B-Movie Bingo: Rambu the Intruder
Your monthly opportunity to literally check off a bingo card full of B-movie clichés. This month’s entry: Rambu the Intruder. That’s right. Rambu. The shameless motherfuckers who cut off this greasy slice of ’80s schlock could barely be bothered to change a single letter. To prevent undue confusion, here’s a cheat sheet: Rambo is a Vietnam veteran. Rambu is an ex-cop. Rambo fights to exorcise demons burned into his soul via the nightmare of war. Rambu lives at home with his wife, who would really like him to stop going out at night like a shirtless gorilla attacking gangsters with a baseball bat. Rambo’s climax takes place in a Soviet-armed prison camp. Rambu raids the liquor cabinet in a drug lord’s living room. Rambo might get you one B-movie bingo. Rambu will black out the whole board in like 15 minutes. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
Best of the NW Animation Fest
Whittled down from the weeklong festival that took place in May, the Best of the NW Animation Festival collects 14 animated shorts that either won awards or garnered special mention. I always find at least one great short in a batch like this—and at this level of curation, there aren’t any duds. SUZETTE SMITH Hollywood Theatre.
The Big Lebowski
At first it was just a weird, low-key almost-misfire in the Coen’s canon. And then it was an underrated work of layered comedic genius. And then it became this whole culty thing complete with festivals and cosplayers and idiots in bathrobes blocking traffic with marching bands playing jazzy versions of “Hotel California” on their way to the theater (Sorry about that last one, by the way). And now? Now, it’s just The Big Lebowski again, a properly-rated work of layered comedic genius, screened in honor of David Huddleston’s recent passing. He did play the titular character, after all. And if you feel a little wistful when he rolls onto the screen, it’s okay to let a stray tear go rolling down your cheeks. Strong men also cry. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
Cinema Classics: The Adventures of Robin Hood
Errol Flynn’s Kevin Costner impersonation is... okay. Hollywood Theatre.
Hell or High Water
Leave it to a Scot to deliver the next great American western. It’s possible director David Mackenzie (Starred Up) had the distance and perspective to depict Hell or High Water’s depressed West Texas towns and dust-dry plains with unvarnished truth. Maybe he recognized, from across the pond, a universal struggle in the specific plight of brothers Toby and Tanner Howard (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) as they try to hang on to their father’s ranch. Perhaps he sensed the timeliness of a story that depicts white American men running out of time, money, and land. More likely, Mackenzie had Taylor Sheridan’s (Sicario) superb script to navigate a path around the obvious men-with-guns clichés that make up Hell or High Water’s western-noir milieu. Whatever the case may be, it’s resulted in an intelligent and incisive movie that’s painful and lovely to watch. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
As a filmmaker, Werner Herzog is often obsessed with the tangible—with people on the edges of society, with feats as lethal as they are daring. But Lo and Behold is Herzog’s attempt to parse a world that’s moving away from the physical. It makes sense he starts his documentary by reminding us that the internet started as—and still is—a series of weird-smelling tubes and wires. It also makes sense, given the immeasurable ways the internet has affected humanity, Lo and Behold splits in countless directions: It isn’t long until Herzog’s interviewing brain researchers and hackers, until he’s watching orange-clad Buddhist monks stare into their phones. If this parade of scientists and eccentrics and weirdos sounds broad, it is: Herzog wants to look at every aspect of our online lives. Lo and Behold is a look at what might come next, and a mourning for what we’ve lost, but more than anything, it’s a meditation on how the internet has already changed us. ERIK HENRIKSEN Hollywood Theatre.
One of John Waters’ earliest celluloid atrocities (that’s not us saying it, that’s the film’s poster saying it) has been digitally remastered so as to best capture every last millimeter of Divine’s psychotic glory. Co-starring the National Guard, and George Figgs as Jesus Christ. Also see Film, this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Almost everything you could, should, and do love about Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Avatar (both the blue-kitty-people version and the kid-with-the-arrow-on-his-head version) was already present in this 1984 anime classic, but made more visually interesting and emotionally engaging thanks to the beautiful mind of legendary storyteller Hayao Miyazaki. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
On the Ground
The premiere screening of Sisters of the Road’s original short documentary examining homelessness in Portland and the causes behind it. Oregon Historical Society.
The People vs. Fritz Bauer
An absorbing dramatization of the capture of high-ranking Nazi Adolf Eichmann—and the man who made it happen, Fritz Bauer. Frazzled and occasionally belligerent, Bauer (Burghart Klaußner) sees opposition wherever he looks, from the death threats arriving through his mail slot to the complacency of a German society not yet willing to face itself. WWII is a never-ending source of film fodder, but it’s rare that the post-war ripple effects are given worthy attention—which happens here, even as the film’s examination of systemic denial offers an important glimpse into dangerous group psychology. MARJORIE SKINNER Fox Tower 10.
Portland Film Festival
The Portland Film Festival enters its fifth year with a slew of films you’ve likely never heard of before (and likely won’t hear of again), along with workshops, panels, and networking parties. Judging by PFF’s previous years, the films won’t be much to write home about—PFF often feels less like a film fest and more like a precious parade of vanity projects—but this year the screenings are at a centralized location (the Laurelhurst), with features, docs, and shorts alongside repertory screenings of movies both respected (My Own Private Idaho) and... not (Short Circuit). Questionable quality aside, it’s worth noting that this year, PFF did something too few festivals do: Put an emphasis on selecting work from women filmmakers. Still, if that matters to you—and it should—you’re better off waiting until March for the Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival. More at portlandfilmfestival.com. ERIK HENRIKSEN Laurelhurst Theater.
MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, Sept 2-Thursday, Sept 8, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.