Apart from That
Mount Vernon, Washington filmmakers Randy Walker and Jennifer Shainin brought Apart from That to Portland last year, when they showed a handful of scenes at a Someday Lounge event. Now Portlanders get to see their entire—and entirely impressive—film in its totality. Using non-professional actors from their remote island outpost, lots of improvised dialogue, and Dogma 95-style camerawork, Apart from That represents independent filmmaking at its very best, with undertones of Altman, Old Joy, and Cassavettes punctuating its moving and often-hilarious portrait of daily life on the fringe of wilderness. CHAS BOWIE Living Room Theaters.
A Tom Waits concert film from 1988, including "a series of dream sequences revolving around Frank, a troubled man on the run who has finally settled down as the caretaker of an old theater." Hotel Deluxe.
Franco Piavoli's 1982 experimental documentary that illustrates "the passing of time through the four seasons, through the 24 hours of a day and the evolutionary existence of the planet itself." Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
"It's a strange world, isn't it?" Fifth Avenue Cinema.
The Bridge on the River Kwai
"Do not speak to me of rules. This is war! This is not a game of cricket!" Pix Patisserie (North).
Derek Jarman's fantasy about Renaissance painter Caravaggio that juxtaposes "elements of the 16th and 20th centuries." Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Dark Knight
See review. Various Theaters.
See review. The Secret Society.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
After Schindler's List won seven Oscars, Steven Spielberg could've made whatever artsy, fancy-pants picture he wanted. Instead, dude turned around and made a sequel to Jurassic Park. Mexican director Guillermo del Toro found himself in a similar spot in 2006, when his acclaimed fantasy fable Pan's Labyrinth wowed arthouse crowds all over the world. Suddenly, del Toro found himself able to do pretty much whatever he wanted—and it turns out all he wanted was to revisit Hellboy, his 2004 comic book flick. For the record, The Lost World: Jurassic Park didn't win any Oscars, and Hellboy II probably won't either, but fuck it: That's not the point. The point, rather, is fun: In any other movie, it'd be a sign that things had gone seriously awry if a red demon and a blue talking fish got together, drank too much Tecate, and started slurring out a drunken duet, but in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, it kind of makes sense. About the only way I can describe the gorgeous, bizarre, and thoroughly entertaining Hellboy II is as an "epic-fantasy-action-comedy-romance": It's got parts that are awe-inspiring; its lush, bright colors are beautiful; and there are some kickass action scenes. There's also some clumsy comedy and a few ham-fisted emotional beats, but when the whole is this bizarre and cool and unique, it's hard to complain. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Independent Film Night
Local short films, from experimental shorts to documentaries to music videos. Also: live music! AudioCinema.
King Kong (1933)
"He's always been king of his world, but we'll teach him fear." Living Room Theaters.
The Last of England
Derek Jarman's 1987 film that "details the breakdown of English society during the 1980s." Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Legend of God's Gun
See review. Hollywood Theatre.
Love and Honor
Director Yôji Yamada's 2006 film is a beautifully shot tale about a low-level samurai who must regain his honor after losing his eyesight in the service of his lord. Yamada (Twilight Samurai) crafts a molasses-slow melodrama about regaining one's dignity at the expense of losing one's happiness—and while the film is as slow as death by seppuku, it manages much of the same wallop. COURTNEY FERGUSON Clinton Street Theater.
See review. Various Theaters.
Meet Cat Clifford
Washington artist Cat Clifford talks about the videos and films that have influenced her work. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
A thriller directed by—we shit you not—"Rex Piano," Murder.com follows a woman who has "disturbing revelations about a sister that she barely knew." Not screened for critics, but then, most movies ending in .com usually aren't. Hollywood Theatre.
Pretty Sophie (Vera Farmiga, who looks like a blonde Miranda July) believes that if her suicidal husband could only father a child, he might stop ODing on pills and trying to drown himself in the bathtub. Unfortunately, her husband's only firing blanks—so she starts paying an illegal immigrant to have sex with her, in the hopes of getting pregnant and pretending the baby is her husband's. Striving for daring, Never Forever manages only dreary. ALISON HALLETT Hollywood Theatre.
It's almost impossible not to compare Space Chimps to that other CG space movie, Wall-E. Of course, Space Chimps utterly fails in comparison: The animation is sub-par, the voice acting is annoying, and the story is uninteresting, as chimpanzees sent into space empathize with an alien race, and in their quest to save them, they learn a bit about themselves, too. (One of the aliens they meet, a squeaky little light bulb-headed thing called Kilowatt, is the most annoying fucking character I've ever seen in a movie. I'm talking worse than Jar Jar.) Just watch Wall-E again. DREW GEMMER Various Theaters.
This Is War: Memories of Iraq
Local filmmaker Gary Mortensen's video diary of his experiences in Iraq as part of the Oregon National Guard. Hoo-rah. Hotel deLuxe.
Tony Scott's underrated 1993 crime/romance flick, featuring a script by Quentin Tarantino and Val Kilmer as Elvis. Plan B.
See review. Cinema 21.
The make-believe land of Turaquistan is Iraq, the occupying force (the Tamerlane Corporation, which is waging "the first war ever to be 100 percent outsourced to private enterprise") is America, and John Cusack is us: As Brand Hauser, he's a Tamerlane operative who's in bed with the military industrial complex (even though deep down, he feels really bad about it). "Look," he says to Marisa Tomei's liberal reporter, who writes for The Nation, natch. "We've already kicked the shit outta this place. What're we supposed to do? Turn our backs on all the entrepreneurial possibilities?" As a series of gags—some great, most not—War, Inc. is pretty impressive, if only because its happily preachy sentiments are admirable in spirit, if not execution. As an actual film, though, let alone a satire, it's just sloppy, twice as long as it needs to be, and disappointingly sentimental in its third act. ERIK HENRIKSEN Living Room Theaters.
When Did You Last See Your Father?
Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent are two fine actors, and they mostly succeed at making When Did You Last See Your Father? worth watching. They don't get much help, though, from director Anand Tucker (Shopgirl), who does his damnedest to turn Blake Morrison's memoir, set in 1989 England, into a cheesy Hallmark special. Nearly every plot point is melodramatically accompanied by Barrington Pheloung's tear-jerky score, and Tucker spends more time symbolically framing shots through glass and reflections than a first-year film school student. In related news, there's actually someone named Barrington Pheloung. ERIK HENRIKSEN Living Room Theaters.
Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Celebration
See review. Laurelhurst Theater.