Sat at 7 pm, PSU Smith Memorial Union, Room 238. Hit ammon-ra.com/skywalkerparadigm for more info.
2004 Bioneers Conference Do you know what "bioneers" are? They're HIPPIES! FILTHY, HEMP-WEARIN', PHISH-LISTENIN' HIPPIES! And there'll be "bioneers" aplenty at this video screening of speakers from the 2004 Bioneers Conference, and there'll also be a lot of talk about "social justice," "the open space of democracy," "the reverence movement," and various other hippie bullshit. First Unitarian Church
The Animation Show This year's The Animation Show is the second collection of shorts curated by Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt. While there are several gems in this collection, there are also enough snoozers that one should bring a healthy enthusiasm for the medium--or be prepared to take catnaps in between the more exciting entries. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre
Batman Begins Greatly influenced by the Batman comics of Frank Miller, director Christopher Nolan (Memento) and screenwriter David S. Goyer (the fun but stupid Blade movies) forge a reimagined story of how a lost Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) becomes a badass vigilante. Underlying Nolan's entire film are decidedly un-Hollywood themes of fear and vengeance; the film is so good and so much fun because it embraces Batman's inherent creepiness rather than trying to hide it. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Bewitched See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Sam Peckinpah's classic cinematic ode to adamant decapitation. For extra fun, bring along a bottle of tequila. (David Schmader) Guild
Crash Crash, the directing debut of Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis, certainly doesn't want for hubris, but ultimately it's an exhibit of laudable ambition overwhelming Haggis' still-developing narrative abilities. Although Haggis' would-be epic portrayal of race relations in Los Angeles sports a handful of genuinely searing moments, it's hard to shake the sense of someone constantly rearranging 3 by 5 cards behind the scenes for maximum impact. (Andrew Wright) Fox Tower 10 , Westgate
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room This is more than just a play-by-play look at the rise, fall, and impact of Enron--the film also asks why people act immorally, and (perhaps more damningly) why others allow it to happen. Surprisingly, all of this makes for dark comedy rather than a muckraking expos; rather than pushing its political agenda, Enron simply confronts you with the worst of human nature. (Andrea Chalupa) Hollywood Theatre
Goya in Bordeaux A dull, laughably pretentious attempt to portray the painter's twilight reminiscences, Goya in Bordeaux features an elder, barrel-bellied Goya who smugly pontificates to his daughter about the tragedies and obligations of being an artist, and a younger Goya who mulls over the compromises inherent in being a court painter and the agonies of loving a notorious mistress. Neither appears smart enough to paint a bathroom wall, let alone the masterpieces that are liberally scattered throughout the film. PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
The Great Escape Steve McQueen, James Coburn, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Donald Pleasence, and Charles Bronson are throwing a tunnelin' party--and you're invited! Laurelhurst
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy When Earth is destroyed by alien bureaucrats, there's only one survivor: A very perplexed Brit, Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman), who's suddenly alone in a very bizarre galaxy. Thanks to a breezy (if wildly uneven) script, strong characters, and relentlessly witty visuals from director Garth Jennings, Hitchhiker's isn't as good as the book--but as a film adaptation, it's mostly harmless, succeeding at capturing the manic, hilarious spirit of Adams' work. (Erik Henriksen) Westgate , Tigard-Joy Theater , Lloyd Mall
Howl's Moving Castle The latest from genius Japanese anime filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. A young girl, Sophie, is transformed into a hunched, wrinkled old woman--confused and frightened, she hobbles out to the misty countryside, hoping to find Howl, an enigmatic young wizard who might be able to help her. To proselytize: Go see it, right now. To use what sounds like hyperbole, but isn't: It's amazing. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10
IT (Independent Tuesdays) Acme's homemade film and video event. Acme
Journey to the Sun The Turkish police think Mehmet is Kurdish because of his dark complexion, and they arrest and beat him on false pretenses. Because of this, he loses his job and apartment; while Berzan, his Kurdish friend, helps him regain his balance--but more problems arise. (Stacey Levine) PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
Kazelmacher A Greek emigrant moves to Germany, causing conflict amongst his new peers. PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
Kingdom of Heaven Every "epic" film I can remember pits the underdog against an unbeatable enemy: A hero of purity and conviction against a giant blob of brute force. Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven monkeys with the formula a little--its enemy is a bit more complicated and compassionate than most--but in the end, the film fits the standard: Big, expensive, theatrically violent, thrilling, sad, and overall, worth the eight bucks. (Katie Shimer) Kennedy School , St. Johns Pub , Laurelhurst , Bagdad Theater , Mt. Hood Theater
Kung Fu Hustle The latest from Hong Kong's superstar director and star Stephen Chow, Kung Fu Hustle is all over the map: It's part slapstick, part hokey drama, part action extravaganza, and part cartoon--and Chow blends all of these seemingly disparate parts to make a nearly perfect comedy. (Erik Henriksen) Westgate , Fox Tower 10
Ladies in Lavender Ladies in Lavender has Judi Dench and Maggie Smith playing two dames sharing a house in lovely Cornwall. One morning, the sisters spy a body splayed out on the rocks. Discovering a young man (Daniel Brühl), they nurse him back to health. The most interesting moments come when Ursula (Dench) reveals her unrequited romantic fascination with the young man, and when snippets of subtext-heavy dialogue result between the sisters. In terms of plot, there's a whole lot of light stroking along these lines, yet the film never quite gets to the soap opera-like climaxes that seem inevitable. (Evan James) Fox Tower 10
Land of the Dead See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Layer Cake Neophyte director is Matthew Vaughn doesn't steer too far from the neo-British gangster/heist film genre with this one, and considering I'm the only person under the age of 31 who didn't like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, I wasn't expecting to enjoy Layer Cake. But I did. Daniel Craig stars as an unnamed London dope distributor (he's credited as "XXXX") who's hoping to retire. His last assignment, of course, is a snafu waiting to happen, and XXXX soon discovers that you can never leave the business--or if you do, it won't be when or how you decide. What distinguishes Layer Cake is that it avoids making its characters caricatures. As a result, the film escapes becoming a Ritchie--or even a Tarantino--knockoff and is content for what it is: A good crime thriller. (Will Gardner) Fox Tower 10 , Westgate
The Longest Yard Taking over Burt Reynolds' role from the awesome 1974 original Yard is an increasingly tubby Adam Sandler, playing ex-NFL quarterback Paul Crewe. After a drunk driving escapade, Crewe is sent to a penitentiary where a pigskin lovin' warden forces him to put together a team of inmates to take on his cruel semi-pro guards in a football game. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Lords of Dogtown Lords of Dogtown, the mass-marketed dramatization of the excellent skateboarding documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, isn't a bad film so much as an unnecessary one. Sure, the human elements of the Z-Boys' story get more room to breathe than they did in the doc, but there's no new viewpoint added to the Z-Boys mythos; the super-slick, Sony-produced Dogtown just feels like a retread of the documentary, and one written as if it were a tween-targeted pilot for the WB. (Erik Henriksen) Pioneer Place Stadium 6 , Westgate , St. Johns Theater
Machuca An outstanding film set in the final days before Pinochet's coup in Chile, told from the point of view of two young boys (Matías Quer and Ariel Mateluna). It's a singularly moving story--seething with hatred, but at least temporarily transcending it. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre
Mad Hot Ballroom Enjoy watching this documentary about Puerto Rican children who compete for first place in a do-or-die ballroom dance competition between New York public schools. Witness a little kid who can't speak English woo the crowd with his scandalous Cuban motion. See elementary schoolers dance. Feel simultaneously proud and jealous. (Evan James) Fox Tower 10
Major Dundee Major Dundee, Sam Peckinpah's first big-budgeted film, kicked off his career-long squabble with fearful producers. Ferociously entertaining, it features newly restored footage of Chuck Heston stumbling through a Mexican brothel which suggests that the dissolute anti-heroes of The Wild Bunch were perhaps never far from the director's mind. (Andrew Wright) Guild
Man with the Screaming Brain That star next to the title is not there because of the film. The film--an ill-conceived homage to D-grade horror movies, about a guy (Bruce Campbell) with two brains running around with robots and shit in Bulgaria--is absolutely horrible. It's too long, it's painfully unfunny, and it's an embarrassing waste of Campbell's talents. That star is there because Campbell still kicks ass, and this screening--which is preceded by a reading with Campbell from his new book--will still probably be fun anyway. But yeah. The movie really, really sucks. See My, What a Busy Week! on pg. 17 and I'm Staying Home on pg. 47. (Erik Henriksen) Hollywood Theatre
McLibel See review this issue. Clinton Street Theater
Mr. and Mrs. Smith Watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith is exactly like spending two hours with two gorgeous-ass boring people, without even a chance of lackluster eye-candy sex. For shit's sake, the super-hunky Brad Pitt (John Smith) and perfectly pouty Angelina Jolie (Jane Smith) don't even bother to hump onscreen. If you've seen the preview, you get the joke. John and Jane Smith are both assassins, although neither knows their spouse is one, too. It's stupid, boring, and totally predictable. (Katie Shimer) Regal Cinemas, etc.
My Summer of Love Ordinarily, I hate teenagers. But when they're two fascinating/evil/sassy/silly British chicks who're caught up in red wine, Ouija boards, and a lesbian love affair, well... that's a different story. (Marjorie Skinner) Fox Tower 10
Mysterious Skin See review this issue. Cinema 21
Oldboy Min-sik Choi stars as the utterly unextraordinary Dae-su Oh, who, without warning or reason, is abducted and imprisoned in a tiny room. Inexplicably waking up on the roof of an apartment building 15 years later, Dae-su discovers he has only five days to unravel the knotted mystery of his imprisonment. Chan-wook Park's brutally euphoric film is an appropriately surreal, bloody, and moving story of vicious revenge and shocking mystery. It's not an easy film to watch, but it is a great one. (Erik Henriksen) Hollywood Theatre
Open Screening: Politics Films screened on a first come, first serve basis, with a focus on films related to politics either global, national, or local. To show your film, email email@example.com. Whitsell Auditorium
The Perfect Man Exhibit #453 in the now totally moot Lohan vs. Duff debate: At a mere 96 minutes, The Perfect Man is perhaps the longest movie I've ever seen. Let me count the ways: Number One: Because the film takes place in Brooklyn, every native character has affected an accent so over the top, they might as well be from Germany. Number Two: As Duff's mother, the instantly pathetic Heather Locklear plays a character with the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old. Number Three: Because it's a movie for teenage girls, the filmmakers seem to think it necessary to manufacture an incredibly transparent device by which its lead actress can narrate the entire film's every annoying nuance; The Perfect Man chooses blogging. (Jesus!) Number Four: Hilary Duff's only emotion is constipation--which is, last I checked, not an emotion. (Zac Pennington) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Ride the High Country Sam Peckinpah's western about friendship, loneliness, ex-marshals, and double-crosses. Guild
Saving Face Seattle native Alice Wu's amiably low-key debut suffers a bit from the standard crowd-pleasing rom-com conventions, but stays afloat due to some effective wisecracks and the unforced, charming lead performance of the gorgeous Michelle Krusiec. (Andrew Wright) Fox Tower 10
Short Cut to Nirvana: Kumbh Mela This documentary reveals India's Kumbh Mela, the oldest and largest religious gathering in the history of mankind. It's fascinating that such a massive event takes place while being largely absent from the consciousness of the Western world, but the bulk of this film's hour and a half are left to the useless musings of several honkies in tow with the crew and footage of people praying. (Marjorie Skinner) Bagdad Theater
Sneakers Robert Redford and Sidney Poitier star in this entertaining cyber-thriller from 1992. Also featured: That poor schlub Dan Aykroyd and everyone's favorite dead kid, River Phoenix. Pix Patisserie
Stolen Childhoods It's true: Bad things happen to good kids. So unless you're in total denial about certain aspects of the global economy, you've got nothing to learn from this tedious and sanctimonious documentary about how kids in developing countries would be better off in school than working in factories or picking tobacco. Skip the movie and donate the cost of admission to UNICEF--both you and the children will be better off. (Alison Hallett) Hollywood Theatre
Straw Dogs Thrillingly unclean, the notorious thriller Straw Dogs--with its uncomfortably passionate rape scene--perhaps best illustrates director Sam Peckinpah's essential dichotomy: Unpleasant at times, yes. But man alive, could he ever make a movie. (Andrew Wright) Guild
The Tour Baby! A behind-the-scenes look at the Tour de France. Proceeds go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and there'll also be a raffle and an appearance by filmmaker Scott Coady. Bagdad Theater
Tropical Malady Tropical Malady consists of two parts: The first details an affair between two young Thai men, and the second follows a soldier as he's chased through the jungle by a tiger. There are some gorgeously constructed shots, and the jungle is beautiful and frightening, but not even the always-welcome inclusion of talking monkeys can save this film from being flat and unengaging. (Alison Hallett) Whitsell Auditorium
Veronico Cruz 1988's story of a boy (Gonzalo Morales) born in Argentina. PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
War of the Worlds HELL YEAH! Spielberg! Aliens! 'Splosions! Watch for our review next week. Regal Cinemas, etc.