The 11th Hour
See review. Cinema 21.
2 Days in Paris
Romantic comedies have become so routine, so processed, so horribly unfunny, that Julie Delpy's hilarious and astute 2 Days in Paris carries a jolt of surprise. The movie follows Franco-American couple Marion (Delpy, the most unaffected of pretty French actresses) and Jack (Adam Goldberg, in a major comic performance) on a stopover in Marion's hometown. Writer/director Delpy, finding cores of truth in clichés about Ugly Americans and temperamental Frenchies, writes dialogue that's a delirious blend of bawdy French farce and Woody Allen-ish neuroses. As for she and Goldberg, they just might be the prickliest, most luscious screen couple we've had in ages. Delpy has made something rare: a romantic comedy that feels spontaneous and handcrafted, rather than shat out by a studio and a couple of stars. JON FROSCH Fox Tower 10.
Balls of Fury
See review. Various Theaters.
A whole bunch of short art films, from "late '70s New York no wave cinema" to "primitive avant garde films circa [the] 1920s." SE 2nd Between Morrison and Belmont.
Kevin Bacon's latest is a revenge flick that wasn't screened for critics. It is very possible that Kevin Bacon stays up late at night, unable to stop thinking about the glory days of Footloose. Various Theaters.
Full Metal Jacket
If Stanley Kubrick is one of film's greatest directors (he is), and if Full Metal Jacket is one of his best films (it is), then that pretty much sums up how this movie is required watching. Sure, at times it can be awkwardly heavy-handed, but overall, Kubrick balances stunning action sequences, gorgeous cinematography, a killer soundtrack, amazing dialogue and characters, and hard-hitting emotional resonance in a way that pretty much no one else can. This 1987 story of a few poor fucks stuck in Vietnam is as entertaining as it's ever been, and now, perhaps, even more relevant. Go. ERIK HENRIKSEN Clinton Street Theater.
Rob Zombie's remake of John Carpenter's 1978 horror flick. Not screened for critics. Various Theaters.
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Our villain in the hilarious documentary The King of Kong is one Billy Mitchell—born in Massachusetts in 1965, he currently owns a restaurant chain and has a passion for both patriotic neckties and, one assumes, hair conditioner, for his flowing, carefully coiffed locks. Mitchell has set records in Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Burgertime, and achieved a "perfect score"—3,333,360 points—in Pac-Man. He has been called the "Gamer of the Century," and he is an insufferably arrogant dick. Our hero, meanwhile, is Steve Wiebe, a painfully earnest Redmond, WA man who lost his job at Boeing at age 35—on the same day he and his wife had signed the papers for their new house. Wiebe, now teaching junior high school science, found solace and direction in Donkey Kong, at first playing when his children went to sleep, and then aiming at the impossible—beating Mitchell's record score of 1,000,000, which had gone unchallenged since 1982. The resulting battle is nothing short of epic. ERIK HENRIKSEN Fox Tower 10.
Outdoor Film Screening + Live Music
Cinema Project presents an outdoor screening of work by Stan Brakhage, Shirley Clarke, Marie Menken, Rose Lowder, Martha Colburn, and Rebecca Meyers. Bonus: music by JP Jenkins and others. More info: cinemaproject.org. Artemisia Garden & Gallery.
For its first third, there's little to separate Werner Herzog's latest from the plethora of "based on a true story" flicks about noble American servicemen surviving under dire circumstances, from the Buckheimer-approved bombast of Black Hawk Down to the rah-rah patriotism of Behind Enemy Lines. But this is Herzog, so give it the benefit of the doubt: Dieter Dengler (Bale) is a pilot who gets shot down over Laos. Quickly captured and stuck in a POW camp, Dengler meets a bunch of disheartened captives—including the batshit crazy Gene deBruin (Jeremy Davies) and the psychologically fragile but loveable Duane Martin (Zahn). Taking a dangerous risk, Dengler plots a breakout. It's here, in Rescue Dawn's characters, that Herzog really gets going. What unfolds is a sometimes funny, sometimes tense, sometimes moving story about men attempting to survive their captors, allies, and selves. ERIK HENRIKSEN Laurelhurst, St. Johns Theater & Pub.
Resurrecting the Champ
Blatantly uplifting in intent, Resurrecting the Champ is rescued from bland melodrama oblivion, thanks to sharp performances from Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett. Jackson plays "Champ," a one-time contender whose post-fighting path ended on the streets of downtown Denver. Champ is unearthed by reporter Erik Kernan (Hartnett), whose unimaginative copy has kept him sequestered in the back of the sports pages of the Denver Times. Believing Champ's hard-knocks story will be his big break, Kernan pitches a long profile above his pay grade, pens the article of his career, and is launched into the limelight. Then things turn ugly. For a flick saddled with all the usual "based on a true story" trappings, Resurrecting the Champ turns out to be surprisingly effective, proving that square, earnest movies not only survive, they can still hit all the right spots. BRADLEY STEINBACHER Various Theaters.
Jules Dassin's 1954 French film noir. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
See review. Fox Tower 10.
September Dawn is a soap-operatized account of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, a horrific 1857 event in which one early Mormon settlement murdered an entire wagon train for no reason. (In a meaningless coincidence referred to as "ironic" by many dumbasses, the massacre occurred on September 11.) The movie contends that Brigham Young himself (Terence Stamp, sporting a beard of pleasant ringlets) ordered the killings. Modern-day Mormons take the opposite position. Mitt Romney is deeply annoyed. He needn't worry. September Dawn is aggressively absurd. First of all, it's narrated by a BABY (a literal infant!), then there's Jon Voigt as a crazy person who—when he's not busy bloviatin'—rides around in his Mormon buggy (OF DEATH) and cries about dead Joseph Smith (Dean "Fucking" Cain). I've never laughed harder than during the final massacre montage, when Jon Voigt's huge red face is superimposed over an endlessly repeating loop of babies being stabbed in the head. There's also a stupid love story, a horse-whisperin' Morm, and the most clichéd death scene in the history of death. LINDY WEST Lloyd Mall 8.
If I tell you that this is a documentary about four Broadway musicals, you'll know exactly what to expect: A peek at four productions from all angles, from the producers to the cast, and from all ends, from pre-production to opening night, and through the Tony awards show. Show Business completely and simply delivers on your expectations, drawing back the curtain to dish the dirt on 2004 productions Avenue Q, Wicked, Caroline or Change, and Taboo. AMY J. RUIZ Living Room Theaters.
Action fans are not a demanding bunch—aside from the rare Kill Bill or The Matrix or Hero or (old school) Die Hard, we've largely resigned ourselves to watching crappy movies, hoping there'll be a few flashes of coolness buried somewhere within. That's not the case with War, which sucks all the way through. It stings a bit, too: As action movies go, War's concept—full of double-crosses, ninjas(!), creepy assassins, and angsty grumpiness—is a step above most, but director Philip G. Atwell renders it all with such sloppy ambivalence and crummily-shot action that none of it matters. On the acting side, Jet Li gets to do hardly any martial arts (huh?), Jason Statham just shouts a whole lot, Luis Guzmán cashes a paycheck for what amounts to a cameo, and almost every plasticine woman in the film is Botoxed within an inch of her life. Action fans don't ask for much, but we deserve better than this. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.