3000 Miles to Graceland
This movie should be avoided like a sex change operation paid for by the Romanian National Health Service. It's bland and predictable; director Demian Lichtenstein's music video-style cinematography is a sublime irritation; and it appears that whole "starring Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell" thing wasn't a cynical prank after all. Why the hell do studios pay seven million apiece to the likes of these two to gun down their movie in broad daylight, when for 20 million Keanu Reeves can make it look like an accident? (Kudzai Mudede) 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza

Almost Famous
Cameron Crowe's film about groupies, Lester Bangs, and learning to ROCK in the '70s. Laurelhurst Theater

* Bad Bugs Bunny
You don't have to watch an episode of The X-Files to know there're a lot of fishy things going on. As Dennis Nyback, the maestro of underground programming, tells it, there's an unspoken history of censorship within our supposedly free society. If you want proof of these claims, he's got it. His world-renowned program of banned Warner Bros. cartoons shows a past that Ted Turner and his money-counting cronies would rather you not know about. From anti-Japanese propaganda films to racist morality tales showing poor black folk the way to heavenly salvation, Bugs and his pals weren't always as enlightened as they were in Space Jam. So, whether you view this collection as a reminder of an America we'd like to forget or with a knee-jerk political correctness typical of this uptight town, you should all think twice next time before you shell out the dollars for boxer shorts with some cute corporate icon emblazoned on the crotch. You never know what kind of a scumbag rabbit your money may be buying carrots for. (Jamie S. Rich) Clinton Street Theatre

* The Battle of the Sacred Tree
In a Kikuyi village, life revolves around a sacred tree with very unusual powers. Naturally, this threatens the local missionaries whose zeal leads them to chop it down. A free presentation of the Cascade Festival of African Films. PCC Cascade Campus

* 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. Koin Center

* 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. Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater

So it's a given that Gwyneth and Ben are only in movies because they're fun to look at (everyone one knows they can't act); but in this movie, they aren't even pleasing to the eyes! Edgefield Powerstation

* Brazil
Terry Gilliam's cult masterpiece about a man trapped in an Orwellian nightmare of plastic surgeons, corporate assholes, angels, and anti-government air conditioning repairmen. Laurelhurst Theater

Cast Away
Have you seen the trailer for this movie? Then you have seen the ENTIRE movie, from opening to final shot. Admittedly, there are some engrossing moments (which interestingly involve Tom Hanks writhing in pain), but other than watching its main character puzzling through dire predictaments, there is little reason to care if this guy gets off his island or not. Plus, Helen Hunt is in it. Ughhh!! (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Cinema 99, Evergreen Parkway, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center

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 being said, the movie itself is unremarkable, and has absolutely nothing new to offer: Yes, organized religion is oppressive; yes, uncouth village drunks beat their wives; yes, gypsies love to play Duke Ellington's "Caravan" on their guitars. As for South America, of course it has many mysteries, and Europe, senescent and dreary Europe, has no mysteries at all. Finally, women are more spirited, more earthy, than men. These are not new themes. We have seen them in one form or another in movies ranging from Like Water for Chocolate to Pleasantville. (Charles Mudede) Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Division Street, Fox Tower 10, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Cinemas, Moreland Theater, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas

* Chunhyang
In the movie Chunhyang, a nobleman, secretly married across class lines, is separated from his wife, Chunhyang. Her virtue assailed, she resists, even under threat of death. Will the noble return in time? The pleasure of such a tale is in the telling, and this movie tells it wonderfully. (Barley Blair) Fox Tower 10

* 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 has 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) 82nd Avenue, Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower 10, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Wilsonville

Down To Earth
I could write a million words on this stupid film. And not words filled with bile but sheer delight! Directed by the men who gave us American Pie, and starring comedian Chris Rock, Down to Earth, which is based on Warren Beatty's Heaven Can Wait, which in turn was based on some old film I've never seen, is the most original race comedy ever! The story? A black bike messenger is suddenly killed by a truck and goes up to heaven. The angels, who look like mafia hit men, realize that the death was premature, and so return the brother back to earth in a body once owned by a white billionaire (who is a second-rate Bill Gates). With this white, bloated body he must win the heart of a beautiful soul sister from the hood. Need I say more? Simply amazing. (Charles Mudede) Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, St. John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Wilsonville

Dude, Where's My Car?
Two potheads wake up after a night of partying and can't locate their car. But, ya know, it's funny... these kind of people can always seem to locate their pot... Edgefield Powerstation

The Family Man
The first half of this movie is funny. Nicholas Cage, a fastidious, fabulously wealthy arbitrageur, is magicked into a lower-middle-class schlumph. (Barley Blair) Kennedy School Theatre, Kiggins Theater

Finding Forrester
A kid from the Bronx excels at both basketball and composition, befriends a hermit writer, undergoes a crisis from which the writer must extract him, thereby helping the writer overcome his own reclusive, blah blah blah. (Barley Blair) Cinema 99, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Cinemas, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Wilsonville

Four Rooms
A 1995 film by four different screenwriters (Robert Rodriguez, Alison Anders, Quentin Tarantino, Alexandre Rockwell) about the seperate antics in four rooms in a hotel. Tim Roth plays a bellhop and steals the movie, despite an all-star cast including Lili Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Marisa Tomei, Bruce Willis, and Madonna. Dead bodies, slapstick, and slapstick with dead bodies ensue, as typical of all independent movies during the "Fucking Quentin Tarantino"/"Robert Shoot-em-up Rodriguez" revolution of the the mid-'90s. Most of it's pretty well-written and acted, although whether it's still got a leg to stand on six years later remains to be seen. (Julianne Shepherd) Mission Theater

The Gift
The Gift is about a woman, Annie Wilson (Cate Blanchett), who has a special and unusual gift: She's psychic. She uses this gift to help the community. Then! She starts seeing bad stuff. A murder occurs. She uses her gift to solve the murder. It's just plain weird that Blanchett took this role; she's a beautiful lead in any film, but she does not save films. And she especially can't save this one. (Paula Gilovich) Bagdad Theater, Kennedy School Theatre, Kiggins Theater, Mission Theater

Good Grief
Filmed at many of Portland's hipster hang-outs and by hometown filmmaker Andrew Dickson, this coming-of-age story may feel a bit too close to home. Although the acting is spotty and, at times, the meager budget is far too apparent, the premise of a teen geek struggling as his friends outgrow their fantasy world is captivating. Disjecta

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 50thousand tea ladies. (Kudzai Mudede) Broadway Metroplex, 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, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville

* 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. Fox Tower 10, Koin Center

* In the Mood for Love
The most achingly beautiful film in years. Jilted spouses always find themselves circling one painful step away from seeking comfort in each other's arms. Every moment of this film snaps with perfection. Fox Tower 10

* Long Night's Journey Into Day
This sobering documentary examines four cases presented to South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established to offer amnesty to those who committed crimes during the period when the nation was ruled by apartheid. Long Night's Journey is essentially a story about forgiveness; why it's asked for, and why it's given or denied. In the '80s, "Free South Africa" buttons were commonly seen on the lapels of your political correct folks; Long Night's Journey offers an absorbing look at the real life stories behind the Big Issue, and how a country is still struggling to reconcile itself to its past. A free presentation of the Cascade Festival of African Films. PCC Cascade Campus

Director Giuseppe Tornatore spun childhood nostalgia into international box-office gold with Cinema Paradiso (1988). With Malena, he tries to repeat that success by making an art-house Porky's set in Sicily during World War II. Renato (Giuseppe Sulfaro), not even a teenager but wanting to grow up quick, starts hanging out with the older kids who ogle Malena (Monica Bellucci), a beautiful woman whose husband is off at war. Actually, the whole town ogles Malena, to the point where she's been unfairly painted as the town slut. Renato thinks he's different from the townsfolk, but she's never more than his masturbatory fantasy; a fact made distastefully literal by the end of the film. Pretty cinematography and a pretty girl do not make up for the ugly, voyeuristic core of this film. (Andy Spletzer) Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater, Mission Theater

Meet the Parents
Jewish complications ensue when Ben Stiller meets grumpy father-in-law Bobby DeNiro. Avalon Theatre, Bagdad Theater, Mt. Hood Theater

The Mexican
In their first foray into the "blatant metaphor" genre, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts star in this tale of a cursed "pistol" that kills the one who "pulls" its "trigger." 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Wilsonville

Monkey Bone
All you need to know of this film is that it stars both Brendan Fraser and a cartoon monkey, and that at about 40 minutes in, the cartoon monkey has taken over control of Brendan Fraser's body. That's it. Directed by Henry Selick, of The Nightmare Before Christmas? Based on Kaja Blackley's graphic novel, Dark Town? Unimportant. Brendan Fraser. Cartoon monkey. Focus on them, rather than set yourself up for a disappointment of a movie that could have done much better than farting monkey dolls. (Jason Pagano) Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Westgate, Wilsonville

* 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, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower 10, Tigard Cinemas

* One Day in September
During the 1972 Summer Olympics, eight Palestinian terrorists invaded the Israeli compound, taking nine hostages and killing two athletes. This documentary on the subject is grossly unfair, in that its portrayal of the shocking events is both one-sided and simplistic. See review this issue. Cinema 21

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. City Center 12, Fox Tower 10

* The Prisoner
The Mission is spotlighting this terrific cult television series starring Patrick McGoohan as a retired spy who finds himself imprisoned in a very mysterious village. A guaranteed marijuana freakout! Mission Theater

Quills is loosely (very loosely) based upon the latter years of the Marquis de Sade's life. Shortly after the French Revolution, de Sade resides locked away in the Charenton mental hospital where he is allowed, briefly, to continue writing his pornographic prose. Though meant for private consumption only, the writings are secreted out of Charenton by the laundry maid, Madeleine (Kate Winslet), and their popularity on the streets of France causes outraged apoplexy among the powers that be. Unfortunately, this film seeks to rehabilitate de Sade's image into that of Brave Soldier in the Noble Battle against Hypocrisy. Which not only flattens and dulls the film's subject, it also makes for one hell of a hypocritical movie in its own right. (Bruce Reid) Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater

Recess: School's Out
I loved the movie Recess: School's Out. It is full of exciting and hilarious scenes. It takes place when T.J. and his friends just get out of school for the summer. T.J. is excited until all his friends go to different camps; he is so bored until he sees strange things happening at his school. So he gets his friends from their camps together to uncover the mystery. It's funny because in the movie (and in the TV show), everybody does the same thing at recess. For example, there is a King of Recess, there are kids that dig holes, and the kindergartners always run around doing pesky stuff. I advise people to go to this movie. (Sam Lachow, age 10) 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, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville

The wife of an Angolan freedom fighter follows her husband as he goes to prison, trying to discover who sold him out, and what will happen to him. This free showing is part of the Cascade Festival of African Films. PCC Cascade Campus

* Sasayaki
Two Japanese teenagers experience the first blush of love... and follow it up with the first blush of S/M, domination, and electro-genital torture. the film's blend of humor, intelligence, and dementia gives the work something many narratives have forgotten about; multiple layers. Some weak spots are there, but this film definitely establishes Shiota as a strong new talent in Japanese cinema. Clinton Street Theatre

Save the Last Dance
Finally! A multi-racial Dirty Dancing! A midwestern honky moves to the big city, and hooks up with a smooth talking brutha from the South Side. Are we all clear on this? Great. EVERYBODY DANCE! Division Street, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV

Saving Silverman
Jason Biggs is about to marry "the wrong girl," and his two rowdy buddies (Jack Black and Steve Zahn) will stop at nothzzzzzzzzzzzz. Trapped in a shamelessly derivative mess that retreads the nun-lovin' fun of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, they struggle to answer the question, "Women: Manipulative and emasculating, or vapid and pliable?" Judging by Silverman's sizable kitsch insurance policy, the accountant who approved this one knew it would take an omnipresent Neil Diamond to ensure the assloads of box office returns this film will undoubtedly make. You've seen this one before, sadly. (Jason Pagano) Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Washington Square Center, Wilsonville

* See Spot Run
See Spot Run was a great movie about a dog named Agent 11 who was trained by the F.B.I. since he was a puppy. Agent 11 is trying to catch these bad Mafia guys. The head Mafia guy hires these two other Mafia guys to kill Agent 11 but he escapes and winds up staying with the main character played by David Arquette. David is babysitting this little kid and they all have wacky adventures trying to avoid being killed by the Mafia guys. The funniest part was David Arquette doing his great George Jefferson breakdance. (Maggie Brown, age 10) 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, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville

Shadow of the Vampire
John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe star as director F.W. Murnau and actor Max Schreck in this period piece about the filming of the classic silent horror flick Nosferatu. The plot is about as complicated as a Berenstein Bear book, and except for Dafoe's inspired and hilarious performance, you should probably wait to see it until it's at the cheap seats. (Julianne Shepherd) City Center 12, Koin Center

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: heaps of colorful characters 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) Broadway Metroplex, City Center 12, Kiggins Theater, Lloyd Cinemas

* State and Main
Alec Baldwin, William H. Macy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and David Paymer descend on a small Vermont town to make a movie, bringing their sophisticated mores with them. The town end is held down by Charles Durning, Clark Gregg, Ricky Jay, Patti LuPone, Matt Malloy, Rebecca Pidgeon, and Julia Stiles... Do you begin to see a problem here? The cast is as fixedly big-city as a traffic jam. Though to tell you the truth, I was laughing too hard to worry about small inaccuracies. David Mamet has said that he was thinking of Preston Sturges when he put this film together, and it's a worthy successor to the Master. (Barley Blair) Koin Center

Suzhou River
A new film from Shanghai explores love, loss, and betrayal on the banks of a polluted river. See review this issue. Cinema 21

Sweet November
Sometimes the soiling of a film comes with one stroke, one inconsequential scene that because it was left unedited, the whole film is denied. I argue that Sweet November should be denied by all of you on this basis: Keanu Reeves, the workaholic ad exec, is trying to perform his American duty of reinventing the hot dog. In this scene, Keanu is running on his treadmill, sweating bullets in his modern apartment and thinking, like he always is, of hot dogs. He pops off his mill jerkily and bounds toward the microwave. Keanu pops it open and then hunts and spears the microwaved hot dog with a fork. And then, sweaty Keanu puts the sweaty hot dog in his mouth. That's when it was over for me. (Paula Gilovich) 82nd Avenue, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Wilsonville

Thirteen Days
You may enjoy this movie about the Cuban Missle Crisis, and that's OK, but I want you to hate it too. Here's what's to enjoy: Bruce Greenwood as Jack Kennedy and Steven Culp as Bobby. Kevin Costner's "Boston" accent that left me weak with laughter. Dylan Baker as Robert McNamara, rolling his eyes like a cow whose foot's just been run over by a tractor. That's pretty much it for the enjoyment. (Barley Blair) Century Eastport 16, Laurelhurst Theater, Washington Square Center

* A Time for Drunken Horses
Even if Iranians don't celebrate Christmas, this movie is bound to be a holiday classic. Sure, it doesn't have the gooey sentimentality of It's A Wonderful Life, but it does have sweeping panoramas of the snowy and rugged Iranian border. After his father is killed by a mine, a stoic teenage boy is forced to smuggle tires and whatnots across the border in order to earn enough money to pay for his siblings schoolbooks and an operation for his dying, invalid brother (hello, Tiny Tim, anyone?). Nominated by the Academy for Best Foreign Film, it will keep you by the short hairs. Fox Tower 10

Like a search engine laboring for information on "drug trade," "Mexican cartel," and "survival," Traffic pulls together three remotely connected stories about users and dealers, both in high and low places. What makes Traffic the most sophisticated narrative structure so far in this new genre of storytelling is that it does not bother to link stories with overlapping characters, or even around seminal events. Instead, the characters gravitate around keywords: greed, loyalty, self-preservation. The result is a nervous and jumpy, yet broad-based, essay on drugs in North America. (Phil Busse) 82nd Avenue, Century Eastport 16, Division Street, Koin Center, Lloyd Cinemas, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, St. John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate

The Wedding Planner
Mary Fiore (Jennifer Lopez) is the baddest-assest Wedding Planner that ever there was. The sad truth, though, is that poor gorgeous Mary can't seem to find a date! One day, outta nowhere, a runaway dumpster is just about to mow Mary down, and who's there to save her, but Matthew McCon! Before you know it they're dancing under the stars, then he vanishes, only to magically reappear as howdid you know? The groom-to-be of Mary's latest client! O. My. Gawd! Clackamas Town Center, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Vancouver Plaza, Washington Square Center

What Women Want
Mel Gibson stars as a man who can hear women's innermost thoughts in this feminist remake of the David Cronenberg sci-fi thriller Scanners. Avalon , Cinema 99

Wonder Boys
Any film that can make an audience stomach Michael Douglas is a minor accomplishment. Curtis Hanson's film does more than that. In fact, it's rather good. 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) City Center 12, Koin Center