The Boxer's Omen
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
Due to my overwhelming penchant for rhinestone-encrusted high kicks and my occasional desire for asinine storytelling, I'll probably add Burlesque to my instant-watch Netflix queue. But for enjoyment of real burlesque? I'll stick to the live stages across my fair city. RAYLEEN COURTNEY Various Theaters.
The Cyclocross Meeting
Cyclocross porn. (Or, "a lushly textured paean to the hardships and joys of the excruciating sport." Your call.) Director in attendance. Clinton Street Theater.
Disco and the Atomic War
A documentary that suggests "American soap operas and disco dancing had as much to do with the Soviet Union's demise as did any political movement." DISCO DANCING STRIKES AGAIN! Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
El Superstar: The Unlikely Rise of Juan Frances
A comedy about Juan Frances, a "gardener, valet-parker, short-order cook, nanny, and janitor by day, and a popular ranchero singer by night." Living Room Theaters.
Everybody Gets Hurt But
There's No One to Blame
Cinema Project presents a short film and video program about "melodrama," featuring work from Bruce Baille, Laida Lertxundi, and Ming Wong. More info: cinemaproject.org. Clinton Street Theater.
A 1973 film collaboration between French and Czech animators, Fantastic Planet's based on a science fiction novel by Stefan Wul called Oms en Série, but the movie's theme has a lot to do with Czechoslovakia's occupation by Soviet forces in the late '60s, which brought about the close of the Prague Spring era. In the film, a race of blue giants, called Draags, co-exist with the human-like Oms. Oms are either considered by Draags to be mice-like pests or are kept captive as cute little pets, while the Draags are an enlightened, intelligent race with a sophisticated government and extensive rituals of mediation. Yet they consider Oms to be inferior beings, perhaps because of their size. (Cue allegory.) The story holds up completely, but the imagery is what's really amazing: Although the animation itself is choppy and primitive, the drawings are nothing short of spectacular. It's been described as a mixture of Salvador Dali, Hieronymous Bosch, and Terry Gilliam, and that drool-inducing assessment is not far off. There's also a swanky '70s progressive rock score, which is awesome and hilarious at the same time. (Madlib sampled the shit out of it.) NED LANNAMANN Pix Patisserie (North).
A modern-day western that owes so much to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly that its trio of characters are introduced only as the Driver, the Killer, and the Cop (and the Killer has an Ennio Morricone ringtone!), Faster's built like a low-budget '70s revenge flick. In shades of burnished gold and copper, the action plays out: A former getaway driver (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) gets out of prison and promptly peels out in his Chevelle SS, ready to kill the bastards who double-crossed him. So tough that he sports the wounds from a bullet going through the back of his head and out his cheek, he metes out his justice in bloody slow motion. Meanwhile, both a junkie cop only a few days away from retirement (Billy Bob Thornton) and a calculating, remorseless assassin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) try to track him down. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Forks Over Knives
A documentary that "presents compelling evidence suggesting that many of the nations' most debilitating degenerative diseases may be prevented—and in many cases reversed—through a whole food plant-based diet." Hmm. I wonder why they're screening this in Portland. Screening benefits hippie nonprofit Northwest VEG; filmmakers (and a vegan bodybuilder!) in attendance. Fox Tower 10.
You can tell they're serious 'cause their name's in ALL CAPS! Founded in 2000, this is the first year HDFEST will play in Portland, where it'll take over the Living Room Theaters for four days to feature films shot and projected in HD, aiming to "encourage independent high-definition filmmaking and enthusiasm for digital cinema" via "short films, feature narrative films, documentaries, animations, music videos, and experimental films." Phew. That's a whole lot of eye candy. More info: hdfest.com/festival. Living Room Theaters.
See review this issue. Living Room Theaters.
High and Low
Akira Kurosawa's film noir from 1963. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Love and Other Drugs
The little blue pill known as Viagra changed the sexual potential of baby boomers everywhere, and it also changed Jamie Reidy's life. With Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, Reidy exposed many of the pharmaceutical industry's insider secrets—secrets that director Edward Zwick has set out to further publicize with Love And Other Drugs, casting Jake Gyllenhaal as Jamie. Not content to tell the story of one man's maturation in a politically relevant industry, Hollywood added a love interest in Maggie (Anne Hathaway), and because this movie is about medicine, she had to be sick. If you're looking for any poignant criticisms of the pharmaceutical industry, you might want to adjust your expectations in favor of relationship montages and two or three cycles of break up/make up. MARJORIE SKINNER Various Theaters.
Cru Jones (a dead ringer for Luke Skywalker, and just as whiny) wants to win a BMX race called Helltrack in order to win the heart of Full House's Becky Katsopolis. It's the kind of movie where people applaud when some asshole bursts into senior prom and starts dancing on his bike to "Send Me An Angel." It's hard to believe a generation of 10-year-olds didn't kill themselves from embarrassment in 1986. SCOTT MOORE Clinton Street Theater.
The Bill Murray holiday flick from 1988, screened by local podcasters Cort and Fatboy. Scrooged will be preceded by the short film Black Santa's Revenge at 10:30, and also by a live taping of Cort and Fatboy's podcast at 8:30. Bagdad Theater.
Adorable, bloody father-son bonding! Screens as part of the Northwest Film Center's Japanese Currents: The Samurai Tradition series. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Sundance Shorts Program
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
Sword of Doom
Kihachi Okamoto's 1966 samurai classic. Screens as part of the Northwest Film Center's Japanese Currents: The Samurai Tradition series. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Nagisa Oshima's 1999 film about a samurai whose "long locks, high cheekbones, and cool impassivity" lead to "deceit and murder." As usual. Screens as part of the Northwest Film Center's Japanese Currents: The Samurai Tradition series. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
First, her name wasn't "Tangled." That's confusing. It was Rapunzel! She started out as a baby—then turned 16! But before that she was a baby princess. And a mean bad mommy witch stole her from Queen Mommy and King Daddy and put her in a tower! Because her hair was MAAAAGIC! And when mean bad mommy witch touched it, she turned young. And pretty! But still mean. So Rapunzel's hair got very, very, very, very, very, VERY lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng. So a thief came along, and Rapunzel took a frying pan... BANG! Hit him in the face. That was funny. But the thief's name was Eugene and he didn't want to be a thief—he wanted to be a prince! Just like Aladdin! Can we watch Aladdin? Pleeeeaasee?? Eugene tried to help Rapunzel escape, but they were chased by two brainy-eyed guys and a funny horse who acted like a dog. And there was a little old man... and he wore a DIAPER! OH. So so so so FUNNY! The mean bad mommy witch chased them too... and... and... I forget what happened next. But the movie ended. MAXINE DALEY, AGE FIVE Various Theaters.
A "romantic culinary comedy" starring Aasif Mandvi, who's most famous for his appearances on The Daily Show but was also in M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender. NEVER FORGET. (P.S. Today's Special was not screened in time for press.) Fox Tower 10.
Transformers: The Movie
The cast includes Orson Welles, Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack, and Scatman Crothers. The story involves Autobots battling the evil Decepticons. The soundtrack includes the song "The Touch," which was covered—and subsequently immortalized—by Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights. The film, in a word, is amazing. BRADLEY STEINBACHER Clinton Street Theater.
Two in the Wave
See I'm Staying Home. Hollywood Theatre.
The Warrior's Way
See review this issue. Various Theaters.