All About Eve
"You're maudlin and full of self pity. You're magnificent!" Living Room Theaters.
The Artist and the Computer
Cinema Project presents 16mm work from Lillian Schwartz. More info: cinemaproject.org. Hollywood Theatre.
Austin Unbound quietly illustrates the life of a man who embodies an interesting blend of identities: deaf and transgender. The film follows Austin's journey from his hometown of Portland to a surgery center in San Francisco, where he undergoes the final step in becoming a physical man. While the plot is nothing new, the added attribute of deafness shines a fresh light on the passage. The film is entirely silent, apart from a constant pulse of atmospheric music, but heavy on the captioned sign language. An inspiring, albeit slow-placed, peek into a unique way of life. ALEX ZIELINSKI Hollywood Theatre.
Wearing the influence of early John Waters on its sleeve, the sitcom pilot for Delusional Donovan introduces us to the dysfunctional world of a little boy named Donovan, whose in-drag parental figures are lusty and marker-huffing—just what one might expect from two creators, Mark Zebra Thomas and Devan McGrath, who met while collaborating on the legendary Sissyboy performances. The show's opening salvo is a raunchy pileup of grotesque characters engaged in everything from living room booty choreography to vehicular manslaughter; meanwhile, a troupe member from a local production of Cats is pretending to be a real cat for the sake of literally delusional Donovan. Does it make sense? Not really. Is it going to win any Emmy? Hell no. MARJORIE SKINNER Mississippi Studios.
See Film, this issue. Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Jack and Jill
See Film, this issue. Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
Martha Marcy May Marlene
"What is wrong with you?" That's the refrain directed at Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) with increasing urgency over the course of director Sean Durkin's first feature. College-aged Martha has just run away from a cult in the Catskills after a two-year absence from her former life. Taking shelter with her concerned sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and her husband Ted (Hugh Dancy), she finds it increasingly difficult to readjust to normal life: She skinny dips in front of Ted, she plops down on the bed while he and Lucy are having sex, and she accuses them of materialism even as she freeloads off their generosity. There's a sense that this arresting, moodily beautiful film doesn't quite know what to do with itself, and the narrative calls it quits just as another chapter appears poised to unfold. At first, the finish feels too abrupt—but when it sinks in, its ambiguity feels like a perfect reflection of its central character's guiding conundrum. MARJORIE SKINNER Fox Tower 10.
The Names of Love
A French romcom about a flighty young woman—so flighty she occasionally forgets to put on clothes! Imagine that!—who wages a one-woman war against "fascism" by sleeping with, and then converting, right-wing politicians. It's a rare film that manages to be at once exhaustingly precious and irritatingly strident, but The Names of Love pulls it off. ALISON HALLETT Living Room Theaters.
Northwest Filmmakers' Festival
See Film, this issue. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Perception of Moving Targets
A locally produced film presented with a live score by Grouper. Hollywood Theatre.
The Power of Two
A documentary about "half-Japanese twin sisters Anabel Stenzel and Isabel Stenzel Byrnes [and] their battle with the fatal genetic disease cystic fibrosis." Director in attendance. Hollywood Theatre.
Revenge of the Electric Car
Five years ago, director Chris Paine closed his documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? with heartrending footage of General Motors hacks grimly pulverizing the shit out of their first—and pretty marvelous—attempt at a mass-produced electric car, the EV1. It was ludicrous, and the bad press clearly managed to pierce GM's thick hide. And, so, fast forward five years, and guess who stars—gauzily—in Revenge of the Electric Car, Paine's upbeat valentine to electric vehicles? Uh-huh. General Motors. Paine also takes us through the drama of the 2008 recession, which nearly killed GM and Tesla. But because we know how it all ends, Revenge starts to drag—and even the charisma of its iconoclastic characters can't help it along. Hollywood Theatre.
The Rum Diary
Based on the trailers, one could scarcely be blamed for thinking The Rum Diary was going to be Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas all over again. There stands Johnny Depp, after all, starring as another shade of Hunter S. Thompson in a trashed hotel room with bloodshot eyes. But Diary—based on the early novel Thompson abandoned until its eventual publication in the '90s—is only somewhat autobiographical, and its dedication to its characters' extremes of alcohol consumption is given stiff competition from the story's real meat—that of a writer finding his guiding light. For all its roughhouse antics, Diary's an earnest, somewhat naïve transmission of the reckless young reporter Thompson once was. MARJORIE SKINNER Various Theaters.
The Skin I Live In
With his provocative new film, Pedro Almodóvar runs with the idea that Frankenstein's monster would be much more disturbing if sex were involved. This notion proves very, very correct. It'd be a laughable understatement to describe The Skin I Live In as "not for everyone"—it's strange, disturbing, and utterly unflinching in its literal deconstruction of gender and selfhood. But Almodóvar also baits this trap seductively—every surface is elegant and crisp, every shot so artfully composed that even the most grotesque medical footage has an undeniable beauty, and it's all leavened with a lurid smear of melodrama that plays with the line between horror and camp. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
Some Guy Who Kills People
I heart your matter-of-fact title, Some Guy Who Kills People! You're obviously a fan of Some Chick Who Kills People and Some Tire Who Kills People, in that you combine the revenge of the Kill Bills and the off-kilter dark humor of Rubber. You also have great turns from Kevin Corrigan as a befuddled loser recently released from the loony bin, Karen Black as his acid-tongued mother, and the very-funny Barry Bostwick as a local sheriff who's bumbling his way through a serial murderer case. You're also an an amusing flick that skips around between bloody vindication, earnest father/daughter bonding, and quirky comedy, and while it's true that you don't ever gel beyond your various bits and pieces, you're a pretty likeable motley monster all the same. COURTNEY FERGUSON Clinton Street Theater.
There Will Be Blood
"I do my own drilling and the men that work for me work for me and they are men I know. I make it my business to be there and see to their work. I don't lose my tools in the hole and spend months fishing for them; I don't botch the cementing off and let water in the hole and ruin the whole lease. I'm a family man—I run a family business. This is my son and my partner, H.W. Plainview." Laurelhurst Theater.
This Is Spinal Tap
See My, What a Busy Week! Bagdad Theater.
The latest installment in the Clinton Street Theater's Flat Top Film Series, 1986's Thunder Run stars Forest Tucker as a Korean War veteran facing off against terrorists. Clinton Street Theater.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
An SUV full of douchey college kids sets off into the woods for a camping trip in the Appalachians. They stop at a backwoods store. And there, at the creepy yokel Plaid Pantry, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil begins its supreme send-up of the horror genre. Director/writer Eli Craig's first feature blends broad (and hysterical) slapstick with tons of gross gore, loveable characters, and a genius upside-down riff on a horror trope. COURTNEY FERGUSON Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
Look, I'm not going to convince you that AVH&KXMas3D is must-see comedy, nor would I try to, but it does a decent job balancing half-assed vulgar wordplay with a gleefully outlandish plot. It's probably best enjoyed in 25-minute chunks on cable, but if you're stoned with nothing to do and looking for a giggle, you'll find it. Plus, it's got Patton Oswalt and Brett Gelman and Danny Trejo in a Christmas sweater, and I would argue any of those three things are added value to any movie. And that's to say nothing of "Wafflebot," the finest stoner-comedy sidekick since the robot falcon in Your Highness. What can I say, I'm a sucker for robot sidekicks. VINCE MANCINI Oak Grove 8 Cinemas.
A Zed and Two Naughts
Peter Greenaway's 1986 dark comedy. Fifth Avenue Cinema.