Absurdly Human: The Films of Roy Andersson
In Swedish director Roy Andersson's best work, he eschews traditional plots almost completely, instead presenting a broken-up series of small moments—mini melodramas or tiny tragicomedies that play out in front of a static camera and mix the sensibilities of Ingmar Bergman and Jacques Tati. Andersson's scenes are haunting—but more importantly, they're often hilarious, with inventive juxtapositions (a man getting slowly fucked while he describes his bank losing nearly all of his retirement savings), lots of deadpan, and surreal turns, like an 18th-century king stopping at a modern café on his way to battle to get a drink and use the bathroom. See "Tiny Tragicomedies," Film, July 8. ROBERT HAM NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Errol Flynn's Kevin Costner impersonation is... okay. Academy Theater.
Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case
A documentary that picks up after the arrest and imprisonment of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
From a distance, it's hard to tell how much celebrity suffering is theater. Asif Kapadia's shattering documentary Amy certainly qualifies as theater in its own right, piecing together great amounts of archival, never-before-seen video footage of late musician Amy Winehouse with dramatic effectiveness. MARJORIE SKINNER Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
A possibly magical stranger (Gael García Bernal) comes out of a river to save a farm from some mean men who want to burn it down. You cut that out, mean men! This Argentinean film is basically a revenge western set in a jungle, but apart from one or two decent action sequences, it's way too self-serious, not to mention boring. NED LANNAMANN Clinton Street Theater.
Dope launched an all-night bid-off between distribution companies at Sundance, and it's easy to see why. Shameik Moore stars as Malcolm, a nerdy high-school kid from a rough LA neighborhood, who's obsessed with '90s hip-hop and just wants to get into Harvard and play punk songs about eating food and having a great day with his fellow nostalgia-obsessed geeks. Alas, it's not to be (yet)—Malcolm gets roped into offloading a whole bunch of drugs for a dealer played by none other than A$AP Rocky. (If you've seen Lana Del Rey's video for "National Anthem," you already knew that A$AP Rocky can act; if you haven't, please educate yourself.) MEGAN BURBANK Various Theaters.
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 Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
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 Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
Hitchcock's 1972 serial-killer thriller. Laurelhurst Theater.
Infinitely Polar Bear
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
Are you the type of barren, childless adult who feels weird going to Pixar movies by yourself? Well... maybe you should. BUT! I strongly advise you to put those feelings aside (or rent a kid from your neighbors or the Duggar family) and see Inside Out, Pixar's latest kids movie that's actually for adults. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.
The Internet's Own Boy
A documentary about Aaron Swartz, the information activist who helped found Reddit. Two thumbs upvote! LOL! Clinton Street Theater.
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 Various Theaters.
Nobody whooped when Samuel L. Jackson's arm fell off in the first movie, yet the crowd I watched Jurassic World with straight-up applauded when one minor character was mauled to death by a trio of dinosaurs. Are we supposed to feel like this? Is there some greater point being made about capitalism and human destruction? Are we, the viewers, being metaphorically eaten by this franchise? Whatever! ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
Lila & Eve
See review this issue. Living Room Theaters, On Demand.
Mad Max: Fury Road
A brutal, beautiful, two-hour action overdose injected with a welcome feminist bent. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Magic Mike XXL
Sequels need to trade off the success of the first film, so they need a similar story. But they also have to at least pretend to offer something new. In dance, a cappella, or cheerleading movies, this usually means rounding up everybody from the first movie, then sending them to a national competition of some sort—one last hurrah, but for real this time. So I wasn't very enthusiastic when I heard we were getting a sequel to 2012's excellent Magic Mike. Do we need to see this same cast of beefheads grind on each other some more, I wondered, but with higher stakes? Does anyone need more of this? Answers: Yes and OMG YES. FUCK YES. SO MUCH. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
Man, Al Pacino looks ROUGH in this movie! In Manglehorn, the former Michael Corleone-slash-Frank Serpico-slash-Tony Montana has more unkempt fuzzy white hair on his face than Bruce Dern had sprouting out of his ears in Nebraska. It feels similar, and equally bittersweet, to watch Pacino bumble around as a grumpy old man. Instead of chasing identity and winning lottery tickets like Dern did, Pacino tries to navigate his depressing world as the mayor of Regretsville. Oh, how regret and heartbreak embitter his day-to-day life as A.J. Manglehorn—a lonely locksmith, living in a dingy house with only a pet cat to keep him company. Thankfully, he meets both a cheery bank teller named Dawn (played by a whip-smart Holly Hunter) and one of the kids he used to coach in little league baseball, "Tan Man Gary" (played by a wildly funny and asshole-y Harmony Korine). Both shake up Manglehorn to his core, and force him to look to the future instead of wallowing in the past, in this David Gordon Green-directed film about second chances. KELLY O Laurelhurst Theater, On Demand.
Match Cut Movie Club
A mystery screening series: Buy a ticket, be surprised. Past selections have included Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner and Coppola's The Conversation. More at matchcutmovieclub.com. Living Room Theaters.
This animated spinoff of the crappy Despicable Me series wasn't screened for critics. In related news, hey, did you know Inside Out is currently playing? And that, unlike some children's movies we could mention, it isn't cynical garbage? Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Living Room Theaters.
At long last, an Argentinian film about a con involving counterfeit stamps! Screens in 35mm. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Have you guys ever had those nights where you stick around some probably horrible people because you're already kinda drunk and there might be fun drugs coming and if nothing else this could make for a good story? Now imagine doing that in your mid-30s, at your kid's first playdate in a new town. Welcome to The Overnight. ELINOR JONES Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
Psycho Double Feature
"Uh... maybe that Van Sant experiment with Vince Vaughn will make more sense when you watch it back-to-back with the original? Maybe?" Clinton Street Theater.
Ray Bradbury! Ray Bradbury!
A program from film archivist Dennis Nyback, showcasing rare 16mm shorts and features based on the works of the legendary sci-fi author. Hollywood Theatre.
A monthly series "showing vintage and contemporary films that are obscure, neglected, and from the fringe." This month: a surprise 16mm sci-fi TV show, preceded by a screening of Damon Packard's Space Disco One, which happens to be a sequel to both Logan's Run and 1984. Hollywood Theatre.
A dying New Yawk tycoon played by Ben Kingsley transfers his consciousness (but not his accent, strangely) into a vessel played by handsome Ryan Reynolds (it must be weird, everyone constantly wanting to switch bodies with you). The compelling question posed here is, what do you do when you find out your second chance at life comes at the expense of someone else's? Do you try to give it back, or learn to live with the guilt while using your new abs to score strange? Both options are somewhat intriguing, but if you're Self/less, you choose option C: mash all the buttons together. VINCE MANCINI Various Theaters.
I had my doubts about Paul Feig's latest Melissa McCarthy vehicle, but right around the moment I realized I'd get to see McCarthy beat the shit out of lunky Bond villains for 120 minutes, I knew they were unfounded. I also physically could not stop laughing. MEGAN BURBANK Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Cinema 21.
A series of indifferently staged PG-13 set pieces, brief appeals to the international market, and heavy doses of foreshadowing for the already announced sequels. (Is there a mid-credit teaser, you ask? Yes, of course there's a mid-credit teaser.) ANDREW WRIGHT Various Theaters.
Testament of Youth
A respectful, romantically hued British period drama based on the WWI memoir of Vera Brittain, who was proclaimed the voice of a generation and a celebrated pacifist. Actress of the moment Alicia Vikander is all dead-eyed and sulky as Brittain, whether entwined romantically with young soldier Roland Leighton (Kit Harington, disarmingly baby-faced without his Game of Thrones beard), facing off against her Oxford mentor (Miranda Richardson), or mopping up wounded soldiers as a war nurse. It's a well-made, almost scholarly film that provokes relatively little passion. MARJORIE SKINNER Cinema 21.
The Third Man
Everyone thinks of The Third Man as an Orson Welles movie—despite the fact Welles neither wrote nor directed it, and despite the fact he doesn't even show up until the film's already been rolling for a long stretch. In true Welles style, once he does show up, he makes everyone else seem superfluous. As Harry Lime—an ostensibly dead expat in a Vienna that's rubbled and scarred from WWII—Welles is both sinister and mischievous, charming and menacing; all he needs to do to catch everyone off-guard, be they onscreen or in the theater, is give his brow an impish twist or take a quick step forward. ERIK HENRIKSEN Laurelhurst Theater.
Top Down: Rooftop Cinema
The NW Film Center's rooftop screening series, held on top of the Hotel deLuxe's parking garage. Screening Thurs July 16 is Song of the Thin Man; screening Thurs July 23 is Sexy Beast. More at nwfilm.org. Hotel deLuxe.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
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 Laurelhurst Theater.