Film Shorts 

Along Came a Spider
Along Came a Spider is a prequel to Kiss the Girls. Morgan Freeman plays Dr. Alex Cross, a detective who deals with the most psychotic white men in America. Though Kiss the Girls is the better of the two thrillers, I still enjoyed Along Came a Spider because Morgan Freeman is Morgan Freeman. Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Sherwood 10, St. John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Wilsonville

* Amores Perros
Amores Perros begins at a screaming dead run and maintains one kind of intensity or another over the next two-and-a-half hours. Pungently translated as Love's a Bitch, Amores Perros comprises three stories of life, love, and aggressively twisted fate in the most polluted metropolis on the planet. Alejandro Gonzàlez Iñàrritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga have enrolled in the Tarantino school of storytelling, but Gonzàlez Iñàrritu's own style and vision is so distinctive and assured in this directorial debut that no one should dwell on that point. This is a breakthrough work for Mexican cinema. Koin Center

* Before Night Falls
The real-life story of Cuban writer Reynaldo Arenas, from his childhood in Cuba, to joining Fidel Castro's revolutionaries, to later being persecuted for homosexuality. A politcal film which centers on one man's loneliness. Laurelhurst Theater

* Best In Show
Christopher Guest's latest with Eugene Levy follows several dog owners on their quest for the blue ribbon at the 2000 Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. A well-executed, ridiculous little film lovingly mining ridiculous little people's ridiculous little lives. Kennedy School Theatre

* Blow
Blow is Hollywood all the way to the bank. But despite all its predictability--young man (Johnny Depp) rises to the top of the international drug trade and then falls to the bottom of the prison system--its portrayal of Mexicans, Central Americans, and middle America is unexpectedly sympathetic. Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Cinemas, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Sherwood 10, Westgate, Wilsonville

Bridget Jones's Diary
Bridget Jones is a cow. She desires a boyfriend, so she sets her sights on the office cad (Hugh Grant), and then moans when he dumps her. Why do we keep coming back to these romantic comedies? Is it that we secretly hope the Jerk will change into a Good Guy so we can justify our bad choices in life? Is the office cad actually a misunderstood prince? Does this ever happen in real life? Fuck no. And I've got a long line of sisters who can back me up on that. The very same sisters who'll be standing next to me in the ticket line when the next romantic comedy comes along. (Kathleen Wilson) 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Cinemas, Moreland Theater, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Wilsonville

Chocolat
Today I'm not weak. The film critic in me has control over my emotions; it can and will repress my wolflike desire to fill this review with hungry words that praise the celestial beauty of Juliette Binoche. That said, the movie itself is unremarkable, and has absolutely nothing new to offer. (Charles Mudede) Kiggins Theater, Koin Center, Washington Square Center

The Coney Island of Lawrence Ferlinghetti
San Francisco avant director Chris Felver pops by to sample films that spotlight poets, painters, and free spirits. Also showing is John Cage Talks About Cows, Hum Bom, and Timing is Everything. Northwest Film Center at Whitsell Auditorium

Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles
Crocodile Dundee winds up in L.A., gets in a couple of pickles, gets out, and goes home. Nobody gets hurt, nobody dies. If you paid money to see it you won't feel cheated, because you would have only pay to see this because you were counting on dependable entertainment. 82nd Avenue, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas

* Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Legendary warrior Chow Yun Fat can never declare his love for fellow martial-arts expert Michelle Yeoh. Instead, he entrusts her with Green Destiny, his nearly magical sword. But in the dark of night a hooded thief steals it, which leads to a fight held mostly in midair. An attempt to wed emotionally reticent drama with the exhilarating freedom of Hong Kong-genre filmmaking, but director Ang Lee can't quite pull off the combination; for too long a time, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's shifting gears only jam. The film finds its rhythm and earns the accolades it received once it leaves the stars behind and gives its heart over to the young and engaging Zhang Ziyi, as the aristocratic daughter of privilege who opts instead for the dangerous yet thrilling occupation of thief. (Bruce Reid) City Center 12, Koin Center, Movies on TV, Washington Square Center, Wilsonville

* The Dish
Sam Neill and Puddy from Seinfeld come this close to screwing up the first televised moon landing in The Dish, a quirky Bill Forsyth-ish comedy about quirky small town folks given a great responsibility. Though almost too cute at times, director Rob Sitch captures the wonder and excitement of that awe-inspiring first trip to the moon. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Fox Tower 10

Driven
A race car movie guilty of tantalizing, but not satisfying the prurient interest. With Sylvester Stallone AND Burt Reynolds. See review this issue. Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville

Elephant Man
Anthony Hopkins takes care of a misshapen man and then eats him. Waitasecond! That's Hannibal! Fifth Avenue Cinemas

Enemy at the Gates
This film by Jean-Jacques Annaud (Seven Years in Tibet) tells a story of two men in love with the same woman, set against a backdrop of international conflict. The action scenes are great, concentrating mostly on a game of wits and nerves between Vassily and an opposing sniper, a German aristocrat (Ed Harris) called in to squelch the popular Vassily. The only trouble is, the alternating love story sequences are utterly boring. (D.K. Holm) Avalon, Laurelhurst Theater

* An Evening with Bruce Bickford
Bruce Bickford, the Northwest's own revolutionary animator/pop culture visionary, will present an evening of his works and ideas, including examples from his past (MTV images, Prometheus' Garden) and current works-in-progress, in addition to other related artwork. Discussion will follow (ask him about working with Frank Zappa and constructing the town and landscape for David Lynch's Twin Peaks). Northwest Film Center at Whitsell Auditorium

* Following
An unemployed and lonely writer gets his kicks by following random people in order to learn about their lives from a distance. When a guy in a suit busts him, he freaks, but it turns out the guy in the suit has a similar pastime: He breaks into people's apartments to sort through their stuff and find out more about them. The first feature from Memento director Christopher Nolan. Clinton Street Theatre

The Forsaken
You know you're in for a really smart, clever film when the first 30 seconds are spent lingering on a disoriented topless girl in the shower rinsing blood off her breasts. And when she's helplessly dragged around in her panties for an hour before she finally speaks? One word: cinema. Did the characters even have names? I don't remember, because I was too busy wondering how scene after gratuitous scene of graphic violence perpetrated against half-naked women was resonating with the two-year-old a few rows ahead. That really filled me with hope. P.S.: The movie is about a guy driving from California to Miami who runs into some hipster vampires along a particularly evil stretch of Southwest highway; 90 minutes later, the vampires are dead. (Jason Pagano) Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center

Freddy Got Fingered
The scene where Tom Green's paralyzed-from-the-waist-down girlfriend started to orgasm from being whacked in the shins with a bamboo cane made me realize Freddy Got Fingered, Tom Green's directorial debut, was so offensive on every level that it is either dangerous or important. The Sex Pistols' "Problems" blasts through the first scene like a mission statement: "The problem is YOU!" Green's undergirding punk morality comes from a recognition that not being allowed to say things is the ultimate crassness. He isn't mocking molested children or handicapped people; he's hocking loogies at the culture of pious, dehumanizing condescension. Freddy Got Fingered isn't all-the-way great. Green's impulse to go too far sometimes leads scenes astray, still, it works far more often than it doesn't. (Sean Nelson) Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, Division Street, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
When he was young, Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) was saved from a group of street thugs by Louie (John Tormey), a low-level Mafioso who just happened to be passing by. In thanks, Ghost Dog pledged to serve Louie for the rest of his life, as faithful to him as any ancient samurai was to his master. Director Jim Jarmusch infuses Ghost Dog with the deadpan humor of his earliest films. (Charles Mudede) Fifth Avenue Cinemas

Hannibal
Hannibal is a mess; an overblown, audacious, painstakingly long, gratuitous mess. Hannibal Lecter in his second outing is an annoying little old man, the sort you'd just love to push down a flight of stairs. Worse still he's a limey, a fish-and-chip-worshiping limey! That the man has killed over 15 Americans isn't a case for the fucking FBI; it's a case for immigration! Stick the INS on him and by lunch he'll be deported, disenfranchised, and the concern of only Miss Moneypenny and about fifty thousand tea ladies. (Kudzai Mudede) Bagdad Theater, Mission Theater

* Harlan County, U.S.A.
To commemorate May Day and workers' right, Radical Women, the local political group, screens the 1976 Academy Award winning documentary about one group of women's gut-wrenching struggle to form a union. An unflinching look at the painful emotions and small-time dreams of Kentucky coal miners. Interviewing dozens of families as well as the union-busting Duke Power Company, the film takes a sweeping panoramic view of labor rights; an eye-opening film to anyone who has never mined coal or tried to start a union in their own backyard. (Phil Busse) Bread and Roses Center

Hit And Runway
Alex is a macho young Italian with dreams of writing the perfect action screenplay; Elliot is a gay, neurotic Jew who get roped into being Alex's writing partner. There is not a single moment in this film where we break fresh ground: the tired Woody Allen by way of Jerry Seinfeld-schtick is painful, the self-reflexive film jokes are stupid, and aside from one inspired performance (J.K. Simmons as producer Ray Tilman), the cast is inept. (Jamie Hook) Fox Tower 10

* The House of Mirth
British director Terence Davies' The House of Mirth, starring Gillian Anderson and Dan Aykroyd, adapts Edith Wharton's 1905 novel about New York high society--the tragic story of a beautiful young woman looking to marry a rich husband and finding herself torn between her need for financial security and her desire for personal integrity. Koin Center

* In the Mood for Love
Tired of Meg Ryan damsel-in-distress love stories? Directed by Wong Kar-wai ("Fallen Angels"), an achingly beautiful film about two neighbors in 1960 Hong Kong whose spouses are having affairs with each other. Like cinematic Kara sutra, the scenes unfold slowly but with mesmerizing charm. In spite of their smoldering lust for each other, the two jilted spouses try to refrain from falling into the same trap of lust and betrayal as their spouses have. In one simultaneously yin-funny and painful-yang scene, the two act out scenarios in which they imagine their own spouses carrying on with their affair and mocking them behind their backs. (Phil Busse) Cinemagic

Josie and the Pussycats
Regardless of the immoral overtones, the gags are forced, and the acting is TERRIBLE--especially Rachael Leigh Cook as Josie, who exhibits a vast array of emotions as effectively as a clubbed trout. The music is bad, too. And the script. Did I mention you should NOT SEE THIS MOVIE? (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center

Kingdom Come
Kingdom Come should have been a television sitcom. It has passing moments of interest that should have been juxtaposed with amusing car insurance advertisements. It should have had a laugh track to distract the viewer from the suspicion that there's not an awful lot going on here. And most importantly it should have been edited down to about 30 minutes in length. A movie about an African American family (played by a superb ensemble cast, LL Cool J, Jada Pinkett, Whoopi Goldberg) from the South, coming together to mourn the death of a despised relative should have been a surer bet. Unfortunately this movie just wasn't nearly developed thoroughly enough. Lloyd Mall, Vancouver Plaza

A Knight's Tale
Does a long-haired blonde-headed wuss have what it takes to be an ass-kickin' knight of yore? YES! We think he DOES! Century Eastport 16, Evergreen Parkway

* Memento
Memento has a lot of starch in it; the film sticks with you for days as you rehearse it over and over in your mind. It's also a movie so good that you almost fear a critical backlash against it. You come out of it feeling almost resentful at how good it is, and given that almost everyone is an aspiring filmmaker these days, this resentment is unvarnished jealousy. But this reviewer is pure of spirit, or at least spite: I may have seen a better film so far this year than Memento, but if I have, I've forgotten it. (D.K. Holm) Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Cinemas

The Mexican
This movie was never meant to be a singular entity: It feels like two movies that have been forcefully welded together. The first of these movies is The Mexican; it features Brad Pitt, an antique gun, and the mob. It is vaguely interesting and Brad Pitt is very handsome. Secondly, there is what I will call National Lampoon's Seventh Circle of Hell, it stars Julia Roberts, a green V.W., and a sensitive hitman. It is a disgrace and Julia Roberts' performance is criminal. (Kudzai Mudede) Avalon, Kennedy School Theatre, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Mission Theater

The Mummy
Neither a horror film nor action epic, The Mummy is actually a flat-out comedy. This retread of a horror icon throws itself into its period (the '30s) with gusto, derring-do, screwball comedy, wisecracking sexual flirtation among the leads, and even cheerful sexism and racism. Despite the lack of a good villain, or even a good heroine, The Mummy remains a perfect matinee. (Bruce Reid) 82nd Avenue

The Mummy Returns
Sequel to a film which managed to top the insanely low expectations that preceded it, digital scarabs and all. No telling if this one will pull the trick off a second time, but a couple of pulchritudinous Brits in the cast (Rachel Weisz and John Hannah) might compensate for the presence of Brendan Fraser and The Rock. Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, St. John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville

* Mystery Train
Jim Jarmusch classic about wanderers searching for the Elvis mystique in Memphis. Fifth Avenue Cinemas

* O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Set in Depression-era Mississippi, George Clooney stars as Everett Ulysses McGill, a suave and well-groomed petty criminal doing hard time on a chain gang. Shackled to Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson), he convinces them to join him in escaping by promising to split a fortune in buried treasure with them. (Andy Spletzer) Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Fox Tower 10, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas

One Night at McCool's
I'm a professional stereotype sniper, but the new release One Night at McCool's disarms me. Instead of looking exhausted from overuse, the clichés in this movie have six packs; they even boast fully-formed frontal lobes. The jokes launch from the screen like gunpowder from roman candles. In the pursuit of material possessions, Liv Tyler, playing an irresistible woman (duh) exploits her curvaceous anatomy in order to lasso the men she meets (Andrew Dice Clay, Matt Dillon, Michael Douglas, etc.) into becoming the accomplices in her illegal schemes. This movie soon escalates into a riot of contrivances that unexpectedly sparkles and undulates like an overweight Tuesday in New Orleans. (Suzy Lafferty) 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas

Pollock
Another attempt from the film industry to mine the romantic lie of Bohemian life. This is actor Ed Harris' directorial debut (he also stars), and seems too hurried to establish the iconic events of painter Jackson Pollock's life--see Pollock urinate in Peggy Guggenheim's fireplace, see Pollock overturn the Thanksgiving table, see Pollock accidentally discover drip painting--instead of letting any of these moments achieve any natural resolution. Koin Center

* The Princess Bride
Rob Reiner's greatest contribution to modern and ancient societies: A sharply written fairytale that bounces from one cliché to the next satirical take on revenge, true love, and dark forests inhabited by evil. Even if you have already heard the movie quoted an inconceivable number of times, it remains jammed pack with witty exchanges, fast-footed sword-fighting, and downright enjoyable stupidity. (Phil Busse) Kennedy School Theatre

* Purple Rain
The artist who will forever be known as Prince stars as a Minneapolis rocker fond of driving his motorcycle out of alleys without checking for traffic, probably because he knows the film crew has blocked the traffic for him. (Shit, that scene is bothersome, isn't it?) Mission Theater

Rendezvous in Paris
Director Eric Rohmer's tale consisting of three fables about how love can really screw around with the heads of today's youth. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

* Shadow Magic
As an 11-year-old in 1966, Ann Hu was caught up in the height of China's Cultural Revolution; her parents were sent to labor camps and she withstood the derision of her peers. She emigrated to the U.S. in 1979, and has returned both symbolically and literally to her homeland for her directorial debut, Shadow Magic. Filmed at the historic Beijing Film Studio, the movie stars Jared Harris as Briton Raymond Wallace, who brings the brand-new technology of movies to 1902 Peking. For a people still recovering from the anti-Western Boxer Rebellion and for whom still photography remains an exotic, magical invention, the flickering images Wallace projects in his ramshackle theater seem impossible, thrilling, and corrupting. When a curious local, Liu, becomes Wallace's assistant, he faces ostracism and the loss of the lady he loves. Wallace is an effective composite of many Westerners who brought movies to China, and, despite a somewhat unnecessary romantic subplot, Hu's own shadow magic succeeds in brings this era vividly to life. (Marc Mohan) Fox Tower 10

Shadow of the Vampire
In this piece about the filming of the classic silent horror flick Nosferatu, Willem Dafoe and John Malkovich are hilarious, providing many quotable quotes and actions that will provide hours of fun for fans of high camp. Also, Dafoe's costuming will inspire brilliant goth ensembles for weekends to come. (Julianne Shepherd) Kennedy School Theatre

Snatch
Guy Ritchie (a.k.a. Mr. Madonna) knows how to use a camera like nobody else. Too bad he doesn't know how to make a film. The technique is clear: heap colorful characters together who are walking around in nicely lit areas doing nasty things, throw in a few twists, pile on a few more characters and a lot more nasty things, a couple more twists, and then you're done. (Jamie S. Rich) Edgefield Powerstation

Spy Kids
Fellow earthlings, I regret to inform you that even now as we speak, it is too late. Spy Kids is headed towards us like a juggernaut and only the childless have means of escaping. When a brother and sister set out to rescue their parents (played by Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino)--and, subsequently, the world--from a malignant army of robotic children, they simultaneously deliver us straight into the jaws of humanity's most lethal foe, consumerism. The jet-packs are corporate fueled. The adrenaline rushes are company sponsored. And as we leave, the advertisers wave goodnight as they wish us, and especially the children, many many sweet McDreams. (Suzy Lafferty) Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard-Joy Theater, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville

A Summer's Tale
At a summer resort, poor bumbling Gaspard gets himself in quite a pickle; making three women fall in love with him! Ah love, why must thou torture foolish mortals? Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

The Tailor of Panama
Brit superspy Andy Oxnard (Pierce Brosnan) has been banished to Panama for overindulging his appetites. He sizes up the tense, complicated international scene at the Canal and finds himself a hapless ex-pat British tailor (Geoffrey Rush) to squeeze for information. Boorman's film is far too awkward and self-conscious to allow the audience to sink into spy fantasia; as a result, Brosnan's absurdly dashing spy becomes utterly grotesque, even sickening. (Evan Sult) Century Eastport 16, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Cinemas, Tigard Cinemas

* Topkapi
A fast and funny classic crime caper from the director of James "Rififi" Dassin and starring Peter Ustinov. See review this issue. Cinema 21

Town and Country
Warren Beatty slides into a world of sexy sleaze with other women, only to find out who he really loves: himself! Somewhere in this indecisive jumble lies what might have been a really sharp, sweet film. What you actually see, however, is a morass of class smugness, emotional smarminess, and a sense of humor as thick as an old man's prostate. Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville

Traffic
What with Hollywood throwing Oscars at director Steven Soderbergh, this film is perhaps the most over-hyped film of the year. By now, unless you've been hiding up Richard Gere's butt, you know the scoop: With jumpy camera movements and "edgy" editing, the film braids together three loosely connected stories about the--gasp--drug war. What you may not have heard, though, is that one of these three stories is about as challenging as an after-school special, and another a blatant Miami Vice rip-off. The only truly lasting quality of the film is Benicio Del Toro, whose unflinching performance explores the conflicts between loyalty and self-preservation. (Phil Busse) Kiggins Theater, Koin Center, Milwaukie 3 Theater

* When Brendan Met Trudy
Shy boy meets brash girl, girl loosens up boy, girl pursues career despite occupational hazards. Roddy Doyle's first original screenplay is mighty insistent on filmic knowingness--no scene is without its quotation, comment, or reworking. If (like me) you like romantic comedies, you're willing to put up with attraction by authorial fiat and characterization by mannerism; in exchange, you get the pleasure of a happy ending. (Barley Blair) Fox Tower 10

* With a Friend Like Harry
This Hitchcockian thriller took France by storm last year, winning several Cesar awards (France's version of the Oscar). The blackest hue of comedy tints the tale of Harry (Sergi Lopez), a wealthy bon vivant with an unshakable affinity for Michel (Laurent Lucas). Harry, firm in his belief that Michel's child-strewn, moneyless life could be made more easy, begins to use his influence-and cash-to remove various obstacles to Michel's happiness. A new car here and a case of Champagne there escalates to a predictably absurd degree. The film is plain in comparison its obvious inspiration, Hitchcock's oeuvre. But a deft French wit, and that oh-so-well-done trick of Euro-allegory (this film is about the difficulty of making art) rise like cream to the top of this film: The first taste is awfully sweet, even if it doesn't linger long. (Jamie Hook) Fox Tower 10

* Yi Yi
A computer engineer and his wife, Min-Min are pulled away from his brother-in-law's wedding when Min-Min's mother suffers a stroke and goes into a coma. They eventually bring her home and are encouraged to talk to her in a game attempt to bring her back to consciousness; these one-sided conversations allow the family members a forum to work out their individual concerns. Do not miss this opportunity to see this wonderful film that will draw you in and make you forget about time and space. Laurelhurst Theater

* You Can Count on Me
This is the sort of well-crafted, nutritious drama that gets critics burned out on adrenalized hoopla all tied up in knots. It's fine work, featuring Laura Linney's best performance since Congo (or maybe even before) as a single mom in the quaint burg of Scottsville. Her pothead drifter of a brother, also well played by Mark Ruffalo, shows up, spurring an eventual, earnest realization of the importance of family. Matthew Broderick has an amusing role as Linney's new boss, who says things like "I like paperwork." The latest product of the Culkin Family Factory Farm for Cuteness, Rory, plays the precocious eight-year-old. Playwright Kenneth Lonergan has, for his first film, created a movie for grown-ups that hardly ever surprises, but somehow that's OK. (Marc Mohan) Cinemagic

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