WES' WORLD: WES ANDERSON AND HIS INFLUENCES This week: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

An American Tail
Someone out there has to have a misplaced sense of nostalgia for this thing, right? Academy Theater.

Arizona Dream
It's like if Tom Petty's "Into the Great Wide Open" video got an extended cut: Faye Dunaway and Johnny Depp star in a little-seen independent film from the early '90s. Screens to celebrate the Clinton Street Theater's 100th anniversary. Clinton Street Theater.

recommended Before Sunset
The middle chapter in Richard Linklater's now-classic Before trilogy, telling the story of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine's (Julie Delpy) reunion in real time. Fifth Avenue Cinema.

recommended Blue Velvet
A digital restoration of David Lynch's 1986 class—"HEINEKEN? FUCK THAT SHIT! PABST BLUE RIBBON!" Hollywood Theatre.

The Boxcar Children
An animated film featuring the voices of Martin Sheen and J.K. Simmons, based on the series of 1920s children's books by Gertrude Chandler Warner. SHIT'S ABOUT TO GET REAL IN THE BOXCAR! Clinton Street Theater.

recommended Boyhood
Once a year for 12 years, director Richard Linklater summoned a cast of actors to film Boyhood, an utterly unique story of an utterly conventional American childhood. Boyhood is set in the 21st century, so there are divorced parents and videogames; it's Texas, so there are guns. It unfolds over 12 years, from 2002 to the present, but there are no title cards to tell you that time is passing—instead, the years are ticked off with pop songs and Harry Potter book release parties, new haircuts and new best friends. The story is fictionalized, but the passage of time is real; the nearly three-hour result is an affecting, heartfelt masterpiece. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.

Chruchill's First World War
A documentary following Churchill's exploits in the first World War, which maybe weren't as admirable as they could have been. Screens to celebrate the Clinton Street Theater's 100th anniversary. Clinton Street Theater.

recommended The Dance of Reality
Alejandro Jodorowsky's first feature in 23 years, and evidence that he's lost precious little of his curve. A kinda-sorta autobiography (puppets feature heavily), the film follows the director back to the mining town of his birth for a glimpse at the beginnings of his signature obsessions. Even at its most arrestingly bizarre, however—beware the hungry gulls—the main attraction remains Jodorowsky himself, an intensely charismatic, charmingly egotistical figure who remains utterly confident in the belief that his art can change the world. ANDREW WRIGHT Academy Theater.

recommended Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Bare minimum—minimumDawn of the Planet of the Apes is a movie that features monkeys firing machine guns while riding on horses. By any reasonable measure, that fact alone makes Dawn a very special film—but director Matt Reeves and writers Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Mark Bomback have gone a step further. They've gone and made an outstanding war movie. It's great: When was the last time you saw a war movie that captured, earnestly and insightfully, both sides of the conflict? When was the last time you saw a war movie that works just as well when its characters are speaking to each other—or scheming against each other, or trying, and failing, to trust each other—as it does when ladling out bloody, fiery spectacle? Dawn pulls off those feats—feats that most movies about humans can't even manage. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.

recommended 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.

Freaks
"One of us!" Fifth Avenue Cinema.

Get On Up
A not-screened-for-critics James Brown biopic. Various Theaters.

recommended Gimme Shelter
Albert and David Maysles' documentary about the fucked up-edness that resulted when the Rolling Stones decided to hire the Hell's Angels as their bodyguards and bouncers at Altamont. Good call, guys. Screens in 35mm. Hollywood Theatre.

recommended Guardians of the Galaxy
Hating Disney purifies my soul and simplifies my worldview, but despite being a mass-market product produced by an evil empire, Guardians of the Galaxy somehow feels like it was made just for me. It's so good! There's no way I'm going to be able to write about it without every word evoking the sound of saliva being sucked over a retainer. Adios, professionalism, you were no match for Chris Pratt and a talking raccoon. VINCE MANCINI Various Theaters.

recommended Happy Christmas
Twenty-six-year-old Jenny (Anna Kendrick) is reeling from a bad breakup when she decides to move to Chicago to live with her brother, Jeff (writer/director Joe Swanberg) and his wife Kelly (Melanie Lynskey). When Jenny gets so wasted on her first night in town that she has to be carried home from a party, Jeff's inclined to chalk it up to youthful indiscretion—but Kelly worries that Jenny's behavior might compromise the safety of their home, and of their (adorable) baby. This tension between responsibility and "fun" forms the major conflict of Swanberg's film, which unfolds in organic, unpredictable ways. ALISON HALLETT Cinema 21, Kiggins Theatre, On Demand.

Hercules
This movie has a secret. Its secret is revealed in the first five minutes of the movie, but it's nowhere in the trailer. I don't think I can really talk about the movie without revealing this secret. So for those of you who want to see the movie with all its secrets unrevealed, here's a non-spoiler review of the film: It's really boring and it's probably not worth your time. For everyone else: All those giant monsters Hercules is fighting in the trailer? They're not really in the movie. They exist in a fantasy sequence in the first two minutes of Hercules, when a young storyteller is regaling some soldiers with an account of the Twelve Labors of Hercules. But the Hercules in Hercules is a legend, not a demigod. He's a normal (but incredibly strong) human man who allows his legend to be spread so he can intimidate his foes and earn a better living as a mercenary. So this is the Hercules story with all the larger-than-life mythology and magic stripped out. That is to say, it's a Hercules story that takes out all the interesting and exciting parts of the Hercules story. PAUL CONSTANT Various Theaters.

The Hundred-Foot Journey
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

Into the Storm
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

Kaleidoscopic Visions: Animation Classics
The NW Film Center's animation fest is a mixed bag, as notable for what's missing—anything from Disney—as for what's there. Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira is even more stunningly gorgeous than you remember, although the plot, condensed from a 2,000-page manga, still doesn't make a lick of sense, and France's surreal, painterly sci-fi fable Fantastic Planet is a must-see on the big screen. But there are also selections like the dreadful Fritz the Cat; its shock value long since faded, Fritz is just an ugly, off-color joke that goes on for far too long. NED LANNAMANN Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

recommended Kung Fu Theater
Assassination is easy when you've got a high-powered rifle and a scope. But try killing a political enemy when everyone knows a ridiculous kung fu style, and the target is wearing Invincible Armour. Screens in 35mm. Hollywood Theatre.

recommended Life Itself
Steve James' documentary touches upon Roger Ebert's youth and his years at the Chicago Sun-Times. Along the way, Ebert wrote the screenplay for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and (unrelated) won a Pulitzer. He also hosted a series of television programs with fellow Chicago critic Gene Siskel, and the movie makes no bones about how the two rivals initially despised each other, before becoming good friends years later. Presumably, Life Itself was intended as an overview of Ebert's life (itself), but his death overshadows the rest of the film. Still, the film is a celebration of a complicated, heroic man, and as such, it's well worth seeing. I bet Ebert would agree. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre, Living Room Theaters, On Demand.

Magic in the Moonlight
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

recommended Mood Indigo
At first, Michel Gondry's film blurs by with inconsequential joy: In a Paris infested with stop-motion animation, wealthy Colin (Romain Duris) revels in a world where dancing legs turn to rubber; where a "pianocktail" squirts out cocktails tuned to the notes struck on its keys; where, when characters experience euphoria, Gondry shoots them suspended underwater, smiling and slow as the world speeds on. Everything changes when Colin meets Chloé (Audrey Tautou), and everything changes again when Chloé becomes ill. As she sleeps near a broken window, a snowflake drifts into her open mouth, Gondry's camera following it as it comes to rest near her slowly beating heart. It's easy to think of that shot as one more moment of whimsy in a film full of them, but this is something more sinister. ERIK HENRIKSEN Hollywood Theatre, Living Room Theaters.

recommended A Most Wanted Man
For a movie about global terrorism, A Most Wanted Man might seem surprisingly character driven—but fans of John le Carré, whose novel the film is based upon, know to expect as much. Le Carré's built a career on spy thrillers that mine tension as much from the intricacies of human relationships as from the threat of bombs going off. In one of his final performances, Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as acerbic, heavy-drinking Günther Bachmann, a German counterterror operative charged with infiltrating the Islamic community in Hamburg. I'm glad we got to see Hoffman tackle a Le Carré project before he died: He seems perfectly at home in this shadowy world of moral ambiguity and high-stakes decision making, where trust is currency and good intentions count for exactly nothing. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.

recommended Obvious Child
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 Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.

Rye Coalition: The Story of the Hard Luck Five
A documentary charting the rise of the band Rye Coalition from their early days as a '90s indie band to major label status in 2011. Hollywood Theatre.

Say Anything
Each and every screening of this film features John Cusack in attendance! He's just delighted to have something to get him out of the house. Laurelhurst Theater.

Siddharth
A not-screened-for-critics drama about poverty in India, the child labor that families allow in order to make ends meet, and the state of abducted and runaway children in the region. Fun for the whole family! Living Room Theaters.

recommended Snowpiercer
Bong Joon-ho's latest—a sci-fi movie set on a superfast futuretrain—is filmmaking as allegory, agitprop, and adventure, and it's also a film in which Chris Evans uses an ax to fuck up a whole lot of people. Come for the fantastic performances, the stunning visuals, and Bong Joon-ho's startling vision. Stay for a few handy tips on how to start a revolution. ERIK HENRIKSEN Hollywood Theatre, On Demand.

Step Up All In
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

recommended Top Down: Rooftop Cinema
The NW Film Center's rooftop screening series, taking place on top of the Hotel deLuxe's parking garage. Screening on Thursday, Aug 7 is The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T; screening on Thursday, Aug 14 is Vanishing Point. Hotel deLuxe.

recommended Wes' World: Wes Anderson and His Influences
There's no better chance to reevaluate—and enjoy—Anderson's work than at the NW Film Center's "Wes' World: Wes Anderson and His Influences" series, which pairs all of Anderson's films (with the exception of his latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel) with films that influenced Anderson and his co-creators, including works from Hal Ashby, François Truffaut, Robert Altman, and Werner Herzog. Anderson is famous for his polished, fully formed clockworks; here's a chance to see how the gears fit together. More at nwfilm.org. ERIK HENRIKSEN NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.