22 Jump Street
Hollywood is littered with the decaying carcasses of failed sequels. But 22 Jump Street—the follow-up to the implausibly funny 21 Jump Street starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum—not only overcomes "the curse of the sequel," it laughs in the curse's face, shoves it down the stairs, and laughs some more. Then it feels bad about hurting the curse, and calls an ambulance to take the curse to the hospital. But don't worry! The curse is going to be okay! And trust me, the curse will go on to curse many more sequels. But oh boy—this time around? The curse couldn't lay a hand on the hilarious 22 Jump Street. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.
All About Eve
"You're maudlin and full of self pity. You're magnificent!" Hollywood Theatre.
The Hollywood's series features B-movies, with the audience marking down clichés on a custom-made bingo card. This time around: 1987's Steele Justice, with Ronny Cox and Martin Kove (Kreese from Karate Kid), who has to save his ex-wife from the mob. Hollywood Theatre.
Director Matt Longmire introduces his documentary about the lives of Seattle-area panhandlers. Review forthcoming. Whitsell Auditorium.
In order to enjoy Chef, it's necessary to swallow the notion that there's anything novel about a fancy chef starting a food cart. It's a bit of a strain—especially considering, well, Portland—but it's worth making the leap. Chef might be a little too taken with the concept of food trucks using Twitter, but on the whole, Jon Favreau (who wrote, directed, and stars) has put together a smart, ramblingly charming little film. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
Coffee in Berlin
A handsome, diffident hipster wanders the streets of Berlin, carousing with friends and meeting girls and trying to get a cup of coffee. Coffee in Berlin isn't bad, exactly; but it's hard to muster up too much enthusiasm for yet another bloodless tale of urban twentysomething malaise. ALISON HALLETT Living Room Theaters.
Edge of Tomorrow
A fun, funny action movie with science-fiction smarts, deft satire, a nail-biter of a plot, and lots of cool explosions. If you see a better popcorn movie this summer, it's going to be a very good summer indeed. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
"Maybe it was a pervert or a deformed kid or something." Academy Theater.
The Fault in Our Stars
John Green's The Fault in Our Stars is one of the most popular young adult novels of the last several years, and one of the rare YA titles to make serious headway with adults as well. Through the lens of two love-struck teenagers—both of whom happen to have cancer—the novel addresses mortality and illness with clarity, humor, and depth. So it's understandable that in adapting Green's novel for the screen, director Josh Boone and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber hewed closely to it. In some regards, their respect for the novel pays off; other elements of the book probably should've stayed on the page. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
As one would expect—nay, demand—from a film based on a book by Irvine Welsh, Filth is completely, horrendously, gleefully sordid. By my count, every type of fluid in the human body gets some screen time, and the other bastions of depravity (drugs, erotic asphyxiation, naughty language) are also well represented. I say that upfront because if you're going to enjoy Filth, and you may, it will mean preparing yourself for an apocalyptic wallow in the taboo. BEN COLEMAN Kiggins Theatre.
See Film, this issue. Laurelhurst Theater.
How to Train Your Dragon 2
One more rousing success like this and How to Train Your Dragon will be the second-best animated trilogy in history. (Nothing's gonna touch Toy Story, sorry.) ERIC D. SNIDER Various Theaters..
A dour, black-and-white film about a young convent girl on the brink of taking her vows. Sent to find her only living relative—an unhappy, hard-drinking, man-eating aunt—the two bond over their family's mysterious tragedy in a listless story that doesn't live up to its stunning visual arrangement. MARJORIE SKINNER Living Room Theaters.
Overall, this is a hell of a picture, and parts of it are as great, if not better, than anything else Quentin Tarantino's done. Basterds' opening sequence is a nerve-wracking exercise in tension; throughout, there's a dark humor that'll make you snicker and clench your teeth; there are killer performances from Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz, who plays a particularly vicious Nazi named Colonel Hans Landa, AKA "The Jew Hunter." (Pitt's character, a charming, fucked-up Tennessean named Aldo "The Apache" Raine, demands his soldiers scalp the Nazis they kill and gleefully carves swastikas into the foreheads of those he lets live; Landa, meanwhile, is so terrifyingly funny that he'll go down as one of the best movie villains in history.) And then there's the rest of Basterds, which is a sizeable chunk, and which never works quite as well as the stuff above. ERIK HENRIKSEN Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Jersey Boys tries to do far too much during its estimated nine-hour runtime, resulting in something that's as much Walk Hard as it is Dreamgirls. But if you have a beating heart, and love song and dance (and Christopher Walken), Jersey Boys is... for YooooOOOOOuuuuUUUUUU!!! (That last part is meant to be read in song.) ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
At first, Frank Pavich's documentary seems like little more than a glorified DVD bonus feature—a "making of" doc, with the catch that the film it chronicles the making of doesn't exist. In 1984, when the big-budget faceplant of David Lynch's Dune was released, few people knew that audiences could have seen something else entirely. For years, Alejandro Jodorowsky had desperately been trying to make his version of Dune—a film he humbly thought would be "the most important picture in the history of humanity." Jodorowsky's Dune is about his still-burning passion, and it's by turns exciting and heartbreaking to hear him explain—see him show—what might have been. ERIK HENRIKSEN Laurelhurst Theater.
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
If you told me Le Chef was a sloppy French remake of Jon Favreau's great recent food cart movie Chef, I'd believe you. It hits many of the same food-movie plot points—callow restaurant owners, genius chefs who've lost their kitchen mojo, veggie-sniffing trips to the farmers market—without a fraction of the humor or heart. Plus, the food in Chef looked way better than the fussy little plates of French food they're slinging in Le Chef. Molecular gastronomy? Puh-leeze. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
Locke takes place entirely inside the BMW of one Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy). Considering its self-imposed limitations—85 minutes of a man talking on a car phone—Locke does remarkably well. But it also feels like filmmaking as a stage-y, athletic feat, and the viewing experience falls closer to frustration than enjoyment. MARJORIE SKINNER Laurelhurst Theater.
A young woman carefully packs lunch every day for her unappreciative husband; when the lunch is mistakenly delivered to a sour, lonely accountant, a friendship blossoms via notes passed through the daily lunchbox. Despite the premise, this isn't a meet-cute, but rather a thoughtful look at how relationships affect the texture of our lives. Plus, all of the food looks amazing. ALISON HALLETT Laurelhurst Theater.
Kelly Reichardt isn't a traditional storyteller. Her films, written in collaboration with Portland writer Jonathan Raymond (Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy, Meek's Cutoff), are like enlarged fragments of longer narratives: We meet characters with little context, and when we part ways with them, it's most often without a clear sense of resolution. But in Night Moves, Reichardt engages more than ever with... well, plot. Genre, even. Night Moves is her most easily classifiable work to date; thankfully, Reichardt keeps herself at enough of a remove from traditions that she retains her identity as a purveyor of the unanswered. MARJORIE SKINNER Academy Theater.
No More Road Trips?
Film archivist Rick Prelinger goes on a cross-country journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific using footage culled from over 9,000 home movies; this screening is "a participatory experience that depends upon audiences to provide the soundtrack and narration." Whitsell Auditorium.
Obvious Child will always be known, first and foremost, as "the abortion comedy." That's the pitch, the premise, and the novelty of writer/director Gillian Robespierre's great new film: It's about a young woman who has an abortion and doesn't feel bad about it. In defiance of every film trope about abortion, which insist that soul-searching and guilt must necessarily accompany a legal medical procedure, there's no equivocating about whether terminating a pregnancy makes sense for Obvious Child's main character. She doesn't agonize over her decision; she doesn't feel guilty; she doesn't pledge to write a letter to her aborted fetus on its birthday every year. She's single, unemployed, and ambitious. Of course she's going to get an abortion. But Obvious Child isn't content to simply portray abortion as the medical procedure that it is: Here, the consequences of an unprotected hookup essentially provide the "cute" in a topsy-turvy millennial meet-cute where drunken sex, pregnancy tests, and Planned Parenthood waiting rooms all come before deciding if you really even like someone. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
The Other Woman
A lot like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, except the pants are Jaime Lannister and they give everyone who wears them chlamydia. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
Luca Dipierro's animated shorts, with live score provided by experimental band Father Murphy. Clinton Street Theater.
Portland Jewish Film Festival
There are infinite ways in which to reshuffle categories of film, and the world puts out so much that the sheer quantity begs for organization. And so we have strange, simultaneous exercises in homogeny and disparity like the NW Film Center's annual Jewish Film Festival. Come for the annual compendium of culturally specific accomplishments; stay for a series that covers a massive amount of ground in theme, geography, and style. MARJORIE SKINNER Whitsell Auditorium.
The Rover's apocalyptic wasteland—a sprawling, sun-strangled Australia, "10 years after the collapse"—is a less-than-ideal place for anyone without a car. And Eric (Guy Pearce) will do anything to get his back—including taking hostage Rey (Robert Pattinson), a younger man who might know where the car is headed. Thus, a brutal sort of buddy flick: Eric and Rey traverse this dusty, bloody outback, by turns avoiding and exploiting the few tattered remnants of civilization. Early on, it's easy to find things to compare The Rover to—Cormac McCarthy's The Road, George Miller's Mad Max, Kutcher & Scott's Dude, Where's My Car?—but one of the many stunning things about the latest from David Michôd is how quickly his film crystallizes into a hard-edged, nerve-wracking thing all its own. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
OMSI and the Hollywood Theatre present a screening of 1986's Steve Guttenberg non-classic, "with presentation by Dave Shinsel of Intel and Loki, the Humanoid Robot." There is no chance whatsoever that Loki, the Humanoid Robot, will turn on every human in attendance, ripping their limbs from their bodies in great fountains of blood and using its cold laser eyes to burn their bones until nothing is left but ash and the echoes of their screams. Hollywood Theatre.
The sci-fi latest from Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Mother) starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton. See next week's Mercury for our review. Hollywood Theatre.
Think Like a Man Too
Kevin Hart just keeps making movies. Not screened for critics. Various Theaters.
So many of Trans4mers' scenes centering on humans would be totally unremarkable if it weren't for the copious product placement and Michael Bay's frequent inclusions of American flags in the background to remind us what these giant robots are fighting for, after all, but even with his many failings let's be clear that Bay is absolutely a maestro at filming Imaginary Giant Robots Running Across a Screen in Slow Motion as Rain or Ash or Fire Falls in the Foreground because that's his particular genius and (as much as anyone might want to find deeper meaning in Bay's frequent attempts to mock ineffective or corrupt government agents even as he parades old-fashioned American patriotism around the screen every five minutes) he's not interested in anything besides the beautiful vulgarity of transcendental mayhem. PAUL CONSTANT Various Theaters.
We Are the Best!
Set in Sweden in the 1980s, We Are the Best! is the rare coming-of-age film that makes room for an adult perspective while remaining faithful to the intense, all-consuming passions of adolescence. Cute, charismatic Klara (Mira Grosin) is an outsider weirdo by choice; her best friend Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) has no other options, trying in vain to twist her short hair into spikes and frowning through her tiny wire-rimmed glasses like a worried owl. Their punk band is terrible—their first song is about how much they hate their gym teacher—but it infuses the girls with a sense of purpose and focus, even as they squabble over boys and navigate their chaotic home lives. ALISON HALLETT Laurelhurst Theater.
See Film, this issue. Hollywood Theatre.