* Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer
Documentarian Nick Broomfield is both a genius and a hack. The director of Kurt and Courtney, Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, and now Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer, Nick might not ask the right questions, but he gets all the right interviews. Aileen Wuornos was a Florida hooker who snapped and, over one year, killed seven johns--some of whom were attempting to rape her. This film summarizes her story up to her execution, and, if you've seen Broomfield's initial Wuornos documentary, will neither startle nor amaze. That doesn't mean it's not entertaining, though, because listening to Aileen Wuornos speak is fascinating. (Katie Shimer) Hollywood Theatre
The latest rendition of The Alamo is perhaps the crappiest movie I have ever been forced to watch. During the one-hour siege scene--a formless and chaotic battle play--I made a grocery list. (Phil Busse) Regal Cinemas, etc.
* All That Jazz
Bob Fosse tells his own story through the fictionalized tale of Joe Gideon, a drug using, womanizing dancer. Fifth Avenue Cinemas
American History X
American History X is what is known in Hollywood as a "problem film," and the one thing all problem films share (aside from their preoccupation with "race problems") is that they're all bad. This is about the transformation of a skinhead (Edward Norton); his apotheosis from scumbag to sage, from Satan to saint. But first he must save his impressionable younger brother (Edward Furlong, the most harmless looking skinhead I've ever seen) from making his same mistakes. (Charles Mudede) PSU Smith Memorial Union Rm 225
* Bon Voyage
Bon Voyage has a big theme (Germany's invasion of France), big actors (in terms of reputation), and big emotions (a young man's eternal love for a famous but shallow movie actress). The speed of the film's narrative is always high, and the characters are kept in constant motion, rarely stopping to rest and look at the big world around them. If this were an American movie, it would have been described as intelligent and even profound; but as a French movie, it is big, dumb, and lots of fun. (Charles Mudede) Fox Tower 10
Breakfast with Hunter See review this issue. Clinton Street Theater
* 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. 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 to do with their lives. Pix Patisserie
* Broken Wings
Facing their father's recent death, the Ulman family attempts to cope with economic hardship and immense psychological pain; this struggle is particularly evident in the exhausted resignation of the mother, Dafna. The oldest daughter repeatedly sacrifices opportunities to advance her music career in order to take care of the two youngest children, while her mother works in a hospital. The teenage son, Yair, quits school and works handing out flyers while dressed in a mouse costume, all the time buckling under the doomy, ephemeral insignificance of human existence. Fortunately, first time director Nir Bergman never resorts to tacky, coercive strategies to convince the viewer that the Ulman family is worth crying for. The score is sparse and infrequently interrupts pivotal moments. When the oldest daughter walks along the highway after being kicked out of the house for insulting her mother, no orchestra swells--it is silence, the most tasteful of heart-wrenching cinematic devices, which surrounds her. (Evan James) Fox Tower 10
* Buena Vista Social Club
Director Wim Wenders and musician Ry Cooder collaborate on this documentary about the Cuban super-group the Buena Vista Social Club. Fifth Avenue Cinemas
Clifford's Really Big Movie
A kid's movie about a humongous red dog who runs away and joins the circus because he fears it costs his owners too much to feed him. If I were him, I'd be more worried about my owners getting sick and tired of picking up my giant poops. The voice of Clifford is played by John Ritter; a moment of silence please... Regal Cinemas, etc.
* Connie and Carla
The story of two women (who already look like drag queens) "disguising" themselves as drag queens to evade a berserk coke dealer, thus becoming dinner theater hyperstars. A formulaic romantic comedy in drag, Connie and Carla has more than a few runs in its stockings, including an unconvincing flock of two-dimensional, clueless drag queen characters. The entire story conspires (predictably) to plunk its leading ladies (Nia Vardalos and Toni Collette) in the center of a wacky, transvest-y slapstick. Although the plot devices are painfully obvious in this regard, the comedy is excellent, and the film is full of impressive drag performances. Most of the narrative simplicity may draw from the fact that Connie and Carla is rated PG-13. The dialogue packs more than a few moments of pro-gay, fat-positive, and pro-drag propaganda, all of which makes Nia Vardalos' new flick interesting, accessible, and potentially subversive to middle-schoolers. (Evan James) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Dogville See review this issue. Cinema 21
Some college student once described a particular hallucinogen as "like being kicked in the head by a psychedelic horse." This is also an apt description of Ella Enchanted, a colorful retch of a film based on a novel by Gail Carson Levine. It retells and modernizes the Cinderella story, mostly through a complete reconfiguring of the plot and a sprinkling of dry, "modern" humor, all of which falls flat. (Marjorie Skinner) Regal Cinemas, etc.
* 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, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Cinemas, Tigard Cinemas
Flicker Super-8 & 16mm Film Festival
Calling all flim geeks! In its fourth year, the Flicker Film Club is a chance for teens to meet-and-greet filmmakers, and chat geek-like about films. Guild Theater
* 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. Spliced with historical footage, the interviews are simple, sober, and bring to the surface an old man who is less remorseful than trying to reason with guilt. Directed by Errol Morris. (Phil Busse) 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
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. (Erik Henrickson) 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) Laurelhurst
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, Lloyd Mall
* Kill Bill Vol. 2
So the question most Kill Bill lovers are asking is, "How in the hell is Tarantino going to top the hilariously bloody finale of Vol. 1?" The answer: He can't. Therefore, Vol. 2 takes a fairly strong detour from the pop cultured, chopsocky love-in of Tarantino's first outing. Instead of the audience being treated to more amputations, this installment focuses more on the inner life of the Bride and Bill. While the first installment explored the expense of revenge, the second focuses on how the darkness of revenge has its roots in the deepest of loves. If Vol. 1 played more like Reservoir Dogs, then Vol. 2 is more akin to the talky sections of Pulp Fiction. In his scriptwriting, Tarantino has certainly tightened up--but I can't say I approve of the way he halves his plot, and switches horses mid-stream. His loving homage to the martial art "grind house" movies is what makes Vol. 1 such a certifiable blast... so why the sudden change from the bloody and gory to love story? (Wm. Steven Humphrey) 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.
Man on Fire See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
* Near and Far: Films by Johan van der Keuken
Johan van der Keuken (1938-2001) acts as his own cameraman, with his wife as the sound operator, documenting culture in Holland, India, Egypt, and the US. Thursday night's program The Eye Above the Well focuses on the daily life of the people in Kerala, a coastal province in southwestern India. Cinema Project
Oscar Nominated Shorts Guild Theater
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) Broadway Metroplex, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Sherwood 10 , Westgate
* The Prisoner, episode 8 & 9
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
For those not in the know, The Punisher is an ex-cop named Frank Castle (Thomas Jane), whose entire extended family is wiped out in an act of gangland vengeance. The perpetrator of this outrage is one Howard Saint, played by John Travolta in a performance that echoes both his own twitches in Face/Off, and Mike Meyers' Dr. Evil. The loss of Castle's family drives him not so much crazy as beyond the law. The film refers to this as the realm of "natural justice" in an anarcho-fascist voiceover that may appeal to your inner torture specialist. It didn't appeal to mine, instead filling me with revenge fantasies about the film, the character, and my giggling co-viewers. (Bradley Steinbacher) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Writer/director Greg Pak has received much critical acclaim for his ability to pull quality performances out of unknown, amateur actors. Now just give him a good script and watch the fireworks fly. For now, we'll have to settle for the recent Robot Stories, a flaccid collection of four short films about robots. In one, a couple must endure a robot baby for a month to prove they have what it takes to adopt a real baby. In another, an old man grapples with new technology that lets him download his consciousness into a digital format and live forever, and in another, two human-like robots fall in love. In terms of cool sci-fi premises, these stories don't make the cut, and Pak seems to know it, investing most of his time developing the humans instead of the machines. But only in the moving "The Robot Fixer," about a mother who works to complete her dying son's toy collection, does he sketch his people vibrantly enough to justify focusing on them over cool robots. (Justin Westy Sanders) Hollywood Theatre
* To Be and To Have
In this really very lovely documentary--without voiceover 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
* 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
Gabriel is a young, hopeful musical-comedy composer who really needs to get laid. One seemingly fortunate evening he cruises Mark, a gay exotic dancer, on the subway and thinks he's hit the jackpot. Simple as that. Or not. When director Jim Fall's feature film debut is really working (which is surprisingly often), it's smiling gently at the notion that anything between two people could ever be simple. There's some misplaced romanticism and more than a little gay fantasy involved in rooting for the Nerd and the Stripper, but Jason Schafer's amiable script is as erotic and funny as it is unlikely. (Steve Wiecking) Blind Onion
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) Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Ctr., Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Sherwood 10 , Vancouver Plaza , Wilsonville
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. (Brian Brait) Bagdad Theater
Yves St. Laurent
From a privileged childhood in Algeria to Christian Dior's protégé, Yves St. Laurent rose fast in the world of fashion. A documentary of sorts finds out more about the emperor behind the clothing and gives insights into his creativity. Whitsell Auditorium