In this 1978 Hong Kong flick, the bald and super-muscled Gordon Liu Jiahui plays a Chinese peasant on the run from Manchu oppressors who seeks refuge in the Shaolin Temple. Once inside the temple, like a video game, the hero must pass through a series of torturous and increasingly challenging obstacles before he can emerge as a monk.
The third film in the now bi-yearly American Pie series, whose plot revolves around the wedding of the boy who had sex with a pie, and the girl who had sex with a flute. All I know is, somebody's gonna end up with his dick caught in an engagement ring.
* Bad Boys 2
An action packed Will Smith/Martin Lawrence sandwich with a shitload of explosions and three separate climaxes. (Katie Shimer)
* The Best of the 2002 PDX Film Festival
Peripheral Produce presents: For those who missed the 1st Portland Documentary and eXperimental Film Festival, these screenings show off the top dozen entries from the "international" winner (Canada!), Trevor Fife's Meridian Days, as well as Vanessa Renwick's Nine Is Secret, and Jim Finn's Wustenspringmous.
* A Boy and His Dog
It's the year 2024 and (once again!) the world has been creamed by apocalypse. Don "Nash Bridges" Johnson and his telepathic dog (?!) stumble upon an impotent colony of people. Hilarity ensues when they try to get his sperm.
Capturing the Friedmans
The Friedmans are a middle-class Jewish family from Long Island made up of three sons and two parents, Arnold and Elaine. Arnold is a schoolteacher who instructs computer classes to young boys in his basement on the side; until, he gets busted in a sting operation for sending kiddie porn through the mail. After he gets caught for the dirty mags, a wave of hysteria and sloppy police work sweeps the town.
A Delicate Balance
Katherine Hepburn deserved an Academy Award for her 1973 performance here even more than Edward Albee deserved his Pulitzer for the original play. Mind games and emotional storm fronts trounce through Albee's play-cum-motion picture about a dysfunctional Connecticut couple who are turned topsy-turvy when disruptive lovers trot into their lives.
* Demon of the Derby See review this issue.
Gigli See review this issue.
* The Hired Hand
This film is what Peter Fonda cashed in his post Easy Rider cult status to produce and star in--perhaps the number one entry in the genre of psychedelic-cowboy-western-proto-feminist films. There is an emotional detachment to the entire film that is both lyrical and appropriate for a wrangler who has been wandering the Wild West for nearly a decade. When he abruptly decides to return home, he finds that the wife and kid he left behind (surprise) have gone on with their lives. Taken on as a hired hand, he tries to saddle back into his former life and regain some of the heart and soul that he left out in the prairie. (Phil Busse)
* I Capture the Castle
Seventeen-year-old Cassandra lives in a decaying castle in England with her nutty family. When their American landlord swoops in, her sister Rose becomes determined to have him marry her, and a malestrom of chaos and family quibbles erupt around her.
Lara Croft: Cradle of Life
Lara Croft: Cradle of Life takes you all over the world, making time for fighting on land, sky, water, underground, in urban and pastoral settings. Because Croft spares us the zingy feminist one-liners, it's impossible to hate her. After all, with a life so action packed, she's more than earned herself the smoking bod. Tomb Raider is fantastically expensive and weak on logic, like any binge should be. And best of all, it's instantaneously forgettable. (Marjorie Skinner)
Northfork See review this issue.
Pirates of the Caribbean
"Pirates of the Caribbean" is, in case you've never been to Disneyland, a really great, dark ride. It has a cave filled with pirate skeletons and treasure, a mock-naval battle, looting, pillaging, arson, and drunks singing a jolly sea shanty about well, about getting drunk. In the big finale, a gang of shit-faced marauders whip out their flintlocks, penetrate the town's arsenal, and take cross-eyed potshots at kegs of gunpowder. Then you go up a waterfall, and that's end of the ride. Nobody saves the day! How cool is that? It's much cooler than Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Johnny Depp plays Captain Jack Sparrow, and acts as if he were auditioning to play a new Austin Powers villain, Rear Admiral Stinky. (Dan Howland)
Seijun Suzuki's recent film retains the abstract style that he's famous for, and his loyal minions will undoubtedly cuddle right up to Pistol Opera. There's much to love in the film, most notably the female protagonist Stray Cat, a professional killer who prefers a pistol to a man and slinks around in kimonos and boots. True to its title, the film is flashy and colorful, and theatrical in its storytelling. The plot concerns an elite society of killers, ranked according to skill. Stray Cat is #3, but must eliminate #1 in a kill-or-be-killed spectacle of mortal sportsmanship. It's a beautiful, narcotic film, but if you're not into Suzuki's abstract tone, it will quickly seem frustrating and long. (Marjorie Skinner)
* Purple Rain sing-along
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. See Destination: Fun page 13.
Before being discovered by an oddball trainer in the 1930s, Seabiscuit was a lazy lie-around horse with a goofy gait. He was unruly, abused, and could barely keep pace in minor-league country fair races. But coupled with a nearly blind and down-on-his-luck jockey, Seabiscuit stormed into the top tier of horseracing and, for a stretch of three years or so, became the most written-about celebrity in America. In spite of this spirited true-life story, Dreamworks does it complete injustice by kicking Seabiscuit's corpse for the sake of a summer blockbuster. In a classic Disney turn of events, they omit Seabiscuit's follies and loses, and clean and sober up Seabiscuit's primary jockey, Red (played by Tobey Maguire), who was endlessly profane and often drunk in real life. (Phil Busse)
* Spy Kids 3D
Set inside a world-threatening virtual reality video game, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over retains the homemade virtues that made the earlier installments such an un-selfconscious delight: pleasingly clunky visuals, arch-villains (here, Sylvester Stallone, loose as a goose and filled with self-mockery) who end up seeing the light instead of getting blasted into atoms, and family friendly morals that don't stick in the craw. Adding to the wow factor is Rodriguez's decision to shoot in 3-D, which results in an awesome variety of objects gleefully flung directly towards the audience's eyeballs. (Andrew Wright)
A mousy, frigid English woman (Sarah) who writes popular mysteries retreats to her publisher's mansion in the south of France. Then his illegitimate daughter Julie shows up unexpectedly, a slutty, bratty French vagina--I mean, character. The film follows the women as they eventually become friendly, and the uptight Brit mellows out with weed, swimming, and sex. A thriller element enters the film, shifting it suddenly from stereotypical Odd Couple stuff to highly improbable, anemic drama. By the end of the film, it's revealed why things have became so cardboard and predictable. But it's an extremely flimsy excuse for mediocrity. On the other hand, Julie shows a ton of skin and has sex with a succession of nasty older men, which is fun to watch. (Marjorie Skinner)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
While T3 might work as a slightly overwrought allegory of governmental excess gone wrong, as a vehicle for entertainment it plain SUCKS. Every ounce of creativity was put into wrecking vehicles and blowing shit up, Nick Stahl and Claire Danes are mere window dressing, and Arnie has obviously stopped trying altogether. (Wm. Steven Humphrey)
* the navigators
A comedy about railway workers in South Yorkshire whose jobs are taken over by a private company causing confusion, conflict, and even death.
* Video Slam Grand Slam
It's the Grand Finale of Orlo's video slam, where they'll be showing the best of the best four minute videos they came across this year. Prizes range from $100-500. Here's your chance to see the curd separated from the turd.
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)
Jayne Mansfield and Tony Randall star. An ad man (Tony) needs a sex symbol to sell a new lipstick, but Jayne won't do it unless he pretends to be her lover. Poor guy.