Bike? Film? Submit.
Alright, pedalin' filmmakers--the deadline for submitting your stuff to Filmed by Bike III, April's bicycle-glorifying fest of short films, is this Tuesday, March 15. Hit www.yeabikes.net/filmed for more info.
12 Monkeys Bruce Willis stars as a brain-addled time traveler in this movie, which barely has one monkey in it, let alone 12! (Wm. Steve Humphrey)Laurelhurst
Adventures of Baron Von Munchausen Whimsical fantasy directed by Terry Gilliam about a baron (John Neville) who sails to the moon, seduces Venus, and saves a city.Blind Onion
Angel Face See "Noir City," page 49. Guild Theater, Whitsell Auditorium
Appalachian Impressions A film about hiking the 2,173-mile trail from Georgia to Maine. (Mercury Fun Fact™! Appalachian Impressions was the original title for Deliverance!) Hollywood Theatre
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. (Ryan Dirks) Fox Tower 10
The Basketball Fix A college basketball star starts throwing games for the mob. Old Town Pizza
Be Cool In Be Cool, the sequel to Get Shorty, John Travolta plays Chili Palmer, a former east coast goombah who decides to get into the music business... actually, you know what? Never mind. Why don't you just make up the most ridiculous, unfunny plot you can think of. Got it? Congratulations! You've just constructed a plot that makes twice as much sense as the completely befuddling, deeply unamusing Be Cool! (Wm. Steve Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Bigger Than the Sky A cute movie about a community theater group, filmed in Portland. It stars the guy who played Aidan on Sex and the City, some skinny blonde chick, and a lead actor who gives a performance that's reminiscent of the retarded Corky from Life Goes On. (Katie Shimer) Mission Theater
Bolívar I Am A soap opera star (Robinson Díaz) who's playing South American general Santiago Bolívar gets obsessed, eventually coming to believe he's an incarnation of the general. While this sounds like a hee-larious plot for a slapstick comedy starring, say, Jamie Kennedy, Bolívar is playing at the Northwest Film Center--which means it'll be crammed with social relevance and allegory. Or something. Whitsell Auditorium
Bride & Prejudice Gurinder Chadha, the director of Bend It Like Beckham, has revamped Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice with a Bollywood aesthetic. If the finger-snappin' music and over-the-top dance numbers aren't enough to distract you, there are also elephants, gospel singers, a cobra dance, and that chick from Gilmore Girls. (Alison Hallett) Fox Tower 10, City Center 12
Callas Forever Fantasy meets biopic in this maudlin take on the last days of Maria Callas, considered by many to be the greatest opera singer of all time. The premise: what if Callas hadn't died in 1977, alone and unhappy, after losing her singing voice? What if she'd been rescued from self-imposed exile by her gay, ponytail-sporting manager (Jeremy Irons!), who convinced her to film a lip-synched version of Carmen? Yes, it's a shitty premise, and writer/director/starry-eyed Callas fan Franco Zeffirelli does absolutely nothing to redeem it. Instead, he's created a film that caters only to gay men (and presumes that said audience has extremely bad taste). Fans of opera might enjoy the soundtrack and clips from Carmen, but I'm sorry, who the fuck likes opera? (Alison Hallett)Hollywood Theatre
Constantine "You're fucked," archangel Gabriel tells John Constantine. As God's messenger, Gabriel (Tilda Swinton) is in a position to know. But Constantine (Keanu Reeves) isn't quite ready to give up. Sure, he's doomed to go to Hell for committing murder--but in a futile effort to get back on God's good side, he spends his life as a sort of chain smoking Ghostbuster, performing bed-shaking exorcisms and fighting computer-generated demons in equal measure. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Cursed Let's give Wes Craven the benefit of the doubt and assume that Cursed was intended as a spoof rather than an actual horror movie. Comic book-style violence, a fairly hilarious parallel between werewolfism and STDs, and a disappointing lack of both boobs and gore (pre-reqs for a good slasher flick) all support this conclusion. You might get a kick out of the cast if you're nostalgic for the mid-'90s (Joshua Jackson, Christina Ricci, and Scott Baio all make appearances); otherwise, the film is little more than an hour and a half of mindless, non-scary teen schlock. (Alison Hallett) Century Eastport 16, Movies on TV, Lloyd Mall , Division Street
Customer 152 Money-challenged Terrence (Josh Van Dijk) gets a mysterious black credit card... and soon finds himself being followed by "tall phantoms in dark suits." The Know
Diary of a Mad Black Woman Kimberly Elise stars as Helen, the housewife of a powerful attorney--who, on her wedding anniversary, gets tossed to the curb. With the help of her zany, gun-toting grandmother (played by Tyler Perry, who also adapted the screenplay from his stage play), Helen starts over. Diary is on the tolerable side of the rom-com genre--Elise is less cloying than your Meg Ryans and Kate Hudsons--but it's still a rom-com and, if you're not into those, it's puke-tastic tripe. (Will Gardner) Century Eastport 16, Lloyd Mall, Division Street, Vancouver Plaza
End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones Unlike most of their musical peers who had the good sense just to burn out, the Ramones spent about 20 years at a slow fade. Thus, the task of summarizing their pocketed brilliance with the reverence they so rightly deserve is, at best, a difficult one. Evenly tracing the feats and pratfalls of the band's entire career with admirable honesty, End of the Century relies upon narrowly captured insights of the original foursome--miraculously filmed just prior to the untimely domino deaths of Joey, Dee Dee, and Johnny over the last four years. Frank and forthcoming, the interviews paint surprisingly sympathetic portraits of a junk-sick fuck-up, a sensitive obsessive-compulsive, and a tyrannical conservative. (Zac Pennington) Lola's Room
Hostage See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
I Am Sam I Am Sam is a truly awful title for only a marginally awful movie, which is to say that despite the poor moniker, this latest Hollywood take on the retarded is not a complete disaster. There are two reasons for this: a) Sean Penn is Sean Penn, even when he's playing (and often failing to play) a man with the intelligence of a seven-year-old, and b) Dakota Fanning, perhaps the most adorable girl ever burned onto celluloid. (Bradley Steinbacher) Fifth Avenue Cinemas
Inescapable Anxieties: Films by Paul Sharits Assess your devotion to avant-garde film before heading out to see the Cinema Project's new program, consisting of three shorts by the late filmmaker Paul Sharits. These are classic examples of instruction-manual art--if you ran across them sans introduction, you might fail to realize that you were watching something of significance, and would perhaps not give the films the attention they deserve. Perhaps you would even think something along the lines of "Why the fuck am I spending my time watching a screen rapidly change color to the sounds of someone having an epileptic seizure?" Lucky for devotees, the knowledgeable folks at the Cinema Project will be on hand to explain the significance of the man and his works. (Alison Hallett) Cinema Project
Inside Deep Throat 1972's infamous skin flick showcasing Linda Lovelace's talent for fellatio became a lightning rod for national controversy; Inside Deep Throat looks at the film and its lasting legal, cultural, and financial repercussions. While the documentary's sometimes overbearingly stylized and thematically meandering, it's still a sobering reminder that while Americans love to talk about how freedom of speech is our big thing, we're equally defined by our suppression of it. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10
The Jacket When Jack Starks (Adrien Brody) is stuck in a mental institution, he finds himself the patient of the creepy Dr. Becker (Kris Kristofferson), whose "treatments" consist of shooting Starks full of drugs, strapping him into a straightjacket, and cramming him in a dark hole for hours on end--which may or may not allow Starks to travel into the future. A dark, smart, and emotional film, The Jacket stops just short of being brilliant--the almost-disappointing ending wraps everything up too neatly for that--but for its running time, the film demands attention be paid to both Starks and his unnervingly believable predicament. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Leprechaun Mere words cannot do this film justice--especially since it's screening on St. Patrick's Day. Warwick Davis (Willow himself) plays the evil Leprechaun, a surly little fucker who wants his gold. And he's willing to terrorize/kill anyone to get it--even a pre-nose job Jennifer Aniston! Clinton Street Theater
Live Nude Girls Unite! Presented as part of Lewis & Clark's Gender Studies Symposium, Live Nude Girls Unite! is a remarkably well-done documentary about the trials and tribulations of the flesh artists of San Francisco's Lusty Lady. Filmmaker Julia Query will be present to lead an audience discussion. Lewis & Clark College
Man of the House Holy shit. A "by-the-book Texas Ranger" (Tommy Lee Jones) teams up with a "streetwise preacher" (Cedric the Entertainer) to protect five murder witnesses/"uncontrollable college coeds"--who also happen to be University of Texas cheerleaders! (Those excerpts are from the official press release, an illustrious document that also reveals the film's original title was Cheer Up. Needless to say, this film wasn't screened for critics.) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Million Dollar Baby Boxing combines the romantic idealism of a nobody fighting his way to becoming a somebody with 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. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Nobody Knows Nobody Knows is a simple and true story: Keiko is a self-centered party girl who (oops!) happens to be a mother to four children. Mysteriously absent for weeks on end, she leaves her oldest son in charge. Had an hour been lopped off the film's three-hour running time, Nobody Knows would be decently engaging. As it is, I couldn't make it through the whole film. (Phil Busse) Fox Tower 10
Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior Action fans have recently been going to theaters more out of depressed loyalty than genuine excitement. Cue Thailand's 29-year-old badass Tony Jaa, and his kickass film, Ong-Bak. Ong-Bak isn't about plot, or characters, or social significance. No, Ong-Bak is merely a calling card for Jaa--but it's a hell of an introduction. It's fucking impossible to put Jaa's astounding work into words. With no wires, no CG, and no stuntmen, Jaa's the real deal, whether he's jumping over (or sliding under) moving cars, scaling walls, diving through fire and glass, or beating down armies of unlucky thugs. Using Muay Thai--Thailand's fast, hard-hitting martial art--Jaa pulls moves off that you've never seen before. Century Eastport 16, Movies on TV , Lloyd Mall , Vancouver Plaza
Openers: 12 Then and Now Opening credit sequences never get the CREDIT they deserve! Ha! Get it? (Jesus, that joke sucked. Apologies. --Ed. ) Anyway, this program's a survey and analysis of opening credit sequences, those brief but beautiful film passages kicking off feature films. David Peters, director of Design Film in San Francisco, will present both classic and innovative examples of the underappreciated art form, ranging from classic sequences from the '60s to innovative ones from the '90s. Guild Theater
The Pacifier Poor Vin Diesel. There was promise, once upon a time: Pitch Black, Boiler Room, The Fast and the Furious--for a moment, he had a glimmer of hope. Not as an actor, mind you, but as a presence--a meaty, menacing figure whose voice could launch a thousand threats. Now, however, that promise has been devoured by a need to "expand," that dreaded delusion that inflicts many a young bulging stud. Vin Diesel belongs as a villain, not as a Navy Seal who moves in with a suburban family (the specifics are unnecessary; all you need to know is that the plot, such as it is, is utterly idiotic), and despite his game efforts, The Pacifier is painfully inept. (Bradley Steinbacher) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Passion Recut See "I'm Going Out," pg. 48. Cinemagic
Robots See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Rory O'Shea Was Here See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
The Sea Inside Javier Bardem plays the real-life Spaniard Ramón Sampedro, a middle-aged quadriplegic who suffered a spine-crushing diving accident as a young man. The Sea Inside doesn't rehash the tired moral debate regarding death with dignity. Instead, it's an exquisitely thoughtful, gorgeously filmed portrayal of a sad and wonderful person. (Justin Sanders) Fox Tower 10
Sky Blue There's no denying that Sky Blue--the Korean anime that's known overseas as Wonderful Days--is visually stunning. But while nearly every image from Sky Blue could justify the price of a ticket, everything else about the film--from the melodramatic plot, to the poor English dub, to the laughable conclusion--justifies bringing your iPod into the theater so your eyes can see the film while your ears and mind are spared the drudgery of experiencing it. (Erik Henriksen) Hollywood Theatre
The Sniper Eddie Miller (Arthur Franz) is an unhappy loner, so he picks up a hobby to make himself feel better. Too bad the hobby is sniping off innocent San Francisco residents.... Guild Theater
Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation The good ones: three Happy Tree Friends shorts (which you can rent at the video store). The bad ones: everything else. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Cinema 21
Sunshine State This cinematic soap opera of familial and neighborly drama centers around a small stretch of Florida coastline. Employing writer/director John Sayles' benchmark standards for dialogue and acting, the film uses a tug of war over prime resort real estate to showcase prime human flaws and insecurities. PSU Smith Memorial Union
The Take After Argentina's economy collapsed in 2001, once-productive factories went idle overnight, tossing workers into lives of desperate unemployment. Director Avi Lewis does a remarkable job documenting several groups of blue-collar factory workers in Buenos Aires who re-occupy and restart the companies. It seems like a proletariat fairy tale, but it's really happening; that's reason enough to see this film. Although there is a clear bias throughout this documentary, the director resists falling into easy traps and instead lets the unbelievable story tell itself. (Phil Busse) Clinton Street Theater
Till the Clouds Roll By A biopic of/tribute to Broadway pioneer Jerome Kern, featuring Judy Garland, Dinah Shore, and Frank Sinatra. Cafe Nola
Travelers and Magicians See review this issue. Cinema 21
Vodka Lemon See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre
Welcome to America Other than a few references to it starring Michael Madsen, there is nothing about this movie anywhere. IMDB.com plot summary? No. A review in the 2005 edition of VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever? Nope. A mention on Michael Madsen's official website (which also contains some of his poetry)? Nothing! This can only mean one thing: While this movie might exist, no one has ever seen it. Not even Michael Madsen. Pix Patisserie