Backbone: Early Vancouver Experimental Cinema, 1967-1981
Richard Martin's documentary about... well, Vancouver experimental cinema from 1967 to 1981, accompanied by "some of the essential works that Martin's film touches upon." Whitsell Auditorium.
Bel Borba Aqui
A documentary about Bel Borba, an artist in Salvador, Brazil. Whitsell Auditorium.
Caesar Must Die
An interesting arthouse piece from Italian octogenarian directing partners/brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Caesar Must Die was inspired by a real-life theater program at a maximum-security prison outside of Rome. Using incarcerated actors and shot entirely within the prison walls, the film follows the rehearsals for a rousing production of Julius Caesar, with the actors becoming increasingly blurred with their characters. For as lofty a concept as this is, Caesar clocks in at a modest 90-ish minutes, a noteworthy courtesy in this age of self-importmant bloat. MARJORIE SKINNER Living Room Theaters.
Tyler Mane is former professional wrestler. He was Sabretooth in X-Men. He was Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's Halloween remake. If that seems like a career arc designed to appeal to middle school boys, well, it is. I was a middle school boy once. I thought that stuff was badass. Mane's latest, Compound Fracture, which he produced and stars in, continues this trend. But that's okay. The world needs movies for middle school boys. Fracture, with it's goofy mix of lo-fi gore and a plot about how families are, like, weird, man, is kind of perfect for that. Mane and co-producer/writer Renae Geerlings in attendance. BEN COLEMAN Hollywood Theatre.
Taking a quaint, charming children's book like William Joyce's The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs and adapting it into something called Epic reveals a lot about a film's intent. Whilst it might be considered a touch formulaic, Epic should be given credit for checking all the animated summer flick boxes, from the absurd celebrity cast (Beyoncé!) to the almost intrusive action scenes. Beneath the bluster, though, there's a solid plot with the requisite amount of family issues at its core; it'll probably be this that keeps you interested, if Beyoncé isn't enough. ALEX ROSS Various Theaters.
Experimental Film Festival Portland
Experimental Film Festival Portland—EFFPortland—is entering its second year with over 100 films and videos, along with an entire week of screenings, lectures, workshops, installations, performances, parties, and exhibitions. For more info, see "Eat the Elephant," Mercury, May 15. Various Theaters..
Fast & Furious 6
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Cinema 21.
Greetings from Tim Buckley
It was inevitable there'd be a movie about Tim Buckley and his son Jeff (both incredible singer/songwriters who died in their 20s), but one would hope for something more biographically accurate. Instead, director Daniel Algrant fictionalizes the events around a 1991 Tim Buckley tribute concert in New York City, in which Jeff made his public debut. The music is unsurprisingly great, and Gossip Girl's Penn Badgley is actually pretty incredible as the younger Buckley—a scene of him singing in a record shop is a tour de force—but the film's plotting is meandering and pointless, centered around a made-up romance with some made-up girl (Imogen Poots). Still, it leaves room for a movie about the Buckleys' real story somewhere down the line. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.
The Hangover Part III
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Hecklevision: Road House
Patrick Swayze's second-best film—and now you can text your smartass commentary and see it pop up onscreen! Hollywood Theatre.
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
Love Is All You Need
Have you ever wanted to watch a romantic comedy without the cult of personality clouding your enjoyment? Then obviously you should be checking out Danish cinema! Love Is All You Need meets all of your romcom cliches, but with nary a Katherine Heigl to be seen. As our heroine, Ida, actress Trine Dyrholm is delightful. (Maybe people hate her in Denmark? I have no idea; this American found her delightful.) Ida is a hairdresser finishing chemo and headed to her daughter's wedding in Italy when she discovers that her lousy husband has been having an affair. Things look bad, then Pierce Brosnan shows up, and you can probably guess the rest. Love Is All You Need is predictable but sweet and, most importantly, Heigl-free. ELINOR JONES Fox Tower 10.
Portland Music Video Festival
A program showcasing "the work of musicians and filmmakers from Portland and across the nation." Will there be anything better than the video for Nelson's "After the Rain"? Well, that's the challenge, isn't it. Hollywood Theatre.
The Source Family
The Source Family was a cult that spun out from a wildly successful LA health-food restaurant in the early '70s, and a film examining the commune and their charismatic leader, Father Yod, AKA Jim Baker—a war veteran, movie stuntman, and criminal who killed men with his bare hands—would seem to promise something weird and grimly fascinating. Celebrating polyamory, sex magic, and the "sacrament" of marijuana, Baker eventually amassed 13 wives (many of them underage), a flock of brainwashed, white-robed followers, and his own psychedelic rock band called Ya Ho Wha 13. Things, of course, did not go so well for the Source Family, and Baker died in a hang-gliding accident in 1975 (best celebrity death ever). The slow-moving The Source Family was made with the full participation of the former cult members, and while it stops short of deifying the immensely sleazy Baker, the documentary still pulls its punches—and not without reason, as most of the cult's survivors seem truly damaged by their pasts. Still, it fails to offer any outside perspective of the goings-on within the cult, or any real analysis or criticism of Baker's methods; as such, we're left to guess at the psychology of what actually went on. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.
Star Trek Into Darkness
Trouble with a Star Trek film—even one from the franchise as charmingly rebooted as this one—is that they're a bit like a groom's speech at a wedding. The audience is already warmed up, they want to like it, and all the groom has to do is walk it in, not say anything too offensive, and trot out a few formulaic lines. Everybody laughs, nobody remembers the details, and if pressed they'll trot out a platitude about the fellow, saying, "Well, he seemed awfully nice." MATT DAVIS Various Theaters.
The Thief of Bagdad
Douglas Fairbanks' 1924 silent fantasy classic is a dreamlike spin on tales from the Arabian Nights with Fairbanks is at his rascally, athletic best. While this beautiful, long film isn't as iconic as the groundbreaking 1940 remake, it has every right to be. Whitsell Auditorium.