All-You-Can-Eat Pink 'n' Porn
Two bucks, two movies: 1966's Love Robots—a Japanese flick described as "a campy, erotic version of Alphaville"—and 1979's Ms. Magnificent, a porno that was originally titled Superwoman—until DC Comics found out, at which point the filmmakers used permanent marker to scribble out the "S" shield on Ms. Magnificent's "robust bust," then released it anyway. Behold! Cinema. Cinema 21.
Big Easy Express
In April 2011, the bands Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show traveled from Oakland to New Orleans by passenger train, and Big Easy Express documents the brief tour. Trouble is, these are some of the most boring bands on the planet, a point hammered home by watching them play "This Train Is Bound for Glory" a gajillion times. One of the musicians actually says to the camera, "It's like we left our baggage at home and just packed our instruments." So yeah, it's pretty insufferable, and director Emmett Malloy chops up the concert performances with footage from different nights, assuming you won't notice the musicians are wearing different clothes. And at a scant 66 minutes, Big Easy Express is a rip-off as well. NED LANNAMANN Clinton Street Theater.
The Effect of Dada and Surrealism on Hollywood Movies of the 1930s
Film historian Dennis Nyback presents clips from eight feature films that show how "Hollywood cheerfully took serious art movements and dropped them into feature films without any framing devices to enchant and mystify the audiences reeling from the Great Depression." The Faux Museum.
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
"I warned you. With mogwai comes much responsibility. But you didn't listen." Laurelhurst Theater.
See portlandmercury.com/hump! Cinema 21.
Kung Fu Theater
Old-school kung fu on 35mm. This time: 1980's Fist of the White Lotus! Hollywood Theatre.
The Man With the Iron Fists
Somehow RZA managed to make his very own kung fu movie, and it's exactly like you'd expect: really, really enthusiastic, and really, really not very good. Weirdly drained of his charisma, RZA stars as "Blacksmith," a... blacksmith who eventually makes himself some iron fists, which he then uses to punch the fuck out of people. Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe also show up, and there's a lot of fighting between various clans, and a lot of callbacks to Shaw Brothers flicks, and a lot of ridiculous wigs. It's kind of fun and entirely incomprehensible, and the action is underwhelming. But still, good for RZA. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Noise and Resistance
A German documentary about the international music scene, "where unity derives from autonomy along with the best punk sound you've heard for years." Half of the proceeds go to the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls. Hollywood Theatre.
The Northwest Filmmakers' Festival
See Film, this issue. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Other Dream Team
What does the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team have to do with the Grateful Dead? Find out in this documentary that mixes basketball, international politics, and the fall of the Iron Curtain. At the 1988 Olympics, the USSR won the gold medal in basketball over the US, but many of the main players were Lithuanian, made to compete for their Soviet occupiers. The emergence of an independent Lithuania, the backgrounds of the players, the country's basketball fever, and an Olympic comeback make for an exciting story. GILLIAN ANDERSON Fox Tower 10.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
The Super 8 Dreams of Saul Levine
Artist Saul Levine presents a selection of his work from the past 35 years—"a lot of it highly edited where splice tape becomes an essential component of the image," according to Cinema Project. More info: cinemaproject.org. YU Contemporary.
This Must Be the Place
This might be the most confusing and confused movie ever put into the ethersphere. Sean Penn plays a cross between a doddering grandma, Robert Smith, and burned-out Ozzy Osbourne. He also wears a shit-ton of makeup, which you get to admire at least seven times in claustrophobic close-ups. Penn is Cheyenne, a soft-spoken eccentric former rockstar who lives in a mansion in Dublin with his firefighter wife (Frances McDormand) and trawls the mall with a sciatic shuffle and a shopping cart alongside his teenage goth girl BFF. But about halfway into this shambling thing, Penn gets a call that his father has died—then it turns into a Nazi-hunting/road-trip/Holocaust story, with Judd Hirsch, Harry Dean Stanton, and David Byrne (?!?!). This Must Be the Place feels like a really perplexing game of Mad Libs. COURTNEY FERGUSON Fox Tower 10.
We Were Here
For years, documentaries about the AIDS epidemic landed so close to the trauma of that time that they couldn't be seen properly. Fifteen years after protease inhibitors stopped the merciless death march of AIDS in America, the horror and heroism of the early years can finally be commemorated in full. David Weissman's documentary We Were Here tracks the "gay plague" as it ravaged San Francisco in the early 1980s, striking down a generation of men and drawing forth exceptional tenacity and bravery from those lucky enough to be survivors. (Perennially unsung heroes: lesbians, who raced in to help when gay men proved too sick to care for each other.) It's an awesome thing to behold. You'll bawl your eyes out and be grateful for the opportunity. DAVID SCHMADER Fifth Avenue Cinema.
The World's Greatest Sinner
A screening of "Timothy Carey's grindhouse magnum opus," an "outrageous and prophetic examination of religion, politics, and rock 'n' roll." Presented by Carey's son. Hollywood Theatre.
Q*bert, his game long since unplugged, is a gibberish-spouting panhandler. When he's done racking up combos in Street Fighter, Zangief finds solace at Bad-Anon, where videogame villains share their vulnerabilities. For those of us raised in the Mario Age, the first few minutes of Wreck-It Ralph are like a videogame Who Framed Roger Rabbit, with everyone from Sonic to Bowser stopping by. But once its nostalgic, clever opening is out of the way, Wreck-It Ralph gets significantly less fun: It's just Toy Story in an arcade. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.