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. Avalon, Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater, Mt. Hood Theater

* 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. Laurelhurst Theater

Angel Eyes
I've been robbed! This ain't no eerie psycho drama thriller movie! It's a freakin' love story! So don't pay any mind to the trailer, cuz what you see is what you DON'T get. Here's what I don't get: why falsely market Jennifer Lopez? What's with the cover up? The plot: A beautiful, troubled police officer (Lopez) falls for a man with a mysterious past. Except that it's not mysterious at all, he's just got problems like the rest of us. Although this movie packs the power of Velveeta cheese, Jenny doesn't disappoint. Just another example of J.Lo's ability to turn chicken shit into something more appealing than chicken shit. (Quinn Viladas) Movies on TV

The Animal
Rob Schneider stars as a man about whom nothing is funny, especially when he pretends to be a dolphin or a monkey or a dog. Jesus, world, have we really sunk so low? At least Colleen from Survivor is in it. The day is saved! 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, 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

* Bicycle Drive-In
Beau Von Hinklywinkle put together another Bicycle Drive-In (the smash hit outdoor activity of last summer)! Ride in on your bike and watch great local shorts. Afterwards, see old new wave and punk videos! Please, oh, PLEASE let him show the one with The Germs, when Belinda Carlisle was the drummer! Bicycle Drive-In

* Blood Simple
The Coen's best films are all descendants of this moody, geometric, fabulously accomplished first feature. A vulgar tale of small town thieves and liars, Blood Simple is gloriously corrupt, full of iconic small town caricatures including a fantastically baroque M. Emmet Walsh in what is his best screen role to date. The plot twists keep developing, like an infection spreading, to a lurid conclusion. A great first feature, with only a bit of that distracting Coen cleverness that so clutters their later work. 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. Kiggins Theater, Koin Center

Bread and Roses

Set in the other Los Angeles--that of the working poor--Bread and Roses is the rare partisan, political film that doesn't proselytize. Maya (Pilar Padilla) is a Mexican girl who lands a job cleaning office towers through her older sister. Almost immediately, she gets a crush on the handsome gringo agitator, Sam (Adrien Brody), who's organizing a strike to demand the right to unionize. The depth of characterization in both the writing and the performances was totally impressive. Ultimately the film is a winning romantic adventure/comedy in the tricky context of the protest film; and though sympathetic to unions, Loach doesn't let them off easy. Fox Tower 10

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) Evergreen Parkway, Kiggins Theater, Koin Center, Lloyd Mall, Washington Square Center

The Center of the World
Richard (Peter Sarsgaard), an internet millionaire, hires Florence (Molly Parker), a stripper, to accompany him for a weekend in Las Vegas "to get to know you better," he says. She scoffs, but agrees, adding the following conditions: no talk about feelings, no kissing on the mouth, no penetration, separate rooms, and all contact shall be confined to between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am. What ensues is a bold, graphic, often hard-to-watch examination of what passes for love among the ruins of prosperity. Clinton Street Theatre, Laurelhurst 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) Koin Center, Milwaukie 3 Theater

* Chopper

Chopper is one of those disorienting films that aligns you with the evil villain, instead of his seemingly innocent victims. Like in Natural Born Killers, you follow around a pathological freak on an entertaining yet seemingly pointless killing and injuring spree--and the whole time you kind of like him. My interpretation of Chopper is a depiction of the rampant stupidity in the world. People admire Chopper because he's intelligent, driven, and loyal. They want to impress him, but also destroy him, because they are complete losers in comparison. People are driven to obsess about him because he can always outwit them. Chopper, like, really fucks people up. Cinema 21, City Center 12

Color of Pomegranates (USSR)
A surreal film about the changing cultural landscape surrounding an 18th-century Armenian monk and poet--told through his writing. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

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. Avalon

* 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) Bagdad Theater, Kennedy School Theatre, Koin Center, Washington Square Center

End of the Road
A surreal drama from 1970 with a boyish James Earl Jones as a psychologist who plays twisted head games with his patient (Stacy Keach), eventually leading him into an affair with a co-workers wife. Controversial when released, the film was rated X for its general fucked up nature and the amount of skin that it shows (but no, sorry, we don't see James Earl Jones' thangy). Laurelhurst Theater

David Duchovny gets the feature film shaft again in this X-Files-esque flick about aliens trying to take over the world. At least the plot is original. 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, Sherwood 10, St. John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville

First Teacher (USSR)
A commie teacher tries to establish a school in a remote villiage. But, oops... then he pulls a "Don't Stand so Close to Me" and falls for one of his young students. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

The Golden Bowl
The Golden Bowl is, in part, a drama of manners, and Merchant Ivory's production moves neatly upon the joints and hinges of a repressed society. But the filmmakers seem to think that a well-appointed costume drama with the weight of Henry James behind it doesn't need any creative help to succeed, so the neatness is plodding. People enter rooms, whisper to one another, make out passionately behind closed doors while holding lit candles, and glare portentously at photographs--but the movie remains too damp to make a spark. Fox Tower 10

* 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) Fox Tower 10

* 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. Consequently, she finds herself torn between her need for financial security and her desire for personal integrity. Cinemagic

* 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 1960s Hong Kong whose spouses are having affairs with each other. Like cinematic Kama 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)

Josie and the Pussycats
Regardless of the immoral overtones, the gags are forced, and the acting is TERRIBLE--especially Rachael Leigh Cook as Josie, who exhibits a vast array of emotions as effectively as a clubbed trout. The music is bad, too. And the script. Did I mention you should NOT SEE THIS MOVIE? (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Kiggins Theater

July Rain (USSR)
A story about young love in mid-1960s Moscow. Documentary street sequences are spliced with film footage for an unconventional effect. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

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. Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Koin Center, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Sherwood 10, Tigard-Joy Theater, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center

* Legend
Hey! It's Tom Cruise!! And he's in a FAIRY movie! HAW! HAW! HAWWWWW! 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, Moreland Theater

Moulin Rouge Moulin Rouge tells the story of Christian (Ewan McGregor), a poet who escapes his oppressive, fat-headed father, to pursue a life of "bohemia," in Gay Paree. Obsessed with "truth, beauty, and above all else, LOVE!" Christian is recruited as a playwright by a boho theatrical troupe, headed by the diminutive Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo). Painfully short on money, the troupe sends Christian to the Moulin Rouge to curry the favor (and funds) of Satine (Nicole Kidman), the club's hot-shit courtesan. Now, you may remember Baz Luhrmann as the director of the absolutely dreamy William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, with the similarly dreamy Leo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. His transformation of a dry, dusty text into a gun-slinging Latino gang-war love story was nothing short of amazing--unfortunately, Moulin Rouge does not fare nearly as well. The film is filled with clever contrivances: Dizzying choreography and sets, visual tips of the hat to the early cinematography of Vincent Whitman (A Trip to the Moon, 1914), a script loosely based on the Greek myth of Orpheus, and co-mingling modern songs by Madonna, Elton John, Nat King Cole and even Nirvana. All extremely clever ideas--however, it's these same contrivances that turn Moulin Rouge into an overwhelming visual mess. 82nd Avenue, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower 10, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville

The Mummy Returns
The first 30 minutes of this 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 drigible... even the city of London is digital. 82nd Avenue, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center, Wilsonville

Night waltz
Composer Paul Bowles wrote music for Orson Wells' Mercury Theater, three Tennesse Williams' plays, and Lincoln Kirsten's ballet Yankee Clipper. All this before he became famous for his novel The Sheltering Sky. He recounts his life in this film and perhaps reveals the secret to success. Northwest Film Center at Whitsell Auditorium

* 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) Avalon, Bagdad Theater, Kennedy School Theatre, Kiggins Theater, Laurelhurst Theater, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Mission Theater, Mt. Hood Theater , Tigard-Joy Theater

Pearl Harbor
Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor--and that's really what it should be called (like Fellini's Roma or the George Foreman Grill, the vision expressed could only belong to one man)--is everything the preview led you to believe: overlong, overlit, overwrought, and overpaid. It's nationalism porn, delivering all the basest flag-waving heroism with none of the meat and mettle of actual history or conflict. And as with real porn, your blood surges in the heat of the moment--with digital bombing raids over phallic turrets standing in for cum shots--and then, the second it's over you feel dirty for having let yourself watch. (Sean Nelson) 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, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville

The People's Voice
Wanna learn how to launch your very own pirate radio? Last summer, the overlords at FCC decided to open up the airwaves to a bunch of locally-owned, community-run, low-powered stations (stations that make KBOO look like Ted Turner!). Unfortunately a bunch of corporate giants have killed this plan. Narrated by Peter Coyote, this documentary recaps the story about how low-powered stations are grabbing hold of small corners of the radio dial around the country and provides a tutorial about how Portland can do the same. Koinonia House

Personal Best
Mariel Hemingway is a runner trying to make the national team. In her spare time, however, she gets busy with her male coach and her female competitor and friend--no, not at the same time. Hollywood Theatre

Peruvian Andes
Check out the giddy heights of two mountain peaks of the Andes without the hassles of altitude sickness, airline headaches, and foot-amputating frostbite. Mark Cantor narrates an impressive slide show of two 6000 meter climbs. Mountain Shop

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. Laurelhurst Theater

Reflections in a Golden Eye
John Huston directs this 1967 film starring Liz Taylor and Marlon Brando (when he was still hot). The setting is at a military post, where sordid, sexy, perverse, and bizarre things take place--oh, hell yeah. Hollywood Theatre

With fart and poop jokes aplenty, this computer animation flick is like a little boy's dream come true. Mike Myers puts on his Irish accent as the misunderstood Ogre Shrek, and Eddie Murphy ceaselessly yaks as his over-zealous, donkey sidekick. The most horrible actress in the world, Cameron Diaz, succeeds in making her character an inflamed, bloody ear sore that one would rather see squished than find true love and happiness. I found this movie kinda cute, but pretty annoying, while my boyfriend was doubled over in hysterics. Dads, take your sons, but be prepared for a lot of tooting and snickering afterwards. (Katie Shimer) Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower 10, Hilltop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, St. John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville

Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine
The usual Iranian self-referential shtick, with director Farmanara starring as a filmmaker. A lot of Iranian movies are excellent, so don't be put off by this condescending description. Fox Tower 10

Pity the poor directors, trying to position their ill-timed study of la vie dot-com as ironic. Two web enterpreneurs are forced to choose between money and friendship; OK, so then take away all the money, and what's left? Clinton Street Theatre

Felons attempt to steal government money by hacking into the mainframe. In case you want to try, the passoword is: Swordfish. 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, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville

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) Koin 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) Avalon, Laurelhurst Theater

What's the Worst that Could Happen?

There is nothing quite so unsatisfactory for a movie viewer than to be hoodwinked by a dazzling preview that turns out be the authoritative oeuvre for what is otherwise a rather rank piece of motion picture making. Oddly enough, this movie has opted for a complete reversal: a capable film that suffers the promotion of a preview which humiliates both studio and viewer. Anyway, an evil tycoon (Danny Devito) steals a tacky good luck ring from a small time crook (Martin Lawrence). Mr. Lawrence does not take kindly to this state of events and spends the rest of the movie robbing Mr. Devito blind. Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville

* The Widow of St. Pierre
In 1849, on Saint-Pierre, a French-ruled island off the Newfoundland coast, a sailor, after getting drunk and killing a man as a kind of stupid prank, is sentenced to death by guillotine. And the nearest one is far to the south. While waiting for it to arrive, Neel is taken under the wing of "Madame La" Pauline (Juliette Binoche) and a kind of love grows not only between them, but between Neel and the community, as well. You couldn't ask for a more ready-made parable (based on the historical record, yet) of the horror of the death penalty, the inhuman machinery of the state, and the grandeur of the human spirit. Laurelhurst 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

* 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 Okay. (Marc Mohan) Cinemagic