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 Fifth Avenue Cinema.
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 City Center 12, Fox Tower 10.
The First Grader
Based on the fascinating true story of a former Mau Mau freedom fighter who struggled for his right to an education at age 84 (a superb Oliver Litondo), The First Grader is by turns heartwarming and horrifying. VIRGINIA THAYER Fox Tower 10.
The Forbidden Quest
Peter Delpeut's 1993 mockumentary about "adventure and cannibalism" during polar expeditions. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
A local science-fiction film screening as a benefit for Film Action Oregon. More info: theforgeproject.com. Hollywood Theatre.
Angela Ismailos' 2009 documentary collects a slew of interviews from the likes of David Lynch, Ken Loach, Todd Haynes, Richard Linklater, John Sayles, Bernardo Bertolucci, and more in order to explore "the filmmakers' artistic evolutions and personal identities." Narrated by Michael Bay. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Hangover Part II
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Cinema 21.
Hobo with a Shotgun
Based on a faux trailer created for the publicity blitz surrounding Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse, Jason Eisener's Hobo with a Shotgun joins the likes of Machete and The Devil's Rejects in the curious subgenre of movies that exist to pay homage to the exploitation flicks of yesteryear. Seemingly aware that he's a little late to the party, Eisener lays the gore on thick with a wink-wink sensibility that is both energizing and hollow—Hobo starts off exhilarating, but turns noxious and empty fast. DAVE BOW Hollywood Theatre.
John Gets Wasted
A meandering but enjoyable enough comedy in which John (Christopher Bryant Tucker, who also wrote and directed) gets fired, takes a lot of drugs, and runs around various Portland locations for a confused day of drug- and booze-addled debauchery—from sussing out his feelings for his cute best friend (Laura Packard), to trying meth with street kids, to hooking up with a video store clerk (Nouel Riel, who does a nice job parodying the manic pixie dream girl cliché), to hanging out with his brother (Alex Tucker) and discussing high culture ("What's a Cylon?" "Fuck you"). Rambling and good-natured, John Gets Wasted is full of Portland shout-outs (and an inexplicable cameo from the Mercury's former news editor, Matt Davis), nerd references (holy crap, an Abin Sur namedrop!), and enough trippy, happy freak-outs to make Raoul Duke and Jeff Lebowski proud. ERIK HENRIKSEN Hollywood Theatre.
Kung Fu Panda 2
Jack Black returns to provide the voice of a fat CG panda who does kung fu. There is nothing else to say about this movie. Various Theaters.
Kung Fu Theater: Buddha's Palm
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
"Honeybun! This machine just called me an asshole!" Clinton Street Theater.
See review this issue. Living Room Theaters.
O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?
See My, What a Busy week!
The latest from Seattle director Calvin Reeder (Jerkbeast) is a gory, psychedelic romp following a car accident victim's (Lindsay Pulsipher) increasingly bizarre and sinister journey through the dewy, remote woods of the Pacific Northwest. The effects are cartoonishly low-budget (look for particular mismanagement of the blood on our protagonist's face) and some of the ideas are moldy (someone needs to think of a way to pay tribute to David Lynch without using a furry costume, like, yesterday), but Reeder effectively creates a sense of extended anxiety, even if it's punctuated with a good number of eye rolls. Director in attendance. MARJORIE SKINNER Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
Remember when Tim Burton made good movies? Bagdad Theater.
Pirates of the Caribbean:
On Stranger Tides
Ahoy, mateys! Alas, our pillagin' and partyin' voyage had to come to depressin' end. Ever since the glorious year of two-aught-aught-three—when Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl hoisted her fearsome flag and sailed into theaters, delightin' all us brave buccaneers—we've had a jolly good run, savvy? Whether we be dressin' up like Johnny Depp an' affectin' his girlish mannerisms, proudly hoistin' the ol' Jolly Roger to a place a' high honor above our futons, or talkin' like pirates to all them landlubbers on Talk Like a Pirate Day, there isn't a single raider on all the Seven Seas who can't vow that we've found a way to enjoy ourselves and annoy everybody else whilst doin' it! But 'tis no longer! For though we weathered and pirated our way through those foul... whatever those other Pirates of the Caribbean sequels were called, thar can't be any doubt that this latest Pirates film be a boring piece of shit. "FEARSOME CAP'N" GREG EISENBERG (FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST PIRATE ENTHUSIASTS ASSN.) Various Theaters.
POM Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold
There's nothing inherently wrong with companies advertising their products, and documentarian Morgan Spurlock isn't going to try to tell you otherwise. But as advertising becomes ever more pervasive, and the delivery mechanisms more sophisticated, Spurlock set out to shed some light on the way it functions. POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold investigates the often cloudy intersections of advertising and entertainment. And because we're talking about the filmmaker who famously took on the fast food industry by eating nothing but McDonald's for a month, there's a hook: This documentary about advertising is funded entirely by... advertising. With the same show-don't-tell approach he brought to Super Size Me, Spurlock sets out to create the world's first "documentary blockbuster"—novelty plastic gas station tie-in collectible cups and all. ALISON HALLETT Laurelhurst Theater.
Claude Lanzmann's 1985 Holocaust documentary is not easy viewing. With its harrowing subject matter, staggering nine-and-a-half-hour length, and ragged-edge filmmaking, Shoah will challenge even the most dedicated viewers to stick it out—though, as anyone who has can tell you, it's worth it when you do. Lanzmann made Shoah as a historical record of Holocaust stories Hollywood rarely gets into, zeroing in on the death factories at Treblinka and Auschwitz and gathering up survivors, observers, and persecutors and pushing them to tell their versions of events. With these witnesses, Lanzmann travels to the notorious camps and ghettoes, tracing the long march of death. Some of it's engrossing, some of it's slow, but all of it is essential. Shoah is both a tribute to man's resiliency and an indictment of our cruelty. It's shown in two parts, either across one day or two, so plan ahead. JAMIE S. RICH Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee "Scratch" Perry
A doc about dub, reggae, and reggae musician Lee "Scratch" Perry. Clinton Street Theater.
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
"One final thing I have to do... and then I'll be free of the past." Laurelhurst Theater.
We Are What We Are
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
Zombie Film Night
Two goofy zombie flicks—1984's Night of the Comet (Commander Chakotay, is that you?!) and Demons (1985). Local podcaster Rick Emerson in attendance to sign copies of his economic advice book Zombie Economics. Hollywood Theatre.