300: Rise of an Empire
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Afternoon of a Faun:
Tanaquil Le Clercq
Tanaquil Le Clercq was one of the top ballerinas of the 20th century, a muse (and a wife) to legendary choreographer George Balanchine. That is, until she contracted polio in her late 20s and became permanently paralyzed and never danced again. (Sounds like a total tragedy, but it turns out it wasn't.) This thorough documentary gives an insider's look into the merciless schedule of a top-class ballerina; dance enthusiasts will love the archival footage of Le Clercq in her heyday. JENNA LECHNER Cinema 21.
The Autobiography of
Films from prolific Seattle filmmaker Karl Krogstad. Director in attendance. Whitsell Auditorium.
The Hollywood Theatre's "film series for women audiences." This time: A League of Their Own. Hollywood Theatre.
Classics from Studio Ghibli
The word "genius" gets batted around with regard to filmmakers with a numbing, reductive frequency. But if Hayao Miyazaki doesn't qualify for that title, who does? Since making his directorial debut with 1979's The Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki has blazed his own distinct trail, blending atomic-clock action timing with an awe-inspiring, hand-rendered sense of the infinite. As a NW Film Center retrospective (featuring new, subtitled, 35mm prints) demonstrates, nobody else can balance exhilarating weightlessness with moral gravity in quite the same proportions. ANDREW WRIGHT Whitsell Auditorium.
It's saying something that the NW Film Center's month-long retrospective of cinema's second greatest Burt has so much good stuff that it doesn't even need to include Burt Lancaster classics like From Here to Eternity, Judgment at Nuremberg, and my personal favorite, Local Hero. This weekend's selections include Lancaster's 1946 film debut, The Killers, a terrific noir based on a Hemingway short story, and Trapeze, a surprisingly good 1956 flick about two not-at-all-gay aerialists (Lancaster and Tony Curtis) and the woman (Gina Lollobrigida) who threatens their not-at-all-gay circus act. NED LANNAMANN Whitsell Auditorium.
Being a 14-year-old girl in Tbilisi, Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union was a gray, depressing, joyless experience. If you were lucky, the boy you liked gave you a gun as a present; if you were unlucky (i.e., most people), you had plenty of reasons to want to use it. While In Bloom may be intentional in its lack of meaning, it's hard not wish there was more to it. ELINOR JONES Cinema 21.
Journey to the West:
Conquering the Demons
Journey to the West is a 16th century Chinese novel that blends folktale, heroic epic, and historical travelogue. But to the modern eye it's also a prototypical superhero saga, with dudes changing shape and flying on clouds and hitting each other with magic staves. Stephen Chow's Journey to the West maintains his auteurist fascination with human Looney Tunes and lowball humor, but also gives us a compelling alternative to the desaturated, growly, and overly realistic superhero fare Western cinema has been churning out lately. Journey is fun, bizarre, and consistently unexpected—a hallmark of both good comedy and good superhero stories. BEN COLEMAN Kiggins Theatre.
Kung Fu Theater
A 35mm double feature with two Sammo Hung action flicks: 1980's The Victim and 1978's immaculately titled Enter the Fat Dragon. Hollywood Theatre.
"Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure." Laurelhurst Theater.
Alan Parker's 1978 film about an American student in a Turkish prison. That sounds bad, but things get even worse: Randy Quaid's in the prison, too. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Another cartoon that you can use to keep your goddamn kids quiet for 90 precious minutes. Various Theaters.
The Night of the Hunter
A weird, weird movie from 1955 that's part gothic horror, part religious drama, part plucky children's adventure story, and part musical (boy, do these characters sing a lot). Robert Mitchum commands the screen as a crazy preacher chasing after two kids who are holding a stack of stolen money, chasing them through surreal, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari sets with harsh, spare, angular lighting. This was actor Charles Laughton's only foray into directing; he figured that artifice would be creepier than realism, and the gamble pays off. NED LANNAMANN Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Portland Oregon Women's Film Festival (POW Fest)
See Film, this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
The Redo Series
A new series that "showcases outsider recuts and remakes of well-loved film and TV shows." This installment features James Franco's My Own Private River. See My, What a Busy Week! Holocene.
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
Return to Nuke 'Em High
The new Troma film—featuring mutants at Tromaville High—screening with director and Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman in attendance. Hollywood Theatre.
Sex Worker Film Series
A series offering "the best films by and about sex workers." This week's selection: Profane. More at cstpdx.com. Clinton Street Theater.
"Oh, it's not the speed really so much, I just wish I hadn't drunk all that cough syrup this morning." Academy Theater.
The Bob Moricz Audio Visual
Six short works from local underground filmmaker Bob Moricz (including Rich Little Richard III Versus the Crack Whore Marine Corps), a clip from his feature Bumps, and his latest, the documentary short Naked Preacher Lady. Director in attendance. Whitsell Auditorium.
See review this issue. Cinema 21.
"Now, look what we have here before us. We got the Saracens sitting next to the Jones Street Boys. We've got the Moonrunners right by the Van Cortlandt Rangers. Nobody is wasting nobody. That... is a miracle. And miracles is the way things ought to be." Hollywood Theatre.