Okay, it's not technically in the Film section, but in one of this week's features, Matt Stangel digs into Experimental Film Festival Portland and gives you a perfect itinerary of what to see. "EFF feels like an artsy and daring international summer camp," Matt writes, "one with way too much booze, a ton of fucked-up film and contemporary art, and an overwhelming sense of camaraderie." That sounds just about perfect right now.
Meanwhile, Ned Lannamann went to see Seth MacFarlane's comedy western A Million Ways to Die in the West, which pits MacFarlane against Liam Neeson. "The idea of Moonface MacFarlane taking on a supreme badass like Neeson is actually pretty funny," growls Ned, "but it's the one plot point this lazy, unimaginative comedy takes seriously." In related news, Ned didn't really care for A Million Ways to Die in the West.
Maleficent is definitely a film that exists! Disney's rehash of Sleeping Beauty is, shall we say, not getting great reviews, but the sharp-eyed Elinor Jones points out something very important: Despite its flaws, it brings back the Angelina Jolie we all used to like! "Everybody gets lame after having kids; how could a sexy millionaire humanitarian be any different?" Elinor preaches. "BUT GET THIS: It's not too late for our beloved St. Angelina!"
I kind of made Marjorie Skinner watch Palo Alto—based on a book by James Franco, directed by yet another fresh-faced Coppola, and starring Val Kilmer's son and Julia Roberts' niece—just to be mean. I do that sometimes! But then Marjorie... kind of liked it? So that backfired.
The thriller Cold in July played at Sundance, and at Cannes, and is a great reminder that even if a film plays at Sundance and Cannes, that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be very good.
We've got even more reviews in Film Shorts, and here are your Movie Times. And if you want my pick for the weekend, here it is: Tonight, go see the digital restoration of Werner Herzog's Aguirre, the Wrath of God at the Fifth Avenue Cinema. Not only is tonight's screening free, but the movie's (A) fantastic, and (B) easily has the most sinister monkeys out of all the films mentioned in this post. Here's the first three minutes of the restoration: