10 Cloverfield Lane
Some movies let you know you're in good hands with the very first shot. The latest mystery wrapped in an enigma from producer J.J. Abrams, 10 Cloverfield Lane takes an instantly fraught premise and never stops stripping the screws. Within its narrow self-imposed parameters, it's just about perfect. ANDREW WRIGHT Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
The Angry Birds Movie
The only person for whom a critical analysis of The Angry Birds Movie could be useful is your kid, who has already decided, based on the words "angry" and "birds" in the title, that they want to go. But your kid isn't here. Your kid isn't the one hoping for a measured analysis of this film's potential qualities. No, you're here, hoping to God there will be something even mildly interesting you can latch onto, lest the colorful inanity flapping in front of your eyes renders you comatose. Well, guess what—there is no God, and your hope is a sad joke next to the might of Angry Birds. Just try to remember, as you slide feet-first into apathy-glazed resignation: You love your children. You love your children. Various Theaters.
A Bigger Splash
See review, this issue. Fox Tower 10.
The passage of time has eroded most memories of Martin Scorsese's 1991 Cape Fear remake to "Doesn't whats-her-name from Natural Born Killers shove her thumb into Bobby De Niro's mouth? That was fuckin' gross." It was indeed—which is why you should take this opportunity to watch this 1962 original instead, which is not only a more rewarding cinematic experience featuring some of the best performances Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum ever gave in their lives (which is saying something), but this version also doesn't have a single person thumbfucking anyone else in the face! BOBBY ROBERTS Laurelhurst Theater.
Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War isn't so much a Captain America movie as the third flick in the Avengers series. While Cap may be the heart and soul of this film, Marvel made sure to cram in as many of their products as humanly possible. But what should've been a 2.5-hour mess is another seemingly inconceivable Marvel miracle: Civil War may be an exploding roll of firecrackers, but it's also a mature meditation on friends, loyalty, and taking responsibility for the individual while serving the greater good. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.
Everybody Wants Some!!
Most movies get male athlete group dynamics so wrong that when you actually find kernels of relatability, it feels like a revelation. In Everybody Wants Some!!, Richard Linklater's take on hazing ("everybody is going to be the chump at some point, it's how you handle your turn that defines you") is refreshingly unsensational. As is the movie as a whole. You know how in Magic Mike you kept expecting one of the characters to OD on drugs or get paralyzed in a car accident in order to teach everyone a valuable lesson? Then it never happens and you're happy to have avoided the moralizing? Everybody Wants Some!! is like that. It's about college, not learning. VINCE MANCINI Fox Tower 10.
Way before Birdman pretended to do it for the first time and no one issued a corrective, Aleksandur Sokurov made a movie in one continuous shot—Russian Ark, an epic journey through European history filmed entirely inside Russia's Hermitage Museum. That film is slow, but satisfyingly full of baroque beauty and strange delights—an entire orchestra! Catherine the Great!—so I'm sad to say that Sokurov's latest, Francofonia, which he somehow got clearance to film inside the Louvre, is even slower than its predecessor, without Russian Ark's appealing visual gambit or its hypnotic charm. Unless you majored in French or art history, I would advise against Francofonia, especially if you're prone to motion sickness: The camera technique used liberally to frame the Louvre's paintings resembles the claustrophobic zoom technique queasily pioneered in Hitchcock's Vertigo. You're better off streaming Russian Ark, and becoming forever insufferable to your friends who love Birdman. Psh, whatever tho, they're wrong. MEGAN BURBANK Cinema 21.
Blue Ruin, Jeremy Saulnier's Kickstarter-aided 2013 calling card, fashioned a diabolically inventive revenge movie that repeatedly headed down unpredictably satisfying avenues. The writer/director's larger-budgeted follow-up, Green Room, gathers up that earlier promise and just goes sick with it, taking an intentionally stripped-down premise and jacking it up to ferocious speeds. Inspired by the director's experiences with hardcore punk shows, the story follows an idealist thrash band (led by Alia Shawkat and a terrifically spacy Anton Yelchin) reduced to gas-siphoning between concerts. While spinning aimlessly through the Northwest, they take a gig deep in the Oregon woods at a venue crammed to the rafters with neo-Nazis, fronted by an ominously velvet-voiced Patrick Stewart. Things do not go well, in ways that made a theater full of jaded critics repeatedly suck in their collective breath. ANDREW WRIGHT Various Theaters.
Grindhouse Film Festival
This month's entry into the Grindhouse canon a rare 35mm print of the pinnacle of the women-in-prison exploitation sub-genre, Chained Heat, the sort of powderkeg combination of sweat, sleaze, and suspense that practically leapt off the VHS wall and into your greedy little hands as you wandered into areas of the video store you were not meant to go. Hollywood Theatre.
Set in a brutalist skyscraper in an unspecified year—everything here looks like how people in the '70s imagined the future—Ben Wheatley's High-Rise charts the Lord of the Flies-esque decay of the building's society. Early on, the lounging rich live up high and the working class below, their caste system as confining as iron bars. Then the tower's society falls apart: There are beatings. There's suicide. There's rape. Tom Hiddleston pats a dog on the head, then turns it on a spit. If you've got triggers, consider them warned: Wheatley and co-writer Amy Jump dive into blood and squalor, with the Kubrickian backdrop of the high-rise getting more claustrophobic with each scene. Hiddleston—along with Luke Evans, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss, and Jeremy Irons—is game for the film's mash-up of allegory and horror. No director better straddles the line between grindhouse and arthouse than Wheatley, and the surreal High-Rise offers him a perfect fit. ERIK HENRIKSEN Cinema 21.
A screening of short films created by Latino teens enrolled in spring break filmmaking camps. More at nwfilm.org. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
A special screening of the little-seen 2004 French boarding school drama starring Marion Cotillard, written and directed by Gaspar Noé's frequent collaborator Lucile Hadzihalilovic. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
The Jungle Book
I'm not convinced remaking The Jungle Book was absolutely necessary, but Disney's latest navel-gazing foray into its own archives delivers everything it needs to: The kid who plays Mowgli is adorable. The digitally animated jungle inhabitants are as warmhearted as they are slick-looking. Do you need more baby animals in your life? The Jungle Book has you covered! You'll squee all the way through as you watch a delightful parade of baby elephants and baby wolves. MEGAN BURBANK Various Theaters.
Once upon the 1970s, there was a sour-faced young actor named Robert De Niro, working steadily but hungry for a real breakout role. At that same time, a jumpy little furball named Marty Scorsese was making a raw-as-hell movie based on the low-level criminals he grew up with in Little Italy. Robert was cast and managed to make the reckless, repugnant piece of shit he was playing into a three-dimensional character worthy of equal parts scorn, pity, and endearment. It ended up being a career-making film for both Robert and Marty, and even though a small army of imitators has dulled Mean Streets' originality in the decades since, it's hard not to still feel the electricity sparking between these two friends for the first time in their lengthy careers. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
Call your mom! That's the sentiment Lorene Scafaria's The Meddler, featuring Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne as mother and daughter, will leave you with, even if you actively resist it. Let's get this out of the way: I wasn't sold on Sarandon as Marnie, an overbearing widow who moves to Los Angeles seemingly just to interfere with her daughter's life. While I would never question Sarandon's ability to convey emotional intelligence, when she opened her mouth in the film's first scenes, using a thick New York accent, I was like SUSAN SARANDON NO I DON'T BELIEVE YOU. It wasn't convincing—she just seemed like a very beautiful movie star trying to sound common, an affect that will only ever be jarring. By the end of the movie, though, I had forgiven her, because I was a weepy mess (and wanted to call my mom). MEGAN BURBANK Hollywood Theatre.
The latest from Jeff Nichols continues the director's winning streak. While on its surface an affectionate throwback to the kid-friendly sci-fi adventures of yesteryear, its underlying themes of families under pressure make it very much of a piece with the filmmaker's other work. Told with a bare minimum of backstory, Nichols' script follows two armed men (Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton) on the run with an eight-year-old boy (Jaeden Lieberher), pursued by both a scarily determined religious cult and a baffled cadre of government agents. While a geeky NSA agent (Adam Driver) attempts to plot the trio's next move, an increasing number of mysterious events hint that the boy, well, just ain't quite right. There's the way his eyes tend to glow in the middle of the night, for one thing. ANDREW WRIGHT Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
Don Cheadle's free-form Miles Davis biopic skips over the biggest moments in Davis' life—the ones people going to see a movie about Davis will likely expect to see—and instead offers a narrative that skips back and forth in time, focusing more on establishing Davis as a character rather than as as a historical figure and musical genius. In addition to writing and directing, Cheadle also plays Davis, and from the opening frames ("Don't call my music jazz," he says. "It's social music"), it's clear this is a passion project. Cheadle is in this role, and like the best Cheadle characters, Davis is never anything less than fascinating. Which is where things get tricky: With a whole lot of fictionalized add-ons and unnecessary costars (like Ewan McGregor's imaginary Rolling Stone reporter), Miles Ahead never feels predictable, but it also never feels reliable. ERIK HENRIKSEN Cinema 21.
As a director, Jodie Foster has specialized in bringing unconventional scripts to clear-eyed life, with films such as Home for the Holidays and The Beaver achieving a fascinatingly honest messiness. This is not one of those times. Money Monster, Foster's first movie in five years, is a pedantic, largely juiceless misfire of the sort that maybe only really smart people can achieve. While the top-tier cast occasionally starts to get something going, the predictability of the plot's hostage scenario—and the toothlessness of the jokes—keep dragging the film down. Money Monster is a satire about television that feels like it was made by the kind of people who claim they don't watch TV. ANDREW WRIGHT Various Theaters.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
The Nice Guys
See review, this issue. Various Theaters.
QDoc: Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival
See Film, this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
(Re)Discoveries: New Restorations, New Prints
A newly-restored print of Ousmane Sembene's Black Girl, the Senegalese director's 1966 debut, telling the story of a young woman who moves to France in the hopes of bettering herself, then finds herself employed as a nanny for a rich couple who have their own (fucked up) ideas as to what the job description should be. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
This month's Re-run once again resurrects the glory days of MTV, this time taking the entirety of 1986 and splashing it all over the Hollywood's curved screen, with landmark clips by Peter Gabriel, Nu Shooz, Eurythmics, Prince, Madonna, Bon Jovi, and many more. Includes vintage ads and bumpers placed during the commercial breaks, ripped straight from a VHS in all their fuzzy, warbly glory. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
Tale of Tales
See review, this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
Through Indian Eyes: Native American Cinema
The National Endowment for the Arts and the UCLA Film & Television Archive curate a program of Native American filmmaking from the last 25 years. More at nwfilm.org. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Mississippi Records presents a rare 35mm screening of David Byrne's weird-as-hell (of course it is) directorial debut, starring John Goodman and Spalding Gray. Hollywood Theatre.
Who Are Us Tour 2016: Observations from the 21st Century American Road
The group Silver Ochre shows the latest version of their always-in-progress tour film, featuring footage taken as they travel the country, performing a live soundtrack to the imagery at every stop. NXT Industries.
MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, May 20-Thursday, May 26, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.