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.
The Hollywood's series features B-movies, with the audience marking down clichés on a custom-made bingo card. This time around: Omega Cop. Hollywood Theatre.
The Big Wedding
I try not to rag on aging actors for being old, which seems shortsighted, but still. That doesn't mean I want to see a POV shot filmed from the perspective of Susan Sarandon's vagina, depicting Robert De Niro leering hungrily at it. How 'bout SaranDON'T, am I right? VINCE MANCINI Various Theaters.
Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 drama that you feel guilty about never having seen. See it now before Michael Bay's remake comes out—that film is scheduled for 2015. Whitsell Auditorium.
A doc about "Detroit's Engine Company 50, one of the busiest firehouses in the country." Not to be confused with Kirk Cameron's Fireproof. Hollywood Theatre.
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 engaging and sharp, as full of conviction as its haunted characters. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
A preview screening of a film in which "a fisherman tries to survive in the freezing ocean." Not yet screened for critics. Hey, you know what's an underrated movie? Deep Rising. Check that out if you haven't! Treat Williams is a national treasure. Clinton Street Theater.
A British romantic comedy. Not to be confused with 1995's First Knight, in which Richard Gere played Lancelot, Sean Connery played King Arthur, and Julia Ormond played Guinevere! Steamy! Clinton Street Theater.
The 1956 sci-fi classic starring Leslie Nielsen and Robbie the Robot! Rest in peace, Leslie Nielsen. Burn in hell, Robbie the Robot, you Cylon sack of shit. Laurelhurst Theater.
The Fruit Hunters
A film about "fruit fanatics"—including Bill Pullman, whose "obsession leads him on a crusade to create a community orchard—and "fruit detectives" who "investigate Renaissance-era paintings for clues, hoping to rediscover lost fruits." FRUIT! Hollywood Theatre.
Getting to Know YouTube
Local presenters help you to "climb into YouTube's deepest caverns of collective consciousness and unearth hidden treasures, stretching the boundaries of what tubes and you were meant for." Okay! Hollywood Theatre.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Bob Seger's "Like a Rock" was inspired by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. "My hands were steady," Seger sings. "My eyes were clear and bright. My walk had purpose. My steps were quick and light. And I held firmly to what I felt was right—like a Rock." This film was not screened for critics. Various Theaters.
Gimme the Loot
See review this issue. Living Room Theaters.
An activist documentary following "nine girls from developing countries," featuring narrators such as Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, and, um, Selena Gomez. Fox Tower 10.
The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
Portland's annual celebration of all things slimy and betentacled. See hplfilmfestival.com for more info. Hollywood Theatre.
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
The Inconvenient Truth About Waiting for Superman
KBOO—of course KBOO—presents an agit-prop documentary made in response to another agit-prop documentary, Waiting for Superman. Sadly, neither of these films feature Al Gore or Superman. Neither of them. FYI, Man of Steel comes out on June 14! That movie will have at least one of those dudes in it. Clinton Street Theater.
Iron Man 3
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Jack the Giant Slayer
I am entirely in favor of the current trend of reframing familiar fairy tales as big budget, bludgeoning blockbusters. So what if it still hasn't been done very well? That's scarcely the point—these movies contain monsters, swords, magic, and knights in armor. My inner child goes a long way to forgiving the shortcomings of these loud, usually thoughtless films—and while Bryan Singer's loud, thoughtless Jack the Giant Slayer has many shortcomings indeed, I'm more or less okay with them. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
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 Lyrical Space of Claire Denis
A series focusing on French filmmaker Claire Denis (Chocolat), featuring "nine of her directorial efforts, plus three of her best-known assistant-directed films" (like Jim Jarmusch's Down by Law and Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas). More info: nwfilm.org. Whitsell Auditorium.
The latest from writer/director Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) is a sad, sweet story about growing up and discovering that adults don't hold all the answers. If that sounds like a cliché, Mud offers a worthwhile variation that contains real feeling. NED LANNAMANN Cinetopia Progress Ridge 14, City Center 12, Fox Tower 10.
Advertising, in a post-Mad Men world, is prone to idolization—and in Pablo Larraín's No, the industry gets the rock star treatment. A dramatization of the 1988 Chilean plebiscite that ousted longtime dictator Augusto Pinochet, No specifically focuses on the influence of advertising on campaign politics, with Gael García Bernal playing the hotshit young creative secretly hired to lead the opposition's campaign to vote "no" on Pinochet. MARJORIE SKINNER Living Room Theaters.
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.
Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!
A comedy about a Jewish family and their gay son. Director and stars in attendance; screens as a fundraiser for Basic Rights Oregon. Clinton Street Theater.
Pain & Gain
Somewhere out there in an alternate universe, I like to think that the Coen brothers directed Pain & Gain. It's a premise that seems ideal for them: the true story of a team of lunkheaded Florida bodybuilders who decide to kidnap a wealthy deli owner and hold him hostage until he agrees to sign over his fortune. The story gets weirder, ultimately involving a porn magnate, a retired private detective, several bushelsful of severed body parts, and a whole lot of stupid choices. But for whatever reason—karmic punishment?—we live in a universe where Michael Bay directed Pain & Gain. PAUL CONSTANT Various Theaters.
Picture in Picture: Japanese Experimental Films of the Late 1970s & 1980s
What's an image? What's a film? What can it be? Experimental cinema gets at these questions, which are alive and well in Cinema Project's "Picture in Picture," a two-night program featuring lush 16mm prints of Japanese experimental works from two filmmakers, Takashi Ito and Toshio Matsumoto. Some films are slow and sublime: In Matsumoto's "Connection," he reiterates the image of a blue sky and moving clouds in a series of geometric cuts and splices of the image. Others are anxiety-ridden, with rapid cuts and psychedelic colors, like Matsumoto's "Atman," with its demonic figures and neon. JENNA LECHNER YU Contemporary.
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 City Center 12, Evergreen Parkway 13, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Mall 8.
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
A "sci-fi TV tribute" to producer Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds). Hollywood Theatre.
A digital restoration of Harold Lloyd's 1923 silent classic. Cinema 21.
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 Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
Ten Questions for the Dalai Lama
The official synopsis for this documentary about "one man's journey through the Northern Himalayas" begins thusly: "Why do the poor often seem happier than the rich? Must a society lose its traditions in order to move into the future? How do you reconcile a commitment to non-violence when... when...." Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Clinton Street Theater.
This Is Spinal Tap
"This tasteless cover is a good indication of the lack of musical invention within. The musical growth of this band cannot even be charted. They are treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry." Hollywood Theatre.
To the Wonder
Terrence Malick's latest is a lot less confounding than The Tree of Life (there aren't any dinosaurs in it, for better or worse), in large part because rather than tackling the entirety of existence, it focuses on something ostensibly smaller: relationships. In particular, one between Marina (Olga Kurylenko) and Neil (Ben Affleck). Because it's Malick, everything looks stunning, though it never loses its Ansel Adams-like layer of precision and distance. It sounds great, too: Only a few lines of dialogue are spoken (Affleck gets about two lines), though much is said, via subtitled voiceover. But while the impressionistic To the Wonder is remarkable to see and hear, it's also both intimate and remote—an odd sensation that keeps the film's characters just past arm's length. 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 Cinema 21.
Shot films from students at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Clinton Street Theater.