B-Movie Bingo: Tiger Claws 2
Your monthly opportunity to literally check off a bingo card full of B-movie clichés! This month, legitimate B-movie legends Cynthia Rothrock and Bolo Yeung square off in Tiger Claws 2, which would be your average trash-classic gun-fu actioner from the ’90s—except for the part where it takes place in ancient underground caverns in San Francisco that are used to create time portals for nefarious purposes! Imagine a bad episode of Doctor Who having sex with a Chuck Norris movie. Or rather, don’t imagine it. Go see it. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
Before I Fall
Before I Fall hits the necessary marks for a teen movie: It’s got a sophisticated enough conceit that adults will like it, an actor who can emote (Zoey Deutch), and a good soundtrack (Grimes!). I was thoroughly sold on its Groundhog Day gambit almost all the way through, although the movie’s ethos definitely holds a teenage girl to a higher moral standard than Bill Murray, which seems unfair. Also, I had questions: If you’re stuck in a time loop, and you spend one of your time-loop days being a spiteful asshole, does anyone ever resent you for it later without knowing why, like when someone is mean to you in a dream? This movie also claims to be set in the Pacific Northwest, but the location—glossy-surface mountain town—looks more like Vancouver. (Fake!) Actual teenagers will probably not ask these questions, and they will like this movie even more than I did, which is saying something. MEGAN BURBANK Various Theaters.
Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe
Our city, revered (or not) for its abundance of strip clubs, has a whole other thriving culture of guys and gals (and gender nonconforming folks, too) who take their clothes off for crowds: burlesque! I’ve always thought of burlesque as what grown-up theater kids do when they want to be sexy but can’t find a production of Cabaret; after watching Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe, a new documentary about the scene in Portland, I know there’s more to it than that. The performers featured come to burlesque from all walks of life, and pour their time, sweat, and money into the craft. While those backstories are interesting, the performance footage is where it’s at. I was mesmerized. It’s not all old-timey smut and fishnets and tiny top hats! Did you know “assels” are a thing? They’re like titty tassels, but for buttcheeks. Knowledge is power, friends. Anyway, when so many of us grumble about artists being priced out of Portland, it’s nice to celebrate the folks that are still here, doing their thing. Portland’s got some perks. Some of them have tassels. ELINOR JONES Living Room Theaters, iTunes, On Demand.
Jerry Orbach just wants to enjoy a nice, relaxing vacation in the Catskills. But when a lithe, greasy exhibitionist catches the eye of his innocent, rhythmless daughter, Orbach must leap into action. How will this cardiganed hero of the common man maintain order in the face of such torrid summer chaos? Romance! Intrigue! Watermelons! Abortions! Join hands and hearts and voices, voices hearts and hands! Co-starring Lorelai’s mom from Gilmore Girls and Space Jam’s Wayne Knight. Proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood. BOBBY ROBERTS Clinton Street Theater.
A feature-length version of the not-quite-joking sentiment among African Americans that the suburbs, with their overwhelming whiteness and cultural homogeneity, are eerie twilight zones for Black people. Far from being a one-joke movie, however, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is both a clever, consistently funny racial satire and a horror film, one that mocks white liberal cluelessness and finds humor in—but doesn’t dismiss—Black people’s fears. ERIC D. SNIDER Various Theaters.
A brave hobbit must traverse Middle-earth in order to destroy the One Ring before the mighty and evil Saur—wait. Sorry. Wrong Peter Jackson movie. Academy Theater.
I Am Not Your Negro
Working off an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin, director Raoul Peck creates a brilliantly absorbing history of American racism, bolstered by Samuel L. Jackson’s impassioned narration. ANDREW WRIGHT Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre.
Natalie Portman’s portrayal is nothing less than amazing, perfectly capturing Jacqueline Kennedy’s intense drive, strength, occasional pettiness, and overwhelming grief. She, along with director Pablo Larraín and a talented cast, go a long way to reshape our shared memories of Kennedy as simply a fashion plate in a pink pillbox hat, revealing a figure far more complicated and heroic. Jackie is a stunning, heart-wrenching meditation on truth, the American ideal, and the incredible pressure on first ladies—women who represent just as much, if not more, than their husbands. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
John Wick: Chapter 2
BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG. BANG BANG BANG!! John Wick shoots so many bad guys in John Wick: Chapter 2! You probably think you know how many bad guys John Wick is going to shoot. You saw the first John Wick! He shot a lot of bad guys in that! BUT LISTEN. I have been placed on this terrible planet to tell you this one thing: You have no idea how many bad guys John Wick is going to shoot in John Wick: Chapter 2. Take the number you think it’s going to be—it doesn’t matter what it is, it could be 100 or it could be 49,697—and then multiply it by ∞. You are now closer to comprehending how many bad guys John Wick shoots in John Wick: Chapter 2. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Krzysztof Kiéslowski’s Dekalog
After seeing the Three Colours trilogy, most people would have no problem proclaiming it Kiéslowski’s masterpiece. Unless those people had also seen Dekalog, which is the man’s real masterpiece—a 10-hour-long series of parables and morality plays, each based loosely on one of the Ten Commandments. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
The Lego Batman Movie
Let’s start with the good: There’s finally a Batman movie you can take the kids to! The Lego Batman Movie follows up 2014’s surprisingly wonderful The Lego Movie by focusing on that cinematic universe’s version of Batman, a growling, too-cool-for-school badass voiced by Will Arnett. Like the first Lego Movie, Lego Batman bursts at the edges of the screen: It’s goofy, chipper, fast moving, and colorful, and the antithesis of any other Batman movie made this millennium. Now for the bad: The Lego Batman Movie may be geared a little too much toward kids. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
Magic & Loss: Coming of Age Onscreen
A series programmed to highlight the best in cinematic coming-of-age stories, with work from directors Gordon Parks, Elia Kazan, Ingmar Bergman, John Singleton, and more. If you’re looking for Molly Ringwald-type shit, look elsewhere. See nwfilm.org for titles and showtimes. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
Moonlight is a movie about what it’s like to grow up male in America. Moonlight is also a movie about what it’s like to grow up gay in America. And Moonlight is, in addition, a movie about what it’s like to grow up Black in America. That inevitably makes Barry Jenkins’ justly acclaimed film sound like it will appeal primarily to gay, Black, and/or male audiences. And indeed, people who share some or all of its protagonist’s characteristics will be overjoyed at the belated depiction of lives like theirs on screen. But Moonlight, if I can swoon for a moment, does what all true art aspires to do. It shares something unique but universal about what it’s like to be human. MARC MOHAN Cinema 21.
My Life as a Zucchini
You thought Laika had cornered the market on stop-motion confections for weird little kids? Here comes Claude Barras’ My Life as a Zucchini, starring a buncha big-eyed balls of Play-Doh stuck in a French orphanage, trying to work through a Whitman’s Sampler of childhood traumas. Fox Tower 10.
My Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy
A cinematic celebration of Portland’s punk scene in the 1990s, featuring short films and documentaries focused on long-gone venues such as La Luna and the X-Ray Cafe. Hollywood Theatre.
Portland Music Video Festival
A program showcasing “the work of musicians and filmmakers from Portland and across the nation.” Will there be anything better than the video for Nelson’s “After the Rain”? Well, that’s the challenge, isn’t it. Hollywood Theatre.
Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (POWFest)
Support women filmmakers and their craft at POWFest as they celebrate an entire decade of festival-throwing. Spanning four days at the Hollywood Theatre, this year’s showcase boasts over 60 shorts and full-length films from directors of all skill levels and age—many of whom will be in attendance throughout the festival. This year’s guest of honor, award-winning director Cheryle Dunye, will lead a Q&A on Saturday evening before screenings of her films The Watermelon Woman, Black is Blue, and The Owls which explore queer and trans identities, Blackness, and love. See Film, this issue.Hollywood Theatre.
The Red Turtle
A nearly perfect movie for kids (and adults) of almost any age. If you’re too young to appreciate it, you probably shouldn’t be in a movie theater, and if you’re too old to appreciate it, you probably need medical attention. MARC MOHAN Cinema 21.
Reproductive Justice Film Series
Every fourth Wednesday of the month, two community staples join forces for an evening of feminist films and discussion. This month, In Other Words Feminist Community Center and the Clinton Street Theater will put reproductive rights center stage during the screening of two short, powerful documentaries. The first, Jane: An Abortion Service, recounts the history of an underground women’s health group that provided safe, illegal abortions in Chicago; the second, A Girl Like Her, tells the story of pregnant women in the 1950s and ‘60s who were forced to live together in maternity homes before giving birth and giving their babies up for adoption. All donations over $5 directly fund In Other Words. EMILLY PRADO Clinton Street Theater.
Rhythm Assemblies: Films by Reed O’Beirne
A series of short works from filmmaker and EXcinema founder Reed O’Beirne, including No Time for Shopping, focused on the historic anti-WTO demonstrations, and Last of Our Kind, a modern reinterpretation of the Persephone myth. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
Everyone rags on director M. Night Shyamalan for being a one-trick pony. But guys, he’s so much more than that! His films can be pretty great (2000’s Unbreakable) or they can be embarrassing garbage (2015’s adult-diaper-filled The Visit). That’s two whole tricks! With Split, he’s back to vintage Shyamasurprise® Time, and the result is a fairly solid thriller with only a few missteps. Not bad, sir, not bad. COURTNEY FERGUSON Various Theaters.
Not sure whether this high-powered satire of glossy, vapid fascism is going to be funnier than it’s ever been before, or if it’s going to cause infrequent giggles between rolling waves of nausea and panic. Either way, it’s hard to pass up spending a couple hours with Michael Ironside, Clancy Brown, Neil Patrick Harris, and bloodthirsty alien spider-bugs. BOBBY ROBERTS Laurelhurst Theater.
Sword Art Online the Movie—Ordinal Scale
The thrilling story of Asuna’s adventures in the Augma, a machine created to compete against the NerveGear and the Amusphere in Ordinal Scale, an ARMMORPG that is ahahahaHAHAH fuckin’ ANIME, am I right? Jesus Christ. Hollywood Theatre.
Takashi Makino: Expanded Abstraction
On the surface, Takashi Makino’s films are a chaotic blend of colors that float or burst into view as a result of his experiments with superimposing 35mm and digital image. But as these short works unfold, the precision and care that this Japanese artist takes with the placement and movement of each moment becomes discernable. The experience of the films is only deepened by Makino’s use of sound, which includes pieces composed by himself and fellow avant garde musicians like Jim O’Rourke and Floris Vanhoof. You’ll be able to experience in its fullest form when the filmmaker visits the Hollywood Theatre to present three of his short subjects, including the melting beauty of his On Generation and Corruption and The Picture From Darkness, a moving and subtle homage to the late British filmmaker Derek Jarman. Filmmaker in attendance. ROBERT HAM Hollywood Theatre.
A movie you should see. It’s funny, heartwarming, and wise, except for when it’s being dark and existential. It features a pair of rich, subtle performances, and it marks the emergence, with her third feature, of director Maren Ade as an important international filmmaker. Also, there’s a scene where a guy ejaculates onto a petit four. So, pretty much something for everyone. MARC MOHAN Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, March 3-Thursday, March 9, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.