BIO-ZOMBIE

Runs Fri., Nov. 1-Thurs., Nov. 7, Grand Illusion

They're a pair of slacker thieves with baffling names like Crazy Bee and Woody Invincible. They

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Brief Encounters

BIO-ZOMBIE

Runs Fri., Nov. 1-Thurs., Nov. 7, Grand Illusion

They're a pair of slacker thieves with baffling names like Crazy Bee and Woody Invincible. They spend their days selling bootleg videos and scamming on slutty chicks like the also-misnamed Jelly and Rolls. They're worried that there's something in the Lucozade drink that's turning their fellow mallgoers into walking corpses (they're right). And since whoever is bitten by a zombie then becomes a zombie (the Romero Rule), they've got massive amounts of killin' to do! Modulating from goofy comedy to deft action flick to dark, apocalyptic brooder, the subtitled 1998 Bio-Zombie is a blatant Dawn of the Dead rip-off for Cantonese Gen-Xers. Bombastic, cheap looking, and generally ridiculous (as if those were bad qualities), it's also quite funny and tightly done all around, bringing just enough gore, T&A, and infantile slapstick to hold one's attention. I mean, c'mon—the undead, a sushi bar . . . finger roll! You should've seen that one coming a mile away. (NR) PETER VIDITO

FAMILY FUNDAMENTALS

Runs Fri., Nov. 1- Thurs., Nov. 7, Varsity

If you like resolution to life's conflicts, avoid this documentary. Fundamentals profiles parents who "disagree" with their gay kids, creating a bleak portrait of dysfunction and abuse. Dismayed by both her daughter's and grandson's homosexuality, adorable Kathleen founded a ministry for parents whose children have "become homosexual." She's an oxymoronic mix of compassion and obstinacy who handles her grandson's photo lovingly yet sends him an anti-gay pamphlet for Easter. The other subjects are both queer—one the son of an intolerant Mormon bishop, the other a former aide to Republican bigot Bob Dornan. Though Fundamentals seems slightly dated (once Dubya was elected, the far right eased up on the vitriol), these latter two men show how painful it is to be stigmatized for one's sexuality. While talking about pious parents who lament their gay offspring, Kathleen's grandson's boyfriend poignantly declares, "I think God is trying to tell them something; they're just not listening." (NR) DAVID MASSENGILL

HELL HOLE HIGH

Runs Thurs., Oct. 31-Fri., Nov. 1, Rendezvous

If this locally produced teen exploitation flick were a bit sassier in the writing department, it might be a hoot. I enjoy S&M dungeons, mother-daughter catfights, and lines like "You guys checkin' out my nubile body?" as much as the next guy, but considering the mayhem-and-sex quotient involved, the whole thing seems dishearteningly dull. High follows the hijinks of three "unusual" students: Doink, the resident geek mute; Tiffany, the sexpot-slash-activist; and Billy, who's into some pretty raunchy after-school activities. One definite highlight: Billy's coke-snorting dad is played by sometime shock jock Scotty Crane, son of Bob Crane, the Hogan's Heroes star whose porn- saturated life is the subject of Auto Focus. As a depraved counterculture riff, High could have been a lot more outrageous. Still, the film's overarching sentiment—"It's time to kick Big Brother in the nuts!"—ought to resonate with almost everyone these days. (R) NEAL SCHINDLER

INTERNATIONAL HORROR SHORTS

Runs Fri., Nov. 1-Sun., Nov. 3, Little Theatre

Halloween just wouldn't be complete without experiencing the communal fear of a dark movie house, and this well- curated two-part program makes both the 7 and 9 p.m. shows worthwhile. Part I highlights: In Of Wolf & Limb, a severed leg gets wedged between some motorcycle handlebars—neat! L'Ilya suggests that in Japan, killing yourself is "the rage," as a cute young filmmaker records suicides to entertain hipsters at nightclubs. Part II picks: Extremism Breaks My Balls offers sweaty sex, violent castration, and a political statement—all in five minutes! In the ingeniously sad and surreal Nekojiro-So, all the characters too weird for Spirited Away get cut apart, sewn back together, eaten, and pooped out when a strange and grungy little kitty tries to get back her sister's soul. Finally, I can't top the program description of Flat 'n' Fluffy—"Two stoners in a shitty hippie band can't seem to stop running over an old lady's dog." (NR) PAUL HUGHES

ROGER DODGER

Opens Fri., Nov. 1, Metro and Uptown

Sure, it's fun to watch Campbell Scott as a boozy, misanthropic Manhattan copywriter using his quick wit to seduce women, write advertising ("I sit here and think of ways to make people feel bad"), and give cynical lessons in love to his 16-year-old nephew. But the subtle demands of this dialogue-heavy, rather theatrical script prove a little too much for Dylan Kidd's debut feature. Dodger certainly proves smarter (and less misogynistic) than many movies covering the same ground, yet falls short of the kindred The Tao of Steve or Your Friends and Neighbors. Scott delivers a few genius, manic moments from Kidd's script, artful jabs at his ex-lover and boss (a sexy Isabella Rossellini), and a withering five-minute monologue on the art of ogling. But Scott never gets enough give-and-take to make these moments stick, which goes double for his straight-man nephew (Jesse Eisenberg), leaving both Roger and his story where they started. (R) P.H.

STORM

Runs Fri., Nov. 1-Sun., Nov. 3, Fifth Avenue Theatre

I don't see any snow on the ground, which is why it's time for Warren Miller's 53rd annual ski movie, designed each autumn to motivate us to shop and begin planning winter vacations. As usual, Miller's genial, increasingly nostalgic narration accompanies images of daredevil skiers and snowboarders, plus thinly disguised plugs for gear makers, resorts, and guide services. It's good- natured shillery, with stops at Aspen, Whistler, Sun Valley (nice vintage footage), and St. Anton, Austria, where Seattle's own Ben Dolenc does some very impressive shredding on super-fat telemark skis. (Of patchouli-reeking three-pin stereotypes, he sniffs, "We don't have to be hippies.") Big-mountain heli-skiing in Alaska is impressive as always, but Storm's best travelogue segment is saved for the final visit to South Georgia Island, which teems with penguins, elephant seals, and unskied peaks. Among them is Mount Norman, site of Shackleton's famous blind glissade, now easily schussed by much better-equipped athletes. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

 
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