NORTHWEST FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL
American Collectors &
The Golden Age of Junk
A documentary about collectors of things, from KISS memorabilia to antique axes. Screens with The Golden Age of Junk.
Died Young, Stayed Pretty
I've been to hundreds of rock shows, but I've never attended a single one because of its poster. The poster artists in the documentary Died Young, Stayed Pretty are all too aware of this inefficacy: Their work promotes another form of art, and they're a tiny fringe of an already fringe culture. Director Eileen Yaghoobian ignores the functionality of their artwork and instead focuses on the artists as personalities. Some have plenty to say, and when Yaghoobian couples their ruminations with hundreds of shots of posters, it results in a dizzying worm-can of pop culture, literally overflowing with ideas and images. But the movie meanders, and we never really get the chance to see either how these truly offbeat artists work or what propels them. NED LANNAMANN
The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle
Like, woah, dude. This hyper-stylized Seattle film feels just a wee bit dated, like the heavy body art on many of its characters. (Purple dreadlocks anyone? Septum piercing? Eh? Eh.) It's a super-weird film, and it's trying super-hard to be, but although it's wildly ridiculous it's also kind of fun, finding a precarious balance between nonsensical and compelling. Its central character is Dory (Marshall Allman), a young man with an anger management problem and an odd habit of religious dabbling. He gets a job as a janitor working alongside a crew of fun-loving malcontents, and things get really strange when the food-testing office in their building develops chemical cookies that are addictive and cause a bright blue fishlike organism to grow in men's guts until they "give birth" to it out of their asses. I told you it was weird. MARJORIE SKINNER
My Son the Pornographer & Change of Living & Chronicles of a Professional Eulogist
You have to kind of feel sorry for Kole, the titular "pornagrapher" of My Son the Pornagrapher. He had a bit of a tumultuous childhood, one of the results of which is that the man he connects with as a father figure is Art, an ex-boyfriend of his mother's. Kole was also repeatedly molested by the guy who owned the local convenience store, which Art is convinced is what led him to a life of sin. The real kicker is that Art is an amateur filmmaker who decided not only to confront Kole about all of this, but to make a 45-minute film about the process of harassing him. I'm sure the original intention was somewhat altruistic, but the result is just a little TMI. Screens with Change of Living and Chronicles of a Professional Eulogist. MARJORIE SKINNER
Salmon Poet & Nathan and Nordrich
A documentary in which poet Walt Curtis rants about salmon. Huh. Screens with Nathan and Nordrich.
Various short films, including Nous Deux Encore, a film by Portlander Heather Harlow that was selected by festival judge Kenneth Turan as the "best of show."
"Constructed of 88 short, arresting films each exactly the same length, [in] Time Being subjectivity determines our perception of the duration of its parts." ARRGH SO ANNOYING MAKE IT STOP
To Pay My Way with Stories & The Final Inch
A documentary about Write Around Portland (WRAP), an organization providing free, supportive writing workshops for people with low incomes, veterans, recovering addicts, and other community members overcoming obstacles. The film follows several writers as they participate in the workshops, and touchingly reveals how writing has given them courage and changed their lives. Screens with the Oscar-nominated The Final Inch. ALI "THE INTERN" REINGOLD
A Tribute to Tom Taylor
No—Tom, not Tim. This is not a greatest hits collection of Tool Time episodes, but rather a selection of Portland filmmaker Tom Taylor's films.
What's Wrong with This Picture?
"Seattle film guru" Warren Etheredge hosts this annual event in which films that didn't make it into the Film & Video Fest are picked apart with the directors in attendance. Ouch.
Young People's Film & Video Festival
A showcase of shorts made by filmmakers in grades K-12. This will probably be totally great.
Adventures of Power
See review. Cinema 21.
Perhaps you've heard about a few of the choicest moments in Lars von Trier's latest: the most literal definition of the term "cock block" ever, countless money shots of Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg doin' it, and a vulva-ectomy performed with rusty scissors. Maybe you read about the booing of Antichrist at Cannes, followed by von Trier boasting, "I'm the best director in the world." All of this is titillating, sure, but to label Antichrist as misogynistic provocation is a disservice to the film, which is curious and mesmerizing and excruciatingly painful to watch. It's a shame that Antichrist is so viscerally unpleasant, because von Trier has created a complex, richly detailed work that would very much benefit from multiple viewings... but then again, there is that bit with the rusty scissors. COURTNEY FERGUSON Hollywood Theatre.
See review. Various Theaters.
A Christmas Carol
See review. Various Theaters.
Coco Before Chanel
Though its subject is arguably the most recognizable in fashion, Coco Before Chanel is more concerned with individuality than clothing. As Coco Chanel herself once famously put it, "Fashion passes, style remains." And style, its significance, is what director Anne Fontaine captures in this inspiring portrait of a young Chanel (played by a mesmerizing, and for-once not cloying, Audrey Tautou). MARJORIE SKINNER City Center 12, Fox Tower 10, Hollywood Theatre.
The Damned United
Continuing the esteemed collaboration of screenwriter Peter Morgan and lead actor/parody of English-ness Michael Sheen (whose partnership has heretofore birthed Oscar contenders The Queen and Frost/Nixon), The Damned United traces some six years in the career of Brian Clough, an obsessive, charismatic, and apparently legendary soccer coach whose reckless ambition and arrogance fuel the film's uniquely hapless arc. Though Sheen's nuanced and nervy Clough deserves most of the glory for keeping the ship afloat, to Morgan's credit the script manages to steer admirably clear of most sports movie clichés. Certainly, The Damned United contains improbable success stories, ragtag misfits, and the inevitable high stakes "Big Game"—but they're all shifted in such a way that the overall tone is less of meteoric group achievement, and more of one man's grand collapse. ZAC PENNINGTON Fox Tower 10.
Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is a precocious high schooler in 1960s Britain, an overachiever bound for Oxford—until the day she accepts a ride home from a wealthy older man (the phrase "stranger danger" apparently hadn't been coined yet). The cultured, well-traveled David (Peter Saarsgard) seems like the perfect suitor, and before long, their whirlwind romance has entirely replaced Jenny's dreams of attending Oxford. The film is meticulous in detailing exactly what value was placed on a woman's education in the 1960s, and Jenny's decision to forgo her schooling for a more glamorous life is well-contextualized. But for all its beautiful costumes, beautiful actors, and beautiful cars, there's something dry about An Education, something sexless and preachy. Perhaps it's a concession to modern mores—guys like David are creeps, we're subtly reassured, even if no one in the '60s realized it yet. Either way, the whiff of judgmental hindsight that comes off An Education ensures that its characters, and their decisions, remain at arms length. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
Filmusik: Gamera vs. Guiron
Filmusik—the crew that adds live music, sound effects, and voiceovers to classic films—is going all-out with their latest production, Filmusik: Gamera vs. Guiron. This 1969 Japanese monster flick—in which the knife-headed Guiron fights the giant turtle Gamera—should prove the perfect flick to accompany the efforts of Filmusik's crew, made up of vets from Live Wire! and the Willamette Radio Workshop. Hollywood Theatre.
The Fourth Kind
See review. Various Theaters.
Albert and David Maysles' documentary about the fucked up-edness that resulted when the Stones decided to hire the Hell's Angels as their bodyguards and bouncers at Altamont. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Grindhouse Film Fest:
See My, What a Busy Week!. Hollywood Theatre.
A comedy about a grocery store clerk who "seeks dignity, a higher purpose in life and, at long last, the elusive driver's license." WARNING: It features William Baldwin. Living Room Theaters.
Malls R Us
A surprisingly comprehensive and not-too-preachy account of America's invention of the shopping mall, Malls R Us takes the viewer around the world to India, where the first-ever public demonstration in protest of a shopping mall took place over the course of several days, and to Japan, where the shopping mall is a cherished refuge from the urban world. Through a series of interviews with madcap shopping mall architects and an activist priest, we learn why all shopping malls have fountains and trees that never die, and we meet an entire generation of suburban young adults who have watched forlornly as the malls where they grew up have folded in a down economy. Well researched and astute, it manages to make boring old mall culture pretty fascinating. MARJORIE SKINNER Clinton Street Theater.
The Men Who Stare at Goats
See review. Various Theaters.
Michael Jackson's This Is It
The footage from the shamelessly exploitative This Is It is culled from rehearsals for Michael Jackson's ill-fated comeback concerts, and the product is less a concert film and more a rehearsal film: After running through performances, Jackson looks like a brittle skeleton as he gives bewildering instructions to various yes men. ("Just bathe it in moonlight—you have to let it simmer," he tells the show's musical director about "The Way You Make Me Feel.") Despite Jackson's frailty—the cameras keep their distance, rarely giving us a good look at his papery, gaunt face—he could still move, and here he does so with a vigor and grace that, even now, astonishes. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
A documentary about "the systematic causes of America's high medical costs and poor quality of care." Narrated by Dave Coulier. Clinton St. Theater.
New York, I Love You
Setting aside the weird glee of recognition intrinsic to any cinematic anthology—this is surely the only time in the history of the world that Shia LaBeouf will get the chance to play a gimp-legged, Russian immigrant bellhop, and you can hear him salivating over ewery... sinkle... word—there are very few exciting ideas in New York. Did you know that New York is the Greatest City in the World? That different cultures are Learning Important Lessons about each other every single day? That Strangers Can Be Rude but deep down We All Want to Be Loved? Did you realize that Crippled Hot Girls Can Fuck Like Monkeys? (Thanks for that last one, Brett Ratner!) PAUL CONSTANT Fox Tower 10.
Writer/director Oren Peli's single-set calling card of a ghost story is clever, unbearably tense, and, above all, relentless—a Blair Witch Project that doesn't skimp on the money shots. Much like that film, the combination of jittery handheld cameras, no-profile actors, and a lack of dudes in rubber suits will no doubt turn off a significant portion of the audience in the mood for something overt. For those in a more suggestible frame of mind, however, Peli's method of imbuing everyday objects with an atmosphere of ball-crawling dread is really something to see. It doesn't let up. ANDREW WRIGHT Various Theaters.
Patagonia Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival
Christ, just call it "Hippie Fest '09" and save us some ink. Featuring live music by Lincoln's Beard. Bagdad Theater.
See My, What a Busy Week! Bagdad Theater.
See review. Cinema 21.
"A backcountry ski film shot deep in the coastal mountains of Hokkaido, Japan." All we're saying is that Godzilla better eat at least one yuppie skier. AT LEAST ONE. Kennedy School.
A series of documentaries about "four female pioneers in politics, performance, poetry, and partisanship." Including Pasty Mink: Ahead of the Majority, about the first Asian American woman in Congress; Ferron: Girl on a Road, about the folk singer Ferron; Ridin' & Rhymin, about cowboy poet Georgie Sicking; and Left Lane: On the Road with Folk Poet Alix Olson, the title of which is fairly self-explanatory, and which will be preceded by a Storm Large music video, because god knows we don't get enough Storm Large in this town. More info: sirennation.com. Hollywood Theatre.
See review. Fox Tower 10.