"Filmed by the first team of women video-journalists trained in Afghanistan," this documentary follows the effects of both the Taliban and the U.S. military on Afghani women. Plays with Mrs. Littlebones, a Haitian film that examines traditional health practices. Guild
Aristide and the Endless Revolution
An investigative documentary about the removal of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the democratically elected president of Haiti. Clinton Street Theater
Based on Myla Goldberg's breakout novel, Bee Season follows a Jewish family whose dysfunction could only stem from the roots of intellectual overstimulation. It's also the most boring movie ever. (Justin Sanders) Fox Tower 10
A film, predictably enough, about Truman Capote, Capote follows the writer during the creation of In Cold Blood, the book that both made him a household name and distressed him so much that he never completed another work. Capote is a film that will reward you with its design and execution, if you're willing to suspend the temptation of hair-trigger judgments that may be provoked by its sometimes difficult complexity. I highly recommend you do so. (Evan James) Fox Tower 10
City of Fear
Escaped convict Vince Ryker (Vince Edwards), on his way out of the can, steals a canister of what he believes to be $1 million worth of heroin. However, it turns out that it's not smack—it's a highly dangerous radioactive isotope that's slowly killing him. The police are after him, because they know that if he opens the canister, he could kill three million people. The result is standard noir fare—Ryker hides out, finds a dame, gets chased by police. Although at times it feels a little dated, City of Fear is oddly contemporary in these days of terrorism and suicide bombers. (Mike Filtz) Guild
City of God
City of God chronicles gang warfare in one of the most impoverished and depraved slums in Rio de Janeiro. It revolves around a young man named Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues) as he struggles to get high, get laid, and finally get a real job in photography so he can get out of the slums. He narrates the film in a dazed, almost aloof tone as waves of drugs, guns, and murder swirl around him. Lush mounds of twisting storylines and visual treats pile up, your eyes greedily devouring them like candy, but never seeming to quite get full. (Justin Sanders ) Fifth Avenue Cinemas
The Dark Past
The Dark Past opens with a really cool point of view shot that follows psychiatrist Dr. Collins (Lee Cobb) as he goes to work. Unfortunately, after that opening sequence, The Dark Past stops being cool. The rest of the film, which is about how Collins somehow completely cures life-long career criminal Al Walker (played by William Holden) within the course of a single night, feels way too much like an 80-minute commercial touting the benefits of psychoanalysis. And not intriguing, Hitchcockian psychoanalysis—boring, tedious psychoanalysis that makes you want to kill all psychiatrists. (Mike Filtz) Guild
Maybe black Americans and foreigners are cast as stereotypical characters in Hollywood as a result of equal opportunity employment. Or, in the case of Derailed, maybe they're filling in for prevalent racist and xenophobic notions that already torture the guilt-ridden white American psyche. Clive Owen plays a white everyman who, after a lapse in marital fidelity that finds him entangled with lower-class criminal forces, must reclaim his peace of mind by exterminating a three-pronged threat of criminal otherness: the Homicidal Foreigner, the Black Criminal (Xzibit), and the Two-Faced Woman (Jennifer Aniston). (Evan James) Sherwood 10,
Elevator to the Gallows
Louis Malle's 1958 film Elevator to the Gallows was, arguably, the beginning of the French New Wave movement in cinema. Inarguably, it's simply one of the coolest movies ever. Three elements combine to create this apogee of cool: a moody, sultry score by Miles Davis; the rainy, atmosphere-drenched streets of Paris; and starlet Jeanne Moreau's eyes, which alone are worth the price of admission. (Alison Hallett) Hollywood Theatre
Get Rich or Die Tryin'
Remember how 50 Cent got shot nine times? So does his accountant. Jesus—for that matter, so does my grandmother. I mean, how could anyone possibly forget? Why else would I be writing a review of his big budget, unabashedly self-glorifying promotional film? But no amount of overexposure could stop Get Rich from making those nine bullet holes the central plot point of an entire movie—that and a completely unfathomable love story, some dabbling in "the game" (the concept, not the rapper), and a questionable sense of historical accuracy (apparently, crack hit New York sometime in the early '90s). Ironically, it's precisely his harder-than-thou façade that ultimately sinks Get Rich so profoundly; 50 couldn't possibly risk his ridiculous self-mythology with any touch of vulnerability—the only thing that really saved Marshall "Mom's Spaghetti" Mathers' similarly styled semi-biopic. It's the same reason that 50's one-note musical persona is so especially grating these days—even when dude's tender thuggin', he looks like he's about to kill something. (Zac Pennington) Movies on TV
The Goebbels Experiment
See review this issue. Clinton Street Theater
Good Night, and Good Luck
By now, Edward R. Murrow has almost been forgotten as one of journalism's greatest. But when Murrow took a stand against Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, he cemented himself as one of journalism's best and boldest. George Clooney's excellent film follows Murrow as CBS airs his exposés on McCarthy's rampageous anti-communist crusade. As a director, Clooney continues to impress; here, with help from charged performances and gorgeous black-and-white cinematography, he utterly immerses the audience in the uncertain era of Murrow's exploits. But what's so powerful about Good Night isn't how authentically it depicts an antiquated era in responsible reportage—as outdated as Murrow's TV programs feel, the film is disconcertingly relevant when one considers the gap between what Murrow worked to make news into (smart, objective, and daring) and what it has become (the prosaic, sound-bite-centric CNN and the simplistic sermons of Fox News and Air America). (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10
Green Street Hooligans
Hopefully Hooligans isn't the realistic portrayal of soccer hooliganism it aims to be—because if it is, hooligans are a bunch of causeless, destructive fucking asshats. Their feuds and vengeances have only an incidental relationship to the actual sport—here it's all about violence, which in this movie is pretty incredible, though the accompanying speedy techno music and hyper-stylized cinematography feels a little insulting, as if the film is trying to goad you into fantasizing that you too could be as cool as... a bunch of asshats. That being said, as far as an engaging film, Hooligans is utterly riveting, climaxing in an excruciating, mega-violent clusterfuck. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
You'd think J.K. Rowling's fourth book would make for a hell of a movie—maybe even a worthy successor to last year's excellent, heartfelt, and otherworldly Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which was deftly crafted by Y Tu Mamá También auteur Alfonso Cuarón. So it's disappointing that the latest Potter feels less like Cuarón's effort and more like the overstuffed, lackluster films that director Chris Columbus kicked off the series with. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinamas, etc.
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. 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) Laurelhurst
The Ice Harvest
See review this issue. Regal Cinamas, etc.
In the Mix
Though I'm probably just as surprised as you are, I was actually really looking forward to In the Mix—an appropriately anonymous Usher vehicle that in preview looked at least a few steps above embarrassing. Here's the rundown: our man Ush plays Darrell, "the hottest DJ in town" who, through a series of improbable circumstances, ends up taking a bullet for a mob princess. Even less likely, Darrell is subsequently drafted by said mob princess' mob father (the appropriately typecast Chazz Palminteri) to play the girl's bodyguard. I know, right? But still, somehow the preview left me wanting just very slightly more. So you can imagine how bummed I was when they totally shit-canned the press screening—first, because it meant I wouldn't be seeing Usher's abs in sensual slow-mo; and second, because that meant the studio probably didn't want to give my blisteringly critical ass a chance to shit-talk it. (Zac Pennington) Regal Cinamas, etc.
IT (Independent Tuesdays)
Nocturnal's homemade film and video event—now at Acme! Acme
Based on Portlander Anthony Swofford's experience in Desert Storm v. 1.0, director Sam Mendes' Gulf War flick is a highly worthy, if flawed, addition to the war film genre. (Chas Bowie) Regal Cinamas, etc.
See review this issue. Regal Cinamas, etc.
A hilarious tale of opposites uniting in friendship as only the Japanese could portray it: with decadent eye candy and wacky dark humor. (Christine S. Blystone) Clinton Street Theater
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Shane Black's violent and funny tip o' the hat to the pulp fiction genre. Unfortunately, the one talent Black lacks is subtlety. His writing is perhaps more clever and precocious than ever, and the acting by all involved is spot on. But there's not an ounce of heart underneath, and the film has the overriding feel of watching a very funny meth addict tweak out. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Cinetopia
The Last Unicorn
Enjoy, fantasy dweebs. Pix Patisserie
A fantasy can be a lot of things, but dull shouldn't be one of them. (Andrew Wright) Hollywood Theatre
Paradise Now's mere premise—the story of two Palestinian men who have been selected for a suicide-bombing mission—raises both expectations and eyebrows by taking on an incredibly tense, controversial subject from a frightening perspective. Despite its merits, Paradise Now shockingly manages to keep the tension of its story subdued—what should be an intense thriller is permeated by a sense of calm. Nonetheless, the film is thought-provoking and relevant, and for those reasons alone, is imminently worthwhile. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre
See review this issue. Cinema 21
Pride & Prejudice
The umpteenth retelling of Pride & Prejudice remains faithful to the plot, if not entirely to the spirit, of Jane Austen's late 18th-century social satire. The real star here is, of course, Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), a woman so uncorrupted by her contemporaries' restrictive ideas of what a woman should be that she seems utterly familiar and modern. Yet this spirited, independent, and intelligent woman, like the author who penned her, is 200 years our senior. Director Joe Wright's greatest accomplishment may have been in showing why this old lady—or both of them, actually—are well worth a respectful visit. (Kip Berman) Regal Cinamas, etc.
See review this issue. Regal Cinamas, etc.
See My, What a Busy Week! on pg. 17. Whitsell Auditorium
In what's supposedly the last film of his career, director Ingmar Bergman reunites the central characters of his earlier work, 1973's Scenes From a Marriage. But without a pre-existing "He can do no wrong" attitude toward Bergman—and his heavy dramatic tone—Saraband is dull, replete with loftily cultured assholes bearing grudges through their unhappy lives. This type of film requires a certain amount of masochism—its ruminations are sour and sad and are delivered in a tone that seems to be the effect of self-imposed, privileged isolation. Regardless, truths are here—though they're delivered hideously. (Marjorie Skinner) Guild
A sweet and tender love story that eschews irony and sarcasm as well as treacly Hollywood sentimentality. (Chas Bowie) Cinetopia
The Squid and the Whale
An insightful, affecting, and darkly funny film that's rooted in the human element, in the simple recounting, with no judgments and no clichés, of a family falling apart. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10
Super Atomic TV
See My, What a Busy Week! on pg. 17. Clinton Street Theater
Thanksgiving Kung Fu Marathon
See My, What a Busy Week! on pg. 17. Clinton Street Theater
Vulnerability and private insecurities are at the heart of Mike Mills' touching and funny Thumbsucker. 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) Laurelhurst
Walk the Line
Everyone wants to know if Joaquin "It's Not a Harelip" Phoenix can pull off Johnny Cash. Physically, the resemblance is striking enough. Likewise, Phoenix's mannerisms are more than convincing. But when Phoenix opens his mouth, things get dicey. It's not that his accent is bad, and he's a credible drunk. What nags are the times his interpretation comes off as... well, sorta developmentally disabled. (Marjorie Skinner) Regal Cinamas, etc.
The Weather Man
A surprisingly intelligent and funny examination of self-loathing, familial relationships, and unaccomplished goals. (Erik Henriksen) Laurelhurst
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre
Yours, Mine & Ours
See review (sort of) this issue. Regal Cinamas, etc.
It all started because my big brother was being a dick and locked me in the basement. While I was down there I found this awesome game about rocket ships and shit and so I took it upstairs to play it. I mean, I'm eight, I like that sorta shit. Anyways, all of a sudden—BOOM! POW! These meteors started falling outta the sky and totally fucked up our house! Then my brother and I looked out the window and we were totally FLOATING IN SPACE! So my brother and I went and played the game some more and my brother took his turn and a giant robot started chasing him with hands made of saws! He was running through the house hollering "EEEEEE!" like a dumb girl. It was pretty funny even though he coulda died. (Megan Seling) Regal Cinamas, etc.