Film Shorts 

A.I.
A new kind of humar-shaped computer is aware of its own existence. Sixth Sense kid is like a little computer Pinocchio wanting to be a real boy. See review this issue. 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville

* Amores Perros
Amores Perros begins at a screaming dead run and maintains one kind of intensity or another over the next two-and-a-half hours. Pungently translated as Love's a Bitch, Amores Perros comprises three stories of life, love, and aggressively twisted fate in the most polluted metropolis on the planet. Alejandro Gonzàlez Iñàrritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga have enrolled in the Tarantino school of storytelling, but Gonzàlez Iñàrritu's own style and vision is so distinctive and assured in this directorial debut that no one should dwell on that point. This is a breakthrough work for Mexican cinema. Laurelhurst Theater, Mission Theater

Angel Eyes
I've been robbed! This ain't no eerie psycho drama thriller movie! It's a freakin' love story! So don't pay any mind to the trailer, cuz what you see is what you DON'T get. Here's what I don't get: why falsely market Jennifer Lopez? What's with the cover up? The plot: A beautiful, troubled police officer (Lopez) falls for a man with a mysterious past. Except that it's not mysterious at all, he's just got problems like the rest of us. Although this movie packs the power of Velveeta cheese, Jenny doesn't disappoint. Just another example of J.Lo's ability to turn chicken shit into something more appealing than chicken shit. (Quinn Viladas) Kiggins Theater

Anniversary Party
Inspired by her back-to-basics experience making the Dogma film The King is Alive, Jennifer Jason Leigh called up her pal Alan Cumming and said something like "Hey, do you have a digital video camera? Cuz I know how we could make our own movie with just us and all our friends and it would be sooo cool! You do?! Well, come over!" Then Jennifer and Alan made a sort of Cassavettes-lite tale where they play a recently reconciled couple--she's a actress past her industry-dictated prime; he's a predictably androgynous novelist who's about to direct a film of his most recent book. The guests at the titular get-together at their sumptuous Hollywood Hills home are played by folks like Kevin Kline, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Beals, and Gwyneth Paltrow as the starlet who's stealing Leigh's thunder. She also provides the Ecstasy that pushes the emotional dysfunction and repressed insecurities of the partygoers into the open. Eventually, it all devolves into a fairly self-indulgent barrage of screaming, swimming, and sobbing that made me feel not a bit of sympathy for these pampered souls. (Marc Mohan) Fox Tower 10

Asya's Happiness (USSR)
This film depicts a young woman, thrilled to be pregnant, and unconcerned with her lover's reluctance to marry her. Non-actors are used in the film, and speak frankly of their Christian values, even though the political system at the time was opposed to religion. Made in 1967, the film was so controversial that it was banned for 21 years. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

Atlantis
The myth of the city of Atlantis is super cool, even to a humorless person like myself. The movie, however, is not. A slow-then-fast and extremely contorted plot are to blame, as is the annoying voice of Michael J. Fox. (Katie Shimer) Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard-Joy Theater, Vancouver Plaza, Washington Square Center, Wilsonville

Baby Boy
John Singleton's latest slice of life in the LA hood. A companion film to Boyz N the Hood. See review this issue. 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Division Street, Lloyd Cinemas, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Westgate

Blow
Blow is Hollywood all the way to the bank. But despite all its predictability--a young man (Johnny Depp) rises to the top of the international drug trade and then falls to the bottom of the prison system--its portrayal of Mexicans, Central Americans, and middle America is unexpectedly sympathetic. Cinemagic

* Boys to Men
Three absolutely charming short films + 1 mini short. The first film, Crush, is about a small town, boy-worshipping girl that falls for the new guy, but, uh oh,--turns out he's gay. A hysterical and really real depiction of kids that makes you wish adults would act the same. The Mountain King makes you wonder, "Can any guy go gay?" Hustling and hot loving included. The third film ..lost is like 20 seconds long--I'd tell you the whole thing if I described it. And, whew, by the time the fourth film rolls around you want to watch some serious gay porn, but just so you don't pull a Pee Wee Herman, this one's about old guys. One lover is dying of something and wants to see a priest. The other lover is all up in his grill, 'cause priests are obviously anti-homo. This film will make you smile and say aloud, "thank god that hottie that played the priest isn't really a priest. I'd like to get me a piece of that." Cinema 21

Bride of the Wind
What could have been a remarkable film is instead the cinematic equivalent of a date with a dumb blond. The plot focuses on Alma Mahler. Little more than a footnote in early twentieth century European history, Mahler was a captivating beauty who managed to marry, divorce, inspire, and ruin three giants of turn-of-the-century European arts: composer Gustav Mahler, architect Walter Gropius, and novelist Franz Werfel. Unfortunately, the film never goes beneath the skin depth of her beauty and has less plot tension than a Coors Lite beer ad. (Phil Busse) Fox Tower 10

Bridget Jones's Diary
Bridget Jones is a cow. She desires a boyfriend, so she sets her sights on the office cad (Hugh Grant), and then moans when he dumps her. Why do we keep coming back to these romantic comedies? Is it that we secretly hope the Jerk will change into a Good Guy so we can justify our bad choices in life? Is the office cad actually a misunderstood prince? Does this ever happen in real life? Fuck no. And I've got a long line of sisters who can back me up on that: the very same sisters who'll be standing next to me in the ticket line when the next romantic comedy comes along. (Kathleen Wilson) Koin Center, Washington Square Center

Chocolat
Today I'm not weak. The film critic in me has control over my emotions; it can and will repress my wolflike desire to fill this review with hungry words that praise the celestial beauty of Juliette Binoche. That said, the movie itself is unremarkable, and has absolutely nothing new to offer. (Charles Mudede) Bagdad Theater, Hollywood Theatre, Kennedy School Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater, Mission Theater, Mt. Hood Theater

* Chopper
While this film is based on the memoirs of a true seriel killer, it ends up being a study of one strong willed, yet insecure dude. You love Chopper, despite his short temper, and often, actually feel as though his victims deserved to be rubbed out. The only flaw is that the film is a little slow--but it still feels totally worth it to have seen it. Eric Bana, as Chopper, is kick ass. (Katie Shimer) Laurelhurst Theater

* Crazy/Beautiful
Kirsten Dunst has finally reached maximum potential, and it's a beautiful thing. She's shed her Bring it on pom poms, and emerged heroin chic: the fucked-up, suicidal, and stoned high-school outsider. The plot: Kirsten meets Carlos (super, super hot Jay Hernandez) who is an overachieving Latino super-star; he rides the bus two hours each way just to get to the rich, white-kid school, where he's studying to become a pilot. He and Kirsten fall in love and Carlos takes it upon himself to straighten Kirsten out, who's been on self-destruct mode ever since her mother committed suicide. It's kind of like a contemporary fairy tale, except there's actually a lot of worthwhile character development as well as some touching, somewhat non-cliched exploration of issues of race and class. I cried in this movie: I NEVER cry in movies. (Katia Dunn) Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Wilsonville

* Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Legendary warrior Chow Yun Fat can never declare his love for fellow martial arts expert Michelle Yeoh. Instead, he entrusts her with Green Destiny, his nearly magical sword. But in the dark of night a hooded thief steals it, which leads to a fight held mostly in midair. An attempt to wed emotionally reticent drama with the exhilarating freedom of Hong Kong-genre filmmaking, but director Ang Lee can't quite pull off the combination; for too long a time, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's shifting gears only jam. The film finds its rhythm and earns the accolades it received once it leaves the stars behind and gives its heart over to the young and engaging Zhang Ziyi, as the aristocratic daughter of privilege who opts instead for the dangerous yet thrilling occupation of thief. (Bruce Reid) Avalon, Bagdad Theater, Edgefield Powerstation, Laurelhurst Theater, Mt. Hood Theater

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry
Mary and Larry are lovers that kidnap the daughter of a grocery store and collect the ransom. Then, they run like hell from the cops. Clinton Street Theatre

Dr. Doolittle 2
The doctor who talks to animals is back, and this time he is attmepting to save a forest from loggers by teaching a bear how to get laid. This film is just as bad as you would expect the sequel to a bad movie to be. Although the idea of seeing animals talk may be hard to resist, you are better off tuning in to Discovery to watch them do what they do best: eat each other. Now THAT'S funny. (Russell Cowan) 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, Sherwood 10, St. John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville

Evolution
This David Duchovny movie is so confused, banal, and cinematically retarded, I'm not sure where to begin. So fuck it, I won't. (Turkey McGoldenstein) Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Koin Center, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Sherwood 10, Washington Square Center

The Fast and Furious
Burning rubber is the order of the day in this fuel-injected testosterone-pumped fluff piece from director Rob Cohen. Paul Walker is a SEXY undercover cop sent to infiltrate a gang of street racers (including the aptly named Vin Diesel) who he suspects of hijacking trucks, but what's this? He actually learns to love the big lugs, as well as the adrenaline rush of street racing. While the plot holes are big enough to drive two hijacked trucks through, and the story is an almost scene-by-scene ripoff of Point Break, everyone in the movie is H.O.T. HOT, and the cars are beautiful. But be sure to watch the papers, because this flick will surely inspire a nation of jar-head kids to begin racing and killing themselves at a record pace. For example, as soon as I left the theater I saw a kid in a Grand Torino peel out of the parking lot, lose control, and smash into the parking median. He might not have been fast...but he was FURIOUS! 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Vancouver Plaza, Century Eastport 16, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Wilsonville

The Golden Bowl
The Golden Bowl is, in part, a drama of manners, and Merchant Ivory's production moves neatly upon the joints and hinges of a repressed society. But the filmmakers seem to think that a well-appointed costume drama with the weight of Henry James behind it doesn't need any creative help to succeed, so the neatness is plodding. People enter rooms, whisper to one another, make out passionately behind closed doors while holding lit candles, and glare portentously at photographs--but the movie remains too damp to make a spark. Fox Tower 10

Heat (USSR)
A high school graduate, who has not yet had his sprit crushed by the real world, goes to work on a farm. Once there, he battles with the strict, elder, tractor driving leader. This film should remind most people of their first job. Made by acclaimed Solviet filmmaker Larissa Shepitko (who died in a car crash at 40), the flick won the Bet Director award at the Leningrad Film Fest. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

* The House of Mirth
British director Terence Davies' The House of Mirth, starring Gillian Anderson and Dan Aykroyd, adapts Edith Wharton's 1905 novel about New York high society--the tragic story of a beautiful young woman looking to marry a rich husband. Consequently, she finds herself torn between her need for financial security and her desire for personal integrity. Laurelhurst Theater

Ivan's Childhood
A soldier lives behind enemy lines as a spy. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

* King of Calamity
The world depicted in the films of Sid Davis is a hostile and dangerous one, unforgiving of even the most innocent-minded mental lapses and especially injurious to the little ones. Like many of the more fundamentalist strains of Christianity, Davis' dogma demands that parents pale in terror at the potentially deadly effects of the outside world on their children. From this description, you might think that Davis made spine-tingling horror films, and he did, in a sense. A former stand-in for John Wayne in the 1940s, Davis used a thousand borrowed dollars of the Duke's to bankroll his first educational/cautionary short film, "The Dangerous Stranger" (1949). In this and the other examples of his dubious talent on display this week at the Clinton, children are maimed, burned, and killed because they: took candy from strangers, hitchhiked, engaged in poolside horseplay, poured gasoline on fires, played ball in the street, stood up in a canoe, fooled around with firearms, and, of course, ran with scissors. The kids who behave are safe and sound, and those who don't deserve everything they get. For decades, Davis' films traumatized kids in classrooms from coast to coast, and as time went by, his techniques became more sophisticated. Filming in color and even featuring characters who aren't caucasian, Davis tackled hot-button topics like sexual abuse (in "Girls Beware" and its long-awaited sequel, "Boys Beware") and the chromosone-frying horrors of dropping acid (in the epic "LSD: Trip or Trap?"). If you can't make it to these edifying films, allow me to simplify their life-altering lessons: never goof around at all, stay in your bedroom at all times, and always write down the license number of any car that passes you on the street. And listen to your parents. (Marc Mohan) Clinton Street Theatre

* Memento
Memento has a lot of starch in it; the film sticks with you for days as you rehearse it over and over in your mind. It's also a movie so good that you almost fear a critical backlash against it. You come out of it feeling almost resentful at how good it is, and given that almost everyone is an aspiring filmmaker these days, this resentment is unvarnished jealousy. But this reviewer is pure of spirit, or at least spite: I may have seen a better film so far this year than Memento, but if I have, I've forgotten it. (D.K. Holm) Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Cinemas, Moreland Theater

Moulin Rouge
You may remember Baz Luhrmann as the director of the absolutely dreamy William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. Unfortunately, Moulin Rouge does not fare nearly as well. The film is filled with clever contrivances: Dizzying choreography and sets, visual tips of the hat to the early cinematography of Vincent Whitman (A Trip to the Moon, 1914), a script loosely based on the Greek myth of Orpheus, and co-mingling modern songs by Madonna, Elton John, Nat King Cole, and even Nirvana. All extremely clever ideas--however, it's these same contrivances that turn Moulin Rouge into an overwhelming visual mess. Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Cinemas, Tigard Cinemas, Wilsonville

My Beautiful Laundrette
An Asian man takes over his uncle's laundromat and has to deal with all kinds of wack jobs. His honky lover is seen as an outsider. Fun ensues. Hollywood Theatre

* O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Set in depression-era Mississippi, George Clooney stars as Everett Ulysses McGill, a suave and well-groomed petty criminal doing hard time on a chain gang. Shackled to Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson), he convinces them to join him in escaping by promising to split a fortune in buried treasure with them. (Andy Spletzer) Avalon, Edgefield Powerstation, Kennedy School Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater, Milwaukie 3 Theater

* Paint Your Wagon
A giant sprawling musical comedy about gold rushers who just want a little booty. Plus you can't miss the rare opportunity to see Clint Eastwood AND Lee Marvin sing their warbly guts out! Kiggins Theater

* Poison
It's our very own Todd Haynes' Jean Genet-inspired, 1991 film. It's three stories, all allegories, and all peppered with black humor and a sense of the absurd. As an aside, writer/director Haynes looks sort of like Beck, only he's not a Scientologist. If you've seen Safe, you know why. Hollywood Theatre

Pootie Tang
New Chris Rock movie has a funny name. Century Eastport 16, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Vancouver Plaza

* Sexy Beast
Gal Dove (Ray Winstone) is a retired gangster, living high on a hill in the Costa del Sol, enjoying a lethargic existence. But he is as out of place here as the heart-shaped ceramic tiles on the floor of his pool. Bad news arrives in the shape of Don Logan (Ben Kingsley, so great), there to coax Gal back to England for a job. Gal resists, but Don won't take no for an answer, setting in motion a verbal boxing match so artful and intense it turns the sprawling Spanish vista into a pressure cooker in which Gal is forced to reckon for his ill-had comforts. A voice buried deep within Gal tells him and us that this can't last. Don is that voice, given brutal, relentless human form. In the fallout of their confrontation lies one of the finest films in recent memory. Fox Tower 10

Shrek
With fart and poop jokes aplenty, this computer animation flick is like a little boy's dream come true. Mike Myers puts on his Irish accent as the misunderstood Ogre Shrek, and Eddie Murphy ceaselessly yaks as his over-zealous, donkey sidekick. The most horrible actress in the world, Cameron Diaz, succeeds in making her character an inflamed, bloody ear sore that one would rather see squished than find true love and happiness. I found this movie kinda cute, but pretty annoying, while my boyfriend was doubled over in hysterics. Dads, take your sons, but be prepared for a lot of tooting and snickering afterwards. (Katie Shimer) Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Koin Center, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate, Wilsonville

Songcatcher
Janet McTeer stars as Dr. Lily Penleric, an early 20th-century musicologist trapped as an associate professor in a man's university. Passed over for professorship, she retreats to the foothills of Appalachia, where her sister (Jane Adams, always great) runs a progressive remedial school with her Gertrude Steinesque mentor. Within minutes, Dr. Lily discovers that the hillbillies can not only sing, but have a vast catalog of pure English folk songs in their repetoire. As she goes about collecting them, her initial academic condescension is overcome by the humble beauty of the melodies and the rubes (Aidan Quinn and the great Pat Carroll, in particular) themselves. The film verges a bit towards the Hallmark Hall of Fame, but a few narrative wrinkles rescue it from the land of cloy. Plus, the music is so great (Iris DeMent and Taj Mahal both appear as musicians), you can't help but sit back and revel. (Sean Nelson) Fox Tower 10

Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation
The impressarios of independent animation return with "a whole shitload of new films" that, unfortunately, struggle to provide even a quarter-shitload of humor beyond the same old sex, drug, and grandparent gags that dominate this year's offerings. As always, if you're really, really high, it will undoubtedly be the funniest shit you've seen all night. (Jason Pagano) Cinema 21

Swordfish
File this one under male adolescent fantasy: Bank heists, explosions, sleek cars, breasts falling slo-mo out of sparkly dresses. John Travolta plays a smug man's man with a horrifically embarrassing goatee. As an ultra-sleek, heartless yet patriotic terrorist, Travolta tries to rekindle the Tarantino magic, but every postmodern attempt to cross-pollinate the bad guys with good morals is little more than a transparent sheen. A few sexy stunts and clever swooping camera shots lend the film some big-action credibility; but the movie fails to live up to the promise of its first chilling minutes. Moreover, in a particularly disturbing development in action film cinema, the audience is forced to watch several extended faux-action scenes as Hugh Jackman hacks into a various computer systems. Instead of the fancy footwork of, say, James Bond or the steeled nerves of Steve McQueen, we watch the world's greatest hacker (but world's worst typist) bang at his keyboard and cheer on interfacing computers. Has fast typing really become the 21st Century equivalent of jumping from a exploding building? (Phil Busse) Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Koin Center, Lloyd Cinemas,

Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate

The Tailor of Panama
Brit superspy Andy Oxnard (Pierce Brosnan) has been banished to Panama for overindulging his appetites. He sizes up the tense, complicated international scene at the Canal and finds himself a hapless ex-pat British tailor (Geoffrey Rush) to squeeze for information. Boorman's film is far too awkward and self-conscious to allow the audience to sink into spy fantasia; as a result, Brosnan's absurdly dashing spy becomes utterly grotesque, even sickening. (Evan Sult) Avalon, Cinemagic, Laurelhurst

The Big Animal
The Big Animal asks the question, "How is intoletance bred?"--but does so comically by depicting eccentics against conformists. Zygmut Sawicki lives in a po-dunk down and works at the local bank. One day, shockingly, he goes out to the yard and finds a camel there. He and his wife fall in love with the camel, and eventually so do the townspeople. Soon however, the locals try to use the camel for their own moneymaking schemes. Zygmut says, "hell no," and the people proceed to treat him like crap. This is when the camel decides to handle matters himself. A PIFF Favorite. Northwest Film Center at Whitsell Auditorium

Tomb Raider
The masturbation fantasy of a billion preteens is made flesh as Angelina Jolie (the masturbation fantasy of a billion post-teens, ahem) gives corporeal dimension to the video game heroine whose outrageous measurements and minimal garment cover do not deter her from running through ancient temples, kicking evil robots in the "face," and blowing a bunch of shit up. Bla-DOW! 82nd Avenue, Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Sherwood 10, St. John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate, Wilsonville

* Tragos 2000
A futuristic cyber-caper in which a group of technopagans happily practice their rites...until a creepy fundamentalist Christian ruins the fun with a witch hunt! Director Antero Alli will be on hand to answer questions! Clinton Street Theatre

* Vampire Hunter D
Toyoo Ashida's 1985 classic I>anime film, Vampire Hunter D, is the pinnacle of Japanese gothic future-fantasy. A woman must get help from a vampire to find the vampire who bit her, lest she turn into a vampire herself. The animation's all in stark purples and chisled lines, seemingly surrounded by a grey cloud. It's no longer dorky to like anime OR be goth, so you should go! (Julianne Shepherd) Cramer Hall, Room 71, PSU

* With a Friend Like Harry
This Hitchcockian thriller took France by storm last year, winning several Cesar awards (France's version of the Oscar). The blackest hue of comedy tints the tale of Harry (Sergi Lopez), a wealthy bon vivant with an unshakable affinity for Michel (Laurent Lucas). Harry, firm in his belief that Michel's child-strewn, moneyless life could be made more easy, begins to use his influence--and cash--to remove various obstacles to Michel's happiness. A new car here and a case of Champagne there escalates to a predictably absurd degree. The film is plain in comparison to its obvious inspiration, Hitchcock's oeuvre. But a deft French wit, and that oh-so-well-done trick of Euro-allegory (this film is about the difficulty of making art) rise like cream to the top of this film: The first taste is awfully sweet, even if it doesn't linger long. (Jamie Hook) Koin Center

* You Can Count on Me
This is the sort of well-crafted, nutritious drama that gets critics burned out on adrenalized hoopla all tied up in knots. It's fine work, featuring Laura Linney's best performance since Congo (or maybe even before) as a single mom in the quaint burg of Scottsville. Her pothead drifter of a brother, also well played by Mark Ruffalo, shows up, spurring an eventual, earnest realization of the importance of family. Matthew Broderick has an amusing role as Linney's new boss, who says things like "I like paperwork." The latest product of the Culkin Family Factory Farm for Cuteness, Rory, plays the precocious eight-year-old. Playwright Kenneth Lonergan has, for his first film, created a movie for grown-ups that hardly ever surprises, but somehow that's okay. (Marc Mohan) Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Comments are closed.

From the Archives

Most Commented On

Top Viewed Stories

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC

115 SW Ash St. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97204

Contact Info | Privacy Policy | Production Guidelines | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy