Film Shorts 


OPENING

BAIT

BOOK WARS

BUTTERFLY

DUETS

GIMME SHELTER

MY AMERICAN GRANDMOTHER

TERROR FIRMER

ZORBA THE GREEK


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) Avalon Theatre, Kennedy School Theatre

The Art of War
Wesley Snipes stars as the brother with 1000 faces in this yawny espionage thriller. 82nd Avenue, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate

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. Milwaukie 3 Theater, Washington Square Center

Bait
Jamie Foxx stars as another black man under surveillance by White America. 82nd Avenue, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV

Bless the Child
Why is the fate of the universe always left to adorable 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. City Center 12, Movies on TV, St. John's Theater

Book Wars
Winner of Best Documentary at this year's NY Underground Film Festival. This film explores the gritty street booksellers who occupy lower Manhattan, their customers, and even Mayor Giuliani's campaign to get rid of them by cleaning up the streets. Northwest Film Center at Whitsell Auditorium

* Bring it On
High school cheerleaders must endure endless practices and bikini waxes to compete in the national championships! Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Westgate, Wilsonville

* 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

Butterfly
Spain, 1936; a boy and his schoolteacher; politics interfere. Acting as good as the best of Hollywood, costumes and sets as textured, cinematography as radiant--and a moral vision just as banal. Still, director Jose Luis Cuerda gets a fine performance from the little boy. You could enjoy this movie, as I did, without buying into its simple-mindedness. (Barley Blair) Koin Center

Cecil B. Demented
A lunatic guerilla film maker and his cronies kidnap a Hollywood starlet and force her to act in their movie. Directed by John Waters. City Center 12

* The Cell
Viewed conceptually, this film is remarkable: an acutley visual journey through a serial killer's mind that is both deranged and ethereal. To achieve this, director Tarsem Duamdwar uses special effects in a unique way, one that relies not only on sophisticated, expensive technology, but also preys on your worst fears of sex, violence, and insanity--all presented in surprisingly beautiful aesthetics; Even when Killer D'Onofrio is slowly twirling out the intestines of Vince Vaughn, he does so with delicate scissors in a celestial room adorned with garish, golden decadence. The whole movies smacks of Alice in Wonderland, yet relies on the founding images of Catholicism; at one point Jennifer Lopez appears as Virgin Mary, ready to kill the evil beast with her enormous sword. Unfortunately, Lopez and her co-star Vince Vaughn remain true to the same, paper-thin characters they always play; beautiful, compassionate, out to save the world, blah, blah, blah. But the movie is undoubtedly worth seeing anyway--just think of them as background. (Katia Dunn) Broadway Metroplex, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Eastgate, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville

* 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. (Sam Lachow & Maggie Brown) Century Eastport 16, Clackamas Town Center, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Westgate

Coyote Ugly
No surprises, not too much depth, just good, old-fashioned Americana rehashed with flare (and flesh) for the modern world. (Frank Bures) Century Eastport 16, Vancouver Plaza

The Crew
Four retired gangsters plan one last heist to raise money for a new colostomy bag. Washington Square Center, Wilsonville

* Croupier
Mike Hodges' 1998 masterpiece Croupier makes a co--vincing 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) Moreland Theater

* Delicatessen
Funky French film by Director of "The City Of Lost Children". Not for the faint or fearful. Mission Theater

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. Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, St. John's Theater, Vancouver Plaza

Duets
Why see this mishmash of cheesy product placements and a dozen contradictory genres? Not for Gwyneth as a skinny showgirl doing karaoke--see what I mean about contradictions? For Paul Giamatti. You may have forgotten his name, but his head and jowls make a figure eight, bags like eggcups under his eyes--first-rate comic apparatus. The script gives him nothing, the camera is either up his nose or jerking off in some awkward middle distance, and still he made me laugh out loud singing "Hello, It's Me." If he had two solos instead of one, I would recommend the movie. (Barley Blair) Century Eastport 16, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV

The Five Senses
Like trying to separate taste from smell, the characters of this film blend into one intimate experience. A cake maker, a masseuse, a mother of a missing child, and the freakish teenager who lost the young girl: all of these female characters proceed as an amalgamation. The film is exciting with surprises, a quality that fits nicely with its title. Something is vacant at the very center, though, and I suspect it's the uniting element of the senses: unconsciousness. Then, the story finishes by resolving itself too poignantly. (Paula Gilovich) Koin Center

Fuck the Republican Party
What is so disturbing about Dennis Nyback's collection of Republican Party propaganda films is that there is a natural instinct to believe what we see. From an expose outlining how Jimmy Carter's foreign policy has put our western hemisphere at grave danger of communist take--over backwards to the Grand Ole Party's 1940 campaign newsreel that convincingly sketches out charts and arguments about why the work-project spending has sent the US into the toilet, it is an alarming montage of images. Nyback is clearly poking fun at the Republican Party and drawing parallels between their absurd and dated arguments-that defense spending must increase-to the current Bush--Cheney rhetoric. The most fun film short is a 1974 piece that tries to rally against corporate taxes. It uses a tight--pant hipster dad, a Shaft-like soundtrack and a Twilight Zone plot to explain how these taxes will eventually shut down all business. Clinton Street Theatre

* Gimme Shelter
Filmed partially at Altamont where audience members were attacked by members of the Hell's Angels, this documentary explores the violence as well as capturing some of the Rolling Stones' greatest performances. Northwest Film Center atThe Guild 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 film making to make the details as lavish as possible. (Tom Spurgeon) Avalon Theatre, City Center 12, Kennedy School Theatre, Mt. Hood Theater

Godzilla 2000
Forget that crappy-ass film with Matthew Broderick! This is the real Japanese-style shit! Godzilla can't get a good millennium's sleep without some asshole monster waking him up. This time a floating rock washes up which contains a UFO which also happens to contain a monster named Gora! Gora gets all in Godzilla's shit, which forces Big G to burn Gora's ass off with his atomic ray. Films don't get much more subtle than this. (Wm. Steven Humprey) Milwaukie 3 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! Century Eastport 16, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, St. John's Theater, Vancouver Plaza

* 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) Avalon Theatre, Mission Theater

Highlander: Endgame
The last chance. The ultimate evil. The final battle. (Hey! That's what they said LAST time!!) Century Eastport 16, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Wilsonville

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, Lloyd Mall, Vancouver Plaza

Love and Basketball
Boy meets girl. Boy plays hoops with girl. Girl takes boy to hole. Edgefield Powerstation

* 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, Mt. Hood Theater

* My American Grandmother
A teriffic documentary about the complicated relationship betwen an Iraqi filmmaker and her Texan grandmother. Director Aysha Ghazoul will be on hand to answer questions at this free screening. In Other Words

Nurse Betty
Betty (Renèe Zellweger), a diner waitress, settles comfortably into a thick confusion after accidentally witnessing her sleazy drug--dealer husband's murder. She instantly blocks out reality, and drives to Los Angeles in pursuit of her favorite soap--opera character, whom she believes is her long--lost true love. On paper, this sounds great--onscreen it's surprisingly disappointing. After watching these relentless caricatures strut around for 112 minutes, it's difficult to keep caring, and to keep rooting for Betty in earnest. (Min Liao) Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Wilsonville

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, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, St. John's Theater, Vancouver Plaza

The Opportunists
A middling Sundance entry, a too--low--key caper item about a body shop operator (Christopher Walken, Walken--ish as always) who doesn't want to return to his days as a safecracker. Complications ensue when a long--lost Irish cousin (Peter McDonald) turns up, thinking Walken's a high--line criminal. With Cyndi Lauper,. Donal Logue, and gratefully, later in the telling, Tom Noonan shows up as an even more dunderheaded thug. Hollywood Theatre, Koin Center

The Original Kings of Comedy
Another of Spike Lee's so--called "jointz," this one being a documentary which shows stand--up comics Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley and Bernie Mac in action. Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Division Street, Lloyd Mall, 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, Evergreen Parkway, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movie House, Movies on TV, Tigard--Joy Theater

The Replacements
A comedy based on the 1987 pro football strike, starring Keanu Reeves as a scabby (sorry) scab quarterback. Century Eastport 16, Evergreen Parkway, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center, Wilsonville

* Rififi
One of the great heist films of all time--filmed in beautiful French--O--Vision! Koin Center

Saving Grace
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) 82nd Avenue, Koin Center

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) Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV

Sex: The Annabel Chong Story
Gough Lewis proves as exploitative as the porno--producers behind Annabel Chong's legendary 251--man gangbang in this poorly made, unsurprising documentary. Still, we get to see Chong outside of the porno realm, which is a pleasure no matter how you cut it. Especially sweet are the numerous scenes with her Singapore family and friends, in which, like most porn stars, Chong emerges against typecasting as loyal, thoughtful, and very much concerned about her "work" being contextualized. Still, the more lurid details of the film tend to overwhelm Chong, and one is left feeling used. Cinema 21

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) Hollywood Theatre

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, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville

* Sunset Blvd.
Billy Wilder's classic is back, revived and in 35mm for its 50th anniversary. Gloria Swanson is always a scream with her melodrama and tragic hyperventilating; and Erich von Stroheim is excellent as her patient butler. Hollywood 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. Hollywood Theatre

The Tao of Steve
The Tao of Steve: 101 ways to bag a babe and keep her coming back for more. Dex, a fat intellectual slob, formulates and follows his plan for sexual success, insisting to his friends that the #1 way too attract women is to ignore them. Through the magic of make--believe, this tactic works. The pot smoking, jelly--belly has a harem of women sending him the booty call. What is his secret? What is the attraction? Could it be the charming afterglow from his morning bong hit? Is it the crushing weight of his huge gut? No one knows or cares, because in real life Dex is just one of the many loser pot--heads that move about in packs, not in couples. (Karrin Ellertson) 82nd Avenue, Koin Center

* Terror Firmer
For a full--fledged 114 minutes of trash, raunch, schlock, and the "highest of the lows," check out this "gleefully offensive" gem from indie--junk--film experts Troma Films. The very basic plot--a blind director (Lloyd Kaufman) faces obstacles as he makes a film--is merely a gloriously skimpy excuse to show graphic killings, bizarre accidents, cheap jokes about farts and sex, freak cameos, severed limbs, boobs, and a random fat, naked guy. Guest appearances by South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Motörhead's Lemmy. See review this issue. Clinton Street Theatre

Turn it Up
For those who are connoisseurs of hiphop cinema this will not disappoint you, but if you are just looking for a movie to watch with a black theme or lead, than miss this and watch The Art of War. (Charles Mudede) Division Street, Lloyd Mall

Way of the Gun
A kidnapping plan goes awry (as they often do) in this film starring Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro (which literally means "The Bull Loves Spaghetti"). 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Wilsonville

What Lies Beneath
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) Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Wilsonville

Whipped
Peter Cohen's debut movie goes something like this: Beavis and Butthead have grown out of their acne stage, taken swank jobs in New York, picked out Banana Republic wardrobes, and are now dating. The starting point for the skimpy narrative of the film is a Saturday morning coffeehouse meeting where four male buddies compare notes about their latest escapades. Anyone hear the distant echoes of Friends, Seinfield and Sex in the City? Inevitably, they fall for the same perfect woman. The build--up to the finale--who will she chose? will we see her breasts?--is about as satisfying as a clumsy and dull lover. Oak Grove 8 Theater, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center

The Woman Chaser
A not very interesting black--and--white anachronism fest, "Woman Chaser" takes a decent 1960 Charles Willeford LA noir novel about a 1950s want--to--be film director who loses his mind and makes a spoofy hash of it. Patrick Warburton ("Seinfeld"'s Puddy) gives it his chunky all, but it's not enough to bring life into this drearily scripted and clunkily directed item: dig those bongo drums! The script's called "The Man Who Got Away"; so did Willeford's novel. (Ray Pride) Cinema 21, Koin Center

Wonderland
Winterbottom is one of the most prolific of new directors, and his choices of material and approaches are profligate as well. He's shooting a Gold Rush political adventure right now, and a couple of other features since his alternately savvy and sappy Welcome to Sarajevo has gone straight to video in the U.S. Wonderland finds Winterbottom working in Super 16mm handheld, slinging the frame around as he follows intriguing actors like Ian Hart, Gina McKee, and Molly Parker through a London-set roundelay of not-that-intriguing, circumstance-befouled yuppie romance. Michael Nyman's insistent score weighs intensely on the general clutter. (Ray Pride) Moreland Theater

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. Eastgate, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Cinemas, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Vancouver Plaza

* Zorba the Greek
Director Michael Cacoyannis' classic film about a young man (Alan Bates) who moves to Crete to reopen a mine inherited from his father. There, he meets Zorba (Anthony Quinn) whose lusty approach to life changes the young man forever. Northwest Film Center at Whitsell Auditorium

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