Film Shorts 


OPENING

24th ANNUAL YOUNG PEOPLE'S FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL- Northwest Film Center @ Whitsell Auditorium

BOYS AND GIRLS- 82nd Avenue

DREAM OF LIGHT- Northwest Film Center @ Whitsell Auditorium

EXPERIMENTAL FILMS @ CINEMA NEXT DOOR- Cinema Next Door

FANTASIA 2000- Division Street

FIRST MAN INTO SPACE- Hollywood Theatre

HAIRSPRAY- Hollywood Theatre

MORTU NEGA - Northwest Film Center @ The Guild Theater

SHAFT- City Center 12

SPECTRES OF THE SPECTRUM- Northwest Film Center @ The Guild Theater

TITAN A.E.- City Center 12

TITUS- Cinema 21

WAR OF THE WORLDS- Hollywood Theatre


MOVIES & EVENTS

24th Annual Young People's Film & Video Festival
Film, video, animation and dramas; all by kids in grades K-12! This sort of thing is always a hoot, and probably better than half the films showing at Regal Cinemas. Northwest Film Center @Whitsell Auditorium

American Movie
A hilarious documentary about the trials and tribulations filmmakers go through to produce their personal works of art. Laurelhurst Theater

American Psycho
Based on the much-reviled book by Bret Easton Ellis, the movie is actually pretty good. Really. Set at the height of the Reagan '80s, Psycho deftly satirizes the deadening effect of unchecked corporate wealth and power. (Andy Spletzer) Bagdad Theater, Laurelhurst Theater

The Big Kahuna
Kahuna, starring Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito as a couple of crappy salesmen, is a play adaptation, which means that the filmmakers face the eternal challenge: how to make three people talking for 90 minutes into an actual movie. They fail. The problem isn't the subject matter-your basic wounded-business-male confessional boilerplate-nor the performances, which are pretty good (even DeVito manages a few affecting moments). No, the problem is the inherent pomposity of American theater; the degree to which playwrights are so enamored of their own language that they simply refuse to say what the hell they're saying. In this case, it's that even industrial-lubricant salesmen can retain a shred of humanity if they allow themselves to shed their reflexive bullshit bluster. Despite about 20 excellent minutes toward the end, the movie's not worth the ride it takes to get to the point. (Sean Nelson) Movie House

Big Momma's House
Martin Lawrence is back, and he's got a big old prosthetic ass. Where do I sign? 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, HillTop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville

Bossa Nova
Watching this simple tale of a small group of people becoming entangled with one another is a task of sweet, comic relaxation. Set against the shocking mountains of Rio De Janeiro, everything leads to romance in this Latin film; everyone and everything is beautiful. Even the hospital room has a sweeping view of the Brazilian coast. The strong acting proves this story's good nature. (Paula Gilovich) Movie House

Boys and Girls
With a title that covers just about everyone, this movies is sure to appeal to the entire human race. Starring the lovely Freddie Prinze, Jr. as one of the boys (too bad!). 82nd Avenue, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza

Center Stage
Teenybopper dance movies are such a delicate, easily bruised genre that it hardly seems fair to judge them using the unwieldy tools of the critic. Center Stage, Hollywood's newest celebration of dance ("Dance!"), offers the usual story of underdog versus system, the strictures of ballet versus the creativity of modern dance, and love expressed via high art. It's campy, it's corny, and it's the feel-good movie of the year. (Traci Vogel) Century Eastport 16

The Cider House Rules
Lasse Hallstrom's understanding that our decisions are hardly ever black or white makes him a keen choice for director of his latest project, an adaptation of John Irving's The Cider House Rules. A sprawling homage to David Copperfield, the story charts the maturation of beloved orphan Homer Wells (Toby Maguire), who learns about the crushing ambiguities of living from several unique characters, foremost among them the paternal Dr. Wilbur Larch (Michael Caine), the orphanage director who doubles as the town's clandestine, caring abortionist. It's unusual for a major film release to touch on the subject of abortion, let alone with the plainspoken grace that Hallstrom and Irving (adapting his own work) bring to the material. Though Irving's adaptation has integrity, it is unable to envelop us with the dazzling juggling of years and characters that makes the book such a luminous accomplishment, and this limited scope is a weakness that mars an otherwise touching film. Avalon Theatre

Cotton Mary
I recommend Cotton Mary only to aspiring filmmakers; watch it and you will see all the things you shouldn't do when making your big picture. Invert all of the errors (the sappy story, the shameless motives, the poor direction, the over- and under-acting) and you will instantly have a masterpiece. (Charles Mudede) Koin Center

Croupier
Mike Hodges'1998 masterpiece Croupier makes a convincing case that a sleazy and specialized profession-in this case, the guy who rolls the ball and collects the chips at a roulette table-is a perfect metaphor for existential malaise. Jack (the very beautiful Clive Owen), is a wannabe London novelist with nothing to write, and no money coming in. He reluctantly takes a job as a croupier/ dealer at a casino, and almost instantly becomes addicted-not to gambling, but to watching people lose. Like nearly all great films, Croupier is great specifically because of its genre trappings. It's the inevitability factor, that gives the movie the power to be more than it seems. (Sean Nelson) Koin Center

Dinosaur
A heroic muddle of pre-history, computer animation, and talking monkeys, this entertaining flicker posits that dinosaurs might have survived if only they'd learned to work together. If you're the kind of person who wished Jurassic Park had dispensed with all that plot and character crap and just made with the giant reptiles, this might be the one for you. Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, HillTop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville

Divine Trash
An award-winning documentary of the crackpot art of director John Waters and his leading star/starlet Divine. Clinton Street Theatre

Dr. Strangelove
A new print of Stanley Kubrick's 1964 doom 'n' gloom classic, about a crazy general, possible nuclear destruction, and Cold War drama. With George C. Scott and Peter Sellers. Kennedy School Theatre

Dream of Light
A Cannes Film Festival winner, Dream of Light is a beautiful film which follows Spanish artist Antonio lopez Garcia as he paints a single portrait. See review this issue. Northwest Film Center @Whitsell Auditorium

East is East
This decent little movie is set in the early '70s, in an English town called Salford. The great Om Puri plays a fanatical father married to a British woman (Linda Basset). They own a small chip shop and a small house, which is packed with seven rebellious kids. With the exception of one boy, all the children are headed one way (toward total assimilation of British culture), and the father the other (preservation of Pakistani values); all that's left is a big showdown in the end. A rather ordinary story, you will agree. But Puri saves the day by doing what he does best: deepening and extending his character's emotional and psychological range. (Charles Mudede) Laurelhurst Theater

Erin Brockovich
Despite having been directed by indie superstar Steven Soderbergh, Erin Brockovich is just what it is: another big-budget Hollywood film starring Julia Roberts. In fact, because this is a Hollywood film, we suddenly notice aspects of Soderbergh's filmmaking that are harder to detect when he has complete control over his material: namely, how brilliant he is working with supporting actors, most notably men. In this case, it's Aaron Eckhart and Albert Finney. Without this, all you have left is a stupid plot and the dentiglorious spectacle that is Julia Roberts. (Charles Mudede) Avalon Theatre, Eastgate, Laurelhurst Theater, Mission Theater

Experimental Films @ Cinema Next Door
"Experimental," eh? Does this mean a selection of well-meaning but utterly meaningless drivel from first-year film students? No, sir or madam, it does not. The Cinema Next Door provides a rare opportunity to view classics of the form, namely: The Man Who Could Not See Far Enough: A thought-provoking, five-part examination of vision and space that ranges in setting from a pier on the Long Island Sound to a solar eclipse off the shore of Mauritania to a vertiginous ascent of the Golden Gate Bridge. Filmmaker Peter Rose uses images multiplied into various patterns (honeycomb, triptych, etc.) to force us into new ways of seeing familiar things. Still Lives: We've all seen time-lapse footage of flowers blooming or "Koyaanisqatsi"-style super-fast cityscapes, but Louis Hock takes it to the extreme by shooting one frame per hour, for a full year, of an anonymous Texas strip mall. Bring your seizure medication. Looking for Mushrooms: And I'd say he found some! Experimental elder statesman Bruce Connor creates a hallucinogenic collage set to a potent score from a Mexican trip. (Marc Mohan) Cinema Next Door

Fantasia 2000
An updated version of Walt Disney's cartoons set to classical music. Though it includes one original short (Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer's Apprentice), this version relies more on picturesque visuals than drug-induced psychedelia. Yawn. Division Street, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas

First Man into Space
AKA Satellite of Blood, this 1959 sci-fi flick involves an astronaut who returns to Earth with a full stomach... filled with gut-sucking aliens!! Hollywood Theatre

Frequency
A hodgepodge about time travel; ham-radio enthusiasm; the hazards of firefighting; baseball; mother love; and a father-son tag-team tracking down a nurse-butchering psychopath. This utterly confused film is a perfect example of Hollywood's shameless tendency to pillage the graveyard for the spare parts of its own schmaltzy genres. The result is a Frankenstein monster that bumbles and stumbles across the thin emotional terrain of an Americanized (and therefore totally false) idea of nostalgia and redemption. (Rick Levin) City Center 12, Eastgate, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
When he was young, Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) was saved from a group of street thugs by Louie (John Tormey), a low-level Mafioso who just happened to be passing by. In thanks, Ghost Dog pledged to serve Louie for the rest of his life, as faithful to him as any ancient samurai was to his master. Director Jim Jarmusch infuses Ghost Dog with the deadpan humor of his earliest films. (Charles Mudede) Kennedy School Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater

Gladiator
Director Ridley Scott tramps through the standard gladiator movie plot like a tipsy party host, embracing each and every clichè like a dear old friend. War hero General Maximus (Russell Crowe) is stripped of his position by a scheming new Caesar (Joaquin Phoenix). Escaping too late to save his family, Maximus falls into the hands of a slaver (the late Oliver Reed), and with the help of a former love and his rough-but-likable gladiator pals, seeks his revenge by finding glory within the Coliseum. Scott then uses all the technical advantages of modern filmmaking to make the details as lavish as possible. (Tom Spurgeon) Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, HillTop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Tigard-Joy Theater, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville

God's Army
It's bad enough the goddam Mormons get to have as many wives as they want; do they have to make films, too?!? Century Eastport 16

Gone in 60 Seconds
You've seen the trailer, now see the remake of this obscure car-thief movie, which has been revamped and given the full Bruckheimer treatment (shame a bunch of good actors with massive paychecks so your crappy film has the patina of class). Big, red, fast, and loud-Kids'll love it! 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, HillTop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville

Hairspray
Cult director John Waters tips his hat to the dance shows of the early 60s (as well as the Civil Rights movement!) in this singin' and dancin' extravaganza starring Ricki Lake and Divine. Hollywood Theatre

High Fidelity
A romantic comedy for guys. John Cusack plays the cynically introspective Rob Gordon, the owner of a small record store who, for various reasons, has shit luck with women. He's a jerk, basically, but he's not altogether clueless about his jerkiness. He struggles and obsesses and makes lists that he thinks define his life, but he's no closer to understanding women than he was in the fifth grade-which happens to be when he got dumped for the first time. Based on the popular novel of the same name. (Kathleen Wilson) Century Eastport 16, Koin Center, Lloyd Cinemas, Washington Square Center

Keeping the Faith
Any film that begins with a drunken priest staggering through the streets of New York and tumbling into a garbage pile is automatically fine by me. Edward Norton (who also directed) is the drunky priest and Ben Stiller is a confused rabbi. They love the same girl, a rad chick they hung out with back in the fourth grade. The film is genuinely funny and sweetly romantic as it focuses on all aspects of this not-so-holy trinity. And surprisingly enough, co-star Jenna Elfman doesn't bug. (Kathleen Wilson) Laurelhurst Theater

Mission: Impossible 2
I loved this movie. I loved the vertiginous helicopter swoops as Tom Cruise scales an impossibly sheer cliff to receive his impossible mission. I loved the profligate back flips in the fight choreography as he takes out villain after glass-jawed villain. I loved the preposterous motorcycle chase/ joust. I loved the human touches, too: the love triangle set against the backdrop of global intrigue; the lascivious slo-mo close-ups of Thandie Newton; the villain's Scots accent. But most of all, I loved the giddy sense of hyperbole and spectacle that coarsed through the whole enterprise. It may not last too long after the credits roll, but pleasures like this aren't meant to. Otherwise, they wouldn't need to make part 3. (Sean Nelson) Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, HillTop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Cinemas, Moreland Theater, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville

Mortu Nega
Part of the African Traveling Film Festival, Mortu Nega tells the story of Dominga and her travels to join her husband, Sako, a soldier who's fighting for Guinea-Bissau's independence. Northwest Film Center @The Guild Theater

My Dog Skip
The movie that had Good Morning America's Joel Siegel "sitting up and begging for more." Based on the late Willie Morris' coming-of-age memorior in a sleepy Mississippi town during World War II. Avalon Theatre

The Road to El Dorado
From the people who brought you a big piece of cartoon crap (The Prince of Egypt), brings you yet another similarly big piece of cartoon crap. (Traci Vogel) Avalon Theatre, Bagdad Theater

Road Trip
Road Trip takes the 15-minute road-trip sequence from Animal House and expands it to feature length. In this case, "University of Ithaca" college student Josh (Breckin Meyer) accidentally mails his long-distance girlfriend Tiffany a videotape of him having sex with another woman,forcing him and a trio of college buddies to drive 1,800 miles to recover the tape and save his relationship. Relating the tale of this Odyssean quartet is Benny (Tom Green), the first unreliable narrator figure in what must be the first humanist teen sex comedy. Why "humanist"? This genre of comedy is generally predicated on fear and repulsion toward "the other."This movie parades a sea of creepy or scary archetypes past its travelers(the only one missing is a predatory homosexual)-and then allows them nuanced responses. The foot-fetishist and food molester are just creepy,but the large, horny black woman is allowed a dose of humanity, as is the likable, boner-bearing Grandpa. Josh's sidekick E. L. (Seann William Scott)discovers the joys of prostate stimulation, while dorky Kyle (DJ Qualls)wins over an all-black frat house with his dancing before bedding the aforementioned BBW. Repulsion executes a complicated dance with attraction,and we (and by we, I mean oversexed, under aged boys) emerge from the movie theater better people for it. (Eric Fredericksen) Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, HillTop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville

Rules of Engagement
When a movie is titled Rules of Engagement, I'm there. Too bad this one implodes like a giant star after a promising start. The performances of Samuel L. Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones, Blair Underwood, Guy Pearce, and Anne Archer are sucked into the resulting black hole. In the end, we are left with nothing-absolutely nothing. (Charles Mudede) Avalon Theatre

Shaft
Who's the black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks? SHAFT! You damn right. Who is the man who would risk his neck for a brother-man? SHAFT! Right on. He's a complicated man, but no one understands him like his wooooo-man. JOHN SHAFT! Can you dig it? See review this issue. City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Eastgate, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville

Shanghai Noon
Even the presence of Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson can't save this revisionist Western action comedy from the musty odor of the second-rate. Its plot unfolds like a fifth-generation Xerox. Some princess has to be saved from some clumpy, labor-driven railroad/mining concern, and the male leads must shed their current roles and embrace new, dimly-conceived identities. Wilson and his co-star are to be credited for occasionally rising above the material, but there are much better ways to spend a summer afternoon. (Tom Spurgeon) 82nd Avenue, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, HillTop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Vancouver Plaza, Washington Square Center, Wilsonville

Small Time Crooks
Woody Allen's 2000 entry is one of his unambitious, hoping-only-to-amuse movies. Too bad it's unoriginal, not very amusing, and a near waste of some of this world's greatest comic talent: Tracey Ullman, Elaine May, and Jon Lovitz. Allen casts himself against type as Ray, a poor dopey szchlub married to an equally dim former exotic dancer, Frenchie (Ullman). He plans an ambitious bank heist-he and some buddies will buy a storefront two doors down from a bank and run a cookie shop as a front while tunnelling underground to reach the bank vault. The heist is a flop, but Frenchie's amazing cookies turn the front operation into a multi-million dollar business. At this point, a series of tired themes-money can't buy happiness or sophistication or taste, you know-clamp down on the movie, the plot conveys some typical twists, and the movie ends. (Eric Fredericksen) Century Eastport 16, Cinemagic, Evergreen Parkway, Tigard Cinemas

Spectres of the Spectrum
Craig Baldwin should be paranoia's poster boy. For him, every outdated educational film or forgotten kinescope contains a thousand hidden links to the great, ongoing, unseen battle between good and evil. For his latest, Spectres of the Spectrum, an underground group of TV broadcasters rebel against the state's plan to realign the earth's electromagnetic field. Beyond some freshly shot footage, the bulk of the film consists of Baldwin's witty, informative, revisionist history of the electronic age, from Ben Franklin's kite to big business' hijacking of television and the Internet, told through a skillful collage of found footage. Tesla's story gets narrated by Orson Welles, Adm. Nimitz pops up on a '50s TV show to explain nuclear submarines, and Bill Gates get hit in the face with a pie. It all fits together into a seamless, terrifically entertaining whole-even the creepy guy with the turban. (Bruce Reid) Northwest Film Center @The Guild Theater

Sunset Blvd.
After 50 years, Sunset Blvd. is still regarded as a classic of the American cinema. Don't miss this opportunity to see Billy Wilder's directorial masterpiece in pristine condition. Koin Center

Time Code
The screen is cut into quadrants. Four films on one screen. No editing. Story takes place in Hollywood; is about Hollywood. No script. Cast wears synchronized digital watches. Fortunately, the experiment is founded on a formidable story-the four films unfolding simultaneously onscreen are all facets of one large narrative, dealing with the quotidian emotional reality of showbiz folk. (Paula Gilovich) Koin Center

Titan A.E.
A new animated feature from the Bluth studios. The Earth has been blown to shit, and it's up to a cocky, smart-mouthed teenager to find a spaceship filled with survivors and lead them to a new Earth (presumably one that doesn't have fuck-wit cartoons like this one). Voice characterizations by Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore and ... Tone Loc?!? Waitasecond, we take it all back! City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Vancouver Plaza, Washington Square Center, Westgate, Wilsonville

Titus
Movie based on the early, violent play by William Shakespeare, with plenty of scenery chewed by Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. Cinema 21

Topsy-Turvey
Mike Leigh's tribute to the music of Gilbert & Sullivan. Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater

U-571
One of the most important turning points in World War II was the Allied capture of the German code machine Enigma. U-571 is an attempt to show us modern folks what this dramatic event must have been like. The only thing not historically accurate is the damn story. A British destroyer was responsible for capturing the machine, not Matthew McConaughey! Better you should watch Das Boot. (Juan-Carlos Rodriguez) Century Eastport 16, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Washington Square Center

The Virgin Suicides
The most consistent element of The Virgin Suicides is a steady stream of images that echo the feminine-hygiene commercials of the 1970s. Considering the material-five teenage sisters growing up in a repressive home and headed for funerals rather than graduations-the lightness of touch is surprising. But to juxtapose suicide with buoyant innocence might be uniquely appropriate; if the film has a message, it seems to be that a my thologized purity of youth can't survive into adulthood. (Monica Drake) Koin Center

The War of the Worlds
Based more on Orson Welles radio broadcast than the book by H.G. Wells, Martians (in really cool spaceships!) come down to incinerate California in this technicolor sci-fi gem from 1953. Hollywood Theatre

The War Zone
After spying his father and sister taking a bath together and suspecting the worst, a young man investigates the matter and doesn't like what he finds, eventually witnessing a scene that reveals the unbounded dimensions of his father's depravity. The War Zone is the first feature by actor Tim Roth, directed in a style that recalls Andrei Tarkovsky's Sacrifice and Ingmar Bergman's Through a Glass Darkly (both brooding dramas about families in remote outposts). Preoccupations about what is and is not healthy or safe for a family informs every aspect of this film, which concludes with the unsettling assertion that some transgressions are unpardonable; some crimes go beyond a family's inherent capacity to forgive, and forgive again, its misguided members. (Charles Mudede) Mission Theater

Wonder Boys
Any film that can make an audience stomach Michael Douglas is a minor accomplishment. Curtis Hanson's film does more than that. In fact it's rather good. Avalon Theatre, Bagdad Theater, Laurelhurst Theater

X
The world of Japanese anime is like an oversized carousel operated by the Marquis De Sade. The lights are too bright, it spins too fast, and in the end, all you want to do is throw up. By anime standards this is probably pretty good stuff, but the plot doesn't make any sense, and by the time the film finishes, one can't help but ask, "WHO CARES?" (D.K. Holm) Koin Center

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