In 1947, America's two most beloved pastimes, baseball and racism, came to a contentious head when Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Despite the noblest of intentions, 42 addresses this momentous occurrence with all the clumsy tact an overly glossy Hollywood sports film can possibly muster, heavy-handedly topping The Blind Side at the game of feel-good race relations and athletics. EZRA ACE CARAEFF Various Theaters.
The Angels' Share
At a moment when it seems neoliberalism (pro-market ideology) is unstoppable (it continues today as if the crash of 2008 and the bank bailouts never happened), and the left appears to have no alternatives to capitalist economics, Ken Loach, one of the leading socialist directors of our times, makes a film that is so far from reality that it only be described as a fairy tale. It is not a bad film. The characters (a group of Glaswegian criminals who are sentenced to community service) and the subject matter (how this group finds hope in learning about the production and culture of high-end whiskey) are masterful. Yes, petty criminals often end up doing community service; yes, petty criminals can learn a new skill that improves their chances in the job market. But no, a petty criminal with no prior experience in whiskey tasting and sniffing will not be able to fool professionals. Is this all that is left for the left? Slumdoggy fairy tales? CHARLES MUDEDE Living Room Theaters.
Antiviral reminds me of David Cronenberg's early work—in fact, it's directed by an early work, his son Brandon. Li'l Cronenberg's directorial debut is a noir detective story centering on Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones), who gathers colds, rashes, and other viral commodities from celebrities to sell to obsessed fans. Syd's using his body to smuggle viruses—until the world's biggest celebrity ends up dead and Syd gets infected with her killer bug. While it feels like Cronenberg Lite, Jones is captivating, the dystopian world is intriguing, and there's some fine, nasty bits of body horror. COURTNEY FERGUSON Hollywood Theatre.
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
Best of the 39th Northwest Filmmakers' Festival
A selection of shorts from last year's Northwest Filmmakers' Festival. More info: nwfilm.org. Whitsell Auditorium.
This is a movie that foodies like. As part of the Mission's "Eat Drink Film" series, admission includes dinner, "with the actual menu taken directly from the film (and book)." Again: Foodies will be at this. Consider yourselves warned. Mission Theater.
The Big Wedding
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Winner of best film, best actress, and eight other prizes at this year's Goya Awards, Blancanieves—"Snow White" in Spanish—is billed as "a tribute to silent films," but like most silent films, it's not actually silent; there's just no spoken dialogue. The soundtrack is exhilarating and makes the film as much about rhythm—the alternately lightning fast and seductively slow clapping, wrist twirling, and cape flourishing in flamenco and bullfighting—as it is about the perseverance of a seriously unlucky young woman. JEN KAGAN Fox Tower 10.
The Company You Keep
Robert Redford's latest, about aging members of the Weather Underground who're forced to deal with their old secrets after a young reporter (Shia LaBeouf) starts digging. It might be melodramatic (and, at least for all the lefty baby boomers in the audience, predictably back-patting), but The Company You Keep is still crackling and sharp, as full of conviction as its haunted characters. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
Are you scared your teenager is going to sext a naked picture of himself to the wrong person and then kill himself? Terrified of identity theft? Losing sleep over underage online prostitution? Then you should see the terrible, dumb Disconnect! It will validate every one of your internet-based night terrors. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
Before he'd amaze with Alien and Blade Runner, entertain with Thelma & Louise and Gladiator, and infuriate with Prometheus, Ridley Scott made his first feature: 1977's The Duellists, starring Harvey Keitel, Keith Carradine, and Albert Finney. Laurelhurst Theater.
Everything Went Down
A musical directed by PSU professor Dustin Morrow and featuring Kate Tucker. Director in attendance. Whitsell Auditorium.
An activist documentary following "nine girls from developing countries," featuring narrators such as Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, and, um, Selena Gomez. Fox Tower 10.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
Hansel and Gretel (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) are now contract killers, ridding the countryside of a surprisingly bountiful amount of witches using an arsenal of steampunk weaponry. The two aren't exactly well adjusted: They've got some sort of pseudo-sexual relationship in which Hansel sleeps curled up on the floor next to his sister's bed. And as a child, that evil witch forced Hansel to eat so much candy that he's now a diabetic. This playful goofiness makes Hansel & Gretel a brainless, fun fantasy, with plenty of R-rated gore and just the right amount of bodice-heaving sex appeal. NED LANNAMANN Laurelhurst Theater.
A preview screening of a film starring Michael Shannon as a contract killer. Not yet screened for critics. Clinton Street Theater.
It's a Disaster
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
Remember when Steve Martin was funny? Yeah, I know, it's been a long time—before most of us were alive, I'm thinkin'. But when he was on, the guy was unstoppable. In 1979's The Jerk, Mr. Bringing Down the House plays Navin R. Johnson, a huge moron that was "born a poor black child." Only he's white—incredibly so. It's dead-on hilarious slapstick, social commentary, and—most of all—shows Steve Martin's comic skills chopping like a damn Ginzu knife. Just lava-hot funny. Insert cliché about the mighty falling here. ADAM GNADE Bagdad Theater.
A based-on-a-true-story flick about a woman (Emily Mortimer) who falls in love with "a famous Japanese poet and gives birth to a son: world renowned artist and architect Isamu Noguchi." At long last, Isamu Noguchi's story shall be told! This film also features Christina Hendricks, who is very pretty. Living Room Theaters.
The Manson Family
2003's crime drama flick about wacky ol' Charlie Manson. Clinton Street Theater.
See review this issue. Century Clackamas Town Center, Cinetopia Progress Ridge 14, Fox Tower 10.
A sci-fi action flick from Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski. At first, Oblivion just kind of sits there, a hodgepodge of borrowed elements from Wall-E, Planet of the Apes, Moon, The Matrix, Portal, and Mass Effect. (Thanks to a slick dogfight, there's even some Top Gun.) But give it a bit of time. Turns out Kosinski's making something pretty interesting with this pastiche; just as lead character Jack (Tom Cruise) suspects, there's a twist or two, but it turns out there are a few more surprises as well. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Pain & Gain
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The Place Beyond the Pines
The latest from Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) is made up of three interlocking stories, focusing first on Luke (Ryan Gosling), a stunt motorcyclist who makes his living as a daredevil with a traveling carnival; then on rookie cop Avery (Bradley Cooper), who investigates corruption in the police force; and then Luke and Avery's sons, who, 15 years in the future, meet in high school. Pines is a big, jumpy, restless film, filled with intriguing characters whose motives remain tantalizingly hazy. But it's also got grand ambitions, and these very qualities are what make it frustrating: Despite its plottiness, it's far more effective as a character study than as some epic commentary on fathers and sons. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Ed Wood's so-bad-it's-moderately amusing non-classic, presented with a 10-minute-long music video ("Vampira Chant"), a Vampira look-alike contest, and trivia. Mission Theater.
The premiere of work from young filmmakers participating in the Project Viewfinder program run by the School of Film, Outside In, New Avenues for Youth, p:ear, and the Bud Clark Commons Media Project. Directors in attendance. Whitsell Auditorium.
"What have you done to him? What have you done to his eyes, you maniacs?" Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Based on a true story, The Sapphires follows a group of Aboriginal Australian girls who escape the racism of their native country to pursue a career as a girl group—as entertainers for US forces fighting in Vietnam! Despite barely knowing where Vietnam is, the group embarks under the managerial leadership of the drunk but protective Dave (Chris O'Dowd). Despite a Disney-like corniness, The Sapphires takes on serious issues of race identity, an offbeat romance, and a few spine-tingling musical numbers with enjoyable aplomb. MARJORIE SKINNER Fox Tower 10.
Scary Movie 5
You get what you deserve, America. Various Theaters.
Sexy Tuesdays Movie Montage
A "mind-boggling media clip show" followed by "a discussion of sexual politics in pop culture" with Bitch cofounder Andi Zeisler and Bitch online editor/Mercury traitor Sarah Mirk. Clinton Street Theater.
"Hi, I've got an appointment with Mr. Ullman. My name is Jack Torrance." Whitsell Auditorium.
The 1975 Bollywood film, with a "tasty, Indian-spiced popcorn snack mix" from Masala Pop. Hollywood Theatre.
Thanks to cagey advertising, audiences will be in for a surprise as Side Effects unfolds: What starts as an intensely accurate study of a young woman's depression gradually contorts itself into something else entirely. Steven Soderbergh's calculated eye, paired with Scott Z. Burns' script, finds plenty to grab onto in the story of 28-year-old graphic designer Emily (Rooney Mara), who struggles with crippling depression. After a jarring suicide attempt, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) starts Emily on Ablixa, a new, unproven antidepressant, at which point things get even more intense. ERIK HENRIKSEN Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
Specticast Concert Series
A monthly filmed concert series. This month: Peter Gabriel: New Blood Live in London. Clinton Street Theater.
Here are some of the problems you may have with director Harmony Korine's already infamous Spring Breakers: (1) The young college gals depicted in the film invite degradation upon themselves with voracious, proud abandon. (2) Plotwise, there's probably less here than meets the eye. And perhaps most importantly, (3) Spring Breakers may make you come to the sudden, surprising realization you have a big stick up your ass. This is one hell of a polarizing film, and I'll say right now that, as someone who's sick of stale, predictable Hollywood product, I loved it. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Lloyd Mall 8.
The Taking of Pelham
One Two Three
A gang of crooks—led by Robert Shaw, stealing scenes as effortlessly as he would a year later in Jaws—hijacks a New York subway train. Except—hey, it's Walter Matthau! As a grumpy transit cop! 1974's The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is easily the most thrilling film ever made about public transportation bureaucracy. ERIK HENRIKSEN Hollywood Theatre.
To the Wonder
See review this issue. Cinema 21.
Trance, like most Danny Boyle movies, is confident, and gorgeously shot, and beautifully scored—and there's undeniable potential in the idea of a psychological heist flick. But while Trance's first 10 minutes or so are tight, flashy, and fun, from the second "I know! Let's hypnotize him!" is turned into a supposedly legitimate plot point, everything goes from taut and sharp to messy and sloppy. ERIK HENRIKSEN Living Room Theaters.
Like his first film, Primer, Shane Carruth's sci-fi/body horror/romance Upstream Color can come off as clammy and occasionally baffling. Movies that make you work for it can be a tough draw, of course, and Carruth's melding of Kubrickian control and Malick's expansiveness will likely have some begging off early. Those on the film's wavelength, however, may well find themselves floored by the nearly wordless final act, where all of the seemingly disparate elements are drawn together with a beauty and power that's a little freaky to behold. ANDREW WRIGHT Hollywood Theatre.
Vanessa Renwick Retrospective
Two nights of work from Portland artist Vanessa Renwick, with each program accompanied by an interview and Q&A, plus the release of Renwick's new DVD compilation, NSEW: All Over the Map. Hollywood Theatre.