48-Hour Film Project
The best of Portland's entries from the 48-Hour Film Project, in which teams of local filmmakers had a scant two days to create a film. More info: 48hourfilm.com/Portland. Hollywood Theatre.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
I'll let you in on a secret: Writing negative reviews is pretty easy. Every doofy plot twist and bungled CG jumpkick pulls you out of the moviegoing experience, allowing you plenty of time to compose elaborately mean puns for your headline. It's harder to review a movie when it succeeds—and I mean really succeeds, in that it draws you in completely. The surreal, fantastic Beasts of the Southern Wild is that kind of movie: You may leave the theater conflicted and even confused, but you won't be thinking about anything else while you're watching it. BEN COLEMAN Century Clackamas Town Center, Cinema 21, Kiggins Theatre.
The Bourne Legacy
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The classic, funny, gory horror flick—made by Peter Jackson before he had CG and unlimited budgets. Beware the Sumatran Rat-Monkey. Hotel deLuxe.
An Evening with Leif Peterson
The Portland filmmaker shows off Earth and Eden, two recent films "based on the creation mythology of the Bible." Director in attendance. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
See My, What a Busy Week! Laurelhurst Theater.
Fat, Bald, Short Man
Antonio Farfán is in a tough spot: he has no luck with women, his brother is an asshole, he gets picked on at work, and he's cripplingly shy. In the animated Fat, Bald, Short Man, he must look into himself to figure out how to stand up for himself. Though the animation is sometimes nauseating and the story is slow to start, the themes are all too relatable. ZIBBY PILLOTE Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
See My, What a Busy Week! Washington Park.
Democracy is a really amazing thing: It breeds power-hungry men in suits and can allow anyone to be elected into office—even a severed finger. In Sergio Teubal's subtle, fresh political satire The Finger, a small pueblo in Argentina faces a mayoral race in the midst of its upgrade from village to town. In the midst of murder and competition, two brothers face off against the corrupt Don Hidalgo (Gabriel Goity) for the title of mayor. ZIBBY PILLOTE Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai 3D
See review this issue. Living Room Theaters.
A creaky old couple (Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones) decide to undergo a week of counseling with a renowned therapist (Steve Carrell). Your mom is going to love this thing. Various Theaters.
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 Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, City Center 12, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Mall 8.
The Queen of Versailles
Documentarian Lauren Greenfield got career-definingly lucky with The Queen of Versailles. When she began making a movie about the construction of the largest house in America—a 90,000-square-foot monstrosity designed by time-share mogul David Siegel and his wife Jackie—Greenfield inadvertently secured herself a front-row seat to the Siegels' plunge from mindless excess to fiscal uncertainty when the financial crisis wiped out most of David's assets. As head of the world's most successful time-share operation, David made his fortune selling poor people the illusion of wealth, two weeks a year at a time. As his son puts it, "Everyone wants to be rich. If they can't be rich, the next best thing is to feel rich." And the third best thing is to watch tacky rich people lose all their money and have to put their kids in public school. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
Three men, brought together for a funeral, "come to terms with their capacity for betrayal and desire for revenge." Like Klingons! Clinton Street Theater.
The Round Up
In 1942 France, Nazi collaborators round up 13,000 Parisian Jews, including 4,000 children. The feel-good movie of the year! Living Room Theaters.
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 Hollywood Theatre.
The Story of Film: An Odyssey
Mark Cousins' amazing 15-hour survey of cinema history aims to draw a clear chronology from the invention of rolled film and projection to the onset of 21st-century digital cinema whilst exploring everything in between. In doing so, Cousins circles the globe in search of films and filmmakers who never got their dues. The Story of Film is addictive, and the Northwest Film Center has thankfully spaced the five three-hour-long episodes over multiple weeks. JAMIE S. RICH Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The 1995 Kathryn Bigelow/James Cameron cyberpunk flick, in which people in the distant future of 1999 can jack into each others' memories. It's crazy! Fifth Avenue Cinema.
The Sun Legend of the End of the Tokugawa Era
Yuzo Kawashima's 1957 comedy. Yuzo Kawashima was not into the whole brevity thing. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Tales of Dell City, Texas
A documentary about the meager town of Dell City, Texas, consisting of vignettes made with the assistance of Dell City's remaining residents. Clinton Street Theater.
It lacks the bloody, bug-eyed lunacy of Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall, but this one—directed by Underworld and Live Free or Die Hard's Len Wiseman—is both a lot of fun and a lot better than it needs to be. There are nods to Verhoeven's film, but for the most part, Wiseman and screenwriters Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback are content to dole out loads of splashy, spazzy action, craft dizzying, gorgeous futurescapes (Wiseman cleverly blends the visuals of two other loosely-inspired-by-Dick films, Blade Runner and Minority Report), and to let Colin Farrell be all Jason Bourne in the Year 2084. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.