Two episodes from the PBS series about contemporary art. Fifth Avenue Cinemas
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 and Heath Ledger 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. 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)
The Constant Gardener
A valiant adaptation of an utterly lame John LeCarre novel. I certainly don't fault great director Fernando Meirelles (City of God) for wanting to try his hand with a crossover thriller; I do, however, fault LeCarre for writing such a bland, paint-by-numbers plot—which features Ralph Fiennes as an ineffective diplomat investigating the death of his wife, Tessa (Rachel Weisz), via a shopping list of clichés: Mysterious black cars, anonymous death threats, and gripping dialogue such as "I suggest you quit all this snooping around and put Tessa's death behind you!" (Chas Bowie)
THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE
See review this issue.
FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL
See review this issue, or My, What A Busy Week! on pg. 17.
Happily Ever After
A nuanced take on monogamy, fidelity, and loyalty, focusing on the triangle formed by the well-intentioned Vincent (writer/director Yvan Attal), his wife Gabrielle (the charming Charlotte Gainsbourg), and his beautiful mistress. Vincent struggles with his conscience, Gabrielle trips around smoking cigarettes without apparent guilt, and when Johnny Depp drops in to tempt her into cheating on her husband, they have steamy eye sex in a music store while listening to Radiohead's "Creep." This is a truly adult film, in the non-naked sense of the term: Smart and stylish, and easy to watch without resorting to easy answers or pat endings. (Alison Hallett) Hollywood Theatre
Kings and Queen
Kings and Queen opens with the main character, Nora (Emmanuelle Devos), introducing herself to the audience. She's pretty, well-spoken, and has successfully raised her son alone; she's about to go visit her father who, it develops, is on his deathbed. Focusing on the relationships between Nora and the men in her life, director Arnaud Desplechin weaves together fine performances and a script that contains elements of both love story and psychological drama—emerging with an intense, gripping, and memorable film. (Alison Hallett) Cinema 21
In Barcelona, the New Europe is assembled in a shared student apartment where the residents can hardly escape embodying their national stereotypes. The question that's deftly asked (with frequently charming results) is one of identity and youth: How hard can you hold on to either of them? (Emily Hall ) Fifth Avenue Cinemas
An erotic film with no nudity, and a movie that's more a premise than a complete work. Chimo (Mohammed Khouas) is the sensitive, wistful guy, and into his depressing Arab slum comes Lila (Vahina Giocante), an angelic beauty with an amazing ability to talk as dirty as a pornstar without sounding obscene. This, unfortunately, is the entire premise of the movie, and for most of the film, we are left, like Chimo, wanting to screw Lila's brains out—but not knowing if she's a) the coolest chick in the world, b) an annoying cocktease, or c) a sublimated psychopath. (Chas Bowie) Cinema 21
A documentary that traces Mother Love Bone vocalist Andrew Wood's troubled life through heartfelt interviews and a hefty amount of fuzzy archival video. But in spite of the participants' tender, powerful recollections, Malfunkshun is a wreck of a documentary—with Barbour relying heavily on cheesy collage effects to tie scenes together, all set to Wood's middling poetry. (Zac Pennington) Clinton Street Theater
In Hollywood, spring cleaning comes in September, when studios empty the dregs from their vaults—the films that are neither good enough for winter's Oscar competition nor entertaining enough to be a summer blockbuster. Cue Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy's buddy comedy The Man, which—like many of September's illustrious offerings—wasn't screened for critics. Watch for our film short next week.
Middle of the World
Vicente Amorim's film about a family of seven that bicycles from Northeast Brazil to Rio de Janeiro. Guild
See review this issue.
Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus
See review this issue. Cinema 21
Small City, Big Hiphop
An all-ages documentary about hiphop in Portland, which also "explores social issues, a generation gap, and some of this city's dirtiest realities." Clinton Street Theater
A Sound of Thunder
A Sound of Thunder could have been a smart, provocative sci-fi movie about the confluence of the private sector and academic science, and/or the necessity and limits of government oversight as a means of regulating the often divergent ambitions of the two communities. Unfortunately, as a result of the hilariously ridiculous plot and the equally stupefying not-so-special effects, the closest thing to thunder you'll hear will be the chorus of groans as the credits roll. (Kip Berman)
Three days and nights of rock 'n' roll movies, courtesy of MusicfestNW. Films include Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley, Cowboy Jack's Home Movies, Rock and Roll Superhero, and Drive Well, Sleep Carefully: On the Road with Death Cab for Cutie. For complete schedule, hit musicfestnw.com. Clinton Street Theater
TBA: Bruce McClure: Apparitions in Common Time—Christmas Tree Stand, Preamble, and Parts I-III
In the second most ridiculously named event ever, filmmaker Bruce McClure obstructs film projections using metal plates, mesh grids, and guitar effects pedals. Part of the Time-Based Art fest. Guild
TBA: Bruce McClure: Deliberate Obstructions & Calculated Aimlessness—Crib and Shift
In the most ridiculously named event ever, the Time-Based Art fest hosts Bruce McClure as he uses several projectors and intervenes "in the trajectory of light from the source to the spectator," creating one-of-a-kind film projections. Guild
TBA: Jerry Cotton, the Portland Episodes
The Time-Based Art fest presents the latest edit of Hans Weigand's film about dime-store novelist Jerry Cotton—now including a segment shot in Portland. Guild
TBA: Sung Hwan Kim & Nina Yuen: An Imaginary Relationship with Ourselves (Parts I and II)
Sun Hwan Kim and Nina Yuen present "humorous, bizarre, and sometimes troubling vignettes" that "address the complexities of identity and biography, and question our notions of truth and fiction." Phew. Part of the Time-Based Art fest. Guild
This Divided State
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre
Jason Statham returns as Frank Martin, the well dressed gun-for-hire who likes to drive fast and snap limbs. His car is a black Audi, his enemies are Eurotrash bent on poisoning government officials, and his means are both overblown and ridiculous—so much so that it had the audience I watched it with (all eight of them) buckled over in laughter. If you loved the first film you're sure to love this one. On a related note, if you loved the first film there's something wrong with you. (Bradley Steinbacher)
AN UNFINISHED LIFE
See review this issue.