Hiroshi Teshigahara's 1984 documentary about artist Antonio Gaudí. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
The Bicycle Thief
SPOILER ALERT: Life sucks and then your dad gets caught stealing a bike. Clinton Street Theater.
Cult films don't get much cultier—or appeal to a wider audience—than the David Lynch masterpiece Blue Velvet. In this ass-clenching exploration of the filthy underbelly of Reagan-era suburbia, a Hardy Boy-esque Kyle MacLachlan discovers a severed ear and tumbles headlong into a mystery that turns darker and uglier by the second. An emotionally broken femme fatale, a gas-huffing sexual sadist/crime boss (who loves Pabst Blue Ribbon, by the way), freakish dandy Dean Stockwell, icky visuals of bugs and the robins that eat them, and a sweet-as-pie Laura Dern as the embodiment of true (HA!) love make this flick just as fun as when it first blew your mind way back in 1986. Good times! WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of
You're really got to respect an unasked-for CG sequel that arrives in theaters nine years after its ostensible inspiration, features the voices of Bette "Still Alive!" Midler (as Pussy Kitty Galore") and Will & Grace's Sean Hayes ("Mr. Tinkles"), and boasts one of the most ball-stabbingly terrible trailers ever unleashed upon unwitting audiences. Yessir. You really have to respect a film like this. P.S. Keep on acting like incompetent douchebags, everyone in Hollywood. Various Theaters.
Charlie St. Cloud
The latest vehicle for High School Musical prettyboy Zac Efron. Fingers crossed it's as good as 17 Again! Stay tuned for our review. Various Theaters.
Comic Book Confidential
An outstanding documentary about the origins and history of comic books, featuring interviews with a phenomenal lineup of creators: the always-charming Stan Lee, Frank Miller (back when he was good), the rarely interviewed Jack Kirby, the crazy-influential Will Eisner, Maus-keteer Art Spiegelman, American Splendor's Harvey Pekar (RIP), and more. ERIK HENRIKSEN Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Countdown to Zero
See review this issue. Cinema 21.
Dinner for Schmucks
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Grindhouse Film Fest:
An assassin tries to leave the mob, only to have his wife and child killed. You can probably guess where this is headed. (Psst! REVENGE!) Screens as part of the Grindhouse Film Festival's '70s Italian Crime series. Hollywood Theatre.
Grindhouse Film Fest: Wipeout
This isn't the Corleone family—this is the real Sicilian mafia, and they're a lot nastier than their Italian American counterparts. Fernando di Leo's 1973 film depicts a tangled web of criminal families dead set on wiping each other out; hitman Nick Lanzetta (Henry Silva) is the lone gun standing after the crime lords fall around him. Wipeout functions as a hard-boiled exploitation flick complete with the necessary violence and sex, but it also feels like a truthful window into the intricately complex world of Italian crime. Luis Bacalav's soundtrack is perfectly nailbiting. Screens as part of the Grindhouse Film Festival's '70s Italian Crime series. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.
Above all else, Inception is a sensual experience: By visiting high-stakes dream worlds with a crew of less-than-reputable characters, Christopher Nolan gets to play with time, space, and action in a way few directors can. Inception's surreal, jarring visuals are nothing short of breathtaking; when paired with Nolan's gorgeous, visceral soundscapes, they're riveting to discover and impossible to forget. Inception isn't perfect, but it kicks the ass of everything else that's out this summer—and I can certainly think of worse things to do in the coming weeks than see it a few more times, feeling its visceral rush and hacking through its layers, again and again. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
"Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, chief. We was comin' back from the island of Tinian to Leyte... just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn't see the first shark for about a half an hour." The Press Club.
The Kids Are All Right
Earlier this year, a movie came out that purported to examine contemporary feelings about adoption: The dour Mother and Child was oddly conservative in its insistence that every child needs its biological parents. Now, along comes a film that acts as a timely corrective to Mother and Child's moralizing: Writer/director Lisa Cholodenko's excellent The Kids Are All Right does full justice to the complexity and flexibility of the modern family. This is a film that allows its characters to be complicated, and it's quietly revolutionary in its upending of the conventions of the cinematic family. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
The Killer Inside Me
Killer's is based on an early-'50s pulp novel by Jim Thompson, and its perspective is that of Lou Ford (Casey Affleck), a West Texas deputy with a history of kinky babysitters and sexual abuse. From his voiceovers we know he's aware he's got problems; he overcompensates by cultivating himself as a gentle aw-shucks kind of small-town fella, until a prostitute, Joyce (Jessica Alba), rolls into town—they have a whip-happy, erotically asphyxiated kind of love, but a seemingly sincere one. Between her willingness to let him explore his conflicted relationship with women and a muddled revenge plot, it's not long until Ford's sinister side boils over. As a character study, it's a frustrating one: Ford is persistently likeable when he's not exploding, and unlike many depictions of his type, he doesn't seem to relish the murders. Yet despite the complexity Ford exhibits, and the magnetic performance by Affleck, this great-looking, wryly scored film is an oddly hollow experience. MARJORIE SKINNER Hollywood Theatre.
The Knack, and How To Get It
In between A Hard Day's Night and Help!, Richard Lester directed The Knack without the participation of any Beatles. It's a supreme time capsule of Swinging London just as British pop culture was exploding. Michael Crawford plays a loveable loser, Ray Brooks his playboy flatmate, and Rita Tushingham the girl who vies for their affections in a delirious, surreal, funny snapshot of 1965. Some things haven't aged well—Tushingham wandering the streets crying "rape" for comic effect, for instance—but it's otherwise a charming, silly document of the period. NED LANNAMANN Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Tatum O'Neal and Kristy McNichol try to lose their virginities in 1980's "coming-of-age summer camp film full of wisdom for the ages." Screens as part of the Northwest Film Center's Top Down: Rooftop Cinema series. Hotel deLuxe.
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
Remember when Tim Burton still made good movies? Presented as a bike-in movie fundraiser for the Portland Zine Symposium. WTF Bikes.
Ramona and Beezus
The internet hath no fury like a nostalgic book lover convinced the legacy of her childhood is being crapped on. When the trailer for Ramona and Beezus hit the internet a few months ago, the response was predictably dolorous. "BEEZUS IS A SEX KITTEN AND RAMONA IS A PINT-SIZED MANIC-PIXIE DREAM GIRL," moaned Jezebel. Childhood = crapped on again. But chillax, ladies. Ramona and Beezus is a relatively sensible update of Beverly Cleary's beloved series. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
The sequel to [Rec], a Spanish horror movie about a virus and videotapes. Cinema 21.
A Sundance-approved documentary about the day-to-day life of American soldiers stationed in a remote valley in Afghanistan. Not screened for critics. Fox Tower 10.
South of the Border
See review this issue. Living Room Theaters.
A Walk to Beautiful
A documentary about five Ethiopian women with obstetric fistula. Screens as a benefit for OHSU's Global Collaboration to Improve Women's Health in Rural Ethiopia, an organization that certainly has a very thorough name. Hollywood Theatre.
Like Deliverance, Winter's Bone will make urbanites never ever want to venture into the woods. Ever. Fucked-up shit happens out there, you guys. And like The Road—a book and film with which it shares a few similarities—Winter's Bone is bleak, wearying, and haunting. It'll wear you down as you watch it, and after it ends it'll clatter around in your head for days—but it'll do so in all the best ways. ERIK HENRIKSEN Fox Tower 10.