Film Shorts 


 

OPENING

AMERICAN GYPSY- Northwest Film Center @Whitsell Auditorium

CHICKEN RUN- Century Eastport 16

GROOVE- Northwest Film Center @Whitsell Auditorium

KADOSH- Movie House

KIKUJIRO- Cinema 21

L'ETRANGER VENU D'AFRIQUE- Northwest Film Center @The Guild Theater

LAST ANGRY MAN: OREGON'S SENATOR WAYNE MORSE- Northwest Film Center @Whitsell Auditorium

LIFESTYLE: GROUP SEX IN THE SUBURBS- Clinton Street Theatre

ME, MYSELF AND IRENE- Broadway Metroplex

ROLL ON COLUMBIA: WOODY GUTHRIE & THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION- Northwest Film Center @Whitsell Auditorium

SPICY LOVE SOUP- Northwest Film Center @The Guild Theater

TGV- Northwest Film Center @The Guild Theater


 

REPERTORY & REVIVAL

28 DAYS- Mt. Hood Theater

ALL ABOUT EVE- Hollywood Theatre

AMERICAN MOVIE- Laurelhurst Theater

BIG KAHUNA- Laurelhurst Theater

EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY- Hollywood Theatre

FINAL DESTINATION- Mt. Hood Theater

FLINTSTONES IN VIVA ROCK VEGAS- Avalon Theatre

LIFESTYLE: GROUP SEX IN THE SUBURBS- Clinton Street Theatre

MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH- Hollywood Theatre

ROMEO MUST DIE- Laurelhurst Theater

SUNSHINE- Koin Center

SWINGERS- Laurelhurst Theater

VIRGIN SUICIDES- Koin Center


 

MOVIES & EVENTS

 

28 Days
Sandra Bullock is an alcoholic whose behavior lands her in Serenity Glen, a touchy-feely rehab center filled with the requisite cuddly goofs and embittered oddballs. Bullock carries an ultimately phony movie with something resembling humanity. Mt. Hood Theater

* All About Eve
Don't miss this hilariously cynical satire of the Broadway theater starring Anne Baxter as an aspiring starlet who claws her way up the ladder on the back of aging starlet Bette Davis. Hollywood Theatre

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

Big Momma's House
Martin Lawrence is back, and he's got a big old prosthetic ass. Where do I sign? 82nd Avenue, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, HillTop, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, St John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville

Boys and Girls
A completely generic title for an utterly insipid, totally unoriginal wet noodle of a movie. It's always sad when a film references the classic it wants to be, like when the characters in this travesty head out to see "Sixteen Candles." The best part of the whole experience was when my girlfriend won a soundtrack CD at the screening for knowing that Freddie Prinze, Jr was raised in Albequerque, New Mexico. (Marc Mohan) 82nd Avenue, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza

Chicken Run
The riveting spectacle of Chickens fleeing their own Auschwitz. Directed by Nick Parks (Wallace & Gromit). See review this issue. Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, St. John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville

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 novel, 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, Bagdad Theater

* 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, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, HillTop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Cinemas, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Vancouver Plaza, Washington Square Center, Westgate

Earth Girls are Easy
Geena Davis plays a scorned Valley girl in this 1989 comedy, who shaves three aliens (Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans), and whaddayknow? Underneath all that fur, they are hot, hot, HOT! Hollywood Theatre

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 being 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, Milwaukie 3 Theater

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. Century Eastport 16, Division Street, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas

The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas
Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty: the early years. Yabba dabba don't bother. Avalon Theatre, Bagdad Theater

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, 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 as any ancient samurai was to his master. Director Jim Jarmusch infuses Ghost Dog with the deadpan humor of his earliest films. (Charles Mudede) Bagdad Theater, 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, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, HillTop, Lloyd Cinemas, Moreland Theater, Movies on TV, Tigard-Joy Theater, Westgate, Wilsonville

Gone in 60 Seconds
You've seen the trailer, now see the re-make of this obscure car-thief movie, which is 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, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville

Groove
The characters are good, the writing is terrible, and the acting so much worse. But magically, like taking a little pill, the movie makes you wonder--what if you had fallen into the rave life? And then you catch yourself picking out your DJ moniker. The movie also lets you comfortably writhe in embarrassment and smirk at this silly culture. Writer/director Greg Harrison makes raves seductive with great music, romantically empty warehouses, and good drugs. He laughs pretty hard at the PLUR scene, though, knowing exactly how falsely fulfilling it is with its glitter, lollipops, and new VW Bugs. (PAULA GILOVICH) Northwest Film Center @Whitsell Auditorium

* 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) Koin Center, Lloyd Cinemas, Washington Square Center

Kadosh
Rivka is deeply in love but has no children, so she has her rabbi tell her husband he should remarry. Her sister Malka, meanwhile, is resisting an arranged marriage. Kadosh explores the conflicts of living in an ultra-orthodox community in Jerusalem. Movie House

Kikujiro
Japanese director Beat Takeshi Kitano's most recent film, Kikujiro, again stars the charismatic Kitano in the lead role as an ill-tempered thug who escorts an abandoned nine-year-old boy on a quest to find his mother. A modern Japanese variant of the curmudgeonly-adult-tramsformed-by-the-innoncence-of-a-child genre, Kitano's film, while streaked with brilliance, is nevertheless disappointing for those expecting the bold originality of Kitano's last film, Fireworks. Lacking narrative drive, Kikujiro unfortunately ends up feeling overly long and slightly self-indulgent. See review this issue. (CAVEH ZAHEDI) Cinema 21

L'etranger Venu D'Afrique
Sharing a double-bill with TGV. A young Chinese woman returns to Beijing to find her boyfriend and a world of cultural differences waiting for her. Northwest Film Center@The Guild Theater

The Last Angry Man: Oregon's Senator Wayne Morse
They don't make politicians like this anymore. Senator Wayne Morse was one of Oregon's true fire-brand public servants, unafraid to speak his mind on numerous subjects, including being one of the only Senators to call for the immediate withdrawal from Vietnam. This documentary includes comments from allies and detractors alike, painting a portrait of true individualism within the political system. Northwest Film Center @Whitsell Auditorium

The Lifestyle: Group Sex in the Suburbs
Swingers rejoice! The Lifestyle explores the creepy and divine inside Long Island sex clubs. See review this issue. Clinton Street Theatre

The Man Who Fell to Earth
David Bowie plays (surprise!) an alien in this 1976 sci-fi flick, who visits earth in search of water, but sticks around for the booze, pills and television! Hollywood Theatre

Me, Myself and Irene
When is Jim Carrey going to grow up and be a man? One of the best movie comedians when he's in the right project, Carrey is in danger of succumbing to Robin Williams Syndrome. For those without a Merck Manual nearby, that's a severe case of reality dissociation. This sickness describes a comic unable or unwilling to appear real. Constantly shielded by the gauzy mask of "goofiness," said comedian is trapped in a realm of total artificiality, in which he can't even say hello without a blend of caustic irony and grim mugging. This dire state of his health is relevant to Me, Myself & Irene. It's Fight Clublite, with all the dangerous ideas reduced to revenge comedy, and its radical rage homogenized. Carrey, who is a great physical actor, and is occasionally very funny in this movie, succumbs to the temptation to rely on the ghastliness of his face rather than the sincerity of his feelings. If he continues to insist on appearing in such roles without bothering to learn how to act them, between him and me it's splitsville. (D.K. Holm) Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville

* 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, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, HillTop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville

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

* 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 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, underaged 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, Lloyd Cinemas, Tigard Cinemas

Roll on Columbia: Woody Guthrie & The Bonneville Power Administration
Way back in 1941, folk singer Woody Guthrie took the unusual job of writing songs to buck up the employees of the Bonneville Power Administration. Writing 26 songs in a single month, Guthrie's tunes promoted the building of dams and included classics such as "Roll on Columbia" and "Jackhammer Blues." Filling out this testimonial is clips and quips from Studs Terkel, Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie. Northwest Film Center @Whitsell Auditorium

Romeo Must Die
Chop-socky star Jet Li and hip hop diva Alliyah star in yet another updated version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Laurelhurst Theater

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, Mission Theater

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? Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Eastgate, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, 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, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, 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, Washington Square Center

* Spicy Love Soup
Winner of several Asian awards, this film presents a pastiche of mini-tales about relationships between men and women. Framed by an ongoing story of a young pair of fiancees, Spicy Love Soup has a mellow sweetness and naivete illustrating shyness about sex, one that is totally absent in Western culture. Best is a wonderful portrait of a 55-year-old woman who advertises on TV for a husband. When several suitors show up at once, embarrassment progresses into weird happiness for everyone; Yang creates a meditation on human connections of all kinds. (Stacey Levine) Northwest Film Center @The Guild Theater

Sunshine
What says "sunshine" more perfectly than the history of Hungarian Jews in the 20th century? And who says "sunshine" more beautifully than Ralph Fiennes? The irrepressible Fiennes vieux takes on three sequential roles in this epic (that's one hour per role) account of one poor family's travails through three generations of Europe's now famous anti-semitic hi-jinx. A total downer. Koin Center

Swingers
Five guys grapple with their definitions of hetro-relationships and try to get laid in L.A. Set against a backdrop of swing music and lounge revival, Vince Vaughn plays the central wit of the narrative. Snappy dialogue and important lessons about L.A. area codes set the torrid pace for the low-budget, smash hit of 1996. Laurelhurst Theater

TGV
Part of the Guild's Out of Africa series. This 1997 film from Senegal tells of an express bus trip from Senegal and Guinea which is rife with comic peril. Northwest Film Center @The Guild Theater

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) Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater

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! Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Joy, 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. Koin Center

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) Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV

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 mythologized purity of youth can't survive into adulthood. (Monica Drake) Koin Center

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