'80s Anthem Sing-Along
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
Some Disney documentary about lions or whatever. Not screened for critics. Various Theaters.
American: The Bill Hicks Story
A bitterly polemical stand-up, Bill Hicks' short life and career spanned the late '80s and early '90s. Hicks seems almost like a precursor for this modern political age, but in an era of expansive, world-wide fanaticism, both in politics and art, he doesn't stand out quite as boldly as he did during life. ANDREW TONRY Hollywood Theatre.
In the future, gas costs 37 dollars a gallon, ex-CEOs wait in breadlines, a quasi-socialist government crushes American industry, and the nation's last profit-driven geniuses deliver stilted lines with same cold, steely resolve they use to constantly knock back cold, steely martinis at their cold, steely desks. I expected Atlas Shrugged, the highly anticipated adaptation of Ayn Rand's epic novel for assholes, to be infuriating—but it was just boring. With a smaller budget, this could have been a laughably excellent B-movie; as is, it's just a condescending, two-dimensional allegory swirling with drama about the fiscal realities of the train business. SARAH MIRK Bridgeport Village Stadium 18, Fox Tower 10.
Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt
See Up & Coming. Hollywood Theatre.
The Conspirator is basically JFK for the Civil War set, in which a politically minded director tackles the unsavory aftermath of a presidential assassination. Robert Redford casts James McAvoy as a Union Army captain tasked with representing Mary Surratt (Robin Wright Penn) before a military tribunal. Mary ran the boarding house where John Wilkes Booth (Toby Kebbell) held secret meetings to plot Abraham Lincoln's murder. The powers that be, including Kevin Kline's ridiculous beard, want Mary to hang, so they bar her from civilian courts. The Constitution is being subverted to enact swift revenge and stabilize a nation through fear. Sound familiar? Redford and writer James Solomon clearly see parallels to the Bush Doctrine and Guantanamo Bay, and approach their story with a particular melodramatic fervor. I guess since they can't directly point out the history of doom that's repeating, they try to make up for it with earnestness. JAMIE S. RICH Bridgeport Village Stadium 18, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Center 10 Cinema.
Death Rides a Horse
See I'm Going Out. Hollywood Theatre.
Enter the Void
People get addicted to crack. Heroin, alcohol, meth, ecstasy, sure—but it's unusual to find someone claiming "junkie" status in regards to a psychedelic like DMT. Director Gaspar Noé (Irreversible) just might be one of these rare cases who, if not physically addicted, is so in love with the visual hallucinations and sense of mind-blowing wonder that psychedelics provide that he pays tribute in a nearly two-and-a-half-hour-long simulacrum of the circular epiphany familiar to anyone who ever ate a bitty piece of paper and thought Big Thoughts. The acting is abysmal, and the "plot" (reincarnation à la The Tibetan Book of the Dead, as is explicitly articulated at least twice) only exists to provoke explicit sex scenes (including a triumphant money shot from inside the cervix), startling bloodshed, and nauseating humanity delivered in nervous, stuttered flashes of editing. To many people, this will be a form of Hell. MARJORIE SKINNER Cinema 21.
Kids today are too goddamn coddled! Though they may be well versed in recycling and organic gardening, why isn't there a single Montessori school that teaches neck-snapping? The new thriller Hanna not only exposes these flaws in our school system, but does so in the guise of a rich, artsy thriller about a tween assassin on the run from the CIA. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
Madea's Big Happy Family
Tyler Perry's back in drag again, sassing it up and talking about Jesus and doing whatever else it is he does. Not screened for critics. Bridgeport Village Stadium 18, Cornelius Stadium Cinemas, Lloyd Mall 8.
The Man with the Golden Gun
"I am now aiming precisely at your groin. So speak or forever hold your piece." Laurelhurst Theater.
See review this issue. Writer and producer in attendance for 7:30 pm show on Friday, April 22. Fox Tower 10.
Mutant Girls Squad
See review this issue. Clinton Street Theater.
No Eres Tu, Soy Yo
A Mexican film that tells an "uproarious story full of love, women, reunions, and friends." Not screened for critics. Fox Tower 10.
The latest from impish French director François Ozon is a candy-colored, fun, and wholly insubstantial farce, as easy to sit through as it is to forget. Catherine Deneuve plays the titular trophy wife who takes over her husband's business... and then France itself! Based on a 1970s stageplay, some of the film's feminist politics seem quaint, even if the message is still entirely necessary. Potiche is most notable, however, for its opposing portraits of aging. At 67, Deneuve is still divine; at 62, love-interest Gerard Depardieu is a frightening beast. Their disco dancing is the scariest thing you'll see all year. JAMIE S. RICH Fox Tower 10.
Queen of the Sun
"A profound, alternative look at the tragic global bee crisis" from the director of The Real Dirt on Farmer Joh—OH, NO! NOT THE BEES! NOT THE BEES! AAAAAHHHHH! OH THEY'RE IN MY EYES! MY EYES! AAAAHHHHH! AAAAAGGHHH! Hollywood Theatre.
Brilliant premise: Carrie meets Christine when a telekinetic tire named Robert goes on a murderous rampage in stylish fashion, blowing people's heads up and mooning over a brunette. Tiresome execution: The French filmmakers get all meta and deconstruction happy, reveling in their more-clever-than-thou cheekiness. Watch the trailer, ignore the film. COURTNEY FERGUSON Hollywood Theatre.
Yum yum yum! Money money money! Mmmmmmmm, money! Grom-grom-gobble-gobble. I love it so much. Money is my food, and I, Bob Weinstein's Wallet (my given name is Todd), am always hungry for more money! Hey, America, show me the money! Ha-ha, that's a movie reference, and also a reference to money, which I am STUFFED WITH THANKS TO MOVIES, THE LIKES OF WHICH I AM NOW REFERENCING! God, I am like the most meta wallet ever. If I were a talking wallet talking about movies in a movie about a talking wallet that was about to make a bunch of money off of the movie Scream 4, I would probably tell you that Scream 4 is the best movie ever. Because it is! GO SEE SCREAM 4. YOUR TODD COMMANDS IT. BOB WEINSTEIN'S WALLET Various Theaters.
Lee Chang-dong's acclaimed South Korean drama from 2007. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Duncan Jones' latest, Source Code, shares some thematic similarities with his striking 2009 debut, Moon—this film, it so happens, is also about an isolated guy who's at the mercy of technology and those who wield it—but it has little of the freshness and originality that made Moon remarkable. Despite a few creepy sci-fi touches, Source Code is a vague, competent, and utterly forgettable thriller. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Super's Frank D'Arbo (Rainn Wilson) schlumps about just like any other dim, hapless loser, facing life's daily humiliations with a grim weariness. But when his wife (Liv Tyler) ditches him for her smarmy drug dealer, Jacques (Kevin Bacon), Frank snaps, stitches himself a terrible costume, and picks up a pipe wrench. As he did with 2006's underrated horror comedy Slither, writer/director James Gunn brings a clever, dark, and unpredictable edge to these genre proceedings—the only weak part of Gunn's script, actually, is how lazily Tyler shifts from an actual character to a feeble damsel in distress. Gunn's helped out by Wilson, whose sad-sack Frank is pretty much Dwight Schrute on The Office but without that show's annoying camera-winkage, and Ellen Page, who, as Frank's kid sidekick, offers a dorky, vicious glee that's the best thing about the film. ERIK HENRIKSEN Cinema 21.
The Visual Language of Herbert Matter
A documentary about designer and adman Herbert Matter. Director in attendance. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Water for Elephants
A romance featuring the impressively unlikeable pairing of Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. Review forthcoming. Various Theaters.