Abouna (Our Father)
Everything you always wanted to know about the country of Chad, but never thought to ask. All done in allegory. Two Muslim students search for their father, and when they get home, their mother imprisons them in a school where they suffer harsh discipline and dream of freedom. Positioned in central Africa, Chad is slightly more than three times the size of California. PCC Cascade Campus
An Indian woman resists patriarchy, but not before she gets brutally raped. An excellent date movie. PSU Smith Memorial Union Rm 225
* Benjamin and His Brother; The Lost Boys Part I
A documentary about two of the 20,000 boys who travelled from Sudan to Kenya. One brother is left behind in a Kakuma refugee camp while the other travels to Houston. Director Arthur Howes examines their stories. PCC Cascade Campus
* Breaking Away
The greatest underdog movie ever. An 18-year-old cyclist from Indiana struggles with his identity as the son of a Midwestern blue-collar worker. Part of the Me For Mayor series, the film is based on the true story of the young man and his ragged bunch of townies (including Dennis Quaid in his breakout role) who are trying to figure out what the hell they will do with their lives. Stumptown Coffee Roasters
The Butterfly Effect
Dude, where's my chaos theory? The latest feature-length advertisement for Ashton Kutcher's bone structure, this film is so stultifyingly poor on every level that unless you're (a) 12 years old, (b) a sadly desperate gay man/straight woman with a thing for hunky morons, or (c) 13 years old, you really have no business watching. (Sean Nelson) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Rodney Dangerfield star in this searing docu-drama of class subterfuge and animal (groundhog) rights. Part of the Mercury Prozac film fest where one is encouraged to yell beer and drink at the screen! Waitasecond... Clinton Street Theater
* City of God
City of God chronicles gang warfare in one of the most impoverished and depraved slums in Rio de Janeiro. It revolves around a young man named Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues) as he struggles to get high, get laid, and finally get a real job in photography so he can get out of the slums. He narrates the film in a dazed, almost aloof tone as waves of drugs, guns, and murder swirl around him. Lush mounds of twisting story lines and visual treats pile up, your eyes greedily devouring them like candy, but never seeming to quite get full. (Justin Sanders) Lloyd Mall
Neve Campbell and the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago star in this dance-centric film about a young woman (Campbell) who is conflicted about becoming a principal dancer in her company. Hollywood Theatre
The Cooler is a small, unremarkable film that's watchable due to one thing: sex. Specifically, a sex scene between William H. Macy and Maria Bello. Director Wayne Kramer has managed to give audiences something all too rare in films these days--a sexy scene that not only causes the audience to flush, but makes sense as well. The coitus in The Cooler is refreshing, fun, and the tangling of bodies helps elevate the entire endeavor above its somewhat middling quality. (Bradley Steinbacher) Fox Tower 10, Westgate
* The Fog of War
From World War II through the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara was everywhere and wrapped up in some of the most destructive aggressions by the U.S. military. It was his brainstorm to firebomb cities in Japan, so that bombs would not just destroy what they impacted but would set fire to entire towns. Under his guidance, U.S. forces in Vietnam relentlessly dropped Napalm. (Oddly, also, in a foray into the private sector, under his direction, the Ford Corp. insisted on seat belts and other safety measures that have saved countless lives!) Interspliced with historical footage, the interviews are simple and sober. They bring to the surface an old man who is less remorseful than trying to reason out his guilt. The parallels to current political leaders are never touched on, but are nonetheless present. Directed by Errol Morris. (Phil Busse) Fox Tower 10
Girl with the Pearl Earring
Girl with a Pearl Earring is stuffy to a fault, no matter how many shots of Scarlett Johansson's pout director Peter Webber can fit in, and the final tally falls somewhere between the best of Merchant Ivory and the worst of Merchant Ivory. Which is to say this: It is a well-made but nonetheless empty and, quite often, outright dull affair. (Bradley Steinbacher) City Center 12, Fox Tower 10, Movies on TV
* Jaques and Julia Cooking at Home
Pix Patisserie presents episodes of the popular cooking show as part of their FREE Tuesday night screening series. Cooking shows are perfect Tuesday night entertainment as they are extremely relaxing, yet highly entertaining. Pix Patisserie
* Lessons Under the Sun
Forty minutes highlighting the conditions in rural Afghanistan, concentrating on the poor education system. La Palabra Cafe Press
A Meaty McMeat DVD Release
Animated boy humor; farts, human organs, and poop. The Know
The U.S. hockey team upsetting the seemingly indestructible Soviets at the 1980 Olympics was truly one of the great moments in sports, when politics, teamwork and pride all meet in one supernova nexus. A chimpanzee with a camcorder and 20 guys on skates could make an exciting film based on the true story. But Disney nearly blows it. Long drawn-out moments where players wrap their sticks or stare blankly at the ice rinks hardly substitute for the raw emotions. Moreover, Disney's nod to the historical context is so dismissive it is insulting to a third-grader. Please! Showing one headline about the Soviet's invasion into Afghanistan hardly imports the fear and hatred of the Cold War. Go back to the Mighty Ducks, Disney! (Phil Busse) Regal Cinemas, etc.
In an amazing feat, Charlize Theron not only manages to look like complete crap, she does a spectacular job of playing notorious serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Mimicking her telltale mannerisms perfectly, Theron plays the part with total believability. Her performance--and the smart direction of the film--evoke sympathy, anger, disgust, and an overwhelming emptiness. Granted, seeing a movie about a woman whose life went from child abuse to prostitution to rape to murder to betrayal by her lover to execution isn't a fun time; but it effectively makes you ponder the immense good and evil in humanity, and quite possibly, it will make you cry. (Katie Shimer) City Center 12, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Cinemas, Roseway Theatre
* Pieces of April
Starring Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, and Oliver Platt, Pieces of April has a look and feel that I hesitate to label "documentary-like." Gritty due to its transfer of digital to celluloid and mainly handheld, there is a certain spontaneity in the film, almost an improvised feel, that is enhanced by the sharp cast. Clarkson is particularly good, becoming the heart of the film that the rest of the group rotates around. (Bradley Steinbacher) Laurelhurst
As if the start of World War II had not been over-mined already, a soupy story about a young bride left behind by her Wisconsin farmboy husband. Hollywood Theatre
* The Revolution Will Not be Televised
Even if you're well versed in the events that occurred in Venezuela on April 12-13, 2002--the two-day failed coup d'etat against democratically elected President Hugo Chavez Frias--nothing will prepare you for the footage in The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The Irish filmmakers, Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Briain, were allowed intimate access to the presidential palace before, during, and after the coup, yielding chilling footage, and a possibly unprecedented cinematic look into the political machinations of overthrow. (Julianne Shepherd) Laurelhurst
* Superchunk: Quest for Sleep
The flagship indierock band is documenterized. Hollywood Theatre
* The Tokyo Godfathers
The animated adventure of a transvestite, a middle-aged bum, and a young girl, all homeless, who find a baby and a key in some trash and search for the baby's home. Clinton Street Theater
* Touching the Void
Have you heard the one about the two English men who tried to climb an icy mountain in Peru? One slipped, fell, and broke his leg. The other left him for dead. Now they've made a movie that would make make Ansel Adams blush! City Center 12, Fox Tower 10
* The Triplets of Belleville
An animated French film that speaks nary an intelligible word throughout its entire 80-minute running time, Les Triplettes de Belleville's jaw-dropping artwork alone could have kept me riveted for hours. Physically exaggerated characterizations and dark, dank urban landscapes give the film a particularly strong noir sensibility, and in the void of spoken word, layered sound effects add to the feeling of ambience. (Justin Sanders) City Center 12, Fox Tower 10, Tigard Cinemas
* Vote Fucker Film Fest
Filmmaker Joseph Hilsenrad will show his modern political adaptation of Dr. Seuss' timeless cartoon classic: Horton Hears a Who. The feature presentation is Uncovered: The Truth about the Iraq War--a point by point deconstruction, by experts and former intelligence officers, of the Bush Administration's shady reasons for war. Also showing: Counting on Democracy, a disturbing peek inside the Florida election scandal. The Know
* Waiting for Happiness
A 17-year-old boy goes to a small Mauritanian villiage to say goodbye to his mother before departing for Europe. Even though he does not speak the native language, the simple goings on of the town intrigue him and he is sucked into the villagers' stories. PCC Cascade Campus
* White Line Fever
Jan Michael-Vincent stars as a happy-go-lucky 18-wheeler whose buttons get pushed by the corrupt owners of a trucking company. This tight B-movie action/adventure was made at the height of the CB/Trucker craze of the '70s, and co-stars the mighty Slim Pickens. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Blind Onion
* The Wild Bunch
Aging cowboys attempt one last train heist. They battle fiercely with horses and Winchesters while automobiles and pump action shotguns fight back. Yee Haw! A restored 35 mm print of this Peckinpah classic. Cinema 21
* The Witness
A documentary about, get this, a construction worker whose life goes from hopeless to politically active after an encounter with... a kitten. A hard film to miss. Proceeds of tonight's show, put on by Food Fight! vegan grocery, go to the Oasis Sanctuary. Hollywood Theatre
SEE FILM TIMES P.49
FOR TIMES AND THEATERS
A story of thwarted love, a young man dedicates himself to art and falls for a Jewish girl much to the chagrin of his devout Muslim parents.
The Agronomist (US)
A portrait of Jean Dominique, the Haitian radio personality who courageously campaigned for democracy.
* Blind Shaft (China)
Two men working in a illegal coal mine kill a man, claiming he is their relative and threatening to tell the government about the mine if the employers don't pay up. The scheme works well, but when they choose their next victim, a 16-year-old boy, they are stricken with a bout of conscience.
The Bookstore (Tunisia)
Jamil returns from Paris after a failed love affair and gets a job in a bookshop under the apartment where his mother lives. While working there he falls for the boss's wife, but her ambitions are too big for both her husband and Jamil.
* Bright Leaves (US)
Director Ross McElwee returns to his family's birthplace in the South to research their involvement in the tobacco industry.
Bright Young Things (Britain)
Actor/comedian Stephen Fry brings Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies to the screen; a story of England's roaring '30s and the eventual hangover of World War II. Though he wishes for a screw-ball comedy with dark undertones, Bright Young Things has a strained symbolism and forced perspective that's absent in the brilliant PBS adaptation of Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster; a miniseries in which Fry excelled. (Wm. Steven Humphrey)
A look inside the life of Charlie Chaplin, from his acting, writing, and producing to his numerous love affairs and marriages.
The Corporation (Canada)
Back in the mid-1880s, corporations had the same legal rights as people, shielding them from both good and bad lawsuits. In this activist documentary, if corporations are people then they act just like textbook psychopaths. The conceit is cute, but the movie is too long and a bit too simplistic. (Andy Spletzer)
* The Dreamers (Italy) See review this issue.
* Forest (Hungary)
Seven vignettes portray the "psyche" of Budapest; A father becomes obsessed with his maturing daughter, a woman is haunted by her grandmother, and a stranger breaks into a woman's house trying to pawn off his dog.
Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Taiwan)
A rundown theater in Taipei shows the martial arts classic Dragon Inn as its final film, while the employees and patrons use this final opportunity to express their crushes on each other.
* I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (Britain)
A character-driven thriller, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead follows a retired gangster who gets back in the game in order to unravel his younger brother's brutal murder.
Kitchen Stories (Norway)
A spoof on how science can make for more efficient living, the fictional Swedish Home Research Institute sends observers to examine kitchen habits in 1950s Norway. The subtext of this gentle comedy is a homosexual love story. The "text" is much less interesting. Beware: your grandparents will love it. (Andy Spletzer)
* Love Me If You Dare (France)
An eight-year-old boy and girl take solace in each other (she is teased, his mother is dying), while inventing a pseudo-sexual game called Dare. As they get older, the game becomes something of an obsession as the two struggle to admit their true feelings for each other.
My Architect (US)
Along with designing some of the 20th Century's most impressive buildings, Louis I. Kahn had children with his wife and with two mistresses and then was found dead, broke, and anonymous, in a Penn Station bathroom. If his dull and annoying bastard child Nathaniel hadn't made it, the documentary would have been much better. (Andy Spletzer)
The New Americans (US)
Steve James, director of Hoop Dreams and Stevie organized with other directors to film European immigrants in their country of origin, then track their lives once they reached the United States.
Osama (Afghanistan) See review this issue.
Red and Blue (Germany)
Five stories intertwine at the German/Polish border; a group of Ukranian immigrants try to bargain their way into Berlin, a young cigarette smuggler attempts to free his girlfriend from a detention center, and an interpreter risks her job to help a refugee.
* Red Trousers (Hong Kong)
See inside the life of a Hong Kong stuntman while also seeing plenty of stunts, as the film intersperses dangerous scenes from an upcoming film.
The Return (Russia) See review this issue.
* The Saddest Music In the World (Canada) See review this issue.
Since Otar Left (France)
A French film set in Tbilissi, the crumbling capital of the post-Soviet republic of Georgia, isn't something you'll see too often, but such is the case with Otar, an alleged masterpiece about three generations of Russian women living in the same apartment. Winner of the grand prize at this year's International Critics Week at Cannes.
* The Best of Youth I & II (Italy)
Director Giordana portrays 40 years in the lives of the Carati family, from labor strife, to flood, to economic gain, thus painting a picture of an evolving Italy.
* Twilight Samurai (Japan)
A low ranking samurai spends his time keeping the house and books and caring for his senile mother and two daughters. He is ridiculed by the other samurai, until the clan lord dies and he is ordered to kill one of the master swordsmen.
Two despondent women dump their husbands and head off on a Thelma and Louise-style roadtrip.