It's 1987 and 13-year-old Jenna wants nothing more than to grow up and become the editor of her favorite fashion mag, Poise. In her way is a group of horrid junior high bitches, and her fat neighbor who carries a Casio and a huge crush. After a particularly traumatic experience, Lil' Jenna uses "wishing dust" to become Big Jenna--a 30-year-old knockout with a closet full of shoes, a hot boyfriend, and her dream job. But what's this? She still has her 13-year-old brain! Which means she doesn't know shit about sexual relationships, backbiting co-workers, or how to insert a tampon. Even worse, Big Jenna has grown up to be a big beaver. Therefore, Lil' Sweet Jenna must correct Big Bitchy Jenna's past mistakes in order to reunite with her fat neighbor (who has grown up to be sexy Mark Ruffalo). "Waitasecond," you yell. "This is like Tom Hanks' Big, except for girls." You got it. And happily, there's no law against that. 13 Going on 30 is a goofy, candy-colored chick flick custom-designed for the 25-30-year-old set that whips by so quickly you practically fly over the plot holes. Regal Cinemas, etc.
* 2004 Student Academy Awards Jurying
A viewing of the top entries from film students in nine different states, in a variety of formats. And it's free! Guild Theater
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius
The artist formerly known as Jesus (Jim Caviezal) tees off in this sporty story of the young Bobby Jones.
* 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
* Boys Don't Cry
Hilary Swank deserves every accolade she's received for her portrayal of Brandon Teena, a boy born in a girl's body, who was killed by hateful people who couldn't, or just wouldn't, understand. Fifth Avenue Cinemas
* Broadcast Video Fest
Show up with your own videos, screen them, and receive feedback. Arrive early if you want to participate, and hey, egomaniacs, no four-hour deconstructions of your breakup (i.e. keep it under 10 minutes). Email email@example.com for information. Newspace
* Carlos Castaneda: Enigma of a Sorcerer
Go inside the life of best-selling author, guru, and cult leader Carlos Castaneda. The filmmakers explore Castaneda's immense impact, controversial teachings, and cult status, intersplicing experimental film footage and dazzling animation. Hollywood Theatre
* 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 and thus becoming dinner-theatre 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. (Evan James) Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place Stadium 6, Westgate
* The Dinner Game
Written and directed by the master of the French farce, Francis Veber, The Dinner Game is an excellent comedy. The story is about a circle of well-to-do snobs who bring idiots to dinner parties to make fun of them. (Charles Mudede) Pix Patisserie
* Eat This New York
What reality television should be, Eat This New York documentarizes two friends' struggle to open a successful restaurant in a former check cashing shop under the subway line in NYC. Hollywood Theatre
When Nick (Jack Black) gets rich quick with his revolutionary dog poop evaporating spray, Tim (Ben Stiller) becomes consumed with envy. Christopher Walken steps in and fans the flames of Tim's already overwhelming jealousy, which drives Tim bonkers.
* 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
An Exceedingly Dangerous Woman: The Radical Life of Emma Goldman
Tonight's film is perhaps the most complete documentary about the mother of anarchism, Emma Goldman's life. Director Mel Bucklin will introduce the film. Following the film, speakers from the Center for Research on Anarchism (all the way from Switzerland) will talk about, well, anarchism. Whitsell Auditorium
* Film Jeopardy!
Watch local celebrities and film aficionados battle for the title of "ultimate film geek" in this live trivia battle. It's a five-dollar admission, but that's a small price to pay for an education. Hollywood Theatre
* 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. Interspliced with historical footage, these interviews are simple, sober, and bring to the surface an old man who is less remorseful than trying to reason with guilt. (Phil Busse) Laurelhurst, Mission Theater
* Get on the Bus
Spike Lee's film about a group of people from very different backgrounds (a gang banger, Hollywood actor, cop, and a white bus driver) making a trek to the Million Man March. PSU Smith Memorial Union Rm 225
Kids are creepy. Cloning is creepier. Therefore, cloned kids are creepiest of all. 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
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.
* In This World
Two Afghani cousins embark on a grueling escape from their homeland to London. First both of the boys' parents must pay huge sums of money to transport them, then the two find themselves in crowded shipping containers, refugee camps, and among people who don't speak their language, all while in imminent danger. Whitsell Auditorium
* 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. (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
Latter Days tells the story of a shallow L.A. fag and the Mormon missionary who enters his life (and more!) to teach him the value not only of spiritual depth, but of patience. The first half of the film is spent waiting for the inevitable moment when the obviously gay Mormon will allow the party boy into the kingdom of his underpants. The rest consists of wondering how and why you could ever possibly be expected to care about the travails and transformations of the two main characters. (Sean Nelson) Cinema 21
* The Laws of Attraction See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Man on Fire
Now, I've nothing against revenge tragedies. However, director Tony Scott (Enemy of the State, Top Gun) is a worthless washed-up hack that should've been kicked out of Hollywood years ago. A retarded lobotomized monkey couldn't ruin a movie with Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning--and yet somehow? Tony Scott has managed to rise to the task. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Robert Altman of Brazil, director Claudio Assis debuts a wild kaleidoscope of personal stories from a steamy, hormone-crazed coastal town. Guild Theater
Mean Girls See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
* Meditations on Revolution I-V w/ Robert Fenz in Attendance
Filmmaker Robert Fenz immerses himself in volitile parts of the world, examining the tension that precedes revolt. Films tonight include portraits of Havana, Cuba, and the shantytown in Rio de Janerio. Also included is Fenz's montage of the subways in New York, Mexico, and San Cristobal de las Casas, as well as his portrait of New York jazz artist Marion Brown. Cinema Project
* Paris, Texas
Wim Wenders' mythopoeic evocation of America--well, Sam Shepard's America--remains every bit as lovely, moving, and, yes, pretentious as the day it was released. (Bruce Reid) Fifth Avenue Cinemas
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. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) 82nd Avenue, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Vancouver Plaza
* The Prisoner, episode 10 & 11
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
* Profiles in Courage: John Peter Altgeld
Appropriately shown on May Day, one from the Peabody-winning TV series. John Peter Altgeld was one of the most politically fearless governors in U.S. history. Taking office after the Haymarket Riot (the spark for May Day), Altgeld pardoned the labor activists and so-called anarchists who were accused of starting the riot. He also stood up for unions and labor causes, in spite of the unpopularity of those issues in the 1890s. Guild 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.
* Red Trousers
A funny and revealing chopsocky exposé on the lives and history of the Hong Kong stunt men known as the Red Trousers, for the red pants they wore while being classically trained in the Peking Opera School. Robin Shou, known to most American audiences from his starring role in Mortal Kombat, directs and stars in this homage. Interwoven into the documentary is a live action short called Lost Time, a futuristic Hi-Ya thriller used to illustrate the nuts and bolts of the stunts. The real star of the film though is the classic and current footage of the Opera School students in training and the montages of stunt scenes from various films. If you like martial arts films, this is a rare glimpse at how it all works. Don't miss it. (Brian Brait) Clinton Street Theater
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
The world's greatest underdog movie, which mirrors the struggle of our local underdog mayoral candidate. Winner of the 1976 Academy Award for Best Picture, the film launched Stallone's career. Can you believe that he actually wrote the screenplay? Really, this film is not as dumb and bullheaded as you may remember; it is a tender story about loneliness and, okay, beating the shit out of a side of beef. Shown as part of the Me For Mayor campaign outdoors, on the side of the Fresh Pot. Fresh Pot
Ticket to Jerusalem
A sweet story about a demure man who travels through Palestine with his bulky movie projection equipment, bringing films to refugee children. Part of the Film Center's series on films from emerging nations. Guild Theater, Whitsell Auditorium
Trilogy 2: Amazing Couple
An animated second in the trilogy, this is the "romantic comedy." A marriage is tested because the husband is a hypochondriac. What makes it interesting is how it plays against the first film, emphasizing the humor by shifting the focus away from the violence, suffering, and politics. (Andy Spletzer) 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. (Justin Sanders) Hollywood Theatre
* Valley Girl
The 1983 flick starring Nick Cage as a punk badboy from LA who busts in on a party in the Valley and gets the attention of Julie, a sweet natured goody goody who just broke up with her boyfriend. Blind Onion
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