Across the Universe
See review. Lloyd Center 10 Cinema.
I don't if Bono was somewhere behind this film, but it sounds like it. Bamako asks, "Are Western financial institutions responsible for African poverty? Is globalization the cause or the solution of economic injustice?" And I mean it literally asks: The film plays out as a mock trial set in a Mali village, judging the impact of World Bank policies on Africa. As such, it moves along just like a mock trial, with heady, policy-specific diatribes from both sides. Overall, it's tedious, and its slowness defies all laws of physics. But if you're looking for a date movie for that hottie you met at the anti-globalization protest, have I got a movie for you! Screens as part of the Global Concerns: Human Rights on Film series. SCOTT MOORE Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The US/Mexico border is an endlessly fascinating space, politically, culturally, and geographically: While Texas and California used to host the most border crossings, clampdowns in those state have squeezed the covert traffic flow to Arizona, where people are freaking out about their new passers-through, to say the least. Mexicans are less than thrilled with the arrangement, too: Where crossings used to take a matter of hours, people now walk for days across the desert, and die in record numbers while doing so. Crossing Arizona looks at the state of the border there, spending time with immigrants and Minutemen alike. Unfortunately, it doesn't really have anything new to say about the situation and, while not a bad movie by any stretch, doesn't do much with the material at hand. Screens as part of the Global Concerns: Human Rights on Film series. CHAS BOWIE Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
If you believe that pretty people are fundamentally more interesting than ugly ones, then you will be fascinated by this tale of two depressed and debaucherous French brothers blundering through their interactions with the opposite sex. If you are disinclined to tolerate self-indulgence even in those with excellent bone structures, perhaps this is not the film for you. ALISON HALLETT Hollywood Theatre.
Three Catholic orphans with quirky nicknames go on "holiday" at the seaside. One day they see a pretty lady swimming topless and decide they want her to be their new mom. Isn't there something weird about watching a naked adult from the perspective of a child? Reverse pedophilia, or something? These and other pressing questions are raised by December Boys (which, incidentally, does not bode well for star Daniel Radcliffe's prospects in a post-Harry Potter world). This movie will try very hard to make you cry. If it succeeds, you are an enormous tool. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
The Devil Came on Horseback
There's no way to sugarcoat a documentary about the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Made using the testimony and photographic evidence collected by former U.S. Marine Captain Brian Steidle, The Devil Came on Horseback is a shocking and sorrowful portrait, yes, and it's compounded by the realization that the western world has refused to do anything meaningful about the genocide. After all, China's already got dibs on the oil produced in Sudan, so... yeah. MARJORIE SKINNER Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
An interesting, titillating film that captures the heat and intensity of an Acapulco evening in the lives of five Mexicans who are struggling to come to terms with their morally ambiguous relationships with one another. COURTNEY FERGUSON Living Room Theaters.
Duke & Battersby—Estatic Transormation and Emotional Realism
When I say "Cinema Project," you probably don't say, "Oh goodie, this should be hilarious!" But Cooper Battersby and Emily Vey Duke, the two artists behind this program of shorts, are often very funny (art school funny, not Judd Apatow funny) and highly watchable. The two began collaborating as students in the mid-'90s and have amassed a fascinating collection of short films (or video art, as it were) ever since. Using voiceover narration, unsophisticated camerawork, goofy animation, and sly humor, Duke & Battersby load their videos with an astonishing amount of pathos and intrigue. It's one of the most accessible Cinema Project shows I've seen to date, and I have to say—I kind of loved it. CHAS BOWIE Cinema Project at New American Art Union.
See review. Living Room Theaters.
Feast of Love
See review. Various Theaters.
The Game Plan
The Rock has to take care of a little girl, and hijinx ensue! We did not subject any of our critics to this film. Various Theaters.
In the Shadow of the Moon
See review. Cinema 21.
The Jane Austen Book Club
See review. Fox Tower 10.
See review. Various Theaters.
Ladron que Roba a Ladron
An action/adventure flick about two guys who use day laborers to rob an infomercial star. Not screened for critics. Various Theaters.
Most of what you need to know about Outsourced can be found in one nugget of info from the press materials: It was co-written by George Wing, who co-wrote Adam Sandler's steaming pile of donkey shit 50 First Dates. Here's what else you need to know: Todd (Josh Hamilton) works at a call center for a crappy novelty product company, which decides to outsource (get it?) his department to India. Todd is sent there to train the new Indian employees. Fish out of water, falls in love, discovers the beauty of India, blah blah blah. The best I can say about it is that the cinematography is beautiful, but I think India did most of the work. SCOTT MOORE Hollywood Theatre.
Resident Evil: Extinction
A lifeless (HA!) hodgepodge of Mad Max, Return of the Jedi, Alien: Resurrection, Day of the Dead (actually, Extinction swipes from all of the Romero zombie movies, especially that shitty newest one), X-Men, The Birds, Jurassic Park, and (sure, why not?) Japanese tentacle porn, there's a somewhat endearing sense of "Anything goes!" to this flat, desert-set action flick. But after about a half hour, "Anything goes!" begins to feel a lot like "Eh, what the fuck ever." While I suppose one could make the argument that you really haven't experienced all that modern cinema has to offer until you've seen zombies climbing the replica of the Eiffel Tower in post-apocalyptic Las Vegas, I think one could also make the argument that if you're in the mood for stupid, stupid zombies-vs.-supermodels action, Resident Evil: Apocalypse is the film to rent. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Seoul Sisters of Shock Double Feature
You know those kids in The Ring and The Grudge (both the originals and the remakes)—those creepy kids with the long black hair over their faces? They come crawling at you through the floor like satanic termites? Yeah, those ones. Witchboard, a Korean genre flick, is chockablock with those creepy crawlers—who um, aren't so scary after the thousandth time. Witchboard has some convoluted plot about vengeful ghosts and girls lighting their heads on fire. Plus there's a cameo by a Ouija Board. And that's about it. Red Eye, on the other hand, is good: A young woman starts her first day of work on a Korean train—the red eye. And what follows is a legitimately creepy and well-paced ghost story, in which the train takes on a life of its own, still scarred and haunted by 200 ghosts from a train wreck that happened years before. After a wig strangles a passenger and ghosts start springing up everywhere, the young woman finally concludes that this is no ordinary train—she just got a job on the Gore-ient Express (heh). Not so much scary as moody, Red Eye is a solid flick that will leave you unsettled, if not pee-in-your-pants frightened. COURTNEY FERGUSON Clinton Street Theater.
John Carpenter's crazy 1988 horror flick starring "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and a pair of magical sunglasses. Laurelhurst.
See review. Fox Tower 10.