Runs through Saturday, October 9 at Cinema 21, the Hollywood Theatre, and the Living Room Theaters. For more info, see Film, this issue, Movie Times, and plgff.org. Not all films were screened for critics.
The main problem with Assume Nothing is one that plagues a lot of documentaries: a lack of center. The film explores the many variations on gender identity through the subjects of New Zealand photographer Rebecca Swan, who spent almost a decade profiling individuals who identify as neither male nor female. Were Nothing to leave the big issues in the subtext and focus on Swan's stunning work, or widen its scope beyond Swan, it could've been more than the muddled, earnest mess it is. DAVE BOW
See Film, this issue.
A 22-year-old former child actress falls in love with her teacher.
See Film, this issue.
The wife of a pastor falls in love with a lesbian writer.
The Four Faced Liar
Two lesbians fall in love in New York, throwing their social circle into disarray.
See Film, this issue.
While in recovery from a heroin overdose, Mousse not only learns that her lover Louis has died from the drug, but that she is also pregnant by him. She escapes the city to have the baby in secret, but is soon visited by Louis' gay brother Paul, who Mousse finds to be sympathetic and also oddly attractive. Patiently paced, Hideaway explores the haunting complications of sexuality, addiction, and memory. NOAH "THE INTERN" DUNHAM
See Film, this issue.
I Killed My Mother
A young man has mommy issues. Pretty severe ones, we're guessing.
Making the Boys
A documentary about the "drama, struggle, and enduring legacy of the first-ever gay play."
A Marine Story
See Film, this issue.
A documentary about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an organization "committed to safer sex, LGBT rights, and performance art."
A doc about discrimination based on sexual orientation in collegiate athletics.
Miguel lives in a religiously conservative Peruvian fishing village. He's married and about to be a father. That's what makes his relationship with the ghost of his dead lover, Santiago, so very convenient: No one can actually see it. While the central metaphor in Undertow is ham-fisted, and the plot deeply connected to the tropes of tele-novella, it is nonetheless heartbreaking in its essential truth, not to mention gorgeous with its windswept cinematography. PATRICK ALAN COLEMAN
Uh-oh: Natalie from The Facts of Life stars in a film about a woman who "strikes out on a hilarious quest to change the woman she is."
We Have to Stop Now
A "romantic dramedy" about two lesbian therapists being filmed by a documentary crew.
1997's giant snake movie starring J.Lo, Jon Voight, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson, and a GIANT MOTHERFUCKING SNAKE. Laurelhurst Theater.
Born Again Sage
A "feature about a heavy metal rebel who never grows up," starring and directed by local VJ Harold Nicholas Wells (AKA the Phantom Hillbilly). Director in attendance for shows on Friday October 1 and Saturday October 2. Laurelhurst Theater.
Whaa? A crappy looking horror flick starring Renée Zellweger that wasn't screened for critics? Why, I never.... Division Street, Evergreen Parkway 13, Stark Street Cinemas.
A super low-budget zombie flick—like, made for 75 bucks—that tells its story "through the eyes of the zombie." Hit portlandmercury.com on Friday, October 1 for our review. Hollywood Theatre.
In 1980, a Russian orchestra conductor is fired for his willingness to hire Jewish musicians. Years later, he's working as a janitor when he figures out a way to make a triumphant comeback by reuniting his former musicians and impersonating a real orchestra. And because the film hasn't reached maudlin-saturation by this point, there is also a long-lost orphan who is a musical prodigy! ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
If you thought Signs was preachy, wait'll you see Devil, a Christian morality play about the power of forgiveness dressed up like a horror movie. Produced and based on a story by M. Night Shyamalan, Devil is about four filthy sinners trapped in an elevator with the devil, whom a security guard realizes is present when he throws some toast in the air and it lands jelly-side down. (No joke!) It's a shrill, draggy 80 minutes reminiscent of The Thing, if The Thing's dialogue was written by sixth-graders. (When frustrated, one man demands a woman "Go suck a butt.") DAVE BOW Various Theaters.
One can't help but wonder if Easy A director Will Gluck ever had the pleasure of an English class assignment that asked its students to reinterpret a piece of literature into amateur film, because Easy A has a similar joie de vivre, with the added bonus of a much better budget. Forcefully in reference to The Scarlet Letter, its delightfully likeable protagonist, Olive (Emma Stone), experiments with a societal ostracization that bears little technical resemblance to the trials of Hester Prynne, but which does feature her literally wearing a red letter "A" for most of its runtime. This movie approaches Mean Girls territory on the fun scale. MARJORIE SKINNER Various Theaters.
For the Love of Movies
An 80-minute, quick 'n' dirty history of the birth and evolution of American film criticism from the turn of the 20th century to the present. For the Love of Movies might stoke the passions of those devoted to critical discourse, but its humdrum production values and reliance on talking heads aren't going to seduce any nonbelievers. MARJORIE SKINNER Living Room Theaters.
A documentary about the redrawing of electoral boundaries. Screens as part of the Northwest Film Center's Voices in Action: Human Rights on Film series. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
The annual convergence of all things betentacled and gothic. This year's features include Pan's Labyrinth, Stuart Gordon's 2001 flick Dagon, 1996's The Whole Wide World (about Robert E. Howard and his gal pal Novalyne Price, starring Vincent D'Onofrio and Renée Zellweger), 1988's The Unnameable, and, naturally, 1993's The Unnameable II. Guests include director Stuart Gordon and Dark Horse Comics editor Scott Allie. More info: hplfilmfestival.com. Hollywood Theatre.
Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno
Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Medrea's film documents and reconstructs Henri-Georges Clouzot's failed attempt at making a 1964 film entitled Inferno. It doesn't get much film geekier than this, folks. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Jack Goes Boating
Philip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut is a quiet, closely observed social drama about the lives of real people, people like you and me. And the unfortunate realization that occurs 10 minutes into the film? Real people are super, duper boring. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
The result of years spent trying to reconstruct her face into relevance and shilling for any product that'll pay her, Joan Rivers' persona has come to overshadow her accomplishments. A Piece of Work gives her life and work a deserved re-contextualization—a reminder that behind the diva shenanigans and synthetic face is a performer who's legitimately influential, pioneering, and above all, pretty damn funny. ALISON HALLETT Laurelhurst Theater.
Legend of the Guardians:
The Owls of Ga'Hoole
We can all agree that owls have an image problem, yes? Whenever you see an owl, it's (A) reading, (B) rambling on about Tootsie Pops, or (C) hanging out with those dweebs from Hogwarts. COME ON, OWLS. STOP BEING LAME. But good god, don't do what the owls in Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole do. Whenever you see an owl in The Owls of Gahhehooohelé or whatever the fuck it's called, it's (A) wearing a stupid little helmet, (B) wearing Freddy Krueger-style talons over its perfectly serviceable regular talons, or (C) saying insipid shit like, "Listen, Gylfie, I need to trust my gizzard!" COME ON, OWLS. STOP BEING LAME. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Let Me In
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
"Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go on an overnight drunk, and in 10 days I'm going to set out to find the shark that ate my friend and destroy it. Anyone who wants to tag along is more than welcome." Suzette.
Like Dandelion Dust
An adopted boy has a great life... until his deadbeat birth parents demand him back! Classy move, deadbeats. Not screened for critics. Fox Tower 10.
The Lost Boys
See I'm Staying Home. Bagdad Theater.
Neighbor No. 13
2005's Japanese shock horror flick about a bullied kid who develops a sinister alter ego. Fun for the whole family! Clinton Street Theater.
Queen of the Sun
"A profound, alternative look at the tragic global bee crisis" from the director of The Real Dirt on Farmer Joh—OH, NO! NOT THE BEES! NOT THE BEES! AAAAAHHHHH! OH THEY'RE IN MY EYES! MY EYES! AAAAHHHHH! AAAAAGGHHH! Hollywood Theatre.
Ready, Set, Bag!
A documentary about "eight contestants who train for and compete in the National Grocery Bagging Competition in Las Vegas." Hollywood Theatre.
Respect Your Elders and Cheer
Snowboard porn. Admission is a buck! Clinton Street Theater.
A Sundance-approved documentary about the day-to-day life of American soldiers stationed in a remote valley in Afghanistan. Not screened for critics. Living Room Theaters.
Rural Route Film Festival
A selection of works from the past five years of the Rural Route Film Festival, a fest that focuses on "rural people and places." Fifth Avenue Cinema.
A documentary about assassinated Brazilian diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello. Screens as part of the Northwest Film Center's Voices in Action: Human Rights on Film series. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Social Network
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
If there's anything to like about The Sorcerer's Apprentice—and as it turns out, there's quite a lot to like—Nicolas Cage's goofy, winking performance is at the top of the list. His crazed turn in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans cemented what a small but growing group of moviegoers have suspected for some time: that while Cage is a long, long way from his award-winning Leaving Las Vegas days, he's also turned into one of the most fascinating people to watch onscreen. It's not that he's believable, or likeable, or good at conveying emotion, it's that he's so damn crazy you can't wait to see what he does next. In The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Cage plays a wizard, complete with a ridiculous hat, stilted wizard-y lines, and a clumsy, 1,000-year-old backstory, and he pulls it all off with an unhinged grace that hasn't been seen since Gene Wilder. NED LANNAMANN Academy Theater, Avalon, Bagdad Theater, Milwaukie Cinemas, Mt. Hood Theatre, Valley Theater.
Tibet in Song
"A celebration of traditional Tibetan folk music and a harrowing journey into the past 50 years of cultural repression inside Chinese-controlled Tibet." It's a twofer! Screens as part of the Northwest Film Center's Voices in Action: Human Rights on Film series. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Tillman Story
Patrick Tillman was a successful NFL linebacker, until, in 2002, he dropped his football career and enlisted in the US Army Rangers. Tillman was later killed while deployed in Afghanistan, and his death created a media bonanza—one that grew even more rampant as it came to light that Tillman wasn't killed in an ambush, as the Army originally claimed, but was instead shot by friendly fire. The Tillman Story tracks the lives of Tillman's family as they deal with the gut-wrenching ramifications of his death; while director Amir Bar-Lev's somewhat biased perspective can be distracting at times, it hardly overpowers the important questions this resonant film grapples with. NOAH "THE INTERN" DUNHAM Fox Tower 10.
The easiest way to describe The Town might be to call it Heat meets Good Will Hunting, but the way most people will describe it is, "Holy shit, Ben Affleck's a really good director!" That won't come as much of a shock for those who saw his directorial debut, 2007's Gone Baby Gone, but it's still a weird thing to realize. After scoring an Oscar for co-writing Good Will Hunting, Affleck's downward spiral into Daredevil and Gigli and Jersey Girl didn't leave him with a lot of cred. With Gone Baby Gone, though, and now The Town, it's almost like Affleck's doing penance; based on some of the intense action sequences in this film alone, he's already been forgiven for whatever cinematic atrocities he was party to. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
The Virginity Hit
Written and directed by supposed grownups Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko, the most authentic thing about the shitty comedy The Virginity Hit is that it feels like the work of teenagers who have never once come close to having sex. NED LANNAMANN Lloyd Mall 8.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
On paper, it's a fucking great idea: updating Oliver Stone's 1987 finance drama Wall Street to show Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas, great and sharkish as ever) before and after the financial collapse of 2008. A couple warning bells, though: The movie's really about the much less interesting character of Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf), a young broker who's engaged to Gekko's estranged daughter Winnie (a blubbery, teary-eyed Carey Mulligan). Moore and Gekko pal up behind weepy Winnie's back to reunite father and daughter—and along the way, Gekko imparts his cutthroat financial wisdom. The family crap is even soggier than it sounds, but Stone and screenwriter Stephen Schiff have crammed more into Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps—too much, probably, for a single movie. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
"You're standing right now with nine delegates from 100 gangs. And there's over a hundred more. That's 20,000 hardcore members. Forty-thousand, counting affiliates, and 20,000 more not organized, but ready to fight! 60,000 soldiers! Now, there ain't but 20,000 police in the whole town. Can you dig it?" 99W Drive-In.
Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?)
A 2006 documentary about musician Harry Nilsson. Clinton Street Theater.
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. ERIK HENRIKSEN Fox Tower 10.
A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop
With A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop, Zhang Yimou leaves the domain of action films and enters black comedy. The relatively short—95 minutes—movie is based on the Coen brothers' neo-noir Blood Simple and is set on the edge of a fantastic desert. Noodle Shop is not Zhang's best work, but it's certainly worth the trip to the movie house. CHARLES MUDEDE Living Room Theaters.
Much like we all did back in our budding pre-adulthoods, You Again has real potential. Kristen Bell as Marni, the bullied high school geek who grew up right, pitted against a beautiful bitch no-name (Odette Yustman) as her former bully and soon-to-be sister-in-law, is a fine set-up for a good girl fight. Add to that a parallel rivalry among the elder generation (Sigourney Weaver vs. Jamie Lee Curtis!), and Betty White as grandma, and the sting of You Again's mediocrity seems all the more unfair. MARJORIE SKINNER Various Theaters.