30 Minutes or Less
In 30 Minutes or Less, Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer attempts to make a comedy out of the story of two sociopaths who kidnap a pizza boy, strap a bomb to him, and force him to rob a bank (something similar happened in real life, but ended when the bomb guy got his head blown off while he begged the police to help him). It's a dark, intriguing idea, and something I'd want to watch, especially with this cast—which makes it painful to see it drowned in schmucky riffing. Almost immediately, there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding that telling a funny story is different than telling a story in which every character tells 50 jokes a minute like Shecky Greene. VINCE MANCINI Various Theaters.
An Earth-sized planet, bearing the exact blue-and-white swirls of our own globe, appears in the sky in writer/director Mike Cahill's Another Earth. It hovers there like an oversized moon, a mirror of our planet hanging in space. No explanation is offered for its presence, nor is any screen time devoted to scientific inevitabilities like gravitational impact—sure, the sudden materialization of an Earth-sized planet coming so close to our own would have cataclysmic effects, but that's not Cahill's point. Later in Another Earth, there's a scene in which a scientist establishes radio contact with the other planet, which people begin calling Earth Two. Through a fuzzy, squawking transmission, the scientist realizes, chillingly, that she is, in fact, talking to herself—a complete, alternate version of herself living on the planet that seems to be identical to Earth in every way. This is a terrific premise for a science-fiction film, but Another Earth isn't that film. Instead, it's just another standard indie drama, rendered in cool blues and arty-grainy video stock. NED LANNAMANN Cinema 21.
Black Happy: Settin' Dogs on Fire
A concert documentary about early '90s Idaho rock/ska/metal group Black Happy. Trombonist Mike Hassaries in attendance. Clinton Street Theater.
1947's Brighton Rock could be harmless and crackerjack if not for the immeasurable weight of Richard Attenborough's performance as teenage sociopath, Pinkie Brown, who aims to be a made man. DAVE BOW Cinema 21.
Can't Stop the Serenity &
Dr. Horrible's sing along blog
A charity screening of Joss Whedon's cult sci-fi flick Serenity, followed by a screening of Joss Whedon's cult webseries Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, with Serenity comic book artist Patric Reynolds in attendance for a Q&A. (It is unknown, at this time, whether or not Reynolds is in a cult.) Proceeds go to Equality Now, the Raphael House, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness; more info at serenitynow.pdxbrowncoats.com. Hollywood Theatre.
The Devil's Double
Starring Dominic Cooper as both Uday Hussein and his double, Latif Yahia (and based on the true story, as written by Yahia), The Devil's Double is a series of dramatic "beats" that, without believable connective tissue, plays like a dictator-porn greatest hits record. Look at him drive cars! Look at him bang whores! Look at him crash cars and kill whores and laugh and laugh! This movie is like Entourage's id. VINCE MANCINI Fox Tower 10.
Final Destination 5
Final Destination 5 is a prequel. Aw shit, I shoulda prefaced that with a SPOILER ALERT! Yeah, that's the big reveal at the end of this thing: It's a prequel! Who cares, you say? Exactly. COURTNEY FERGUSON Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Yes, a cat narrates Miranda July's new movie. Yes, the moon comes to life, and a hipster couple feels sad, and a T-shirt becomes a prop in a forlorn interpretive dance. But to reduce July's work to a contextless catalog of its most ridiculous elements is to do the endlessly inventive filmmaker a disservice. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
Glee: The 3D Concert Movie
GWYNETH PALTROW MAKES A GUEST APPEARANCE in an entirely horrible sequence that instantly turns into the mental equivalent of being repeatedly kicked in the balls by a furious donkey. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.
"Now, Pussy, you know a lot more about planes than guns. That's a Smith & Wesson .45, and if you fire at me at this close range, the bullet will pass through me and the fuselage like a blowtorch through butter. The cabin will depressurize, and we'll both be sucked into outer space together. If that's how you want to enter the United States, you're welcome. As for me, I prefer the easy way." Hotel deLuxe.
A new Irish film directed by John Michael McDonagh. Brendan Gleeson plays Sergeant Gerry Boyle, a cop drifting along the surface of small-town crime fighting, lifting drugs from crime scenes and generally pursuing laziness as the most convenient course of action. Cue the entrance of a relentlessly competent FBI agent (Don Cheadle) who provides an odd-couple foil for the provincial, kinda-racist Gerry. The plot lands somewhere between Hot Fuzz and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call—New Orleans, but like those films, The Guard is defined by a bone-dry sense of humor all its own. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
Happy: The Movie
A documentary that asks, "Do you live in a world that values and promotes happiness and well-being? Are we in the midst of a happiness revolution? What's your favorite part of Happy Gilmore?" Okay, maybe not that last one. Clinton Street Theater.
The maladroit love child of Remember the Titans and Eat, Pray, Love, conceived during a drunken and misguided romp behind the bushes at a child's birthday party. The film wants to be a portrait of racism, bigotry, and child neglect in Civil Rights-era Mississippi. Instead, it is just boring. KATHERINE LONG Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
There's goofiness here, no doubt ("Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!" says that kid who plays Draco Malfoy, all but winking at the camera), but compared to its predecessors, Rise is damn near restrained in its refusal to get too ridiculous with its ridiculous concept. This thing's first third plays out like a bizarre drama (awww, a lovable baby chimp helping an old man with Alzheimer's!), its second like a tense thriller (is it just me, or is that formerly lovable chimp starting to look kinda... sketchy?), and its final third is a sizzle reel of violent, screeching monkey chaos. (EEEEE! EEEEEE! OH SWEET GOD THEY'VE LEARNED HOW TO USE SPEARS! EEEEE! GORILLA VERSUS HELICOPTER! EEEE! EEEEEEE!) I would watch this movie again right this very second. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Soul of Sand
Sidharth Srinivasan's "eccentric thriller" set in the outskirts of Delhi. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
See My, What a Busy Week! Clinton Street Theater.
Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World
Robert Rodriguez's kiddie franchise keeps on rollin', this time sucking in Ricky Gervais and Joel McHale. Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
In his new documentary, Errol Morris finds perhaps his most entrancing subject yet: Joyce McKinney, a former beauty queen whose post-pageant life has led her, inexorably and repeatedly, into tabloid scandal. These scandals span continents and decades, and they involve such crazy twists that I'm tempted to avoid all spoilers and just order interested parties to the cinema. But the notion of spoilers doesn't really apply to plot points that played out in the international media, so here's a short, relatively surprise-preserving synopsis: As a young woman, McKinney fell head over heels in love with a young man, a Mormon missionary-in-training who was soon sent overseas. In McKinney's mind, her fiancé had been kidnapped by a cult, and she promptly set about rescuing him—hiring a team of helpers for an international rescue effort that saw McKinney & Co. track her "kidnapped" lover to the UK, which resulted in criminal charges and vast tabloid interest in the "Mormon sex-in-chains case." This is just the tip of the Tabloid iceberg, which cracks and fractures into an array of contradictory narratives. DAVID SCHMADER Living Room Theaters.
Trek in the Park & Galaxy Quest
See My, What a Busy Week! Bagdad Theater.
Never before has the violation of human rights felt so mawkishly clichéd! Rachel Weisz plays a US policewoman in Bosnia-Herzegovina who uncovers evidence of postwar human trafficking. While it's based on a true story, not even Weisz's solid performance can keep The Whistleblower from feeling like a sordid episode of SVU, replete with sexual torture, wearying speechifying, and bullshit plot twists. ERIK HENRIKSEN Fox Tower 10.