B-Movie Bingo: Above the Law
Your monthly opportunity to literally check off a bingo card full of B-movie clichés! This month features one of the very best B-movies the ’80s ever coughed up, Above the Law—but not the Above the Law you might be thinking of. There were two sweaty, low-budget Above the Laws that decade. The more popular one came out in 1988, starring world-class buttplug Steven Seagal. That one is trash. The good (relatively speaking) one came out in 1986, and stars bonafide badass Cynthia Rothrock as an inspector teamed with a disgruntled lawyer-turned-vigilante (basically Hong Kong’s Matt Murdock) to catch (and kick the fuck out of) a notorious murderer. You will be watching that one. You will be watching it on VHS. You will be better for it. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
Back to the Future
Once upon the 1980s, a young Republican in a life-vest, with the help of his science friend, traveled back in time, where he had to prevent his mother’s sexual advances and instead steer her towards Crispin Glover’s dick. He succeeded, but accidentally transformed the future into Planet Las Vegas, which sounds cool, but was actually kinda shitty. So he went all the way back to the Wild West, where Mary Steenburgen lives, and managed to set the timeline back on track and everyone learned that it’s never really a good idea to steal plutonium from angry Libyans. Costarring Huey Lewis and Flea. BOBBY ROBERTS 99W Drive-In.
★ The Big Sick
The Big Sick doesn’t sound like anything extraordinary. But that’s what makes it so enjoyable—this is the type of sweetly told, small-scale story that has all but evaporated from movie screens and wouldn’t work as a TV show. It’s also got one or two things to say about being a Muslim in America, so it’s not only different from the usual white-bread romantic comedies, it’s very much connected to this political moment, too. Maybe this is putting too much significance onto a story this small. But I think The Big Sick is up for it. NED LANNAMANN Cinemagic.
Birthright: A War Story
Civia Tamarkin and Luchina Fisher’s documentary about the disturbing number of women who have had their autonomy taken away by state and federal governments who seem to believe they should decide what a woman can do with her body. Director in attendance. Hollywood Theatre.
★ Brigsby Bear
The bear looks dumb. I get it, I do. You don’t want to see some dumb-looking bear movie! And it’s got that nerd from SNL in it. Not that one. The other one. The one with glasses. And the trailer looks artsy and precious and... post-apocalyptic? It looks weird. And every fiber of your being is going, “Ughhhhh, do I gotta go see this dumb bear movie?” I am here to tell you that yes, you do gotta go see this dumb bear movie. Brigsby Bear is great. It’s beautiful and hilarious and it has something fundamentally compelling to say about how we tell stories. Even if those stories are, yes, about dumb-looking bears. BEN COLEMAN Laurelhurst Theater.
Oh shit, it’s Turk from Scrubs! Oh hey, it’s Jon from those execrable Garfield movies! Oh no, it’s that crazy Fox News lady that Chris Rock used as a prop at the Oscars one year! Aww damn, there’s Brittany Murphy, it’s a shame she’s not still here, I bet she’d have been one hell of an award-winning weirdo by now. Oh hey, it’s Paul Rudd and holy fuck why hasn’t he aged a single second, that’s not fair! That’s not fair at all. Clinton Street Theater.
Half video art installation and half stoner gawkfest, Collide-O-Scope is the cinema-collage extravaganza created by Michael Anderson and Shane Wahlund, Seattle men who bonded over a love of oddball video—news bloopers, educational films, B-movie gems—then joined forces to bring the treasures of their exploration to the public. No matter the locale, the takeaway of the Collide-O-Scope experience remains the same: There’s nothing more glorious, hilarious, ridiculous, and horrifying than human behavior, and here’s proof. DAVID SCHMADER Hollywood Theatre.
There was a strange period in the 1990s where Jim Morrison became a teen idol again. Oliver Stone’s very Oliver Stone-y 1991 biopic The Doors was a big part of that. But it was not Stone alone who resurrected the serpentine magic of Morrison for a new audience of dour teens thirsty for his disaffected nature and his shitty poetry. Val Kilmer had a lot to do with it, yes, but so did the screenwriter (everyone always forgets those guys!), Randall Jahnson, who will be in attendance at this screening to discuss the process of adapting the band’s history to the big screen. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
★ Double Indemnity
Billy Wilder’s career is defined by his comedies, including some of the genre’s very best entries, like Some Like it Hot and The Apartment. But Wilder put just as big a stamp on film noir with 1944’s Double Indemnity, a coldly efficient little ice pick of a thriller starring Barbara Stanwyck as the prototypical femme fatale, and Fred MacMurray as one of the best oafish dopes to ever get suckered onscreen, with Edward G. Robinson amiably thieving the movie right out from under both of them. Film noir basically starts here, and Wilder changed the face of cinema in less than two hours. BOBBY ROBERTS NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
★ East of Eden
James Dean has become legendary for reasons that seem completely divorced from his acting. Posters and postcards of the pouty young rebel (without a cause, of course) have carried his spectre all the way into the 21st Century. Do yourself a favor and check out Elia Kazan’s adaptation of the John Steinbeck classic, and pay attention to Dean’s performance. Note how much of that disarming vulnerability still punctures and pours out of him. Then note that he was doing that in 1955, and you start to get an idea how electrifying he was for the short time he was a star. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
Enter the Dragon
“Don’t think! Feel. It is like a finger pointing away to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.” Academy Theater.
Good Time has the keen eye for anthropology you find in a lot of Sundance movies—the casting feels both unconventional and authentic, and there’s an interest in subcultures that you don’t normally see on screen—but the beauty is that it packs this sensibility into a taut genre thriller. VINCE MANCINI Hollywood Theatre.
Ingrid Goes West
Aubrey Plaza’s reign as Hollywood’s queen of surliness continues. Plaza plays social media addict Ingrid Thorburn, whose mood fluctuates with each “like.” Following the death of her mother, Ingrid pepper-sprays the bride of a wedding she wasn’t invited to (as one does) and is committed to a mental institution. Once she’s released, Ingrid cashes out her inheritance and moves across the country to befriend (well, okay, stalk) Los Angeles-based Instagram celebrity Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen). Though the film condemns both Taylor and Ingrid’s lies, its depiction of Ingrid’s deteriorating sanity insinuates that mentally ill people—especially those with access to social media—are dangerous, manipulative, and just waiting to catfish you. Ingrid Goes West doesn’t give its protagonist much depth beyond “Instagram lunatic,” and this grave mishandling of her mental health is its fatal flaw. CIARA DOLAN Fox Tower 10.
“Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte... just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn’t see the first shark for about a half an hour.” 99W Drive-In.
If movies about benignly dysfunctional families are a fast-track to crying for you, prepare yourself for Gillian Robespierre’s Landline, which stars Edie Falco and Jenny Slate. This thing reduced me to a puddle—but as any enthusiastic movie crier can attest, while it may have looked horrible from the outside, I was actually having a really good time. And you will too, especially if you also loved Robespierre’s last film, Obvious Child. MEGAN BURBANK Laurelhurst Theater.
From Scott Buck, the man who brought you the last few seasons of the Showtime trainwreck Dexter, and Netflix’s disastrously boring Iron Fist, comes the next chapter in Marvel television’s slow-motion decline, Inhumans—reported to have so thoroughly fucked the (teleporting) dog that preview screenings were compared to (of all the things) Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. BUT: It was shot on IMAX! Because when you film dogshit with the best cameras, you can pick out every last detail on the half-digested crayons embedded within it. Happy hunting! Various Theaters.
★ Out of Sight
Steven Soderbergh is great at stories centered on people stealing shit. Logan Lucky is in theaters now, which references Ocean’s Eleven, both of which—great as they are—pale when compared to Out of Sight, Soderbergh’s best blend of indie adventurousness and pop sensibility (and arguably his best film, period). Based on Elmore Leonard’s novel, Out of Sight is the story of a bank robber caught up in a jailhouse scheme to rob a millionaire crook, while also managing to seduce the cop on his tail. Thanks to the unbelievable chemistry of leads George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, and a stacked supporting cast that plays not even one false note, Out of Sight is of the smoothest, most charming film experiences of the ’90s. BOBBY ROBERTS Laurelhurst Theater.
Sonic Cinema: L7—Pretend We’re Dead
The Hollywood’s music documentary series presents L7: Pretend We’re Dead, using home video footage, interviews, and past performances to follow the landmark band’s turbulent arc through the ’80s and ’90s. Hollywood Theatre.
★ The Trip to Spain
Michael Winterbottom latest continues the shenanigans first chronicled in 2010’s The Trip and 2014’s The Trip to Italy: Actor/comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon travel to fancy restaurants, ostensibly for review purposes, but really so they can do dueling Michael Caine impressions and wax humorously on the foibles of middle-aged manhood. MARC MOHAN Cinema 21.
Paul Thomas Anderson is at it again. After directing three videos for Radiohead’s 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool—one of which, “Daydreaming,” played in 35mm at the Hollywood Theatre last spring—Anderson’s releasing a new rockumentary, Valentine, which follows the making of Haim’s gorgeous new album, Something to Tell You, at Valentine Recording Studios in Los Angeles. There’s a note on Valentine’s 35mm film canister: “This short plays well with concert films, musicals, late night shows, sing-a-longs and a glass of beer. Please play loud!” Thankfully, the Hollywood Theatre is screening Anderson’s 14-minute short in 35mm this Friday, September 1 at 7:15 pm (before the L7 documentary Pretend We’re Dead at 7:30) and Sunday, September 3 at 7:15 pm (before Valley Girl at 7:30). CIARA DOLAN Hollywood Theatre.
Martha Coolidge’s 1983 teen comedy isn’t much more than a clot of ’80s stereotypes coagulated around young Nicolas Cage as one of the most inauthentic “punks” the decade ever served up. Coolidge deploys Cage like a bug-eyed missile launched at cornball storytelling, simultaneously satirizing and embracing the teen film formula. It’s never as exploitative as it probably should be (it only exists because Moon Zappa scored a novelty hit with her “Valley Girl” single the year before), so it ends up feeling like the cinematic equivalent of Pat Boone covering the Clash. Soundtrack’s still fuckin’ great, though. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, September 1-Thursday, September 7, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.