Rejoice!! Praise God!! For the first time since that awful baseball movie, Kevin Costner's career has sunk so low that KURT RUSSELL is actually getting star billing over him! The end is nigh!! Rejoice!! 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza
All the Pretty Horses
What could possibly have prompted Columbia to invest millions buying the rights to Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses, pick up a box-office star in Matt Damon, and a hot new director in Billy Bob Thornton, and then sell off the domestic distribution to Miramax? Why has Miramax in turn slipped it into theaters on Christmas Day with minimal fanfare? Could it have anything to do with the year that Thornton spent "fine-tuning" his edit, or the assurance on their part that most reviews would turn out negative (as have the advance ones)? (Bruce Reid) Laurelhurst Theater
Cameron Crowe's film about groupies, Lester Bangs, and learning to ROCK in the '70s. Laurelhurst Theater
* Bad Bugs Bunny
You don't have to watch an episode of The X-Files to know there're a lot of fishy things going on. As Dennis Nyback, the maestro of underground programming, tells it, there's an unspoken history of censorship within our supposedly free society. If you want proof of these claims, he's got it. His world-renowned program of banned Warner Bros. cartoons shows a past that Ted Turner and his money-counting cronies would rather you not know about. From anti-Japanese propaganda films to racist morality tales showing poor black folk the way to heavenly salvation, Bugs and his pals weren't always as enlightened as they were in Space Jam. So, whether you view this collection as a reminder of an America we'd like to forget or with a knee-jerk political correctness typical of this uptight town, you should all think twice next time before you shell out the dollars for boxer shorts with some cute corporate icon emblazoned on the crotch. You never know what kind of a scumbag rabbit your money may be buying carrots for. (Jamie S. Rich) Clinton Street Theatre
* Before Night Falls
The real life story of Cuban writer Reynaldo Arenas from his childhood in Cuba to joining Fidel Castro's revolutionaries to later being persecuted for homosexuality. A politcal film which centers on one man's loneliness. Koin Center
* Best In Show
Christopher Guest's latest with Eugene Levy follows several dog owners on their quest for the blue ribbon at the 2000 Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. A well-executed, ridiculous little film lovingly mining ridiculous little people's ridiculous little lives. Cinemagic
Have you seen the trailer for this movie? Then you have seen the ENTIRE movie, from opening to final shot. Admittedly, there are some engrossing moments (which interestingly involve Tom Hanks writhing in pain), but other than watching its main character puzzling through dire predictaments, there is little reason to care if this guy gets off his island or not. Plus, Helen Hunt is in it. Ughhh!! (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Wilsonville
* Charlie's Angels
I swore it could never be done, but somehow they've taken one of the worst shows in TV history, put in two of the worst actors in Hollywood (Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz), and come up with a comedic gem--and dare I say it?--one of the most hilarious films of the year. In this updated version of the TV show, director McG tips his hat to the classic T&A detective show of the '70s and then has a field day tearing each of its conventions down. The cast is uniformly terrific, especially Cameron Diaz, who plays her role like a giggly, girlish sociopath. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Laurelhurst Theater
Today I'm not weak. The film critic in me has control over my emotions; it can and will repress my wolflike desire to fill this review with hungry words that praise the celestial beauty of Juliette Binoche. That being said, the movie itself is unremarkable, and has absolutely nothing new to offer: Yes, organized religion is oppressive; yes, uncouth village drunks beat their wives; yes, Gypsies love to play Duke Ellington's "Caravan" on their guitars. As for South America, of course it has many mysteries, and Europe, senescent and dreary Europe, has no mysteries at all. Finally, women are more spirited, more earthy, than men. These are not new themes. We have seen them in one form or another in movies ranging from Like Water for Chocolate to Pleasantville. (Charles Mudede) City Center 12, Division Street, Fox Tower 10, Hilltop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Cinemas, Moreland Theater, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas
In the movie Chunhyang, a nobleman, secretly married across class lines, is separated from his wife, Chunhyang. Her virtue assailed, she resists, even under threat of death. Will the noble return in time? The pleasure of such a tale is in the telling, and this movie tells it wonderfully. (Barley Blair) Fox Tower 10
* Cinema Paradiso
If Fellini were to have directed Disney movies, we would have had this decades earlier. Director Giuseppe Tomatore spins his own cleaned up and emotionally skin-deep autobiography about life in post-WW II Italy. An endearing young boy constantly bothers a dottering old movie house projectionist until the elderly man relents and shows the young imp the trick of the trade. Laurelhurst Theater
* Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Legendary warrior Chow Yun Fat can never declare his love for fellow martial-arts expert Michelle Yeoh. Instead, he entrusts her with Green Destiny, his nearly magical sword. But in the dark of night a hooded thief steals it, which leads to a fight held mostly in midair. An attempt to wed emotionally reticent drama with the exhilarating freedom of Hong Kong-genre filmmaking, but director Ang Lee can't quite pull off the combination; for too long a time, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's shifting gears only jam. The film finds its rhythm and earns the accolades it has received once it leaves the stars behind and gives its heart over to the young and engaging Zhang Ziyi, as the aristocratic daughter of privilege who opts instead for the dangerous yet thrilling occupation of thief. (Bruce Reid) 82nd Avenue, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower 10, Hilltop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Wilsonville
* Dancer in the Dark
Lars von Trier's new film may be an self-absorbed intellectual trainwreck, but Bjork is fucking awesome! Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater
Down To Earth
Chris Rock finds his way into the body of a chubby, old white guy in this loose remake of Heaven Can Wait, which employs the Mercury's favorite cinematic phenomenon: the Ol' Switcheroo! Cinema 99, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville
The Family Man
The first half of this movie is funny. Nicholas Cage, a fastidious, fabulously wealthy arbitrageur, is magicked into a lower-middle-class schlumph. (Barley Blair) Avalon , Bagdad Theater, Kennedy School Theatre
A kid from the Bronx excels at both basketball and composition, befriends a hermit writer, undergoes a crisis from which the writer must extract him, thereby helping the writer overcome his own reclusive blah blah blah. (Barley Blair) Cinema 99, Evergreen Parkway, Koin Center, Lloyd Cinemas, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Wilsonville
A 1995 film by four different screenwriters (Robert Rodriguez, Alison Anders, Quentin Tarantino, Alexandre Rockwell) about the seperate antics in four rooms in a hotel. Tim Roth plays a bellhop and steals the movie, despite an all-star cast including Lili Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Marisa Tomei, Bruce Willis, and Madonna. Dead bodies, slapstick, and slapstick with dead bodies ensue, as typical of all independent movies during the "Fucking Quentin Tarantino"/"Robert Shoot-em-up Rodriguez" revolution of the the mid-'90s. Most of it's pretty well-written and acted, although whether it's still got a leg to stand on six years later remains to be seen. (Julianne Shepherd) Mission Theater
The Gift is about a woman, Annie Wilson (Cate Blanchett), who has a special and unusual gift: She's psychic. She uses this gift to help the community. Then! She starts seeing bad stuff. A murder occurs. She uses her gift to solve the murder. It's just plain weird that Blanchett took this role; she's a beautiful lead in any film, but she does not save films. And she especially can't save this one. (Paula Gilovich) Bagdad Theater, Kennedy School Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater, Mission Theater
Hannibal is a mess; an overblown, audacious, painstakingly long, gratuitous mess. Hannibal Lecter in his second outing is an annoying little old man, the sort you'd just love to push down a flight of stairs. Worse still he's a limey, a fish-and-chip-worshiping limey! That the man has killed over 15 Americans isn't a case for the fucking FBI; it's a case for immigration! Stick the INS on him and by lunch he'll be deported, disenfranchised, and the concern of only Miss Moneypenny and about fifty thousand tea ladies. (Kudzai Mudede) Broadway Metroplex, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, St. John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville
Head Over Heels
Yet another Freddie Prinze Jr. movie. This time co-starring Monica Potter, the actress who got offed in Patch Adams (how's that for a claim to fame?).
* The House of Mirth
British director Terence Davies' The House of Mirth, starring Gillian Anderson and Dan Aykroyd, adapts Edith Wharton's 1905 novel about New York high society--the tragic story of a young woman looking to marry a rich husband and finding herself torn between her need for financial security and her desire for personal integrity. Fox Tower 10
* Incident at Oglala & Broken Rainbow
Ever wonder what all those "Free Peltier" bumper stickers were about? An eye-opening double-header of radical correctness. In his pre-Sundance Days, Robert Redford directs Incident at Oglala, a remarkable documentary about the years leading up to Leonard Peltier's arrest for the alleged murder of two FBI agents. An outspoken advocate for migrant workers and basic liberties from the federal government, Peltier has gained international attention during his twenty-six years locked away at Leavenworth. Find out what the fuss is about and why Clinton didn't pardon him. Followed by Broken Rainbow, a haunting and Academy-award winning documentary narrated by raspy voiced Martin Sheen. After being elbowed off their land by money-grubbing Mormons, a tribe of Native Americans are re-located to desert land in Arizona that serves as a nuclear dumping ground. (Phil Busse) Liberation Collective
Live Nude Girls Unite!
Live Nude Girls Unite! documents the trials and tribulations of the flesh artists of San Francisco's Lusty lady and their attempts to unionize. A special benefit showing for Local 5 and SEIU 790 (the Lusty Lady's local) will be held on Feb 24 at 2 pm. Cinema 21
Director Giuseppe Tornatore spun childhood nostalgia into international box-office gold with Cinema Paradiso (1988). With Malena, he tries to repeat that success by making an art-house Porky's set in Sicily during World War II. Renato (Giuseppe Sulfaro), not even a teenager but wanting to grow up quick, starts hanging out with the older kids who ogle Malena (Monica Bellucci), a beautiful woman whose husband is off at war. Actually, the whole town ogles Malena, to the point where she's been unfairly painted as the town slut. Renato thinks he's different from the townsfolk, but she's never more than his masturbatory fantasy; a fact made distastefully literal by the end of the film. Pretty cinematography and a pretty girl do not make up for the ugly, voyeuristic core of this film. (Andy Spletzer) Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater
Meet the Parents
Jewish complications ensue when Ben Stiller meets grumpy father-in-law Bobby DeNiro. Avalon Theatre, Kiggins Theater, Mt. Hood Theater
If a movie about the F.B.I. infiltrating a beauty pageant stars Sandra Bullock and Michael Caine, but all anyone is looking forward to is William Shatner's hammy turn as a tacky host, isn't it time for Hollywood to rethink its priorities? On the upside, perhaps this role as a beauty pageant contestant will persuade Miss Bullock to finally invest in some mustache bleach. Lloyd Mall, Vancouver Plaza
All you need to know of this film is that it stars both Brendan Fraser and a cartoon monkey, and that at about 40 minutes in, the cartoon monkey has taken over control of Brendan Fraser's body. That's it. Directed by Henry Selick, of The Nightmare Before Christmas? Based on Kaja Blackley's graphic novel, Dark Town? Unimportant. Brendan Fraser. Cartoon monkey. Focus on them, rather than set yourself up for a disappointment of a movie that could have done much better than farting monkey dolls. (Jason Pagano) 82nd Avenue, Cinema 99, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Westgate, Wilsonville
* O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Set in Depression-era Mississippi, George Clooney stars as Everett Ulysses McGill, a suave and well-groomed petty criminal doing hard time on a chain gang. Shackled to Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson), he convinces them to join him in escaping by promising to split a fortune in buried treasure with them. (Andy Spletzer) City Center 12, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower 10, Tigard Cinemas
Sean Penn's third directorial effort stars Jack Nicholson as a retiring police detective obsessed with solving the rape-murder of a seven-year-old girl. I've always hated those people that obsess over a band's first album or an artist's early years, but I must admit, neither of Penn's recent works have been able to live up to his first film, The Indian Runner. Nicholson gives a better-than-average "Jack Nicholson" performance, but he has become so much of a caricature of himself that it's hard to enjoy his acting anymore. (Pablo de Ocampo)
* The Prisoner
The Mission is spotlighting this terrific cult television series starring Patrick McGoohan as a retired spy who finds himself imprisoned in a very mysterious village. A guaranteed marijuana freakout! Mission Theater
* Raiders of the Lost Ark
Boy finds Ark, Boy loses Ark, Nazis have their skin melted off by angry god. Eastgate
Recess: School's Out
Supposedly, we are living in a Golden Age of Cartoons. This new film from Disney makes it look more like the plague years. Then again, perhaps it's brilliant! Please tell us if that's so. Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville
Road to Redemption
A couple discover some stolen mob money, and do the logical thing: gamble it all away! Waitasecond...that's not logical! They're in big trouble!
Two Japanese teenagers experience the first blush of love... and follow it up with the first blush of S/M, domination and electro-genital torture. See review this issue. Clinton Street Theatre
Save the Last Dance
Finally! A multi-racial Dirty Dancing! A midwestern honky moves to the big city, and hooks up with a smooth talking brutha from the South Side. Are we all clear on this? Great. EVERYBODY DANCE! Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Westgate
Jason Biggs is about to marry "the wrong girl," and his two rowdy buddies (Jack Black and Steve Zahn) will stop at nothzzzzzzzzzzzz. Trapped in a shamelessly derivative mess that retreads the nun-lovin' fun of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, they struggle to answer the question, "Women: Manipulative and emasculating, or vapid and pliable?" Judging by Silverman's sizable kitsch insurance policy, the accountant who approved this one knew it would take an omnipresent Neil Diamond to ensure the assloads of box office returns this film will undoubtedly make. You've seen this one before, sadly. (Jason Pagano) Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, St. John's Theater, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center, Wilsonville
Shadow of the Vampire
John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe star as director F.W. Murnau and actor Max Schreck in this period piece about the filming of the classic silent horror flick Nosferatu. The plot is about as complicated as a Berenstein Bear book, and except for Dafoe's inspired and hilarious performance, you should probably wait to see it until it's at the cheap seats. (Julianne Shepherd) Broadway Metroplex, City Center 12
Guy Ritchie (a.k.a. Mr. Madonna) knows how to use a camera like nobody else. Too bad he doesn't know how to make a film. The technique is clear: heaps of colorful characters walking around in nicely lit areas doing nasty things, throw in a few twists, pile on a few more characters and a lot more nasty things, a couple more twists, and then you're done. (Jamie S. Rich) Broadway Metroplex, City Center 12, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Washington Square Center
Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation
The impressarios of independent animation return with "a whole shitload of new films" that, unfortunately, struggle to provide even a quarter-shitload of humor beyond the same old sex, drug, and grandparent gags that dominate this year's offerings. As always, if you're really, really high, it will undoubtedly be the funniest shit you've seen all night. (Jason Pagano) Cinema 21
* State and Main
Alec Baldwin, William H. Macy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and David Paymer descend on a small Vermont town to make a movie, bringing their sophisticated mores with them. The town end is held down by Charles Durning, Clark Gregg, Ricky Jay, Patti LuPone, Matt Malloy, Rebecca Pidgeon, and Julia Stiles... Do you begin to see a problem here? The cast is as fixedly big-city as a traffic jam. Though to tell you the truth, I was laughing too hard to worry about small inaccuracies. David Mamet has said that he was thinking of Preston Sturges when he put this film together, and it's a worthy successor to the Master. (Barley Blair) Koin Center
Sometimes the soiling of a film comes with one stroke, one inconsequential scene that because it was left unedited, the whole film is denied. I argue that Sweet November should be denied by all of you on this basis: Keanu Reeves, the workaholic ad exec, is trying to perform his American duty of reinventing the hot dog. In this scene, Keanu is running on his treadmill, sweating bullets in his modern apartment and thinking, like he always is, of hot dogs. He pops off his mill jerkily and bounds toward the microwave. Keanu pops it open and then hunts and spears the microwaved hot dog with a fork. And then, sweaty Keanu puts the sweaty hot dog in his mouth. That's when it was over for me. (Paula Gilovich) 82nd Avenue, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville
You may enjoy this movie about the Cuban Missle Crisis, and that's OK, but I want you to hate it too. Here's what's to enjoy: Bruce Greenwood as Jack Kennedy and Steven Culp as Bobby. Kevin Costner's "Boston" accent that left me weak with laughter. Dylan Baker as Robert McNamara, rolling his eyes like a cow whose foot's just been run over by a tractor. That's pretty much it for the enjoyment. (Barley Blair) Kiggins Theater, Washington Square Center
Like a search engine laboring for information on "drug trade," "Mexican cartel," and "survival," Traffic pulls together three remotely connected stories about users and dealers, both in high and low places. What makes Traffic the most sophisticated narrative structure so far in this new genre of storytelling is that it does not bother to link stories with overlapping characters, or even around seminal events. Instead, the characters gravitate around keywords: greed, loyalty, self-preservation. The result is a nervous and jumpy, yet broad-based, essay on drugs in North America. (Phil Busse) 82nd Avenue, Division Street, Koin Center, Lloyd Cinemas, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate
Given a blank check after The Sixth Sense, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan has returned the studio's largesse by delivering one of the worst films of the year. (Bruce Reid) Avalon , Laurelhurst Theater
On the surface, this thriller about five friends suddenly victimized by someone they all spurned in high school seems to have it all. Unfortunately, director Jamie Blanks (Urban Legend) relies too much on horror film cliches (look for that inevitable silent hand on the shoulder, among other old standbys) and dissipates whatever meager suspense the movie might have held. The film also stars Marley Shelton and Jessica Capshaw (step-daughter of Steven Spielberg). (D.K. Holm)
The Wedding Planner
Mary Fiore (Jennifer Lopez) is the baddest-assest Wedding Planner that ever there was. The sad truth, though, is that poor gorgeous Mary can't seem to find a date! One day, outta nowhere, a runaway dumpster is just about to mow Mary down, and who's there to save her, but Matthew McCon! Before you know it they're dancing under the stars, then he vanishes, only to magically reappear as howdid you know? the groom-to-be of Mary's latest client! O. My. Gawd! Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center, Wilsonville
Any film that can make an audience stomach Michael Douglas is a minor accomplishment. Curtis Hanson's film does more than that. In fact, it's rather good. Laurelhurst Theater
* You Can Count on Me
This is the sort of well-crafted, nutritious drama that gets critics burned out on adrenalized hoopla all tied up in knots. It's fine work, featuring Laura Linney's best performance since Congo (or maybe even before) as a single mom in the quaint burg of Scottsville. Her pothead drifter of a brother, also well played by Mark Ruffalo, shows up, spurring an eventual, earnest realization of the importance of family. Matthew Broderick has an amusing role as Linney's new boss, who says things like "I like paperwork." The latest product of the Culkin Family Factory Farm for Cuteness, Rory, plays the precocious eight-year-old. Playwright Kenneth Lonergan has, for his first film, created a movie for grown-ups that hardly ever surprises, but somehow that's OK. (Marc Mohan) City Center 12, Koin Center
Clouds of May
A son returns home to make a documentary, and ruins everyone's life in the process.
Devils on the Doorstep
A Japanese prisoner is left for dead in a Chinese village during WWII.
Goddess of 1967
Young hipster goes to Australia to find dream car, and finds himself entangled with a blind girl and murder mystery.
Our Lady of the Assassins
A gay writer strikes up a relationship with a steet thug in Medelin.
Short Cuts III
Short films by Sabrina Dhawan, Michael Jungfleisch, Jason Reitman and more!
Two entrepreneurs start up an internet company. Sorry, folks. It ain't pets.com.
To and Fro
The story of Filberto, a young Mexican peasant who has returned to his native village only to find his past in shambles.
* The Dish
Sam Neill and Puddy from Seinfeld come this close to screwing up the first televised moon landing. See review this issue.
Handful of Grass
A cab driver becomes mentor to a young drug runner.
* Kirikou and the Sorceress
This bizarre animated film retells an African folk tale in all its grisly glory.
Life is a Fatally Transmitted Disease
This is about an aging physician, Tomasz, and the existensial crisis he finds himself in when he discovers he has an untreatable cancer. Krzysztof Zanussi's polish morality tale avoids becoming an overly dramatic and sentimental mess that it could have been; rather, it follows Tomasz through his mundane day to day life in the hospital, his relationship with his ex-wife, conversations with the local priest, and new friendship with a young medical student. While the acting (particularly Zbigniew Zapasiewicz as Tomasz), script, and direction are all quite good, the film misses the mark somewhere along the line. (Pablo de Ocampo)
Marshal Tito's Spirit
Tourists invade Croatia to find the ghost of former Yugoslavian leader, Marshal Tito.
* When the Rain Lifts
The sword is a tool of little use outside war, a truism all too obviously true for one Ihei Misawa, unemployed Samurai, in this hopefully-titled posthumous Kurosawa epic. What he does with his sword, and what the director does with Kurosawa's script, comprise what can only be described as a fine, finished work.