The Cannon Films classic that made Boogaloo Shrimp and Shabba-Doo household names in the '80s. Keep an eye peeled for Jean Claude Van-Damme's first on-screen appearance in a spandex biker-shorts thingy dancing extremely poorly. See short for Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, below. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo
Possibly the most infamously titled sequel in cinema history, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo continues the adventures of Boogaloo Shrimp and Shabba-Doo as they try to save their neighborhood rec center with the help of a young (or as young as he gets) Ice-T. See short for Breakin', above. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
Bridge of Spies
Spielberg's first film since 2012's Lincoln is an exceptional job of work—a deliberately old-fashioned hybrid of courtroom drama and Cold War skullduggery that's so expertly put together that you may not realize the beauty of its construction until after the fact. ANDREW WRIGHT Various Theaters.
With the exception of that time she played an assassin in Hanna, Saoirse Ronan is often confined to roles unworthy of someone who can actually act (see: The Lovely Bones). So it's exciting to see her carry a well-constructed film once again with Brooklyn, an understated study of a young Irish woman caught between her ancestral home in Ireland and 1950s New York. MEGAN BURBANK Various Theaters.
Spike Lee's ambitious new film tackles inner-city Chicago violence through the power of the pussy (I wish I was exaggerating). This film boils down inner-city violence to beef and ego: Gang members hang out under bridges on abandoned furniture, stroking their guns and listening to music on a boombox, like discarded characters from The Wire turned into actual trolls. Meanwhile, Chi-Raq's women are reduced to walking vaginas. Did you know that in inner cities, black men are just walking around shooting each other all day, and black women are walking around in hot pants just waiting for the men to put down their guns for five minutes in order to sex them with their flesh-guns? They don't work, they don't have hopes or dreams, they don't do anything but get fucked by dudes. And because that's all they do, their vaginas have been imbued with such power that they can change the world. No, they don't change the world with their intellect or their work, they change the world by refusing access to their golden vaginas. IJEOMA OLUO Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre.
Christmas from Home
A recreation of "a live Christmas radio show broadcast from Portland, Oregon during WWII complete with a band, sketches, singers, commercials, and period sound effects." Clinton Street Theater.
A Christmas Story
The beloved holiday film that gets real awkward in that scene where they go to the Chinese restaurant. Hollywood Theatre, Kiggins Theatre.
Church of Film
The screening series presents The Feather Fairy, a mid-'80s fantasy film from Juraj Jakubisko, the "Slovakian Fellini." Clinton Street Theater.
The latest entry in the Rocky franchise is not only a loving homage to Rocky, it builds upon the legend while maintaining the original film's heart and purity. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.
"It's not a ghost story," Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) says in Crimson Peak. "It's a story with a ghost in it." Edith isn't talking about Crimson Peak, though she might as well be. Guillermo del Toro's latest is a visually sumptuous gothic romance—one that, amidst all the melodrama, offers slivers of sly wit, loving nods to classic horror, and, by the time it's over, quite a bit of blood. It also has a ghost in it. Or two. Or three. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
Heart of a Dog
Laurie Anderson has been through a lot. The iconic New York artist lost husband Lou Reed in 2013, and among other friends who've recently passed is her beloved rat terrier Lolabelle—the titular focus of Anderson's first film in a decade, Heart of a Dog. Despite the essential grief folded into the project, Dog is a soothing, therapeutic film: ramblingly personal, strong and calm, and gently funny. MARJORIE SKINNER Cinema 21.
Jingle All the Way? Bush league. Santa with Muscles? Get outta here with that weak shit. You wanna have a Hecklevision Christmas, you gotta be willing to go toe-to-toe with the existential horrors bursting at the seams of A Full House Christmas. Just you, your one liners, and Dave Coulier in a union suit. Godspeed to you. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
The debates, with your texts popping up onscreen! This will surely be a very respectful exchange of nuanced ideas. Hollywood Theatre.
The Hunger Games:
Turns out Catching Fire was the Hunger Games' Empire Strikes Back—everything that's come after it is just slightly more mediocre. MEGAN BURBANK Various Theaters.
In Jackson Heights
Frederick Wiseman's documentary about the way multiple cultures live with, and bounce off, each other in the borough of Queens, New York. Living Room Theaters.
In the Heart of the Sea
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
A comedy starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. The studio rescheduled a press screening so that it would be after our deadline, so it's probably about as good as De Niro's other comedies. Various Theaters.
In a world where we're always connected—to a sometimes-frightening degree—there's an added value to truly foreign experiences. We travel to get out of our ordinary environment, and we're generally thrilled by how vast the differences are. Take comfort, then, in the strangeness found in Japanese Currents—the ninth annual, NW Film Center-hosted overview of noteworthy and contemporary Japanese films. It's proof that the internet hasn't succeeded (yet) in drumming out the idiosyncrasies of culture. See "Weird Movies from Japan!," Dec 2. MARJORIE SKINNER NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Krampus operates like a feature-length Twilight Zone episode: Take some lightly sketched stock characters (Adam Scott as drinky dad, Toni Collette as uptight mom, David Koechner as Randy Quaid), thrust them into slowly escalating supernatural peril, and watch the dramatic gears grind out a morbidly satisfying conclusion. While it lacks the zany spark that animates Gremlins or the deconstructionist bent of something like Cabin in the Woods, Krampus is a solid exercise in form and function. Also, the creature designs are super creepy (and mostly teeth). If you see one movie this winter about a goat-hoofed anti-Santa, make it Krampus. BEN COLEMAN Various Theaters.
Love the Coopers
Maybe it's just because it's stuffed with likeable actors (Diane Keaton, Marisa Tomei, John Goodman, Alan Arkin), but Love the Coopers is, at the very least, a whole lot better than most terrible holiday movies with the word "love" in the title. MEGAN BURBANK Various Theaters.
Last time someone tried to bring this tale to cinematic life, we got Sam Worthington trying for tragedy and winding up closer to tragic. This time Michael Fassbender portrays the sad, sad Scotsman, so maybe you'll get some dick in your popcorn, who knows. Also starring Marion Cotillard, and not screened for critics. Living Room Theaters.
The Night Before
Perhaps the only Christmas movie that offers both a whole lot of dick pics and the sad, lonely sense of desperation that defines the holidays. It also features Seth Rogen throwing up all over a midnight mass. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Ornette: Made In America
As the inventor of free jazz, Ornette Coleman spent much of his early career watching rhythm sections and audiences alike walk out on him, rolling their eyes. Shirley Clarke's 1985 film opens with Coleman being given the keys to his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, heralding the end of a 30-year journey to acceptance as a legitimate jazz genius, albeit one who remained controversial. MATT DAVIS Clinton Street Theater.
Orson Welles at 100
See Film, this issue. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict
When you're born into enough wealth that you're given leave from worrying about basics like eating and having a roof—and you can move to Europe because it seems like a happening place—it behooves you to put yourself to use. Peggy Guggenheim's is a polarizing example of such a life: Born into one of America's most famous wealthy families, she took her offbeat character to Europe and busied herself with a bohemian life that included bedding many famous artists and writers as well as buying up the so-called "degenerate art" that stuck in the Nazis' craw. Her lifelong collection is one of the world's most impressive, and while one can snipe about the accusations that she relied too much on the advice of men like Marcel Duchamp in lieu of having her own tastes, that's a conversation we'd be far less likely to have had she been a man. Lisa Immordino Vreeland's documentary is a cursory overview, more fit as a compact introduction than an intellectual plunge, but one has to begin somewhere. MARJORIE SKINNER Living Room Theaters.
The People vs. George Lucas
All the interminable, whiny Star Wars arguments accumulated on the sad underbelly of the internet for the better part of a decade are made flesh and filmed as uninterestingly as possible in the guise of strongly, unironically suggesting George Lucas has made poor life choices. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
The bimonthly series, hosted by Carla Rossi, returns with Shock Treatment, the little-seen sequel to Rocky Horror Picture Show. Hollywood Theatre.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
See My, What a Busy Week!. Laurelhurst Theater.
Red Umbrella Series
A series offering "relevant works about sex workers and the sex industries from around the world." This month: Dreamcatcher. Not the super-stupid one where Duddits fights an alien, but the documentary about a Chicago woman tending to the city's abused women. More at cstpdx.com. Clinton Street Theater.
Secret in Their Eyes
This drab procedural compares unfavorably with most of today's prestige television; it's remarkable only for the self-importance that pervades every frame. And because a bunch of Oscar winners (Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts) wandered onto set—I hope they all found their way home safe. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
The Shop Around the Corner
The 1940 romance starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. Hollywood Theatre.
What's the opposite of evaporate? Whatever it is, that's what Sicario does. When so many movies and TV shows disappear from memory as soon as you're finished watching, Sicario lingers. It clots. Denis Villeneuve's new drug thriller is phenomenal. Its story is both personal and political, a scathing portrait of the drug war, as well as an elemental allegory in which moral dilemmas are depicted by characters crashing violently into each other. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Brian d'Arcy James play the Boston Globe's "spotlight" team of investigative journalists who were tasked with looking into child molestation charges leveled at Boston's beloved Catholic Archdiocese. Translating a highly detailed true story to film could sound like a staged reading of a Wikipedia page, or worse, trivialize the victims' experiences—but aside from a few hammy moments, Spotlight pulls it off. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.
Taste of Cherry
Abbas Kiarostami's 1997 drama, followed by a post-film discussion. More at nwfilm.org. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Bryan Cranston plays screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted for being a communist in the 1950s. Unsurprisingly, Cranston is good, and Trumbo's story is undoubtedly interesting—but the makers of Trumbo seem to think that good writing is magic rather than hard work. Look at this weaver of story, this spinner of yarn, making silver-screen pixie dust with every clickity-clack of his typewriter! NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.
Maybe consider doing something nice for once and take your grandmother to a Bing Crosby movie, you ungrateful, selfish little jackass. Academy Theater.
MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, December 11-Thursday, December 17, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.