Founder of hipster label Factory Records and the super-hipster Hacienda Night Club, Tony Wilson is the type of guy who put Manchester on the map. Well, not a real map per se, but at least on the map in a world of music dorks with bad haircuts. But, as anyone who has ever seen Scarface knows, once you get rich and famous, it's best not to let your ego and coke habit get out of hand. That said, egos and coke were plentiful, and soon enough both the record label and club were no more. The end. Now let's look at the real problem with this movie: It's not interesting. As a subject, as a film, and as a time period--nothing about 24 Hour Party People screams "Make me into a movie!" Instead, it's just one of many small explosions of good music from bad towns that have occurred over the past couple decades. (Ezra Caraeff)
Ballistic: Ecks v. Sever
Lucy Liu and Antonio Banderas star as super spies vying to obtain a super secret killing device or some shit. It's got guns, martial arts, and explosions, and will be reviewed next week. This film was produced by Andrew "The Bastard" Stevens.
The Banger Sisters
After her daughter's eye-catching turn as a young groupie in Almost Famous, Goldie Hawn plays an aging one in this cloying, aggravating piece of false, middlebrow claptrap.
Starring two popular rappers, Ice Cube and Eve, Barbershop is about a young man (Ice Cube) who reluctantly runs a barbershop he inherited from his recently departed father. He has big ambitions and does not recognize the social importance of the small business. The best parts of the movie take place in the barbershop--the locus of laughter and general idiocy. Cedric the Entertainer, who plays the patriarch of the barbershop, is the primary generator of this humor, which is often mixed with comments on the state of things in black America. None of his assessments of past or current events are thought through clearly; in fact, the most complete or sophisticated argument in the movie concerns the scientific difference between good booty and bad booty. (Charles Mudede)
Beauty and the Beast
A restored version of the 1946 classic film.
Biggie and Tupac
The controversy behind Biggie and Tupac's deaths is revealed in an annoying Brittish accent.
Boys Shorts I & II
Twelve short films: In Siren, a veteran is visited by a young hottie, who may just be his lost love returned. Early Frost shows a young girl who discovers her pet rabbits are homosexuals and Boychick shows a young Jewish pop-culture slave who has a crush on another boy at school. Boys II includes Rock Bottom, where a lonely John and a hustler become friends, and Baby Blue about a first sexual experience.
By Hook or By Crook
Emotionally tapped, a small town butch heads to the big city to get involved in a life of crime. Once there she meets a quirky femme, they buddy around together, have adventures, and become friends.
City by the Sea
De Niro faxes in a performance as--what else?--a world-weary cop coming to terms with his own homicidal history while searching the picturesquely derelict town of Long Beach for a murderer, who turns out to be his own son (James Franco, doing his methody best to obscure his insanely good looks) in this dull and labored film soon to be clogging video-store shelves everywhere. (Tamara Paris)
Crop Circles: Quest for Truth
Director William Gazecki in attendance for both shows on Friday, September 20. See review this issue.
Six short films discussing homosexuality. For Straights Only catalogues the homophobia faced by queers in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. In Our Brother, Our Son gay men discuss, safe sex, HIV, and get this... barebacking. And XXXY chronicles the struggle of two intersex individuals and their struggle with the medical community.
The story of one man's reckoning with his mortality via the byways of bisexuality, drug use and art, all while watching old home movies in a hotel room.
This is a dark film. And by "dark," I don't mean brooding and gloomy--I mean the movie is poorly lit. And the inscrutable lighting is just one of many hellacious gaffes that makes you wonder how this movie ever made it past editors, producers, directors, and any bevy of Hollywood execs onto the screen. Other major problems include: the plot, the acting (including a faux Jack Nicholson playing a bad Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter--excruciating), and the script, a sort of D-minus David Cronenberg rip off. Fear.Com dabbles in bondage voyeurism and psychedelic dream/internet imagery that devolves into laughable unintentional parody. (Josh Feit)
Food of Love
Paul gets a job as a page turner for a famous pianist, and the two men start an affair. Their torrid relationship affects Paul's outlook on his future in music, and starts a pattern of him dating older men.
The Four Feathers
After turning tail at the brink of war, a branded Brit coward goes deep undercover in the Sudan hoping to save his friends and regain his honor. Premises don't come much more crackerjack, but this initially ambitious version of an oft-told tale unfortunately seems to have undergone severe trimming late in the game, scattering both character motivation and important plot points to the desert winds. (As it stands, the only clear marker of time's passage lies in star Heath Ledger's amazing Chia hair.) An intermittently engaging study in derring-do, nudged along by director Shekhar (Elizabeth) Kapur's sense of grandiose scale and some indecently lovely camerawork. This may have not been a great movie at epic length, but it would surely have resonated better than this plucked, wandering concoction. Kate Hudson glows, as always. (Andrew Wright)
Four Wall Fundraiser
See Check it Out Biznatch
Girls Shorts I & II
This program includes Bar Talk, an interpretation of pickup lines. Mainstream movies are spoofed in Goodfaigolas, the Graduate Lesbian, Reservoir Dykes, and Taxi Lesbian, and Interviews With My Next Girlfriend includes comic interviews with women who want to be chosen Next Girlfriend. Plus more. Girls II features The Bounty in which two women steal some rare sperm and elude a bounty hunter and Marcilla, a lesbian vampire story.
The Good Girl
Justine Last (Jennifer Aniston) works at the Retail Rodeo. She has worked there for many many years, her husband and his buddy paint houses for a living and smoke a lot of pot. Justine is sad, bored, and unhappy, until... a weird young guy calling himself Holden (Jake Gyllenhall) befriends her. From there, it's all down hill. I had heard tons of hype about this film before screening it, "Jennifer Aniston plays against type... " and all that. Well, Jennifer does play against type, but isn't that what acting is all about? Given the directing and writing credits of director Miguel Arteta and writer Mike White who brought us the deliciously uncomfortable Chuck and Buck, I guess I expected a more ominous and darker tone, but The Good Girl seems more screwball than drama. This works on some levels, but overall it just feels melodramatic. (Brian Brait)
His Secret Life
When Antonia's husband dies suddenly, she shuts herself off from the world. However, when she discovers he was having an affair, her sadness turns to anger, and when she finds out he's been having an affair with a man, she has more confusion to reconcile.
Igby Goes Down
A prep schooler steps into the real world and has a mental breakdown. See review this issue.
Lovely and Amazing
This follow-up to the similarly graceful Walking and Talking is a shrewdly respectful character study of a fractured family of women trying to ride herd on their raging neuroses. Fantastic acting and sensitive writing underscore the simple DV directorial approach. (Sean Nelson)
A relevant film about an Iranian teenager living in New Jersey who faces prejudice after American hostages are held in Iran.
When her sister dies, workaholic chef Martha must step out of the kitchen and into the real world to care for her surviving niece. She's a fish out of water with real family, but feels like she's swimming with sharks at the restaurant, where the chef that's been hired to help during this rough period has charmed her entire staff. Beautiful food shots, clever montages, and the sparks that fly between chefs counterbalance a hurried conclusion. (Sarah Sternau)
Nuestra Vision, Nuestro Futuro
If your only interaction and understanding of Latino culture in Oregon is through the burritos at La Sirenita, you are mandated to check out these films. Through a collaboration between the Film Center's Filmmakers-in-the-Schools Outreach Program and Oregon Council for Hispanic Advancement, 50 youth have produced five compelling and very different documentaries about their lives here in Oregon. With the Latino communities doubling in size in Oregon over the past decade, you may do well to learn a little something about your new neighborhoods. (Plus, the screenings are free!)
One Hour Photo
One Hour Photo is an armchair psychologist's wet dream. And, like most pop psych and self-help programs, it's sorta cliché, sorta predictable, and not exactly snooze-inducing--but not riveting or illuminating either. The premise: Robin Williams plays Sy the Photo Guy, a balding control freak who manages a one-hour photo shop. Sy's longtime customers, The Yorkins--Will, Nina, and little Jake--are this picture-perfect, hottie yuppie family. He is utterly obsessed with the Yorkins; Nina and Jake in particular. Through processing their photos, he's followed their seemingly happy lives; and, because he's so lonely, he also pasted copies of nine years' worth of their photos to his wall in unabashed stalker fashion. Creepy. Like any stalker story, the film's fate lies in the hands of the director. And Mark Romanek does a good job setting up and unfolding the story. Unfortunately, as Romanek is also the scriptwriter, he only has himself to blame for the slow pace of the dialogue. (Julianne Shepherd)
No director in the universe (with the possible exception of John Waters) could save a bad novel like Possession, which was authored by A. S. Byatt. It's the one novel Hollywood should have left in its original condition: a bad book. Now it has a second life as a bad movie. (Charles Mudede)
Twenty directors with no budget, one day to shoot, and two days to edit were asked to interpret the word Raw in a three minute digital video. Explicit content and there's no way you'll be bored!
Road to Perdition
Starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Jude Law--a ridiculously stellar ensemble--Road to Perdition tells a rather simple tale, and it tells it nearly perfectly. A hitman (Tom Hanks) sees his family slaughtered, save for his oldest son. Father and son hit the road to exact revenge. Perdition transcends every revenge film currently documented within my brain. Mendes, working once again with Conrad Hall has fashioned a heartfelt, exquisite, and above all, patient revenge epic. (Bradley Steinbacher)
Rocco and His Brothers
Have you already seen the Godfather and its progeny like a billion times? Already missed the season debut for Sopranos? Here's the film that helped inspire and shape the genre of "I love you like a brother, but may have to kill you" genre, the 1960 classic by director Luchino Visconti. A traditional Italian family leaves Sicily to the big city, bright lights of Milan. There, the oldest brother tries to make a fortune as a boxer, but is distracted by his lust for a hottie prostitute. She, of course, loves his younger brother. Oh boy! You know what happens next. Family loyalty, fisticuffs hatred, and whiz-bang sexual desire crash head-on. But, of course, all in high-fashioned cinematography.
Gregory Peck (again!) and Audrey Hepburn star in this breezy little trifle about a slumming princess and an undercover reporter in one of the world's most beautiful cities.
Twelve short films about life in New York, included is social commentary on topics from drug laws to the city recycling program to the elderly.
A comedy exploring that which unites all great nations, including ours, in this modern age: electoral fraud. This charmer from Iran features the traditional buddy-cop teaming of female voting official and male soldier-chauffeur as they travel to a distant island in order to rock the vote. Satirical targets include elections in general, Iranian elections specifically, and attitudes toward women most of all.
Chandler and Hugh Grant's girlfriend unite for a rollicking, Vicodin-fueled road adventure that has something to do with a million dollars, divorce papers, purple cowboy hats. A warning: it sucks.
Sex and Lucia
After reading local writer Lorenzo Alvarez's novel, Lucia shows up at a bar where he drinks, pledges her love to him, and says that they should move in together immediately. He accepts, and so their intensely sexual and loving relationship begins. When complications arise, their relationship hits a breaking point and tragedy strikes. Lucia then flees in order to uncover Lorenzo's past. The scenery in the film is beautiful, the acting is great, and Lucia (played by Paz Vega) is reason enough to drop the seven bucks, considering she's one of the most beautiful women ever. Ultimately, the film is motivating--it posits that destiny exists, but you have to go out and find it. (Katie Shimer)
A film director loses his lead actress halfway through production and, desperate to finish his "masterwork," decides to create his own actress via computer. This is the plot to Andrew Niccol's Simone--a bland, unfortunate Hollywood satire that aims to skewer the cult of celebrity, but instead manages to shoot itself in the foot. As a comedy, Simone manages a few well-placed shots (the bulk of which come courtesy of the always brilliant Catherine Keener), but as satire, it fails miserably due to the sheer unbelievability of the storyline's various twists and turns. (Bradley Steinbacher)
Completely unnecessary. The plot: Usually funny Jason Lee, and perpetually unfunny Tom Green, turn to criminal endeavors in an attempt to send Lee's niece to Harvard. Hilarity is nowhere near this debacle, which is a shocking achievement considering Kids in the Hall alum Bruce McCullough is behind the lens. I'd try harder to convince you to stay away, but chances are this flick won't be in theaters long enough for you to see it. (Bradley Steinbacher)
A teenage Fatal Attraction, where doggy Erika Christenesen seduces cutie Jesse Bradford into humping her, even though he's got the best girlfriend in the whole world. When he doesn't want to hump anymore, she inexplicably sets out to kill him and everyone he knows. (Katie Shimer)
A Thing of Wonder
Local documentary makers (remember their short film on Lucky Buster?) train their unblinking camera eye on an 84-year old magician, inventor, and dreamer. Like spending an evening with a very energetic and imaginative grandfather, the film balances sensations of awe and woe for the old man as he offers his tricks, opinions, and treaties on reality. (Phil Busse)
Director Benoit Jacquot has managed to put the hot-to-trot into the hoity-toity of opera. According to people who like opera, this is one of Puccini's greatest operas. WHAT-ever! This is a film adaptation of an opera that has what it takes to hold my attention: A corrupt police chief soliciting yummie sexual favors in exchange for setting her lover free. What a complicated love triangle that makes! Jealousy, passion, murder. Sure it has guttural singing, but unlike real opera, it's not boring!
An ex-Special Forces behemoth is hired to kidnap the daughter of a Chinese crime boss. Written by Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita) and Cory Yuen (Romeo Must Die) directs.
A lesbian named Casey and her partner live together on a boat. Casey, however, is forbidden to bring her partner home to meet her repressed, dysfunctional New England family, a unit on the verge of collapse under the weight of secrets, deception, and suspicion.
Just how bad is XXX? Worse than you've imagined. Seriously. I would rather be catheterized by a Parkinson's-afflicted nurse than sit through it again. It's that bad. Don't believe me? Then go see it. Flop down the $10 at your neighborhood multiplex and slouch your way through the picture. You'll see--and afterward you'll say, "Shit, man, I wish I'd listened to that chump from the Mercury." (Bradley Steinbacher)