* 28 Days Later
A film that succeeds in defining the very condition of its moment is nothing less than a major event. Suddenly the truth is not revealed to a privileged few (as is the case with the lesser arts), but to the masses. In this case, 28 Days Later gets to the heart of SARS. True, SARS came about after 28 Days Later was made (2002), but the environment that made the disease all the rage is the very same environment that makes 28 Days Later the best horror film of this, our time. (Charles Mudede)

* A22
Get psyched up for this year's Bush protests by watching a video about last year's Bush protests.

American Wedding
If you're finishing a trilogy about boners, boning, blow jobs, motherfuckers, call girls, and gay dudes, who needs a plot? The answer to your real question: pretty funny, although this third piece of the American Pie trilogy doesn't measure up to the first. And American Wedding definitely belongs to Stifler, who learns that in order to be the star of a Hollywood comedy, you're gonna have to eat shit from time to time. Just please promise this is the last one. (Jennifer Maerz)

And Now Ladies and Gentlemen
A strange, wandering film about a romance between two people inflicted with the same neurological disorder that causes them to black out without warning. He's a thief and sailor, who conks out and drifts his boat to Morocco. He meets her there, a lounge singer who blacks out mid-performance, walking out into the street with her microphone. The story is spiced up with his clever crime scenes, especially when he doesn't remember whether or not he's guilty. But mostly this film is syrupy slow, studying the relationship between two people who are coming from failed romances, aging, scared, and unsure of whether or not they're dying. Sweet, elegant, but not amazing. (Marjorie Skinner)

Being There
A Peter Sellers classic. See My What a Busy Week pg 17

Bend it Like Beckham
Not exactly a masterpiece, this film is a lighthearted, cute escape best suited for parents and teens. An adolescent, soccer-playing daughter struggles against her Hindu parents, who would rather gear her interests towards cooking and otherwise preparing herself to be a proper Indian bride. (Marjorie Skinner)

* The Big Lebowski
Jeff Bridges bowls, says "hey man," in a whiney voice, spills a White Russian all over himself, and squirts a White Russian up Julianne Moore's coot. Part of the fun-tabulous Mercury Summer Movie Megathon! See My What a Busy Week pg 17

* Buffalo Soldiers
From Dr. Strangelove's Cold War wheelies to Heathers' bulimic teenage wasteland, the best satire has always worked without a net. Completed just before 9/11 and finally released, much of the taboo status surrounding the matte-black comedy Buffalo Soldiers may have come from unexpected world events, but its combination of jaded cynicism and artful cool would pass muster in any era. Based on Robert O'Connor's novel, the film chronicles the rise and fall of Ray Elwood (Joaquin Phoenix), a Berlin-based Army file clerk who delights in selling everything from Mr. Clean to bathtub meth to his numbed compatriots, all directly under the radar of his dunderheaded commander (Ed Harris). Stakes are raised with the simultaneous arrival of some illicit heavy artillery and a granite-nosed new sergeant (Scott Glenn) determined to best Elwood by any means necessary. (Andrew Wright)

* Camp
Director Todd Graff's endlessly compassionate cast of unknowns as drama nerds gives this film an after-school special, hammy, yet completely sincere feel. The film's title is deceptively accurate; with enormous, unabashed musical numbers tossed into the mix, it really doesn't get any "campier" than this. And yet, there are fleshed-out characters here, with issues that will hit home with the most stubborn of cynics. An older drama nerd battles alcoholism as he tries to resurrect his flailing career; a young woman battles braces and a neglectful father to pursue what she loves. People and subplots fill Graff's joyous movie until it bursts at the seams. So many, many of you will hate this movie, but some of you will love it beyond belief. You are the ones who have stood backstage, waiting to go on. You are the ones who know every word to the Rent soundtrack and sing it, full blast, as you do the dishes. You are the ones who will celebrate and cherish this film. I know this because I love it, and I am one of you. (Justin Sanders)

Capturing the Friedmans
The Friedmans are a middle-class Jewish family from Long Island. Three sons comprise the Friedmans, along with two parents, Arnold and Elaine. The dad is a schoolteacher who instructs computer classes to young boys in his basement on the side. Also in the basement is Mr. Friedman's collection of kiddie porn, which he has hidden behind the piano. And no one knows about the kiddie porn until dumbass Mr. Friedman gets busted in a sting operation for sending kiddie porn through the mail. After he gets caught for the porn mags, a wave of hysteria and sloppy police work sweeps the town. Arnold and, oddly, his youngest son Jesse, are charged with about a million counts of child rape. Thankfully for the filmmakers, during all of this insanity the three annoying sons record the dissolution of the Friedman family on video, which is the basis of the movie. (Katie Shimer)

* Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
An over the top, hyper-sexual music video starring Drew, Cameron, Lucy, and that bitch, Demi. As you might expect, the Angels battle to restore order in a loosely plotted tale about corrupt federal agents in cahoots with mobsters to expose people in the witness protection program. You won't care much about plot, though, with all of the explosions, high-tech motorized vehicles, and T&A. (Katie Shimer)

* 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 unfolds in this unusual, dark comedy. (Jennifer Maerz)

Dirty Pretty Things See review this issue.

Films of Thad Povey
Found footage, and handmade 16mm film that explores space and light, with recorded experimental music from Soul Coughing and Ramona the Pest.

* Finding Nemo
A ridiculously gorgeous film, Finding Nemo proves yet again Pixar's current chokehold on big-screen animation. From the facial expressions of the fish and background shots of gently swaying sea grass, to expansive harbor shots of Sydney and the continual mist of plankton wisping by, every frame has been so detailed and obsessed over that the film stuns. Add in Pixar's gift for scripting, a gift that always makes their films tolerable for adults, and the end product is a flower of a movie, exceedingly well-imagined, that is more than worth the multiplex gouging. (Bradley Steinbacher)

Freaky Friday
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)

Freddy vs. Jason See review this issue.

Gigli
Ben Affleck plays soft-hearted thug Larry Gigli, who's given the task of kidnapping and watching over a retard until further notice. But because Gigli is a puss, the boss sends over a lady goombah, Ricki (Jennifer Lopez), to make sure the job is done right. Predictably, Gigli is entranced by Ricki's low-riding hip-huggers--that is, until he learns she's a lesbian. However, Ricki's stubborn sexual resolve is eventually melted by Gigli's charms, and he, she, and the 'tard turn into an unlikely family unit. As you probably know, Gigli has been beset by awful internet buzz--but the first three quarters really aren't that bad. And while the last 20 minutes made me want to carve out my eyes with a potato peeler, the performances (especially the cameos) are far too good to be trapped in such a ridiculous story. (Wm. Steven Humphrey)

Gory Gory Hallelujah
Black Power Jesus, Female Jesus, Bisexual Hippie Jesus, and Jewish Jesus (I know, but this is modern Jewish Jesus) set out from Seattle on a madcap road trip to audition for Jesus Christ Superstar in the Big Apple. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, right? Well it is, in a way. Seattle's Von Piglet Sisters (Sue Corcoran and Angie Louise) have crafted a cinematic abomination. Like a fucked up cross between Wizard of Oz and Rocky Horror Picture Show, this slippery, gaudy toboggan ride to hell will leave you asking yourself, "Did they just do that?" Given the right audience and pre-funk preparation, seeing this film could make you feel nine kinds of ridiculous. (Lance Chess)

Grind See review this issue.

* Hearts of Darkness
The shit storm that was the making of Apocalypse Now. See My What a Busy Week pg 17

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. (Charles Mudede)

* The Hulk
Whether or not you buy the beast onscreen is dependent upon just how far you yourself are willing to leap--but the old tale has been given a modern overhaul by Ang Lee and writers James Schamus, John Turman, and Michael France for The Hulk. It may in fact be the most grown-up--and most emotionally fucked-up--comic-book movie ever assembled. (Bradley Steinbacher)

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)

In Celebration
Part of the Film Center's ongoing stage-to-screen films, a 1975 production of the David Storey play about a troubled English family. Three refined and educated sons of a rough coal miner return for their parents' 40th anniversary and collide with their upbringing. To the horror of his parents, one son announces that he is leaving his law practice to become an artist and, gasp, he may be gay!

* Independent Exposure Short Films
Thirteen short films and videos by international moving image artists.

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 settings and pastoral settings. And 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)

Le Divorce
This movie is unflichingly atrocious, and not in a fun, campy way. Here's how it COULD have been fun: American-turned-Parisian Naomi Watts gets divorced just in time to receive a visit from her less attractive sister, Kate Hudson. Of course Hudson's a wild, nubile little thing, and it's only a matter of time before she busts Watts out of her depression and the two go frolicking about town. But no... alas, this flick has more ambitious pretensions. It wants Watts' divorce to change her and her sister's lives forever. It wants Hudson to sleep with everyone under the sun, but then fall in love with an ultra-sleazy, twice-her-age politician and have her heart broken when he (surprise!) ditches her for a new waify 20-something. It wants to show endless, agonizing amounts of footage of rich, white people eating fancy food and talking about how much money they're going to make off their rare painting. It wants to be a... suspense thriller with a Hitchcock ending atop the Eiffel Tower!!? It wants to be a lot of things, but what it ends up being is the dullest, most muddled big-budget star vehicle you'll see all year. It does, however, manage to bestow Hudson with the single worst haircut ever, which is entertaining. (Justin Sanders)

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Literary types of the 19th Century and far beyond thrilled to the exploits of Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, and Professor Challenger, as well as the horrors of Dracula, The Invisible Man, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And the reason we still remember these characters is because they had so much to offer; along with being sharply drawn, they were also pointed reflections and satires of Victorian society. Unfortunately for those of us living in the days of Sonicare and Arby's, director Stephen Norrington (Blade) has chosen to take a few of these characters and suck out the last bit of their satire and humanity in a grueling trifle called The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. (Wm. Steven Humphrey)

* Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, & Blonde
More than any other actress, 27-year-old Southerner Reese Witherspoon embodies American ideals at their most... idealistic, representing the beauty, altruistic savvy, and awesomely fine-tuned dental hygiene we so admire in our finest citizens. A former cheerleader/debutante with a Stanford education, Witherspoon is the vision of moral upstandingness--the perfect fusion of Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly. She has even birthed a child and kept her figure. That's why we believe she can and will change the world through animal rights in Legally Blonde 2, in which Witherspoon reprises her amazing role as Elle Woods, whose desire for truth, justice, and the American way equalizes her unapologetic materialism. (Julianne Shepherd)

Legend of Suryothai
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)

* Madame Sata See review this issue.

* Michael Collins
Part of the Bush-Blair Boycott Dog Days of Summer Film Fest at PSU, this film stars Liam Neeson and shows the birth of the IRA in the struggle against British Imperialsim.

A Mighty Wind
Actors are no good at playing real people. When they're pretending to really talk on the phone to someone, they pause too much, they intentionally trip on their words, they look too intense, their movements are contrived, and they're always working up to the punch line. It's a weird thing that actors can't pretend to be real people, but they can't. In Christopher Guest's latest mockumentary, A Mighty Wind, the cast ruin their folk music-obsessed characters in that very fashion, and the result is a completely unfunny film. (Katie Shimer)

* Mondays in the Sun
Portlanders will probably dig this one; it's about shipyard workers trying to deal with the hardships of being unemployed. Plus, there's a character named Santa, an indignant yet kind-hearted man who rages against the broken promises of modern capitalist society.

* Northfork
In 1955, the small heartland of Northfork is about to disappear, a casualty of a newly constructed hydroelectric dam. In an attempt to move every resident out, an evacuation committee has been assembled. These men make their way through the eerie and near-empty area, trying to coax the few remaining holdouts from their land. Meanwhile, a sickly orphan, confined to bed and afflicted with feverish dreams, lies under the care of a local pastor (Nick Nolte). The inhabitants of the boy's dreams: a pack of mangy angels who may or may not be searching for him. Northfork moves at a deliberate pace, holding your attention by only offering explanations when they are absolutely needed; the cards are kept close to chest here, which is a cinematic skill long on the rim of extinction. From the opening shot of a dark lake that is curiously sprouting coffins from beneath its surface, the Polish Brothers have crafted a film that is gorgeous, confusing, and occasionally sad. A film that does what all the best films do: inspire argument. (Bradley Steinbacher)

Nothin' But Excitement
The non-stop excitement of the Soap Box Derby that is! See My What a Busy Week pg 17

* Nowhere in Africa
Nowhere in Africa follows a rich Jewish family that leaves Germany in 1938 and moves to Africa. There they can avoid the Nazis, but have to deal with some other issues like, oh, the lack of water. Naturally, the characters all experience guilt (you just can't have a Holocaust movie without guilt), but there are also things here you never see in any movie, such as the scene in which a swarm of locusts plunder a field of maize. The hazards of humanity and the hazards of nature are not dissimilar, this movie argues, though (at two and a half hours long) not very succinctly. Thankfully, the actor Merab Ninidze, who's very sexy, is in almost every scene. (Christopher Frizzelle)

Open Range 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, a pirate so swishy that upon first seeing him, a kid sitting behind me cried out, "He walks like a girl!" Depp acts as if he were auditioning to play a new Austin Powers villain, Rear Admiral Stinky. Geoffrey Rush, on the other hand, was born to play a cursed old seadog, and he gives almost as convincing a performance as your average theme park robot. Plus, he has a naughty zombie monkey who rides around on his shoulder. As much as I love the ride, if I were thinking of ways to improve it (mind you, I'm NOT, because you CAN'T), making it two and a half hours long would be at the bottom of my list. (Dan Howland)

* Raising Victor Vargas
Victor Vargas is a sexy fucker and he knows it: The opening shot of this movie (in which the lithe, crass, and beguiling 18-year-old begins undressing as he prepares to fuck a fat girl who has promised not to tell anyone) is not unlike those Antonio Sabato Jr. underwear ads from the '90s. Victor lives on the Lower East Side and has no worldly ambitions; all he has to speak of is a crush on Juicy Judy, who wears hoop earrings and too much makeup and thinks all guys are "dogs." Neither one of them has a phone at home, which suggests a rather improbable courtship, though they manage to run into each other enough times on neighborhood rooftops and at public swimming pools, and to the surprise of no one in the audience it all works out. Each character (even among the overbearing and richly caricatured families) comes to a sensitive, deeper understanding of one another's longings and insecurities, which is a clean, comforting way to end a movie, but it's never how things turn out in life. (Christopher Frizzelle)

S.W.A.T.
Samuel L. Jackson plays "Hondo" Harrelson, who's instructed to put together a super-elite S.W.A.T. team. His picks include Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, and LL Cool J. Their first mission is to transport a French drug kingpin to prison, but things get screwy when Frenchie offers "wan-hondred-meeeeelion dollors" to anyone willing to bust him out of the pokey. The S.W.A.T. team must then use every ounce of testosterone to prevent the frog's escape. In the most basic terms, you could say S.W.A.T. works. You've got stock characters spouting lines straight from the bowels of '70s cop shows, and enough explosions to blow away a couple of Baghdads. What you don't get, however, is any whiff of the character development and story that makes "team movies" like the Dirty Dozen so enjoyable. What's left is an evening of passable entertainment that's entirely forgettable. (Wm.Steven Humphrey)

* Sandstorm
The excruciating true story of a low-caste potter woman in India. A political activist against the tradition of marrying children as toddlers, she is gang raped by high-caste men indignant over her activities. The film documents trial after insult after trial as she attempts to seek justice within a society that expects her to hide her face in shame and keep quiet. Even the women she spends the night with in a prison are unsympathetic, joking how lucky she was to have five men at once. Her efforts are inspiring, and her determination in the face of such dismal repression is heartening, but since it's based on real life, this film is ultimately sad. Bitterly inspiring, but sad. (Marjorie Skinner)

Seabiscuit
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. The moral, as the new film version of the horse's life crams down our gullet, is "you don't throw a whole life away because it's banged up a little." Yet in spite of this spirited true-life story, Dreamworks does the story complete injustice by kicking Seabiscuit's corpse for the sake of a summer blockbuster. It's unclear why Dreamworks bothered to work with a true story. The film version deletes and adds major facts at will. In a classic Disney turn of events, they omit Seabiscuit's follies and losses, 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)

* The Secret Lives of Dentists
Nothing to do with those anti-dentist activists on Broadway. The laughing gas gets turned way up when a dentist (Scott) suspects his wife of having an affair and his maniacally misogynist patient (Leary) encourages him to drill down to the root of the problem. Based on Jane Smiley's novella The Age of Grief.

* 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 unselfconscious 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)

Swimming Pool
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)

Uptown Girls
Brittany Murphy plays the trust fund daughter of a rock icon who died when she was a little girl. Left with his legend and his royalties, Murphy reprises her typical spoiled girl role without charming effect. Life goes swimmingly for Murphy--she lives in a penthouse and allegedly has the male world wrapped around her pinkie--until her trustor splits for South America (with all of her money). From here, what could have been a charming trading places story instead is an unbearable and uneven tale. There are shining moments--both of sly comedy and tear-jerking sentimentality--but mostly the movie hopscotches between adult drama and gooey pre-teen fairytale. (Phil Busse)

* Whale Rider
Audiences at Toronto and Sundance loved this film and so will you if you like triumphant tales of charismatic youngsters who defy the stoic immobility of old-fashioned patriarchs. I like it because it captures traditional Maori ceremonies and songs on film while also showing that New Zealand is not just a backdrop for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Shannon Gee)

* What the '70s Really Looked Like
To watch Charlie's Angeles filtered through the lens of special effects and plastic surgery sadly distorts the bumpy, clumsy, and often chintzy look from the original detective TV trio. Peripheral Produce removes that lenses and stares directly back at the 1970s through a collection of rescued news clips, public services announcements, and commercials. It may not be pretty, but it is pretty funny!

* Winged Migration
Following geese, cranes, swans, puffins, penguins, pelicans, and gulls, the makers of the insect documentary Microcosmos spent four years capturing impossible images of birds, via a bevy of methods and a gaggle of cinematographers, for Winged Migration, a documentary that is as much about the wonders of flight as the migration of birds. (Shannon Gee)