Nov. 23, 2005

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Abbott & Costello Double Feature The 1941 war comedy Buck Privates represents the first screen pairing of the radio stars; it's kind of like Stripes before its day, with the extra appeal of the Andrews Sisters singing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" among other numbers. In Society (1944) is a standard fish-out-of-water romp, as our boys play uncouth plumbers called to a posh estate. You can be sure that mistaken identity soon has them attired in tuxedos, offending the swells, and eating caviar with their hands. (NR) Movie Legends, 2319 N. 45th St., 206-632-2092. $5. 1 p.m. Sun. Nov. 27.

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. They performed together in 14 films, though the material here doesn't necessarily live up to their talents. The two are nearly driven to divorce in Love Crazy (1941), when Loy's meddling mother tries to make him seem the adulterer. The possible highlight to this screwball comedy is Powell in drag—shorn of his signature moustache for once. In 1937's Double Wedding, Powell plays a bohemian artist (again cast against type) on whom Loy's younger sister appears to be stuck. She falls for the painter instead, so then they've got to help the other couple to the altar. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. Fri. Nov. 25-Thurs. Dec. 1.

Breaking Away If Lance Armstrong's seventh consecutive Tour de France victory got you in the mood for cycling, check out this lovely little overachiever from 1979. Daniel Stern and Dennis Quaid are among the fine young actors who support their best buddy (the where-is-he-now Dennis Christopher) and his Quixotic quest to be an Italian bike racer in the middle of Indiana. The charming Paul Dooley plays the kid's exasperated pa. A classic among underdog movies, and with a lot more quiet soul than Rocky, the film earned screenwriter Steve Tesich an Oscar—and helped introduce the pre-Greg LeMond generation of kids to biking. (PG) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 4:30, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Fri. Nov. 25-Sun. Nov. 27.

Dark Star Take a trip back to the pre-Star Wars future in John Carpenter's 1974 low-budget space satire, which is kind of a Vietnam parable about a violent mission turning increasingly absurd. Apparently the crew has to talk one of their bombs—perhaps a cousin of 2001's HAL—out of exploding early. There are also reputedly references to THX 1138 and the Ray Bradbury story "Kaleidoscope." (G) Experience Music Project (JBL Theater), 325 Fifth Ave. N., 206-367-5483. $4-$6. 4 p.m. Sun. Nov. 27.

Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut It takes the average moviegoer at least three viewings to kinda understand what's going on in Donnie Darko (originally released in 2001), so it's with some skepticism that we greet 20 more minutes of Darko in the dreaded director's cut format. What we know: the troubled teen protagonist (Jake Gyllenhaal) sleepwalks, which helps him avoid getting pulverized by a detached jet engine that crashes into his room; but outside, he encounters a hideous six-foot rabbit who tells him that the world will end 28 days later. Over that period, Donnie commits startling acts of aggression in his waking dream state; these quasi-hallucinations, he learns, are tied to an old time-travel book written by a witchlike elderly local. This new Darko adds some take-'em-or-leave-'em family bonding scenes, but rookie writer/director Richard Kelly does succeed by intermittently displaying text from Sparrow's The Philosophy of Time Travel, which illuminates identities and motivations without spelling everything out too literally. (R) ANDREW BONAZELLI Egyptian, 805 E. Pine St., 206-781-5755. $6-$9. Midnight. Fri. Nov. 25-Sat. Nov. 26.

Hidden Blade From veteran director Yoji Yamada (The Twilight Samurai), this recent samurai flick has a swordsman lay down his blade to take up farming—until he learns an old pal is leading a samurai rebellion. Naturally the two friends are led, reluctantly, into a battle to the death. (NR) UW Gowan Hall, Room 201. Free 7:30 p.m. Thurs. Nov. 24.

The Yungling Are aliens invading, or is our hero off his rocker? Wisconsin art-film collective Jibangus sends its troubled protagonist to a mad scientist, whose remedy may be worse than his affliction. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. 11 p.m. Fri. Nov. 25-Sat. Nov. 26.

 
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