PORTLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL
All films at the Clinton St. Theater. For more info, hit clintonsttheater.com.
BEST OF THE FEST
PUFF's last show is an encore screening of the fest's most popular film.
The "greatest hits from the Portland underground biking community."
James (Patrick Carrico) takes a job in a museum's coatroom, and meets up with the conniving Claire (Claire Bromwell). Director Jason F. Gilbert and writer/actor Carrico in attendance.
This film is shaky—on so many levels. It's going for the black-and-white vibe of old hard-boiled detective films, but with some '60s New Wave sensibilities thrown in. The result is a boring mess. Mott (Mott McCampbell) is a low level Secret Service agent who's assigned to escort a dignitary's son to the UN. But out of nowhere, a band of renegade stewardesses kidnap the escortee. All the while, the camera is shaking like an epileptic—one scene is even filmed in the back of a moving van, apparently so we can get even more shaking. You're better off driving out to an unpaved road and just bouncing around for 90 minutes. (Courtney Ferguson)
A film that PUFF bills as "Hillsboro meets Evil Dead!" Sounds pretty scary to us. Director Shaun Hennessy in attendance.
JACK HANKE'S DISASTER
The latest in director Jack Gibson's "wild adventures of Georgetown, Texas" finds the town's pets acting strange as UFOs arrive. Director in attendance.
Jerkbeast is the red-hued monstrous host of a Seattle public access show, who along with co-hosts Benny and Marty, decides to start a rock band—but eventually they fall prey to the pitfalls of bad management, touring, and a girlfriend who dies of lupus in the van. It's an old story that's reinvigorated with hilariously dirty (but sharp-witted) hijinx, like smashing rabbits with a hammer, beating the shit out of indie rockers, and riding around on a scooter while whacking people in the head with a log. I'm sorry, but that's funny! (Wm. Steven Humphrey)
LET THEM EAT ROCK
Director Rodman Flender (Leprechaun 2, The O.C.) brings us a documentary about the Upper Crust, a Boston band who dress like 18th Century noblemen and sing songs about being wealthy men of leisure. Shot over five years, we see the band go from the verge of success to losing founding members and being the target of an FBI investigation. It may not seem like it, but this isn't a mockumentary—it's totally for real, right down to the cameos by Conan O'Brien and Penn & Teller. A must-see for rock fans, voyeurs, and history nerds alike. Director in attendance. (Adam Gnade)
Mad Cowgirl is kind of like an adult contemporary version of a Gregg Araki (Nowhere, The Doom Generation) film. Right down to casting Araki's frequent star James Duval, it's full of the same sort of taboo-busting sex and violence, only it's matured and tamed down, less campy. Therese (Sarah Lassez), a health inspector with a taste for steak, goes from jilted ex-girlfriend to murderous, incestuous nympho. Featuring Star Trek's Mr. Chekhov (Walter Koenig) as a shriveled-up, Jim Bakker-esque pastor. Watching Lassez give Chekhov a blowjob = no good at all. (Adam Gnade)
2006 SHORT FILM SELECTIONS
A collection of animated and live-action shorts, ranging from local art projects to "futuristic sci-fi mayhem." One short—"Everybody, Every Morning"—features the Mercury's Marjorie Skinner, who offers a moderately convincing performance as herself. (Erik Henriksen)
STOMP! SHOUT! SCREAM!
Director Jay Edwards' homage to '60s beach party flicks and monster movies begins when the Violas—an all-girl garage band—are stranded on an island. Unbeknownst to them, the dastardly, Bigfoot-esque Skunk Ape is on the loose, and what follows could loosely be called a rampage. For the most part, the film is campy and fun with a lot of rock n roll thrown in for good measure, but there are a few groaners (like a cringe-inducing sing-along about syphilis). But overall, it's great recreation of beach-blanket mayhem. Director in attendance. (Courtney Ferguson)
TRIBUTE TO JAMES WESTBY
James Westby is a local film celebrity of sorts, having put out the Portland-centric Film Geek a while back to mixed response. This is a screening of his '96 film Bloody Mary (which also stars Film Geek's Melik Malkasian), follwed by a Q&A with Westby.
Imagine if your dumb 12-year-old brother and all his dumb friends got hopped up on a few gallons of Hi-C, stole a crappy '80s camcorder, and then ran into the backyard to make a 30-minute movie about Jesus being a zombie. Actually, don't imagine that, as it sounds ten times more entertaining and professional than Zombie Christ—a film that, despite all signs to the contrary, was not made by 12-year-olds. Shit, how can you can take a concept as foolproof as "Jesus is a zombie" and make it annoying and boring? (Erik Henriksen)
AND1 MIX TAPE VOL 9.
It's time to get your whammy-jammy on! The new AND1 Mix Tape doesn't officially drop until late July, but tonight there's a sneak preview, and the whole AND 1 crew will be there, including Hot Sauce, Half Man-Half Amazing, and Salem's own the Professor Lloyd Cinemas
Back in Black
Shrunken Heads skate shop (home of the city's coolest t-shirts) presents Black Label's newest full length, featuring Adam Alfaro, Matt Mumford, and new 16-year-old sensation Anthony Schultz. (Chas Bowie) Kennedy School, Mission Theater
Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story
See Feature, pg. 13. Hollywood Theatre
The Break-Up is being marketed as a bubbly romantic comedy—as a date movie, sure, but one masquerading as an anti-date movie. From the film's ads, one gets the sense that—despite its title, and despite its stars' bickering—The Break-Up is made for those on dates, or those who want to be. But that's sneaky and kind of mean—turns out that The Break-Up isn't that bubbly, nor is it that romantic. That isn't to say it's a lousy movie, because another thing that the ads will trick you about is the film's quality. Sure, The Break-Up is being sold as another crappy, predictable romantic comedy—when really, it's a thoughtful, surprisingly good dramedy. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Bucks for BMX
A benefit showing of Joe Kid on a Sting-Ray: The History of BMX. Proceeds go to Glenhaven BMX/Skate Park. Bagdad Theater
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rad! The first three episodes of Buffy! Rad. So, so rad. (Erik Henriksen) Mission Theater
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Celestine Prophecy
The only good thing that could come from this horrible, horrible film is if the stupid hippies who've been suckered into the Celestine cult will see how fucking awful this film is and realize they've been had. Seriously, dipshits, when will you start thinking for yourselves? (Scott Moore) Hollywood Theatre
District B 13
France's District B 13 is probably the first film to combine George Orwell, parkour, and kung fu, but what's more surprising than that unlikely amalgamation is how well it works and how much fun it is. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10, City Center 12
Drawing Restraint 9
Art star Matthew Barney's unconventional films—he's most famous for his five Cremaster films—mangle the standard divisions between music video, performance art, and sculpture. Rising out of this categorical rubble are fantastical works like Drawing Restraint 9—a meticulous tale of metamorphosis that unfolds on a Japanese whaling ship. Here, every gesture and object is part of an alien, ritualized system in a faux-Asian mythology—and even if I could care less about the meticulous, narcissistic symbolism propping up Barney's films, what results can be breathtakingly bizarre and beautiful. (Morgan Currie) Hollywood Theatre
Fallen Angel: Gram Parsons
See My, What a Busy Week! on pg. 23. Whitsell Auditorium
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai & Enter the Dragon
Double features don't get much cooler than this: Jim Jarmusch's deadpan, meditative American samurai fable Ghost Dog, followed by Bruce Lee's kung fu classic Enter the Dragon. (Erik Henriksen) Mission Theater
The story of 14-year-old Hayley (Ellen Page) and 32-year-old perv Jeff (Patrick Wilson), Hard Candy takes enough twists and turns that the audience can't help but squirm—and not necessarily for the reasons one would think. (Erik Henriksen) Laurelhurst
An Inconvenient Truth
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
Keeping Up with the Steins
When Zachary Stein (Carter Jenkins) has a Titanic-themed Bar Mitzvah, his friend Benjamin (Daryl Sabara) feels pressured by his over-zealous parents to have an even bigger party. This insipid and humorless excuse for a film should never have been made, and it's clearly evident that most of the cast (which includes Daryl Hannah, Jeremy Piven, and, weirdly, Neil Diamond) knows it. (Alison Hallett) Fox Tower 10
A Lion in the House
Filmed over a six-year period, this devastating documentary follows five young patients at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital as they undergo treatment for cancer. Filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert spare no footage in exploring how these kids live, and in some cases die, with their disease. It's rare to see a film address the issue of death so honestly; interviews with doctors and family members are painfully candid, revealing an intense and often conflicted range of emotion and experience. More than anything else, though, this movie is just plain sad: If you have even a shred of a soul, be prepared to cry for most of its 225-minute running time. (Alison Hallett) Whitsell Auditorium
Loose Change writer/director/narrator Dylan Avery claims, "I think what happened to the World Trade Center is simple enough. It was brought down in a carefully planned controlled demolition. It was a psychological attack on the American people and it was pulled off with military precision." Avery asserts the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by the US government to (A) steal gold stored in the towers, (B) garner public support of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and (C) allow massive amounts of money to be made by connected parties. Yeah, whatever, right? This is the same conspiracy talk spouted in countless books, films, and websites. But unlike a lot of the more wackadoodle shit, Loose Change presents its evidence in an organized, coherent, digestible way, with plenty of mainstream news, government, and scientific substantiation. I've never given much time to most 9/11 conspiracies, but I've got to say this is the first that's made me want to seek more information. Which I did—and found a good many qualified sources that say this film is full of holes, half-truths, and plain ol' wrongheaded inaccuracies. Still, some of the bigger questions raised remain unanswered. Go see this film. Make up your own mind. The truth is there somewhere, buried beneath a whole lot of red tape, blood, and rubble. (Adam Gnade) Clinton Street Theater
John Moore directs this remake of 1976's horror masterpiece. Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) is a child who's born into a family of influence—but as the creepy kid grows older, his satanic origins become apocalyptically apparent. Usually, the issue with these remakes is that they stray from the original, cramming in cheap scares and CGI wizardry. Amazingly, this Omen achieves both a stale approach and insulting jump frights/voyeuristic gore—at best, there's about two new lines of dialogue and some more animal violence. Oh, I guess there's one other new thing here: pathetic performances. As Damien's mother, teen heavyweight Julia Stiles is roughly as convincing in her motherly convictions as Britney Spears. (Jenna Roadman) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Known for directing schlock horror flicks like Jeepers Creepers I and II, Victor Salva also happens to be a convicted sex offender. If ever there was a weirder choice to direct the uplifting tale of a cocky college wrestler who gets special Miyagi-like coaching from a wizened, Zen-spouting gas station attendant (Nick Nolte, looking like Santa Claus), I don't know of it. Maybe Roman Polanski was busy. (Justin Wescoat Sanders) Fox Tower 10
Hiroshi Teshigahara's "documentary fantasy" about a man in a white suit who commits a series of murders in a small mining town. Whitsell Auditorium
A Prairie Home Companion
See review this issue. Century Eastport 16, Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, Cinema 21
The Wild Bunch set in the Australian outback, The Proposition is a grisly, fly-infested nightmare of violence and revenge. Though unrelentingly dour, the acting and cinematography is reason enough to see the "anti-feel good movie of the year." (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Puffy Chair
An amalgamation of Garden State and... well, any road-trip movie you've ever seen, The Puffy Chair is a late-20s quarter-life crisis journey. Which, I know, sounds like it'd be awful to sit through. Okay, let me start over: This film is cute, yet bittersweet, pulling off 20-something angst in a genuine, lighthearted (yet not irreverent) fashion. (Amy Jenniges) Fox Tower 10
The Real Dirt on Farmer John
The last in his line, "Farmer John" Peterson works the Illinois land that's been family-owned since the Depression. But he's not your average farmer: After his father died in the '60s, Farmer John came back from college with his hippie friends and turned the place into a commune. Now middle-aged, he's a real-deal, hardworking farmer, but still a freak, doing whatever the fuck he wants. Beautifully shot. Heartbreakingly sad. Funny as shit. A+. Farmer John Peterson in attendance and signing copies of his new cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables. (Adam Gnade) Lucky Labrador Brewpub
Sir! No Sir!
A documentary about dissention among the ranks of soldiers during the Vietnam War. Hollywood Theatre
The Tea Film
A work-in-progress screening that follows a "legendary American tea importer" as he searches for "the finest handmade teas in the world." We promise that we are not making this up. Whitsell Auditorium
Trailermania 3: Revenge of the A/B Reel
See My, What a Busy Week! on pg. 23. Clinton Street Theater
Woman in the Dunes
Hiroshi Teshigahara's 1964 film about an entomologist trapped in the desert with a widow (a woman, not a spider). Whitsell Auditorium
X-Men: The Last Stand
In the often goofy genre of superhero movies, Bryan Singer's first two X-Men films were clever, heartfelt, and laced with disquieting social and political undertones. But Brett Ratner, director of The Last Stand, seems to think that if he makes this X-Men faster and louder than its predecessors, maybe the audience won't notice that it's a whole lot dumber. (Erik Henriksen)Regal Cinemas, etc.