduce each evening screening.
Who's up for some good ol' neo-colonist exploitation? Three social classes conflict within a Bamako factory as the sociological and practical issues regarding Europe, Africa, and--yep--neo-colonist exploitation become unavoidable. PCC Cascade Campus
Generational conflicts arise when a young couple is stuck between traditional tribal authorities and contemporary military ones. PCC Cascade Campus
A young girl flees apartheid in South Africa, discovering herself and Africa simultaneously during her travels. Hollywood Theatre
Winner of the Jury Award at Cannes in 1987, Yeelen follows the son of a magician as he strikes out on his own. Hollywood Theatre
22nd Annual Reel Music Festival
For more info on any of the fest's films, hit www.nwfilm.org.
Archival footage from silent films, home movies, documentaries, and news programs is paired with a score by Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood. Guild Theater
Cabalé: Beyond the Music
According to the Northwest Film Center, some chick named Montserrat Caballé holds the title of "Spain's greatest soprano." What? Like you're going to argue? Whitsell Auditorium
Different Drummer: Elvin Jones & Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth
Two half-hour-long films, the first dealing with John Coltrane Quartet member Jones, the second with Worrell, who has played with the Washington Symphony Orchestra (at the age of 10), George Clinton and Bootsie Collins, the Talking Heads, and Mos Def. Guild Theater
Music From the Inside Out
A look at what music really means--in terms of both artistic expression and self-realization--to some of the members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Whitsell Auditorium
Queen of the Gypsies: A Portrait of Carmen Amaya
A documentary about Carmen Amaya, flamenco dancer extraordinaire. Guild Theater
Texas Tenor: The Illinois Jacquet Story
A biography of Illinois Jacquet, who not only has the coolest name ever, but also served as a bridge between the eras of big band and blues. Plays with the short Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers. Guild Theater
Alone in the Dark
Okay. So. Christian Slater's a tank top-wearing "psychic investigator," and he's being chased by big invisible monsters that live in gold mines and can only be killed by sunlight bullets, and then there's some tiny critters that live in the spinal columns of zombie orphans and... hell, I don't know. Uwe Boll, the man behind the infamously bad House of the Dead, tackles another videogame adaptation, with results that are impossible to discuss without coughing up a lung in laughter. From the solid three minutes of spoken word prologue to Tara Reid as a museum curator who can't pronounce "anthropology," this film attains a level of just awe-inspiring Velveeta dunderheadedness. That faint sound you hear is Ed Wood doing donuts in his crypt in admiration. (Andrew Wright) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Are We There Yet?
"Is this the same man who made AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted?!" queried my screening companion in the middle of Ice Cube's latest screen opus. The answer was, regrettably, yes: Yes, that is Ice Cube wrestling with a child for a juice box. Yes, that is Ice Cube fighting with a deer. Yes, that is Ice Cube being a sad, sappy sucker. (Zac Pennington) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Assassination of Richard Nixon
Based on a true story from 1974, Assassination attempts to explore the events of Samuel Bicke's (Sean Penn) life that led him to hold up a plane at gunpoint with the intention of flying it into the White House and killing Nixon. But Penn's social ineptitude seems inherent, and is thus not the chilling product of a society we are all a part of, but merely the meaningless deed of an unhinged soul. (Justin Sanders) Laurelhurst
* Bad Education
If Hitchcock's Vertigo collided head-on with a drag queen variety show, the brilliant wreckage would be Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education. The eccentric Spanish filmmaker weaves together themes of false identity, chronological shifts, and his erotic style; the end result is a film that sacrifices some of the comedy and melodrama that anchored Almodovar's All About My Mother and Talk to Her and instead relies upon a complex plot that slowly distills fact from fantasy. (Ryan Dirks) Fox Tower 10
The latest PG-13 horror flick from Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures. Not screened in time for review, but watch for our objective, professional film short next week. (Our subjective, unprofessional film short--based merely on its stupid title, as well as the fact that it co-stars Lucy Lawless from Xena--is that this film is probably going to suck.) Regal Cinemas, etc.
* A Clockwork Orange
Malcolm McDowell stars in Stanley Kubrick's brilliant adaptation of Anthony Burgess' novel about a gang of psychotic punks and their nightly forays involving the ol' ultra-violence. Clinton Street Theater
Coach Carter tackles a worthy, deservedly inspirational story about a tough-love basketball coach who turned his dead-ender squad into academic winners--and treats its subject in such a neutered, worshipful fashion that it ultimately does the actual accomplishment a disservice. (Andrew Wright) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst
Kidnapped by the militant Symbionese Liberation Army at the age of 19, the heiress Patty Hearst eventually joined her captors in a bizarre revolution/crime spree. While Guerrilla purports to document those events, the SLA's version of what went on with the actual kidnap is frustratingly missing, leaving out any testimony from the two living members specifically involved. Notably, Hearst herself is also not interviewed, thus leaving the shroud of mystery fully in place. (Marjorie Skinner) Laurelhurst
Hide and Seek
Did anybody else have the same reaction to seeing Robert De Niro in that American Express commercial? Like: "Hey, there's a great legend of cinema! And he's... pimping American Express?" Well, that commercial is like ten billion times better than this movie, which caps off an hour or two of passable suspense with an ending so laboriously unoriginal and stupid that it defies belief. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Honey and Ashes
A film about three Muslim women in Morocco, held back by a patriarchial society. PSU Smith Memorial Union
* Hotel Rwanda
Even if the acting is stiff and the plot a bit too tidy, you're obligated to see Hotel Rwanda. Hotel Rwanda tells the true story of Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), a hotel manager who gave refuge to 1200 Rwandans in the midst of that hell on earth. (Phil Busse) Regal Cinemas, etc.
In Good Company
A happily inoffensive, warmly predictable, and wholly inconsequential comedy/drama about white-collar conflict between Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace. The film's surface-level themes--corporate takeovers, white-collar backstabbing, familial vs. professional relationships, fucking people you're not supposed to--could make for interesting conflicts in the hands of a sharp satirist or incisive sociologist. But director Paul Weitz is neither. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Incident at Loch Ness
A mock documentary about the making of a fictional documentary gone awry. Werner Herzog plays himself, an adventurous filmmaker who wants to explore the relationship between truth and fiction via the Loch Ness Monster. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre
Inside Iraq: The Untold Stories
To be fair, Inside Iraq offers more than its share of stuff that you probably haven't seen. There's the post-Saddam pornography craze, the graffiti that reads "slow death for USA," the 13-hour-long lines for gas in the petroleum-rich nation, the devastation of a civilian bomb shelter hit by a bunker-buster. But for every revelation, there's 10 minutes of negligible footage. (Erik Henriksen) Cafe Nola
Kagemusha: The Shadow Warrior
After being rescued from execution because of the resemblance he bears to a warlord, a wily thief is asked to stand in as the warlord. It sounds like the perfect setup for a comedy of errors send-up; instead, director Akira Kurosawa takes the dignified path through moral awakenings and beautifully understated action scenes. Would it have killed him to put in at least one joke? Fifth Avenue Cinemas
* Million Dollar Baby
Boxing combines both the romantic idealism of a nobody fighting his way to becoming a somebody and the gut-churning realism of broken noses, brain damage, and detached retinas. And perhaps better than any boxing movie to date, Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby captures this complicated dichotomy. Eastwood stars as former cut-man turned trainer Frankie Dunn--an old-timer looking for one last champion. When his best fighter switches managers, Frankie reluctantly agrees to train upstart Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), who's as raw as they come. Their rise to the top, however, is tempered by an event of tragic proportions--one that changes their lives forever. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.
* Monster Road
A documentary about quirky claymation animator Bruce Bickford, Monster Road is a subtle, understated film that somehow manages to encompass themes of life, death, happiness, expression, and why Bill Gates has yet to turn his mansion into a major claymation studio. (Erik Henriksen) Whitsell Auditorium
F. W. Murnau's truly frightening Nosferatu (1922), the first film adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Old Town Pizza
Looking for a comedy in which you're constantly reminded how desolate and bleak your own life is? Then you'll LOVE Office Space! Written and directed by Mike Judge, this little snoozer tells the story of an ordinary schmo (Ron Livingston) who desperately hates his rotten job. Looking for relief, he visits a hypnotist (don't ask), and becomes so relaxed that he refuses to do any work, which--in the KA-RAZY, mixed-up world of corporate bureaucracy--actually gets him PROMOTED! Other things happen, but since you actually live the shit that happens in this movie, you won't think it's very funny either. Let's move on, shall we? (Wm. Steven Humprey) Kennedy School
Phantom of the Opera
Helmed by the Queer Eye of Cinema himself, Joel Schumacher, this two and a half hour-long soft-focus snooze-fest can only be recommended to old (and old at heart) queers and women with bad perms who listen to soft rock. (Michael Svoboda) Regal Cinemas, etc.
* Princess Mononoke
As anyone who's seen a Hayao Miyazaki film will attest, the story you follow is secondary to the sights you behold. The craggy reality of his twisting tree trunks capped with windblown tufts of leaves; the weighty presence of the rocks, whether rough or slicked smooth by water; the breathtaking vividness of light when the clouds part; the crouched expectancy of animals at rest--all of these are rendered as gorgeously as any animation I've ever seen, and in fact make a better plea for ecological sanity than the sometimes heavy-handed script. (Bruce Reid) Blind Onion
Sick of hearing the name "Jamie Foxx" yet? Cinemagic, Tigard-Joy Theater, Westgate
Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor voice cartoon mice. Aaand... that's just about all you can say about The Rescuers. Pix Patisserie
* Riding Giants
A fascinating exploration of the culture of big-wave surfing by the director of the skateboarding documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys. Director Stacy Peralta treats his movie as a sociological inquiry into a legitimate American subculture; instead of the usual stereotype of dumb, quasi-mystical hunks, Peralta offers his subjects up as athletes and innovators. (Sean Nelson) Ugly Mug Coffee
* The Sea Inside See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
Paul Giamatti plays Miles, a would-be writer who accompanies his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) on a weeklong trip through California's wine country for a final bachelor's hurrah before Jack's upcoming wedding. While Sideways is enjoyable, it's ultimately unsatisfying--we watch as Miles and Jack are stripped of all their illusions, but we never find out what they're replaced with. (Alison Hallett) Regal Cinemas, etc.
* Smokey and the Bandit
The awesome Burt Reynolds and the deplorable Sally Field star in a film about an outlaw, a truck full of beer, a botched engagement, and an angry sheriff. Part of the Mercury's Prozac Winter Film Series! See My, What A Busy Week! on page 15. Clinton Street Theater
* Some Like it Hot
Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play two Chicago jazz musicians who witness a gang shooting and end up on the run from the mob. Disguised as women, they join an all-girl band and head down to sunny Florida to perform at a seaside resort. A very voluptuous Marilyn Monroe, who plays a shy and alcoholic singer, manages to do what she has always done best: look hot but unapproachable. One of the greatest comedies in the history of the free world. (Charles Mudede) Umpqua Bank
* Stop Making Sense
Jonathan Demme focuses on the Talking Heads in all their new wave splendor, as culled from four nights of live performances. Laurelhurst
Student Film Screening
Students of the Northwest Film Center's Shooting Digital Video class show their stuff. Old Town Pizza
The true story of Tony Livingston, a 1960s Australian swimming champ, Swimming Upstream stars the reprehensible Geoffrey Rush as Livingston's alcoholic, unsupportive father, and the spectacular Judy Davis as his complacent, encouraging mother. A potentially interesting biopic about two brothers who become athletic rivals is doomed by its "inspirational" script peppered with "I want to be somebody"s and the presence of Rush, who is given far too much screen time. (Will Gardner) Fox Tower 10 Movies on TV
* A Tale of Two Sisters
This latest Korean horror import has everything: creepy sisters, an evil stepmother, demonic girls hiding beneath the kitchen sink, a mysterious sack that may or may not be leaking blood. The end result is a genuinely unsettling film, one that refuses the easy shock and instead relies on the audience to creep itself out. (Bradley Steinbacher) Cinema 21
* The Terminator & Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Two of the most badass movies ever made, kindly presented without the shitty aftertaste of Terminator 3. Chance of Rain Cafe
* The Third Man
Joseph Cotten plays Holly Martins, a "scribbler with too much drink in him," trying to clear the name of his recently deceased best friend, the nefarious Harry Lime (Orson Welles, at his cherubic pinnacle). The acting, music, photography, and dialogue (script by Graham Greene, the British author, not the Native American actor) are peerless. (Sean Nelson) Cinema 21
* Thirst & The Future of Food
Thirst tells the beginning of what could be one of the major political and economic issues to shape the next century--the privatization of water suppliers. The Future of Food looks at the terrifying fact that evil corporations like Monsanto have never been required to test the safety of the genetically altered seeds or food they create. Selections of the Heart of the Earth Environmental Film Series; brace thyself for the reek of patchouli. (Phil Busse and Katie Shimer) First Unitarian Church
A Very Long Engagement
It's directed by Amélie's Jean-Pierre Jeunet and it stars Amélie's Audrey Tautou, which is pretty much all you need to know. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10
The Wedding Date See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
What the Fuck Do We Know?
Why won't this movie DIE?! Hollywood Theatre
WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre
* The Woodsman
Just released from prison, where he served 12 years as a sex offender, Walter (Kevin Bacon) sincerely struggles to reform and lead a normal life. The fact remains that child molestation is arguably the worst moral taboo in our society, and most would sooner lock up all transgressors and throw away the key than uncomfortably distinguish between the degrees of their perversions. In this, The Woodsman is commendably brave, exploring both the demons and the kindnesses in Walter. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre