Friday, August 25, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Reel News

Shorts, Shorts Everywhere As New Bugs Makes Debut

Warner Bros. has a new Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck short, "Carrotblanca," that opens today at several theaters as the prelude to "The Amazing Panda Adventure." While the studio is not screening "Panda" for the press, it is making "Carrotblanca" available. It's easy to see why.

This sendup of "Casablanca" puts Bugs in the Bogie role while casting Daffy as saloon pianist Sam, who can't stay away from playing "As Time Goes By." Pepe Le Pew turns up as the pursuer of Penelope, the cat who plays the Ingrid Bergman part, and there are cameos for Tweetie Pie, Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd and others.

The all-star cast eventually leads to chaos - it's like "Roger Rabbit" run amok - but it's still refreshing to see an official Looney Tunes production again after years of Disney and Don Bluth productions.

Several more shorts are making their debuts this weekend. At 7:30 tonight at the Seattle Art Museum, animation artist Jules Engel will present five new works. An abstract painter and filmmaker who worked on Disney's "Fantasia" as well as such 1950s classics as "Mr. Magoo" and "Gerald McBoing Boing," Engel has been the director of the Experimental Animation Department at California Institute of the Arts since 1969. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Stefan Jarl's "Javna: A Reindeer Herdsman in the Year 2000," a 35-minute film about a 12-year-old Swedish boy's reaction to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, will be screened at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 N.W. 67th St. It's part of a program about contemporary Sami life in northern Sweden that will also include a talk by Ingmar Bjorksten and a screening of Jarl's feature-length film, "The Threat," which deals with radioactive poisoning in Sweden since 1986. Tickets are $5 for museum members, $10 for others.

"Northwest Videomakers," a collection of local shorts ("Anarchic Party," "Revolt of the Machines," "Karmic Love Palace," "Men Home Alone"), is the opener in the 1995 Lucky Charm Awards, which begins with a reception at 6 o'clock tonight at 911 Media Arts Center, 117 Yale Ave. N. Showtime is 7 p.m.; the program includes a question-and-answer session with Susan McNalley.

"Pie Man" and "Faster, Kitten Natividad! Kill! Kill!," a short documentary about Russ Meyer and one of his stars, will follow at 9 p.m. Natividad, who starred in Meyer's "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," is scheduled to attend.

The campy 11 p.m. program of shorts and clips will include "Peter Milk's Blood," "Don't Knock the Skunk," "Butch Wax" and "Saturday Night Fever III," starring Alexis Arquette (in drag) as the jilted lover who stalks Tony Manero (the John Travolta role) 20 years after the events in the first movie.

The Lucky Charms shows will continue tomorrow at noon with two documentaries, "My Cypress" and "Twenty Years - The Cypriot Crisis," followed at 2 p.m. by another documentary, "Intimate Relationships in Two Lesbian Families Living in American Society," and a 4 p.m. collection of videos fixated on phallic imagery.

The scene then switches to the Seattle Art Museum for the 8 p.m. world premiere of Kelly Hughes' locally produced feature, "La Cage Aux Zombies," about a drug dealer's wife and her wounded lover, who hide out in a nightclub featuring female impersonators. Tickets for most Lucky Charms screenings are $5 for 911 members, $7 for others. "La Cage" is $10.

Ray's '50s classics

A true rarity, the uncut European version of Nicholas Ray's "Bitter Victory," plays at 7 and 9 p.m. tonight through Sunday at the Ascension Cinema (upstairs at Scarecrow Video). Presented in black-and-white CinemaScope, it's a World War II story that concentrates on the tensions between two officers in North Africa.

Curt Jurgens is the one who wins a decoration he doesn't deserve, while Richard Burton is the smoothie who once had an affair with Jurgens' wife (Ruth Roman). Tickets are $6.

Coincidentally, Ray's most famous movie, "Rebel Without a Cause," with James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo, plays at the Fremont "Almost Free" Outdoor Cinema at dusk tomorrow. Also on the program: "The Wild One," with Marlon Brando as a biker who invades a small town. Admission is by donation (suggested is $5). The films are shown in a lot behind the Red Door Ale House in Fremont.

The Pike St. Cinema also has a lineup of classics for the next week, including two of Sergei Eisenstein's great ones: "Battleship Potemkin," Monday night only, and "October: Ten Days That Shook the World," Thursday with live musical accompaniment.

"A Festival of Cult Television" plays at 7 and 9 tonight at the same location, followed at the same hours tomorrow by the original 1932 revue, "The Big Broadcast," with Bing Crosby, Kate Smith, Cab Calloway, George Burns and Gracie Allen. Sunday's show is a collection of selected shorts dubbed "Precode Songwriters on Film."

Alan Arkin's unsettling 1971 film of the Jules Feiffer play about urban violence, "Little Murders," will be shown Tuesday night, accompanied by a couple of Arkin shorts. Wednesday is surprise night - a cartoon, short and two features starting at 7:30 p.m. - while next Friday's program will be a collection of "Space Patrol" episodes. Admission is $5 for most shows, $6 for the Thursday program that features live music.

Around town

Tuesday night only, the Varsity is showing Robert Rodriguez's debut feature, "El Mariachi." Rodriquez's follow-up film, "Desperado," opens today at several theaters. Also on the Tuesday program is "Heavy Metal," a 1981 mixture of music and animation that still hasn't been released to the video market. The theater's "Festival Hong Kong" series continues Thursday night with a double bill of "Prison on Fire II," starring Chow Yun Fat, and "First Shot," with Maggie Cheung . . . The original "Alien" is the midnight movie tonight and tomorrow at United Artists Cinemas. Tickets are $5 . . . A free preview screening of Antero Alli and Rob Brezsny's "The Drivetime" will be held at 8 p.m. Monday at the Velvet Elvis Arts Theater, 107 Occidental Ave. S. It's about a time-traveling librarian from the year 2023 who visits Seattle in the late 20th Century . . . Shining Moment Productions has one of its "Nitrate Visions" programs of rare films with live music, at 9 tonight at the Speakeasy Internet Cafe, 2304 2nd Ave. Admission is free. . . Local filmmaker Rick Stevenson makes his directing debut with the family movie "Magic in the Water," opening Wednesday at several theaters.

Out of town

Indie filmmaker Hal Hartley's drollest deadpan comedy, "Amateur," about an amnesiac (Martin Donovan) and an ex-nun (Isabelle Huppert) who gradually discover his past as a vicious Svengali, has turned up again at the Grand Tacoma Cinemas.

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


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