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. 82nd Avenue, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Vancouver Plaza 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

* Autumn Tale
Eric Rohmer finishes off his tetralogy devoted to the seasons with this autumnal gem, the tale of a widowed woman who owns a vineyard and is reluctant to get back into the dating game. Her engaged daughter sets her up with her ex (a former professor), while her married friend impersonates her in a series of personal ads trying to find the perfect blind date. All in all, a pleasant and life-affirming film. (Andy Spletzer) Northwest Film Center at Whitsell Auditorium

* Bad Lieutenant
Harvey Keitel is a drug-addicted cop investigating the rape of a nun. Mission Theater

* 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

* Bike-In Theatre
Get on yer bikes and ride over to the Bike-In Theater's outdoor film series. This week features the shows that were rained out two weekends ago: Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music a 1969 documentary that plays like a home movie of the Man in Black's life on the road and at home. A must-see for J.C. fans! Also playing is Ms. 45, an early work of director Abel Ferrara about a mute woman who is raped and then takes to the street to wreak revenge. Banned in Finland, Norway and Sweden? Holy Cats! (Wm. Steven Humphrey) P.S. What?

* Blade Runner
Ridley Scott's dark and moody vision of 21st century L.A. starring Harrison Ford. Fifth Avenue Cinemas

* Blow
Blow is Hollywood all the way to the bank. But despite all its predictability--a 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, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Cinemas, 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

* Calle 54
There is very little to compare the Buena Vista Social Club with Calle 54, although that's the first impulse since both films document the unsung history of Cuban music. In Calle 54, however, the past and present of Latin jazz are celebrated naturalistically, with consecutive performances by 13 jazz masters, filmed simply. Such faith in the subject matter left very little need for talk in this film-the musicians aren't forced into mythologizing themselves. Director Fernando Trueba displays a beautiful concern for humility in Calle 54. His narration is spare, so he never gets overentangled in his subject. Though the film slips from unstable black and white into full, shocking color, the filmmaking remains reverent and observational, allowing for all the movie's rhythms to be born of the music. Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés and his son Chucho, Jerry Gonzàlez, Eliane Elías-all give mesmerizing performances. (Paula Gilovich) Fox Tower 10

Part of the Tibetan Arts and Culture4 Festival: Set in the mountains of Nepal, villagers must cross the highest mountains to trade salt for their year's supply of grain. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

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) Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Hilltop, Kiggins Theater, Koin Center, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Sherwood 10, Washington Square Center, Wilsonville

Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles
Crocodile Dundee winds up in LA, 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 one would only pay to see this if they were seeking dependable entertainment. 82nd Avenue, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza

* 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 Cup / Satya : A Prayer for the Enemy
Part of the Tibetan Arts and Culture Festival. In The Cup, two young Tibetan refugees team up with some soccer-happy monks in an effort to watch the World Cup on TV. Also playing is Satya: a documentary about the hardships of Tibet's refugees. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

A race car movie guilty of tantalizing, but not satisfying the prurient interest. With Sylvester Stallone AND Burt Reynolds. 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, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville

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, Kennedy School Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater, Mission Theater

* The Films of Chick Strand
One of the true pioneers of experimental film in person, showing fourteen of her films. See review this issue. Four Wall Cinema

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) Evergreen Parkway, Vancouver Plaza

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) Oak Grove 8 Theater, Vancouver Plaza

* George Washington
What this wonderfully obtuse new film by first-timer David Gordon Green lacks in plot, it more than makes up for with the ethereal, orange luster of Tim Orr's rapturous, widescreen cinematography. And if the references to Terrence Malick's Cinema of Innocent Americana--voiceover, rumbling tone music, and plenty of children's metaphysical musings--are at times ponderously transparent, well, there are worse people to imitate, aren't there? The untrained, unknown cast of youngsters is a revelation, and the beauty mined from the wasted dregs of North Carolina is staggering. Allow the film to penetrate your subconscious, and you will find it lingering there for many months to come. (Jamie Hook) Clinton Street Theatre

* Himalaya
Himalaya is a groundbreaking, genuine portrait of the Dolpo region of Nepal. The story revolves around Tinle, an old chief who loses his eldest son. What follows is a mesmerizing adventure that evokes the forces of ancestral strife and nature at its most treacherous. Says director Eric Valli: "This film is a love story, a love story between this place, these people, and me. It's very simple." (Kudzai Mudede) Cinema 21

Horse Thief
Part of the Tibetan Arts and Culture Festival. A poor Tibetan shepherd is driven to a life of crime by his harsh environment. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

* 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 Search of Kundun / Tashi Jong
Part of the Tibetan Arts and Culture Festival. In Search of Kundun is a documentary on Martin Scorsese's journeys while filming Kundun, as well as the Dalai Lama. Tashi Jong documents the day-to-day life in a Tibetan refugee camp. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

* 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

Joe Dirt
David Spade plays a radio DJ searching for his white trash parents. Kid Rock is in this movie. You're not going to see it, are you? Didn't think so. Cinema 99, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, St. John's Theater, Vancouver Plaza

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

A Knight's Tale
Closer in spirit to the video game Joust than to the Chaucer book from which it takes its name, this Heath Ledger vehicle makes ample use of '70s anthem rock and other anachronisms to create a really long, boring teenager movie. See review this issue. Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower 10, Hilltop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville

* Leaving Las Vegas
Mike Figgis' acclaimed film about a man trying to drink himself to death provides an excellent case study in self-destruction. Fifth Avenue Cinemas

* 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, Laurelhurst Theater, Mt. Hood Theater

The Mummy Returns
The first (or, rather, the last) Mummy--the one that came out in 1998 and seemed like it just couldn't be good--actually kind of was, thanks to its updating of the classic matinee combo of bad special effects, silly situations, and cheesy actors (except r-r-r-Rachel Weisz) coming together to create a movie that just by not being terrible managed to seem really charming. The sequel--in which not just the mummy, but the whole cast, plot, several lines of dialogue, the m.o. of ripping off every movie ever made, and most of the stunts return--fails to pull off the same trick. The first 30 minutes of the film are excruciating; the rest is better, thanks mostly to the appearance of John Hannah, but writer/director Stephen Sommers gets trumped by a ceaseless parade of god-awful digital effects. Digital mummy, digital scarabs, digital scorpions, digital armies, digital waterfall, digital river, digital dirigible... even the city of London is digital. It's not the worst summer movie ever, it's just that by being only not that good, it manages to seem terrible. 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, Sherwood 10, St. John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , 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, 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, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Washington Square Center

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

Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Three drag queens haul ass (and makeup) across the Australian outback. Fifth Avenue Cinemas

The Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche
Part of the Tibetan Arts and Culture Festival. A man travels into Chinese-occupied Tibet to rescue a boy he believes to be his reincarnated master. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

* Rififi
Telling the story of Tony le Stephanois, a newly sprung bank robber who engineers the perfect caper, Rififi is a delirious fantasia of gangster ethics and underworld locales, artfully framed in a baroque, twisting plot and hung lovingly against the gorgeous backdrop of Parisian streets. The performances are quite excellent, the cinematography is stunning, the music is dead on, the plot is an economic wonder, and the virtually silent, gleefully long heist scene is a tingling, ecstatic, sustained act of brilliance--a sacrament of the cinema. Dazzling, ornate, and artfully crafted, Rififi is, it cannot be disputed, a work of perfection. (Jamie Hook) Hollywood Theatre

* Series 7
Pregnant lady kills people for fabulous cash and prizes in this parody of reality television. In Series 7: The Contenders, this wicked satiire takes the reality-show idea to its logical extreme, depicting a program that pits its contestants against one another with their very lives at stake. You don't get voted off this show--you get killed. Hollywood Theatre

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) Bagdad Theater, Edgefield Powerstation

Someone Like You
If cuteness becomes a commodity, Ashley Judd will become an enormous, publicly-traded, multinational corporation. Please think twice before you go see this film. Kiggins Theater

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, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard-Joy Theater, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville

* 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) Laurelhurst 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

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. Division Street, Koin Center, Movies on TV, Washington Square Center

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) Koin Center, Milwaukie 3 Theater

* Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
It's your standard story: Boy meets Chocolate Baron, Boy offends Chocolate Baron, Boy inherits Chocolate Factory. Bagdad Theater

* 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 to 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