Sept. 6-13, 2006

Pedro Almodóvar, Bill Murray, and more!

Openings

The Covenant REVIEWED ON OUR WEB SITE MON. SEPT. 11. Handsome teens with paranormal powers must prevent the end of the world. Or something like that. (PG-13)

Half Nelson SEE REVIEW, PAGE 84. (R)

Burn to Shine SEE REVIEW, PAGE 84. (NR)

Hollywoodland SEE REVIEW, PAGE 85. (R)

The Protector REVIEWED ON OUR WEB SITE MON. SEPT. 11. Tony Jaa (Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior) now must kick ass to retrieve his stolen elephant in Australia. Those goddamn elephant-stealing Aussies. (R)

The Puffy Chair SEE REVIEW, PAGE 85. (NR)

Oddballs, Events, & Rep

Pedro Almodóvar Retrospective The "Viva Pedro" repertory series (Pedro-rama?) continues with three titles this week, all a part of the continuing countdown to Volver (opening Nov. 22). Unlike the torrid, campy melodramas of Almodóvar's early career, 2002's Talk to Her is a romance, yet its real love story is between two men who never sleep together. Both their beloveds end up in comas at the same hospital, where the two men form their unlikely bond—almost like Bogie and Claude Rains in Casablanca. From 1995, The Flower of My Secret is entirely feminine, as romance writer Marisa Paredes questions her career, marriage, and perhaps the very viability of love. All About My Mother (1999) famously turned Almodóvar to heavier themes of loss and mourning, as all manner of women (transsexuals, too) reach out to support bereaved mother Cecilia Roth. All are new prints, all are worth seeing. (R) Harvard Exit, 807 E. Roy St., 206-781-5755. Fri. Sept. 8-Thurs. Sept. 14.

Ingmar Bergman Lecture Everett Herald critic Robert Horton argues that the great Swedish filmmaker should be granted the Nobel Prize, and it's pretty hard to dispute his position. Clips from such masterworks as The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries are likely to be screened. Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave., 206-622-9250. Free. 2 p.m. Sun. Sept. 10.

An Egyptian Story The 1982 midpoint in Youssef Chahine's autobiographical trilogy has his protagonist Yehia survey his misspent life from the heart surgeon's operating table, rather like Bob Fosse in All That Jazz (only without all the singing and dancing, of course). It's all a kind of extended fantasy flashback, like Fellini in Egypt, as our filmmaker hero is tried in court for betraying his ideals. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. Fri. Sept. 8-Wed. Sept. 13.

Four Eyed Monsters This festival-circuit indie is screened on four successive Thursdays in September. Co-directors Arin Crumley and Susan Buice evidently incorporate part of their own dating history in their tale of two N.Y.C. artists who meet over the Internet, then decide to continue their romance via paintings, sketches, e-mail, videos—anything other than talking directly, in other words. It's probably no less improbable than any number of other love stories among the Funny Ha Ha/Meetup.com generation. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. 8 p.m. Thurs. Sept. 7.

Independent Exposure Short films from around the world are screened. (NR) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 7 and 9 p.m. Wed. Sept. 13.

Jumping Off Bridges Four Texas teens are traumatized by the suicide of one boy's mother in this Austin indie, apparently inspired by events from writer-director Kat Kandler's own high-school days. Our Dallas Observer colleague Robert Wilonsky said of the four thrill-seeking kids, "[they try] to deal with life by pretending to cheat death. They're both unconventional and risky endeavors aching for your patience, but . . . they will reward your perseverance." (NR) Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, 206-325-6500. $8. 7:30 p.m. Wed. Sept. 13.

Lost in Translation Bill Murray has never been more like Bill Murray than he is in Lost (2003), and Scarlett Johansson has never been more like Sofia Coppola. Writer-director Coppola spins her angel-hair fantasia around Murray's sturdy persona: a star repelled by stardom, a spiritual seeker, heroic ironist, and lounge singer extraordinaire. Ostensibly he's Bob Harris, a matinee idol despising himself for taking $2 million to do some quickie whiskey ads in Tokyo, but really he's only, always, Bill Murray. But Coppola is out to plumb Murray's depths, not just milk him for yocks. Nor does Bob's unlikely bond with unhappily married Charlotte (Johansson) result in easy romance. (R) TIM APPELO Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 206-781-5755. $6-$9. Midnight. Fri. Sept. 8-Sat. Sept. 9.

Oddballs In this low-budget Canadian rip-off of Meatballs, a guy wins a summer camp in a poker game. Then he's got to keep the camp running, keep the boys and girls from commingling, and so forth. Unfortunately Bill Murray was not in the poker pot, so you may want to rent Meatballs instead. (PG) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. 11 p.m. Fri. Sept. 8-Sat. Sept. 9.

Open Screening Bring down your new work of genius (under 10 minutes and on VHS or DVD), then prepare to discuss. (NR) 911 Media Arts Center, 402 Ninth Ave. N., 206-682-6552. $2. 8 p.m. Mon. Sept. 11.

The Real Dirt on Farmer John This documentary profiles an Illinois farmer and artist who somehow turns his spread into a radical organic community of freethinking Midwestern sedition. His neighbors and Archer Daniels Midland do not look kindly on the situation. Discussion follows. (NR) Keystone Church, 5019 Keystone Pl. N., 206-632-6021. Free. Fri. Sept. 8.

Risky Business Oh, Tom, what have you done now? Couldn't you have stayed away from Oprah's couch, the subject of antidepressants with Matt Lauer, and Katie? Couldn't you have just continued to fly your jets, ride your motorcycles, smile your dazzling smile, and give us the movies we want? Make Mission Impossible sequels forever! We'll see every one of them. Who knew back in 1983 things would go this way? Couldn't you have remained that sweet boy dancing in your tighty-whiteys? Couldn't you have stayed with Rebecca De Mornay—hey, you're both actors—and remained a horny young teenager forever? Forget about Princeton, Top Gun, Scientology, or worldwide fame. Don't worry about your father's Porsche in Lake Michigan. Just keep running the suburban bordello, keep grinning that winning grin, even keep playing Bob Seger if you really insist. Just don't ever change, Tom, because this is the way we loved you. (PG-13) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Wed. Sept. 6-Sat. Sept. 9.

Turtles Can Fly Presented as part of Arts Gumbo, this month's celebration of Arabic culture, Bahman Ghobadi's refugee drama is set among Iraqi Kurds just before the American invasion. All the fields are mined, and refugee children dig alongside relief authorities to retrieve the explosives, then sell the deadly scrap. (In one of Turtles' most disturbing images, an armless boy disarms a mine with his mouth.) Despite its scrambled plot (one child is a prophet, another swims to the bottom of a cursed spring), Turtles gives a bleak, vivid sense of the chaos war inflicts far from the front lines and headlines. When U.S. helicopters drop leaflets on the villagers, it's like a photograph from Sebastião Salgado—our tidy phrases rain down on a miserable people we barely understand. (NR) Rainier Valley Cultural Center, 3515 S. Alaska St., 206-760-4285. $5-$8. 9 p.m. Sat. Sept. 9.

Uncovered: The War on Iraq Tremendously persuasive and tremendously boring, this 2004 agit-prop doc from Robert Greenwald (Outfoxed) and his self-styled low-budget liberal truth machine creates a viewing challenge for even the most sympathetic, Dubya-hating viewer. Chock-full of talking heads and old news clips, it presents a compelling case that the president and his neocon cronies cooked the intelligence—if not outright lied—as a post-9/11 pretext for enacting pre-existing plans to oust Saddam. Have another beer (for the late show only) when Rumsfeld says, "There are a lot of people who lie and get away with it, and that's just a fact." (NR) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. Free. 7 and 9 p.m. Sun. Sept. 10.

 
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