Film Shorts 

In Which We Hit It and Quit It

HELLO I MUST BE GOING Why hello indeed, Melanie Lynskey.

HELLO I MUST BE GOING Why hello indeed, Melanie Lynskey.

17 Girls
A few years ago, news broke that 18 girls in a Massachusetts high school got pregnant during one school year, possibly the result of a pregnancy pact. 17 Girls relocates that provocative premise to a small French town, where the pregnancy of a devastatingly charismatic alpha female prompts over a dozen copycat pregnancies. Slow-paced and stylishly mopey, it's less about individual characters than pretty teenagers en masse, as they leap heedlessly into life-altering decisions, unable to imagine life after age 18 and disbelieving that any adult could possibly lead a life worth living. But while it may be accurate to film teenaged girls as if they're herd animals, the film' disinterest in individual characters gives it a drifting, unmoored quality. ALISON HALLETT Clinton Street Theater.

25 New Faces of Independent Film
A survey of emerging filmmakers, selected by Filmmaker Magazine. This year's picks include Eugene filmmaker Ian Clark, who will be in attendance. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

recommended Apocalypse: A Bill Callahan Tour Documentary
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.

Arbitrage
Arbitrage opens on a warm family scene: Dead-eyed Robert (Richard Gere) shares a birthday dinner with his wife and children, reveling in the love of his family and the imminent sale of his company. It's an enviable, candlelit vision of the good life—and its hollowness is quickly revealed when Robert dashes off for a visit with his gap-toothed French mistress. Robert's business dealings are as shady as his personal ones, turns out, and he's eager to sell his company before anyone realizes he's been cooking the books. An accident and a cover-up straight from the pages of Bonfire of the Vanities further undo Robert's good-guy façade. Rich people are the worst. There's not a trace of ambiguity or moral complexity here—yes, Arbitrage functions as a reminder that rich people play by different rules than the rest of us. But so was watching the Republican National Convention, so is reading a newspaper, and so is being a reasonably attentive member of society. ALISON HALLETT Living Room Theaters.

recommended 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 Hollywood Theatre, Liberty Theatre, Living Room Theaters.

recommended The Big Sleep
Humphrey Bogart spars with Lauren Bacall in Howard Hawks' 1946 adaptation of Raymond Chandler's book. There's murder, blackmail, intrigue, and innuendo, and despite the convoluted plot (not even Chandler could figure out who killed the chauffeur), Bogie, as Philip Marlowe, does a great job of keeping pace with the audience, tugging on his earlobe in nervous confusion. This is prototypical noir, and a fantastic detective movie; what's more, Marlowe's success with the ladies is obvious inspiration for another famous film dick—you might know him as Bond. Screening introduced by comics writer (and Mercury contributor) Jamie S. Rich, who will discuss how the film influenced his graphic novel You Have Killed Me, illustrated by Joëlle Jones. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.

Bumps
An avant-garde take on a supposed high school pregnancy plot, Bumps lands comfortably in the sweet spot between competent and unwatchable. Sound and editing issues abound, but it's fun to see some young ladies make a movie in their own voice. COURTNEY FERGUSON Clinton Street Theater.

recommended The Campaign
Will Ferrell stars as Cam Brady, a four-term Congressman from North Carolina who is running unopposed for reelection—even when he accidentally leaves a wholesome family a dirty voicemail about rimjobs, he's got no fear of losing. Enter Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), the local director of tourism who gets backed by an evil corporation in order to take Brady's seat. Though it pains me, I will politely refrain from telling you much more about where the story goes, because the jaw-droppingly horrible twists and turns are what make The Campaign so fun. But I will say this—you know that part in the trailer where Will Ferrell punches a baby? He punches something way worse than that later in the movie. Think of something worse to punch than a baby! ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.

Compliance
See review this issue. Cinema 21.

recommended Dangerous Desires: Film Noir Classics
The Northwest Film Center's noir series. This week's films: The Glass Key, The Blue Dahlia, and The Window. More info: "Unusual Suspects" (Mercury, Sept 13), nwfilm.org. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

recommended The Dark Knight Rises IMAX
If that other, decidedly more candy-colored superflick, The Avengers, was about the importance of teamwork, The Dark Knight Rises delivers the same message on a deeper, much grander scale. Bladders beware: The Dark Knight Rises runs just shy of a bottom-numbing three hours, but you're in competent hands with director Christopher Nolan, who trusts your intelligence enough to delve into the emotional life of these characters while keeping the action hot enough to pull you from scene to scene. There's a finality here assuring you that not an inch of celluloid will be wasted, and Nolan's not going to leave the park without swinging for the fence. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY OMSI Omnimax.

David Copperfield
The oldest known film adaptation of Dickens' novel, produced by the Thanhouser Film Company in New York in 1911. Introduced by Ned Thanhouser, president of Thanhouser Company Film Preservation. One more time: Thanhouser! Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

recommended Dredd
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

Hello I Must Be Going
Thirtysomething Amy (Melanie Lynskey) has gone through an unwanted divorce and fled Manhattan to stay at her parents' home in Connecticut. She's depressed, hasn't changed her clothes or left the house in months, and is wallowing in her malaise. At a dinner party for a potentially important client for her father, Amy meets 19-year-old Jeremy (Christopher Abbott): He is vegan, serious, cute, and unhappy. Despite their age difference, they embark on a weird pubescent affair. They understand each other in their being misunderstood by their families; they are directionless people finding each other and being directionless together. The hot sex with a younger guy finally perks Amy up a bit, and through the experience, she discovers that the relationships in her life aren't necessarily what she thought they were. The film is somewhat exasperating and you never really get a sense of who Amy might be if she weren't in these particular circumstances. Soundtrack contributor Laura Veirs will perform after the 7 pm show on Fri Sept 21. GILLIAN ANDERSON Fox Tower 10.

It's Such a Beautiful Day
The latest from animator Don Hertzfeldt, combining three shorts into a feature-length film. Hollywood Theatre.

recommended Jackpot Film Festival
See My, What a Busy Week! and jackpotrecords.com. Bagdad Theater.

recommended Lawless
Before strapping on the gimp mask in The Dark Knight Rises, and before terrifying/thrilling everyone in Bronson, British actor Tom Hardy was winning modeling contests and playing Patrick Stewart's shaven, sniveling clone in Star Trek: Nemesis. Not the most auspicious beginning, and one that seems even stranger when watching the confident, beautiful, and violent Lawless, the latest from The Proposition and The Road director John Hillcoat. All but unrecognizable, Hardy shuffles and grunts his way through 1931 Virginia, where he and his brothers Jack (Shia LaBeouf) and Howard (Jason Clarke) run moonshine. Hardy, predictably, is fantastic—taciturn and grim until he's pushed, at which point he becomes all speed and brass knuckles—but Lawless is Jack's story. Like a backwoods The Godfather, we follow Jack as he clumsily tries to impress his tough brothers. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.

recommended The Master
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

recommended Moonrise Kingdom
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 Cinemagic, Fox Tower 10, Hollywood Theatre, St. Johns Twin Cinemas.

Opus Diaboli
Created by Swedish black metal demons Watain and director Johan Bååth, Opus Diaboli commemorates the band’s 13 years of spewing blood and mayhem. The film features footage from their anniversary show, some bleak segues with grotesque poetry and imagery, and a deeper explanation of the band’s ideologies by singer Erik Danielsson. For true fans of the band, the stage show and all the rhetoric in Opus, although extremely fascinating, will be nothing new; for those who aren’t well-versed in Watain’s “philosopher’s tone,” this might not be the best introduction to the band, considering Danielsson and his pack of wolves come off a little pompous. Just be thankful the film isn’t being shown in Smell-O-Vision. ARIS WALES Cinema 21.

ParaNorman
Stop me if you've heard this one before: There's this little kid, and he can see dead people. Now, I know what you're thinking: "This kid, he's probably well adjusted and super popular with his peers, am I right? A hit with all the ladies?" No! Believe it or not, he's kind of an outcast! A social pariah, even! Okay, now I don't want to spoil anything, but the twist? This social handicap of his might turn out to save the day. Sounds crazy, right? I know, but it's true! That, unfortunately, is the recycling-bin plot the talented animators at LAIKA have saddled themselves with on ParaNorman. It doesn't get any better in the telling, and probably gets worse, which is a shame, because the animation is so finely crafted and obviously painstaking that not loving it makes you feel like a real poopface. VINCE MANCINI Various Theaters.

Prometheus
A prequel to Alien, Ridley Scott's return to science fiction, and, on both counts, a disappointment. ERIK HENRIKSEN Academy Theater.

recommended 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 Laurelhurst Theater.

recommended Raiders of the Lost Ark
"Professor of archeology, expert on the occult, and... how does one say it? Obtainer of rare antiquities." Various Theaters.

Resident Evil: Retribution
The new Resident Evil movie is just like all the other ones. No better, no worse. In other words, it's mindless, gore-splattered eye candy. Milla Jovovich shoots monsters while wearing what can best be described as a "battle corset," there are communist zombies on motorcycles, and the movie has not one but two Michelle Rodriguezes. Doesn't that sound fun? It is fun! Yes, liking these movies probably does mean you're a spectacle-driven philistine, but that's okay. Just give yourself over. Enjoy it. Bask in the great pool of guns and blood that is Resident Evil and grin like an idiot. JOE STRECKERT Various Theaters.

recommended Rolling Thunder
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.

recommended Rosemary's Baby
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.

recommended 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. 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 Bagdad Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.

recommended Side by Side
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.

recommended Sleepwalk with Me
Turn on NPR and you'll hear an example: "Real people" telling "true stories" are everywhere these days. Stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia is a real person who has a true story about his career in comedy, ending a relationship, and a sleep disorder, and he's gotten pretty good at telling it: First in a one-man show, then a book, and now the gently endearing film Sleepwalk with Me, co-written with storytelling high priest Ira Glass. Describing a story as "true" suggests there's only one way to tell it, but if this mild little comedy has a moral, it's this: Even a true story is changed in the telling. The best we can do is to tell our stories honestly and well. ALISON HALLETT Kiggins Theatre, Living Room Theaters.

Total Recall
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 let Colin Farrell be all Jason Bourne in the Year 2084. ERIK HENRIKSEN Academy Theater, Avalon, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst Theater, Milwaukie Cinemas.

Trouble with the Curve
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

Walk-In
The Oregon-made Walk-In is more of a promotional video than a movie. To be fair, it looks like a movie, having been made with good cameras and sound equipment, but the acting and dialogue isn't at a professional level, and the plot is an unparsable mashup of spiritual self-help. Walk-In's advertising materials claim it's about a cancer patient who gets reincarnated as a puppy, which, to be fair, is a thing that happens. But it's mostly about an angel who wanders around lecturing people and buying oranges. None of it is as fun as it sounds. BEN COLEMAN Laurelhurst Theater.

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