May 17-24, 2006

John Cassavetes, Preston Sturges, Che Guevara, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and more.

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Blow-Up Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 classic is being screened on video here, secondary to the wine tasting event, but there's nothing wrong with lifting a glass (and some antipasto) to the memory of swinging London and the Carnaby Street era of David Hemmings, Jane Birkin, and Vanessa Redgrave. And if you get caught up in the existential murder mystery that photographer Hemmings investigates, so much the better. (NR) Pink Door, 1919 Post Alley, 206-443-3242. $20. 7 p.m. Sun. May 21.

Cabin Field Artist Laura Kissel will discuss her landscape film Cabin Field, about a rural farm in Georgia that, though substantially demolished and invisible to the visitor's eye, exists on in ghostly satellite images. (NR) 911 Media Arts Center, 402 Ninth Ave. N., 206-682-6552. $5-$7. 7 p.m. Fri. May 19.

Grassroots Rising Predominantly Korean, Filipino, and Thai, immigrant workers in L.A. come together to fight for their workplace rights in this documentary, certainly made timely by recent demonstrations. Discussion follows. (NR) New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., 206-722-2453. $7.50 (includes dinner at 6:30 p.m.). 7:30 p.m. Thurs. May 18.

Groundhog Day One of the best American comedies of the '90s, and screened here on video, this 1993 Bill Murray vehicle will be used as the basis for a subsequent discussion by professor Bill Reinhardt called "The Quantum Mechanics of Groundhog Day." Which would sound a lot funnier if Murray were saying it. But still, you might learn a little something about wormholes and time portals and the like. (PG) UW Bagley Hall, Room 131, 206-616-9880. Free. 7:30 p.m. Mon. May 22.

Horrors of War Sci-fi meets WWII in this tale of American GI's who encounter Nazi paranormal weapons during the late days of the war. This is a sneak preview/test marketing screening. (NR) Varsity, 4329 University Way N.E., 206-781-5755. $10. 7 p.m. Thurs. May 18.

Lecture Everett Herald critic Robert Horton will discuss, and likely show clips from, Night of the Hunter, Psycho, and Twin Peaks in a conversation with Frye curator Robyn O'Neil. Their talk, linked to the Frye's current show, is titled "The American Dark Fable." Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave., 206-622-9250. Free. 2 p.m. Sun. May 21.

Lonesome Cowboys Andy Warhol has his way with all things Western and campy in this 1969 spoof, featuring Joe Dallesandro, Viva, and other superstars from his Factory. What else is a hitching post good for, if not practicing ballet? In its own queer way, it's the unacknowledged uncle that Jack Twist never knew he had in Brokeback Mountain. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $7-$9. 7 p.m. Thurs. May 18.

Love Streams John Cassavetes' final film (made in 1984) is at once a culmination of the director's obsessions and his most atypical film. It's a movie that gives up its mysteries slowly—flirting with theatricality, inserting dream sequences, concluding on a brazenly surreal enigma. Cassavetes stars as a tough-guy novelist with unorthodox research methods. Gena Rowlands, magnificent as ever, is his sister, a divorcée who turns up at his doorstep with two taxis full of luggage and an entire barnyard menagerie. An emotional live wire (and by default a social rebel), Rowlands' embarrassingly demonstrative character is a kindred spirit to those in A Woman Under the Influence and Opening Night: All are women with a raw-nerved, overwhelming capacity and need for love. More explicitly metaphysical than the other great Cassavetes films, Love Streams nonetheless shares their view of love as a way of life and a form of madness. (NR) DENNIS LIM Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $5-$8. Fri. May 19-Thurs. May 25.

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek To absorb the full effect of Preston Sturges' breathless 1944 screwball comedy, you must know what a media sensation the Dionne quintuplets caused during the era. Uncertain paternity afflicts our brash heroine (Betty Hutton), whose lovelorn, nebbishy pal (Eddie Bracken) tries to help her out of the jam. Can she get married a second time to save her reputation? Would you want to marry Eddie Bracken? "There are very few dopes like [him]," her sister says of Bracken; true, and his hysterical cowardice suggests both Bob Hope and Woody Allen. (Hutton doesn't wear too well, either.) Sturges veteran William Demarest plays Hutton's exasperated father, who takes some pretty thunderous pratfalls trying to kick his daughters' asses. In all, Creek is strongly dated but still tremendous fun. Screened on video; ticket includes discussion and snack. (NR) Movie Legends, 2319 N. 45th St., 206-632-2092. $5. 1 p.m. Sun. May 21.

The Motorcycle Diaries Screened on video, Walter Salles' portrait of the revolutionary as a young man is comic, not Communist. It's 1952, and Che is merely a clean-shaven 23-year-old med student (Gael García Bernal), who sets out from Buenos Aires with a buddy (Rodrigo De la Serna), intending to see the continent from south to north. Based on Guevara's own journals and numerous other accounts, Diaries does everything possible to strip the myth from a (then) unfocused young bourgeois man without an ounce of political consciousness as the journey begins. Salles relies too heavily on his hero's platitudinous voice-overs, but Diaries becomes a lovely travelogue with drama in the changing light, winding road, shifting clouds, and rising dust—enough to overcome its lack of incident and action. (R) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Wed. May 24.

Movies at the Sunset The evening begins with Document of the Dead, a 1985 profile of George A. Romero and his many zombie films. Fun stuff and drinking games continue through Challenge of the Tiger (at 9 p.m.), apparently a 1980 chopsocky crime tale. Much ass-kicking is guaranteed. 21 and over. (NR) Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-784-4880. Free. 6 p.m. Mon. May 22.

Murmur of the Heart SAM's Louis Malle retrospective continues with his 1971 incest comedy, if it's permissible to use that term. When that moment comes between Lea Massari (as the mother) and Benoît Ferreux (youngest of her three sons, aged 14), it's not treated as catastrophe, but as one in a series of bumps and shocks along the adolescent's path. Laurent suffers all sorts of mishaps and indignities during his '50s bourgeois youth (much like Malle's, apart from the incest, as he would often say later). But he's a survivor, a kid who rushes toward, not away from, the rough-and-tumble of the adult life he craves. Which includes cigars, whores, Henry Miller, Charlie Parker (featured on the soundtrack)—everything forbidden, in short, which all boys crave. (R) Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th Ave. E., 206-654-3121. $7. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. May 18.

Pinoy Blonde Filipino professor and critic Rolando Tolantino will discuss this 2005 youth movie about a couple of slacker/film student types who suddenly fall into a real-life caper and pursuit. (PG-13) UW Ethnic Cultural Theater, 3940 Brooklyn Ave. N.E., 206-543-9606. Free. 6:30 p.m. Wed. May 24.

The Quick Brown Fox: An Alzheimer's Story SEE BRAIN CITY, PAGE 12.

The Real Dirt on Farmer Brown Discussion follows this hour-long doc about an Illinois farmer converted late in life to the virtues of organic farming. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. Free with RSVP to 4 p.m. Sat. May 20.

Eli Reed Documentaries Visiting from Texas, the photojournalism prof and filmmaker presents four short docs. Subjects include Detroit youth gangs in the '90s and the civil war in El Salvador during the '80s. The event is linked to a subsequent workshop taught by Reed, who also shoots for the prestigious Magnum Photos. (NR) 911 Media Arts Center, 402 Ninth Ave. N., 206-682-6552. $5-$7. 7 p.m. Wed. May 24.

Rosevelt's America Not about TR or FDR (hence the spelling), this hour-long documentary follows a family of Liberian refugees during their difficult adjustment to life in the United States. Discussion follows. (NR) Capitol Hill Branch Library, 425 Harvard Ave. E., 206-684-4715. Free. 6 p.m. Thurs. May 18.

Sleeper Much-missed former SW writer Tim Appelo is scheduled to introduce Woody Allen's 1973 sci-fi comedy, which is still pretty damn hilarious 33 years later. Somehow the giant banana-peel gag never gets old. The film might also prove an interesting point of comparison to Mike Judge's Idiocracy (opening Sept. 1), also about a guy (Luke Wilson) unfrozen in the distant future. (PG) Experience Music Project (JBL Theater), 325 Fifth Ave. N., 206-367-5483. $5-$6. 4 p.m. Sun. May 21.

Third Eye Cinema Inspired by the example of avant-garde pioneer Jonas Mekas, who created several short works exposing frames of film one at a time all over NYC, local directors emulate that method and here screen the results. In addition, Mekas' Cassis and Notes on the Circus (both from 1966) will be shown. The effect is one of hyper-accelerated montage, with 24 frames per second passing behind the 16mm lens. Persistence of vision can't keep up at this rate, which may cause headaches, but some beautiful blurs can result. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $5-$8. 7 p.m. Mon. May 22.

Tron Not the best artifact of early-'80s kitsch, this 1982 sci-fi flick dared to put actors inside the computer! Jeff Bridges plays the hacker sucked inside the machine, where he becomes a sort of cyberpunk—granted, an extremely ridiculous looking cyberpunk—batting evil corporate oppressors. Thanks, but we get that every day at the office. Save your nostalgia for old Atari consoles. (PG) Experience Music Project (JBL Theater), 325 Fifth Ave. N., 206-367-5483. $6-$9. Midnight. Fri. May 19-Sat. May 20.

Vodka Lemon Maintaining a wry pH balance between Kaurismäki and Paradjanov, this Armenian comedy about a post-Soviet mountain village, its boondocks cemetery, its single bus, and two sexagenarians finding love in the ruins, is a blessed wonder. The town survives largely by peddling off prized (and unprized) possessions, including marriageable daughters, and a potentially money-bearing letter from France is cause for the entire town to turn into an anxious mob. From the first sequence of an old man's hospital bed rolled down a snowy road to a funeral (Romen Avinian is heroic as the crotchety protagonist), the movie makes comic eloquence look easy. (NR) MICHAEL ATKINSON Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 7 and 9 p.m. Wed. May 17-Sun. May 21.

Warlords of Atlantis Fading TV star Doug McClure appeared in a series of '70s fantasy-adventure flicks, basically cheap knock-offs of the original stories by Verne, Wells, Doyle, Burroughs, et. al. Warlords (1978) is neither the best nor the worst, but it embodies a certain kid-friendly matinee spirit that Spielberg would later perfect in Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Let's remember that Harrison Ford started out doing TV Westerns, too.) Here McClure and fellow 19th-century sailors are captured by the undersea denizens of Atlantis—who turn out be aliens (okay, it's the '70s, so cut a little slack). Various sea creatures force manly battles with McClure—whose name, along with fellow beefcake icon Troy Donahue, becomes The Simpsons amalgam "Troy McClure"—while he's not courting a slave girl hottie. Look for Cyd Charisse in a supporting role. Hollywood is a crueler place than Atlantis ever was. (PG) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. 11 p.m. Fri. May 19-Sat. May 20.

Why We Fight Andrew Jarecki's important but familiar documentary begins with Dwight D. Eisenhower's famous 1961 warning about the "military-industrial complex." This is Jarecki's essential thesis: Munitioneers deliberately locate their plants in prime congressional districts, and direct their campaign contributions in such a way that our soldiers' blood flows dollar-green in Iraq today. It's the military-industrial-congressional complex. Fight then adds a very questionable indictment of the "American empire" school of U.S. history, a less frothy foaming-at-the-mouth variety of Chomskyism. Discussion follows with local senate candidates Mark Wilson and Aaron Dixon, who are opposing Maria Cantwell. (PG-13) On the House, 1205 Pike St., 206-324-3974. Free. 7 p.m. Tues. May 23.

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