Granted, we aren't running times for them (one hasn't quite opened yet, and the other's clear the fuck out in Tualatin), but FYI: There are two new theaters opening up (sort of) in the area. There's Vancouver's hoity-toity Cinetopia--which will boast a Tapas-style restaurant, a "lush botanical garden," "ultra-comfortable leather seating," and art galleries (and--oh yeah--movies) when it opens on July 29. And already regaling Tualatin residents with "The 2wenty" is Regal's Bridgeport Village. For more info and showtimes, hit cinetopiatheaters.com or fandango.com.
Deadlines are approaching: First, there's the Oregon Sports Authority's Portland Action Sports Film Contest, with short films about sports competing to be shown at the Dew Action Sports Tour on August 18-21. Deadline's July 25; hit oregonlive.com/contests/action for details. And then there's the Northwest Film Center's 32nd Northwest Film & Video Festival, which is seeking "submissions of any length and genre" from Northwest filmmakers. Deadline's August 1; check out nwfilm.org for more info. 29th Young People's Film & Video Fest Screenings of shorts, dramas, documentaries, animation, and drama by talented K-12ers across the Northwest. Guild
Cecil Taylor: All the Notes See review this issue. Clinton Street Theater
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Crash Crash, the directing debut of Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis, certainly doesn't want for hubris, but ultimately it's an exhibit of laudable ambition overwhelming Haggis' still-developing narrative abilities. Although Haggis' would-be epic portrayal of race relations in Los Angeles sports a handful of genuinely searing moments, it's hard to shake the sense of someone constantly rearranging 3 by 5 cards behind the scenes for maximum impact. (Andrew Wright) Fox Tower 10 , Westgate
Dark Water Desperate to move away from the deadbeat father of her child, Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly) and her daughter, Ceci (Ariel Gade), find an apartment complex that resembles a penal colony. Sure enough, some shit starts to go down: The kid gets one of those creepy "imaginary friends" that are all the rage these days and the faucets start pouring putrid water with a sinister randomness. Turns out the imaginary friend in question has abandonment issues, and so steers Connelly & Co. on a crash course to Scaresville to compensate. It's all very mechanical. (Justin Sanders) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Devil in a Blue Dress Denzel Washington, as private detective Easy Rawlins, gets caught up in scandal and mystery in 1948 L.A. PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
Elective Affinities Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's adaptation of Goethe's 19th-century novel, placing the story in Tuscany during the time of Napoleonic Wars. Don't get too excited, now. Guild
Eros A trio of short films by directors with disparate points of view, coming from diverse backgrounds. Wong Kar-Wai ("The Hand"), Steven Soderbergh ("Equilibrium"), and Michelangelo Antonioni ("The Dangerous Thread of Things") make up the directorial team, which sets out to explore the title's stated theme of love and sex. But Eros' results are so varied that they simply cannot be assessed as a whole, other than that they are presented in descending order of quality. (If you have to pee, do it during Antonioni's segment. In fact, go ahead and take a long shit.) (Marjorie Skinner) Laurelhurst
Fantastic 4 Perhaps of all the films cranking out of the Marvel machine, none carry the stink of failure more prominently than Fantastic 4. Simply put, it's hard to accept that a walking rock pile, a see-through woman, a human matchstick, and a rubberized nerd can save the world. Perhaps director Tim Story (Taxi) had low expectations for this project as well, because he never tries to overcompensate for the lack of a huge operatic story--and that's why it works. It captures the humor and isolated feeling of the original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby comics, without the strained bombast of recent Marvel outings. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Films of Cat Solen A collection of Portlander Cat Solen's films, which include animation and live action elements. Presented tonight will be 2002's Milk and 2004's Bowl of Oranges, and--here's what you're really excited for--the premiere of her new music video for Bright Eyes. 'Cause everybody loves Bright Eyes, right? Whitsell Auditorium
Flamenco After a brief introduction to the history of flamenco, brace yourself for an EXPLOSION of dance numbers from over 300 of Spain's flamenco artists! Guild
Francisco Sánchez: Paco de Lucia Daniel Hernandez's documentary about Francisco Sánchez, a flamenco guitarist who also incorporates elements of bossa nova and jazz. Guild
Happy Endings See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
Heights Heights is completely indefensible as a genuinely quirky or intelligent film, despite its pretensions to the contrary (which are legion). This does not, however, keep it from being totally awesome. Premise: In preparation for an exhibit in New York City, a famous gay photographer asks his assistant to interview all of his former models. Said photographer, who never actually appears in the film, is notorious for fucking all of his subjects, so these interviews open a big ol' can of hot, slutty worms. There's a little too much screen time devoted to Elizabeth Banks' bland, blonde rich-girl character (Banks is, essentially, Parker Posey lite), but otherwise this is a fun film, full of pretty people doing trashy things. (Alison Hallett) Fox Tower 10
Herbie: Fully Loaded In the year's time since Lindsay Lohan committed her masterstroke in Mean Girls, the world (which is to say, mostly just the staff of this paper) has lived solely in anticipation of the formerly buoyant actress' next masterpiece. But Herbie is, as those less feverish might have already imagined, utterly joyless in most every sense--and not just because Disney digitally reduced Lindsay's ample assets by as much as two bra sizes. (Zac Pennington) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Howl's Moving Castle The latest from genius Japanese anime filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. A young girl, Sophie, is transformed into a hunched, wrinkled old woman--confused and frightened, she hobbles out to the misty countryside, hoping to find Howl, an enigmatic young wizard who might be able to help her. To proselytize: Go see it, right now. To use what sounds like hyperbole, but isn't: It's amazing. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10
Lords of Dogtown Lords of Dogtown, the mass-marketed dramatization of the excellent skateboarding documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, isn't a bad film so much as an unnecessary one. Sure, the human elements of the Z-Boys' story get more room to breathe than they did in the doc, but there's no new viewpoint added to the Z-Boys mythos; the super-slick, Sony-produced Dogtown just feels like a retread of the documentary, and one written as if it were a tween-targeted pilot for the WB. (Erik Henriksen) Avalon , Laurelhurst
Mad Hot Ballroom Enjoy watching this documentary about Puerto Rican children who compete for first place in a do-or-die ballroom dance competition between New York public schools. Witness a little kid who can't speak English woo the crowd with his scandalous Cuban motion. See elementary schoolers dance. Feel simultaneously proud and jealous. (Evan James) Fox Tower 10 , City Center 12
A Man for Burning From the NWFC's press release: "The Tavianis' first feature audaciously mixes neorealism with the expressionistic, Brechtian theatricality that would later come to characterize their work." Gasp! Well, that certainly does sound audacious! Maybe too audacious! Guild
The Man Who Copied Good kids get away with all manner of criminal behavior in this cheerful coming-of-age story about a boy with a dead-end job operating a photocopy machine. It's easy to sympathize with the frustrated ambitions of the copy boy, but there's always something creepy about movies where the screenplay attempts to soothe guilt about voyeurism by assuring the viewer that the girl in question was an exhibitionist all along. (Anne Wagner) Whitsell Auditorium
March of the Penguins See review this issue. Cinema 21
MACTARNAHAN'S OUTDOOR SUMMER CINEMA SERIES Every Friday and Saturday this summer, Mac's presents free films--plus "BBQ, beer, wine, and outdoor libations"--in Pyramid Breweries' Taproom parking lot! This Friday: The Blues Brothers. This Saturday: Animal House. God bless John Belushi, and bring your own chairs. Me and You and Everyone We Know A wildly heartbreaking movie that manages to be both sweet and dark in the same breath. Written and directed by ex-Portlander Miranda July (who also stars), Me and You has been on my mind almost nonstop since I saw it. At the heart of the movie are all-too-human individuals creating their own private rituals, rules, and architectures that allow them to create meaningful relationships with other people and the world around them. The characters, all marvelously acted, include a recently divorced shoe salesman, two shy brothers who spend time in adult chat rooms, a young video artist whose day job is driving senior citizens around, and a pair of teenage girls toeing the line sexually with an older man. Every character in the film is flawed and beautiful, lonely and graceful. With nearly every scene packing a dazzling emotional punch, Me and You and Everyone We Know is one of the richest, most delicate, and rewarding movies I've seen in years. (Chas Bowie) Fox Tower 10
Microcosmos: The Films of Ryan Jeffery One of Portland's multimedia artists, Ryan Jeffery, presents his short films and music videos. Guild
Mr. and Mrs. Smith Watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith is exactly like spending two hours with two gorgeous-ass boring people, without even a chance of lackluster eye-candy sex. For shit's sake, the super-hunky Brad Pitt (John Smith) and perfectly pouty Angelina Jolie (Jane Smith) don't even bother to hump onscreen. If you've seen the preview, you get the joke: John and Jane Smith are both assassins, although neither knows their spouse is one, too. It's stupid, boring, and totally predictable. (Katie Shimer) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Muppet Movie You know you love it. Pix Patisserie
My Summer of Love Ordinarily, I hate teenagers. But when they're two fascinating/evil/sassy/silly British chicks who're caught up in red wine, Ouija boards, and a lesbian love affair, well... that's a different story. (Marjorie Skinner) Cinemagic
Mysterious Skin Mysterious Skin is about pedophilia, a topic which is about as played as Columbine. Neil (the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun) and Brian (Brady Corbet) have both been victims of sexual abuse by their creepy baseball coach. Neil is morose because of his past, and goes for a life of clichd and boring hardship. Brian reconciles what happened by believing he's been abducted by aliens. Eventually, the two boys come together and reach some weird sort of peace. (Katie Shimer) Hollywood Theatre
Oh Danny Boy Danny (Blake Hooper) almost fails out of college, lives in a condemned campus theater, and makes zany friends. And that's all IMDB.com has to say about that. Cafe Nola
Oldboy Min-sik Choi stars as the utterly unextraordinary Dae-su Oh, who, without warning or reason, is abducted and imprisoned in a tiny room. Inexplicably waking up on the roof of an apartment building 15 years later, Dae-su discovers he has only five days to unravel the knotted mystery of his imprisonment. Chan-wook Park's brutally euphoric film is an appropriately surreal, bloody, and surprisingly moving story of vicious revenge and shocking mystery. It's not an easy film to watch, but it is a great one. (Erik Henriksen) Hollywood Theatre
Rebound Martin Lawrence plays Coach Roy, a college basketball coach whose temper on the court gets him banned from the league until he can demonstrate compliance. He does this by agreeing to coach a junior high school team, turning the ragtag squad of losers into team players, and everyone transcends to celluloid levels of well-adjusted, principle-centered living. Rebound is so cut-and-paste that I'd rather recommend it for use in a commercial screenwriting class than mock its transparency. The plot moves like clockwork, and also refreshing is Rebound's lack of emotional depth: Every conflict is resolved in under a minute, proving that well-worn emotional manipulation techniques can be therapeutic, at least when offered at a machine-gun pace. (Evan James) Lloyd Mall , Cinema 99 , City Center 12 , Vancouver Plaza
Rhythm and Blues Revue A 1955 concert film featuring Nat "King" Cole, Nipsey Russell, Faye Adams, Big Joe Turner, and others. Followed by an unannounced "jazz jam movie." Cafe Nola
Sing-Along Sound of Music Have you ever seen Sartre's play No Exit? Well, it's about Hell, and how Hell to one person can be being stuck in a hotel room with two other people that annoy the living crap out of them. My version of Hell would be being stuck in the sing-along Sound of Music for the rest of eternity, forced to jauntily sing "My Favorite Things" and wear some jaunty Julie Andrews frock. (Katie Shimer) Fifth Avenue Cinemas
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants seemed to have all the comfortable trappings I've come to expect in vapid tween fodder. Imagine my surprise, then, when halfway through this episodic coming-of-age story a rather startling sentiment began to emerge in my mind: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is fucking delightful. It's a perfectly contrived teen heart-tugger, and a surprisingly enjoyable watch. (Zac Pennington) Lloyd Mall , Milwaukie 3 Theater , Tigard-Joy Theater
Tell Them Who You Are Haskell Wexler is a legendary cinematographer with a reputation for genius, leftist political involvement, and one hell of an ego. This documentary, by his son Mark Wexler, follows him through his cantankerous day-to-day life and interviews old friends and co-workers like Sidney Poitier, Ron Howard and George Lucas. Wexler's career is fascinating, but his strained relationship with his son fills the film with laughs and sympathy, as he often turns the camera on his son and berates him for poor lighting choices. This is a must for Wexler fans, but will be enjoyed by all. (Ryan Dirks) Hollywood Theatre
War of the Worlds War of the Worlds is a nearly non-stop barrage of incredible set pieces. The stunning, otherworldly, and almost tangible imagery Spielberg creates leaves little doubt as to either his talent or intentions: He's a goddamn genius, and he wants to scare the shit out you. Which he does, and which makes it suck all the more that ultimately, War of the Worlds adds up to nothing. It's a film that bears all the markings of a truly extraordinary filmmaker--and has all of the meaning and impact of a movie cranked out by anyone else. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Warriors Walter Hill's 1979 action flick about NYC gangs, killin', and, naturally, survivin'. Clinton Street Theater
Wedding Crashers See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Yes See review this issue. Fox Tower 10