Sergei Eisenstein pretty much invented cinematic language in his 1925 silent film about rebellion on a Russian cruiser, but don't mistake watching Potemkin as akin to reading a textbook—it's as stirring today as it was nearly a century ago. The dizzying battle sequences and iconic riot on the Odessa stairs (you've seen it ripped off hundreds of times) turned what would've otherwise been a standard propaganda film into tension-filled art. Fully restored with its original score, this 35mm print is a rare chance to see a masterpiece in public with all the P-town Bolsheviks. JAMIE S. RICH Cinema 21.
Mel Gibson's career is over. First there was that creepy Jesus movie, then the "Sugartits/I hate Jews" episode, and then the crazy, threatening messages on an ex-girlfriend's voicemail? Three strikes, buddy. The amazing thing, though, is how little all that matters when it comes to The Beaver. Even if Tom Hanks were its lead, this thing would still be as misguided and bizarre a film to hobble into multiplexes as any in recent memory. It demands to be mocked. DAVE BOW Fox Tower 10.
Hollywood has traditionally done a terrible job representing female friendships, so much so that in the lexicon of cinematic relationships, "bromance" almost seems the most fitting term to describe the rapport between Annie (Kristen Wiig) and her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph). They make lewd jokes, get drunk together, and seem to actually enjoy one another's company—but when Lillian gets engaged, unstable Annie proves ill equipped to handle her maid-of-honor duties. She's soon locked in a jealous power struggle with gorgeous alpha-bridesmaid Helen (Rose Byrne), and a love triangle of sorts emerges as Annie and Helen bitterly vie for Lillian's affection. But Bridesmaids is too smart to let girl-on-girl hostility win the day. In fact, the very concept of a "mean girl" is among the chick-flick tropes that Bridesmaids gives a good hard shake. Not every joke lands, but enough do, and the always-likeable Wiig—herself something of a perennial bridesmaid—proves fully capable of carrying a film. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D
There's a scene in Werner Herzog's 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams when his guide through the Chauvet Caves instructs the touring party to stand still, be silent, and listen to the pure sound of life deep beneath the Earth. The silence is supposed to be so profound, a man can hear his own heartbeat. The moment ends up being profound for the viewer, as well. Check yourself. I bet you're holding your breath. Until their discovery in 1994, the Chauvet Caves had been buried for tens of thousands of years, their contents preserved as an important historical record of a time long past. Only a handful of scientists are allowed inside, and even they must stay on a walkway barely two feet wide. Herzog being allowed to film inside these caves is a tremendous thing; that he has done so in three dimensions means the rest of us get a virtual tour of this wondrous setting. JAMIE S. RICH Living Room Theaters.
Coup de Cinema
A local production creaking on the hinges of its tiny budget, Coup de Cinema is the story of Miles (Austin Hillebrecht), a wannabe filmmaker who finally gets a job at the shittiest production house in town. His initial excitement quickly wanes as he realizes this, and he soon devises a plot to hijack the films and make them better with the help of some similarly disgruntled colleagues. Hillebrecht squeezes a goodly amount of charm out of a role that could be simply shlubby, propped up unevenly by the supporting cast. The goofily self-important premise of the project is endearing (show us how it's done, n00bs!), but this is still the work of people with potential rather than a full-blown arrival. MARJORIE SKINNER Hollywood Theatre.
Eating, Energy, Environment: How We Got It Wrong the First Time
A collection of "industrial, advertising, and educational films" that examines "food as the center of a complex system enabled by mid-20th century science and industry." Free Pringles! Director in attendance. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Everything Must Go
Writer/director Dan Rush's debut feature—based on a sliver of a short story by Raymond Carver called "Why Don't You Dance?", which is so minimal it could almost be considered flash fiction—is clear, concrete evidence of Will Ferrell's remarkable ability as an actor even when he doesn't have a silly costume or bushy mustache to hide behind. NED LANNAMANN Fox Tower 10.
The Found Footage Festival
See review this issue. Laurelhurst Theater.
Hobo with a Shotgun
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
This Canadian Oscar nominee spans several decades, two countries, and a lot of complicated politics to expose a dead mother's secrets—but one plot twist too many turns serious drama into overly earnest pap. JAMIE S. RICH Fox Tower 10.
See My, What a Busy Week! Academy Theater.
The Lives of Energy
"A reflective collage film that uses archival images and sounds to reconstruct a history of human interaction with technology." Director in attendance. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Off Hours
A Sundance-approved drama set around a highway diner in the Pacific Northwest. Director in attendance. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Pirates of the Caribbean:
On Stranger Tides
Disney's franchise about a gay pirate and his whimsical misadventures continues in this third sequel, which costars Al Swearengen as Blackbeard and the gorgeous Penélope Cruz as the gorgeous Penélope Cruz. Review forthcoming. Various Theaters.
Paul Bettany fights vampires in the future or something? Also starring Twilight's Cam Gigandet! Uh, not screened for critics. Various Theaters.
The Princess of Montpensier
A French period romance, not to be confused with the adult film with a very similar title. Living Room Theaters.
Howard Hawks' fantastic 1948 epic about a cattle drive feels monumentally huge, with John Wayne and Montgomery Clift butting heads and killin' injuns. Somehow, the story of ranchers driving 9000 cattle from Texas to Missouri becomes a parable for the American dream—where hard men work hard, and the reward at the end of the day is a gigantic pile of beef. NED LANNAMANN Laurelhurst Theater.
With its interminable sex scenes and abandoned plot threads, some could say The Room is a "bad" movie, but this raises the question of what makes a movie "good." Is it a comprehensible script? Believable acting? Sets that don't look like they're going to topple over at any second? The Room contains none of these elements, yet that hardly detracts from its remarkably high entertainment value. In fact, The Room may have you questioning the reasons you've ever enjoyed anything in your life—as well as serving as incontrovertible proof that making a movie is very, very difficult. Director in attendance. NED LANNAMANN Cinema 21.
The "definitive" (and only) documentary on fabled indie act Pavement, the Lance Bangs' Slow Century compiles interviews with the band, live footage from their "final" (pre-reunion) show, and commentary from a man who will never turn down an appearance in a music-related documentary, Thurston Moore. Come dressed like the wizard from the back cover of Wowee Zowee and get a free box of Raisinets! EZRA ACE CARAEFF Hollywood Theatre.
1981's Ivan Reitman/Bill Murray comedy. Actress P.J. Soles in attendance; proceeds benefit the Fisher House Foundation. Cinema 21.
Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls
This documentary studies a pair of elderly yodeling lesbian twins from New Zealand who perform country-comedy songs in a variety of terrible costumes that would make Benny Hill blush. The Topp sisters, while tireless champions of gay rights and very nice-seeming ladies, hinge their thick-accented humor upon an intimate knowledge of rural farming life in New Zealand. I was baffled from start to finish. NED LANNAMANN Clinton Street Theater.
Vidal Sassoon: The Movie
See review this issue. Living Room Theaters.
Worst in Show
Competition for title of "World's Ugliest Dog" is surprisingly fierce—the dogs are more grotesque than you could imagine (milky eyes! missing teeth! giant goiters!) and the humans take the title more seriously than you'll believe. Worst in Show is a charming little doc that's at times as ridiculous as the Christopher Guest movie from which it takes its name, and at others is authentically heartwarming. ALISON HALLETT Hollywood Theatre.