ZOMPIRE FILM FEST
All films are at the Hollywood Theatre; more info at zompire.com.
"Two escaped convicts, a couple of attractive lost hikers, and a televangelist with car trouble and his pretty, young assistant all stumble into a deserted fishing lodge, miles from civilization." This'll go well.
DAWN OF THE DEAD
No, not the original—the 2004 remake. Groan.
FROM DUSK TILL DAWN
"Everybody be cool. You. Be cool."
There's a lot of technique here, without a lot of experience. Zombie Jesus stands out as the silliest and best of the bunch, going so far as to recreate the "Last Supper" with a group of zombies: "Raise a dead leper here, eat some flesh there... it's not just scripture anymore. Zombie Jesus is back, and he's got a taste for the pious!" DREW GEMMER
The IMDB.com plot keywords for this 1972 film? "Tiger," "panther," "female nudity," "chimpanzee," and, yes, "vampire."
Funny zombie movies, justifiably, will be compared to Shaun of the Dead, and most will pale in comparison. Wasting Away at least tries something different, though, telling the story through the eyes of zombies who think that everybody else is infected. It's a clever way to redo a tired genre, and while it's a bit too long at 96 minutes, the first hour is solidly goofy. DREW GEMMER
PORTLAND WOMEN'S FILM FESTIVAL (POW FEST)
Runs Thurs May 15-Sun May 18. All films are at the Hollywood Theatre. More info: next week's Mercury and powfest.com.
LOCAL SHORTS SHOWCASE
Five short films from local filmmakers.
A SENTENCE FOR TWO
Quick: What's more depressing than young Oregon women who are locked up in prison for assault and identity theft? Young pregnant Oregon women who are locked up in prison. Director Randi Jacobs follows three women as they describe how horrible it is to give birth with a corrections officer standing over you, to lose your baby to state custody, and to still be stuck in prison while someone else raises your child. It's a film that's bleak as all get out, which makes sense, since the documentary's meant to be shown to "high-risk" young women—apparently to scare the hell out of them, so they don't have babies behind bars. AMY J. RUIZ
Aguirre: The Wrath of God
1972's Aguirre is a pretty big deal in the Werner Herzog/Klaus Kinski canon, and for good reason: Once again, Kinski plays a megalomaniac who drives a bunch of people to their doom, hypnotizing them with this crazy, crazy eyes and terse, barked-out German diatribes. Kinski's Aguirre is one of a bunch of idiotic conquistadores who're ineptly hacking their way through South America in search of El Dorado; when Aguirre sets up a mutiny, chaos erupts, people die, and monkeys take over a raft. ERIK HENRIKSEN Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Billy Wilder's 1960 comedy with Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray. Laurelhurst.
August the First
By inviting his estranged Nigerian father to his graduation party, Tunde (Ian Alsup) unwittingly ensures there will be no celebration. August feels more like a play, and might be better suited for that arena: Onstage, this ensemble would've been pared down out of necessity, and forced to explore and grow only the most visceral tensions. On film, though, jump cuts allow too many characters and questions to be unearthed, only to be denied adequate time to flower. ANDREW R. TONRY Living Room Theaters.
Cobra VerdeWerner Herzog and Klaus Kinski team up again in the intense story about Cobra Verde (Kinski), who's hired as an overseer on a large South American plantation—but is soon sent to Africa after the plantation owner realizes Verde has impregnated several of his daughters. In what would be their final collaboration, Herzog and Kinski are at the top of their perspective games. LANCE CHESS Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Duchess of Langeais
An adaptation of a Honoré de Balzac novel, this centers on the wryly tedious romance between Antoinette and Armand—she a child of frivolous early 19th-century Parisian society with an absent duke husband, he a curmudgeonly war hero with a limp and little patience for coquetry. Of course, the only measures taken by either of these two are dramatic and drastic, and their story is at once amusingly stupid and awesomely, well... stupid. MARJORIE SKINNER Hollywood Theatre.
Echoes From a Somber Empire
Werner Herzog's doc in which he follows around journalist Michael Goldsmith, who returns to the Central African Republic where he was imprisoned. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Japanese Sexploitation Double Feature: Slave Widow and The Bite
The Bite is the Japanese answer to 1960s French new wave cinema—with a ton more titties! The story revolves around a young, attractive gigolo who must satisfy his middle-aged sugar momma's every sexual whim. But The Bite is more bizarre cautionary tale than lusty romp, filled with ominous "da-da-duh"s and stark black-and-white cinematography... but, it does have booby shot after booby shot, which I suppose is all that really matters. Plays with 1967's Slave Widow, which wasn't screened for critics. COURTNEY FERGUSON Clinton Street Theater.
Former newscaster Tiffany Burns made this documentary about her brother, Sebastian Burns, and his friend Atif Rafay. Both were convicted in Bellevue, Washington, in 2004 for the murder of Rafay's family, their conviction the result of confessions extracted in Canada using a controversial interrogation technique called "Mr. Big"—in which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police coerce confessions from their suspects by going undercover and posing as the mafia. Mr. Big's worth seeing for those who're interested in miscarriages of justice, but it's hardly a relaxing, apolitical entertainment piece—I'd say go for it if you're feeling fired up about "the system." MATT DAVIS
Pangea Day Film Festival
24 international short films. Hippie alert. Yoga Shala.
See review. Various Theaters.
See review. Hollywood Theatre.
Son of Rambow
See review. Fox Tower 10.
See review. Various Theaters.
The Cackle Factor: Cranked 7
Mountain bike porn. Clinton Street Theater.
Then She Found Me
Remember the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the guy's face gets all melty and you can see his skull behind it? That is exactly what Helen Hunt looks like now. And while it should be refreshing for a woman in Hollywood to direct herself "au naturale" with nary a hint of rouge, this was just—oh my god—not refreshing. KIALA KAZEBEE Fox Tower 10.
Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould
François Girard's series of vignettes about the pianist. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Classic movie trailers. Clinton Street Theater.
The Virgin Suicides
Sofia Coppola's first feature. Broadway Metroplex.
What Happens in Vegas...
See review. Various Theaters.