See Film, this issue. Not all films were screened for critics. Screenings take place at Cinema 21, Fox Tower 10, Hollywood Theatre, Moreland Theater, NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium, Roseway Theater, and World Trade Center. For showtimes and a complete list of films, see nwfilm.org.
'71 is a stitch in your side. A needle in your guts that twists and twists—and when it lets up, it’s almost worse, because you know the relief won't last. An efficient, spare, man-on-the-run drama set in Belfast during “the Troubles,” where every bullet has sickening weight, and every death is both tragic and earned. Think of '71 as The Raid by way of Black Hawk Down: It's completely fucked up and absolutely worth checking out. BEN COLEMAN
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Sweden)
One-hundred-year-old Allan (Robert Gustafsson) escapes his retirement home and discovers a money-filled suitcase, angry skinheads, and an elephant. Allan's simple worldview (accepting whatever happens) keeps him a step ahead of danger as he reminisces about the times he met Stalin, Franco, Truman, and Reagan. While basically a mashup ofForrest Gump and Being There, this is more adorably funny than either. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
10,000 KM (Spain)
She goes to LA, he stays in Barcelona, and Skype does what it can. Smart, bittersweet, and occasionally really hot (Game of Thrones' Natalia Tena is still not the slightest bit camera shy), with a genuine feel for how innocuous pillow talk can quickly turn serious and/or sour. ANDREW WRIGHT
Lonely Gloria (Lola Dueñas) meets swindling lothario Michel (Laurent Lucas) online, and helps him scam innocent women—but her growing sexual obsession leads to MURRRRDERRR. Based on actual 1940s serial-killing couple Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck, this bloody, psychological horror film is oh-so-artsy and has the splatter tropes down pat, but planting the story in modern times feels false and misogynistic. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Belle and Sebastian (France)
Kids (and adults who can tolerate 'em) will love this movie about a French boy and a feral dog he befriends in the Nazi-occupied French Alps. It's gorgeous and sweet and full of adventure... even though it's hard to stop worrying whether the dog is going to make it out of the film alive. The titular twee band makes no appearance. COURTNEY FERGUSON
Beloved Sisters (Germany)
Beloved Sisters initially resembles a ponderous, indulgent European costume drama, what with all the fetching frock coats and languorous sighs. But the 170-minute production feels downright sprightly thanks to energetic editing, an attractive cast, and rapid-fire banter. It's like if Aaron Sorkin wrote 18th century German erotica and thought women were interesting. BEN COLEMAN
The Dark Valley
A mysterious stranger brings spaghetti western vengeance to the Austrian Alps. The Dark Valley has atmosphere and gore to spare, but doesn't really start humming until the final reel, capped by some memorably bizarre end credits. Viewers with an aversion to eye trauma may want to sit on the aisle. ANDREW WRIGHT
The Duke of Burgundy (UK)
Photographed in the sumptuous colors of yesteryear's arthouse smut, The Duke of Burgundy concerns an intimate S&M relationship between two winsome ladies (Sidse Babett Knudsen and Chiara D'Anna). But writer/director Peter Strickland doesn't sensationalize his sweet, surreal, at times comical love story, the joy of which comes from discovering the dynamics of their peculiar but relatable relationship. ERIC D. SNIDER
Gett: The Trial of
Viviane Amsalem (Israel)
An Israeli woman who's been unhappily married since she was a TEENAGER must stand trial before a bunch of elderly Orthodox Jewish dudes (and her detestable, glowering husband) to obtain a divorce. THIS GOES ON FOR YEARS. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? Gett is a very good argument for the separation of church and state. MEGAN BURBANK
Giovanni's Island (Japan)
You know those movies about children who, thanks to adult political upheaval they didn't ask for, can only find safety by receding into their private, imaginary worlds? Giovanni's Island is one of those movies. The animation is lovely, the child protagonists are spirited and winning, and nothing good ever happens to them. MEGAN BURBANK
Human Capital (Italy)
Life gets messy when a teenager driving an SUV hits a cyclist. What's the value of a human life anyway? Human Capital asks that question in this smart point-of-view story, using old Italian archetypes of the Mother, the Lover, and the Fool. JENNA LECHNER
In Order of Disappearance (Norway)
In Order of Disappearance reunites Stellan Skarsgård with his A Somewhat Gentle Man director, Hans Petter Moland, for a darkly comic Norwegian revenge thriller about an ordinary snowplow driver (the native title translates as "Powerful Idiot") bumping off the mobsters who killed his son. It's bloody, violent fun that's somehow tasteful in spite of itself. ERIC D. SNIDER
Viggo Mortensen's a 19th-century Danish military officer searching for his elven girlfriend teenage daughter in a gorgeous, fearsomely barren Patagonia landscape, in what is apparently avant-garde director Lisandro Alonso's most conventional film yet. It's still weird as shit, with lengthy static shots, hardly any dialogue, deep focus, rich color, and a wispy narrative that ends on a Lynchian twist. I kind of hated this movie at first, pegging it as an unnecessarily arty mash-up of Meek's Crossing, Aguirre, and A Field in England. But by the end, I think I loved it. NED LANNAMANN
Stations of the Cross (Germany)
If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to be raised by an emotionally abusive religious family, boy, have I got an austere German film for you! Told in 14 suffocatingly still scenes, the visual depth of frame showcasing Maria's (Lea van Acken) teenage indignities is the real star. SUZETTE SMITH
A film set during the Islamist occupation of Mali, told from the ground-level perspective of those both suffering under and perpetuating the religious rule. Timbuktu is occasionally, harshly brutal, and the moments of sudden bloodshed are enough to coat the whole thing with fear—in other words, the film functions just as real-life occupation does. There's a timeless horror to the film, made all the more real next to the bright, heartbreaking sparks of life that we see in the eyes of herdsman Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed), his wife (Toulou Kiki), and their young daughter (Layla Walet Mohamed). ERIK HENRIKSEN
A character study of a stoic taxi driver who takes a desperate unwed pregnant woman to the hospital. Single mothers don't fare well in Tehran... so there's your first clue this is going to be depressing. Plus, the mother's grating whine and the film's glacial pacing will make you want to claw your ears and eyes out. (And/or fall fast asleep, like the theater patron who dozed beside me for the film's entire running time.) COURTNEY FERGUSON
The Tribe (Ukraine)
The actors in this dark, brilliant story of teen criminals operating out of a school for the deaf use only sign language, and the film offers no subtitles. The conceit is genius, forcing you to closely watch every horrible onscreen act lest you miss a key bit of body language. ROBERT HAM
A young Swedish woman in recovery lands a job as a nanny for a well-off Norwegian family. Naturally, she bones the dad. The movie's heartfelt and honest, although it feels like it ends too soon; I wanted to learn more about these characters. I guess that's a ringing endorsement, though—when's the last time you could say that about a movie? NED LANNAMANN
What We Do in the Shadows (New Zealand)
A mockumentary (wait, keep reading) about vampire roommates (just a little further) from the Flight of the Conchords brain trust. Blissfully, consistently silly throughout (Jemaine Clement's virile Coppola posturing gets funnier with every frame) with some knowingly wobbly effects by Peter Jackson's gang that only enhance the giggles. ANDREW WRIGHT
A Wolf at the Door (Brazil)
After a child disappears from her school, both the police and the viewer must piece together exactly what happened from a trio of unreliable narrators. The (intentionally) muddy plot frustrates at first, but the gradual revelations and looming camerawork keep tightening the screws. Disturbing, in a way that's tough to shake. ANDREW WRIGHT
Black or White
This movie is two hours of black people walking up to white people and yelling "BLACK" and white people yelling "WHY YOU GOTTA MAKE IT ABOUT RACE" over and over again. IJEOMA OLUO Various Theaters.
Church of Film
Church of Film presents "Borges: Invasion & Other Films," a program "celebrating the cinematic world of Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges." North Star Ballroom.
Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Hey, look. A movie about Portland and fluoride. Academy Theater.
Getting to Know YouTube
Local presenters fire up YouTube and explore "the boundaries of what tubes and you were meant for." Hollywood Theatre.
David Cross' directorial debut is a black comedy that was not screened for critics. Cinema 21.
See review, this issue. Various Theaters.
Kung Fu Theater
A screening of the only known 35mm print of Yuen Woo-ping's Dreadnaught, about two young martial arts scholars who have to stop an insane master on a kung fu killing spree! Hollywood Theatre.
Andrey Zvyagintsev's drama, set in a small town in Russia, where mechanic Kolya (Alexeï Serebriakov) faces off against a corrupt mayor. Various Theaters.
Originally a Broadway play, Match is basically a vehicle for Patrick Stewart to be wonderful. Stewart plays Tobi Powell, a bubbly shut-in who's also a stoner and a Julliard dance professor. It all takes place in Tobi's implausibly cheap Manhattan apartment, where a worn-down wife, Lisa (Carla Gugino), and her macho husband, Mike (Matthew Lillard), visit under the pretense of a "research paper." But really their visit is a paternity test! Mike's mom has recently died, and he thinks Tobi might be his father. Implausible things ensue: Mike tackles Tobi to swab his mouth for DNA, and also smashes a vase full of toenail clippings (which Tobi has been... collecting?) in a dramatic and metaphorical display. But while the characters feel a flat, some of the dialogue is fun, and Stewart is appropriately goofy and witty. JENNA LECHNER Living Room Theaters.
Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine
A documentary examining the life of Matthew Shepard. More at cstpdx.com. Clinton Street Theater.
Movies in Black & White
A series that brings people together to "watch movies and talk about race, featuring guest panelists from the worlds of film, art, and comedy." This time around: In the Heat of the Night, with panelists Alex Falcone, Curtis Cook, and Jason Lamb. Hollywood Theatre.
Portland Black Film Festival
The third annual Portland Black Film Festival aims to concentrate "on the important contributions to cinema of African American women directors." This week's screenings include Kasi Lemmons' Eve's Bayou (Sat Feb 7) and Shola Lynch's Free Angela and All Political Prisoners (Sun Feb 8). Festival runs through Sat Feb 21; more at hollywoodtheatre.org. Hollywood Theatre.
Portland German Film Festival
The Portland German Film Festival presents Joachim Herz's The Flying Dutchman (1964). More at portlandgermanfilmfestival.com. Clinton Street Theater.
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. ANDREW WRIGHT Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Records Collecting Dust
A documentary about the record collections of people like Jello Biafra, Chuck Dukowski, John Reis, and more. Hollywood Theatre.
See review, this issue. Various Theaters.
The SpongeBob Movie:
Sponge Out of Water
See review, this issue. Various Theaters.