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. BEN COLEMAN Various Theaters.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
TV and film are edging closer toward each other, and no soulless multimedia conglomerate embodies this hybridization better than Marvel. It isn't a coincidence that Marvel's best stuff has come from Joss Whedon, a third-generation TV writer who can turn massive casts, sitcom quips, and blockbuster spectacle into movies that are more than the sum of their billion parts. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
The D Train
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Essential Gus Van Sant
(& His Influences)
A lineup of notable films directed by Van Sant, alongside work by his major influences. See "Portland's Own," Film, April 22. ALISON HALLETT NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
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.
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. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The Human Experiment
Sean Penn narrates an agit-prop doc about the chemicals present in household products. Not screened for the Mercury, probably because we voted for fluoride. Cinema 21.
The HUMP! Tour
Even if you're a fan of the HUMP! amateur porn fest (or just HUMP!-curious), it's unlikely you've seen every HUMP! film. (Did you know the festival was originally Seattle-only for years before coming to Portland?) Luckily the HUMP! tour has rounded up some old favorites for a traveling best-of edition. It's here now, and it's on! MARJORIE SKINNER Cinema 21.
There are a bunch of guys down in Salem who like to recreate the Vietnam war. They're veterans, mostly—of Iraq, or Afghanistan, or of Vietnam itself. And the thing these guys seem to enjoy most in life is to walk the forests and fields of the Pacific Northwest as if they were Southeast Asian rice paddies, "capturing" or "killing" friends playing Viet Cong guerillas and firing a lot of blank shells from big guns. What they're mostly doing is grasping at the most terrible moments of their lives. This well-made documentary about their exercises steers clear of tricky late-'60s politics in order to focus on that. And how strange and understandable it all is. DIRK VANDERHART Living Room Theaters.
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 Theater
Sometimes people ask "Whatever happened to that one Bond? The jug-eared one from Australia that only had the one movie? What did he do after that?" He did this month's Kung Fu Theater pick, The Man from Hong Kong, with a young, portly, forever badass Sammo Hung, and star Jimmy Wang-Yu. Director in attendance. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
Lambert & Stamp
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre, On Demand.
New Czech Cinema
The annual touring program of contemporary Czech cinema, presented by the NW Film Center and Czech That Film. More at nwfilm.org. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
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.
QDoc: Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival
Runs Thursday, May 14 to Sunday, May 17. For more, see next week's Mercury or queerdocfest.org. Hollywood Theatre.
The Hollywood continues their tribute to the recently deceased TV producer Glen A. Larson by screening a hybrid cut of the television and feature film versions of 1979's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
An enjoyable if formulaic thriller, and an indicator that the Pander brothers might be the next greatest thing out of Portland's movie-making scene—if, that is, they just set their sights a smidge higher next time. Screens with the Pander brothers' short film Subtext as part of the WebVisions Portland conference; directors in attendance. MARJORIE SKINNER Hollywood Theatre.
The Treasure of the
See My, What a Busy Week! Laurelhurst Theater.
Done well, there can be a sleazy, skeevy appeal to true crime; done poorly, those same stories are little more than an excuse to leer at others' misfortune. True Story isn't sure where that line is. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Welcome to Me
See review this issue. Cinema 21, Kiggins Theatre.