* Buffalo Soldiers See review this issue.
* Camp See review this issue.
* Cascade Independent Film Fest
CIFF celebrates a wide range of solid local and national films. On Fri Aug 8, see shorts: the digitally animated, 3-D "Bat City", the equally animated, sweet tale of "Bug Girl", "For the Love of the Tune" (a paean to Irish women in music), the environmentalist film "Reclaimed Treasure: the History of Silver Falls" and the creepy "Clyde." On Sat Aug 9, the human rights films: "Dignity II," a documentary about group homes for the mentally ill in the aftermath of the Reagan Era; journalist John Pilger's in-depth look at the issues motivating suicide bombers in "Palestine is Still the Issue"; and logging film "Ancient Forests: The Power of Place." Sun Aug 10, the intense "Monsoon Wife" details the horrors of prostitution in Cambodia; devilish camp action film "Lethal Force"; and "Aftermath," getting to the heart of the matter of post-9/11 war state. Overall, a decent little festival with some highly unique entries. Playing at the Clinton Street.
* The Cuckoo
In a reverse Three's Company set in the Finnish Laplands during WWII, a peacenik Finnish soldier, a testy Russian soldier, and a Lapland widow all find themselves living under the same thatched roof--and none of the three speak the same language. The dry humor of miscommunication and misdirected lust unfold in this unusual, dark comedy. (Jennifer Maerz)
A nine-year-old boy lives in a monastery with an older novice and the abbot. When a woman arrives who is mourning her dead son, she offers the two boys a trip to the city, and allows them to glimpse the life they're missing.
The Far Horizon
Apparently all of the real Indian squaws were dead from small pox, because the directors for this 1955 film about macho men Lewis & Clark could only find Donna Reed to play the role of feisty femme fatale Sacajawea. Tossing historical accuracy aside for drama, beautiful scenery, and lustful plot undertows, this film is probably not for history buffs, but will appeal to those who found Undaunted Courage kind of dry. (Screening is free)
Despite the generally amiable Jamie Lee Curtis and the overwhelming presence of feigned teen rock band sequences (the greatest joy that the pubescent live-action genre affords), the new Freaky Friday movie is not the old Freaky Friday movie. Absent: Jodie Foster, Barbara Harris, Boss Hogg, and (in the most unfortunate oversight) the earth-shattering car-chase/water-skiing/hang-gliding finale. Present: an uninvested Jamie Lee, obligatory modernizations, and (most inexplicably) something called "Asian voodoo." (Zac Pennington)
Uabashedly based on the mockumentary style Christopher Guest perfected with films like Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman, Randy Nargi's G-Sale follows "obsessive garage salers" around Bogwood, Washington as they describe their garage sale MO, what they do with the crap they get at garage sales, and the rivalries between them. The characters follow the prototypical personalities established by Guest; some decent acting and good scriptwriting essentially makes up for the fact that the style's not so original or as funny as its predecessors. It's worth seeing, but you get the feeling that Nargi would have been better off selling his great thematic idea to Guest (thereby preventing him from making the excruciating film A Mighty Wind). (Julianne Shepherd)
Just like 8 Mile, no one believes in the main character Galileo. His critics, including the lofty Pope, think that he is from another planet and resist his revolutionary freeform style and thinking. And just like Eminem, Galileo ultimately discovers that he must only believe in himself and that history is the judge. An adaptation of Joseph Losey 1947 stage production.
A documentary about the power of the gift, demonstrated through footage of the Burning Man festival. Eyeroll. Sigh.
Why can't teenagers simply do what they are told? After a doltish teenage boy breaks every rule regarding his cuddly new pet, an army of devious and burpy muppets is unleashed into a small town. If last week's rambunctious Purple Rain sing-a-long is any indication, this second installment in the Mercury's Summer Movie Megathon will be more fun than any one person should be permitted.
* Hell's Highway
From the late 1950s to the 1970s, the sight of a 16mm projector in Driver's Ed class struck fear in the heart of the bravest student. Movies like Signal 30, Mechanized Death, and Wheels of Tragedy were typically boring educational films--right up until the moment they showed actual footage of auto wrecks and bloody corpses. At that point someone in the class either ran outside, threw up, or fainted. Hell's Highway interviews the creators of the scholastic/snuff genre (doughty Midwesterners all) and charts the rise and fall of Richard Wayman's Highway Safety Foundation, hinting that his motives weren't completely pure. An interview with two brothers still traumatized by the movie The Child Molesters begs the question: did these films do their job, or did they simply brutalize their audience? Hell's Highway is fascinating and occasionally funny, but you won't leave the theater laughing. (Dan Howland)
* The Housekeeper
In The Housekeeper, a 51-year-old sound engineer (Jean-Pierre Bacri) has a brief romance with his 21-year-old housekeeper (Emilie Dequenne). As the singer Peggy Lee once put it, that's all there is. You'll find nothing below or above, behind or beyond that scenario. The Housekeeper is simply and perfectly about a 51-year-old sound engineer who has a brief romance with his 21-year-old housekeeper. The young woman seduces the old man; the couple then takes a vacation by the sea. The movie is perfect.
* I Capture the Castle
Taking back the English period piece from those Merchant-Ivory hacks, this is one girl's coming-of-age film that anyone can enjoy. Two sisters live with their family in a remote castle, and their romantic prospects are severely limited, until two American brothers inherit the land they are living on. The star of the movie is good, old-fashioned repression, and it is refreshing to see the more traditional happy ending replaced by unresolved longing. (Andy Spletzer)
A sci-fi film that plays out entirely in the language of Esperanto--a language slightly less prevalent than Klingon. Marc (William Shatner) is seduced by a succubus named Kia. When she discovers she is in love with Marc, she sets out to destroy him.
With his tired, hound dog eyes and withdrawn countenance, Jean Reno (The Professional) is an apt choice for the title character in Jet Lag. Felix is a world-class chef traveling from New York to Munich to attend his ex-girlfriend Nadia's dad's funeral. But when Felix's plane is grounded in Paris, his travel itinerary is accidentally intertwined with Rose (Juliette Binoche), a beautician on the run from her drab suburban life and abusive boyfriend. In spite of flawless performances by both actors, the emotional chemistry never quite comes to a boil, leaving us with a cute movie, but not a lot of passion. (Phil Busse)
The Legend of Suriyothai
Written and directed by one of Thailand's royal princes, the story is set in the 16th Century when the country was first unifying. Threats include an invading Burmese army to the north and corruption within the royal family. Quite popular in its native country, it is reminiscent of those expensive made-for-TV movies we made a few years ago, The Bible and all that, where spectacle often overwhelms the characters, and you're better off knowing the story beforehand. (Andy Spletzer)
* The Maltese Falcon
Private detective Sam Spade is harassed by the police after his partner is killed while tailing a man. Made in 1941 and starring Humphrey Bogart, this is your chance to see a fabulous new print.
Mondays in the Sun
The title is a great description of unemployment, and it turns out to be the best part of the movie. A Spanish shipyard has shut down. The economy is depressed. Four men represent four different takes on how unemployment has affected the citizens. Despite some solid performances and plenty of good intentions, this is the kind of movie that would have worked better as a play. (Andy Spletzer)
Return to the Chamber
The kung fu chop suey (comedy) sequel to The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.
S.W.A.T. See review this issue.