• America the Beautiful
See review. Fox Tower 10.
• Babylon A.D.
Vin Diesel's latest sci-fi opus wasn't screened for anyone ahead of time, and in a recent interview, the film's disgruntled director, Mathieu Kassovitz, admitted, "I'm very unhappy with the film." Blaming studio interference from Twentieth Century Fox, Kassovitz says the version of Babylon A.D. being released is "pure violence and stupidity." "The movie is supposed to teach us that the education of our children will mean the future of our planet," Kassovitz told AMC.com. "All the action scenes had a goal: They were supposed to be driven by either a metaphysical point of view or experience for the characters... instead parts of the movie are like a bad episode of 24." Whoa. Various Theaters.
• Bangkok Dangerous
The excellently titled Bangkok Dangerous' plot synopsis, by way of IMDB.com: "A hitman who's in Bangkok to pull off a series of jobs falls for a local woman and bonds with his errand boy." Sadly, this action flick—which stars Nicolas Cage, whose freakishly Botoxed face has practically become a movie star in its own right—wasn't screened for critics. Does it make us masochists that we kinda want to see it anyway? C'mon. It's called BANGKOK DANGEROUS. Various Theaters.
A new "outrageous comedy" that was, apparently, too outrageous to be shown to critics, College follows three high school seniors who visit a college campus. Shenanigans with frat boys and sorority girls ensue. Broadway Metroplex, Cornelius Stadium Cinemas, Division Street.
• Common Ground II
An educational documentary about "the rich, diverse marine ecosystems of Oregon." Hollywood Theatre.
• Disaster Movie
Let me paint you a word picture of just how terrible and unfunny this movie truly is: At one point, G. Thang's character gets a phone call from his shoe a la Get Smart, but instead of a clean, rubbery shoe surface on which to rest his cheek, he finds himself suddenly covered in the feces he accidentally stepped on at some point. He then proceeds to smear it all over his face for, oh, I don't know, like an hour or something. KIALA KAZEBEE Broadway Metroplex, Cornelius Stadium Cinemas, Division Street, Sandy Cinema.
• The Edge of Heaven
See review. Cinema 21.
• Encounters at the End of the World
Gorgeous and melancholy and surreal, Encounters is the result of director Werner Herzog's trip to Antarctica, where the National Science Foundation sent him to interview the brave, strange souls who work at the remote McMurdo research station, and explore the unforgiving, alien landscapes that stretch out around that tiny speck of civilization. Herzog's charmingly gloomy voiceover floats over cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger's stunning visuals of Antarctic volcanoes and the otherworldly ocean ecosystems that thrive underneath thick shelves of ice, and the filmmaker's usual mopey reflections set a tone that's at once uplifting and somber (he calls the Antarctic "a seemingly endless void" at the film's outset, and things only get more cheery from there). It's nothing short of astonishing. ERIK HENRIKSEN Hollywood Theatre.
• Frozen River
An unlikely pair (played by Misty Upham and a pitch-perfect Melissa Leo) skirts the law and forms a tenuous bond. Writer/director Courtney Hunt masterfully keeps up the subtle suspense throughout, and it's easy to see why Frozen River won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. AMY J. RUIZ Hollywood Theatre.
• Fugitive Pieces
Jeremy Podeswa's 2007 film about a man (Stephen Dillane) who's haunted by his experiences in WWII. Living Room Theaters.
• In Search of a Midnight Kiss
It's New Year's Eve—probably the worst night of the year to be alone—so sad-sack Wilson (Scoot McNairy) lets his friends talk him into posting a Craigslist ad with the hopes that he'll find a tongue-wrestling partner before midnight. He meets Vivian (Sara Simmonds), who's crazy, confrontational, and kind of a bitch—but she's totally hot, and definitely interesting. She and Wilson spend the hours before midnight getting to know each other as they wander through downtown LA, which is shot in wistful but unpretentious black and white. Writer/director Alex Holdridge's Midnight Kiss is a simple, funny date movie that won't make the men in the audience want to slit their wrists; sidestepping the standard chick-flick bubble bath, it feels both romantic and real. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.
See review. Hollywood Theatre.
• The Little Red Truck
A documentary about children's theater group the Missoula Children's Theatre. Not screened in time for press. Fox Tower 10.
• Love Comes Lately
A film based on short stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer, and also a film that was not screened for critics. Living Room Theaters.
Alfred Hitchcock's classic from 1945, not that nerdy documentary about those nerdy spelling bee kids. Pix Patisserie (North).
• TBA:08: Day Is Done
See Destination: TBA:08. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
• TBA:08: Documenting Dance: Three Films Out of Boundaries
One of the film presentations of this year's Time Based Art Festival (also see Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, I-Be Area, and Day Is Done), Jacqueline Caux's 2004 Out of Boundaries profiles postmodern dancer Anna Halprin. It screens with Returning Home, Andy Abrams' 2003 documentary about Halprin, and Veronique Doisneau, Jerome Bel's 2004 theatrical portrait of ballet dancer Doisneau. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
• TBA:08: I-Be Area
Another of the film presentations of this year's Time Based Art Festival (also see Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, Documenting Dance: Three Films Out of Boundaries, and Day Is Done), I-Be Area is a feature-length video from Ryan Trecartin that features intertwined stories dealing with "cloning, adoption, self medication, lifestyle options, and virtual identities." Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
• TBA:08: Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait
See Destination: TBA:08. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
• Ten Nights of Dreams
These 10 short films, each by a different Japanese director, each based on a dream (and each a merciful 10 minutes long), range in tone from gleefully over-the-top to suspiciously, depressingly earnest. While there are some highlights (the last short, about a man who kills ugly people, is particularly good), and there's a great diversity in style and tone, there's also a lot of wondering what's supposed to be funny and what's not, and suspecting that too much of it is not. Do Japanese people take killer mutant babies seriously? Who knows. ALISON HALLETT Clinton Street Theater.
Like almost every other American, I like movies. Also like almost every other American, I like movies where people run a lot, and say things that are Important and Dramatic, and if there's a bass-filled soundtrack to boot, I'm usually a pretty happy camper. Traitor has all of those things, but instead of being content with what it is—a mindless thriller—it thinks it's a moving statement about current affairs. But Traitor is written and directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (the guy who wrote The Day After Tomorrow), and it has a co-writer credit belonging to Steve Martin (yeah, that Steve Martin). With its panicked hand-wringing about eeevil sleeper cell terrorists and its generic "exotic Middle Eastern" music cues (which I suspect have been directly lifted from Team America: World Police), Traitor isn't nearly as good or as smart as it thinks it is, and The Jerk doesn't even show up once. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
• Wayne's World
"Benjamin is nobody's friend. If Benjamin were an ice cream flavor, he'd be pralines and dick." Laurelhurst Theater.