The Adjustment Bureau
A mind-warped romance starring Matt Damon as David Norris, formerly America's youngest congressman, now its youngest losing senatorial candidate. On the night of his defeat, he meets Elise (Emily Blunt) when they hide out in the same men's room. Sparks fly, but circumstances intervene, and the two are separated... only to run into each other on a bus weeks later. It's kismet! Except this second meeting wasn't supposed to happen. A man in a fedora (Anthony Mackie) was supposed to waylay David and give his colleagues time to build a different path for him. The screw-up means David discovers the secret of the universe: Our lives are already written, and there are a bunch of men with hats who make it their business to ensure we don't screw it all up. The Adjustment Bureau is a fun surprise, especially since writer/director George Nolfi built his kiss-kiss, chase-chase movie from an unlikely toolbox: a 1954 short story by Philip K. Dick. What not even ol' weirdy Dick could've ever imagined, though, is that The Adjustment Bureau is one of the best cinematic romances in a good long while. JAMIE S. RICH Various Theaters.
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
See My, What a Busy Week! Laurelhurst Theater.
Back to the Garden
Do you know what a hippie is? Have you ever talked to one? If you answered "No" to both questions, then you will doubtlessly find Back to the Garden engrossing. Catching up with people he met at a "healing gathering" in 1988, filmmaker Kevin Tomlinson treats the hippie lifestyle like something not only new, but revolutionary. In its 70 minutes, we learn how old hippies feel about money, the earth, and marijuana. Can you guess their answers? Director in attendance. DAVE BOW Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Paul Giamatti plays Barney Panofsky, the central character in the film adaptation of Jewish Canadian author Mordecai Richler's final novel. Set and filmed in Richler's native Montreal, Barney's Version is an odd duck of a movie, effectively encompassing a decades-spanning plot, but fragmenting the narrative to make it all fit into 135 minutes. It works almost entirely due to Giamatti's performance as Barney, a television producer who boozes heavily, smokes cigars, and ignores his wife and family whenever a Canadiens game is on. He also spends his entire second marriage lusting after the pretty stranger who turned up at the wedding, and he may have murdered his best friend, Boogie (Scott Speedman). NED LANNAMANN Fox Tower 10.
Battle: Los Angeles
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Beastly—a tween reimagining of Beauty and the Beast—is a sugary pabulum of ludicrous dreck, and I'd be angry at its complete lack of anything resembling intelligence if it weren't so forgettable. It's like it got wiped clean from my mind not 10 minutes after the end credits. Thank you, coping mechanism! COURTNEY FERGUSON Various Theaters.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
PRO: Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly. CON: Mickey Rooney's Mr. Yunioshi. But ANOTHER PRO: Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly! Roseway Theater.
Directed by Miguel Arteta (Youth in Revolt, The Good Girl, Chuck & Buck), the critical consensus on Cedar Rapids seems to be something along the lines of "Frank Capra's 'aw-shucks' earnestness meets the 'edge' of Apatow"—and if that sounds like just about the most mind-numbingly vanilla bullshit you've ever heard of, you're giving it too much credit. ZAC PENNINGTON Various Theaters.
City Lights & A Day's Pleasure
At last, a chance to pretend that horrible Chaplin biopic never happened! Here's Chaplin's 1931 City Lights, preceded by his 1919 short A Day's Pleasure. Films screen as part of the Northest Film Center's Films of Charlie Chaplin series. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
At its outset, Cold Weather looks suspiciously like another mumblecore joint about pretty, mopey people—not that there's anything wrong with that, especially when writer/director Aaron Katz reveals a keen yet sympathetic understanding of his characters. The discontent Katz establishes in Cold Weather's early scenes—and that I wish he'd mined even further—is that of a generation who were promised more than the current economy can deliver. But a few minutes in, against the gray streets of Portland, Cold Weather's true colors emerge: It's a sly genre fiction that superimposes a classic detective story over a moody mumblecore backdrop. ALISON HALLETT Hollywood Theatre, Living Room Theaters.
A freaky, fascinating, elegantly off-kilter little film. Three young-adult siblings are kept confined and isolated in their sunny, serene family compound. Nothing means what it means in the closed system their trollish father has constructed for them behind the fence: They invent strange games, endure sadistic punishments, compete for stickers, and sometimes lick each other. Eventually, things get violent. If nothing else, Dogtooth (nominated for a 2011 Oscar for best foreign language film) should serve as a cautionary tale about why not to let uncanny shut-in feral children play with your cat. Never a good idea. LINDY WEST Cinema 21.
Sylvain Chomet's follow-up to his beloved The Triplets of Belleville, based on a script for an un-produced live-action film that was written by Jacques Tati in 1956. The Illusionist follows the titular magician—aging, weary, facing obsolescence—and his companion, a young, wide-eyed woman named Alice, who jumps at the chance to escape her provincial existence, only to find that life in the city isn't all that she had hoped. Nearly free of dialogue and full of stunningly evocative visuals, The Illusionist is whimsical and bittersweet, gorgeous and melancholy. I hesitate to say too much about it, because its many charms—countless small moments of sadness and humor—sneak up on you, patient and subtle. ERIK HENRIKSEN Living Room Theaters.
The Last Lions
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
Le Cercle Rouge
Jean-Pierre Melville's 1970 heist flick. Screens as part of the Northwest Film Center's Classic French Crime Films series. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Mars Needs Moms
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Modern Times & Pay Day
Chaplin's 1936 classic, preceded by Pay Day, his 1922 short. Films screen as part of the Northest Film Center's Films of Charlie Chaplin series. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
A series of short films created by Latino artists and the School of Film. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
See review this issue. Clinton Street Theater.
The Other Woman
See review this issue. Living Room Theaters.
Works from students at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Clinton Street Theater.
Portland Women's Film Festival (POW Fest)
POW's focus is on movies created by women, regardless of their subject matter. If you want to see more female directors in Hollywood, you have to support their work. Here's your chance. More info: powfest.com and I'm Going Out. ALISON HALLETT Hollywood Theatre.
Oftentimes you hear the phrase, "Hollywood doesn't give children enough credit." And maybe that's true... but then again, it's not like most kids are nuclear physicists. Generally speaking, they like movies about robot cars, insipid princesses, and talking Chihuahuas. So while a certain level of credit is certainly welcome, the animated feature Rango provides far too much for the kids—yet not quite enough for adults. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.
Red Riding Hood
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The Sicilian Clan
Henri Verneuil's 1969 flick, featuring a score by Ennio "Badass" Morricone. Screens as part of the Northwest Film Center's Classic French Crime Films series. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Slumber Party Massacre
Fairly self explanatory. Hollywood Theatre.
Take Me Home Tonight
A horrible-looking comedy starring the talented and lovable Anna Faris and the somewhat less talented, but still somewhat talented, and also quite likeable, Topher Grace. Various Theaters.
Touchez Pas Au Grisbi
Jacques Becker's 1954 flick starring Jean Gabin. Screens as part of the Northwest Film Center's Classic French Crime Films series. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
It's kind of like a Bourne movie if Liam Neeson killed and replaced Matt Damon. It works just fine. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.