21 Jump Street
Even while pop culture is devouring its own tail, it manages to shit out an occasional gem. 21 Jump Street is that gem—a far, far more entertaining film than it has any business being. Neither a gritty reimagining™ nor a full-on parody, it's mostly just a silly take on reliving high school that manages both laughs and, occasionally, a disturbing amount of earnestness. VINCE MANCINI Various Theaters.
The premise, if it needs to be stated, is that the gang is back in town for their high school reunion (because everyone saves the big party for that 13-year mark). Aaaand, that's it. Everything else unfolds in those familiar arcs of hijinks gone astray, where everyone gets drunk and Jim (Jason Biggs) is put into sexually compromising predicaments, whether it be winding up with a mostly naked teenage girl passed out face-down on his lap or fighting in a suburban front-lawn fistfight while wearing what can only be described as studded bondage lederhosen. If anything, Reunion strays from American Pie's spirit only in its level of sentimentality. MARJORIE SKINNER Various Theaters.
Best of the 38th Northwest Filmmakers' Festival
A selection of short films from last year's Northwest Filmmakers' Festival, with several directors in attendance. More info: nwfilm.org. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Blue Like Jazz
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Boy tells the story of an 11-year-old growing up in rural 1980s New Zealand amid harsh circumstances. His mother died giving birth to his younger brother, who remains haunted by guilt. His father is a deadbeat wanderer who goes missing for years at a time. His best friend is literally a goat. And when his grandmother is called away to a distant funeral, he's left in charge of a bustling household of cousins young enough to need diapers (plus food and shelter). But out of this grim Kiwi spin on Home Alone, Boy explodes in a hundred directions that are the opposite of grim. "Welcome to my interesting world," says Boy, introducing the film's kid's-eye view while communicating our narrator's inherent innocence. Unlike the viewer, our hero lacks the life experience to recognize his circumstances as harsh—this is simply his life, and he offers it up to us as innocently as an 11-year-old would, using the tools at an 11-year-old's disposal: cartoonish fantasies, scratchy illustrations, cut-and-paste collages, and charmingly simplistic explanations. Boy is a candy-colored crowd-pleaser packed with deep, dark substance, and it's just about perfect. DAVID SCHMADER Fox Tower 10.
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
Cabin in the Woods
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
"In Vegas, everybody's gotta watch everybody else." Laurelhurst Theater.
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope
126,000 people in face paint and stormtrooper costumes swarm San Diego every year to attend Comic-Con International. It's not hard to understand why: It looks really fun. Or, at least, documentary director Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) makes it look really fun. In between shots of fans standing in lines or aspiring comics creators standing in line, Spurlock packs Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope with tons of geeky talking heads: Frank Miller, Gerard Way, Eli Roth, Kevin Smith, Seth Rogen, and Joss Whedon and Stan Lee—who also serve as producers of the film—all speak humorously of their Comic-Con experiences. The interviews are extraordinarily clever, and there's the feeling of having an insider pass to see these famed nerds, of getting to run along with them in a series of underground tunnels beneath the San Diego Convention Center, hidden from the eyes of their obsessive fans.Director in attendance for 7:15 show on Sat April 7. Hollywood Theatre.
Filmed by Bike
See My, What a Busy Week! Clinton Street Theater.
Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr., featuring a live score. Hollywood Theatre.
Does the world need another movie about the romantic entanglements of excessively attractive French people? Let me go ahead and answer that provocative question for you, based on extensive research I recently conducted (ie watching a DVD review copy of Four Lovers): No, it doesn't, not even a little bit, and QUIT BEING SO SAD, HOT PEOPLE. Like a key party that lasts way too long, Four Lovers follows two French couples as they conduct a long-lived and somewhat successful partner-swapping experiment. Each couple is allowed to sleep with the opposite-sex partner in the other pair; the couples even socialize together, and at first everything is fun and no one is jealous. I'll give you a guess how long that lasts! (If you guessed 80 minutes, congratulations, you're not a fucking idiot.) ALISON HALLETT Living Room Theaters.
See review this issue. Director in attendance on Sat April 14. Hollywood Theatre.
How Can We Keep From Singing & Walk to Me
Two documentaries made by Lani Jo Leigh, one of the new owners of the Clinton Street Theater. Both films are screening as part of a meet-and-greet event featuring Lani Jo Leigh and her husband, Roger Leigh, during which they'll discuss what's next for the Clinton. Clinton Street Theater.
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games movie is so much better than it needs to be. The franchise is already poised to be the Next Big Thing; had its casting been less thoughtful or its political message diluted, the film still would've broken box office records and moved plenty of tie-in nail polish. But this first installment in a projected trilogy is as smart, compelling, and as politically pointed as any fan of its source material—Suzanne Collins' great novels—could hope. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
A 10-seat restaurant in a Tokyo subway is the unlikely home base of the exceedingly fastidious Jiro Ono, widely known as the world's best sushi chef. David Gelb's worshipful portrait of Ono is blowhard-y at times, but will whet your appetite for both raw fish and work/life balance. MARJORIE SKINNER Hollywood Theatre, Living Room Theaters.
The Kid With a Bike
An 11-year-old Belgian boy is abandoned by his Belgian father, but a sweet Belgian lady hairdresser takes him under her Belgian wing. The kid rides his Belgian bike around the Belgian village and flirts with becoming a Belgian juvenile delinquent—which is kind of like a regular American juvenile delinquent, except way less scary. But all is well; Belgian kid and Belgian lady all work it out and ride some Belgian bikes. This was a good movie. It was sweet and touching. And Belgian. NED LANNAMANN Living Room Theaters.
Kung Fu Theater
Old-school kung fu on 35 mm! Up this time: Yuen Woo-ping's 1989 flick Dreadnaught. Hollywood Theatre.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Julia Roberts is the aging queen of a corrupt empire, clinging by manicured fingernails to her fading looks in a world that values youth and beauty above all. She also stars in the new Snow White movie Mirror Mirror! SNAP! ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
A Night to Remember
The Titanic flick from 1958, screened to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the Titanic's sinking. Hollywood Theatre.
North by Northwest
"That's funny. That plane's dustin' crops where there ain't no crops." Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
We're stranded out in the desolate countryside for nearly the first hour of the lengthy Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. Nearly every shot in the film is filled with shadow; unforgiving yellow and orange light exposes the corners of the dim. Very little happens, although we gradually get to know some of the men working on an investigation, including the police commissioner, the examining physician, and the case's prosecutor. If this sounds boring, well, it is, mostly. But there's a beauty and rhythm to the way director Nuri Bilge Ceylan ponderously peels back layers of the central mystery—slowly, so incredibly slowly—to reveal further mystery. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.
Opera vs. Cinema
Opera Theater Oregon combines a screening of 1920's silent Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with live music from pianist Douglas Schneider, percussionist Ian Kerr, and tenor Daniel Buchanan. The last one of these Opera Theater Oregon did—for Metropolis—was fun. This one probably will be, too. Mission Theater.
Portland Jewish Film Festival
See Film, this issue. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Raid: Redemption
The Raid: Redemption has a character or two, I'm sure; it has some plot, I think. But none of that matters, because in The Raid, those things are mere interludes in a nearly nonstop parade of stunning action sequences. The Raid is an action movie; it is about nothing more than action. And good action. The sort that used to be dealt by John Woo, before America ruined him. Or Tony Jaa, when he teased us with Ong Bak before going insane. Or Jackie Chan, by which I mean Drunken Master II Jackie Chan. That sort of action. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Rock & Religion: The Medium of Worship
Holy Ghost People, first released in 1967, opens with a brief, unbiased history of the Pentacostal church before turning the camera to a service in West Virginia. For the next 50 minutes we watch these people united through faith as they speak tongues, convulse, sing, and throw poisonous snakes across the room. This documentary offers a combination of strikingly beautiful cinematography and horrifying content found only in the very best of its genre, inspiring equal parts awe and paranoia. For this screening, Cinema Project has paired it appropriately with Dan Graham's Rock My Religion, which highlights the parallels between religious fanaticism and rock & roll culture. CLARE GORDON Hollywood Theatre.
Nothing surprising happens in the Ryan Reynolds/Denzel Washington vehicle Safe House; from its opening shot, every scene progresses exactly as you expect, and then it keeps going for what feels like 50 hours, and then Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild" rolls over its end credits. That's a mean, churning song; in any given snippet, it contains more life than anything or anyone in Safe House. ERIK HENRIKSEN Academy Theater, Avalon, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst Theater, Milwaukie Cinemas.
The Secret World of Arrietty
Forget the '92 BBC miniseries The Borrowers, or John Goodman's '97 adaptation (if you haven't already) of Mary Norton's classic children's book. Studio Ghibli presents a quietly compelling anime version of the story, written by Spirited Away's Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. The film masterfully demonstrates the worldview of the borrowers by rapid pullback shots, their small stature fully realized when Arrietty's mother gets trapped in a jar and is unable to escape. It's also filled with special little details—like when Arrietty uses a leaf as an umbrella and flies through the yard trying to avoid an entanglement with a grasshopper—and loud, comical, emotional outbursts by Arrietty's worrisome mother and the cunning housekeeper. Despite the inherent dangers of Arrietty's world, the landscapes look slightly like an impressionistic painting, and the wind is always whistling through the trees. AMY SCOTT Academy Theater, Avalon, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst Theater, Liberty Theatre, Milwaukie Cinemas, St. Johns Theater and Pub.
Ostensibly a film about the separation of a wife, Simin (Leila Hatami), from her husband, Nader (Peyman Maadi), A Separation quietly spans a much greater field of inquiry. With Hitchcockian pacing, this Iranian film by Asghar Farhadi spirals out to explore the ripple effects of Simin's push for independence. Without being overtly political, Farhadi's created a revealing portrait of contemporary Iranian life. As the film's layers steadily build in complexity, so too does the audience's investment in its characters. MARJORIE SKINNER Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
The Three Stooges
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie
An extended dose of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (To many, Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker schtick is supremely annoying; to others, it's the cutting edge of comedy.) While the show, by definition, changes gears every 10 minutes, the film is one long, increasingly wrong ride that leaves the viewer a little exhausted. Much like a box of whip-its, a few quick hits is boneheaded fun; doing the whole thing kind of crosses the line into depressing. MARJORIE SKINNER
Titanic! Again! Various Theaters.
David Lynch's TV series on the big screen. There's a star next to this, obviously.
Jennifer Aniston and our sparkly-eyed squeal factory Paul Rudd are Linda and George, a Manhattan couple who goes broke, loses their tiny condo, and heads to Atlanta to find work with George's horrible brother, Rick (Ken Marino). En route they stumble upon Elysium, a hippie commune that (SPOILER ALERT, if you're dumb) changes the way they see the world. Now, you're probably going to want to do what I did when you see Aniston on the poster—i.e., write this movie off because she does NOT make good movies and doesn't need your $9 contribution to her Salty Aging Sorority Girl Pilates Club. (Also because the whole thing looks boring and lame.) But resist that urge, because this movie is, surprisingly, pretty goddamned funny. I was all, "Chuckle chuckle, wait what is happening?" ELINOR JONES Academy Theater, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst Theater.
A grab bag of old cartoons and trailers. Patrons can come and go; runs from 7 pm to 11 pm. Clinton Street Theater.
Wrath of the Titans
The plot could fit on a pair of knuckle tattoos, so I'm just going to tell you some of the cool things that happen: Perseus tricks a chimera into exploding. Bill Nighy yells at a mechanical owl. All the monsters have two heads and shoot fire. Rosamund Pike is very pretty. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes act at each other. An army fights a volcano. Someone flies a laser Pegasus down a lava monster. BEN COLEMAN Various Theaters.