Portland Latin American Film Festival

The Portland Latin American Film Festival runs through Thursday, October 23, at the Broadway Metroplex and Living Room Theaters. See pdxlaff.org for more info.

BAD HABITS

A film about one Mexican family who has a whole buffet of eating disorders." Broadway Metroplex.

BURN THE BRIDGES

"A film about teenage passion, in which action precedes judgment." Score! Living Room Theaters.

DÉFICIT

Directed by talented actor Gael García Bernal, the meandering, largely inconsequential Déficit follows a bunch of pretty, privileged teenagers (and one less pretty, less privileged one) as they party at the swank home of Cristobal (Bernal). It feels authentic enough, and the acting is mumbly and low-key and believable, but it also makes me wish I spoke Spanish well enough to translate "vanity project." ERIK HENRIKSEN Living Room Theaters.

ENLIGHTENED BLOOD

This gorgeous, impenetrable film is beautiful but utterly bewildering. To the sounds of minimalist electronic music, people suddenly find themselves at a rare mathematical and physical crossroads that causes them to suffer severe nosebleeds and switch bodies with someone else. MARJORIE SKINNER Broadway Metroplex.

KILL THEM ALL

Yet another thriller about the kidnapping of a Chilean chemist. Living Room Theaters.

La LEyenda de La Nahuala

An animated children's fantasy film. Living Room Theaters.

LOVESICKNESS

The opening sequence is an argument about chewing gum. The second scene showcases an old man and woman sitting across from each other at the dinner table. Add in a hijacked bus, a totally adorable Bill Haverchuck doppelganger, and some good old-fashioned geriatric lovemaking, and you have Lovesickness. It's basically Love Actually without a lot of the gooey feelings and movie stars. LOGAN SACHON Living Room Theaters.

PERSONAL BELONGINGS

A romantic drama about a med-school dropout who lives out of his car, goes from place to place, and "realizes that he may have feelings for his friend Anita." Living Room Theaters.

THE POPE'S TOILET

Uruguayan smuggler Beto (César Troncoso) makes money for his wife and daughter by hawking Brazilian products on his bicycle, but it's dangerous work, and it doesn't exactly come with health insurance. When Pope John Paul II comes to visit the town. Beto decides to build a toilet for Brazilian pilgrims—which ultimately serves as a metaphor for a great deal in this humorous, well-crafted meditation on what it really means to be from the middle of butt-fuck nowhere. MATT DAVIS Broadway Metroplex.

SALVADOR ALLENDE

A doc about Chilean politician Allende. Living Room Theaters.

THE SAMBA POET

In the early 1930s, Noel Rosa was a celebrated composer who revolutionized the Brazilian samba scene. For a biopic about someone you've probably never heard of, the film is captivating. AMY J. RUIZ Broadway Metroplex.

SATAN

Based on the true story of the Pozzetto Massacre—in which a man went into a Colombian restaurant and randomly shot 20 people. The film proceeds with painful calm, thrusting the audience sadistically into freezing darkness, making it difficult to enjoy despite its proficiency. Enter, black hearts, at your own peril. MS Broadway Metroplex.

SOUTH DESERT

A drama focusing around that trusty ol' MacGuffin of a mysterious letter. Broadway Metroplex.

SULTANS OF THE SOUTH

"Four thieves steal $11 million from a Mexican bank and head off to Buenos Aires to change their greenbacks into pesos, with the help of The Texan, one of the city's big racketeers." Nope, can't see anything going wrong here. Living Room Theaters.

VILLA

Three boys in one of the ghettos of Buenos Aires set off on separate quests to find the best TV on which to watch the Argentina vs. Nigeria football game. The logline sounds like a silly teen movie, but gritty realism is the game here. Come for the Argentine slang, stay for the gunfights. LS Living Room Theaters.

VIVA CUBA

Class differences threaten the friendship between children. Living Room Theaters.


* * *

APPALOOSA

Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen are convincingly badass as a couple of hired guns who come to the aid of a small town in New Mexico territory that's threatened by a corrupt, murderous rancher. Jeremy Irons oozes menace as the bad guy, and the hatchet-faced Renée Zellweger isn't completely awful as the default love interest, the only woman in this tiny shit-town who isn't a whore. (...Or is she?) Adapted from one of Robert B. Parker's eleventy-thousand novels, Appaloosa contains enough guns, horses, and billowing clouds of dust to populate every Western for the next 10 years. You've seen this movie before, but it's a really good one. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.

BAB'AZIZ

A Tunisian drama that wasn't screened for critics. Fox Tower 10.

BATTLE IN SEATTLE

Written and directed rather ambitiously by actor Stuart Townsend and jammed with an all-star cast, Battle in Seattle tells a true story but gives us no reason to care about the people, their lives, or their political causes. The protests that occurred at the World Trade Organization meeting in 1999 may well have been historically significant—but you wouldn't know it from this self-serious dud, which insists on TELLING us how important the issues are rather than SHOWING us. The laughably generic dialogue doesn't help, either. ERIC D. SNYDER Laurelhurst Theater.

BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE & BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY

Probably the two best movies ever, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey are screening as a double feature! If the exploits of Ted Logan, Bill S. Preston, Esq., Abraham Lincoln, Death, and George Carlin aren't enough, check this out: For tonight's showing, the films' co-writer, Chris Matheson, will be in attendance for a Q&A on Friday! Dude. ERIK HENRIKSEN Fifth Avenue Cinema

BODY OF LIES

Body of Lies stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, and it's set among the terror threats and deeds of radical Muslims. But while Lies feels more authentic and nuanced than most big-budget action flicks—it points out, for example, that fighting terrorism is probably necessary, and in the same breath, adds that it's also an undoubtedly futile fight—at the film's core, it still doesn't do much more than use the tumultuous Middle East as a backdrop for the sort of hammy spy thriller that Tom Clancy might write on a good day. By the final third of the film—when a terrorist pulverizes a captured American's fingers with a hammer and says, "This is Guantánamo!"—the film's more or less a lost cause, though I guess it deserves some brownie points for trying. EH Various Theaters.

BOOGIE MAN: THE LEE ATWATER STORY

A doc about Lee Atwater, "the blues-playing rogue whose rambunctious rise from the South to Chairman of the GOP made him a political rock star." Bagdad Theater.

BOY A

See review. Clinton Street Theater.

BURN AFTER READING

Like a Jason Bourne flick filtered through Dr. Strangelove, the Coen Brothers' great Burn After Reading more or less serves as an excuse for the Coens to play around with the clichés and charms of the espionage genre, while also having fun with the same sort of sad, aimless, and fantastically funny characters that usually populate their films. Also, the plot involves a self-powered dildo machine. ERIK HENRIKSEN Cinemagic, Fox Tower 10, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Center 10 Cinema, St. Johns Twin Cinema and Pub, Tigard 11 Cinemas.

CHAINED HEAT

Ain't nothin' hotter than chicks in prison, which means the Grindhouse Film Festival's presentation of 1983's Chained Heat is a must-see. Starring Linda Blair as "a first-time offender sent to a rough women's prison filled with violence, drug abuse, and lesbianism," it'll be a ton of fun—especially with the inclusion of vintage 35mm "women in peril" trailers that'll play beforehand! EH Hollywood Theatre.

CHOKE

By day, sex addict Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) slaps on a goofy wig and works at a town that recreates what life was like for 18th century colonists; by night, he goes to restaurants, intentionally chokes on food, and takes financial advantage of whatever good Samaritan/sucker Heimlichs him. While Choke is fun, and while it thankfully retains Chuck Palahniuk's cynical, self-deprecating, hyper-testosteroned tone (this is, after all, the sort of film where heart-to-heart conversations are had over illicit handjobs), it also comes across as a bit self-satisfied, a bit too straightforward, and a bit overly neat. EH Various Theaters.

CLASSIC CONCERTS: THE POLICE

Sting's actual name? Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner. Clinton Street Theater.

CONSIDERING DEMOCRACY

An independent documentary about "what the rest of the world thinks about the United States." Yep, this'll be depressing. Hollywood Theatre.

EAGLE EYE

Eagle Eye takes your deepest fears and turns them into a horrifying (and largely ridiculous) morality tale of overbearing governmental control. In a nutshell, Shia LaBeouf and that chick from Made of Honor find themselves forced to follow the whims of a mysterious woman's voice, who not only has control over their cell phones, but anything digital: flashing roadside signs, GPS systems, video monitors at McDonald's. The technological cat 'n' mouse premise may start out as unbelievable, but by the final reel Eagle Eye reaches an astounding level of implausibility that is both eye-rollingly bad and—luckily for the audience—unintentionally hilarious. WM.™ STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.

THE EXPRESS

An inspirational, family-friendly football movie starring Dennis Quaid? No way! Various Theaters.

FRESH FRENCH SHORTS

Ooh la la, les films est tres petit! (Or something, I don't know, I failed French like four times.) Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

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 Laurelhurst Theater.

A GIRL CUT IN TWO

Director Claude Chabrol's black comedy, en Français. Hollywood Theatre.

HEAR AND NOW

A kick-ass elderly deaf couple decides that together they will undergo surgery to restore their hearing. These types of documentaries are usually either a total snore fest or unbelievably awesome. This one falls under the latter category. I laughed. I cried. I hurled. CHRISTINE S. BLYSTONE Hotel deLuxe.

HOBSON'S CHOICE

David Lean's "working class comedy" from 1953.

HOLLYWOOD CHINESE

Big surprise: America has a history of stereotypical portrayals of Asians on film! This doc has interviews with some of the best of them, including Joan Chen, who laments her inability to "break out" after appearing in The Last Emperor in 1987; James Hong, who despite being a familiar face and appearances in over 300 movies since the 1950s, has yet to become a household name; Nancy Kwan, who's played a few prostitutes in her time; and of course, Christopher Lee, who, as Fu Manchu, admits to having felt a little guilty. Perhaps most interesting is a showdown between critic Roger Ebert and a random heckler at Sundance in 2002 over stereotypes in the movie Better Luck Tomorrow. Despite efforts to be optimistic, Hollywood Chinese shows Chinese-Americans are still a long way from being respected on an equal footing as actors in Hollywood. MATT DAVIS Hollywood Theatre.

LOST AND FOUND: THE FILMS OF INA ARCHER AND KEVIN JEROME EASTON

Part of Cinema Project's "Expanded Frames" program. See Experimental War. Cinema Project Microcinema.

MADELINE

A based-on-a-true-story period drama, directed by David Lean and released in 1949. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

MAX PAYNE

An adaptation of a videogame starring Marky Mark? There's no way this could go wrong! Not screened in time for press; we'll have our review up online Friday, October 17. Various Theaters.

Morning Light

See review. Fox Tower 10.

NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST

The Juno comparisons are inevitable: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is another Michael Cera-starring teen flick about the personal and romantic turmoil of angsty, hoodie-clad teenagers—hip adolescents who wear the same clothes I do, but look better in them. Unlike Juno, though, there's no sense that Nick and Norah is trying to impress the grownups with how many big words it knows. Nick and Norah is just a sweet, surprisingly sharp little teen romp, more in the vein of the 1999 guilty pleasure Can't Hardly Wait than Diablo Cody's recent twee-fest. Unless you're the type of adult who finds yourself talking about John Hughes movies a LOT, though, Nick and Norah probably isn't for you: Ultimately it's a cute, funny teen movie. For teenagers. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.

ON THE WING

This documentary about the swifts that roost every summer in the chimney of Northwest Portland's Chapman Elementary is gently educational and only faintly self-congratulatory. The swifts are a local institution and it's about time they got their own movie. Did you know that swifts mate while in flight? True! ALISON HALLETT Cinema 21.

OUT OF THE ARCHIVES: PRESERVING GREAT MOMENTS IN CINEMA HISTORY

Part of Cinema Project's "Expanded Frames" program. See Experimental War. Cinema Project Microcinema.

THE PASSIONATE FRIENDS

David Lean's love story from 1948. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

PDX FILMMAKERS SHOWCASE

Two full-length feature films from Chris Rentzel and Luis Garcia. Kelly's Olympian.

PROJECTING THE FUTURE

Part of Cinema Project's "Expanded Frames" program. See Experimental War. Cinema Project Microcinema.

QUARANTINE

What? A crappy-looking horror flick that wasn't screened for critics? Why, I never.... Various Theaters.

RELIGULOUS

For atheists accustomed to the one-way street of religious acceptance (on which I will respect your right to believe what you want to believe, and you will attempt to limit my access to birth control), there is something refreshing about Bill Maher's Religulous, in which the unflappably egomaniacal Maher travels the country interviewing people about their faith, in order to: (A) point out the errors of logic, fact, and history inherent to their worldview, and (B) make fun of them. Alas, the film suffers from two things: a lack of focus, and an abundance of Maher. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Center 10 Cinema.

RULES OF THE GAME

One of those canonical "greatest movies of all time" that, while dry at times, is obviously influential (just about every drama that's ever taken social class as its subject owes a debt to this film). Guests at an estate in the French countryside fall in and out of love with one another, oblivious to the army of servants who rush about oiling the gears of the elaborate social mechanism. The brilliance of a few scenes stands out undeniably—the hunt scene alone, in which rabbits are chased toward well-dressed ladies and gentleman who stand waiting, guns at the ready, justifies sitting through the rest of the film. ALISON HALLETT Clinton Street Theater.

THE SARI SOLDIERS

When a 15-year-old girl is abducted by the Royal Nepal Army, her mother tries to discover her fate.

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES

See review. Century Clackamas Town Center, Fox Tower 10, Moreland Theatre.

SEX DRIVE

See review. Various Theaters.

THE SOUND BARRIER

David Lean's 1952 fictionalized account of initial attempts to break the speed of sound is a completely thrilling action picture. A British pilot (Nigel Patrick) goes to work for his wife's father (Ralph Richardson) testing aircraft designed to reach the speed of Mach 1.0. Of course, wifey (Ann Todd) doesn't like hubby zooming around in tiny planes, particularly once she's knocked up... well, the story doesn't matter, especially when the aerial photography is this good. NED LANNAMANN Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

TROUBLE THE WATER

See review. Cinema 21.

VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA

Woody Allen's three previous movies took place in London, and it seems he's finally left Manhattan behind altogether. Vicky Cristina Barcelona functions well as a fluffy bit of tourism, but even more so than as a Spanish travelogue, the movie works—as with much of Allen's work—as escapism into the world of mysteriously wealthy people. As for the much-ballyhooed kiss between Scarlett Johansson and Penélope Cruz, it's pretty tame. The real fire comes from Cruz's performance; she's riveting and hilarious as a passionate, possibly insane firebrand, and whenever she shares the screen with Johansson, it's easy to forget that Johansson has all the charisma of a wet paper bag. NED LANNAMANN Fox Tower 10.

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED

The 1960 horror classic, not John Carpenter's crappy 1995 remake. Laurelhurst Theater.

W.

Oliver Stone's film about George W. Bush wasn't screened for Portland critics. (Hey, fuck you too, Ollie.) We'll have our review up online on Friday, October 17. Various Theaters.