Oddballs, Events, & Rep

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Ali Farka Touré: Springing From the Roots This hour-long 2000 French documentary honors the late Malian musical icon, who died this past March. Interviews and musical clips alternate to help form a profile of both the influential bandleader and the broader musical traditions of the Niger region that he helped influence. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $5-$8. 7 and 8:30 p.m. Tues. Aug. 15-Thurs. Aug. 17.

Grease Maybe Hollywood stopped making musicals during the '70s, but somebody forgot to tell the cast of this tuneful, cheerful paean to the '50s. Adapted from the Broadway show, the 1978 Grease offers premium family fun with John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, and the wonderful Stockard Channing. This is a sing-along screening, so don't be surprised if the picnickers next to you stand up to dance and belt out "You're the One That I Want." In fact, such behavior is pretty much expected, so practice first at home in the shower. (PG) 4000 California Ave. S.W. (West Seattle), 425-445-5672. Free. Dusk. Sat. Aug. 12.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Screened in series between the first and third installments of the Lucas-Spielberg trilogy, 1984's shrill, frenetic Doom generally grates on your nerves, making a literal roller coaster out of the action; the violence is way too intense for its original summer matinee audience. (The film is alleged to have prompted the creation of the PG-13 rating.) Harrison Ford is his usual reliable self with fedora and bullwhip, while Kate Capshaw (Spielberg's future wife) is a poor replacement for Karen Allen in Raiders of the Lost Ark (see below). The child actor (Jonathan Ke Quan) doesn't help matters. Lucas and Spielberg would later wisely turn to an older figure, Sean Connery, when looking for a male foil in The Last Crusade. (PG-13) Majestic Bay, 2044 N.W. Market St., 206-781-2229. $6-$9.50. Midnight, Fri. Aug. 11-Sat. Aug. 12.

Karaoke Video Challenge Local filmmakers unleash their own musical spectaculars. The background videos are shot in advance; then one brave soul, fortified by beer, sings along to the final work. NOTE: Event is 21 and over. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $8-$10. 8 p.m. Mon. Aug. 14.

King of Hearts A huge favorite in Seattle, but not of ours, the 1966 King ran for over a year at this theater when it was called the Movie House and run by Randy Finley (who'd later build, and still later sell, the Seven Gables chain). Finley obtained the rights to this WWI saccharine-satire in 1973, and it became a cash cow for his growing empire-which eventually outgrew the tiny theater subsequently renamed the Grand Illusion. Alan Bates plays the Scottish soldier who single-handedly liberates a French town being run by the escaped inmates of the local insane asylum. So you get the idea: who's to judge who's sane amid the insanity of war? It's a cloying fable full of circus animals and costume pageants, and the innocent crazies make many supposedly wise observations about our penchant for conflict. Geneviève Bujold plays a cute inmate who catches Bates' eye; both performers went on to better things. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. Fri. Aug. 11-Thurs. Aug. 17.

March of the Penguins This Oscar-winning 2005 French documentary follows the incredible Antarctic breeding cycle of the Emperor penguin, and the casting is impeccable. Marching single-file across an icy plane, swaying with each step or tobogganing when tired, dwarfed by huge ice formations like Monument Valley, their 70-mile procession to their annual breeding ground takes on the grandeur of Lawrence of Arabia or a John Ford Western. Unfortunately, Morgan Freeman's droning narration script is insipid. (G) Fremont Outdoor Movies, N. 35th St. and Phinney Ave. N., 206-781-4230. $5. 7:30 p.m. (doors open); show at dusk. Sat. Aug. 12.

MirrorMask Derived from one of his graphic novels, Neil Gaiman's MirrorMask galumphs along in static panels, prioritizing flash over thought, hyperextending a story that would barely sustain a children's picture book. This all-digital 2005 Alice in Wonderland variation does have scores of sublimely creepy otherworldly images, although the blitzkrieg of fantasy concepts is preceded by a laborious setup involving the plucky heroine. But the passage down the rabbit hole offers nominal relief: Gaiman is no Lewis Carroll, and he works in a decidedly post-Freudian ether. The ideas are arbitrary and rhymeless, the visuals inventive but empty, the good-versus-evil plot simplistic by the standards of Alice, The NeverEnding Story, and even Labyrinth. (NR) MICHAEL ATKINSON Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 206-781-5755. $6-$9. Midnight. Fri. Aug. 11-Sat. Aug. 12.

Napoleon Dynamite Here we have familiar gork-show genre staples—tawdry Mean Girls; aggressive, oversexed bullies; creepy, not-overly-sympathetic ciphers; the inevitable-as-the-worm-turns Big Dance—yet co-writer/director Jared Hess improbably manages to redeem these figures with a paucity of profanity or cruelty in this 2004 cult hit. Unlike the typical gork hero, who routinely learns a life lesson via standing up for himself/finding the courage to court his crush, Idaho supergeek Napoleon (Jon Heder) doesn't really grow at all over the film's brisk 82 minutes. That's part of the fun—he's true to himself, not to movie conventions. Dynamite carves its own niche in cultdom thanks to the almost supernaturally lethargic performance of the 26-year-old Heder, who brilliantly embodies a teen 10 years younger. (PG) Andrew Bonazelli South Lake Union Discovery Center, 101 Westlake Ave. N., 206-342-5900. $5. Dusk. Fri. Aug. 11.

Outdoor Movies at Linda's From 1966, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter actually concerns Frankenstein's immigrant granddaughter—they couldn't afford to fix the credits?—and her scheme to put a new brain in a cowboy buddy of the famous outlaw. We're guessing it was never an influence on Mel Brooks. 21 and over. (NR) Linda's Tavern, 707 E. Pine St., 206-325-1220. Free. Dusk. Wed. Aug. 9. Reefer Madness (1936) has undoubtedly inspired far more marijuana consumption than it was intended to deter. Truth be told, it's almost necessary to be stoned to find much amusement in the cheap old scare story. Dusk. Wed. Aug. 16.

The Prisoner of Zenda Organist Dennis James provides live musical accompaniment (and pre-show introduction) to this silent 1922 treatment of the oft-filmed adventure novel by Anthony Hope. In a kind of Prince and the Pauper conceit, Lewis Stone is cast in a double role as both king and commoner, the latter temporarily occupying the throne to outwit a palace assassination scheme orchestrated by Ramon Novarro. Naturally Stone falls for a princess (Alice Terry) while living the high life—giving him all the more reason to stay alive during a series of narrow escapes and balcony-leaping escapades. (NR) Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 206-292-2787. $9-$12. 7 p.m. Mon. Aug. 14.

Raiders of the Lost Ark The 1981 Lucas-Spielberg trilogy opener became one of the biggest and most influential blockbusters of the '80s. The wisecracking, swashbuckling figure of Harrison Ford—back when he was fun to watch—created a huge surge in men's haberdashery (to say nothing of bullwhip sales). Ford's weary charisma and sense of put-upon humanity saves all pictures from Spielbergian excess. As artifacts from the Reagan era, they're corny, conservative, and perfect summer entertainment. (PG) Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E. (Redmond), 206-296-4999. $5 (individual), $15 (family). Dusk (8:50 p.m.). Wed. Aug. 16.

Singin' in the Rain Those four words should be all the reason you need to see the 1952 MGM classic with Gene Kelly (co-director with Stanley Donen), Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds—and don't forget wonderful Jean Hagen! Plus Cyd Charisse! This is probably the same spiffy new print recently restored for the DVD. The superlatively witty book, like we need to tell you, is by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and the songs are (mostly) by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown. Not to be missed. (G) Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater, 206-684-7200. Free. Dusk. Sat. Aug. 12.

Standing on Common Ground Proceeds from this documentary screening benefit a Hurricane Katrina relief fund. Director Evan Allen-Gessessee and guest speaker Malik Rahim will conduct a Q&A about their firsthand witnessing of the New Orleans disaster zone. (NR) Neptune Theater, 1303 N.E. 45th St., 206-781-5755. $10-$15. 7 p.m. Wed. Aug. 16.

Stooges-A-Poppin'! The GI continues its four-week retrospective of the slapstick antics of the famously abusive, eye-poking, face-slapping comedians of rage and infantile regression. Short works are expected to include Crash Goes the Hash, Dutiful but Dumb, and Boobs in Arms (due to be a porno remake any day now). (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. 11 p.m. Fri. Aug. 11-Sat. Aug. 12.

To Kill a Mockingbird Subject of a new biography, Harper Lee achieved her first and only literary success with her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel, then saw it adapted into this 1962 Gregory Peck vehicle (which, in truth, surpasses the source material). Some will recall Philip Seymour Hoffman, as Lee's best friend in Capote, sniffing, "I don't see what all the fuss is about," at the movie's premiere—but he was already well on his way to being a bitter old drunk by then. Peck plays the upright Alabama lawyer defending a black man accused of raping a white woman during the Depression. Mary Badham plays the attorney's daughter, Scout, who witnesses the courtroom proceedings—and befriends reclusive Boo Radley (Robert Duvall)—with a gradually dawning awareness of life's unfairness and the unreliability of adults (Peck excepted, of course). Screenwriter Horton Foote, director Robert Mulligan, and composer Elmer Bernstein helped make the film an enduring classic. (NR) Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater, 206-684-7200. Free. Dusk. Fri. Aug. 11.

Two for the Road SAM's Audrey Hepburn tribute concludes with her third collaboration with director Stanley Donen (after Funny Face and Charade). The 1967 picture generally isn't placed in the same league, but it has its partisans. Certainly it's the most realistic of the trio, as Hepburn and Albert Finney enact the inevitable ups and downs of any long-married couple as they drive around Europe on various summer holidays (most seen in flashback). Road's reputation has grown over the years; certainly it's a chance to see Hepburn cutting her girlish charm with a grown woman's awareness of how life, like love, doesn't always go as planned. (NR) Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th Ave. E., 206-654-3121. $35-$39 (series), $6-$8 (individual). 7:30 p.m. Thurs. Aug. 10.

Where Is the Friend's Home? Shot in 1987, but not widely seen in the West until the '90s, this Abbas Kiarostami film helped make him an international figure and establish the Iranian New Wave. An 8-year-old boy seeks to return a lost notebook to a schoolmate in the neighboring village (a destination forbidden by his mother), which sounds pretty simple, but Kiarostami manages to pack in much more than the plot would suggest. The film is partly a parable of the country's arrested development, partly a coming-of-age story, and partly a study of the strangeness found in everyday reality. Each step in the journey of young Ahmed (Babek Ahmed Poor) carries us further into a land ruled less by Islam (or Western temptation) than by rural custom. But Ahmed's steadfast loyalty to his friend is universal and—in the film's last moments—quietly overpowering. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $5-$8. Fri. Aug. 11-Sun. Aug. 13.

 
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