A San Francisco cop makes it his mission to find the person who killed the witness he was protecting. Kind of like I make it my mission to hunt down and kill anyone who makes weak coffee. Laurelhurst
* But I'm a Cheerleader
Director Jamie Babbitt's feature debut may be a bit forced, but Natasha Lyonne as a cheerleader thought to be lesbian, is both believable and charming. Lyonne is sent to a homosexual rehabilitation camp run by RuPaul and Cathy Moriarty, and learns the valuable lesson that sexual orientation isn't as cut and dry as one might think. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Blind Onion
* 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. (Justin Sanders) Division Street, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater
Ella Enchanted See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
* End of Summer
Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu's social comedy about an aging man who takes up with his old mistress much to the chagrin of his three daughters. Then he has a heart attack and everyone is heaped with a new set of problems. Guild Theater
* Enter the Dragon
See review this issue. Clinton Street 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) Regal Cinemas, etc.
* Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice
Yasujiro Ozu's critique on the routines of marriage, this film shows an unpretentious free-thinking husband, Mokichi, who is constantly thwarted by his uptight wife, Taeko. When he convinces Taeko's niece to skip out on her arranged marriage, oh man, wifey goes completely apeshit. Guild Theater
The Girl Next Door
This uncredited remake of Risky Business is about a young man (Emile Hirsch) who dreams of getting into a top-notch school. His academic plans are disrupted when he falls in love with the sexy girl next door (Elisha Cuthbert). In this update of the Paul Brickman classic, the love interest is changed from a hooker to a porn star, Guido the killer pimp becomes Kelly the dangerous porn producer, and the business lessons learned from running a brothel become a story about the financial rewards of the porn industry. The whore with the heart of gold is still sweet, but this movie is a whole lot uglier. It's too bad because it starts out so charming, but once money gets involved it all goes to hell--the plot becomes cliched, the twists become implausible, and the message about money being more important than moral fiber is unsavory. (Andy Spletzer) Regal Cinemas, etc.
* 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
* Hedwig and the Angry Inch Sing-a-long
John Cameron Mitchell wrote, directed, and starred in this Rocky Horror-cum-Velvet Goldmine-esque opus about a big-haired megalomaniac singing his/her way across the U.S. With 40-plus costume changes and songs that you will be singing for days, this is pure rock and roll candy which should be seen on a big screen, with big audio, and sung with big voices. Wear a costume... prizes for the best ones! (M. Lon Free) Kennedy School
Admittedly Mike Mignola's comic sounds shitty on paper: Hellboy--a baby demon clandestinely summoned by the Nazis in WWII--is adopted by the good-hearted Professor Bruttenholm, raised in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, then proceeds to fight Nazis and various monsters. Ridiculous premise or no, Hellboy has been a mainstay of indie comics for 10 years, infusing that simplistic premise with insightful characterization and emotional resonance. As those are qualities usually ignored in Hollywood's comic adaptations, Hellboy should have failed fantastically. Instead, it succeeds in ways that no other comic adaptation has. Much of this is because writer/director Guillermo del Toro has fervent faith in the material, a near-perfect cast, and a production design that bears the stylish stamp of Mignola himself. That's not to say it's a flawless transition--cramming the Hellboy mythos into two hours is a tough job, and it shows. Gone are Mignola's lyrical writing and folkloric overtones, replaced with del Toro's kinetic action sequences and sharp visuals. (Del Toro's version feels like Hellboy Lite--just as fun, but only half as filling.) (Erik Henrickson) Regal Cinemas, etc.
* House in the Snow Drifts
Set in 1919 and made in 1927, this film shows the tenants of a small Russian apartment house fighting to stay alive through the winter while Communist and Tsarist forces battle around them. Rather than concern themselves with the conflict, the tenants focus on food and warmth, while one egotistical artist among them effuses about how he's above it all. Whitsell Auditorium
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
The last day of Jackpot's fest starts out with Rolling Stones: Live at Hyde Park, July 5th 1969. An incredibly intense, soulful live performance, it was filmed just two days after original member Brian Jones was found dead. After that, you'll want some comedy, and it comes in the form of Sly Stone! Sly & The Family Stone: Dick Cavett Show 1970-71 documents Sly's appearances on one of the most uptight talk shows ever. Sly and Dick stumble their way through some of the funniest and most awkward conversations in talk show history. Finally, the fest ends with The Cramps: Live at the Napa State Mental Hospital. This newly released footage is odd because the band seems completely straight-faced. Is it supposed to be a joke? Crazy people get up and sing with them. Is it because they're fans? Because they're crazy? (Marjorie Skinner) 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. (Katie Shimer) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Johnson Family Vacation
Cedric the Entertainer and his son, L'il Bow Wow, attempt to drive to a family reunion. Crises ensue. City Center 12, Clackamas Town Ctr., Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV
* King Lear
This 1970 Russian film directed by Grigory Kointsev is said to be one of the greatest film adaptations of Shakespeare, plumbing the depths of pain, suffering, and despair in a way no other version has. Whitsell Auditorium
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. 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.
* Letters from a Dead Man
This bleak Russian film shows a world devastated by a nuclear war that has left few survivors, many of who are dying from the lingering effects of radiation. Meanwhile, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who believes himself responsible for the war spends his days composing letters to his dead son. Guild Theater
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre
* MC5--A True Testimonial
Just about everything you ever wanted to know is included in this band bio of the legendary MC5, even childhood photos. The only disappointing omission is that there's nary a mention of guitarist Wayne Kramer and drummer Dennis Thompson letting famous groupie Cynthia Plaster Caster make molds of their dicks. Otherwise, all the glory days are here, with shots of them humping girls, tales of pissing off Cream, and getting arrested for the famous "Kick out the jams, moootheerfuuuucker!!!" that singer Rob Tyner let out onstage in front of some cops. One of the main characters in the film is Detroit itself, and the impact MC5's hometown had on their development. All the band members are portrayed as maniacally aggro, catapulting through their youth with a feral vitality that's steeped in a love/hate relationship with their home and the establishment. (Marjorie Skinner) Clinton Street Theater
The New Babylon
Made in 1929 (ah yes, the year before the Stock Market crash sunk the capitalist pigs' beloved economy), this film is a highly stylized and overwrought film mocking consumer-based societies. Probably not a film for anyone who has a Banana Republic credit card. 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
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 Prince and Me
If you've ever wondered what goes through a 12-year-old girl's mind while she's jacking off, here is your opportunity to find out: The Prince & Me has one of the most endearingly logic-free plots in the history of cinema. It's a love story about the, uh, Crown Prince of Denmark and Paige (Julia Stiles), a farm girl and aspiring doctor from Wisconsin. (Marjorie Skinner) Regal Cinemas, etc.
* The Prisoner, episode 4 & 5
The Mission is spotlighting this teriffic 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
* Roman Holiday
Gregory Peck 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. Pix Patisserie
* Sing-a-long Wizard of Oz
The wildly popular Judy Garland classic sung by you and a couple hundred new friends. Careful not to choke on your popcorn! Cinema 21
Sinister plots at the White House, the president's daughter gets kidnapped--it's one big, fat West Wing episode, care of David Mamet. Starring Val Kilmer and William H. Macy. Edgefield
* The Trials of Henry Kissinger
Like Christopher Hitchens' book, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, the film makes the case for bringing Kissinger to trial for his war crimes--and he's already been subpoenaed in five separate countries. By using old footage, declassified documents, and interviews with peers, scholars, and Hitchens himself, the directors attempt to prove Kissinger's guilt (both direct and by association) for the massacre of millions of civilians--in Cambodia, Vietnam, East Timor, and Chile. (Sean Nelson) PSU Smith Memorial Union Rm 225
* To Be and To Have
In this really very lovely documentary--without voice-over and with very little obvious agenda--we follow Georges Lopez and about 12 students, from very little kids to unpredictable pre-teens, over the course of a half-year in a one-room schoolhouse, as he gently but firmly guides them toward reading, counting, and something higher and better and more ineffable: being good, thoughtful, communicative people. (Emily Hall) Hollywood Theatre
* Tokyo Twilight
A dark melodrama about two daughters both facing extreme circumstances--one seeks an abortion after her boyfriend leaves her, the other flees from her abusive husband. In the midst of their personal crises, the two women discover that their father has lied to them, and the mother they thought was dead is in town for a visit. Their conflicted feelings are boundless, and the results are devastating. Whitsell Auditorium
* 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 ambience. (Justin Sanders) Fox Tower 10
United States of Leland See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
Vanport: A Survivor's Tale
A student film illuminating the years around WWII, the flood of 1949, and the town of Vanport, Oregon. Laurelhurst
What does a person want from an action movie starring the Rock? Well, if you're me, you want two things: 1) the Rock to walk around with his shirt off and 2) the Rock to beat the living Christ out of a bunch of bad guys. According to my relatively simple criteria for a good Rock action movie, then, Walking Tall completely sucks. The Rock takes his shirt off only one time--he looks great, by the way--and participates in roughly four fights, nearly getting his ass kicked twice. The rest of the film is spent on boring plot development that should've taken five minutes. In short... this movie has way too much blabbing and not enough stabbing. (Katie Shimer) 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
The Whole Ten Yards
Bruce Willis and Chandler from Friends embark on more zany adventures when Chandler's wife is kidnapped by the Hungarian mob. Regal Cinemas, etc.