DO THE TRUFFLE SHUFFLE
It seems like about every two weeks there's another Goonies event in Astoria, where the movie was filmed—it's a good bet that Astorians, at this point, hate the goddamn thing. But possibly the greatest Astoria-based, Goonies-centric event ever is happening on Thursday, September 1—a screening of the film (outdoors, courtesy of the folks at the world-famous Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and their "Rolling Roadshow" event), with special guest Corey Feldman, free Baby Ruth candy bars with every ticket, and a required Truffle Shuffle dance to get in. For more info, see Destination Fun on pg. 19.
See review this issue. Cinema 21
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
A giddily puerile and surprisingly sweet film that heartily deserves its R rating. Steve Carell earnestly plays Andy, a—well, duh—40-year-old virgin. When his coworkers discover that the dorky, uptight, and weirdly adorable Andy has never—how shall I put this?—fucked, they decide to do something about it. Hi-jinks, of course, ensue. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Aristocrats is about a joke, and the film's title is that joke's punchline. I know that sounds like a spoiler—and well, maybe it is, a little bit—but the punchline is hardly the point of The Aristocrats. So what exactly is the point of a 90-minute documentary about a joke in which the punchline doesn't really matter? Well, depending on your constitution, it's either an elaborate excuse for dozens of comedians to wax indulgently about infants being paw-fucked by the family dog, or a brilliantly left-handed examination of the very nature of humor itself. Either way, I nearly pissed myself with laughter—and I defy anyone with even the faintest appreciation for sophomoric humor not to do the same. (Zac Pennington) Fox Tower 10, City Center 12
The Beat My Heart Skipped
In updating James Toback's 1978 debut Fingers, where Harvey Keitel played a second-generation New York gangster who would rather be a concert pianist, French director Jacques Audiard moves the story to Paris and changes the line of work to a thug for a shady real-estate developer. Which means he hasn't changed much at all in terms of story. Tom (a smoldering Romain Duris) is caught between the lowbrow masculine world of his father and the highbrow feminine world of his late mother. When his mother was alive he showed great promise tickling the ivories, but when she died he threw himself into techno music and his dad's line of work. When he sees a man from his mother's world, a more respectable father figure, he gets himself an audition and starts practicing so much that his thug work starts to suffer, as does his affair with his colleague's wife. Both suspenseful and musical, The Beat That My Heart Skipped should appeal to fans of gangster movies and classical music alike. (Andy Spletzer) Fox Tower 10
The Coens' best films are all descendants of this moody, geometric, fabulously accomplished first feature. A vulgar tale of small town thieves and liars, Blood Simple is gloriously corrupt, full of iconic small town caricatures including a fantastically baroque M. Emmet Walsh in what is his best screen role. The plot twists keep developing, like an infection spreading, to a lurid conclusion. A great first feature, with only a bit of that distracting Coen cleverness that so clutters their later work. Laurelhurst
Broadway Melody of 1940
Is your idea of "fun" watching Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, and George Murphy dance their asses off? Well, it's your lucky day—"for sheer fun" (or so they claim) the Oregon Ballet Theatre's screening this big musical. And it's free! South Park Blocks
Bill Murray plays Don Johnston ("No," he says, often and resignedly. "Johnston. With a 'T.'"), a lonely, lazy, and rich man who receives an anonymous letter. Claiming to be from an old flame, it informs him he has a son he never knew of. The bewildered Johnston shows the letter to his mystery-obsessed neighbor (an excellent Jeffrey Wright), who convinces Johnston to go on a cross-country trip to discover who sent the letter. Along the way, Murray's biggest talent—simultaneously seeming like a total schlub and the coolest guy ever—meshes perfectly with writer/director Jim Jarmusch's meditative style. By the film's end, Johnston's quest is secondary, pushed aside by the audience's simple act of knowing the utterly believable and sympathetic Johnston so disarmingly well. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10, Century Eastport 16, Tigard Cinemas, Lloyd Cinemas, City Center 12
The Brothers Grimm
Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm is a film that seems tailor-made for the former Monty Python animator—yet suffers from general incoherency, murky cinematography, and irretrievably bad performances from the two lead actors. Matt Damon (doing his best Eddie Izzard impression) and Heath Ledger (who still hasn't been good in anything besides 10 Things I Hate About You) are the titular siblings, who roam the mythical European countryside bilking peasants into thinking that their villages are haunted by the very curses that befall the characters in the beloved Grimm Fairy Tales. Then the brothers encounter some real monsters, discover their inner creative selves, learn to love, and blah, blah, blah; while there are a few nice moments here and there, most of the film is a big mess, clearly the result of committee editing and directorial abandonment. (Sean Nelson) Regal Cinemas, etc.
I know the "all white guys look the same" joke is neither new nor particularly funny. But while watching The Cave, I couldn't help but feel I was being mentally stimulated in a manner that was beyond director Bruce Hunt's intent—and, perhaps, capability. It took a major effort (and multiple consultations with my dozing date) to determine who had died and what relation the characters had to one another. While the idea of being trapped in a dark underwater cave, full of fire, ice, and monsters is, in theory, frightening, the sequel-ensuring ending and knowing I'm becoming the Mercury's go-to guy for these sorts of films is what really sent shivers up my spine. (Kip Berman) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Constant Gardener
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Loosely retrofitting the old John Wayne oater The Sons of Katie Elder to modern-day Detroit, director John Singleton's Four Brothers follows a quartet of ne'er-do-wells (led by a pumped, inked, and pomaded within an inch of his life Mark Wahlberg) who stomp back to their old neighborhood after their adoptive mother meets an untimely end. If, as the occasional brief moment suggests, this is all a straight-faced parody of such trash classics as Slaughter's Big Rip-Off and Truck Turner, Singleton may have bigger talents than anyone has ever suspected. If he's serious, however, lord help us. (Andrew Wright) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Selma Hayek is traditionally gorg, and while her portrayal of Frida is bursting at the seams with joie-de-fricking-vivre, the film version shows her as relatively moustache-less, as you probably already know from Feminist Film Geek Monthly. (I have a subscription.) For the Kahlo purist, the lack of lip hair is one of the slight ways Frida Hollywood-izes Frida. Another is that her husband Diego's abuse is only portrayed through his obsessive womanizing. Frida's painful, painkiller-addicted death (a possible suicide) is merely alluded to; rather, she delicately croaks, saint-like, in Diego's arms, freed from her long life of physical suffering. But this is Julie Taymor's film, all the way, and the images she paints across the screen are an enthusiastic, vivid homage to Frida's art and spirit. (Julianne Shepherd) PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks
Celebrate Labor Day the right way—with this, "a tribute to the rise of labor leader Harry Bridges and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union." And you guessed it—it's presented by ILWU Local 5! Guild
A group of friends come of age during the senior year of high school—which involves fun stuff like suicide, rape, deadbeat dads, etc. PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
For 13 straight summers, Timothy Treadwell really did go up and camp out in Alaska's Grizzly Maze, home to thousands of burly, wild grizzly bears. At close range, Treadwell really did coo baby talk at these vicious, hungry creatures, and he really did stroke their fur with his bare hands. And in October of 2003, Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, really were killed and eaten by a grizzly bear. For Grizzly Man, Werner Herzog dug into more than 100 hours of film footage that Treadwell shot while living among the bears—footage that is frequently hilarious, occasionally profound, and sometimes terrifying. (Justin Sanders) Fox Tower 10, City Center 12
Set in the early 1970s, Julia (Kate Winslet) is a Londoner living out the hippie dream of "getting your head together" by dragging her kids to Marrakech, Morocco. She searches for spiritual enlightenment, but what she finds is a life of near-poverty and an on-again/off-again affair with a hunky street performer (Said Taghmaoui), while her relationship with her children nearly disintegrates. This is the type of film where you say, "Well, at least it was beautifully photographed." (Gillian G. Gaar) PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
An Ideal Husband
Just what we needed: Another British period piece dealing with class issues. Yawn. Sir Robert Chiltern (Jeremy Northam) is an upstanding politician being blackmailed by Mrs. Cheveley (Julianne Moore). Everyone in the movie seems like they're play-acting at being high society folks. I'm sure that's fun for them, but it's no fun to watch. (Andy Spletzer) Pix Patisserie
A classic tale of a city mouse going country. There's a lot of drama goin' on in Junebug, and the film hinges on the ability of its actors to convey a remarkable range of emotion with a relatively taciturn script. But while the script isn't anything special, the cast's compelling acting results in a modest, thoughtful film that quietly exceeds the low standards it sets for itself. (Alison Hallett) Fox Tower 10, City Center 12
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: High Fidelity. This Saturday: Blazing Saddles. It looks like these are their last films of the summer, so go, enjoy, and bring your own chairs. (And the movies are free, but the beer isn't—so don't go demanding free alcohol. That's just annoying.) Pyramid Brewing
See review this issue. Clinton Street Theater
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) Hollywood Theatre
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
True, you've seen this movie about 75 million times. But you'll probably still enjoy yourself if you go see it for the 75,000,001st time. That shit about farting in one's general direction is pretty funny, after all. Hollywood Theatre
Monty Python's The Life of Brian
Having seen Monty Python's Life of Brian at least 10 times prior (but not for at least five years), I wondered if the film would still ring true to my atheist ears. Well, my brothers and sisters, I am here to testify that Brian still has many things to say. The film is one of the greatest religious satires of all time, with moments of hilarious double-talk and Python's trademark absurdity and physical comedy. But what really makes Life of Brian special is that it's a great piece of film—complete with fantastic cinematography, awe-inspiring locations, and a real eye for replicating classic, big-budget religious epics. (Michael Svoboda) Hollywood Theatre
Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Alien, Crawling, Flesh Eating, Zombified Subhumanoid, Living Dead, Part 3
When filmmaker Jim Riffel found out that Steven Spielberg was making War of the Worlds for $200,000,000, he decided to make a film he thought would be just as entertaining—for $100. Riffel's tactic? He redubbed 1962's cheap horror flick The Brain That Wouldn't Die—with new, "comedic" dialogue a la What's Up, Tiger Lily? and Kung Pow—then spliced in bits of found footage, short films, and animation. So is it as entertaining as Spielberg's overblown opus? Nope, and to add insult to injury, Riffel's film will likely just annoy you within an inch of your life. (That said, a couple of the short films are pretty funny, and there will be both heckling and booze at the screening—two things that'll make just about anything enjoyable.) (Erik Henriksen) Clinton Street Theater
Hey—you know what's funny? Airports! Why, they've been providing material to comedians for decades! And hey—you know what's terrifying? Airports! And Wes Craven exploits both emotions in his new thriller, Red Eye. The first three-quarters of Red Eye, surprisingly enough, are patiently paced, with Craven managing to get some adrenalin pumping with an onslaught of detail-oriented thrills. But the moment the characters leave the plane, you should probably exit the theater as well—it's here that the film deflates into laughable knife battles and the script tailspins into ridiculous plot developments. (Jenna Roadman) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Through precocious and circuitous logic, Catholic school ninth grader Ralph (Adam Butcher) is convinced that if he miraculously wins the Boston Marathon, his ailing mother will wake up from her coma. Though the film does its best to pluck out your bleeding heart, the bulk of it is a light, endearing comedy about the ultimate underdog and the power of stubborn perseverance. Exceedingly likeable, Ralph is a young cad who struggles with chronic masturbation, bad grades, and the other trappings of lovable, unruly, wiry little fellows like himself. A bit of a dork at school, his sincere efforts to woo a girl who wants to be a nun, and his attempts to wake his mother with strong scents (like dog shit) are endlessly charming, if a bit of a sucker punch. (Marjorie Skinner) Laurelhurst
A Sound of Thunder
Not screened in time for critics, this long-delayed sci-fi adventure film is based on a time-travel story by Ray Bradbury. Watch for our film short next week—or, if you have a time machine, just skip ahead seven days and read it! Ka-zing! Century Eastport 16, Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, Lloyd Cinemas, Division Street
Student Film Screening
Students of the Northwest Film Center show their stuff. On Thursday at Old Town Pizza, students from the Digital Video Editing class present their work. (For free!) And on Friday, those from the Exploring Documentary Production class screen their films. (For... a sliding scale fee!) Hollywood Theatre, Old Town Pizza
This sequel to 2002's slick The Transporter—which was a fun hybrid of Hong Kong action and European style—wasn't screened in time for critics. Watch for our film short next week. Regal Cinemas, etc.
"Underclassman." Kind of a nerdy name for an action-comedy striving for street cred, isn't it? Well, let me break it down for you: "Under" because Nick Cannon plays an undercover cop, see, and "classman" because he's undercover at a prep school. Underclassman! Explaining the plot would be pointless and unnecessarily confusing; suffice it to say that it involves a mysterious death, car thieves, drug smuggling, a murderous headmaster, and the extremely irritating and charmless Cannon schooling all the white boys on the basketball court. It's bad. Don't see it. (Alison Hallett) Regal Cinemas, etc.