2004's Night Watch was some crazy shit: A Russian horror/fantasy epic, it featured vampires, witches, shapeshifters, demonic dolls, and enough prattle about the eternal battle of good vs. evil to fill a thousand dungeonmasters' wet dreams. Its sequel, Day Watch, offers more of the same—vampires, demonic dolls, etc., now with 800 percent more sports cars driving along the sides of buildings, plus galloping horses crashing through brick walls and enough body-swappin' slapstick to make one long for the days of Freaky Friday. It's kinda cool and kinda weird, but it's mostly just like having a Russian nerd show you his crappy comic book collection for a few hours. ERIK HENRIKSEN Cinema 21.
Dennis Does the News
Film collector Dennis Nyback "selects articles from the New York Times and shows films that reflect on those items." The Waypost.
DOA: Dead or Alive
A live-action film based on a videogame series. (Yeah, that's bad enough, but there's more!) The videogames, by the way, are mostly about half-clothed, ridiculously busty sluts jumping up and down, then fighting with each other. Enjoy, pubescent gamers. Enjoy. Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Not screened in time for press, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer—as one could probably guess from the pretty explanatory title—has the Fantastic Four battling the Silver Surfer. They will also battle incredibly low expectations, as their last movie blew hard. Hit portlandmercury.com on Friday, June 15 for our review. Regal Cinemas, etc.
See review this issue. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai
The titular character—a prostitute—orders an orange mocha frappuccino at a small cafe after acting out Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" during the first five minutes of the movie. And (as anyone who's seen Zoolander knows) bad things happen when someone orders that drink. Truly bizarre softcore pornography ensues. Do your turn-ons include random violence, Z-grade camera work, dumb stares, fat North Korean versions of Charlie's Angels, facials, the evil cloned finger of George W. Bush, nuclear annihilation, and lines like "Can binary structure explain the universe?" Boy, do I have a film for you! THOMAS LUNDBY Clinton Street Theater.
Hostel: Part II
Eli Roth's latest installment of torture porn is as much fun as having a needle stuck deep into your ear, or having your face accidentally hacked off by a circular saw, or—at its best moment—it's like having a cannibal eat your calf muscle as you watch. Yeah, it's a bundle of laughs. I have to admit though, it's a very effective creep-out—after the film I was practically running for my car through the mall's deserted parking garage. You probably know the story by now: Innocent backpackers traveling through Europe get kidnapped by a secret society of wealthy thrill-seekers, who want to maim, violate, and kill the kids for fun. So unless you truly enjoy horrific acts of torture (psycho), or you like the jittery feeling of consuming three pots of coffee, this might not be the flick for you. COURTNEY FERGUSON Regal Cinemas, etc.
I'm Reed Fish
A comedy/drama/romance starring that annoying chick from Gilmore Girls. (No, not that one. The younger one.) Not screened for critics. Fox Tower 10.
Knife in the Water
Roman Polanski: Gifted filmmaker or pedophile? You decide! Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Long Goodbye
Robert Altman! Raymond Chandler! Elliott Gould! Hollywood Theatre.
The Money Fix
Yet another documentary featuring Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. This time around, local filmmaker Alan Rosenblith takes "a hard look behind the scenes of America's monetary system." Hollywood Theatre.
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
If nothing else, director Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's films have been throwbacks, tributes to a different era in cinema. It's not like we've had a shortage of those of late, but while Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez selected a painfully obscure genre to glorify in their Grindhouse, Soderbergh picked a mega-popular one, harkening back to 1960's original Ocean's Eleven, which brought together Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. Just as 1960's Ocean's Eleven succeeded by giving audiences a roll call of that era's biggest stars, Soderbergh's reprisal of the formula—bringing together Clooney, Pitt, Matt Damon, and a slew of other A-listers—made his 2001 retread just as appealing. Forty-seven years, a remake, and two sequels later, the formula still works. ERIK HENRIKSEN Regal Cinemas, etc.
Paris, je t'aime
Bewilderingly and infuriatingly, this wasn't screened for critics, but damn does it look amazing. Eighteen short films from a bunch of great filmmakers: Alfonso Cuarón, Christopher Doyle, the Coen Brothers, Wes Craven, Alexander Payne, and Gus Van Sant. Hit portlandmercury.com on Friday, June 15 for our review. Fox Tower 10.
The Piano Teacher
"A young man romantically pursues his masochistic piano teacher," says IMDB.com. Not screened for critics. Living Room Theaters.
Portland Film Race 2007
See My, What a Busy Week! on pg. 11.
Two films—Producing Just Garments and Pyeongtaek—from Bolivar Media Exchange, a group "dedicated to fostering international relationships between independent media makers." Mississippi Pizza Pub/Atlantis Lounge.
Queens of Heart: Community Therapists in Drag
This documentary from PSU Professor of Psychology Janice Haaken tells the story of local drag performer Darcelle and her club, Darcelle XV. While the Darcelle story is an interesting local tale in itself, Haaken frames it into a mini-psych analysis, flashing definitions of rudimentary terms like "castration anxiety" or "transvestite" in between scenes of young Oregonian squares who frequent the club for bachelorette parties and such. This'd be a killer movie to have to watch for school, but as a film screened for an admission-paying audience, the technique feels like the cinematic equivalent of flashcards. MARJORIE SKINNER Darcelle XV Showplace.
An obvious attempt to create an Aboriginal version of the Inuit masterpiece The Fast Runner—ancient mythologies, ancient languages, National Geographic-worthy boobs—but unlike its snowbound counterpart, Ten Canoes is a boring mess. CHAS BOWIE Fox Tower 10.
Time of the Wolf
An "apocalyptic calamity" leaves Europeans "struggling to survive amidst drastic shortages of food and water." Yeah! Take that, France! Not screened for critics. Living Room Theaters.
See review this issue. Cinema 21.
Set in Spain in 1913, Unconscious is an exuberant, extended Sigmund Freud joke with a high-concept punchline that encompasses everything from penis envy to repressed unconscious desire to transvestitism. When a prominent Spanish psychoanalyst goes missing, his spirited wife goes on a madcap journey to track him down, delving deep into the human psyche and taking Freud's theories to their most ludicrous and hilarious extremes. ALISON HALLETT Living Room Theaters.
WR: Mysteries of the Organism
Dusan Makavejev's 1971 film is "part essay, part political inquiry, and part documentary on Wilhelm Reich." Phew. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.