The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
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 of Forrest Gump and Being There, this is more adorably funny than either. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Cinema 21.
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.
See review this issue. 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. And there are a billion parts: Avengers: Age of Ultron is the 11th (11th!) Marvel movie. Things explode, the plot hurtles forward, and everybody cracks jokes. But more importantly—in between all the callbacks to previous films and setups for sequels—Whedon finds a great movie. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Bigger Than Life:
The Films of Nicholas Ray
Americans never fully understood the films of Nicholas Ray. In the New York Times' review of Wim Wenders' Lightning Over Water, a 1980 documentary about the maverick director's final days, Vincent Canby wrote, "Perhaps the worst thing that ever happened to Nicholas Ray... was when, in the late 1950s, he began to hear himself acclaimed as 'an artist,' and attempted to live up to the reputation that had been imposed on him, initially by European critics and filmmakers." Ouch. Perhaps Canby was thinking of Ray's most famous film, 1955's Rebel Without a Cause. Have you seen it lately? Have you seen it as a grownup? It's... not very good. See "Rebel, Rebel," Film, April 22. NED LANNAMANN NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
"I have never known birds of different species to flock together. The very concept is unimaginable. Why, if that happened, we wouldn't stand a chance!" Laurelhurst Theater.
A documentary looking at the cover-ups and covert operations performed by the US government in the '50s, '60s, and '70s. This screening should attract a number of perfectly reasonable people. Clinton Street Theater.
A bullshit movie that takes place in a bullshit world where all concerts are one song long, all long-lost sons turn out to have terminal diseases, and all adorable granddaughters have learning disabilities that can only be cured by throwing rock-star sums of money at them. NED LANNAMANN Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
Dior and I
Frédéric Tcheng's documentary about fashion designer Raf Simons' first collection for the iconic French fashion house Christian Dior—an haute couture collection, no less. Thus, Tcheng devotes nearly as much time to the men and women in the workrooms—whose job it is to execute the designer's vision with specialized hands—as he gives to Simons, including when the filmmaker accompanies the designer on inspirational trips to art museums. On one hand, it's interesting to get a glimpse into the couture process and its particular pitfalls. On the other, Tcheng simply doesn't have much drama to work with. MARJORIE SKINNER Various Theaters.
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.
Everything is Festival
See Film, this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
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 Hollywood Theatre.
Far From the Madding Crowd
Hollywood has a nasty habit of ruining classic pieces of literature by adapting them into movies. Less often, it will do us a favor by taking dry 19th century novels we maybe wouldn't have delved into and converting them into something accessible for our limited modern attention spans and vocabularies. Lucky for us, Far from the Madding Crowd falls into the latter category. I've never read Thomas Hardy's book (am I right that it's dry?) and I'm glad I didn't bother; the movie is fully satisfying. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
From One Rose
"A cinematic journey through the life of a woman born at the turn of the century in Portland, Oregon, who grows up with the Rose Festival." For the sake of Rose Festival authenticity, the screening will include plenty of drunk Greshamites, who will likely be fighting with a good number of overpopulating Beavertonians over cotton candy, stuffed animals, and spots on the filthy sidewalk. Carnies may or may not be in attendance, depending on the weather. Clinton Street Theater.
Following up some of the best pop movies in recent history, the seventh—seventh!—installment in the genre-hopping series finds the family paying tribute to Paul Walker while also embarking on 007-style super-spy adventure. Under director James Wan, Furious 7 amps up the insanely over-the-top spectacle, crams in all the loveable characters (most notably Tyrese Gibson's Roman and Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs), and earnestly goes for the series' hallmarks, both beloved (Vin Diesel grumbling about family) and subtle (progressive multiculturalism). This is a big cartoony jumble of action and melodrama, but it also zeros in on the movies' heartfelt core. Furious 7 isn't the first Fast & Furious movie that had me clapping and laughing throughout; it is the first that ended with me realizing I had a lump in my throat. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Will Ferrell plays a nebbish financial exec falsely convicted of embezzlement and facing 10 years in San Quentin. To prepare himself for life on the inside, he hires the owner of his firm's in-house car service (Kevin Hart), assuming that because he's black, he's been locked up. In more thoughtful hands, this would've been the basis for some commentary on class and race-based inequality. Instead, we get jokes about keistering weapons, endless slapstick, and one useless sequence where Ferrell tries to suck a stranger's dick. Don't worry! He doesn't do it! Whew! No homo, right?!? ROBERT HAM Academy Theater, Valley Theater.
Ethan Hawke reteams with Gattaca writer/director Andrew Niccol for a sparse, dark look at drone warfare. Formerly a fighter pilot, Major Thomas Egan (Hawke) now sits in an air-conditioned trailer, blowing away Muslims using little more than a joystick. As the CIA and his war-weary commander (Bruce Greenwood) order him to carry out strikes that seem increasingly like war crimes, Egan has to deal with both his conscience and his shut-out wife (January Jones). It's worth noting that Niccol based Good Kill's drone strikes on actual accounts; few narrative films burn with as much righteous, justified anger as this one. Niccols' film can feel preachy and stilted (not for nothing is Egan's suburban home shot from the same birds-eye perspective used by Egan's drones), but Hawke's performance and the real-world ramifications make Good Kill hard to forget. ERIK HENRIKSEN On Demand.
"Oh no, Mrs. Robinson. I think—I think you're the most attractive of all my parents' friends. I mean that." Academy Theater.
Women are funny! Just not in Hot Pursuit. COURTNEY FERGUSON Various Theaters.
I Am Big Bird
Did you know that the man inside the Big Bird costume has been the same guy since the beginning? It's true! His name is Carroll Spinney, and I Am Big Bird documents his rocky beginnings with Jim Henson's Sesame Street crew to finding his calling as an eight-foot-tall bird and being just about the nicest guy around. ELINOR JONES Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
The Imitation Game
This Alan Turing biopic is a big, sepia-toned war drama designed to make audiences feel things. What it makes us feel, though, is not War Is Hell or Brotherhood Is Eternal or Human Spirit Triumphs Against Impossible Odds. It makes us feel the acute shittiness of a world in which a gay genius kills himself (spoiler) because his sexuality was criminalized by the very government that should have protected and celebrated him. It's the kind of feeling that makes you want to be a little bit nicer to the people around you—a modest end, but a worthy one. ALISON HALLETT Laurelhurst Theater.
Industrial Soundtrack for the Urban Decay
A documentary about industrial music, featuring a live, post-screening interview with Paul Barker of Ministry and the Revolting Cocks. Clinton Street Theater.
Insurgent doesn't do much to catch you up on what happened in Divergent, the series' first installment. As the film opens, the rubble created in Divergent is still smoking, but government bad guy Jeanine (Kate Winslet) has acquired a bigger special effects budget. (Unfortunately she blows it all on feathered dissolve effects.) Meanwhile, Tris (Shailene Woodley) has cut her hair because she's emo now, and will continue to be for the entire film. Four (Theo James) makes fun of her for cutting her precious feminine hair and everyone in the theater has a good chuckle. SUZETTE SMITH Various Theaters.
Albert Maysles' documentary about 93-year-old style icon Iris Apfel is delightful: Apfel and her dear husband Carl are basically happy, inspiring, busy people; their cheerfulness is only occasionally clouded by concern, usually related to health and aging. This makes them excellent role models and tame film subjects, and so Iris dodders on pleasantly enough. If Maysles wanted to scratch a bit deeper, he might've addressed the economic elephant in the room: The Apfels are rich, and while Iris may be one of the originators of "high-low" style, her ability to collect whatever catches her eye goes a long way toward the final, striking result. MARJORIE SKINNER Kiggins Theatre.
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 Laurelhurst Theater, On Demand.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
You can tell a lot about someone by which James Bond is his or her favorite. Judging from Kingsman: The Secret Service, director Matthew Vaughn's favorite is Roger Moore. Moore's Bond films were glamorous, extravagant trash, and Kingsman is both a love letter to that goofy camp and a mild critique of the dour, serious Bond we've got now. Based on a comic by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, Kingsman is smashingly fun, finding common ground between today's comic-book action flicks and classic British espionage thrillers. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter
Brothers David and Nathan Zellner had already begun work on fictionalizing the "true" tale of a young Tokyo woman thought to have died looking for the suitcase of money that was buried in the Coen brothers' Fargo when they found out that wasn't quite the case. Takako Konishi had died of exposure in the snow, but she did so intentionally, as was revealed in a suicide note she penned to her parents. Nonetheless, the Zellners pushed on with their project, modeled after the original version of the Konishi legend. The premise isn't the only unbelievably bizarre moment in Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, but the moments in the film that shine brightest are those in which the most liberties have been taken. MARJORIE SKINNER Laurelhurst Theater.
Kung fu hustle
"Let's kill them all and make this place a brothel." Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Coming three decades after his last Mad Max, Fury Road is one of George Miller's best—a full-bore, balls-out maelstrom that finds Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) once again stumbling around in the post-apocalypse, where he teams up with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and tries to survive a days-long car chase from warlord Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). They race and punch and explode through a lurid, eye-searing palette of oranges and blues; what results is a brutal, beautiful, two-hour action overdose that's injected with a surprising, if welcome, feminist bent. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
On Paper Wings
Portland documentarian Ilana Sol's beautiful film is about the only casualties that occurred in the continental US during WWII. In Bly, Oregon, in 1945, a young pastor and his pregnant wife took a group of children on a picnic in the woods—only to discover a strange balloon in the trees. Constructed of paper and sent into the airstream from Japan, the odd creation contained a bomb that exploded and killed the children and the young woman. Affecting interviews with four Japanese women who worked in the paper factory where they made thousands of balloon bombs during their school years are interwoven with interviews with Bly's denizens, and friends and relatives of the deceased. On Paper Wings is a well-crafted story that perfectly builds to the point of misty-eyed reunion when the women travel to Bly 40 years after WWII on a mission of peace, bearing 1,000 origami cranes. You'd better bring a hanky. COURTNEY FERGUSON Hollywood Theatre.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
The studio didn't screen Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2: The Blartening for critics. This was undoubtedly a smart move—maybe, in fact, the smartest thing about Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2: Blart 2 da Hood, which reprises Kevin James' titular role from the surprisingly successful 2009 comedy. I did see Paul Blart: Mall Cop Episode 1—The Phantom Blartace, and while my memory of it is dim, here's what I can piece together: Fat guy rides Segway, falls on ass; repeat for 87 minutes. I am confident in assuring you that you'll find no truer description of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2: Electric Blartabloo. NED LANNAMANN Century Clackamas Town Center.
Pitch Perfect 2
Anna Kendrick smells of chocolate-chip cookies and lemon verbena. COURTNEY FERGUSON Various Theaters.
Plant Pure Nation
A documentary following three advocates of plant-based diets. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, one of the film's subjects, in attendance. Clinton Street Theater.
Cannily inverting the original's Reaganomic glow, this remake's plot finds a downturned family reluctantly moving to a fixer-upper in the suburbs, only to discover anew the dangers of standing too close to the TV. Director Gil Kenan, whose animated Monster House displayed a healthy Spielbergian aura, shows a similarly deft touch here, quickly sketching out the geography while judiciously doling out the jump scares. He's greatly aided by a cast full of indie-film staples (including Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Jane Adams) who do a terrific job finding empathetic character beats within the film's modern, ADD pacing. (The only real bummer is Jared Harris, whose two-fisted reality show exorcist proves to be nowhere near as weird as Zelda Rubinstein. But then again, how could he be?) ANDREW WRIGHT Various Theaters.
As far as hooks go, Roar's got a pretty good one: Noel Marshall, a film producer, agent, husband to Tippi Hedren, and notably not an animal trainer, blew $17 million trying to direct his first (and ultimately only) film, which mostly starred a few hundred untrained lions, tigers, pumas, panthers, jaguars, and cheetahs. Helping him in this quest were a rotating cast and crew (turnover is high when management is insane) and a few people who apparently couldn't escape: Marshall's cinematographer (future Speed director Jan de Bont), and Marshall's family (Hedren, Hedren's daughter Melanie Griffith, and two sons), all of whom he nearly got killed. Initially panned and buried upon release in 1981, Drafthouse Films is spearheading Roar's re-release, citing its 70 cast and crew injuries to declare it "the most dangerous movie ever made." Having watched the finished product, I can report that Roar is roughly a cross between the movie the Grizzly Man from Grizzly Man might've made and your mom's emails about her cat. VINCE MANCINI Hollywood Theatre.
See review. Various Theaters.
The Second Best Exotic
A movie by retirees, for retirees. See review in the Willamette Week. Academy Theater.
A story of guns and horses and men, and a woman or two—a western, albeit a contemporary, art-laced, off-kilter one. (Can we stop calling every western that's been made since The Wild Bunch "postmodern" or "revisionist"? This particular genre has obviously found substantial room for mutation since John Wayne's heyday.) Slow West's best moments are the still, thoughtful ones, where gorgeous photography of an unravaged, almost magical West evokes the characters' inner thoughts. NED LANNAMANN Cinema 21, On Demand.
Song of the Sea
The latest animated film from Tomm Moore, co-director of 2009's excellent The Secret of Kells. Not screened for critics. Academy Theater.
The great promise of the Space Age—an era Tomorrowland gleefully fetishizes—was a combination of optimism and humanism. The Space Age asserted that science could, and would, solve the world's problems. While there are bits of that philosophy in Tomorrowland, they're hard to find, and harder still to piece into anything coherent. For all its ambition, Brad Bird's adventure film feels like a movie where entire scenes have gone missing, even as others blur by in a jumble of technobabble. By the time Tomorrowland ends, the only thing that's clear is that George Clooney might want to fuck an eight-year-old robot. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
The True Cost
A documentary that investigates the truths about how our low-cost clothing is made. Clinton Street Theater.
What We Do in the Shadows
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 Cinema 21, On Demand.
While We're Young
Noah Baumbach takes what could have 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.
Who is Gil Scott-Heron?
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
Woman in Gold
The fact that Holocaust victims and their descendants are attempting to reclaim art stolen by the Nazis in increasing numbers could have huge impact—not just on museum holdings, but on the world's ability to remember the ills of history. The case of Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) is perhaps the most significant—along with a rookie lawyer (Ryan Reynolds, trying to hide behind khaki pants and glasses), Altmann successfully sued the Republic of Austria for the return of several Gustav Klimt paintings, including a portrait of her aunt that had become the nation's equivalent of the Mona Lisa. That's pretty badass, but director Simon Curtis' depiction of the years-long battle is a plodding, oversimplified courtroom procedural spliced with pretty but wooden flashbacks. Content to cheerlead its protagonists, its refusal to engage in any reasonable way with the opposing argument is borderline irresponsible... and irresponsibly dull. The film also features Katie Holmes reprising her role as a housebound, baby-having yes woman. MARJORIE SKINNER Liberty Theatre.
MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, May 29-Thursday, June 4, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.