A documentary that follows "adventurer Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia." Hollywood Theatre.
7th Planet Picture Show
Local blogger/KJ (and former Mercury intern) Will Radik hosts a film screening during which he and others heckle the shit out of crappy movies, Mystery Science Theater 3000-style. This week's film: Montezuma's Treasure. Mt. Tabor Theater.
In the same way that March of the Penguins anthropomorphized penguins (they mate for life because they love each other!), Babies effectively humanizes... babies. Sure, babies are technically "humans"—but they're also, to the uninitiated, irrational, confusing, and vaguely disgusting. (I'm not totally sure what "new baby smell" is, but I think it might be poop.) Babies provides a moms' eye view of four infants in four different countries: the US, Japan, Mongolia, and Namibia. Sure, it's like watching home movies for 80 minutes—but at least they're home movies with an eye-openingly global reach. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
Casino Jack and the
United States of Money
See review. Cinema 21.
Dr. Reclusion's Sunday Night Phlegm Festival
A screening of the Insane Clown Posse-scored classic Demons at the Door in which audience heckling isn't only encouraged, it's a contest. More info: coldhandsvideo.com/phlegmfestival.htm. Mississippi Pizza Pub & Atlantis Lounge.
Exit Through the Gift Shop
With the way street art has moved in the last 20 years—deep into the crass, stupid logic of high-priced art—it's a relief and a minor miracle to experience major projects that are more than egotistical spectacles. Don't believe me? Watch Exit Through the Gift Shop. It's a hilarious and brilliant movie by the elusive British street artist Banksy, telling the story of "street" "artist" Mr. Brainwash, possibly the dumbest dangerous artist living, if he even is who he says he is (some question whether he's another Banksy act, which would be delightful). Mr. Brainwash, in the film, is Thierry Guetta, a Frenchman with a penchant for saying things like "Everything that I do, somewhere, brainwashes your face." The basis for his art—very big, very expensive (he sets his own prices, of course) colored prints and paintings—is celebrities and consumer products. If Warhol threw up, and then Damien Hirst threw up on top of that, and then the throwup threw up, Mr. Brainwash's work would be the result. And yet hundreds of people show up to his openings, buy the art, and pronounce how happy they are that this art isn't all snotty and exclusive. Here the banality is actually banal. The brainlessness is not ironic. The hype is the only meaning. Two hundred kids are standing in a line to get into the show because 199 other kids are standing in the line. In the film, Mr. Brainwash makes Banksy—who can be ingenious but has not been above an empty publicity stunt (painted elephant? Really?)—look like a monk. Banksy comes across as the smartest guy in the movie. Go figure: He directed. But Exit Through the Gift Shop is not a grisly dissection of the hump that has metastasized on the back of street art since it became popular. It's a funny-as-hell comedy. When Banksy was challenged about the veracity of the film, his defense was: You think I could have made that up? JEN GRAVES Fox Tower 10.
The Ghost Writer
Fuck the Polanski apologists—if some time behind bars will prevent this man from making any more movies like The Ghost Writer, it's a win-win for everyone. Ewan McGregor plays the titular scribe, who's been handed what appears to be the gig of a lifetime: the chance to ghost the memoirs of a recently disgraced former British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan). One thing, though: The ghost's predecessor just wound up swimming with the fishes under exceedingly suspicious circumstances. Within minutes, the film's mystery begins to unfold like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon as acted by a series of Tennessee Williams heroines. Suffice to say, Chinatown this is not. ZAC PENNINGTON Fox Tower 10.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first book in Steig Larsson's Millennium trilogy, and a bestseller in Europe and the US. The new film adaptation centers on the unlikely relationship between Mikael and Lisbeth, a journalist and a young hacker who team up to investigate a long-unsolved mystery—and the pathological misogyny that is apparently endemic to Swedish culture. But even at 152 minutes, no insights emerge, other than that women get raped and murdered a lot. It's a shame, too—Girl is beautifully shot, and Mikael and Lisbeth are odd, sympathetic characters. I just wish their investigation didn't involve quite so many pictures of naked, mutilated dead women. ALISON HALLETT Hollywood Theatre, Living Room Theaters.
It's about time writer/director Noah Baumbach wrote a full-fledged character study, because his attention to the details that make up a personality is peerless. Baumbach's last movie, Margot at the Wedding, relentlessly catalogued the anxieties and quirks of two estranged sisters—but while the depiction of family dynamics was razor sharp, Margot's characters were so generally unpleasant that by the time Jennifer Jason Leigh pooped her pants in the woods, it was hard to care how all that meticulously detailed moping would be resolved. With Greenberg—in which Ben Stiller plays an unstable New York carpenter who's just relocated to LA—Baumbach tempers his lacerating insights with a humor that recalls his excellent 2005 film The Squid and the Whale. ALISON HALLETT Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
A British thriller in which Michael Caine sets out for revenge! Fox Tower 10.
How to Train Your Dragon
Essentially a "boy and his dog" story in the vein of Old Yeller, only nobody gets rabies and the dog is a fucking dragon. Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is a clumsy young viking who wants nothing more than to be a dragon slayer like his dad—until the day he befriends an injured dragon, and starts to wonder if training dragons might not be better than killing them. The story is charmingly told, but it's in the visuals that Dragon really distinguishes itself: Witness the creepily beautiful scene in which, as Hiccup and his dragon soar over the ocean, hundreds of dragons begin materializing out of the fog around them. This is the type of movie that I want my (hypothetical, future) children to watch, because it's imaginative and exciting and alert to the possibility of beauty in the world. It's also the type of movie that I want my (actual, present) stoner friends to see because, well... 3D dragons! ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 isn't as well made as its predecessor—it's noisier, sillier, clumsier, and a bit less clever—but it's just as enjoyable. Everything important gets checked off: Robert Downey Jr. being awesome as Tony Stark/Iron Man? Check. Iron Man being superheroic and getting amusingly drunk? Check. Mickey Rourke as Whiplash, a ridiculous Russian villain who looks like an extra from Eastern Promises? Check. Scarlett Johansson as a spy/the hottest woman of all time? Check. AC/DC blaring on the soundtrack? Check. Roger from Mad Men playing Tony Stark's dad, thus indisputably proving that coolness is hereditary? Check. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
A Bollywood romance set in Las Vegas, about "two star-crossed lovers who are destined to be together even though each is betrothed to another." Century Clackamas Town Center, Fox Tower 10.
Looking for Eric
Eric Cantona is one of the finest football (that's soccer to you, stupid American) players the world has ever seen, plus he's a bit of a badass. Think of him as the anti-David Beckham. Following a mental breakdown, sad-sack postman Eric Bishop (played to perfection by Steve Evets, former bassist for the Fall) is visited by a vision of Cantona, whose friendship and advice helps the struggling father of three get his life back together. Throw in some intense football obsession, drug-dealing bad guys, and a love story, and you have an absolutely charming film. EZRA ACE CARAEFF Living Room Theaters.
For the first time since 1992's Wayne's World, there's an SNL movie that won't make you want to throw yourself off a freeway overpass. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Korean director Bong Joon-ho made a lot of noise with The Host, a monster blockbuster in which the dynamics of a small family threaten to upstage its monster. Similarly, his newest, Mother, is best described as a mystery: When a woman's son is accused of murder she sets out to discover what really happened. But the whodunnit runs aground on competing threads of absurdist humor and a meditation on how people justify revenge. The result is languid, tangential, and thoroughly uncomfortable. DAVE BOW Living Room Theaters.
Mother and Child
There's no shortage of racism and sexism in much of what Hollywood squeezes out, but it usually seems more lazy than malicious: kung fu-fighting Asian sidekicks, boy-addled blondes. Mother and Child distinguishes itself in that its bias is systemic, propelling all the plot's moving parts. This is a movie about the singular experience of motherhood, and the bond between mother and child. Its myopic view of that relationship, and its insistence that disaster results when that bond is severed, gives Mother and Child a staggeringly, offensively narrow view of the ways that women can define "family." ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
Night and Day
Hong Sang-Soo's (Woman on the Beach) 2008 film in which a middle-aged painter goes to Paris and becomes entangled "in the emotional lives of two Korean women." Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Nightmare on Elm Street
It was 26 years ago that Freddy Krueger slashed his way into our hearts. Much has changed since then—nowadays, teenagers are more interested in cuddling than doing it when their parents leave town, content to wallow in their bedrooms making terrible emo art. Oh, and now Freddy is kind of a chimo who talks a lot. But at least in this remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, he never morphs into a demonic striped car, nor does he disintegrate into a shower of light (time has not been kind to the original's ending). The reboot cuts the camp, but it also loses the fun. COURTNEY FERGUSON Century Clackamas Town Center, Clinton Street Theater.
No One Knows About
Ashkan (Ashkan Koshanejad) and Negar (Negar Shaghaghi) have a problem many musicians face: They need to recruit members for their band. However, they must do so without the use of Craigslist or a flyer pinned to the cork wall in Guitar Center. Oh, and if the government finds out that have a band, they'll go to jail, or worse. Probably worse. Welcome to life as a musician in Iran. With its endearing shoestring budget and a cast that bears the weight of sacrificing national identity for the chance to be free of persecution in a foreign land, Persian Cats should be mandatory viewing for any Western artist that takes their opportunities for granted. Because if you think a bad review from Pitchfork can hurt a band, just wait until you see what the Iranian Revolutionary Guard can do. EZRA ACE CARAEFF Living Room Theaters.
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
Two screenings of Tim Burton's 1985 film, both featuring costume contests. Saturday screening 21+, Sunday screening all ages. Bagdad Theater.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
See review. Various Theaters.
Princess Ka'iulani is not bad. Why? Because it offers a solid bridge between Disney's princess films and Oprah Winfrey's popular brand of realism. Meaning? The film is best suited for young adults who need an excellent transition from The Princess and the Frog to Precious, from total fantasy to something that at least recognizes the existence of the real. CHARLES MUDEDE Fox Tower 10.
QDoc: Forever's Gonna Start Tonight
The opening night film in the 2010 QDoc: The Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival. For more info, hit qdocfest.org or see next week's Mercury. Clinton Street Theater.
A local documentary about minister Marilyn Swell, who considers leaving the ministry and "questions her future, her difficult past, her god, and... her ability to love." Hollywood Theatre.
The Red Shoes
A restored print of the 1948 ballet flick. Cinema 21.
With Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, instead of seeing Robin Hood take from the rich and give to the poor, or fight the Sheriff of Nottingham, or do anything cool at all, we get to watch Braveheart again. This time, Robin's named Robin Longstride (he's played by Russell Crowe, who seems to have been told to glower a lot), and he's an archer for the soon-to-be-dead King Richard (Danny Huston). Through various convoluted and interminable plot devices, Robin ends up in the village of Nottingham, where he glowers sexily at Marion Loxley (Cate Blanchett) and gets increasingly pissed about how Richard's successor, King John (Oscar Isaac), is a total douche. Oh, and the French are invading! Nineteen hours later, it all ends with a big speech and a bigger battle, and there's also a weird scene where Robin delves into his repressed childhood memories. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
The Secret in Their Eyes
Secret plays games at its outset, toggling between past and present and teasing the audience with setups that make it difficult to determine what's real and imagined. It takes its time getting to the point: Benjamín Esposito (Ricardo Darín) is a retired "federal justice agent" in Argentina obsessed with a rape and murder case he tackled 25 years prior. He decides to write a book about it, and as he peels back the layers on his earlier investigation alongside the woman he carries a torch for, Irene (Soledad Villamil), and his tragically alcoholic colleague Pablo (Guillermo Francella), he stumbles onto new clues to the case's mysteries. It's a fair but obvious criticism that the film is indecisive in its focus, and that even its finale leaves questions and motives in the balance. But it is a richly textured film, bordering on epic. MARJORIE SKINNER City Center 12, Fox Tower 10, Hollywood Theatre.
The Secret of Kells
With graceful, emotional animation, brilliant character designs, and a watercolor-dappled visual style that lands somewhere between Saul Bass and Genndy Tartakovsky, every frame of Kells is amazing to look at—but it's the film's humor, heart, and melancholy that makes it really work. Stuff this good—this exhilarating, sweet, clever, poignant—simply doesn't come along very often. ERIK HENRIKSEN Fox Tower 10.
Sex and the City 2
See review. Various Theaters.
Shrek Forever After
You're at Shrek Forever After because you have kids and they are easily marketed to. You're sitting down in the theater about 30 bucks lighter because making your kids happy is of some importance to you. You know what you're going to get at this point, because you've survived three movies' worth of Mike Myers' garbage-assed Scottish accent and Eddie Murphy's buffoonery sprinkled over the top of a pop-culture lasagna transmogrified into a film script. You're just hoping it moves fast, and your kids don't shit their pants or start eating their goddamned 3D glasses before it ends. BOBBY "FATBOY" ROBERTS Various Theaters.
Ray (David Roberts) is having an extramarital affair with Carla (Claire van der Boom), and the two hatch a plot to run away with a bag of money stolen from Carla's mulleted dirtbag of a husband. It's worth mentioning that Ray and Carla are both guileless up to this point—they're naïvely and genuinely in love with each other—and when their plans unravel, the spiraling repercussions are immense and almost absurd. The Square follows a gripping, increasingly intense coil of a plot, resulting in an exhilarating, grimly hilarious, and surprisingly moving film. It's one of the most satisfying thrillers in recent memory. NED LANNAMANN Cinema 21.
Synaesthetic Energies: Videos by Makino Takashi
A two-night program of work by Japanese experimental video artist Makino Takashi. Tuesday June 1 features short videos with music composed by Jim O'Rourke; Wednesday June 2 features, amongst other films, the world premiere of Takashi's latest, Inter View, with a live score performed by Tara Jane O'Neil and Brian Mumford. More info: cinemaproject.org. Clinton Street Theater.
The Thorn in the Heart
See review. Hollywood Theatre.
Visuals: Student and Local
PSU's student film festival featuring short films from student filmmake—AND FREE PIZZA? Yes! Free pizza! THAT GETS A STAR! Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Woman on the Beach
As someone who watches a respectable number of foreign films on a routine basis, I feel pretty comfortable "getting" most of the humor that comes across cultural differences. Based on this, I'll venture to say that Hong Sang-Soo's Woman On the Beach is not so much the romantic comedy it was presented to me as. What it is, however, is a bizarre and somewhat melodramatic romp concerning the handsome young film director referred to deferentially as Director Kim, and his rascally, drunken, and mostly nonsensical weekend on the beach with a couple of young—and disturbingly clingy—young women. During one scene of female hysterics, my boyfriend leaned over and said, "So let me get this straight—they slept together once? Why do I get the feeling these Koreans don't know what they're doing?" MARJORIE SKINNER Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.