The Amazing Spider-Man
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The Ballad of Genesis
and Lady Jaye
In this unforgettable documentary, punk music pioneer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge decided to take his love for his partner, Lady Jaye (now deceased), to the visceral extreme: Transforming his body into hers. Through plastic surgery, Genesis crosses the streams of art and biology, joining them in his romantic quest to honor his lover. With a story that goes over the cliff from love to obsession, director Marie Losier's film is as fucked-up and fascinating as it sounds. The documentary matches its subject note for note: Chaotic, spooky, engrossing, and confusing, it's not easy to watch but is impossible to look away from. SARAH MIRK Cinema 21.
Like a basset hound coming in first at the Kentucky Derby, Richard Linklater's Bernie is a floppy, improbable triumph. Nothing about it should work, but almost everything does. Essentially the story of a very friendly murderer (Jack Black), Bernie poses a finely balanced ethical quandary: What do we do when someone we like does something terrible to someone we hate? This isn't a documentary, and Linklater isn't constrained with balance or objectivity. Your opinion will shift, at times in sync with and in times in opposition to the film. Films this challenging are rarely so pleasant about it. BEN COLEMAN Hollywood Theatre, Tigard 11 Cinemas.
The Best of God
"A finely curated presentation of the strangest and most absurd God moments ever captured on film," hosted by the Alamo Drafthouse's Owen Egerton. Cinema 21.
Far more than relics like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Ariel and Jasmine and the rest of the Disney Princesses have come to personify Disney—and, to some extent, Disney subsidiary Pixar. Because while Pixar's made movies starring fish and robots and geriatrics and toys and cars, they've admirably resisted the temptation to crank out an easy cash grab about a prin—shit. Wait. Brave is totally about a princess! That's why its trailers have been so boring! But high five for restraint: Brave's ads have shown little beyond the film's first act—which is a pretty great surprise, since that's right about the time Brave stops copying Walt's Entitled Princess Formula™ and starts getting interesting. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
The Cabin in the Woods
Taking the overripe "college kids headed into the woods" horror genre and layering it with smart twists, Cabin in the Woods is a delightful Frankenstein's monster of borrowed bits and electrified fun. Even though the Joss Whedon-penned Cabin languished on the studio shelf for two years, it's shiny rather than musty, and crammed full of cleverness, humor, and gory surprises. COURTNEY FERGUSON Academy Theater, Avalon, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst Theater.
A Cat in Paris
An adorable French girl and her adorable cat cross paths with Paris' most notorious criminal gang. You will enjoy this stylish little cartoon if you are a child or a lonely cat lady. (I enjoyed it.) ALISON HALLETT Living Room Theaters.
Gene Hackman! Francis Ford Coppola. Laurelhurst Theater.
It's not so much that director Tim Burton is a fuck-up—he most certainly is. The question usually lies in how he's going to fuck up. His days as the enfant terrible of such juicy hits as Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands are long past, and for the last 20 years he's become increasingly known as the "Woody Allen of horror quirk"—a once-great auteur unable to relight his former spark. So it comes as no surprise that Dark Shadows is another Burton disaster—though in this case, he can share the blame. Basing a movie on an oddball '60s horror/gothic soap opera is an almost impossible uphill climb. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.
The "running of the Jew" scene in Borat is 100 times funnier than anything in The Dictator. That scene was lurid, politically incorrect, and above all, specific. Making fun of a Muslim strongman, though, as The Dictator does, isn't even politically incorrect—in fact, it's probably the most politically correct. The Dictator just couches all its jokes in vulgarity to make it seem politically incorrect. It's like shitty fake punk, where you scratch the strings and grimace even though the song's about holding hands at a Dairy Queen. Throwing money at cockroaches because the Jews are shapeshifters is creative, and, again, specific. The opposite of that? Saying you want to get home so you can watch The Real Housewives of Ahmadinehulalabajad. I love poop/fart/vagina humor, but less so when it's just a crutch to prop up lazy pop culture references. HAHA, LINDSAY LOHAN! VINCE MANCINI Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Actor Mark Kelly in attendance for the 8:30 pm screenings on Fri July 6 and Sat July 7. Living Room Theaters.
A documentary about how "protesters who were once described as environmental activists are being called 'terrorists.'" Screening will be followed by a Q&A and musical performances by Tre Arrow and the Primordial Sound Sisters. You are currently living in a Portlandia sketch. Clinton Street Theater.
El Velador: The Nightwatchman
A vague visual poem about the weight everyday Mexican citizens feel living in the midst of a deadly drug war. Director Natalia Almada uses long, beautiful scenes to capture the life of Martin, a cemetery nightwatchman in Culiacan, Mexico, with only his movements, his silence, and a small television set showing weather forecasts and murders for narration. El Velador isn't overly long, so it has a nice feel to it, but when the film ended, I still didn't know why Martin spent so much time watering the road. SUZETTE SMITH Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Extraordinary Voyage
The hour-long documentary about film director Georges Méliès (AKA the old man in Hugo) and the restoration of his most famous creation, A Trip to the Moon, plays like an extended DVD extra, but it's worth it to see the new print of Moon that follows. The downside: The new score by techno duo Air is kitschy and overbearing. JAMIE S. RICH Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Georgia Guidestones Movie
A documentary about Georgia's "imposing granite monument cryptically inscribed with 10 guidelines for mankind in eight different languages." Director in attendance. Clinton Street Theater.
I Heart Shakey
A children's film starring Steve Guttenberg as "Stubbs." Clinton Street Theater.
Local filmmakers Jade Adjani and David Meek examine the conflict between conservation and commerce at Nanda Devi, the highest peak in India. Directors in attendance. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Katy Perry: Part of Me
This film was not screened for critics. :( Various Theaters.
The Limits of Control
Director Jim Jarmusch has never been one to pay too much heed to plot, preferring to focus his intense talents on deliberate pacing, kooky characters, and overall mood. But where past endeavors have succeeded with this formula, The Limits of Control lacks a payoff after all its glacial pacing. It's an existential, '60s-style caper—without any sort of closure, or moment of release, or even any idea of what, exactly, the caper involves. COURTNEY FERGUSON Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Steven Soderbergh makes the movies he wants to make, and apparently this time around he really wanted to make a movie that prominently features Matthew McConaughey's glistening abs and Channing Tatum hopping around shirtless while wearing a little hat. But Magic Mike is more than just a straight-to-screen Chippendales revue: Soderbergh is interested in all aspects of his characters' work, and the strip club behind-the-scenes are some of the film's most entertaining, as the dancers sew their own thongs, shave their legs, and swap theories about "Waffle House pussy" while drinking home-brewed Viagra. It's almost a shame that Magic Mike has to have a plot at all, and the half-hour of story shoehorned in at the end is about what you'd expect from a movie about Florida strippers: drugs, weird sex, a baby pig eating vomit off the floor of a fancy apartment. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
Meet John Doe
Frank Capra's 1941 film starring Gary Cooper, the Channing Tatum of his day. Clinton Street Theater.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Nerd alert. Academy Theater.
Wes Anderson, god bless him, just keeps making Wes Anderson movies. As expected, Moonrise Kingdom is mannered, precious, nostalgic, and twee—and it's also about as good a movie about childhood as an adult is capable of making. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
One Week Job
A documentary that follows Sean Aiken, who "set out to work 52 jobs in 52 weeks." Clinton Street Theater.
People Like Us
So you know how people mock Garden State as an example of a directorial debut project gone... not exactly wrong, but overwrought? All first-time-director-y? People Like Us is very much the same deal. There are the same close-ups of serious faces and slightly blurred objects that scream "I'm an artist," and, more notably, the plot is similar: a young man who isn't living life to the fullest receives news that a parent has suddenly died, and while dealing with tragedy, meets a woman who will change his life. The difference with this film is that instead of yelling into a crevasse with a manic Natalie Portman, Sam (Chris Pine, swoon) goes to AA meetings with a half-sister he never knew he had, Frankie (Elizabeth Banks, who I guess is just in everything now). ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
A prequel to Alien, Ridley Scott's return to science fiction, and, on both counts, a disappointment. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
Safety Not Guaranteed
Until the dark day of I Can Has Cheezburger: The Movie!, Safety Not Guaranteed will stand—as far as I can tell—as the only motion picture inspired by an internet meme. While its origins make Safety Not Guaranteed sound slight and disposable—a few steps above Battleship in Hollywood's "Oh shit, what else can we turn into a movie?!" descent—the difference is that Safety Not Guaranteed is both staunchly independent and very, very good. Funny and sad and sweet and clever, it's a film that transcends its roots to become—and I know we're only halfway through 2012, but fuck it—one of the best films of the year. ERIK HENRIKSEN Fox Tower 10, Hollywood Theatre.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
An asteroid is on a crash course with Earth, giving Dodge (Steve Carell) and the rest of humanity about three weeks before the apocalypse—and for the first half hour or so, writer/director Lorene Scafaria injects Seeking a Friend for the End of the World with scathing, unrepentantly dark humor. Scafaria's time writing for Childrens Hospital is in full effect (along with very funny cameos by Patton Oswalt, Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel, and others) as Dodge's pathetic qualities are played for laughs: He continues to clock in for his soul-numbing insurance job; he still endeavors to go to the gym; his wife literally sprints away from him as soon as they learn the world is going to be destroyed. But then Dodge meets his wacky neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley), and everything turns into romantic glop. NED LANNAMANN Fox Tower 10.
It's a mystery why Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) exists. A talking teddy bear brought to life by a lonely little boy who wished upon a star, he grew up with the boy, John (Mark Wahlberg), until they both became beer swilling, bong ripping, fast-cussing Bostonian men. Ted exists primarily for the comedic fun of an adorable but dirty teddy bear who hires prostitutes (one of whom shits on the floor on a dare), sings cocaine-fueled karaoke, and fights—an extended hotel fight scene being the film's finest moment. MARJORIE SKINNER Various Theaters.
James Cameron's lean, mean sci-fi classic, presented by local podcasters Cort and Fatboy and the Mercury. Bagdad Theater.
To Rome With Love
See review this issue. Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, Century Clackamas Town Center, City Center 12, Fox Tower 10.
Why I Am a Feminist
A filmed interview with French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, presented as a fundraiser for In Other Words Feminist Community Center. Screening followed by Q&A with Portland feminists.
Your Sister's Sister
Jack (Mark Duplass) is a sad sack of a guy who commemorates the one-year anniversary of his brother's death by drunkenly shouting at the friends who insist on romanticizing his dead sibling. Afterward, he's cornered by his best friend Iris (Emily Blunt), who firmly instructs him that after a year of grieving, it's time to get his head together. She sends him off to enjoy some quiet time at her family cabin, but solitude isn't on the agenda: Jack arrives to find the house already occupied by Iris' half-sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt), who's drowning her own breakup-related sorrows in tequila. Most of My Sister's Sister is about interpersonal relationships, about characters figuring out who they are in relationship to one another, even when things get weird. It's disappointing, then, when the plot takes a Jerry Springer-esque turn three-quarters of the way through—as though Shelton lost faith that the tension generated by these complex relationships alone was sufficient to get the characters where they needed to go. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.