48-Hour Film Project Screening
A selection of films made in the 48-Hour Film Project, during which teams of local filmmakers had only two days to make a film. Hollywood Theatre
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Another Gay Movie
I can't help but wonder it the makers of this film considered titles like American Quiche, or Ten Things I Like About Cock, or any other send-up of the ubiquitous teen sex comedy. But I guess Another Gay Movie works as a title, as that's exactly what this movie is. The freshly-graduated boys of San Torum High have until the end of the summer to fuck another guy, thereby heralding their ascension to manhood. Will Andy get some ass before he defiles all of his mother's produce? Will Nico find the daddy of his dreams? Is Jarod's dick big enough? Is Griff's ass bubbly enough? Did Dawn the bull-dyke really fuck the entire pep squad? Wantonly filled with cameos by such gay icons as Scott Thompson, Lipsynka, Matthew Rush, and Survivor's Richard Hatch, the boys answer all their questions with yucks, hijinx, and gratuitous C&A (cock and ass). And of course, there's the question on all of our minds: Will we finally see Richard Hatch's junk? Well, I don't want to ruin it for you. (Brad Buckner) Cinema 21
Army of Shadows
This 1969 film is centered around the French resistance during the German occupation of WWII. Reflecting the fact that the people who made up this "army of shadows" were ordinary folks, there's no glamour or 007-type gadgetry—the film is bleak and slow, but the moments of drama, when they come, are all the more exciting. (One particularly excruciating scene involves the execution of a traitor, carried out by three bumbling operatives who don't know what they're doing. It's a scene reminiscent of someone's first crack at killing a chicken: They unnecessarily draw out the unpleasantness, haplessly torturing the victim out of ignorance.) While sometimes tediously slow, Army is a worthwhile reminder of a time when films were more ponderous than frenetic. It's a pseudo-educational specimen of historical fiction that doesn't go overboard to sensationalize the era—which could be repellent or attractive, depending on how your tastes run. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre
The Best of the Ottowa Animation Festival
Those Canadian motherfuckers take a break from chugging their stupid precious syrup to show some cartoons. Goddamn Canadians. Whitsell Auditorium
The best and funniest film Smith's made since the first Clerks. Lloyd Mall
Dark Water Rising
See review this issue. Laurelhurst
In the first half of The Descent, writer/director Neil Marshall threatens to drown you in a convoluted psychological tale of transcendence—but you'll be happy to know the film later incorporates practically any and all horrors that could be lurking in a cave hundreds of feet below the surface. (Jenna Roadman) Regal Cinemas, etc.
From Oregon with Love
Original, 16 mm short educational films about Oregon. Clinton Street Theater
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre
The Heart of the Game
The Roosevelt Roughriders—a Seattle high school girls' basketball team—spent seven years under quirky new coach Bill Resler, trying to win the state championship. They faced plenty of adversity along the way: A tough cross-town rival, the Garfield Bulldogs, crushing first round losses in the championship tournament, intra-team squabbles, and a state interscholastic association that tried to bar the team's star player, Darnelia Russell, from rejoining the team after she skipped a year of school to have a baby. A sports documentary that bears a striking resemblance to Hoop Dreams, The Heart of the Game is amazing, thanks to the obvious dedication of Resler and the talented band of kickass young women he inspired. (Amy Jenniges) Laurelhurst
An Inconvenient Truth
An Inconvenient Truth is workmanlike and clumsy at times—but it's also hugely invigorating. Tracking Al Gore's global-warming lecture as he schleps his Apple laptop across the country and to China, it's a collection of scientific facts and correlations made urgent through human drama and low-tech slide-show magic. It should be required viewing for every American citizen. (Annie Wagner) Fox Tower 10, Tigard-Joy Cinema, Lloyd Mall
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
See My, What a Busy Week!, on pg. 19. Pioneer Courthouse Square
Little Miss Sunshine
No, Little Miss Sunshine—a dark comedy about a family road tripping from New Mexico to California in a busted-up Volkswagen van, and a film that got a slew of tongues waggin' at Sundance—isn't quite deserving of all its ecstatic buzz. But yes, still: Once you get past all its impossible hype, Sunshine is still pretty great, with clever humor, a tone of whimsical melancholy, and great performances, especially from Steve Carell and Alan Arkin. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
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's 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
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre
This movie wasn't screened for critics, but here's what we know: The Duff sisters (you know, Hilary and... that other one) star in this oh-so-original story about two heiresses who are stripped of their fortunes and have to actually work to buy their Juicy tracksuits. Hey, wait a sec—is this supposed to be a jab at the Hilton sisters? They have more money than those Duff girls could ever dream of! They shit gold, while the Duffs can only caca out twenties! (Kaitlyn Burch) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos
Although billed as a soccer fan's stroll down memory lane, the documentary Once in a Lifetime is much smarter than that. Sure, in telling the story of the 1977 New York Cosmos soccer team, Lifetime boasts multiple shots of Pelé bicycle-kicking goals. But you don't need to be a soccer fan to like this film; the story is more about how corporate interests tried (and failed) to build soccer into a mega-money-making machine. It's a solid story, and well told—and as narrated by Matt Dillon, Lifetime is easy, smart summertime watching. (Phil Busse) Fox Tower 10
The Photographer, His Wife, Her Lover
A film about the sexy, controversial, back-stabbin' world of photography! Whitsell Auditorium
The whole Japanese horror film vibe has pretty much been absorbed by Hollywood by now, with chalk-white kids and malevolent appliances spilling out of all corners of the frame, and onto the resume of seemingly every young WB and UPN starlet in the process. Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 2001 masterpiece Kairo, however, deals with concepts that are more resistant to translation than your average Ring or Grudge, bypassing the standard stock hauntings for an abstract vision of techno-dread. But whereas the specters in Kairo were morose, even pathetic figures, causing mayhem almost as a byproduct, those of the Wes Craven-adapted remake, Pulse, are just the same old shrieking boogeymen, popping out of closets and under beds at a moment's notice, scaring—can you guess?—UPN starlet Kristin Bell. As the volume goes up, any sense of pins and needles fades out. (Andrew Wright) Regal Cinemas, etc.
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
See Up & Coming, pg. 27. Clinton Street Theater
A Scanner Darkly
Philip K. Dick's writing is some seriously wacked-out stuff, happily walking a tightrope between comprehension and confusion, and veering into philosophic acrobatics as comfortably as it does visceral blows. Richard Linklater's note-by-note adaptation and inspired visuals nail Dick's fascinating plot and unsettling tone—throw in some dead-on performances, a soundtrack that flows with the prickly, urgent, and moving strains of Radiohead, and, for all its otherworldliness, A Scanner Darkly feels damningly prescient and tangible. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10, Cinemagic
Woody Allen's older, great comedies had an edge to them fueled mostly by his unrelenting anxiety and self-loathing. Now, he's comfortable in his skin, he finally likes himself, and the tension is gone. Remember how funny grandpa thought it was when he asked you to pull his finger? Scoop is like 90 minutes of that. (Justin Sanders) Fox Tower 10, Lake Twin Cinema
Not screened for critics, this film is "based on the fantasy novel by Jeff VanderMeer, set in his popular imaginary city of Ambergris." There'll also be giveaways, music from Robert Devereaux, and refreshments. Clinton Street Theater
Snakes on a Plane
See Film, pg. 51. Regal Cinemas, etc.
The story is classic: Tyler (Channing Tatum) is a roughish foster kid who steals cars and gets in fights, but who mostly is just a sweet, cute guy who's good with children, plus is a really killer street dancer. (He's a hell of a lot more modern jazz than krump, but go with it.) For slap-dash and expediently deployed reasons, he ends up in a dance studio with Nora (Jenna Dewan), a serious dance student at the prestigious Maryland School of the Arts. Rousing hybridizations of formally trained skills and raw talent ensue, as does romance, a couple of unobtrusively inserted life lessons, some cute clothes and fresh, pretty faces, and, of course, some decent dancing. Step Up doesn't fart around trying to be something it isn't, but it sticks the finish by being exemplary as what it's supposed to be—Fame-lite. (Marjorie Skinner) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Strangers with Candy
For those just joining us, Strangers was a wickedly funny show that ran on Comedy Central for three seasons. It featured the talents of David Sedaris' funnier sister, Amy, as ex-crack whore Jerri Blank who returns after a stint in prison to finish high school. A clear parody of the ABC After-School Specials, Strangers put a hilarious spin on such heavy teen issues as drug abuse, body image, and mental retardation. Though barely watched by mainstream America, Strangers was an absolute hit on the fringe, with pickle-jar tight direction and an average of three laugh-out-loud jokes per minute. Which makes it really uncomfortable for me to relay the news that the Strangers with Candy movie... well... kind of sucks. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Laurelhurst, Mission Theater
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Considering that Anchorman is probably the best movie Will Ferrell will ever make, comparing Talladega Nights to it is kind of unfair—but also inevitable. Ferrell's Ricky Bobby is a borderline retarded, all-American racer who drives a Wonder Bread-branded car and serves as a hero to mouth-breathing NASCAR fans everywhere. Until, that is, a nemesis shows up: the all-French racer Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen). Disappointingly, Ferrell just phones it in here—it's the film's two supporting characters who make Talladega so entertaining. Da Ali G Show's brilliant Cohen is hilarious as the crêpe-loving Girard, and he's shown up only by the great John C. Reilly, who giddily plays Ricky Bobby's dumb, loyal friend Cal. Whenever Reilly and Cohen are on screen, Talladega Nights is a blast—fast, goofy, unpredictable, and willing to go all-out for laughs. You know, sort of like Anchorman. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Not screened for critics, this agitdoc "delivers a powerful sucker punch to the architects of global terrorism and how they stage false-flag events to achieve political and sociological ends." Oooh! Snap! Take that, architects of global terrorism! Clinton Street Theater
The United States of Energy
Since 9/11, there's been a glut of agitdocs surrounding terrorism, the war in Iraq, oil, politics, and the environment—topics that are all linked, to be sure. But smashing all of these issues into one hour-long documentary is a tall order, and United States of Energy doesn't pull it off. Bouncing between the fascinating story of the Hanford Site—the massive nuclear waste dump in Washington State—and its impact on the Columbia River, and a portrait of a Desert Storm veteran from Oregon, Will Campbell, who's now an artist and an activist, the documentary tries to explore "the consequences of the US's nuclear power politics." But the film feels disjointed. Either thread would have made for a great film (I'd have loved a tight focus on the deadly waste buried at Hanford), but combined—and draped with dull commentary from the sorts of trite activists who put a damper on what could be high-energy protests—the film just made my head spin. Director in attendance. (Amy Jenniges) Clinton Street Theater
Who Killed the Electric Car?
Have you ever cried over a car, one that wasn't even your own? You might, if you see this movie. Director Chris Paine explores the life and tragic death of GM's EV1, a zero-emission electric vehicle that hit the streets in the late '90s to meet California's tough new emissions standards—only to have nearly every car scooped up by the automaker a few years later as the California standard was rolled back. The sporty, perfectly useful cars were inexplicably corralled and crushed at the junkyard. (Amy Jenniges) Fox Tower 10
There's no other way to say it: Crossword fanatics are some of the biggest nerds to ever walk the Earth. Which makes them the perfect subjects for a documentary. And that documentary is Wordplay, a shockingly entertaining film about the phenomenon of crossword obsession—featuring celebrities, puzzle writers, and world champions. (Scott Moore) Laurelhurst, Academy Theater
World Trade Center
Whoa, wait a minute—you must have me confused with the old Oliver Stone! The one who used to like to push buttons and explore ideas? That's not me any more! No, what I'm doing with World Trade Center is making a happy 9/11 movie—no one wants to be depressed at the movies anymore! World Trade Center starts with the Twin Towers falling... and ends with a picnic! (Oliver Stone) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Tim Allen's latest family comedy; not screened for critics. Some reactions from the Mercury's cadre of editors: "I'd rather lick vomit out of a dog's mouth than see Zoom." (Wm. Steven Humphrey) "I'd rather be skull-fucked by Larry the Cable Guy than see anything Tim Allen does." (Chas Bowie) "I'd rather be fisted by a traffic cone full of gravel than suffer through Tim Allen's Zoom." (Amy Jenniges) "What's so wrong with Zoom? Seriously. I kind of want to see that movie." (Scott Moore) Regal Cinemas, etc.