A promising-looking animated film directed by Shane Acker and produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov. See next week's Mercury for our review. Various Theaters.
All About Steve
See review. Various Theaters.
A drama about a single African American mother who's wrongfully accused of dealing drugs. Narrated by Warwick Davis. Living Room Theaters.
Julian Schnabel's 1996 biopic about artist Jean Michel Basquiat (Jeffrey Wright). Clinton Street Theater.
A not-screened-for-critics thriller about teenagers attempting to outrun a pandemic. Luckily, one of the kids is played by the dude who played Captain Kirk in the new Star Trek, so everything should be cool. No worries. Various Theaters.
Classic Concerts: Glam Slam
Footage from '70s glam concerts, including music from David Bowie, New York Dolls, Roxy Music, and more. Clinton Street Theater.
See review. Fox Tower 10.
A weird, brilliant, brutal, and gorgeous science-fiction film. It's inventive and surprising and disarmingly unique, and it's one of those rare films that's both relentlessly entertaining and also has something to say. It's the sort of story you won't be able to stop thinking about afterward, and, not to build it up too much or get embarrassingly hyperbolic, but goddamn—in a whole lot of ways, this thing feels like a game-changer. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
See review. Various Theaters.
The Final Destination
The fourth film in the series about Death huntin' down teenagers using increasingly ludicrous and convoluted methods. Not screened for critics. Various Theaters.
An independent slasher flick about a young woman searching for her friends while "fighting the elements and the strange inhabitants of a desolate mountain town." Director in attendance. Someday Lounge.
Originally titled Citizen Game (GET IT?!?), Gamer is a not-screened-for-critics action flick in which that dude from 300 fights that dude from Dexter. And the 300 dude can be controlled by other people, like in a videogame! In other words, it basically looks like Tron. But worse. A lot worse. Various Theaters.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Here is the situation: Channing Tatum is the Best Soldier in the World Ever. When a couple of warheads filled with magical, metal-eating "nanomites" (invented by Cobra Commander Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are stolen (also by Cobra Commander Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and don't bother asking why someone would go to the trouble of stealing their own technology from their own selves because it DOESN'T MATTER), Tatum falls in with a special clan of underground fighty wax figurines called G.I. Joes. The rest of the movie goes like this: "Once unleashed, the nanomites will not stop. EVER." "Come on! We gotta get in this fight!" "Don't make me shoot a woman." "Oh my god. They're going to use him to weaponize the warheads." "Try this on for size, boys." "Zey're going to detonate one of ze war'eads at ze Eiffel Tower!" Robot fish, medieval flashback, 11 seconds of Brendan Fraser, a plane that only speaks Celtic, a dash of Face/Off, a buttload of Star Wars, aaaaaaaaand we're done. LINDY WEST Various Theaters.
The sequel to the remake. Not screened for critics. Various Theaters.
Overall, this is a hell of a picture, and parts of it are as great, if not better, than anything else Quentin Tarantino's done. Basterds' opening sequence is a nerve-wracking exercise in tension; throughout, there's a dark humor that'll make you snicker and clench your teeth; there are killer performances from Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz, who plays a particularly vicious Nazi named Colonel Hans Landa, AKA "The Jew Hunter." (Pitt's character, a charming, totally fucked-up Tennessean lieutenant named Aldo "The Apache" Raine, demands his soldiers scalp the Nazis they kill and gleefully carves swastikas into the foreheads of those he lets live; Landa, meanwhile, is so terrifyingly fascinating that he'll go down as one of the best movie villains in recent memory.) And then there's the rest of Basterds, which is a sizeable chunk, and which never works quite as well as the stuff above. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
It Might Get Loud
After directing An Inconvenient Truth, Davis Guggenheim turns his lens to guitarists Jimmy Page, the Edge, and Jack White, ostensibly in a film about the guitar. But the framework is pretty flimsy, and it quickly becomes obvious that Guggenheim just wants to hang out with some rockstars. Page and the Edge come off as kindly elderly gentlemen, but White is a pompous ass, wearing silly antique clothes, spontaneously writing a song on camera (it's awful), and even having a kid come onscreen as a child version of himself—so we can watch Big Jack give Little Jack life lessons like how to kick out a piano stool just like Jerry Lee Lewis did. You will learn nothing about the guitar from this movie; all it does is prove that Jimmy Page and the Edge are talented, inventive guitarists, while Jack White has yet to emerge from the shadows of his influences. NED LANNAMANN Fox Tower 10.
My Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler
My Führer is just like Driving Miss Daisy, except that instead of Morgan Freeman, we have a Jew, and instead of a little old racist white lady, we have Adolf Hitler. Did I mention it's a comedy? Hitler (Helge Schneider) is too depressed to deliver his 1945 New Year's Day speech, so a Jewish actor (The Lives of Others' Ulrich Mühe, in one of his final roles) is plucked from a concentration camp to coach him. Schneider and Mühe turn in some excellent performances (Schneider, transcending a lousy makeup job, seems to be channeling Nixon at one point), but there's a lot of weird slapstick (Hitler accidentally shaves off half his mustache! Hitler's dog pees on his leg!), and the film requires us to sympathize with Hitler as a bedwetting, small-dicked, self-loathing victim of child abuse. Most audiences won't want to go that far, which raises the question: How do you make a funny movie about Hitler? Maybe the answer is that you don't. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.
My One and Only
See review. Fox Tower 10.
Spike Lee's filmed version of the Broadway musical Passing Strange, in which he utilizes 14 cameras "to place the viewer into the onstage performance, as well as in the midst of the creative backstage energy." Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
A loose retelling of "The Little Mermaid," Ponyo is reportedly the final film of legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. It isn't quite the masterwork one would hope he'd go out on—there's nothing quite as amazing here as the stuff in Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, or My Neighbor Totoro—but even when Miyazaki isn't at the top of his game, his stuff's still pretty great, and anybody watching won't be disappointed. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Peace Through Reason
A documentary about "a group of committed activists who maintained a 24-hour vigil in front of the White House for 18 years, calling for nuclear disarmament." First Unitarian Church.
"An artistic-ecological film, a poetic journey, an ode to Nature through the voice of the poet Walt Curtis." Screening followed by a discussion and a showing of Ginsberg in Portland, 1989. RED ALERT RED ALERT IT'S A POETRY OVERLOAD Hollywood Theatre.
I know my generation is supposed to be the world's foremost pack of drooling narcissists or whatever, but Jesus "David Crosby's Coke-Encrusted Moustache" Christ, boomers, you have got to be the most self-absorbed fucks ever. I mean, Woodstock? Still? Woodstock in new, fictionalized formats? Surely we have the definitive Woodstock story already, called "all that footage we filmed at Woodstock." Surely you have done something since Woodstock that you would like to talk about. LINDY WEST Various Theaters.
The vampire flick Thirst is the most audibly visceral film I've ever encountered. Director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Lady Vengeance) has got a panache for blood slurpings, wet squishes of gore, and embarrassing moist noises—all of which make Thirst a riot of senses, if not the most cohesive film in the South Korean director's filmography. COURTNEY FERGUSON Cinema 21.
I Bring What I Love
A documentary about African musician Youssou N'Dour. Cinema 21.