See review this issue. Living Room Theaters, On Demand.
The Age of Adaline
A clunky, luminous mess that ultimately suggests that a person who has lived to be over 100, raised a daughter, traveled the world, learned a ridiculous number of languages, and had a lot of adorable pets hasn't lived until she finds a man. MEGAN BURBANK Various Theaters.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The story of Magellan's slave Enrique, "who inadvertently became the first person to ever circumnavigate the globe," took Filipino filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik 35 years to finish. Tahimik will introduce the film. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Dior and I
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
Essential Gus Van Sant
(& His Influences)
The NW Film Center has assembled a lineup of notable films directed by Van Sant—Mala Noche, Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho, Milk, Gerry, Elephant, and Last Days—alongside work by his major influences. We'll never be closer to the Portland that Van Sant captured in his early films than we are at this moment, so maybe now is as good a time as any for a retrospective of Van Sant's work. See "Portland's Own," Film, April 22. ALISON HALLETT NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
From Ex Machina's relatively realistic opening moments—it subtly calls to mind both Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs and David Fincher's The Social Network—things spiral to stranger, creepier places. It's not as if the themes explored in Ex Machina are new—from Asimov to Blade Runner, we've pondered them before—but they're handled here with a depth and intelligence that gives them jarring impact. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Hard to Be a God
See review this issue. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Heaven Adores You
A stirring (and suitably depressing) documentary about Elliott Smith from director Nickolas Rossi. It's not so much the story of Smith's life as it is the story of the friends he left behind. When these characters include Larry Crane, Joanna Bolme, Sean Croghan, Pete Krebs, Slim Moon, and other fixtures on the Portland music scene, the scope expands beyond Smith to provide an illuminating window into 1990s Portland. There's great insight into Smith's early days, from high school to Heatmiser to his hushed, hesitant early solo works. And to offset the lack of archival footage from those early years, there's LOTS of coverage of Portland streets, looking dark and rain-soaked and melancholy—like they're straight from the lyrics of an Elliott Smith song, naturally. To its credit, Heaven Adores You refuses to discuss the sordid details of Smith's tragic death in 2003. Indeed, when Smith moves away from Portland in the late '90s, the film, in its understated way, says goodbye to him. NED LANNAMANN Clinton Street Theater.
Horror movies can often be such a perfunctory, slapdash affair—make offscreen noise, throw cat at actress, repeat—that fans are understandably quick to crank the hype to 11 whenever something promising surfaces. When a film comes along that actually delivers, it's hard to hold back the hosannas. It Follows is one of those rare scary machines where everything just clicks together, with a ferociously single-minded rightness that keeps the nerves in a state of high, perpetual thrum. ANDREW WRIGHT Various Theaters, On Demand.
Kung Fu Killer
A serial killer is targeting kung fu masters. One of those masters is Donnie Yen. Bad call, serial killer guy. Hollywood Theatre.
A digital restoration of Frank Capra's 1937 fantasy. Laurelhurst Theater.
Love Is Strong
A collection of short films from Portland-based director Vu Pham. Cinema 21.
May the 4th Be With You
Celebrate the only pseudo-holiday created by awful, pun-loving fans by watching said awful, pun-loving fans write, produce, and direct themselves in a collection of short films guaranteed to feature a lot of them in bathrobes, waving glowing broomsticks at each other. You will also get to see said fans in bathrobes live, in-person, at the costume contest accompanying the screening. Mission Theater.
NW Animation Festival
Running from Monday, May 4 through Sunday, May 10, the annual NW Animation Festival offers an expansive sense of contemporary animation. Sure, you could watch a lot of these shorts online, but the eclectic curation makes the festival worth attending (there are over 200 films screening). Take Nothing Else But Water (screening on Friday, May 8, as part of the "International Short Films 1" collection), a short about a lonely pig, which totally glows with light. The Bigger Picture is another stunning entry ("International Short Films 2," Saturday, May 9); it features life-size paintings that are animated and combined with stop motion. Events help keep the real-life component important: There's the "Oregon Animation Industry Showcase," a "Meet the Animators" panel, and lots more. More at nwanimationfest.com. JENNA LECHNER Hollywood Theatre.
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre, Kiggins Theatre.
Rural Route Film Festival
Works from the Rural Route Film Festival, a fest that "was created to highlight works that deal with rural people and places." More info: ruralroutefilms.com. Clinton Street Theater.
"I'm a friend of Sarah Connor. I was told she was here. Could I see her please?" Academy Theatre.
Touch of Evil
Quite a bit more than a "touch" of evil, actually. A raw, seedy sensibility permeates Orson Welles' last film for Hollywood, from its stunning opening tracking shot to Marlene Dietrich's world-weary kiss-off at the end. GILLIAN G. GAAR Hollywood Theatre.
While We're Young
Noah Baumbach takes what could have simply been Look at These Fucking Hipsters: The Motion Picture and transforms it into a hilariously sharp look at the generation gap. The movie distributes its scorn equally and with a rueful good humor. It gets as good as it gives. ANDREW WRIGHT Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre.
MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, May 1-Thursday, May 7, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.