Film Shorts 

Casting Call!
Want to be in Flesh of My Flesh, an action/horror movie from Guerrilla Productions? Of course you do! Open auditions are at the Mission Theater & Pub (1624 NW Glisan) on Saturday, November 6, from 9:30-11:30 am. Hit www.fleshofmyflesh.com/downloads.html to check out the script samples.

After the Sunset (Sneak Preview)
The duo everyone's been begging for--Pierce Brosnan and Woody Harrelson--finally hits the big screen! Watch for our review next week. Oak Grove 8 Theater

Alfie See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

Autumn Sonata
Love Bergmans? Then you'll go apeshit for Autumn Sonata, which is directed by a Bergman (Ingmar!) and stars another Bergman (Ingrid!). Yeah! Ingrid! Ingmar! Ingmar! Ingrid! BEERRGMANNS! Whitsell Auditorium

Being Julia
Annette Bening gives a high-decibel performance as a whorey London stage actress who learns how to love, then forgets how to love, and then remembers again, courtesy of some late afternoon "teas" (nudge, nudge) with a callow young American (Shaun Evans). Bening can be entertainingly malicious--particularly in the latter scenes--but for the most part, the costumes are hotter than the actors in this lackluster period piece. (Alison Hallett) Fox Tower 10

Best of "The Monkees" reruns
Hey, hey it's... aw, fuck it. Never mind. Pix Patisserie

Big City Dick
See Northwest Film & Video Festival," page 45. Guild Theater

* Birth
A brooding 10-year-old boy (Cameron Bright) walks up to a New York aristocrat, Anna (Nicole Kidman), and tells her that he's her husband--who died 10 years ago. Director Jonathan Glazer handles issues of love, loss, and sex with a subdued, powerful intensity. Those looking for a tidy answer to all of Birth's issues will likely be disappointed, but for viewers willing to invest in the themes and emotions that are clearly designed to take precedence, it's an extraordinary film--insightful, moving, and unsettling. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Cinemas

Blue Vinyl and EK Velt
Two films--both documentaries about the dangers of vinyl siding--kick off the PINE (Portland International Nature and Environmental) Film Festival. Is PINE legit film, or just filthy hippies with camcorders and unwieldy acronyms? Check next week's issue for the answer, as well as the lowdown on the rest of the films from the fest. Hollywood Theatre

* Broadway: The Golden Age
Whoever the hell Rick McKay is, he has some sort of magical clout. For Broadway: The Golden Age, he interviewed over 100 stars of the long-ago stage. The list includes Stephen Sondheim, Carol Burnett, Charles Durning, Jeremy Irons, Angela Lansbury, and a ton more. What's more, these legends are into being interviewed. Framed with beautiful clarity, they speak openly to the camera, happily regaling anecdotes from a time when Broadway wasn't just overpriced hokum, but an important and seemingly invincible art form. Their stories, combined with some great archival footage, form a thrilling tribute to an era that is slowly but surely being forgotten. (Justin Sanders) Hollywood Theatre

* Buffalo Bill's Defunct
Crotchety, curmudgeonly Grandpa Bill (Earl V. Prebezac) leads his goofy brood not in raising a barn, but tearing down a garage. Seattle director Matt Wilkins' largely improvised feature is somewhat untraditional in structure, but it feels keenly real in its graceful and humorous sketches on family relationships. (Shannon Gee) Guild Theater

Crazy Legs Conti: Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating See review this issue. Clinton Street Theater

* DiG!
A completely engrossing documentary tracing the surreal connection between the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols, compiled from over 1,000 hours of unbelievable archival footage. (Zac Pennington) Hollywood Theatre

* A Dirty Shame
John Waters uses his usual subtlety and nuance to take on the world of sex addiction. If you're a Waters fan, you won't be disappointed. If you're not, well... you've been warned. (Michael Svoboda) Laurelhurst, Mission Theater

* Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut
If you're only going to see one movie this year--or ever, really--about vaguely sinister men in bunny costumes, teenaged superheroes, and warping the space/time continuum, make this the one. (Erik Henriksen) Laurelhurst

Empty Noggin Films
See My, What A Busy Week! on page 14. The Know

Eyes on the Prize
While the bulk of this shorts program is bland, pretentious and/or completely inaccessible, highlights include creepily beautiful segments of Vanessa Renwick's overlong "Hope and Prey" and a charming, fast-paced exploration of Portland by night in Sam Brosnan's "Cycle." A selection of the Northwest Film & Video Festival. (Alison Hallett) Guild Theater

Feminist Film Series
This week: Tough Guise. This film turns the camera on men--how pop culture images and social constructs make men feel like they've got to act like tough guys when they're actually complete wusses. PSU Smith Memorial Union

* Forest Film Festival DVD Fundraiser
Three short films--My Days of Awe & Grief, Part One: Dirk and Me, Stall, and City Repair--will screen as a fundraiser for the Forest Film Festival's compilation of 2004's winners and participating filmmakers. Even better, kickass brewery Full Sail will be on hand, so there'll be good beer! Clinton Street Theater

* Friday Night Lights
With a good deal of trepidation, I went to Friday Night Lights expecting a cleaned-up, Disneyfied version of H.G. Bissinger's book about high school football in a suckass Texas town. But as directed by Peter Berg, the film is just as compelling as the book. Instead of being what could have been a dorky, feel-good film, Friday Night Lights revels in its rough 'n' tumble narrative. (Phil Busse) Regal Cinemas, etc.

The Grudge
Takashi Shimizu redirects his Japanese hit Ju-On into The Grudge. Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), an American exchange student in Japan, checks in on an old woman--and finds the woman nearly comatose, the rooms of her house filthy, and an all-encompassing sense of dread in the air. But that's just the warm up: when Karen follows hair-raising noises up the stairs, she discovers a terrifying little boy (Yuya Ozeki) trapped in a closet. While Stephen Susco's script plays to Shimizu's strengths, this haunted house tale stumbles by shifting to a mostly American cast, and the original's pervasive sense of tension has been lost in translation. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.

He Walked by Night
A cop killer runs from Johnny Law in this old-school film noir. Cafe Nola

Hedda Gabler
See "Northwest Film & Video Festival," page 45. Guild Theater

Homecoming
See "Northwest Film & Video Festival," page 45. Guild Theater

* I, Robot
While the film adaptation of I, Robot might be a really dumb version of Isaac Asimov's book, it's still probably last summer's smartest action movie. (Erik Henriksen) Fifth Avenue Cinemas

* I a Huckabees
Jason "That Kid From Rushmore" Schwartzman plays Albert Markovski, a hipster/hippie whose experience with strange coincidences inspires him to hire two "existential detectives," Bernard (Dustin Hoffman) and Vivian (Lily Tomlin). Also featuring a perfectly cast Jude Law, plus Mark Wahlberg, who's at the top of his underestimated game. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.

* The Incredibles See review this issue. Everywhere. Go ahead. Try to avoid it.

* Living In Oblivion
A film about filmmaking starring Steve Buscemi and the always enthused Catherine Keener. Blind Onion

Malevolence
A throwback to '70s and '80s horror films, complete with unsuspecting victims and a family of serial killers! Valley Theater

* The Motorcycle Diaries
A duo of medical school friends (Rodrigo de la Serna and Gael Garcia Bernal) ride, push, and carry their motorcycle across Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Peru, generally achieving the kind of good times/bad times adventure balance that all great road trip stories thrive on. After traveling thousands of miles, it's made clear just who Bernal's playing: Ernesto Guevara. (Justin Sanders) City Center 12, Fox Tower 10

The Music Inside
See "Northwest Film & Video Festival," page 45. Guild Theater

* Napoleon Dynamite
There are plenty of laughs to mine from the pseudo-tortured lives of realistically nerdy, unpopular, and just plain odd 14- to 18-year-olds, and as Napoleon Dynamite proves, young geek alienation is just as fun to parody as its grownup counterparts. (Jennifer Maerz) Cinema 99, Edgefield, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Tigard-Joy Theater

PISS Fest
A repeat of the Third Annual Portland International Short Short Film Fest. For some of the 18 selections, the requirement of a running time no longer than 10 minutes feels exceedingly overbearing--but most of the filmmakers manage to make even that meager timeframe stretch ad infinitum. (Erik Henriksen) Portland Film Project

* Primer
This $7,000 debut from director/writer/editor/composer/actor/egghead Shane Carruth may very well be one of the best American movies of the year... and I'll be damned if I understood more than 40 percent of it. Set within a buzzing, florescent-lit labyrinth of garage labs and self-storage complexes, the film follows two aspiring hackers as they inadvertently invent an ominously humming box that seems to combine the most worrisome aspects of both time and Xerox machines. (Andrew Wright) Fox Tower 10

* Pulp Fiction
For those of you who can handle the squirmy Uma Thurman-adrenaline-shot scene and the even squirmier Ving Rhames ass-fucking scene, Quentin Tarantino's genre-inspiring, violence-embracing Pulp Fiction is one of the best films ever made. Stay away, copycat indie filmmakers. Laurelhurst

Ray See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

Sacrifice and Redemption
Some of these shorts fall short of their mark, but the ones that make it are perfect little morsels of film. The worst of them try to pack a full narrative story into 15 minutes, but highlights include meticulously arranged puppetry work, a frenetic animation, a mini-doc about a guy who reacted to a shopping-mall lawsuit with a contentious website, and still-startling footage of a San Francisco film student shooting a hole in his foot in protest of Vietnam. A selection of the Northwest Film & Video Festival. (Evan James) Guild Theater

Saw
First time director and sicko James Wan's Saw is in the same vein as Seven, about an evil, maniacal fuck who's out to teach people a lesson. While the film succeeds in scaring the living shit out of you, it does have some failures--including a bunch of characters you don't care about, a predictable if not entirely obvious ending, and a tendency to take the carnage so far that you might end up laughing. (Katie Shimer) Regal Cinemas, etc.

Scared Sacred
See "Northwest Film & Video Festival," page 45. Guild Theater

Self Serve
See "Northwest Film & Video Festival," page 45. Backspace

Shall We Dance?
A good dancing movie is like a porno you can watch with your mom--hot young things dry hump to sexy music, usually followed by a makeout session that tastefully fades to black, allowing your dance-fevered imagination to fill in the blanks. Shall We Dance?, however, substitutes "washed-up actor" and "singer with more ass than talent" for "hot young things," resulting in perhaps the most un-watchable dancing movie ever. (Alison Hallett) Regal Cinemas, etc.

* Shaun of the Dead
A sharp, clever, and gory horror-comedy that manages to be as scary as it is hilarious, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's Shaun of the Dead shows all the marks of becoming a classic (and yeah, I know that sounds clichéd--but in this case, it's actually true). (Erik Henriksen) Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV

Short Cut to Nirvana: Kumbh Mela
This documentary reveals India's Kumbh Mela, the oldest and largest religious gathering in the history of mankind. It's fascinating that such a massive event takes place while being largely absent from the consciousness of the Western world, but instead the bulk of this film focuses on the useless musings of several honkies in tow with the crew. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre

Sideways See review this issue. Fox Tower 10

Silver City
John Sayles' latest film attempts to combine political satire with murder mystery, with decidedly ramshackle results. (Andrew Wright) Century Eastport 16, Hollywood Theatre

* Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
The year is 1939, and Jude Law is Joe "Sky Captain" Sullivan--an aerial ace called into action when gigantic, clanking robots invade downtown New York. He soon learns the robots are part of a larger plan involving the disappearance of world famous scientists--a case that's being investigated by Joe's former love, plucky reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow). At its core, Sky Captain is a story of innocence and connection, as Joe and Polly reignite the flame of their former love--okay, while fighting 100-foot robots. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Avalon, Bagdad Theater, Century Eastport 16, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater

* Soul Purpose
An absolutely stunning-looking ski and snowboard film from Teton Gravity Research, crammed full of crazy motherfuckers jumping out of helicopters while strapped into snowboards and riding snowmobiles off of cliffs and shit! Awesome! Roseland

Strangers in a Strange Land
12 shorts, covering everything from public restrooms to noted zoologists to slaughtering whales. A selection of the Northwest Film & Video Festival. Guild Theater

Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War
Here is a truism: When the battle scenes in a war movie become too graphic, the movie essentially becomes an antiwar movie. This is the case of Tae Guk Gi, an epic about two brothers who are swept into the middle of the civil war between North and South Korea. (Charles Mudede) Lloyd Mall

* Tarnation
A dense testimony to the struggles of family, mental illness, secrets, being queer, and a multitude of other weighty topics. Appropriately enough, "testimony" is a term director/subject Jonathan Caouette uses often; by successfully combining autobiography, fiction, experimental oddity, vintage photography, and video footage, he's created a highly personal masterwork. (Michael Svoboda) Cinema 21

* Team America: World Police
If you possess an extra ass, you'd better bring it with you to the theater, because you're going to laugh at least one of them off. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have not only created a meticulous homage to the terrific Gary Anderson Thunderbirds series of the '60s (in which a globe-trotting team of marionettes save the world), but also a biting commentary on the very modern "war on terror" that gleefully cuts both ways. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.

* Teenagers From Outerspace (1959)
Aliens invade earth to breed evil Gargons which look like lobsters. When the alien hero realizes that there is intelligent life on Earth, he warns the humans, sacrificing himself in the process. Hey, thanks a lot, alien! Old Town Pizza

* Vera Drake
Besides working as a maid, factory worker, and homemaker for her husband and two grown children in '50s London, the beatifically portrayed Vera (Imelda Staunton) performs illegal abortions. When disaster strikes a teenaged patient and Vera gets pinched, the devastation she faces puts the finishing touches on the film's masterful, horrifying recreation. Vera Drake is a remarkable film, with gripping (if occasionally frustrating) acting, and my god is it scary. (Marjorie Skinner) Fox Tower 10

What the Eye Doesn't See
You don't even need to say it. We can tell exactly what you're thinking. "Man," you're thinking, "where can I see a film that examines the governmental corruption in Peru during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori, possibly in conjunction with secret tapes made by his advisor, Vladimir Montesino? Where?!" Well, settle down, Punchy, because that's exactly what this film is about, and it's at the Guild, so go have yourself a great time. Guild Theater

* The Yes Men
Artist activists Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum--AKA the Yes Men--specialize in what they call "identity correction." Armed with suits from thrift stores and cleverly rendered PowerPoint videos, the Yes Men crash lectures and conferences around the world, sarcastically representing what they feel are the true motives of the organizations--like the WTO--they impersonate. (Marjorie Skinner) Laurelhurst

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