See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The Hollywood's series features B-movies, with the audience marking down clichés on a custom-made bingo card. This time around: Body Count. Hollywood Theatre.
Philippe Béziat's documentary about an Aix-en-Provence staging of Verdi's opera La Traviata. Whitsell Auditorium.
Bel Borba Aqui
A documentary about Bel Borba, an artist in Salvador, Brazil. Whitsell Auditorium.
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 Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
A freaky, fascinating, elegantly off-kilter little film. Three young-adult siblings are kept confined and isolated in their sunny, serene family compound. Nothing means what it means in the closed system their trollish father has constructed for them behind the fence: They invent strange games, endure sadistic punishments, compete for stickers, and sometimes lick each other. Eventually, things get violent. If nothing else, Dogtooth should serve as a cautionary tale about why not to let uncanny shut-in feral children play with your cat. LINDY WEST Fifth Avenue Cinema.
Fantastic Baby: The Opulent Kingdom of Contemporary K-Pop
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
Fast & Furious 6
This time, the Fast & Furious family—and they are a family, as evidenced by the fact the word "family" is said 4,000 times during the movie, mostly by Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), who usually looks like he's going to cry when he says it—are reunited to find a member they thought they'd lost, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). Except Letty—who has amnesia—is in league with London thieves! "The crew we're after, they hit like thunder and disappear like smoke," growls Special Agent Luke Hobbs (the Rock). Through it all, director Justin Lin twists logic, plot, physics, and geography like pipe cleaners. His resultant—and super awesome—art project conveys not one but two life-affirming messages: (1) family is very important, and (2) just because you're on a plane doesn't mean a car can't hit you. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Whichever way you turn the movie, it catches some light: This way, the plight of millennials; that way, the stylistic nods to French New Wave. There's a whole trend piece to be written about the young female writers (star Greta Gerwig co-wrote the script) who are changing the way women are depicted in popular entertainment, and then there's parsing how this generous, optimistic film fits into the context of writer/director Noah Baumbach's previous work. What a tremendous relief it is to find a movie that acknowledges that women are interesting—that a woman can be the protagonist in a story that doesn't end in romance or a makeover, and that all the vitality and confusion and excitement of being young can be refracted just as well through a woman as a man. ALISON HALLETT Cinema 21.
With every ounce of fat cut from it, Ron Morales' second film moves with an urgency rarely seen in more self-indulgent thrillers. In fact, Graceland's ability to plunge each and every one of its characters into moral and psychological crises is its most subtle move, since it first fools its audience into believing it's a heavy-handed criticism of political corruption in the Philippines. Instead, that corruption trickles down to the fraught and helpless Marlon (played with disturbing realism by Arnold Reyes)—who can run but, ultimately, never hide. Morales provides a fine example of what might be achieved when a familiar, hackneyed genre is stripped down, not bulked up: the punch is far more devastating. ALEX ROSS Hollywood Theatre.
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald's Gatsby is about how the belief that wealth can buy happiness is corrosive (to paraphrase an essay I got an A on in ninth grade). Baz Luhrmann's Gatsby is about how rich people throw the best parties! And while they undeniably do, to give in to the spectacle is to miss the point. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
Handmade Puppet Dreams Vol. 2
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
The Hangover Part III
This is a trilogy whose thesis is that there are zero consequences when privileged white men make horrible decisions on cocaine. If you wanna see it, sure, bro it up. Put on your cap, turn it around, and get ready for exactly what you're expecting. We can all be douchebags sometimes. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
Horror Rises from the Tomb
The 1973 Spanish horror flick, featuring Paul Naschy as Alaric de Marnac, "a 15th century sorcerer sentenced to death for practicing black rites, drinking human blood, and performing human sacrifices." Clinton Street Theater.
A drama about a gay British man who marries his lesbian BFF to stay in New York—and, naturally, then meets the "love of his life." (Fun fact: Not since 1776 has even a single British person voluntarily remained in the United States.) Clinton Street Theater.
Five men (and an accident-prone parrot) take to the sea on a handmade raft in this almost ridiculously gorgeous retelling of Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 expedition, in which he attempted to prove that ancient settlers sailed between Peru and Polynesia. The most expensive film in Norway's history, this Oscar nominee has beauty to spare, with no shortage of sights aimed at making the viewer's jaw rebound off of the theater floor. Unfortunately, the lack of any real character development causes the narrative to sputter out quickly, leaving a repetitive cycle of shark sightings and sweet beards. Which isn't all that bad of a thing, really. ANDREW WRIGHT Various Theaters.
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 Hollywood Theatre.
New Czech Cinema
Just like new jack swing, except totally different. This is the Northwest Film Center's showcase of contemporary Czech cinema; see next week's Mercury or nwfilm.org for more info. Whitsell Auditorium.
Now You See Me
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
Thom Andersen and Noël Burch's 1996 documentary about those in Hollywood who were targeted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Narrated by Wilson from Home Improvement. Whitsell Auditorium.
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's
This documentary on New York's most iconic shopping destination for the super-rich and famous is a Swarovsky-crusted blowjob of a film. Essentially a 90-minute infomercial for the store, it's light on the history and quirky characters who actually give the film personality and intrigue—and long on a parade of major fashion designers, celebrities, and New York personalities gushing about how luxurious and New York and anyone who's anyone and blah blah blah. That said, it is fun to watch in a brain candy way, and when the camera trains on awesome (and surprisingly down to earth) creative director Linda Fargo, hilariously salty senior salesperson Betty Halbreich, or window display maestro David Hoey, there are glimpses of the more-nuanced and critical film it could have been. MARJORIE SKINNER Living Room Theaters.
See review this issue. On Demand.
A documentary that "follows two years in the life of Greg Sommer, AKA 'Skull Man,' as he builds the Canadian chapter of Box Wars, an international underground movement of cardboard-based combat." Okay! Clinton Street Theater.
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.
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 Laurelhurst Theater.
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.
Stories We Tell
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.
To Catch a Thief
Alfred Hitchcock. Cary Grant. Grace Kelly. Laurelhurst Theater.
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 Academy Theater, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst Theater.
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 Laurelhurst Theater.
Most people have probably heard the ondes Martenot, but never heard of it. It's an early, obscure electronic instrument; mastered by just a handful of people, its distinct sound is an eerie, piercing, hypnotizing tone. (Think of music from 1950s sci-fi TV, and you probably think of the ondes Martenot; in more contemporary times, Radiohead used the Martenot on Kid A and several other albums.) Invented in 1928 by a French radio telegrapher, production of the machine stopped in the late '80s, and ever since, efforts have been made to recreate it. Wavemakers is a plodding but enlightening documentary that traces the history of the fragile, finicky instrument made of vacuum tubes with interviews from scholars and Martenot enthusiasts, including the son of the instrument's inventor. Cinema Project presents the film as part of the Creative Music Guild's 2013 Improvisation Summit of Portland. JENNA LECHNER Sandbox Studio.
What Maisie Knew
Emotionally honest but not always dramatically successful, this brilliantly cast update of Henry James' 1897 novel illustrates just how much damage a pair of monstrously selfish parents can wreak on their doe-eyed poppet. Directing team Scott McGehee and David Siegel smartly skip the melodrama and cant everything to a child's eye view of profound family dysfunction. Julianne Moore is a fantastically appalling basketcase of neurotic egotism. Steve Coogan raises the bar on understated, smarmy self-regard. And yet, both are convincingly human. But it's little Onata Aprile who'll suck you in. The seven-year-old is a revelation of naïve desperation. JEFF MEYERS