Film Shorts 

16th PORTLAND JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

Festival runs through Thursday, April 17. All films screen at the Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. More info at nwfilm.org.

AVIVA, MY LOVE

A cook dreams of becoming a writer in this award-winning Israeli film.

A HEBREW LESSON

A documentary about immigrants in Israel.

MY MEXICAN SHIVA

A dark comedy in which a man's character is judged after his death.

REFUSENIK

A documentary on "the 30-year movement to free Soviet Jewry between the early 1960s and the fall of the Iron Curtain."

WHERE TO AND BACK TRILOGY

Three films—God Does Not Believe in Us Anymore, Santa Fe, and Welcome in Vienna—written by George Stefan Troller (and loosely based on his life) and directed by Axel Corti.

Now PLaying

A Little Bit of So Much Truth
In the summer of 2006, a teachers' strike in Oaxaca, Mexico kicked off a people's revolution, with the goal of overthrowing the state's apparently corrupt governor. And what a revolution it was, with citizens hijacking multiple radio stations, and a group of housewives eventually overthrowing a state-run television station in their efforts to secure economic and social justice. Filmmaker Jill Friedberg is in the thick of it with her camera, documenting the riot gear-clad police, the passionate citizens, and the national media's spin on the wild events. And she managed to pare it down into a tightly told story. My one quibble: The film's dialogue—and, consequently, the subtitles—moves fast, leaving little time to shift your eyes to the images on the screen. It's understandable, given the pace of the action the film covers, but brace yourself. AMY J. RUIZ Hollywood Theatre.

Cannibal Holocaust
See review. Hollywood Theatre.

recommended Chapter 27
See review. Cinema 21.

recommended Filmed by Bike
See review. Clinton Street Theater.

recommended The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
"In this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig." Laurelhurst.

The Grand
This comic mockumentary about a winner-takes-all poker tournament is watchably funny in places, focusing on six characters making their way to the final table. Unfortunately, it's also an extended advertisement for the website partypoker.net, which is name checked THREE times, un-missably, at various points, and certain scenes hinge on a detailed understanding of poker rules. YAWN. Woody Harrelson does a workaday turn as drug addict One-Eyed Jack Faro, while highbrow director Werner Herzog pops up as "The German," a player who has to kill something each day in order to perform. One can't help but feel the whole movie would never have been made were it not for the cash being put up by the poker industry. Speaking of which, I logged on to partypoker.net about an hour after watching. That was nine hours ago, and I'm still up: Gambling is wonderful! This movie is not. MATT DAVIS Fox Tower 10.

Leatherheads
A throwback in every sense of the word, Leatherheads aims to capture the sharp, earnest spirit of Howard Hawks classics like His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby. Instead of Hepburn and Grant, though, we get Clooney and Renée Zellweger, as well as Jim Halpert from The Office and the goofy, bumbling music of Randy Newman. It's a hodgepodge, unsurprising crowd-pleaser, but it works. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.

The Living End
Gregg Araki's 1992 drama, remastered. Living Room Theaters.

recommended Metropolis
Fritz Lang's 1927 sci-fi classic, screened with a live score. Mission Theater.

recommended Nashville
Perhaps the most quintessentially Altman-esque film that the director left behind, Nashville is a tremendously ambitious (and successful) film about normal people in America. The country music capital serves as an opportunity-filled stage for the two dozen or so main characters, all of whom are connected in some form to both the sequined and sentimental music scene and the political convention taking place at the Nashville Parthenon. Typical of Altman's ensemble films, the characters frequently know each other, or at least hang out at the same spots, even if those connections don't directly serve the narrative. This was part of Altman's genius; much like his overlapping dialogue technique, he strove to approximate reality more closely by allowing us to see familiar faces in the background of shots, or to simply let more than one person speak at the same time. His "the more the merrier" approach to directing was the perfect vehicle for his deeply humane and humorous outlook on life, which, like country songs and campaign speeches alike, feels both hopeful and phony at once. CHAS BOWIE Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

recommended Noise
See review. Hollywood Theatre.

Prom Night
A PG-13 horror flick that takes place on (wait for it...) prom night! No, it wasn't screened for critics. Ugh. Movies like this shouldn't exist. Various Theaters.

The Ruins
A movie about a bunch of tourists who get killed off by, uh, killer vines. Hooray for Hollywood! Various Theaters.

Shelter
A young straight surfer bound for art school has trouble coming to terms with coming out. Visually impressive surfing sequences help make this otherwise-been-there film more tolerable. WILL GARDNER Living Room Theaters.

Smart People
See review. Various Theaters.

recommended Snow Angels
Stepping even further out of his comfort zone than his previous triumph Undertow, indie auteur David Gordon Green (George Washington, All the Real Girls) attempts to marry elements of his incredibly singular world with the more traditional narrative of Stewart O'Nan's novel. The results are satisfying, if occasionally awkward. Weaving together several weeks in the life of a teenage boy (Michael Angarano), his former babysitter (a surprisingly solid Kate Beckinsale), and her estranged, born-again husband (Sam Rockwell), Green manages yet another powerful portrait of youth and its inevitable aftermath. ZAC PENNINGTON Fox Tower 10.

recommended Stardust Memories
"I took one course in existential philosophy at New York University, and on the final, they gave me 10 questions. I couldn't answer a single one of 'em, you know? I left 'em all blank. I got a hundred." Fifth Avenue Cinema.

Street Kings
See review. Various Theaters.

Super High Me
See review. Cinema 21.

The Times of Harvey Milk
A documentary about San Francisco's gay city supervisor. Screened as a benefit for city council candidate John Branam. Mississippi Studios.

Under the Same Moon
A sweet, innocuous film about a young boy trying to reunite with his mother. Rosario (Kate del Castillo) is an illegal immigrant who snuck across the Mexico/US border four years prior and is now working as a maid and housekeeper in East LA, trying to earn enough money to send for her son. Her nine-year-old boy, Carlitos (Adrian Alonso), still lives in Mexico under the care of his grandmother—until she unexpectedly dies and he's faced with trying to find his mother on his own. Young Carlitos' journey from Mexico to LA is filled with predators and kindly immigrants in this well-acted family film. COURTNEY FERGUSON Various Theaters.

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