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.
Before and After Dinner
Hey, it's Andre! From My Dinner with Andre! This is a documentary about him! Whitsell Auditorium.
When they were in their 20s, Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) had a whirlwind, one-night romance in Vienna (Before Sunrise); nine years later, bruised and a little wiser, they reunited in Paris, rekindling the spark of their first meeting (Before Sunset). Before Midnight leaps nine more years into the future, finding the couple in a troubled long-term relationship that's facing some major life changes. Thanks to our nearly two decades of history with these characters, when Jesse and Celine really dig down into their true feelings, it resonates stronger than ever. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
Berberian Sound Studio
In 1976, a nebbish sound engineer travels from Britain to Rome to make sound effects for a low-budget giallo flick, finding a bit of a horror show of his own. While the likeable Gilderoy (Toby Jones) clashes with sinister Italians and figures out how to best create the noises for an impressive litany of maimings, torturings, drownings, stabbings, and aroused goblins, director Peter Strickland focuses on the prosaic images of his dials, levers, and reel-to-reels—along with the lettuce heads he's forced to repeatedly, awkwardly stab while standing next to a microphone. Berberian Sound Studio takes itself a little too seriously and more or less falls apart in its final act, but Jones is predictably great and there are some nicely ominous moments of sneaky, dark humor. Depending on where you land on the Venn diagram of "cinephile" and "audiophile," this might be right up your alley. ERIK HENRIKSEN Laurelhurst Theater.
The Bling Ring
See review. Various Theaters.
"Look, Chalmers. Let's understand each other. I don't like you." Laurelhurst Theater.
Can't Stop the Serenity
See My, What a Busy Week! Bagdad Theater.
A "program of recent work by Northwest film and dance artists." Hammertime! Hollywood Theatre.
The Dhamma Brothers
Alabama's Donaldson Correctional Facility houses some of Alabama's most notorious hardcore criminals, many of whom have no hope of release before they die. The Dhamma Brothers is a documentary about what happened when an intensive 10-day silent meditation program was introduced to Donaldson's inmates in 2002. The film explores tensions between well-meaning lefties who pushed the meditation and the conservative Southern prison system, which eventually banned the program after Donaldson's chaplain complained it had been "turning all his inmates into Buddhists." (Four years later, the meditation program has been reinstated.) It's a fascinating look at crime, the prison system, the South, and the power of meditation to bring about peace in even the most troubled minds, but ultimately, the film shies away from skepticism a little more than it should—despite quoting the prison's superintendent (who thinks some of the inmates may be following the age-old corrections mantra, "Fake it 'til you make it," referring to their participation in the program as a chance to eventually score probation), The Dhamma Brothers could do with a bit more objectivity. These are killers, after all, and when the credits roll, one realizes there's an uncomfortable possibility that the film's directors—and in turn, its audience—might have been sucked in, too, by a bunch of manipulative killers mugging for the camera. MATT DAVIS Clinton Street Theater.
See review. Living Room Theaters.
Director Zal Batmanglij and actress Brit Marling's new film is a polarizing thriller, at first off-putting and cheesy, then mysterious and mesmerizing. This duality is no surprise from the team who made Sound of My Voice—Batmanglij and Marling have a panache for high-concepts that stumble on discomfiting plot points. The East is an eco-terrorist cell that squats in the woods, and Sarah (Marling) soon infiltrates their ranks, working as an operative from a hoity-toity detective firm whose clients are sick of being eco-pranked. The hippy trustafarians (among them Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgård) engage in several missions and act like kids playing "cult" (Spin the Bottle, really!?). But the consistent and redeeming throughline of The East is the great supporting cast and a goofy seriousness that improbably gels the whole weird thing together. COURTNEY FERGUSON Century Clackamas Town Center, Fox Tower 10.
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 Living Room Theaters.
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 Fox Tower 10, Hollywood Theatre.
Internet Cat Video Festival
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
Just Like Being There
A SXSW-approved documentary about "the history and current state of the gig poster revolution." Director and poster artists in attendance. Clinton Street Theater.
The Kings of Summer
A movie about two typical teenage boys—boys with parent troubles, girl troubles, and friend troubles. But rather than work through their troubles in tried-and-true teen-movie fashion, The Kings of Summer's beleaguered protagonists grab a nerdy sidekick and take to the woods, determined to build a new life on their own terms. While the film's T-shirt-clad protagonists could've waltzed out of Stand by Me, the let's-build-a-house-with-our-hands escapism reads like the daydream of a stressed-out adult who's tired of waking up with his iPhone pressed against his cheek. It is not, in other words, a particularly plausible teenaged adventure, or a particularly compelling one. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
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 Fox Tower 10.
Magic dances, etc. Academy Theater.
Man of Steel
Zack Snyder, David S. Goyer, and Christopher Nolan have found a way to both reintroduce and celebrate a character everybody already knows; while Man of Steel isn't perfect, it's the best Superman movie yet, and offers some of the most fun you'll have in a theater this summer. Plus! Kevin Costner! ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
See review. Various Theaters.
Much Ado About Nothing
See Film. Cinema 21.
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 Fox Tower 10, Hollywood Theatre, Liberty Theatre.
Now You See Me
STUDIO EXECUTIVE 1: Okay, let's get Mark Zuckerberg and Haymitch and a Franco brother and a hot girl to be badass con-men. STUDIO EXECUTIVE 2: WHAT?!?!?! Yes, please! The only thing that idea is missing is Morgan Freeman! And... magic tricks? SE1: Whoa, yeah, let's put Morgan Freeman in it! And sure, magic, okay whatever. Wait... maybe they can steal stuff with magic? Then maybe... the Hulk tries to stop them? SE2: Oh, shit yes! Wait. Can we add Batman's butler? I like Batman's butler. SE1: Sure! Okay. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
While people are quick to dismiss nuclear energy as bad, Pandora's Promise shows how some leading environmentalists have converted to support its use. It's interesting to see these people changing their views on it (including Stewart Brand, publisher of the Whole-Earth Catalog). However, the film is almost entirely one-sided, extolling the benefits of nuclear power while portraying anti-nuclear activists as strident conspiracy theorists unwilling to see the truth. And it doesn't address the huge costs of building nuclear power stations (the film was partially funded by Vulcan, which is developing advanced nuclear technologies). However, what's clear is that the old environmental strategies aren't sufficient, and somehow we need to create a new clean-energy infrastructure to replace the current fossil-fuel infrastructure before we all choke to death. GILLIAN ANDERSON Fox Tower 10.
Portland Jewish Film Festival
As specific as "Jewish" can be, when applied to contemporary cinema it results in a dynamic snapshot of how this identity is currently being addressed. The Northwest Film Center often hosts such culturally focused events as the Portland Jewish Film Festival, now in its 21st year. To outsiders the fest may seem a bit members-only, but each year includes pieces that speak to universalities alongside those that offer immersive—and healthily unfamiliar—perspectives. For more info, see "Goy Joy," June 12. MARJORIE SKINNER Whitsell Auditorium.
Radical Faerie Film Festival
A selection of shorts that make "80 minutes of fabulous mayhem and altered reality" and cover various facets of "radical queer sensibilities." Q Center.
A film series sponsored by In Other Words Feminist Community Center. This month's film: But I'm a Cheerleader. Clinton Street Theater.
Most would agree that looks aren't everything. Pretentiously enraptured by its own beauty, Gilles Bourdos' biopic Renoir offers a counterpoint. MARJORIE SKINNER Laurelhurst Theater.
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
The first in a summer-long "Summer Camp" slasher series at the Hollywood, 1983's Sleepaway Camp will be followed by Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and The Burning. Hollywood Theatre
Sushi: The Global Catch
Yep. It's a movie about sushi. Hollywood Theatre.
This Is the End
There are many laughs to be had in This Is the End—perhaps the first apocalypse movie centering around a Hollywood brat pack—but the best moment comes when pop star Rihanna slaps the ever-loving shit out of Arrested Development's Michael Cera. It is a slap for the ages, and so very, very gratifying. It's worth the price of admission alone. Lucky for you, a lot more fun follows. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.
A group of beautiful (and oftentimes naked) women get dismembered by a serial killer in the 1973 Italian giallo Torso. It sounds like sexploitation, but the film's serene photography and cool soundtrack elevates this into a supremely moody, trippy affair. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.
We Steal Secrets:
The Story of WikiLeaks
In looking at WikiLeaks from its founding to its meltdown, Alex Gibney patches together a tale that's mostly about the site's founder, Julian Assange, but also about Private Bradley Manning—a soldier and a tech geek who, depending on whom you ask, is either a traitor or a hero. Boasting interviews with just about everyone—except Assange and Manning—We Steal Secrets pulls from news footage, documents, and chat transcripts, and from the words of journalists, hackers, intelligence experts, and CIA directors. It's a sprawling, unpredictable infodump—even Lady Gaga turns up—and the result is formless but engrossing. ERIK HENRIKSEN Living Room Theaters.
World War Z
See review. Various Theaters.