Alien vs. Predator
Quite possibly the worst idea in the history of film: take two established and respected sci-fi/horror franchises and toss them in a blender, then let the utterly incompetent director of such classics as Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat randomly punch the "puree" and "dice" buttons. Oh, and there's a love story between one of the human protagonists and one of the Predators. I shit you not. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

The Best Two Years
Another one of those freaky Mormon movies, but this one's jam-packed with polygamy sex parties. (No, not really.) Westgate

Code 46
Beginning with that dependable sci-fi standard--a lengthy text prologue--Code 46 establishes a slew of almost-understandable, not-quite-interesting plot points, all of them having something to do with tickets called "papelles," the Sphinx (which is either a snappily renamed world government or a snappily named corporation that might as well be the government), and scorching deserts and sterile cities. Somewhere in there, William (Tim Robbins) falls in love with Maria (Samantha Morton), paving the way for papelle fraud, some off-putting bondage play, and a disconcerting Oedipal revelation. Not every sci-fi flick needs to be as bombastic as Star Wars or as tech-heavy as Star Trek, but Code 46's middling refusal to commit to either sci-fi or drama makes it the cinematic equivalent of the film's sprawling deserts: thoroughly dreary and ultimately emotionless. (Erik Henriksen) Pioneer Place Stadium 6

Collateral
Jamie Foxx stars as Max, a cab driver in the hellish sprawl of Los Angeles. Max picks up Vincent (Tom Cruise), a hit man who needs to be shuttled around the city to make five messy appointments. As good as both Cruise and Foxx are, Collateral nonetheless fails, both as a thriller and as yet another entry into director Michael Mann's "brooding men" oeuvre. And Collateral is, indeed, just a thriller--the plot is pure pulp, and it should have been nurtured and groomed as such, rather than saddled with foreshadowing coyotes or lectures on genocide in Rwanda. Watching Collateral, you can see the straining--the pulled muscles and tendons--as Mann tries to force the film into something bigger than it should be. (Bradley Steinbacher) Regal Cinemas, etc

* The Corporation
The citizens of the People's Republic of Portland love them some meaty documentaries, and this one will not disappoint. Employing the criteria of the World Health Organization and the psychiatrists' and psychologists' revered Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, the filmmakers present a checklist of psychopathological behavior, then apply those criteria to corporations. Backing up each claim with interviews from inside and outside the corporate world, the filmmakers proceed to check symptom after symptom off of their list. (Michael Svoboda) Cinemagic

Exorcist: The Beginning
No, nobody masturbates with a crucifix in this movie. There is vomiting, but none of it of the projectile variety or consisting of split pea soup. Also, Stellan Skarsg'rd, who plays Father Merrin in this prequel, is like a decade older than Max von Sydow was when he played the character in the original Exorcist. Set in post WWII Egypt, this prequel drags on for close to 90 minutes as a bastardization of The Mummy and Raiders of the Lost Ark until, during the last half hour, it employs its devil's handbag of tricks: Nazis, facial putrefaction, hallucinations, and tasteful, gravelly-voiced statements like "You know you just want to shove your rotten cock in her juicy ass!" Exorcist: The Beginning isn't a total wash, but it definitely lacks the nuance and believability that made The Exorcist such a long-standing nightmare-maker. (Lance Chess) Regal Cinemas, etc.

* Fahrenheit 9/11
What, like you don't know already? Broadway Metroplex, Lloyd Mall

Festival Express
In 1970, a train chugging across Canada was home to some of the biggest bands of the era. Onboard the Festival Express, groups like the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Buddy Guy, and The Flying Burrito Brothers rode across the countryside; ostensibly, they were there to put on a series of concerts, but more truthfully, they were onboard the rolling hippie paradise to party. One would hope that such a happy-go-lucky spirit would translate into an enjoyable film via the footage captured during the trip. Instead, Festival Express' flaws echo those of the music and time it wholeheartedly venerates. In other words, those wanting more substance than can be provided by a protracted jam from Sha Na Na will want to look elsewhere. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10

* The Five Obstructions See review this issue. Cinema 21

* Garden State
First time writer/director Zach Braff plays Andrew "Large" Largeman, a struggling L.A. actor who returns to his New Jersey home for his paraplegic mother's funeral. Large's less than cheery homecoming is uplifted by Sam (Natalie Portman), a compulsive liar who lives with her mother and a house full of hamsters. Sam is carefree, beautiful, charming as hell, and just what Large needs--so of course they meet, hit it off, and you can probably figure out the rest. There are definitely some holes in Braff's writing and directing, but the film's solid enough overall for one to look past its flaws and simply enjoy the story and the characters. (M. William Helfrich) City Center 12, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Cinemas, Roseway Theatre, Westgate

* Hero See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

* Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire
A documentary which asserts that 9/11 was used by the Bush administration to push "a neo-conservative agenda to assert that American hegemony is untouchable." Parts of this film are remarkably solid, others are less so, and some sequences were apparently put together using iMovie, but the film retains an urgency and immediacy missing from most other documentaries. (Erik Henriksen) Clinton Street Theater

Intimate Strangers
The premise of a troubled woman meeting with a mild-mannered accountant to reveal her dark secrets is intriguing, but Intimate Strangers fails to find the right note with it. The main character, Anna (Sandrine Bonnaire), starts talking to an accountant, William (Fabrice Luchini), when she walks into his office by accident--it's on the same floor as the therapist she was actually planning to see. Strangers' tone of self-importance never lets up, and the film quickly becomes tiresome as every little conversation about Anna's lame husband struggles to impress you with its gravity. (Justin Sanders) Fox Tower 10

* "it" (independent tuesdays)
Nocturnal's last Tuesday homemade film and video event. This month's theme: National Geographic. Nocturnal

* Jaws See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre

* Ju-On
Japan's Ju-On eschews America's stale horror formulas, creating instead a pervasive feel of metaphysical creepiness. Ju-On's story begins with a social worker (Megumi Okina) who checks up on a family. What she finds is a house full of creaking noises and sinister shadows, and when she opens up a sealed closet, she unwittingly unleashes the vengeful spirits of a very disturbing little boy and his terrifying mother--who, we soon discover, were brutally murdered in the house. Now, all who enter the house are subject to a full-on haunting. Add a big black floating mass of pure evil hovering over people's beds, and you've got some seriously scary shit. (Confusing, yes... but definitely scary.) (Michael Svoboda) Fox Tower 10

Jubilee
Queen Elizabeth I goes all Marty McFly and visits the Britain of the future--which is a punk-infested wasteland! Yay for punk rock! Yay for Queen Elizabeth I! Blind Onion

Like Water for Chocolate
Tita's (Lumi Cavazos) true love, Pedro (Marco Leonardi), is forced to marry her sister, but he only does it to be closer to her. Her immense sadness over the marriage comes through in her cooking, and when she is forced to make the wedding cake, her tears mix with the batter and soon, the whole wedding party ends up in tears for her loss. Mmm... cake. Pix Patisserie

The Manchurian Candidate
War sucks, dude. There's no Ricki Lake, never enough peanut butter, and your dick can get shot off. Even worse, the enemy might capture you and brainwash you into thinking that the unpopular coward in your platoon saved your life. This seems to be the case for Capt. Ben Marco (Denzel Washington). Having recommended Sgt. Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber) for a medal of honor because of his supposed heroics during the first Gulf War, Marco's nightmares about Shaw tell a different story. (Will Gardner) Regal Cinemas, etc.

Maria Full of Grace
There are a lot of reasons to appreciate Maria Full of Grace, not the least of which are its subtly beautiful cinematography and its impeccable performances. Unfortunately, the film--which follows a 17-year-old Columbian girl, Maria (Catalina Sandino Moreno), as she decides to become a "mule," ingesting pellets full of heroin and smuggling them into the U.S. --doesn't really have much to say, other than being a mule really sucks. Profound, that. Writer/director Joshua Marston's flip-flopping characterization alienates the audience about halfway through, leaving only his simple, heavy-handed moral. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10

* Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
Since the first time I rolled my eyes at my parents or slammed my bedroom door, I've been listening to Metallica. For the most part, Some Kind of Monster shows an older, out of touch Metallica trying to work together to record their shitty St. Anger album. In the end, the film doesn't bring about any huge epiphanies other than "Wow, it must be hard to realize that you used to rule the world, but now you suck." That's enough to make this documentary a bizarre but utterly compelling watch, however--especially if you love the shit out of Metallica. (Katie Shimer) Laurelhurst, Mission Theater

* Napoleon Dynamite
There are plenty of laughs to mine from the pseudo-tortured lives of realistically nerdy, unpopular, and just plain odd 14- to 18-year-olds, and as Napoleon Dynamite proves, young geek alienation is just as fun to parody as its grownup counterparts. (Jennifer Maerz) Cinema 99, Division Street, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Mall, Moreland Theater, Movies on TV, Sherwood 10 , Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza

* Nosferatu
F. W. Murnau's truly frightening Nosferatu (1922), the first film adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Old Town Pizza

* Open Water
Open Water is less of a horror movie than a tense and fascinatingly fatalistic philosophical treatise. With sharks. Susan and Daniel are your all too average 21st-Century couple who take a crowded scuba boat to the middle of the ocean--and due to a very unfortunate series of accidents, are left floating alone in the briny blue. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.

Orwell Rolls in His Grave See review this issue. Clinton Street Theater

* Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism
A documentary that dissects media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the far-reaching influence of his Fox News Network. Reiterating the fact that the network proclaims itself to be "fair and balanced" before demonstrating that it most definitely isn't, Outfoxed uses sarcasm and comic setups to keep the heady material punchy and engaging, with the results approaching high-minded slapstick. (Phil Busse) Clinton Street Theater, Lloyd Mall

* The Piano Teacher
A completely repressed 40-year-old piano teacher who lives with her controlling mother is seduced by one of her students, leading to explorations of disturbing pathologies and S&M disaster. YES! (Katie Shimer) PSU Smith Memorial Union Rm 225

Reality and Redemption
A Northwest Film Center event with Bill Daniels and Vanessa Renwick. Outside the Guild Theater on sails attached to his van, Daniels will project Ponder Yonder, his film about "low-down survival strategies in a world of ecologic and economic collapse." Renwick will use three projectors inside the theater to show Hope and Prey, about life at the top of the food chain, as well as Britton, SD, a found-footage film. That sound relentlessly experimental enough for you? Better be, 'cause Jesus--that's about as experimental as it gets, folks. Guild Theater

* Riding Giants
This fascinating exploration of the culture of big-wave surfing by the director of the skateboarding documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys is distinguished first by the quality of its footage. I have no idea how director Stacy Peralta and his crew managed to get on top of the water the way they do, but the actual surfing in this movie is heroic. It's a cliché to say that surfers live to surf, but after seeing this film, it's a lot easier to understand why. (Sean Nelson) Fox Tower 10

* The Story of the Weeping Camel
A fascinating look at modern life in the Mongolian desert, framed by the slightest of stories about camel relationships. Some of the staged animal interactions can get a little Disneyfied--you can almost hear Phil Collins wailing on the soundtrack--but this combination of narrative and documentary is otherwise irresistible. (Andrew Wright) Hollywood Theatre

* Strange Brew
McKenzie Brothers Bob & Doug (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas) are cast as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in this very Canadian 1982 reading of Hamlet. Laurelhurst

Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2
A film about babies who are geniuses. Ironically, the film will most likely prove to be neither cute nor intelligent. Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Westgate, Wilsonville

Suspect Zero See review this issue. Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Westgate

* Twilight Samurai
At the end of Japan's samurai period, Seibei Iguchi (Hiroyuki Samada) is a low-level samurai who's actually more like Mr. Mom with a samurai sword--since his wife died, he alone cares for his two young daughters and his senile mother. Iguchi's scorned by his peers, who don't realize that Iguchi's hidden, considerable samurai skills are simply less important to him than his children. While the lonely Iguchi realizes he can't continue to deny himself a future when he reunites with his childhood crush Tomoe (Rie Miyazawa), he also discovers that he can't ignore his past. A meditative film that retains an understated beauty through Yoji Yamada's naturalistic direction, even Twilight Samurai's sappy denouement can't take away from the film's steady, engaging portraiture. (Erik Henriksen) Cinema 21

* The Village
There are those who think M. Night Shyamalan is brilliant, and those who think he's an overrated hack. The Village will give both camps plenty of ammunition--it's by far his most confident, subtle, contemporarily relevant film yet, but it's also his most uneven. The film follows the residents of an isolated 1897 village, their peaceful lives marred only by the mysterious, violent creatures that prowl the surrounding woods. (Erik Henriksen) Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV

We Don't Live Here Anymore
It's hard to recommend this movie or not recommend it. It exists in a quality vacuum. It's beautifully shot, rings of hit-you-where-you-live portentousness, and seems intent on evoking nothing but misery and discomfort. Mark Ruffalo is Jack, a college professor living an awful life with his wife (Laura Dern) and two kids. Peter Kraus is a nearby colleague with more accolades, a better body, and a much hotter wife, Edith (Naomi Watts). Ruffalo's Jack is already engaged in a torrid affair with Edith at the film's outset, but his motivations are hazy. He claims he loves her, but then he also hates his wife (it's hard to love Laura Dern no matter how you slice it), and yet he loves his kids, and when push comes to shove he can't leave them. His friendship with Kraus' Hank is also complicated; one built on competition and envy, and there's always the chance that deep down he's just trying to beat Hank at something, anything. On the surface, We Don't Live Here Anymore is about unhappy people skulking around and cheating on each other, but beneath all that is a very twisted comedy of manners, a dark study of repressed people at their most repressed. It's never a boring film, but it's never really fascinating either, largely due to the fact that these characters are so realistically despicable that it's just impossible to enjoy watching them. (Justin Sanders) Fox Tower 10

Wild Zero
See My, What A Busy Week! Mallory Hotel Parking Garage

Without a Paddle
Seth Green, Matthew Lillard, and the curiously funny Dax Shepard embark on a trip through the woods after their childhood friend Billy dies. Despite the juvenile plot (and the presence of Matthew Lillard, the most grating and horrible actor working today), Without a Paddle is funnier than you would think. (Katie Shimer) Regal Cinemas, etc.

Zatôichi
While the Zatoichi (Takeshi Kitano)--a blind samurai who can take out ten 20/20-blessed thugs with a few thunderous swipes of his combo walking stick/samurai sword--is a badass, his movie (also directed by Kitano) isn't quite as cool. An awkward combination of Kurosawa's ponderous Japanese samurai epics and the desperate schizophrenia of an early Jackie Chan flick, Zatoichi attempts too much: It's at once a moving, thoughtful drama, a kickass action movie, and a borderline slapstick comedy... with a few dance routines thrown in. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10