Like all of us, you just don't have time to make all the films you want--cue the One-Minute Film Fest, the fest for filmmakers on the go. Created by the rad arts nonprofit Telegraph, last year's OMFF was an incredibly fun blur in which 25 films were shown in, well, less than a half-hour. During that time, there was not one second of boredom--the bad films were over real quick, and the good ones… were over quick, too. This year's event should be equally, if not more, raucous, as Telegraph is putting out an official call for submissions and has booked Holocene for the screenings on June 18. It's ONE freaking minute, filmmakers! Just submit something. This year, let's aim for a solid 45 minutes! (Justin Sanders) Deadline is May 20. Get an entry form at telegrapharts.org ; it costs $6 to enter, but you can submit as many films as you want.
Okay… so if this Mercury comes out on May 5, then that means there are… let's see here… ah! That's it! Just 14 days until Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith! Shit yeah, bitches! Anakin's TOTALLY TURNING EVIL! He'll have a RED lightsaber! And DARK SIDE POWERS! And Obi-Wan's gonna be all like "YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE!" and there'll be a HUGE LIGHTSABER FIGHT and it's going to be AWESOME! Ahem. To help make those two weeks feel a bit shorter, check out "The Skywalker Paradigm," a free lecture at PSU that suggests Luke Skywalker's actually the villain of the entire Star Wars saga! (Erik Henriksen) Saturday, May 7 from 7-8 pm. PSU's Smith Memorial Student Union, 1825 SW Broadway (Room 290/2).
16 Years of Alcohol 16 Years starts out with boozer Frankie (Kevin McKidd) at an AA meeting, describing how he woke up from a bender, beaten up and with his face frozen to the ground. He talks about how his face was so frozen that he had to wait for the ground to thaw before he could detach his face. This is supposed to be serious--even though it's funny--and it's all spoken in such a pretentious, lamenting, syrupy way that I became violently annoyed by the film during minute two. I kept watching for about another 20 minutes, but faced with no reprieve, I just had to give up. Sure, I love movies about boozers as much as the next guy, but if they start preaching right away, they've lost me. (Katie Shimer) Hollywood Theatre
All of Me Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin share a body--and you'd best believe that wackiness ensues! Jones' Public House
The Amityville Horror 1979's original Amityville suffered from a stupid family that withstood the antics of the terrifying house when anyone else would have ran for the hills within the first week of living there. The new Amityville's characters are equally moronic, but it has better special effects. (Justin Sanders) Oak Grove 8 Theater
, Century Eastport 16 , Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing , Movies on TV , Division Street , Sherwood 10, Vancouver Plaza, Evergreen Parkway , Wilsonville , Lloyd Cinemas , Cinema 99
Ballad of Jack and Rose Taking up the thin line between familial and romantic love, The Ballad of Jack and Rose is not nearly as creepy or sordid as one might think. Inhabiting an old commune, the handsome, rugged father (Daniel Day-Lewis) and angel-faced adolescent daughter (Camilla Belle) toil in post-hippie paradise while classic folk rock accompanies them on the soundtrack. The ballad is rich with incident--it's touching, anguished, disturbing, strange, and occasionally hilarious. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre
Bad Education If Hitchcock's Vertigo collided head-on with a drag queen variety show, the brilliant wreckage would be Pedro Almodóvar's Bad Education. (Ryan Dirks) Cinemagic
Because of Winn-Dixie Based on a children's book about a smiling dog who befriends a lonely little girl and brings back to life a depressed Southern town, this film will largely be remembered only as Dave Mathews' acting debut. When he isn't busy being bashful and reluctant in front of the camera, Matthews sings about his life story or subdues animals in his pet shop with song, Dr. Doolittle-style. (Andrea Chalupa) Avalon , Bagdad Theater
The Best of Ottawa A selection of the best films from the 2004 Ottawa International Animation Festival. Whitsell Auditorium
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie See "My, What a Busy Week!" on page 15. Clinton Street Theater
Crash See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Dear Frankie The adjective "heartwarming" is pretty much a curse at this point, thanks to maudlin, simplistic tearjerkers targeted at the Oprah crowd--so it's a nice surprise that Dear Frankie is both "heartwarming" and "good." (Erik Henriksen) Cinemagic
Double Dare Double Dare documents Jeannie Epper--a stunt woman in her 60s who's struggling to keep working in an industry based on youth and beauty--and the young Zoë Bell, who finds herself trying to find work when her stunt gig on Xena ends. It's tough to watch Epper, who ponders liposuction and realizes that her best days are behind her. But that tone is balanced by the charming Bell, whose skills net her a tryout for Kill Bill. While director Amanda Micheli's disjointed direction makes the film feel longer than it should, Epper and Bell make Double Dare entertaining enough. And they're real badasses, besides. (Erik Henriksen) Hollywood Theatre
Downfall An epic film taking place in Hitler's Berlin bunker, in the last days before the end of the war and his suicide. Much like taking a short trip into one of the circles of Hell, it's a cement-filled world teeming with Nazis who know they have lost, who are getting drunk, planning their suicides, and painfully watching their Fuhrer descend further into failure, frailty, desperation, and rage. (Marjorie Skinner) Fox Tower 10
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room This is more than just a play-by-play look at the rise, fall, and impact of Enron--the film also asks why people act immorally, and (perhaps more damningly) why others allow it to happen. You'll meet the backstabbing, charismatic Jeff Skilling, whose extreme sport outings with other execs echoed the company's survival-of-the-fittest mentality, the Elmer Fudd-ish Ken Lay, a champion of deregulation, and execs whose M.O. was taking strippers back to the office after work. Surprisingly, all of this makes for dark comedy rather than a muckraking expos; rather than pushing its political agenda, Enron simply confronts you with the worst of human nature. (Andrea Chalupa) Cinema 21
Essential Cinema: Avant-Garde Shorts 1964-72 The first in a planned series of influential short film collections, this Cinema Project presentation has a little something for everyone: Graphic sex, people riding escalators, free jazz, and seizure-inducing abstract freak-outs. The can't-miss short is "Necrology," a surprisingly humorous still shot of people leaving their jobs at Pan Am. Other highlights include "Fuses," Carolee Schneemann's aesthetic documentation of lovemaking (filled with manipulated film, fast-paced montages, and lots of money shots), and Michael Snow's "New York Eye and Ear Control," which is pretty boring, aside from the jazz score led by the legendary Albert Ayler. (Ryan Dirks) Cinema Project @ New American Art Union
Fever Pitch Ben (the incorrigibly grating Jimmy Fallon) is a teacher whose life is dominated by his love for the Red Sox. But when he hooks up with Lindsey (the ineffably angelic Drew Barrymore), things get rough--Lindsey's a baseball neophyte, and justifiably freaked out by Ben's fandom. Pretend you're a Red Sox fan, and think of Fever Pitch as one of the Sox's pre-'04 seasons: You have a bad hunch about how predictably disappointing it'll turn out, but that doesn't necessarily make it any less enjoyable. (Erik Henriksen) Movies on TV
, Sherwood 10, Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing , Hilltop , Evergreen Parkway , Cinema 99 , Lloyd Mall
, 99W Drive-In Theater , Milwaukie 3 Theater , City Center 12
Global Super-8 Anniversary Celebration See "My, What a Busy Week!" on page 15, and hit nwfilm.org for complete festival listings. Guild
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy When Earth is destroyed by alien bureaucrats, there's only one survivor: A very perplexed Brit, Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman), who's suddenly alone in a very bizarre galaxy, with just his one alien friend, named Ford Prefect (Mos Def), a towel, and a guidebook. So begins the film version of Douglas Adams' 1979 cult classic of a comedy/sci-fi novel. Thanks to a breezy (if wildly uneven) script, strong characters (namely Zaphod Beeblebrox, the tripped-out President of the Galaxy, played perfectly by Sam Rockwell), and relentlessly witty visuals from director Garth Jennings, Hitchhiker's isn't as good as the book--but as a film adaptation, it's mostly harmless, succeeding at capturing the manic, hilarious spirit of Adams' work. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
House of Wax See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Interpreter Nicole Kidman plays a U.N. translator who accidentally overhears an ominous assassination plot; paranoia perfunctorily sets in, and she's paired with a reluctant FBI agent (Sean Penn). In The Interpreter's best moments, director Sydney Pollack channels the verve and momentum of his Three Days of the Condor--but more often than not, the otherwise excellent Pollack, Kidman, and Penn trust in a tepid, uneven screenplay that's neither fluid nor convincing. (Erik Henriksen) Moreland Theater , Century Eastport 16 , Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing , Oak Grove 8 Theater , Pioneer Place Stadium 6 , Division Street , Evergreen Parkway , Wilsonville , Movies on TV , Tigard Cinemas , Sherwood 10, Hilltop , Lloyd Cinemas , Vancouver Plaza, Cinema 99 , Roseway Theatre, City Center 12
Jim Blashfield Screening Portland-based filmmaker Jim Blashfield presents a selection of his short films and animated music videos. The event is a benefit for Portland Community Media, and will be followed by a Q & A session with Blashfield. Hollywood Theatre
Kingdom of Heaven See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Kung Fu Hustle The latest from Hong Kong's superstar director and star Stephen Chow, Kung Fu Hustle is all over the map: It's part slapstick, part hokey drama, part action extravaganza, and part cartoon--and Chow blends all of these seemingly disparate parts to make a nearly perfect comedy. Hustle feels like the aftermath of an explosion made up of Looney Tunes shorts and classic kung fu flicks; the whole thing's ridiculous, sweet, and astonishingly entertaining. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Lines The third episode of Lines, a series of short films about "piloting a modern sport bike through some of the best twisty roads in the Pacific Northwest." This episode focuses on a dude named "Adrenalin," who rides his Ducati 998 through the Willamette National Forest. Kickass. Hollywood Theatre
Live Flesh One of Pedro Almodovar's best, and most hilarious films. The story of a young man who falls psychotically in love with a sexy drug addict, which eventually lands him in jail. When he gets out, his love is still burning like mad and he goes hunting for the woman again. (Kate Shimer) Guild
Look At Me With an easy, subtle humor and imperfect sympathy, director and screenwriter Agnès Jaoui manages to take a rather droll subject--the self-conscious woes of a young woman--and avoid the annoyances and murderous impulses often inspired by two hours of a girl moaning about how fat she is. Then again, Lolita Cassard (Marilou Berry) has more complaints than just her weight. The daughter of a famous author, Lolita contends with his abrasive and often dismissive parenting, boys who use her to get to him, and the gorgeous, diet-obsessed stepmother who's barely older than herself. Gifted with a beautiful voice and an admiration for her voice instructor (played by Jaoui), it's a moving splendor to see Lolita's struggle for success and affection. (Marjorie Skinner) Fox Tower 10
A Lot Like Love I can already hear the Ashton Kutcher apologists: "Take it easy, it's just an escape." But this film is no escape; it's Hell. And I'm talking about the first circle of Hell, way past the gnashing of teeth and the smell of burning flesh--this is the place where you're strapped to a chair and your eyes are held open by tiny metal fingers, all Clockwork Orange style. (Ryan Dirks) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Maborosi A lonely widow (Makiko Esumi) remarries and moves with her son to a small fishing village, where she continues to search for answers and meaning in her life. BOO-YAH! PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
Melinda and Melinda Woody Allen's latest, has a promising premise: Two playwrights (Larry Pine and Wallace Shawn) discuss the situation of Melinda (Radha Mitchell), an unstable, travel-worn woman who unexpectedly arrives at her friends' Upper East Side apartment. One playwright envisions Melinda's background as a tragedy, while the other invents a comedy. Allen looks at both, and the film delineates the playwrights' respective takes, essentially making two films. Since he's been toying with comedies and tragedies for decades, Allen here has the perfect chance to capitalize on his proficiency in both genres. But while Melinda and Melinda is theoretically two Allen films for the price of one, its sum is far less than even one of Allen's past masterpieces. (Will Gardner) Fox Tower 10
Memento Memento has a lot of starch in it--the film sticks with you for days as you rehearse it over and over in your mind. It's also a movie so good, that you come out of it feeling almost resentful at how good it is--and given that almost everyone is an aspiring filmmaker these days, this resentment is unvarnished jealousy. (D.K. Holm)
Fifth Avenue Cinemas
Millions Danny Boyle's tale of two young brothers (Alexander Nathan Etel and Lewis Owen McGibbon) who find a duffel bag stuffed with cash, and keep the money secret from their widower father (James Nesbitt). Ultimately, Millions becomes less about the money and more about the boys' splintered family; despite a retarded subplot about a criminal looking for the cash and some unforgivably sappy moments, Millions is definitely worthwhile. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10 , Westgate
Mon Oncle Jacques Tati's 1958 French film about technology, tradition, and family. You go, Jacques Tati! Pix Patisserie
Monster-In-Law Sneak Preview Jane Fonda and J.LO star in a comedy. It will probably be about as comedic as this write-up. Which is to say that it probably won't be very funny. At all. Century Eastport 16 , Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Arguably Jimmy Stewart's most elegant and heart-tugging performance. As a gee-shucks do-gooder, Stewart is sent to the capitol to fill the seat of an ailing senator. There he is besieged by cigar-chomping lobbyists who plan to make him their puppet--but Stewart makes a stand! A filibuster has never been so edge-of-the-seat exciting before! Still not convinced? Well, consider this: This screening of Mr. Smith is a benefit for NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon! Laurelhurst
One Missed Call In principle, I'm forced to recommend this film, if only because it implies that cell phones are EVIL. I realize that statement makes me sound like an 85-year-old Amish woman, but still: Cell phones are annoying as fuck, and while I'm a hypocrite (I have one, just like every other person on the planet), I'd like to see them all burned, stomped, and disconnected. And that goes double for the phones in Takashi Miike's One Missed Call, which possess a nifty voicemail feature that enables the phones' owners to hear messages from their future selves... as they scream and die! It's a catchy, pulpy premise, and if you're thinking One Missed Call sounds a lot like another Japanese horror film in the vein of Ringu or The Grudge, you're right. Miike's a constantly interesting and daring filmmaker with plenty of rabid fans--but whether or not he's a good choice to helm material this mainstream (the main character, Yumi, is played by Japanese pop star Kou Shibasaki) is definitely up for debate. (Erik Henriksen) Clinton Street Theater
Palindromes See "Pain 'n Pathos", page 43. Fox Tower 10
Paper Clips Paper Clips follows what happened when staff members at Whitwell Middle School in Tennessee decided to teach their almost exclusively white, Protestant students about tolerance. Teachers developed a curriculum that used the Holocaust as an example of unchecked intolerance; after finding it difficult to conceptualize the number of Holocaust victims, students set out to collect one paperclip for every Jewish death--six million paperclips. This well-meaning but schlocky documentary follows the project from its inception to the final creation of a Holocaust memorial in Whitwell. (Alison Hallett) Hollywood Theatre
Random "B" Movie The folks at XV present--you guessed it--a random "B" movie. XV
The Ring Two I really shouldn't recommend The Ring Two, because it's neither good nor scary. That said, it does have a hilarious scene in which a bunch of CG deer attack a Volkswagen Jetta--and you can bet your sweet ass you aren't going to see that in Million Dollar Baby or Hotel Rwanda. (Erik Henriksen) Avalon , Mt. Hood Theater , Mission Theater
Robots It'd be too easy to proclaim that the only mainstream animation that's worthwhile is Pixar's--but if their rivals don't start kicking it up a notch, that statement isn't just going to get easier, it's also going to gain credence. Robots is just lazy; as easily as you can foresee its boring plot, you can predict its characters. (Ewan McGregor voices Rodney Copperbottom, who's a sweet, by-the-numbers mechanical protagonist, while with Robin Williams' Fender, the filmmakers have managed to create a character who's as annoying and unfunny as Williams himself has become.) (Erik Henriksen) Lloyd Mall , Movies on TV , Vancouver Plaza, Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing , Evergreen Parkway , Tigard-Joy Theater , Milwaukie 3 Theater
Sahara It's never a good sign when all I can remember about a movie is the leading actor's mustache. But... there you have it. Sahara is one of those wisecracking, adrenaline-pumped thrill rides that Hollywood consistently makes, and consistently makes incorrectly. But ohhh... that mustache. That pervy, prickly, sexy-lookin' mustache. It's why Burt Reynolds works, it's why Tom Selleck works, and now that Matthew McConaughey wears one, we can finally forget about his ceaseless string of awful movies, which naturally includes this one. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Schultze Gets the Blues Gently funny, this film is full of the sort of geriatric humor that ensues from putting a fat old German guy in an unfamiliar environment. (Marjorie Skinner) Fox Tower 10
Sideways Paul Giamatti plays Miles, a would-be writer who accompanies his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) on a weeklong trip through California's wine country. While Sideways is enjoyable, it's ultimately unsatisfying--we watch as Miles and Jack are stripped of all their illusions, but we never find out what they're replaced with. (Alison Hallett) Laurelhurst , Edgefield
Sin City A brilliantly creative, enormously cool piece of pop art; a film that has bigger balls, more fun, and a bigger heart than a year's worth of standard blockbusters. Based on Frank Miller's dark, pulpy, neo-noir graphic novels, and co-directed by Miller and action master Robert Rodriguez, the film isn't flawless (it's unerringly faithful to the comic, and at times, Rodriguez and Miller unintentionally demonstrate that what works in literature doesn't always work in cinema), but what Sin City gets right, it gets really fucking right. (Erik Henriksen) City Center 12 , Century Eastport 16 , Broadway Metroplex , Evergreen Parkway , Tigard-Joy Theater
, Westgate , Lloyd Mall
Student Film Screening Students of the Northwest Film Center show their stuff. Old Town Pizza
Super-8 Swap Meet & Trade Show/It Came from the Classroom Super-8 camera and antique dealers peddle their wares, and reps from Kodak and Forde Motion Pictures will be on hand. If you have Super-8 equipment to sell, bring it--and if you're looking for rental items, come for those, too. Whitsell Auditorium
Up and Down The racism bred out of the mass immigration to a now-democratic Czech Republic is the core theme of Up and Down; the movie begins with two criminals smuggling a group of refugees into Germany by truck, but once they get safely across the border (and the refugees disperse into the forest), the two criminals realize a baby has been left in the vehicle. Further intriguing plotlines are explored, and the filmmakers do a beautiful job of making the viewer sympathetic to both the refugees and the Czech people, who feel overburdened by their presence. True, no huge lessons are learned about racism--but instead, we witness a fascinating account of a country in a difficult predicament with no immediate solution. (Katie Shimer) Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing
The Upside of Anger The Upside of Anger makes an all-too-blatant grab for the award-friendly glory road well plowed by the likes of American Beauty and Terms of Endearment, yet is nearly redeemed by a cast that wrings out every last bit of potential from the formula. After being abandoned by her husband, a brittle housewife (Joan Allen) strikes up a boozy relationship with the scruffy ex-jock next door (Kevin Costner). Since you're going to eventually end up seeing it anyway, best to shrug off the flailing stabs at higher meaning and enjoy it for what it gets right: Two fine, yet often neglected, actors teeing off on a series of telegraphed pitches and repeatedly knocking the damned cover off of it. (Andrew Wright) City Center 12 , Evergreen Parkway , Lake Twin Cinema , Lloyd Mall , Westgate , Fox Tower 10
A Very Long Engagement A Very Long Engagement is directed by Amlie's Jean-Pierre Jeunet and it stars Amlie's Audrey Tautou, which is pretty much all you need to know. (Erik Henriksen) Laurelhurst
Winter Solstice Jim (Anthony LaPaglia) lives with his two sons, Gabe (Aaron Stanford) and Pete (Mark Weber), in a fairly wealthy-looking suburb. His wife/their mother died a few years back, and the three of them are just kicking it, having reached the point of being able to cope with the tragedy, but still mired in a slightly depressed rut as they wait to completely move on. Other than that, there's no plot, really, and no one has any life-affirming realizations, which makes Josh Sternfeld's Winter Solstice a pretty accurate portrayal of how an upper-middle-class family would react to losing a loved one. It's like real life, and like real life, it's really, really boring. (Justin Sanders) Fox Tower 10
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown An early Pedro Almodovar flick about a soap opera actress who loses her marbles after she's dumped by her lover via answering machine. A crazy supporting cast (including Antonio Banderas) only adds to the mayhem. Guild
XXX: State of the Union The ludicrous XXX: State of the Union begins with a tranquil farm scene--and then, before you've even been able to decipher whether or not what you're watching is another preview--it blasts into action as suddenly as the bullet trains, souped-up sports cars, and helicopters that star in the movie. The effect is somewhat like being on a jerky rollercoaster with bad one-liners, clichs, a couple of killer-fast loops--all brought to you by your host, Ice Cube, who pulls off the laugh-out-loud hilarious stunts with the same amount of brow-furrowing most people use to execute a tricky shot in billiards. (Marjorie Skinner) Century Eastport 16 , Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing , Oak Grove 8 Theater , Broadway Metroplex , Division Street , Movies on TV , Wilsonville , Tigard Cinemas , City Center 12 , Evergreen Parkway , Hilltop , Vancouver Plaza, Lloyd Cinemas , Sherwood 10, Cinema 99