The 400 Blows
Don't be misled by the title. There aren't any group suckoffs in Francois Truffaut's bittersweet 1959 French New Wave classic. At least, I don't think there are. Even though I slept through this one in film class, that shouldn't deter you, because by all accounts it's a masterpiece, which I guess means it's, you know, good—BJs or no BJs. NED LANNAMAN Clinton Street Theater.
48-Hour Film Project
The best Portland 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. Hollywood Theatre.
After years of exile, director Milos Forman filmed this 1984 adaptation of Peter Shaffer's play in his native Prague, and not only is it Forman's best work, it's one of the high water marks in the history of moviemaking. A fictionalized biography of Mozart as seen through the eyes of a rival composer, Amadeus is a sly meditation on the nature of jealousy and artistic temperament. Gorgeously shot, often hilarious, and deeply moving, it can't be oversold. the Northwest Film center is showing the R-rated three-hour director's cut (with extra music, and boobies too!) as part of their Milos Forman retrospective. NED LANNAMAN Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorim.
See review. Fox Tower 10.
A mix of fiction and documentary, Milos Forman's 1963 film examines competitions and their "talented—and not so talented—participants." Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control
Errol Morris' free-form documentary from 1997 examines a lion tamer, a gardener, a mole rat expert, and a robotics scientist. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Jodie Foster's coming of age flick from 1980. Costarring not only Scott Baio, but also Randy Quaid! Laurelhurst Theater.
Francisco Goya was one of the greatest painters of all time—no hyperbole. Best known for his nightmarish paintings of drowning dogs and Saturn eating his young, Goya was an absolute visionary—but by no means does this predicate an interesting biopic. Director Milos Forman apparently agrees, and instead, uses the backdrop of the Spanish Inquisition to craft a dark and gripping film about the painter (Stellan Skarsgård), his teenage harlot muse Inés (Natalie Portman), and Brother Lorenzo (Javier Bardem), a duplicitous member of the Inquisition's torture committee. Early in, it becomes clear that Goya's Ghosts has a lot to say about what's going on in the world today: Debates are waged over the credence of confessions induced by torture, and when Napoleon's army invades Spain, the soldiers are told they will be greeted as liberators. (My favorite political jab: casting doofus Randy Quaid as the roguish head of state.) CHAS BOWIE Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Grocer's Son
See review. Living Room Theaters.
Man On Wire
See review. Fox Tower 10.
See review. Hollywood Theatre.
Northwest Institute for Social Change Documentaries
Three documentaries created by students from the Northwest Institute for Social Change. (If the whole "social change" thing isn't up your alley, there'll also bee free beer, wine, and appetizers.) White Stag Building
NW Documentary Workshop Screening
A selection of documentaries made by students in the NW Documentary Workshop. More info: nwdocumentary.org. Mission Theater.
See review. Various Theaters.
Sometimes it takes an outsider to successfully capture a particular zeitgeist with the necessary perspective; in this case, Milos Forman adapts E.L. Doctorow's sprawling novel into an epic film that encompasses the American experience. Ragtime follows the stories of intersecting American lives in the early 20th century. NED LANNAMANN Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The Sisterhood of the
Traveling Pants 2
See review. Various Theaters.
Supertrash: Hempsters: Plant the Seed
The latest Supertrash fest kicks off with this annoyingly titled marijuana advocacy doc that wasn't screened for critics. (Shockingly, Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson are listed in the cast.) See next week's Mercury for more on Supertrash, which'll run through August 17. Bagdad Theater.
Talking Heads: Remain in Light
A Talking Heads concert flick from 1980. Clinton Street Theater.
Tell No One
Eight years after losing his wife in the woods to a mysterious serial killer (no, not Jason Vorhees), a still-grieving pediatrician begins to receive emails hinting that the tragedy might not be as random as originally thought. Adapting a novel by US airport bookstore staple Harlen Coben, writer/director Guillaume Canet's confident, almost irritatingly taut thriller wastes no time in cranking the paranoia up to eleven. The sheer amount of red herrings can be difficult to wade through at times, but Canet's sense of style makes even the more head-scratching moments enjoyable. A gratifyingly nasty whodunit with a healthy sense of its own absurdities. ANDREW WRIGHT Cinema 21.
This isn't a very good movie, but it was obviously something close to Robert Mitchum's heart. He starred in and co-wrote the thing, and wrote the movie's theme song. He even cast his own son as his kid brother. Mitchum plays a bootlegger who runs moonshine throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, one step ahead of not just the law but rival bootleggers. There are some pretty good car crashes, and a melancholy backwoods noir vibe, but let's face it: The plot doesn't really make sense, and the film is riddled with clichés. It all hinges on how much of a badass Mitchum is, and based on that criteria, the movie gets a fair amount of mileage. If you get drunk and stop paying attention, you won't be at a disadvantage. NED LANNAMANN Hotel deLuxe.
The Unwinking Gaze
A documentary about the Dalai Lama, screened as a benefit for the Crag Law Center. More info: clintonsttheater.com. Clinton Street Theater.