A fest designed to "celebrate the depth, contributions, history, and more of African American film and filmmakers." Films weren't screened for critics; screenings take place at the Bagdad, Mission, and St. Johns Theater and Pub. For more info, hit pdxaaff.com.
The Northwest Film Center's annual lineup of regional films and workshops. Screenings take place at the Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium; for more info, see last week's Mercury, portlandmercury.com, and nwfilm.org.
"Make love? But no one's done that for hundreds of centuries!" The Press Club.
Now that advances in CGI have afforded even the most cost-conscious filmmakers the opportunity to expand their horizons and hide the seams, there's something heroic about those who choose not only to work within their limitations, but to handicap themselves even further. The ferociously high-concept Buried—in which a man (Ryan Reynolds) wakes up in a wooden casket underground, with only a half-charged Iraqi-language cell phone and a flickering Zippo for companions—feels like something Hitchcock would have pulled off on a dare during a long weekend, which is nearly the highest praise I can give. Claustrophobes and those prone to ADD probably need not apply, but within its self-determinedly narrow boundaries, it's just about unimpeachable. ANDREW WRIGHT Hollywood Theatre.
Persnickety environmentalists hate Danish author Bjørn Lomborg. Lomborg made a big splash and a bunch of enemies with his book The Skeptical Environmentalist, which put forth the case that global warming is a big deal but we shouldn't be spending billions upon billions of dollars to try to fix it. The documentary Cool It furthers his cause, following the academic hottie around while he hugs and kisses his mother, lectures around the world, and interviews experts about global warming, alternative fuels, and sci-fi-esque methods of saving the world. Lomborg's point is a good one: Why spend so much to do so little, when we could be spending money on new fuels and health care? The doc is a bit light on scientific answers, but good at giving a thumbnail of Lomborg's argument. COURTNEY FERGUSON Fox Tower 10.
Harvard professor Amie Siegel presents her most recent film, "a multi-layerd and disarmingly beautiful mosaic on the [Deutsche Demokratisch Republik] and its dissolution, which has left many of its former citizens adrift in their newfound freedom." Director in attendance. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
While we may not need to be reminded that the most recent Bush administration was built on lies, it never hurts to recall a few particulars. In 2003, Washington Post reporter Robert Novak wrote a column outing and effectively ending the career of Valerie Plame—a CIA operative who had been gathering intelligence on Iraq's supposed "weapons of mass destruction" program. When Plame's husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush administration of manipulating this intelligence to "exaggerate the Iraqi threat," a plot of revenge was hatched, and Plame's identity was leaked to the press. In Fair Game—partially based on Plame's biography of the same name—Naomi Watts and Sean Penn recreate the couple's professional, marital, and internal struggles during this time... to varying degrees of illumination and annoyance. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Fox Tower 10.
Filmusik: The Little Prince
Will Vinton Studios' 1979 claymation adaptation of the The Little Prince, presented by Filmusik with live sound effects, music, and voiceovers from the original cast. Hollywood Theatre.
For Colored Girls
Tyler Perry's latest, based on the Ntozake Shange play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. Not screened for critics. Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
A handheld journey through two thirtysomethings' marriage after they come to the conclusion that because their sex life is less than stellar, they should each have a one-night stand... thus coming back to each other with more passion than ever before. (Yeah, because that's possible?!) What you take away from this movie is the hope that one day you can find a love like Annie (director Katie Aselton) and Darren's (Dax Shepard)—no marriage is perfect, but these two's conversations are real and introspective. And while you think this movie might be a total downer, it's not. I'll leave it at that. MARISSA SULLIVAN Living Room Theaters.
Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould
Glenn Gould was an eccentric classical pianist whose technical ability, stage presence, and sweet driving gloves made him an international sensation in the '50s. He was pretty cool, but if you just learned that from me, you might pass on this one. Genius Within is a suitably intimate account of Gould's transition from weird, young, enigmatic prodigy to even weirder hypochondriac, germophobic visionary—but the film works on the presumption that the audience already cares. So, if you do: It'll be delightful. If you don't: You'll want to kill yourself. KEVIN OTZENBERGER Cinema 21.
The Hidden Fortress
Akira Kurosawa's 1958 samurai classic, and the inspiration for a little-known arthouse classic called Star Wars. See short for Seven Samurai; screens as part of the Northwest Film Center's Japanese Currents: The Samurai Tradition series. Northwest Film Center's Whitell Auditorium.
See My, What a Busy Week! Cinema 21.
There's a lot to like in the animated superhero/supervillain comedy Megamind, particularly its jolly but thoughtful handling of the ambiguity between good and evil. We know Megamind isn't really evil; as voiced by Will Ferrell, doing a subtle but bizarre accent, he's too likeably hilarious. The animation is ambitious but not overly complicated, and displays a sense of size and scale that's not always handled in 3D animation with this kind of accuracy. The voice performances—Ferrell in particular, but also David Cross, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt, and Jonah Hill—hold the movie together in a way that doesn't merely feel like celebrity stunt casting. If the story gets jumbled along the way, in need of perhaps a rewrite or two, the visuals and the quick-witted verbal exchanges carry it through any sticky patches. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Rock 'n' Roll High School
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
"You fool! Damn you! You call yourself a horse? For shame! Hey, wait! Please! I apologize! Forgive me!" See short for The Hidden Fortress; screens as part of the Northwest Film Center's Japanese Currents: The Samurai Tradition series. Northwest Film Center's Whitell Auditorium.
A sci-fi flick by Greg and Colin Strause, who are the culpable parties for Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. Perhaps not surprisingly, Skyline was not screened for critics. Various Theaters.
Based on a comic strip that's based on Thomas Hardy's novel Far from the Madding Crowd, Tamara Drewe is a funny, perceptive look at what happens when social norms collide. It's set in what appears to be a perfectly picturesque English town—cobblestone streets, cud-chewing cows, an inn affixed to the town's lone pub–but it's not long before modernity intrudes. Not only do people in this tiny town have tawdry affairs, but they have cell phones and email access, too. They're also pretty goddamned bored, and this restless pot gets a sudden stir with the return of hometown girl Tamara (Gemma Arterton), post nose-job and ready to rub her newfound sexiness all over the people who called her "beaky" as a girl. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
See review this issue. Holocene.
The 1975 film adaptation of the Who's rock opera. GERIATRIC STONER ALERT. Clinton Street Theater.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Welcome to the Rileys
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.