Heroic Grace: The Chinese Martial Arts Film, Part II
Kung fu gets its due with this program of martial arts classics, selected by the UCLA Film Archive. The films start Friday March 31 and go through April 22; this week has The Five Venoms, My Young Auntie, and the confusing, hallucinogenic, and awesome The Jade Tiger. Check future Mercury issues for more info and reviews, or hit nwfilm.org for more info. (Erik Henriksen)
Why do the French even make movies anymore? Does anyone care? Anyone? Hollywood Theatre
Yes, ATL is yet another teen-targeted, thinly veiled vehicle for a rapper-turned-actor. And yes, ATL predictably plays it by the numbers: Youve got your drugs and violence subplots, the obligatory wrong side of the tracks love story, and even a dollop of class contention, all set to a heavingly brilliant soundtrack that plays like a central character. (Did I mention the fact that the main characters happen to be orphans? No, seriously.) And yet, for some reason, no volume of endless cliché can sink ATL. Effectively helmed by music video director Chris Robinson, ATL is a totally enjoyable celebration of the now familiar (read: heavily commodified) filth and flash of the Dirty South, staring likeably scrawny rapper Tip “T.I.” Harris. And though it strays occasionally into mediocre attempts at teen melodrama, its overall lightness and distinctly Southern charm—weekends at the community pool, roller skating competitions, etc.—keeps ATL from ever succumbing to the familiar failings of like-minded productions. The result is something akin to a PG-13 update of Saturday Night Fever—but this time with grills. (Zac Pennington)
Century Eastport 16, Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, Division Street, Lloyd Mall, City Center 12
Awesome... I Fuckin' Shot That!
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
Basic Instinct 2
Sharon Stone: Supreme Queen of the Cougars, a rapacious creature surviving off fumes from acrylic nail glue and calcium supplements. I imagine her gnashing and slashing her way through the competition at airport hotel bars and parties thrown by the Portland Monthly like a tsunami of emasculation and cracking visage. The IMDB shows that Stone's even set to star in an upcoming movie called Cougars; while that probably indicates a sense of humor in regard to her image as an off-puttingly sexually aggressive older woman, Basic Instinct 2 does nothing but enhance it, complete with frosted makeup, horrendously embarrassing sexual innuendos/sex scenes/sexy talk, and trying way too hard to still be sexy as her career-making Catherine "Did I or—LOOK AT MY PUSSY!—didn't I" Tramell character. In fact, Basic Instinct 2 is interesting only as a wildlife documentary (WWRRROOWWWRRR!) and as a nostalgic throwback to the heyday of the rapidly disappearing adult thriller genre (and how unintentionally hilarious and insultingly boring they can be). (Marjorie Skinner) Regal Cinemas, etc.
See review this issue. Cinema 21
Faux Film Festival 2006
The Faux Film Festival returns—and just like your creepy uncle who shows up every Thanksgiving with those goddamn Groucho Marx glasses—the Fest is again trying its damnedest to be wacky and crazy. Thursday March 30 has "Mockumentary Shorts" and "Satire Shorts"; Friday has "Faux Commercials and Movie Spoofs" and a "sock puppet feature," The Lady from Sockholm (get it?!). Saturday has "Musicals and Music-Related Shorts," and "mockumentary spoof" Hooch & Daddy-O, while Sunday has "horror mockumentary" Return of the Jackalope and "Sci-Fi/Horror Shorts." The whole thing ends with B-movie The Monster of Phantom Lake, with "a professional improv comedy team" providing additional dialogue. More info and ka-rayzee laffs: fauxfilm.com. Hollywood Theatre
Find Me Guilty
A thoroughly coiffed Vin Diesel plays Jackie DiNorscio, a gangster who chose to be his own lawyer in a 1987 show trail that the US government hoped would strike a blow against organized crime. DiNorscio mounts a defense that consists largely of vulgar anecdotes and statements like "I'm no gangster... I'm a gagster!", and while sometimes repetitive, Sidney Lumet's film is nonetheless an entertaining and oddly nostalgic nod to the days when the mob was a force to be reckoned with. (Alison Hallett) Fox Tower 10, City Center 12
Flaming Lips Multimedia Party
See My, What a Busy Week! on pg. 13. Bagdad Theater
A movie about the historic 1986 World Series, written by Don DeLillo. Not screened for critics. Fox Tower 10
The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things
First off, I want to thank y'all for still seeing my movie despite what you may have read about me in the lying, fucked-up media. Serenity and ColaBear keep telling me this bullshit's gonna pass, but now I can't even get Asia Argento to return my calls, and she directed the movie! Last night I just gasped on the floor of some dirty kitchen and cried into my hands until they were wetter than the Red Sea. So anyways, this is the movie of my book, which makes it the movie about my life. JD and Gotti said the movie was almost too brutal to watch, because every grown-up in it either fucks me up the ass or takes a strap to me, but what was Asia supposed to do? You've got to be true to life. My favorite parts were meeting Marilyn Manson and Winona Ryder and Billy from Six Feet Under. They were real cool and said they would write blurbs for my next book, if my agent ever calls me back. Could somebody please explain why everyone's so mad at me? Please forgive me, y'all. Y'all know I get a little flinchy when I see that mad look in your eye. Please don't take off your belt. JD! ColaBear! Help me! (JT Leroy) Clinton Street Theater
Ice Age: The Meltdown
Well, there are these two possums, and this elephant girl, and there was a boy one too, one of the mammoths? And the ice was breaking, so they had to find a new home, and in this one part, there are these two animals that wanted to kill them? So they found a new home. But my favorite part! There was this sloth, in just Ice Age, plain Ice Age—but in Ice Age 2, there's a whole group of sloths! And they kidnap the sloth because he can make fire, and they call him The Fire King, and 'cause he can make fire, and then he made fire! I like it better than the first one—I liked it better, this one had more of my favorite parts. And there were some parts with a squirrel. Those parts were my favorite. (Kayla, the Mercury's resident six-year-old.) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Invisible Children (Rough Cut)
A free screening of a film "about the horrors the youth in Uganda face every single day." Narrated by Alf. Fifth Avenue Cinemas
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont
A not-very-good movie about old ladies: cute ones, nice ones, grumpy ones, dead ones. Joan Plowright (thoroughly charming) is Mrs. Palfrey, an upper-crusty English widow who moves into London's Claremont Hotel, a retirement home for elderly oddballs. She's just settling into her new lonely independence when she takes a tumble—kismet!—outside the apartment of 26-year-old Ludovic Meyer (Pride and Prejudice's beautiful Rupert Friend), who just happens to be a writer in search of muse and bosom buddy. The two embark upon an odyssey of emotions, guitar ballads, and creepy, sexually charged transference. Mrs. Palfrey might be the chewiest, cheesiest corncake ever to hit the screen: Hey, Mrs. P, what about the things that matter in life? "Most of the things that mattered to me aren't around anymore. They live in here [points to head] and here [points to heart]." Hey, Ludo, what's it like talking to Mrs. P? "She danced around her memories with the agile step of a young girl." Hey, what's that in my lap? Oh, it's barf. (Lindy West) Hollywood Theatre
In the 1980s, PBS commissioned six documentaries about Muncie, Indiana, to be shown as a program called Middletown. Five of the six films aired; Seventeen, the odd man out, had way too much drug use, interracial romance, fatal car crashes, and violence for prime time television. So Seventeen, directed by Jeff Kreines and Joel DeMott, became a sort of underground classic, more talked about than actually seen. But Portland's lucky enough to get a rare screening, thanks to the folks at 40 Frames. 40 Frames
Not screened for critics, Slither's about a bunch of alien slugs who take over a small town. I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't watch any movie featuring alien slugs, particularly if it contained the phrase "Don't let 'em in yer mouth!", so I'll check it out this weekend—watch for a film short next week. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Frankie Muniz teams up with a bunch of no names in this flaccid excuse for a Ring rip-off. But, instead of a death-sealing video, it's a videogame! Ooooooh. This movie's such a piece of shit that I couldn't hold my popcorn in my mouth because of all the nasal laughs I had going on. (Jenna Roadman) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Thank You For Smoking
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
Troop 1500: Girl Scouts Beyond Bars
The girls in Austin, Texas' Girl Scout Troop 1500 go on hikes, have weekend sleepovers, and earn badges. But once a month, they also trek to a prison an hour and a half away to visit their incarcerated mothers. Led by a social worker, Troop 1500's aim is to prevent the girls from repeating the cycle of crime their mothers got caught in. This documentary—heavy on self-righteousness, and somewhat condescending empathy for the mothers—follows the girls for several months, as they make videos of their moms, and watch as one mother is released, while several others are denied parole. Preceded by The Circle is Round: Girl Scouts Behind Bars, a film about a troop in Wilsonville who visit their mothers at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. (Amy Jenniges) Guild
Who Gets to Call it Art?
Peter Rosen's doc brims with old footage of artists like Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Bob Rauschenberg, and Willem deKooning, as it celebrates the life of Henry Geldzahler, the curator who was in the thick of the New York art scene right when things were starting to get fun. The film picks up in the wake of the serious and macho AbEx years, as artists like Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein began to add frivolity, humor, and silliness into the lifeblood of American art. Geldzhaler, a little Porky Pig of an aesthete, was in the thick of it all—a curator who was friends with the artists, participated in their shenanigans, and helped to introduce their work into the pantheon of art history. WGtCiA isn't an amazing feat of documentary filmmaking by any stretch, but it's packed with a ton of good film clips, interviews, and anecdotes for anybody mildly interested in the last 50 years of American art. (Chas Bowie) Whitsell Auditorium
The Women's Film Preservation Fund Tour
The "premier effort in the world to preserve the cultural legacy of women in film." Whitsell Auditorium