Film Shorts 


OPENING

AUTUMN IN NEW YORK

CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED

EYES OF TAMMY FAYE

L'ATALANTE

REPLACEMENTS

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED


MOVIES & EVENTS

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
Once upon a time, a badly-drawn cartoon dependent upon pained sarcasm was shown on national television. This was clearly a horrible idea, appealing only to the least ambitious adults and most awkward children, and it was quickly pulled. 30-some years later, Robert De Niro thought differently. He wanted to make a movie. Somewhere along the line, he apparently wanted to make a successful movie, implanting a desperately cute gal whose inner child (literally) cries out for indulgence. In the process, mangling together a bitterly knowing narration with third generation Disney schmaltz they managed to make a film for nobody-confusing the tots and irritating the cultish faithful. Moose and squirrel wander through, company men, never once questioning the pace. (Jay Horton) Mt. Hood Theater

Autumn in New York
An aging playboy, Richard Gere, falls for the younger and terminally ill Winona Ryder, leaving us terminally ill in the process. Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Cinemas, Oak Grove 8 Theater

* Beau Travail
Claire Denis' latest film about men in the French Foreign Legion performing rituals in the desert. Loosely based on Herman Melville's "Billy Budd." Koin Center

Big Momma's House
Martin Lawrence is back, and he's got a big old prosthetic ass. Where do I sign? Avalon Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater, Mt. Hood Theater

* Blaxploitation Month
Digging deep, deep, deep into the Clinton Street film archives, curator Dennis Nyback presents a full month of extremely rare blaxploitation films which paint a surprising portrait of the history of American racism. The bill changes every day, so call the Clinton Street for details. 238-8899 Clinton Street Theatre

Bless the Child
Why is the fate of the universe always left to adorable six-year old kids? Director Mace Neufeld's attempt to recapture the chilling ambiance that he produced in the "The Omen" is a tough row to hoe, especially with super-ho' Kim Basinger playing a recovering Catholic who, in the midst of an all-out war between good, evil, the Messiah and the Devil, has the audacity to question her faith. Why not just worry about your nails, Kim? Still, in spite of Basinger's annoying navel gazing, there are some gripping plot twists and pretty cool special effects to boot. 82nd Avenue, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Westgate

* Blood Simple
The Coen's best films are all descendants of this moody, geometric, fabulously accomplished first feature. A vulgar tale of small town thieves and liars, Blood Simple is gloriously corrupt, full of iconic small town caricatures including a fantastically baroque M. Emmet Walsh in what is his best screen role to date. The plot twists keep developing, like an infection spreading, to a lurid conclusion. A great first feature, with only a bit of that distracting Coen cleverness that so clutters their later work. Koin Center

* Bottle Rocket
In the March edition of Esquire Martin Scorsese nominated Wes Anderson as the best new director in the past decade. Not easy praise to come by. Scorsese was spellbound by Anderson's clever and affectionate look at a group of would-be losers who believe themselves to be dashing robbers. It is a sublime and gripping cinematography. Laurelhurst Theater

* But I'm a Cheerleader
Director Jamie Babbitt's feature debut may be a bit forced, but Natasha Lyonne as a cheerleader thought to be lesbian, is both believable and charming. Lyonne is sent to a homosexual rehabilitation camp run by RuPaul and Cathy Moriarty, and learns the valuable lesson that sexual orientation isn't as cut and dried as one might think. (Wm. Steven Humprey) Koin Center

* Chicken Run
Chicken Run is about chickens trying to escape. It is very funny and exciting; each chicken has a great sense of humor and is weird. Mel Gibson is the voice of Rocky, and Julia Sawalha (from Absolutely Fabulous) is Ginger. It all starts when Rocky the Chicken comes blasting over the fence and everybody thinks he can fly. The chickens ask him to teach them to fly but they don't make any progress. Something fishy is going on-Mrs. Tweedy (the farmer's wife) has a machine that lets the chickens go in and pies come out. They do whatever they can to resist becoming pies. (Sam Lachow & Maggie Brown) Century Eastport 16, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV

* Children of the Damned
This not-so-creepy sequel to Village of the Damned will still have you thinking twice about buying that bassinet. Six children, who are samples of what humans will evolve into in a million years, start showing off their genius IQ's, ray-gun eyes, and murderous dispositions. Somebody needs a time out! Hollywood Theatre

Coyote Ugly
The hands-down winner of the "Drunk Frat Boy" movie awards. Country gal moves to the big city to become a songwriter, and gets a job hopping around a bar like a floozy alongside some other supermodels. Produced by hate-criminal Jerry Bruckheimer. Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 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) Cinemagic

Dinosaur
A heroic muddle of prehistory, 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. Mt. Hood Theater

Eyes of Tammy Faye
A documentary on the rise and fall of former evangelist, druggie, and eyeliner addict, Tammy Faye Baker. See review this issue. Cinema 21

Films on the Lawn
An outdoor film series (located in the backyard of DaVinci Arts Middle School, NE Couch between 27th and 28th) focusing on raising awareness on diverse social topics. This week features short films about the vagaries of aging in our society. DaVinci Middle School Lawn

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 genre. 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) Edgefield Powerstation

* 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 film making to make the details as lavish as possible. (Tom Spurgeon) Avalon Theatre, Kiggins Theater, Laurelhurst Theater

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

Hamlet
"To be or not to be...dude." That's what you half-expect to come out of stocking-capped, goateed Ethan Hawke's mug in the latest, contemporary , re-imagining of a Shakespearean standard. Actually, it's a fairly passable update, turning Denmark into a corporation and brooding Prince Hamlet into a video artist. Apart from the unconscionable product placement of a monologue set in a Blockbuster Video, director Michael Almereyda (Nadja) earns points for originality, especially in casting choices like Bill Murray as Polonius and Steve Zahn as Rosencrantz (or is it Guildenstern?). And Hawke makes at least as good a Hamlet as Mel Gibson ever did. (Marc Mohan) City Center 12

High Fidelity
A romantic comedy for guys: John Cusack plays the cynically introspective Rob Gordon, the owner of a small record store. For various reasons, he has shit luck with women. Basically, he's a jerk, 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) Cinemagic

The Hollow Man
Kevin Bacon stars as a scientist who discovers a serum for turning invisible. Which reminds me, a really good question to ask someone when you're just starting to date them is "Would you rather be able to fly, or turn invisible?" If they say "fly," then they're a keeper. People who wanna turn invisible are always sneaking around and getting in your shit. Never trust people who want to be invisible. Especially if it's Kevin Bacon. Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, St. John's Theater, Westgate

Jesus' Son
Sterling adaptation of the 1992 story collection by Denis Johnson. The '70s drug culture is the setting for Maclean's second feature (after Crush, with Marcia Gay Harden). Billy Crudup is the tirelessly sweet-hearted and soft-headed "FH" (for Fuckhead), a well-meaning junkie who wide-eye puppy-dogs his way through life and love with a lost soul named Michelle (Samantha Morton), both angel and very mortal woman; and his increasingly bizarre encounters with a menagerie of lost souls, all of whom soon agree he's earned his nickname. With Denis Leary, Dennis Hopper, and Holly Hunter. (Ray Pride) Laurelhurst Theater

The Kid
It's a good idea to come in about 10 minutes late to this movie. I did, and consequently I held on to a small hope throughout that I missed the beginning part that made sense of Bruce Willis hanging out with a little kid during his power lunches with rock stars in LA. Without this hope, I probably would have left the theater half way through, after the 100th scene of Bruce and the kid bonding over yet another of grandma's chocolate milkshakes, a dog named Chester, and a shared I'm-so-glad-we're-both-from-a-dysfunctional-family sentiment. Unfortunately, the only thing that happened by the end was that a 75-year-old Bruce Willis shows up to tell Bruce the first and Bruce the second not to worry, because he eventually grows up and gets the girl, the plane, and the dog. Too bad he still played a painfully shallow character in a painfully boring movie. Century Eastport 16, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Tigard-Joy Theater, Washington Square Center

* L'atalante
Called one of the most beautiful and haunting films ever made, L'atalante tells the sweet, moving story of a pair of newlyweds accompanied by an eccentric raconteur, who fight, separate and then reconcile. Directed by one of the greats of French cinema, Jean Vigo. Northwest Film Center atThe Guild Theater

Loser
Encouraged by last summer's blockbuster, American Pie director Amy Heckerling returns to high school humor and skin level emotions again, only this time setting the story in a college dorm. Nearly two decades after her sharply funny Fast Times at Ridgemont High and five years after the surprisingly sophisticated Clueless Heckerling continues to devolve towards a lower sense of entertainment. Funny, yes. Complicated, not really. Loser tracks an offbeat college student through various costume makeovers and his desires for true love. Hollywood Theatre, Movies on TV

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 Club lite, with all the dangerous ideas reduced to revenge comedy, and its radical rage homogenized. Carrey, who is a great physical actor and 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) Movies on TV

* 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 coursed 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 three. (Sean Nelson) Avalon Theatre, Bagdad Theater, Hollywood Theatre, Kennedy School Theatre, Kiggins Theater, Laurelhurst Theater, Mission Theater, Movies on TV, Mt. Hood Theater

Nutty Professor II: The Klumps
Eddie Murphy returns (Why? Why? WHY??) as Sherman Klump in this sequel to the remake of the Jerry Lewis classic. This time, the apparently brainwashed Janet Jackson is pulled into the mire as Sherman's scientist girlfriend who helps him defeat his alter ego, the ultra-suave Buddy Love. 82nd Avenue, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Westgate

The Patriot
Okay, remember that episode of The Simpsons where Mel Gibson remade Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and ended up impaling the President on a flagpole or some such silliness? Well, now he's gone and made a three-hour movie that's just like that, but without the irony or humor. It's set in a colonial America where slaves and owners get along pretty darn well, the British are a bunch of baby-killing, dog-kicking hooligans, and the one French guy around makes Gerard Depardieu sound like Peter Jennings (don't worry, there's no sign of the Native Americans in this heartwarming saga). Did I mention that the movie justifies killing wounded soldiers and teaching your kids to fight in war, as long as it's for something you really believe in? And have I gotten around the sheer pomposity and lack of anything resembling subtlety in the film? And another thing-hey, leggo, I'm not done yet! There's this part where Mel- (Marc Mohan) City Center 12, Division Street, Eastgate, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Washington Square Center

A Perfect Storm
Plot: Fishermen fight storm in hopes of getting home to some pussy. Protagonists: Marky Mark, Dr. Ross, Happy's competitor in Happy Gilmore, a few guys who are in every other movie, some no-names. Villains: Hurricane Grace, backed by two other vengeful storms. The money-grubbing boat owner. Perks: Awesome special effects: 50-foot sea swells, water rescues, hurricane clouds etc. Downers: Canned dialogue, excessive machismo, totally stupid ending. Recommendation: If you're looking for a marijuana freak-out, smoke some and head to this flick. If you're looking for an Academy Award Nominee, forget it. (Katie Shimer) Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movie House, Movies on TV, Tigard-Joy Theater, Washington Square Center

Pokemon 2000
An evil (genius?) villain captures three sacred Pokemon beasts that represent the primary forces in nature: Fire, Ice, and Lighting. When the three elements are brought together, they call forth an even more mythical beast known as the Guardian (picture a hairless deer with wings and fins that can fly and talk telepathically). This movie is nuts. It's full of half-rate anime and limp "be your own hero" slogans, not to mention the insufferable mascot Pikachu, whose only mode of speech is its own name spoken incessantly, like the Snuggle bear with brain damage. In short, Chicken Run is the same price. Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Washington Square Center

The Replacements
A comedy based on the 1987 pro football strike, starring Keanu Reeves as a scabby (sorry) scab quarterback. See review this issue. Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas

Saving Grace
We've seen this movie before: A British fishing village, a lot of friendly villagers, the local pub, and a big plan that involves flouting the law in a relatively benign way but leads to an extended situation comedy. In Saving Grace, the situation involves a widowed middle-aged woman who cultivates pot to escape financial ruin. The town turns a blind eye because they love her dearly. She travels to London to sell her stash (phenomenal amounts of high-grade bud) and the plan falls apart. Before it's over, the movie, too, falls apart. This is a cute, light comedy with the humor based on contrast--a nice woman selling drugs, a responsible hippie dealer who has to pick his daughter up at flute lessons before Dungeons and Dragons night, and a career criminal who is nothing but kind. (Monica Drake) Koin Center, Lloyd Mall

Scary Movie
Though I can't say Scary Movie was particularly witty, or even clever, the cast performs their over-the-top slapstick with such good-natured intentions, it's hard not to be swept up in the fun. Sure, there are the requisite off-color jokes directed at gays, potheads, teen sex, and the mentally challenged, but unlike the Farrelly brothers (Something About Mary, Kingpin), Wayans delivers punchlines as a nudge in the ribs rather than a slap across the face. (Wm. Steven Humprey) 82nd Avenue, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Washington Square Center

* 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? Bagdad Theater, Laurelhurst Theater

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) Avalon Theatre, Mission Theater

SHOWER
Entertaining if sometimes strained men-must-honor-their-fathers sentiment. It's the story of an ambitious young man who leaves for the Shenzen economic development region, leaving his father to run his bathhouse, along with a retarded brother, in dilapidated Beijing. Ungrateful son returns, tears are shed, lessons are learned, remakes surely await. (And aren't old men a hoot?!) Shower is the most Western-seeming of Chinese films I've seen in ages, and I hope it doesn't presage a sixth generation of mainland filmmakers trying to out-dazzle the likes of their Hong Kong counterparts. (RAY PRIDE) Koin Center

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 tunneling underground to reach the bank vault. The heist is a flop, but Frenchie's amazing cookies turn the front operation into a multimillion 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) Laurelhurst Theater

Space Cowboys
Three old retired Air Force pilots want one last ride into outer space. Christ! Isn't it bad enough that these old farts always get the beautiful young chicks in the movies? And now they want to go into space, too? Forget it, Grandpa! It's off to the nursing home for you! Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Westgate

Stand by Me
The most effectively cheesy movie ever made-about some kids who bond over a dead body on a camping trip. Guaranteed to make you call all members of your immediate family and tell them you love them. Kennedy School Theatre

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

Thomas and the Magic Railroad
Based on the ultra-creepy kids show of the same name, this partially animated children's film stars the ever-dwindling talents of Alec "Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen" Baldwin. Eastgate, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Washington Square 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! Avalon Theatre

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) Edgefield Powerstation

* Village of the Damned
A truly creepy B&W thriller from 1960! An entire village is mysteriously knocked unconcious, and when they wake up, all the women have been knocked up. The resulting children have weird unearthly powers, and let me tell you, they don't like being bossed around! Hollywood Theatre

* 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) Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater

What Lies Beneath
It's official! Director Robert Zemeckis (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump) is a washed-up hack. In this latest Sixth Sense ripoff, Zemeckis doesn't even bother trying to come up with any new ideas to bring to the screen, choosing instead to ape what Brian DePalma has been doing for years-aping Alfred Hitchcock. Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford sink to new acting lows, and while the film still somehow manages to be occasionally entertaining, the jump-out-and-scare-the-shit-out-of-ya shocks can't make up for the waste of time and money. Pass! (Wm. Steven Humprey) 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, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Westgate

X-Men
This movie is all fine and dandy, but there's one area where I got beef: Where the Hell is Psylocke? You know, Betsy Braddock, super-tuff ninja lady, psychic knife. What, were her extrasensory powers too ambiguous for the special F/X dudes to translate to the big screen? Yeah? Well, I got one thing to say: SYNERGY! If fucking Hasbro could animate the life of Jem (complete with holograms and flashing earrings) back in the '80s, surely the creators of X-Men could've put a piddly ole psychic knife in a computer and churned out something cool. I'll stick to the video game, thanks. Broadway Metroplex, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Eastgate, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, St. John's Theater

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