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Friday, July 14, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Reel

Low-Budget `Outlaws,' `Oasis' Opening Today

Two shoestring-budget wonders open today: Craig Baldwin's "Sonic Outlaws," which plays at 7 and 9 p.m. tonight through Thursday at the Pike St. Cinema, and Alex Graves' "The Crude Oasis," which is beginning a week-long run at the Metro Cinemas.

The former is an incorrigibly lawless and quite entertaining collage that argues in favor of allowing visual artists to sample and parody copyrighted material to their hearts' content. There's also a hilarious segment about the Barbie Liberation Organization.

Built around the lawsuit between U2 and Negativland, "Outlaws" deftly mixes Dan Rather's and Ronald Reagan's more ridiculous utterances with generous footage lifted from "Village of the Giants" and "Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers," which turns out to be a remarkably rich source for expressing political paranoia. Mark Hosler of Negativland will attend tonight's screenings, and Baldwin will be here Thursday for the final showings.

The Cowboy Junkies' song, "Working on a Building," catches the sultry, dreamy mood of "Crude Oasis," a romantic triangle from Kansas writer-director-editor-producer Alex Graves. The characters ultimately aren't substantial enough to take the story anywhere, but it's not bad at all for a movie that cost $25,000 and took just two weeks to produce.

"Ballot Measure 9"

One of the year's outstanding documentaries, Heather MacDonald's "Ballot Measure 9," is getting only a four-day run beginning tonight at the Varsity.

Presented to a standing ovation at the Seattle International Film Festival two months ago, MacDonald's riveting 72-minute film deals with the anti-gay-rights ballot initiative in Oregon and the increased level of gay-bashing that followed. Some of it is quite scary and sobering; other parts are spookily funny.

Also at the Varsity: Woody Allen's "Zelig" (which plays like "Forrest Gump" before its time) and his most recent Oscar winner "Bullets Over Broadway" (Tuesday only); Federico Fellini's "La Strada" and "Juliet of the Spirits," both starring Fellini's late wife, Giulietta Masina (Wednesday only); and a Hong Kong double bill, "The Last Hero in China" and "The Magic Crane" (Thursday only).

Around town

"Grief Is More Than Crying," Lois Shelton's touching and quite unpredictable documentary about a Bainbridge Island woman coming to terms with the death of her 10-month-old child, will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Preview Theater, 1020 John St. It's part of a Women in Film/Seattle program that will also include screenings of Heather Dew Oaksen's "Engram," Kay D. Ray's "The Middle of Nowhere," Susan McNally's "Windows" and Ann Coppel's "Speaking For Ourselves: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Youth." Tickets are free to Women in Film/Seattle members, $5 for nonmembers. Information: 447-1537 . . . "Festival of European Animation," a program that includes work by Lotte Reiniger and Jan Lenica, plays at 7 and 9 tonight through Sunday in the Sanctuary Theater at Scarecrow Video. Tickets are $6 . . . The Croatian American Congress and the Croatian Information Service will screen Branko Schmidt's film about Serbian aggression, "Vukovar: The Way Home," at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in Room 102 of Kane Hall at the University of Washington. Tickets are $5 at the door. Information: 935-8070 . . . The Seattle Art Museum continues its Judy Holliday series at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with a 35mm print of "It Should Happen to You." Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the museum will screen David Lean's 1955 filmed-in-Venice Katharine Hepburn classic, "Summertime," to complement the current "Treasures of Venice" exhibit. Luchino Visconti's 1971 treatment of Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice" plays at 7:30 p.m. next Friday. Tickets are $5 for museum members, $6 for others . . . Tomorrow at dusk, the Fremont "Almost Free" Outdoor Cinema is showing "Valley of the Dolls" and "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." Admission is by donation (suggested is $5). The films are shown in a lot behind the Red Door Ale House in Fremont . . . Syd Field teaches this weekend's MovieMaker Institute workshop on screenwriting. Next weekend, Dov Simens will be here to talk about low-budget filming techniques. Prices are $296 for Field and $239 for Simens. Information: 860-3831 . . . At 8 o'clock tonight, 911 Media Arts Center, 117 Yale Ave. N., will hold a free animators' social. It includes screenings of Chris Sullivan's "Landscape With the Fall of Icarus," "Master of Ceremonies," "The Beholder" and "An Irish Lullaby."

Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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