I can't fault 2046 for what it decidedly chooses not to be (i.e., "comprehensible"). Because even though it opts to go in some frustrating and vague directions, Wong Kar-Wai's latest film is—as has been pointed out by pretty much every critic on the planet—brilliant. Yet among all its impenetrable genius, I can't shake the feeling that 2046 could have been much more, if it wasn't so content to be what it is: gorgeous and superficial. (Erik Henriksen) Laurelhurst

Admit it: You like looking at Michael Keaton in tight, black rubber. It's okay. You can pretend you're going for Kim Basinger. Pix Patisserie

A fascinating BBC miniseries that tracks the influence of Freudian psychotherapy on the political and economic spheres of the 20th century. Especially interesting is the material about Edward Bernays, Freud's nephew who applied the seminal ideas of psychotherapy to corporate advertising in the United States, effectively becoming the father of public relations and psychologically manipulative advertising. From this starting point, the series branches out to other subjects: Anna Freud's wide-scale application (and eventual failure) of utopian psychotherapeutical methods to the American family; the development (and abuse) of radical individualism in the '60s and '70s; and the highly researched, crowd-pleasing politican campaigns of both Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. The series is full of great historical footage and interviews, and while it edges on conspiratorial, it stimulates reflection on the idea of the self and one's own relation to the mass of humanity. (Evan James) Guild

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 cliches: 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) Regal Cinemas, etc.

Corpse Bride
It's a comparison as unfair as it is inevitable: Tim Burton's latest stop motion film (he co-directed with animator Mike Johnson), Corpse Bride, vs. his prior one, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Corpse Bride has a good story (nerd getting engaged to a corpse), and it's entertaining enough (despite some nonsensical plot turns, halfassed songs, and a forcibly happy ending). But Nightmare had something that's lacking here: characters. Corpse Bride has nothing but passive, largely uninteresting puppets that merely react to the story's manufactured twists; they're as empty and lifeless (pun totally intended) as the toys that they are. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.

Cry Wolf
Not screened for critics, this film has high schoolers creating a joke about a serial killer named—you guessed it—"The Wolf." Then—you guessed it—people start dying. That'll teach them to... Cry Wolf! Featuring—you didn't guess this—Jon Bon Jovi! Regal Cinemas, etc.

A documentary about cultish outsider musician Larry “Wild Man” Fischer, Derailroaded—like virtually all documentaries about outsider artists—walks a precarious line between fascinating portrait and exploitation. The heart-rending tale of a bipolar schizophrenic who serendipitously stumbled into a brief partnership with Frank Zappa in the late ’60s (and through him, a subsequent sort of cult fame), Derailroaded follows Fischer through a short-lived, unlikely fame (an appearance on Laugh-In, the first single ever released on Rhino Records, etc.) to a present of violent paranoia and untreated mental illness. Through it all, one rarely gets the impression that the filmmakers are treating Fischer with the delicate humanity he deserves—but that hardly seems to detract from the man’s incredible story. (Zac Pennington)

Everything is Illuminated
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10

Jodie "Peaked at Taxi Driver" Foster plays Kyle, a recent widow who's taking her painfully precious daughter on a long-distance flight. When Kyle wakes up from a mid-flight nap, however, the kid's missing—and no one on the plane remembers seeing her. Promptly freaking out, Kyle starts squawking at the pilot (Sean Bean) and the air marshal (an utterly wasted Peter Sarsgaard) and blaming the only two Middle Eastern passengers onboard. Anyone who got even halfway through Nell can attest that watching Foster act like a crazy bitch loses its charm pretty quickly, so it's almost a relief when a ludicrous plot twist kicks in and the film spirals into a climax so overblown and treacly that it feels like the result of a collaboration between Jerry Bruckheimer and Frank Capra. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.

The Future of Food
I admit, I'm a sucker for conspiracy theories—but this shit is real! Because assholes like Dan Quayle, George Bushes I and II, John Ashcroft, and even the Food and Drug Administration are in cahoots with profoundly evil corporations like Monsanto, the company has never been required to test the safety of the genetically altered seeds or food they create. The Future of Food deals with all this, and it's profoundly horrifying. (Katie Shimer) Cinema 21

Ganges: River to Heaven
Exactly the type of documentary you want to run across when you're stoned and channel surfing at two in the morning. By turns absorbing, depressing, and creepy, filmmaker Gayle Ferraro's film explores the religious and cultural significance of the Ganges River. Though its waters are considered sacred, the levels of pollution found in the river pose serious health problems. Much of the film takes place at a hospice by the river, and though watching old Indian women die is hardly my idea of a good time, it's nonetheless interesting to see an exploration of the many roles filled by the river. (Alison Hallett) Hollywood Theatre

The Gospel
Not screened for critics, which means we have to rely on the IMDB plot synopsis, written by "Anonymous": "A young singer turns his back on God and his father's church when tragedy strikes. He returns years later to find the once powerful congregation in disarray. With his childhood nemesis creating a 'new vision' for the church, he is forced to deal with family turmoil, career suicide, and relationship issues that send him on a collision course with redemption or destruction." Man. Do you think Jesus would really approve of anyone fighting with a "childhood nemesis" over a church? Would Jesus even approve of childhood nemeses in general? Century Eastport 16

, Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, Division Street, Lloyd Mall

The Greatest Game Ever Played
During a dry two hours, Francis Ouimet (Shia LeBeouf) rises up from his lower-class digs to defeat favored defending British golf champion Harry Vardon (Stephen Dillane). The film's plagued with stiff acting, too many golf montage scenes, and, thanks to director Bill Paxton (yep, that Bill Paxton), snazzy special effects (yep, special golf effects). They fall flat—unless, of course, you enjoy seeing CG golf balls constantly flying at your face, in which case this is definitely your movie. I, on the other hand, would rather watch bare breasts fly at my face in Caddyshack. (Mike Filtz) Regal Cinemas, etc.

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre

A History of Violence
David Cronenberg's adaptation of John Wagner and Vince Locke's graphic novel (with a screenplay by Josh Olson) examines physical violence alongside a sneakier sort—that of almost-forgotten secrets and the easy comfort of lying. Small town diner owner Tom Stall's (Viggo Mortensen) life is unbelievably idyllic, until two desperate criminals attempt to rob Tom's diner—and, in a series of movements as efficient as they are brutal, Tom kills them as if he's been killing people his whole life. The moral questions here are secondary to the creepy story, which patiently unfolds with bursts of wince-inducing violence, held together with solid performances. It's Cronenberg, so there are plenty of stilted, awkward moments—but the plot's momentum makes up for them, and while the film loses some of its everyday believability as it progresses, it replaces it with tough questions that are fascinating to watch play out. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.

In Her Shoes
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

It's Raining in Santiago
A film about the original 9/11—9/11/1973—when 3,000 people were killed in a U.S. sanctioned coup against the democratically elected government in Santiago. PSU Smith Memorial Student Union

Just Like Heaven
A moralizing fable that's sneakily disguised as a vapid romantic comedy. Reese Witherspoon, on her way to meet a blind date, gets into a car accident. Mark Ruffalo moves into her now-vacated apartment, which, natch, is promptly haunted by the unresolved specter of Witherspoon. Slapstick trials and flirting ensue. It's striking how Just Like Heaven preaches about how abnormal it is to live a life without a romantic relationship—I mean, it's as if the filmmakers are telling you it's more natural to fall in love with a ghost than be single. (Evan James) Regal Cinemas, etc.

Lacombe Lucien
Louis Malle's "disquieting portrait of a young French peasant's drift into fascism." Yay for fascism! Right? Right? Whitsell Auditorium

A League of Ordinary Gentlemen
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre

Murmur of the Heart
Louis Malle's incestual, jazz-filled film about... well, incest. Also, there'll probably some other, non-incesty artsy stuff. Whitsell Auditorium

Night of the Living Dead
See My, What a Busy Week! on pg. 15. Clinton Street Theater

Oliver Twist
Every inhabitant of the Western World is familiar with Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. (And who the hell is demanding that this story be retold with such regularity?) Roman Polanski, coming off of 2002's The Pianist, is a tantalizing figure for Oliver Twist's most recent reinterpretation, but Polanski directs a wax museum of a film, telling the story in a rote, straightforward manner. There's something lifeless in Polanski's film, despite the appearance of all the tools and resources being available. (Marjorie Skinner)

This event has a name that makes it sound like it's a cool dimension-jumping supervillian flick, but it's actually "a suite of conjoined short works performed with two antique 16mm analytic projectors." From Vancover-based artist Alex Mackenzie, via 40 Frames and the PSU Film Committee. Fifth Avenue Cinemas

Pretty Baby
Keith Carradine plays E.J. Bellocq, a photographer of prostitutes. That's about the coolest job title ever. Directed by Louis Malle. Whitsell Auditorium

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Auburn, Proof looks at a father, Robert (Anthony Hopkins), and daughter, Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow), both mathematicians who work diligently to discover new, complicated mathematical proofs. Now factor in a profoundly stupid plot (this play won a Pulitzer?), a conclusion completely without climax, an annoying relevance of the word "proof," and the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow never loses her signature "I'm so cute and sad" face for one goddamn second. (Katie Shimer) Fox Tower 10

, Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, City Center 12, Cinetopia

Reel Paradise
See review this issue. Clinton Street Theater

Roll Bounce
How many sports underdog movies are there? Maybe 1,000? But how many underdog movies are there about roller-skating, starring an adorable, almost-legal (Lil') Bow Wow? Answer: There's only one! And it's totally awesome! Granted, Roll Bounce isn't going to win an Oscar, but it will entertain horny gals and roller-skating lovers immensely. (Katie Shimer) Lloyd Mall

The sci-fi western Firefly was something exceedingly rare not only for TV, but for any medium: a strikingly imagined, perfectly executed example of both expression and entertainment. So, of course, it was cancelled almost as soon as it began, with Fox broadcasting only 11 episodes. But following massive DVD sales and an unprecedentedly devoted fan base, Universal Pictures has resurrected Firefly—well, sort of—via Serenity. Here, the personable characters are back, and true, and portrayed, across the board, by the same talented actors; the action is bigger and better; the scope is larger; the dialogue alternately crackles and sings; and the themes hit harder (including writer/director Joss Whedon's favorites: independence, feminism, existentialism, and self-realization). In short, Serenity's as good as anyone could have hoped it to be, which is saying quite a bit. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.

State of Fear
A documentary that serves as a collective memory of a 20-year war on terror, fought by Peru's army as they were given complete authority to go after the country's insurgents. For two years after the war ended, testimonies were gathered from over 17,000 Peruvians on their experiences during the war. Be prepared for a brutal 94 minutes of video footage and pictures from the war; the destruction, death and sadness presented will make you feel... well, pretty damn crappy. (Christine Blystone) Guild

Street Fight
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10


Vulnerability and private insecurities are at the heart of Mike Mills' touching and funny Thumbsucker, which was shot in the suburbs of SW Portland. Justin Cobb (Lou Taylor Pucci) is a 17-year-old whose self-esteem and social development is stunted by the fact that he steals away into bathroom stalls and shuts himself in his bedroom to nurse his thumb. His new-age orthodontist, brilliantly played by Keanu Reeves (man, I never thought I'd type those five words), tries hypnosis and positive visualization to help Justin kick his habit, but to no avail. At home, the Cobb family is on shaky legs: Vincent D'Onofrio makes an excellent turn as Justin's father, a football player who never made the big leagues, while his mom (Tilda Swinton) occupies herself trying to win a dream date with a cheesy TV star (Benjamin Bratt). When the family decides to put Justin on Ritalin, he transforms almost overnight from someone who can barely put a sentence together to the egomaniacal, self-possessed star of the school debate team. (Chas Bowie) Regal Cinemas, etc.

Two for the Money
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

An Unfinished Life
Lasse Hallström's An Unfinished Life is, in many ways, a return to old-fashioned cinema—in which the men are brave, wise, and strong; the women are desperate, determined, and beautiful; and everyone's pain is easy to relate to. There are no plot twists, and the story's events are predictable from the film's opening. The victims of domestic abuse, Jean (Jennifer Lopez) and her daughter Griff (Becca Gardner) flee to Wyoming, where they're grudgingly sheltered by the father of Jean's dead husband, Einar (Robert Redford), who blames Jean for his son's accidental death. The film plays to everybody's strengths, and while Life is certainly formulaic, there's a worthy comfort in its familiarity, that "It'll be okay" pat on the head that serves as cinematic solace. (Marjorie Skinner) Regal Cinemas, etc.

This story of underachieving 20-somethings stuck in dead-end jobs at ShenaniganZ (a would-be T.G.I. Fridays), aims squarely below the belt, serving up an hour and a half of oft-annoying, Kevin Smith-inspired sex monologues that are, sadly, more Mallrats than Clerks. That's not to say the sub-Super Troopers ensemble cast doesn't pull off some genuine laughs. The Jay and Silent Bob knockoffs T-Dog (Max Kasch) and Nick (Andy Milonakis) are particularly good, providing ample doses of well-done white gangsta posturing, and Raddimus (Luis Guzmán), the head chef who is obsessed with a staff-wide penis-exposing competition, also delivers enough laughs to liven up this otherwise unmemorable film. Send it back! (Kip Berman) Regal Cinemas, etc.

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.