What happens when a small-town Plain Jane factory worker gets her break as a stage actress? It's a Russian Flashdance, but without all the dancing and splashing around. Whitsell Auditorium
Bloody Sunday is a faux-documentary account of January 30, 1972, when British troops fired on Northern Irish civilians, killing 13 people and wounding 14 others. Propaganda, as a valid art form, can be wicked fun, but this film's determined drabness is no fun at all. With its gag-making handheld camera and austere non-acting Irish actors, Bloody Sunday tries to suggest that it's a serious moral inquiry. How can we tell it's not? Because one side is all good and the other is Eeee-vil. (Barley Blair) PSU Smith Memorial Union Rm 225
* City Slivers and Fresh Kills: The Films of Gordon Matta Clark
The artist Christo is famous for adding to architectural structures, such as wrapping bridges and castles in fabric. Gordon Matta Clark also worked off of an architectural canvas, but instead of adding he took pieces away, "deconstructing" buildings in order to make you more aware of the structures inside. Though the buildings no longer remain, the films he made around them do, and they are fascinating. Working primarily in the 1970s (he died in 1978 at age 35), these films are records of his artistry, and are artistic works in and of themselves. The Super-8 and 16mm films he made are both engagingly amateur and wonderfully intricate. As he says in the documentary Office Baroque, "There's nothing worth documenting if it's not difficult to get." In that spirit, let me just say that the work of this under-appreciated architectural artist was definitely worth documenting, and is easy to appreciate. (Andy Spletzer) Cinema Project
* Dawn of the Dead
No longer content to lumber around like tranquilized robots, the zombies in Dawn, like in 28 Days Later, screech like hellish bobcats, and sprint at their prey with horrible speed. In short, filmmakers have finally figured out how zombies can still terrify this modern world hooked on high-speed wireless connections and instant messenger programs: They must be FAST. A movie with cool gore effects, likable characters, and most importantly, fast-movin' zombies, is guaranteed to be at least a little bit fun and scary. This is proven by Dawn, an entertaining movie with all the aforementioned qualities, and little else. (Justin Sanders) Regal Cinemas, etc.
* DIY Or Die: How to Survive as an Independent Artist
Michael Dean's documentary examines the indie impulse in a series of interviews with the stolid likes of Ian MacKaye, Lydia Lunch, Mike Watt, Jim Rose, Ron Asheton (Stooges), and Dave Brockie (GWAR), all of whom have made a point of doing their art their own way, and many of whom have prospered. Dean will be in attendance at this screening to sign books. The Know
Shoji, a commuting Everyman, has an affair with a typist who he commutes to and from work with, which puts a strain on his marriage. Hilarity and soul-searching ensue. Guild Theater
Ah, hypocrisy. The springboard for high-minded comedy. Director Yasujiro Ozu pits a principled father, who rejected his arranged marriage, against his daughter, who plans also to reject her arranged marriage. But? What's that? Dad doesn't want her to! Guild Theater
* Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Whereas the last Michel Gondry/Charlie Kaufman collaboration, Human Nature, eventually crumbled under its own quirkiness (considerably helped along by the staggering blandness of Tim Robbins), Eternal Sunshine finds director and scribe fitting perfectly together. This is a film that travels far beyond most of our imaginations. It is also one of the most beautifully assembled romances you will ever see. (Bradley Steinbacher) City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Pioneer Place Stadium 6, Tigard Cinemas
Fistful of Dollars
This 1964 spaghetti western stars Clint Eastwood as the mysterious gun fighter who rolls into town and shakes things up. Directed by Sergio Leone. Laurelhurst
* Good bye, Lenin
In 1989, Alexander Kerner (Daniel Brühl) is a young East Berliner not beginning, as he had hoped, a career in space, but one as a TV repairman. Though not happy about his situation, Alexander is not an angry youth, nor is he openly hostile to his mother, whose faith in the Socialist Party contradicts his emerging political beliefs. During a protest against the state, which is brutally repressed by the police, Alexander's mother chances to see him being beaten and arrested by the very cops who serve the party that she is devoted to. The mother faints and has a heart attack, which sends her into a coma. During her sleep, the Berlin Wall falls, East Germany dissolves into West Germany, and the society changes its money, its clothes, its entire mode of material existence. After eight months, the mother awakes, but because she is frail, the doctor strongly recommends that her recovery not be shaken by shocks and surprises. It's at this point that Good Bye, Lenin! becomes interesting. (Charles Mudede) Fox Tower 10
Neil Young's Super-8 film, which is an acting out of his musical novel/album Greendale. Shaky camera work, an improvised script and talk-sung lyrics on Greendale make for an experience not everyone will enjoy, but certainly one for the Neil Young fan. Cinema 21
* Harold and Maude
The 1972 classic in which a death-obsessed 20-year-old kid meets a positive, life-loving 70-year-old. Then they have sex. Preceeded by Deere John, a short film by movement artists Body Vox about a man and his 22-ton John Deere excavator. Umpqua Bank
Hellboy See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Rumor has it that Viggo Mortenson was cast in this bloated desert adventure before he became one of the most famous actors ever via Lord of the Rings. I find it very hard to believe, however... because Mortenson STINKS. Aside from Mortenson, though, Hidalgo could almost be cool. It tells the story of a cowboy at the turn of the century who entered a race in Saudi Arabia across a vicious desert. It's supposedly a true story, but regardless, it's a neat premise. Too bad the script is tepid and meandering and loaded with stupid family-friendly Middle Eastern stereotypes. Pretty scenery, though. And horses. (Justin Sanders) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Home on the Range
Concerning three cows that live on a farm run by what must be a vegetarian (as the animals are treated like pets), Disney's Home On The Range is no A Bug's Life. Rather than making smarty references to contemporary consumer predilections for healthier foods (fat-free milk, free range chickens, and so on), it should have turned its back on our world and only referenced its historical period, the 19th Century. Nevertheless, Home On The Range has two things to its credit: One, it offers a great performance from Cuba Gooding Jr. and two, Home On The Range is mercifully short; the story about three cows who become bounty hunters to save the farm from closure is completed in just over an hour. (Charles Mudede) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Starring Colin Farrell, Colm Meaney, Kelly Macdonald, and Cillian Murphy, Intermission may at first glance appear to be a lob back to those bleak days of the '90s when indie films appeared to exhaust all angles of the crime genre (the film's plot: bank job, dirty cop, eager but simple-headed crooks). But the writing and the performances (what you can make out of them, at least--Dublin accents are not always easy to decipher) make up for the staleness of the premise, and the result is a film worthy of a look, even if it's not an entirely memorable one. (Bradley Steinbacher) Fox Tower 10
* Jackpot Records Music Film Fest See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre
Jersey Girl is not a film for fans of Kevin Smith's previous work, such as Clerks, Mallrats, or Chasing Amy. Why? Because Jersey Girl isn't funny, clever, stylistic, or crude. It's just one of those middling stories about a crappy dad who steps up to the plate and becomes a great dad, putting his career aspirations aside. Ben Affleck is the dad, J.LO is the mom--who dies during childbirth--and a believably Hispanic-looking kid plays the cutesy daughter. Overall, this film provides about 10 minutes of real entertainment, between the time J.LO kicks the bucket and the time Ben Affleck accepts his calling as a wonderful father. After that it's pure sap. (Katie Shimer) Regal Cinemas, etc.
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) Fox Tower 10
Tom Hanks is a con artist who devises a plot to loot a Mississippi gambling boat by taking up residence in the home of a God-fearing widow. He convinces the widow to let him use her cellar as a practice space for his "renaissance quintet"--in actuality a gang of questionably talented criminals (including Marlon Wayans) who intend to dig a tunnel to the casino's money. Due to bumbling circumstances, the heist goes south, and the gang attempts to bump off the widow--a feat easier said than done. The problem with The Ladykillers lies in its clash of styles; scenes including Hanks and the widow play with the sparkling wit of Arsenic and Old Lace, but are interspersed with Wayons' modern-day ghetto comedy. Both are individually funny--but the juxtaposition is annoying. Nevertheless, as a dark comedy, The Ladykillers excels, it's just not what you would call an out-of-the-park Coen Brothers' homerun. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Longbaugh Film Festival II
The three day fest is comprised of dozens of short films and documentaries. Highlights include Friday's 8:45 showing of Afro-Punk, about the African American presence in punk music, Saturday's 6:45 showing of Breakfast with Hunter, a documentary about Hunter S. Thompson, and the Decemberists music video The Soldiering Life, included in the Saturday 3:30 program. Hollywood Theatre
* MC5--A True Testimonial See review this issue. Clinton Street Theater
Had the movie remained within the limits of its basic plot, and stayed enclosed within this vibrant section of Paris (the busy narrow street; the boy's dark, book-packed apartment; the bright piazza where a teen girl practices American dance moves; and the small but well-stocked store), it would have been perfectly charming. But instead, the director, François Dupeyron, wanted something more than all he had--a warm relationship that develops between two people who come from opposing religions, ages, and races. This something more that the director wanted to squeeze out of the modest scenario is a major statement, a declaration about the fate of all mankind. (Charles Mudede) Fox Tower 10
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. (Katie Shimer) Cinemagic
Never Die Alone
Never Die Alone, based on a Donald Goines novel by the same name, is a slick noir featuring all the good stuff: sex, violence, drugs, cool cars, and hottie DMX. It's an updated version of the old (white) gangster movies, this time glamorizing the (black) gangsta lifestyle. (Marjorie Skinner) Division Street, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV
* Nirvana! Live! Tonight!
A documentary following Nirvana just as Nevermind really took off. Interviews, live show footage, and Kurt Cobain, all included. Showing in honor of the 10th anniversary of Cobain's death. Clinton Street Theater
Back in 1928, decades before Communism and Marxism would collapse under its own weight, director Sergei Eisenstein actually believed! In his decidedly pro-Marxist reenactment of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, Eisenstein creates an epic classic. Whitsell Auditorium
Osama is not directly about bin Laden. The film is about a little girl forced to disguise herself as a boy to prevent her jobless mother and grandmother from starving under the oppressive Taliban regime--subtle. It's a fantastic film, with invaluable historic significance, but a devastatingly joyless experience. (Marjorie Skinner) Fox Tower 10
Japan's answer to the Little Rascals, this film introduces Kihachi (rhymes with habachi), as a flawed but lovable character, who stumbles through affairs, work, and raising an adorable, but obnoxious youngster. Guild Theater
The Passion of the Christ
Jewish theologians have made a lot of hay recently about the anti-Semitic overtones of Mel Gibson's biblical drama, The Passion of the Christ--and they're right. The film is anti-Semitic. Even more surprisingly, it's hugely anti-Christian. In fact, it's just about anti-EVERYTHING, except anti-blood, guts, and gore. This is the story of Christ as told by Quentin Tarantino's evil twin, and to sum it all up? It's the world's first Christian snuff film; two full hours of Jesus Christ getting his ass KICKED. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.
* The Pink Panther
Peter Sellars returns as the heeeee-larious Inspector Clouseau in this sequel to A Shot in the Dark. And if you think Monty Python and the Holy Grail is funnier, you're an idiot. Pix Patisserie
The Prince and Me See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
* The Prisoner, episode 2
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
* Real Genius
Val Kilmer plays a boy genius who, with the help of his genius buddies, understands not only his intelligence, but how to build a high-powered laser. Clinton Street Theater
It is around 1380, the plague is everywhere, the French govern England, and if you are not a member of the ruling class then life is short and brutish. In the midst of this general state of things, a young priest named Nicholas (Paul Bettany) is caught sleeping with a married woman, and flees into the wilderness in fear for his life, possessing only the clothes on his back and a knowledge of Latin. In the first 10 minutes of The Reckoning, two fantasies are fulfilled. One, the fantasy of medieval sex, which we believe must have been fantastic, because what other form of pleasure was to be had. The other fantasy is less intoxicating; it is the fantasy of a condition that all intellectuals secretly or openly desire: to be reduced to having nothing else in this world but one's erudition. To it's credit, this story is shot in the terms of a documentary. Everything looks real: The forests are dark green and dank, the castle is harsh gray, and the townspeople all look like they're odiferous. The visuals are great but the story, in the end, is merely average. (Charles Mudede) Fox Tower 10
A young man returns to his Siberian home to bury his dead dad. Trouble is, the ground is frozen. And, here's the kicker: It's symbolic! Whitsell Auditorium
Here's more Marxist propaganda from the Film Center: Seven pioneers conduct geological surveys, etc. in the far reaches of Russia. But as the weather worsens, their resolve only strengthens, showing a "quiet heroism, of people doing their jobs for a purpose greater than the worth of any of their individual lives." Gimme a break! We Americans all know what would really happen: They would turn on each other, eat the weak and old and then divide the riches amongst the strong and healthy. Why won't the Commies just admit that they lost?! Whitsell Auditorium
Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation
The impressarios of independent animation return. As always, if you're really, really high, it will be the funniest shit you've seen all night. Cinema 21
* 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! Fox Tower 10,
Walking Tall See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
What the Fuck Do We Know?
Mark Vincente's What the #$*! Do We Know? is a tidy, slick, and thoroughly compelling documentary-infused narrative, which attempts to break the ice of quantum physics without putting us to sleep. The dramatized portions follow a few days in the life of Portland photographer Amanda, affectionately played by Oscar winner Marlee Matlin, as she deals with her separation from a cheating husband. These scenes were filmed at various sites around Portland, which adds a certain resonance to the action. Interspersed throughout the narrative, noted quantum physicists break it down, posing huge questions about reality, and our perceptions thereof. They touch on deliciously radical and heretical topics, but stop short of simple explanations, which gives the film a lovely, meditative feel, while simultaneously making you smarter. (Brian Brait) Bagdad Theater, Kennedy School, Mission Theater