Nov. 16, 2005

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Alias: Nick & Nora You could call this two-week retrospective the anti-Thin Man festival, since it pairs William Powell and Myrna Loy as different characters, but no less effectively. From 1936, the screwball comedy Libeled Lady has newspaper editor Spencer Tracy trying to discredit heiress Loy—who's impugned his reputation, albeit accidentally—by impugning hers via reporter Powell (purporting to be married to Jean Harlow). Oh, and Tracy's meanwhile trying to marry Harlow, and naturally the scheme backfires on them all. I Love You Again (1940) begins as a divorce comedy, then Powell suffers some kind of reverse amnesia episode that reveals his old life as a criminal—and suddenly Loy starts finding him a lot more sexy. It sounds a bit like A History of Violence, only played for laughs. David Cronenberg could learn a thing or two from that. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. Fri. Nov. 18-Thurs. Nov. 24.

Anastasia From 1997, this traditionally drawn animation employs the voices of Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, and others for a fanciful de-historicized telling of the end of the Romanov line. Cheerful adventures, not bloody Soviet killings, are the focus here—although scary Rasputin (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) is on our heroine's trail. (G) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 1:15 and 3:30 p.m. Fri. Nov. 19-Sat. Nov. 20.

The Blue Angel Marlene Dietrich famously has her way with schoolteacher Emil Jannings in Josef von Sternberg's Weimar-era classic. Screened on video; admission includes discussion and snack. (NR) Movie Legends, 2319 N. 45th St., 206-632-2092. $5. 1 p.m. Sun. Nov. 20.

The Corporation Both a book (Free Press, $25) and a 2004 documentary, The Corporation's central argument is simple: In law, corporations are treated as synthetic persons. If such persons were human, Vancouver, B.C., lawyer and author Joel Bakan asks himself, what kind of people would they be? Psychotic people, he answers over two hours and 25 minutes. The film is cool and measured in tone, more Noam Chomsky than Michael Moore. It achieves its devastating force by also letting corporate insiders talk—and thereby expose the lunacy of their system in their own words. (NR) ROGER DOWNEY UW Savery Hall, Room 239, 206-526-7864. $5-$10. 7:30 p.m. Fri. Nov. 18.

The FBI's War on Black America Discussion is sure to follow this presentation by the Black Panthers, who apparently refuse to go quietly into history. (NR) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 7 and 9 p.m. Wed. Nov. 16.

Goke: Body Snatchers From Hell Plane-crash survivors are besieged (and infected) by alien blobs in this 1968 Japanese horror movie; no surprise, they're turned into vampires—which may yet prove to be a plot turn on TV's Lost. (NR) UW Gowen Hall, Room 201. Free. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. Nov. 17.

Higher Ground Like a breath of fresh air amid the product plugs and resort endorsements that clutter up this typical Warren Miller ski film (along with snow, scenery, and solipsism), we briefly meet Extreme Gene, NYC evangelist of urban skipping. "It's about rebellion, freedom of expression, style, music, playing by your own rules," he gushes. "It's like chaos, a roller-coaster ride!" It's a perfect puncturing of the usual alpine platitudes that Miller's extreme-but-mellow skiers spout for the rest of the film. Since Washington's off to an early winter, Higher Ground offers a welcome vision of deep powder in Alaska, Colorado, and Switzerland, even if few of us have got the Benjamins for the helicopter rides. Closer to home—well, actually Lake Tahoe's Heavenly Valley—is Glen Plake's very funny fashion history of the sport, from the elegant '50s to the saggy-assed present day. (NR) McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., 206-628-0888. $19.50. 8 p.m. Thurs. Nov. 17. 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Fri. Nov. 18. 8 p.m. Sat. Nov. 19.

In Memory of… Local director Todd Redenius screens his new film. 21 and over. (NR) JewelBox Theater at the Rendezvous, 2320 Second Ave., 206-441-5823. Free. 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Sat. Nov. 19.

Iron Ladies In Hollywood, the pitch for 2001's Iron Ladies would go "think Bad News Bears meets Priscilla, Queen of the Desert." Sounds dicey, right? Fortunately, this kicky little comedy—based on the true story of a 1996 Thai men's national volleyball championship team—comes from Bangkok instead, boasting enough heart to compensate for its lack of polish. Despite broken hearts and a lot of squabbling, the cross-dressing team reaches the national finals, where it must face a prejudiced tournament commissioner and a rival squad led by its own homophobic former captain. (NR) KURT B. REIGHLEY Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 7 and 9:15 p.m. Thurs. Nov. 19-Sat. Nov. 19.

Lecture Hollywood in the radical 1930s is the subject for Everett Herald critic Robert Horton. He'll make reference to the Frye's current show on William Cumming, and to films including 42nd Street and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave., 206-622-9250. Free. 2 p.m. Sun. Nov. 20.

Meet John Doe Dated but still powerful, Frank Capra's 1941 indictment of public apathy about the forgotten souls of the Great Depression—and those who exploit them—begins with a journalistic hoax like a page out of one of Jayson Blair's New York Times fabrications. Journalist Barbara Stanwyck invents a suicidal everyman to save her career; that accomplished, she has to find an actual guy (Gary Cooper) to fit her dark template. Their scheme gets out of control, of course, and there are fascist overtones to those powers who try to play the John Doe movement to their own political purposes. Cooper underplays perfectly, and even if Stanwyck overplays her big Christmas Eve speech on the fatal rooftop, you might find a few melted snowflakes in your own eyes. (NR) Kenyon Hall, 7904 35th Ave. S.W., West Seattle, 206-937-3613. $8 individual, $25 family. 8 p.m. Fri. Nov. 19-Sat. Nov. 20.

The Muppet Movie Parents who were kids during the TV show's original run, and at the release of this 1979 big screen romp, can now pass on the fun to their own children—who'll probably begin clamoring for the DVD. In a road-movie format, Kermit, Miss Piggy, and company set out to find fame and fortune in Hollywood. En route, they encounter various adventures, plus a raft of cameos from Milton Berle to Bob Hope. (G) Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 206-781-5755. $6-$9. Midnight. Fri. Nov. 18-Sat. Nov. 19.

Ninja Terminator Three sections of a stolen gold figure confer invulnerability to three rival ninja warriors. But get this—each section only protects the corresponding body part. The film promises bad dubbing and lots of silly action. It's preceded by the 1978 Jaws ripoff Piranha at 6 p.m. and the worthwhile hip-hop documentary Style Wars at 8 p.m. Did we mention the drinking games and trivia contest? 21 and over. (NR) Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-784-4880. Free. 9 p.m. Mon. Nov. 21.

Palestine Film Fest The Detainee appears to be a fictional feature about a woman visiting her Israeli-incarcerated husband. (NR) UW Ethnic Cultural Theater, 3940 Brooklyn Ave. N.E., 206-633-1086. $10. 7 p.m. Wed. Nov. 16. In the documentary Arna's Children, director Juliano Mer Khamis revisits the young pupils of his mother's drama school following violence in Jenin. Discussion follows both screenings. 7 p.m. Thurs. Nov. 17.

The Passenger They don't make 'em like this anymore. Jack Nicholson basically kept this slow, existential 1975 thriller off the market for decades, and now he's helped release this new print of Michelangelo Antonioni's original European cut (soon to be on DVD, we hope). Among those who aren't so keen on the pacing of Blow-Up or L'Avventura, The Passenger won't earn Antonioni any new fans. Nicholson expertly plays a reporter, failed in career and marriage, who makes a fresh start by assuming the identity of a dead man. We follow him from North Africa through various European cities, as do his wife and some ominous agents of an African dictatorship. He picks up a girl (Maria Schneider, best left to the '70s) who tells Nicholson this new identity gives him a purpose, some political meaning: "That's what you wanted." But such beliefs are dangerous for the formerly indifferent reporter. It's like The Bourne Identity played at half speed—deliberate, but never dull. (PG) Varsity, 4329 University Way N.E., 206-781-5755. $6-$9. Fri. Nov. 18-Thurs. Nov. 24.

Prem Rawat Documentary The Maharaji addresses a gathering at Oxford; beatitude ensues. (NR) UW School of Social Work, Room 305A, 026-524-6363. Free. 4 p.m. Sun. Nov. 20.

ReelYouth Young (ages 14-18) black and Indian filmmakers screen five works dealing with their culture and traditions. Reception follows. (NR) Downtown Nordstrom, 500 Pine St., 206-617-9072. Free. 6 p.m. Mon. Nov. 21.

Screenwriters Salon A new and untitled script by screenwriter George Wing (50 First Dates) will receive a staged reading by local actors. Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., 206-322-7030. $2-$5. 7:30 p.m. Wed. Nov. 16.

Silent Movies/Metal Men Bill Horist and other local musicians perform live to a program of old silent-era shorts. Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 7:30 p.m. Sun. Nov. 20.

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price Does the world need another tract on corporate malfeasance and mendacity? Probably not: Robert Greenwald's latest doesn't reveal much about the rollback retail juggernaut—union busting, underpaid workers, environmental negligence—that couldn't be gleaned from a few judicious Google searches. Yet Wal-Mart signals that one of political documentary's most inflammatory practitioners has developed a strategy to deflect criticism from the right. Greenwald works in a subtle thread of equal-opportunity victimization, showing that folks who adorn their walls with calendars of Ronald Reagan cowboyin' up are just as liable to be screwed over by the yellow smiley face as liberals. Viewers may not be surprised to learn of Wal-Mart's horrific track record, but they can't deny Greenwald's airtight advocacy. (NR) JAMES CRAWFORD Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. 7 p.m. Wed. Nov. 16. 1 p.m. Sat. Nov. 19-Sun. Nov. 20. Keystone Church, 5019 Keystone Pl. N., 206-632-6021. Free. 7 p.m. Fri. Nov. 18.

The Youngling Are aliens invading us, or is our hero off his rocker?Wisconsin art-film colective Jibangus sends its troubled protagonist to a mad scientist, whose remedy could be worse than his affliction. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. 11 p.m. Fri. Nov. 18-Sat. Nov. 19.

 
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