Set in 1987, there's a sense of bittersweet nostalgia throughout Adventureland. It's a film that's witty and dark enough to distance itself from the sappy clichés of the coming-of-age genre, but it's heartfelt enough to feel more genuine and insightful than the usual comedy where someone shouting "Boner!" counts as a punchline. (That said, someone does shout "Boner!" in Adventureland, and it's really funny when he does.) ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
The Bicycle Thief
SPOILER ALERT: Life sucks and then your dad gets caught stealing a bike. Pix Patisserie (North).
A new surfing documentary that asks, "What do we really know about our deeper human connection with the Ocean?" (For the answer, watch Cocoon, and have your MIND BLOWN. —Ed.) Clinton Street Theater.
Michelle Pfeiffer karate-chopped her way into the hearts of her inner city students in Dangerous Minds. Hilary Swank's enormous incisors beamed the white light of hope into her post race-riot Los Angeles classroom in Freedom Writers. So how does the white teacher François Bégaudeau win over his ethnically diverse class of urban hoodlums in the French flick The Class? He doesn't, and that's why it's the best movie about a contemporary classroom made to date. ALISON HALLETT Hollywood Theatre.
The Art of
Christopher May of the International Experimental Cinema Exposition visits Cinema Project "with a selection of short films that attempt to challenge their very medium." More info: cinemaproject.org. Cinema Project Microcinema.
A documentary about "sampling/free use laws in hiphop." Director in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. White Stag Building.
For a director obsessed with unexpected plot twists, Tony Gilroy's latest project feels awfully familiar. Duplicity is his latest plunge into the world of corporate espionage, and while 2007's Michael Clayton came off well, this time around, Gilroy shepherds Julia Roberts and Clive Owen through a much lighter-hearted romcom version of the game, with tepid results. MARJORIE SKINNER Various Theaters.
The Lady in the Radiator. The baby. Jack Nance. His awesome hair. The spookiest sounds ever committed to celluloid. Eraserhead! This David Lynch screening is the best movie bet this week. It makes me feel like squishing oozy sperm things and singing, "In heaven/everything is fine/You've got your good things/and I've got mine." COURTNEY FERGUSON Clinton Street Theater.
Do you have a boundless taste for wisdom and Heidegger quotations? Do you often congratulate yourself for this? Then meet your new best friend, Examined Life, a documentary by Astra Taylor (director of the 2005 doc iek!) that assembles six intellectuals (and two charlatans) for an hour-and-a-half of unmitigated brow-crunching. (Quick tip for filmgoers: When either Avital Ronell or Michael Hardt pop into frame, be courteous and silence your bullshit detectors.) ANDREW STOUT Living Room Theaters.
Fast & Furious
Fast & Furious begins with a car chase/gasoline heist(!), then immediately cuts to a beach party, and then cuts to a frantic foot chase/shootout. It also features characters with names like "Fenix Rise," and a part where Vin Diesel threatens to crush some dude's head with a 600-pound engine, and another part where Vin Diesel studies a road's skid marks—effortlessly ascertaining who was driving, what kind of tires they had, and what sort of fuel injection they preferred. It's the best Fast and Furious movie since 2001's The Fast and the Furious, and if that means something to you (it does to me!), then you should probably see it. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
The Final Inch
Portland filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky's Oscar-nominated documentary about the "mission to eradicate polio from the planet." Director in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorioum.
I Love You, Man
The affable, goodhearted I Love You, Man is very much a post-Judd Apatow comedy: It can't compete with Knocked Up or The 40-Year-Old Virgin on a laughs-per-scene basis, but its characters are similarly likeable. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
Starting from the franchise's earliest days, under the steadfast leadership of Harry Glickman, Mania is a love letter to all things Portland Trail Blazers. The usual assortment of former players (Maurice Lucas, Damon Stoudamire, Rick Adelman, the late Kevin Duckworth), team ambassadors and icons (Dr. Jack Ramsay, Bill Schonely), plus a few baffling commentators (Art Alexakis—really?) wax poetic on the team, the city, and its fans. While it doesn't necessarily cover any new ground, or operate in a critical manner, the film's primary role is to encapsulate the last 38 years of our city's largest sports franchise. EZRA ACE CARAEFF Academy Theater.
Max, Minsky and Me
Kicking off the 17th Annual Portland Jewish Film Festival is a "winning comedy for all ages." Check out next week's Mercury for more on the Jewish Film Festival, or hit nwfilm.org. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorioum.
Get your River Runs Through It on with this flyfishing film about Alaska's endangered Bristol Bay. Bagdad Theater.
A high school kid kills his girlfriend and tells all his friends about it in this 1986 weirdo teen noir. Featuring a truly unhinged Crispin Glover, a young Keanu Reeves, and a badass metal soundtrack. Screening preceded by old trailers and music videos. NED LANNAMANN Bagdad Theater.
"Your move, creep." Laurelhurst Theater.
Tokyo!—an "omnibus triptych," the movie's website pretentiously asserts—features three shorts set in Tokyo from directors Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Leos Carax (The Lovers on the Bridge), and Bong Joon-ho (The Host). What could two French directors and a South Korean have to say about Tokyo, and why should I be interested? I have no idea, and I'm not sure the directors involved with Tokyo! do either. ALISON HALLETT Living Room Theaters.
Waltz with Bashir
During the current moment being enjoyed by the animated documentary genre (Chicago 10, Persepolis), Waltz with Bashir will stand as a landmark triumph. Already the recipient of numerous awards, including six Israeli Academy Awards, and a nominee for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, the glowing buzz that precedes director Ari Folman's dark, hallucinatory memoir of a tour of duty during the Lebanese Civil War is justifiable. MARJORIE SKINNER Laurelhurst Theater.
Wild at Heart
Sailor and Lulu fuck like bunnies, Bobby Peru scares the crap outta everyone, and Laura Palmer the Good Witch floats around in a pretty bubble... Welcome to David Lynch's Lollipop Guild. COURTNEY FERGUSON Fifth Avenue Cinema.