2007 British Advertising Awards
See review. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
A Man Vanishes
Shohei Imamura's 1965 film challenges the audience's assumptions about drama and documentary. Your head will be spinnin' like your brain is breakdancin'! Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Lech Majewski's darkly comic film from 2000. In other words, no, it's not Buffy-related, nerd. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba star in a psychological thriller. Mercury Movie Trivia™: Awake's original title was Horrible-Looking Psychological Thriller That the Studio Won't Screen for Critics. Various Theaters.
Director Shohei Imamura follows three Hiroshima survivors. Rivals Enchanted as a sure-fire crowd pleaser! Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
1963's horror flick follows a crazy Egyptian who sacrifices women to resurrect the goddess Ishtar. It also has an excellent title. Clinton Street Theater.
See review. Hollywood Theatre.
Quest for Festeroo
I think we can all agree that hippies can be pretty funny, especially when they're (A) dancing, or (B) talking about "consciousness." Yet in the 39 minutes of National Lampoon's inspid jam band mockumentary that I could bring myself to watch, I didn't laugh once. Why would you make a mockumentary about a subculture that is already a parody of itself? If there are "jokes" in director Les Claypool's (!) tedious, half-baked film, they are absolutely unrecognizable as such. ALISON HALLETT Clinton Street Theater.
Even if Enchanted wouldn't be your first movie choice, at least you won't be totally bummed when your princess-obsessed niece begs you to go. Maybe because it's sickeningly cute, but with an edgy sense of humor? Any which way, I'll be damned if Enchanted isn't likeable. COURTNEY FERGUSON Various Theaters.
For the Bible Tells Me So
See review. Cinema 21.
Found Footage Festival
See review. Laurelhurst.
Videogames and cinema are fundamentally different entertainment experiences. One is based on interactivity, the other on passivity. And whenever Hollywood attempts to cram a videogame into a movie—as they have done with Super Mario Bros., and Street Fighter, and Tomb Raider, and Doom, and now Hitman—it is a colossal fuck-up. It does not matter that cinema is incredibly versatile, nor that the burgeoning art form of videogames is changing the very definition of what can be classified as entertainment. All that is irrelevant: Turning a videogame into a film is like trying to make a chocolate cake when the only ingredient you have is orange juice. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
See review. Fox Tower 10.
Six different films in at least as many styles weave through I'm Not There, and after the opening credits announce that the movie was "inspired by the music and many lives of Bob Dylan," we never hear the singer's name again (although his music is used to maximum effect throughout). Each of the film's fictionalized-Dylan characters, including those played by Cate Blanchett and the 14-year-old African American actor, Marcus Carl Franklin, come with their own names (including "Woody Guthrie" and "Billy the Kid"), and represent a unique strand of Dylan's creative path, career, or persona. As a whole, I'm Not There is one of the smartest, most innovative, and beautiful films of this era. CHAS BOWIE Various Theaters.
Intentions of Murder
Another film from Shohei Imamura, this one about a woman transformed after being raped. Probably about as good of a date movie option as Black Rain. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
at the Wedding
Those looking for the poignancy and humor of writer/director Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale will find little of either in his latest. While The Squid and the Whale was a brutally honest depiction of a disintegrating marriage, it also offered moments of genuine tenderness. If there's tenderness in Margot at the Wedding, it's steeped in ulterior motives and self-deception: This is not a feel-good film. While it's hard to like Margot's characters, it's impossible not to marvel at Baumbach's perceptiveness: His understanding of the tiny, petty cruelties people inflict on one another is total, and he has an uncanny ability to show us the chasm between the way his characters see themselves and the way others see them. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
"SOMETHING IN THE MIST!!!" screams a frantic, bloodied, and fairly unsubtle old man as he sprints into a Maine supermarket. Seeing as how The Mist is an adaptation of a Stephen King novella, it doesn't take a genius to figure out whether Gramps is deranged or prophetic, and less than 30 minutes later, the unlucky grocery shoppers figure out what that something is: Monsters, as evidenced by some gropey, stabby tentacles that combine all the visual charms of penises, vaginas, and fangs. When the tentacles invade (RIP, naïve bagboy!), it's silly, but it works, since The Mist is a pretty silly movie. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Country for Old Men
Joel and Ethan Coen's unforgettably stylish paean to risk, violence, and resourcefulness, based on the throbbing, violent thriller by Cormac McCarthy. No Country's conflict is as lean and primal as they come: one badass chasing another through the the unforgiving landscape of Southwest Texas. Few contemporary directors are as well suited to the task: Through meticulous editing, sound design, and cinematography, the Coens pace and manipulate the narrative tension to masterly effect. When that tension's relieved, it's through the two channels that they know best: violence and humor. They've teased out the wry, deadpan pathos from McCarthy's novel, and use it mostly to decompress the audience, only so they can begin the process again. CHAS BOWIE Various Theaters.
Pigs and Battleships
Shohei Imamura just will not quit! Oh no he won't! Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Balloon & White Mane
Director Albert Lamorisse takes anthropomorphism to new heights with The Red Balloon, his classic tale from 1956 about a little French boy and the red balloon that loyally follows him wherever he goes. It sounds goofy, and it kind of is—but lovingly filmed against a misty Parisan backdrop, it's also absolutely gorgeous and surprisingly moving. Also showing: Lamorisse's similarly themed White Mane (1953), about a boy who tames a wild stallion. ALISON HALLETT Cinema 21.
Can't get enough biodiesel? Here's a whole movie about it! Hollywood Theatre.
See review. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
A drama about a black family's "first holiday together in four years." Not screened for critics. Various Theaters.
What Would Jesus Buy?
It's a good thing, actually, that WWJB? didn't tell me anything I didn't already know about the "cancer of consumerism" and the "malls of worship," because my ability to appreciate the precious few scenes and interviews that were effective contributions to the issues at hand are totally eclipsed by the ubiquitous, obnoxious irritant that is Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Choir. The film follows them on a national tour of harassment, as they sing, shout, and, perhaps most embarrassingly, "baptize" infants in the parking lot of Staples. I suppose, in a backhanded way, WWJB? did have a galvanizing effect: We'd better think of an effective way of changing Americans' shopping habits before Reverend Billy sends them all screaming toward Home Depot just to disassociate themselves from him. MARJORIE SKINNER Cinema 21.