HIDDEN FIGURES Put astronauts on the moon AND invented the Jackie Brown walk.

recommended 1984
As the world plunges into actual dystopia, the Hollywood Theatre is keeping us sane. Conspicuously showing on the same night as you-know-who’s big dumb inauguration, 1984 is a film adaptation of George Orwell’s monumentally important novel. You heard the terms “Thought Police” and “Big Brother”? Yep, that’s from 1984. This movie version—starring John Hurt and released in the actual year 1984!—is required viewing to get us to 2020. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.

recommended 20th Century Women
See review, this issue. Various Theaters.

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Annie (1982)
Say what you will about singing along to Annie. Like that it’s super-lame, for example. But remember: Jay Z’s cool with doing it. Hollywood Theatre.

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
People like to act as if the high-concept genre film reached its peak in the last 20 years, but Michael Bay and Joel Silver ain’t got shit on the late 1950s. That decade was all about answering the really interesting questions, like “What if a dude was also a fly?” or “What if a blob of shit ate a whole town?” and, of course, “What if a woman was 50 feet tall and sick to death of stupid men fucking her life up?” That last one got answered with these 66 minutes of sci-fi schlock from director Nathan Hertz. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.

Fences
Last night, while leaving a screening of the solid and engaging adaptation of August Wilson’s play Fences, which was directed by Denzel Washington, a man walking behind me said to the woman walking next to him that this is not the kind of Denzel film he likes. It’s too act-y, it’s all about the Academy Awards. Clearly, he wanted Washington to shoot more and talk less, but Fences has no guns and a whole lot of talking about life; it deals with failed dreams, race relations in mid-century America, marital problems, parenting problems, working-class problems, drinking problems, problems with debts, with mental health, and, ultimately, with death. What might kill the character Washington plays in Fences is not a car chase or a shootout, but blocked arteries. He is a normal guy with a very standard suite of personal and social issues. The man behind me was correct; it is likely Washington will be recognized by the Academy for this performance. And thank God! It is good to see a great actor take a break from his fall into the abyss of crap and produce something of social, artistic, and cultural value. CHARLES MUDEDE Various Theaters.

The Founder
See review, this issue. Various Theaters.

recommended Hidden Figures
Before Hidden Figures, I had no idea three black women were integral to the success of America’s space program. That’s not the only surprise here: Even the film’s title has a double meaning, referring to both the unheralded women who helped us catch up in the space race, and the calculations that were missing before their contributions. Spending much of its runtime dealing with issues that persist today—segregation, racism and sexism in the workplace—Hidden Figures focuses on the black women who had to balance being tenacious and docile in order to get ahead, even as they were underestimated and undervalued every step of the way. JENNI MOORE Various Theaters.

recommended Jackie
Natalie Portman’s portrayal is nothing less than amazing, perfectly capturing Jacqueline Kennedy’s intense drive, strength, occasional pettiness, and overwhelming grief. She, along with director Pablo Larraín and a talented cast, go a long way to reshape our shared memories of Kennedy as simply a fashion plate in a pink pillbox hat, revealing a figure far more complicated and heroic. Jackie is a stunning, heart-wrenching meditation on truth, the American ideal, and the incredible pressure on first ladies—women who represent just as much, if not more, than their husbands. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.

recommended La La Land
La La Land is a grand, over-the-top, razzly-dazzly love story that won’t make you puke one bit. It might even help you forget the horrors of reality, however momentarily—and after the year we’ve had, that practically makes La La Land a public service. MEGAN BURBANK Various Theaters.

recommended Lion
The incredible true story of why you should never have children in India. Based on Saroo Brierley’s memoir A Long Way Home, the film, an inspiring drama that earns tears without jerking them, begins with five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) becoming separated from his mother and brother and ending up a thousand miles away in Calcutta. First-time feature director Garth Davis jangles the nerves with these early scenes, but don’t fret: Saroo is rescued soon enough, adopted by a saintly Australian couple, John and Sue Brierley (David Wenham and Nicole Kidman), who raise him up lovingly to become Dev Patel. Grown-up Saroo, tortured by the knowledge that his family never knew what happened to him, sets out to find them, with only his distant memories and Google Earth to assist him. ERIC D. SNIDER Various Theaters.

Live by Night
Live by Night suggests that Ben Affleck may be on one of his many upswings. It’s a far from perfect movie—I hesitate to even call it a good one—but there’s effort and care and ambition within its muddled narrative. Severely condensed from the middle volume in Dennis Lehane’s three-book gangster series, the film has all the problems inherent in cramming a 400-page epic into a two-hour runtime. Fortunately, it also hangs on to some of the things that make Lehane a superb writer—namely, a fresh framing of gangster tropes with an eye to historical accuracy, and a tight interweaving of plot and character that give stretches of Affleck’s film real momentum. There are scenes in Live by Night that’re as good as anything I’ve seen on a screen this past year. There are also numerous sequences that are flat-out baffling. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.

Memory’s Lonely Breath: Films by Vu Pham
See Film, this issue. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.

recommended Moonlight
Moonlight is a movie about what it’s like to grow up male in America. Moonlight is also a movie about what it’s like to grow up gay in America. And Moonlight is, in addition, a movie about what it’s like to grow up black in America. That inevitably makes Barry Jenkins’ justly acclaimed film sound like it will appeal primarily to gay, black, and/or male audiences. And indeed, people who share some or all of its protagonist’s characteristics will be overjoyed at the belated depiction of lives like theirs on screen. But Moonlight, if I can swoon for a moment, does what all true art aspires to do. It shares something unique but universal about what it’s like to be human. MARC MOHAN Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre.

Nocturnal Animals
Fashion-designer-turned-director Tom Ford’s second film (and his first since 2009’s A Single Man) looks great, and the story is intriguing and disturbing. But the movie’s a downer, and it has the misfortune of showing up in theaters exactly when we really don’t need a downer—especially one about the emotional scars of rich, well-dressed white people. MARC MOHAN Various Theaters.

recommended Ollin: Social Justice Film Series
A film series presented by the Latino Network, “dedicated to exploring social justice themes through film” and featuring post-screening panel discussions. This week’s film is 2006’s Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro’s remarkable fantasy about monsters and fascism. Hollywood Theatre.

recommended Paterson
Those who go to movies merely to consume piles of plot will likely be disappointed by Paterson, which finds Jim Jarmusch in one of his quieter moods, rambling alongside his characters, tagging along rather than nudging them in any direction. But those willing to adopt the film’s routine as their own will find something profound and beautiful in the film’s focus. ERIK HENRIKSEN Cinema 21.

Re-run Theater: Battlestar Galactica: Lost Planet of the Gods
The Hollywood’s fond look back at the glory days of ’70s-’80s era television. This month: a screening of the soapy sci-fi cheesefest Battlestar Galactica. Before it was reinvented as a 9/11 allegory in 2003, it was a simple Star Wars knockoff with vaguely Mormon undertones, going off the rails into cigar-chomping ridiculousness by the third part of its extended pilot before finally wallowing in mystic (and super-sexist) absurdity like a dog in roadkill with the two-parter Lost Planet of the Gods. With vintage commercials during the ad breaks! BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.

Real Genius
The 1985 comedy starring Val Kilmer as a teenage genius. Oh, Val Kilmer: From ’80s glory (Top Gun!) to guest starring on Numb3rs and playing “Dieter Von Cunth” in MacGruber. Laurelhurst.

recommended Rebellion & Revolution: Hate
Where’s the line? When a reality TV villain wins the presidency and news reads like dystopian science fiction, the line between fiction and reality gets blurry. And when—and if—we manage to unplug, entertainment gets dicey: Is it okay to enjoy HBO’s soap operas while the world goes to shit? Where’s the line between letting ourselves engage with art and forcing ourselves to pay attention to the real world? The truth, of course, is that there is no line—art feeds on reality, and reality is affected by art. Which brings us to the Hollywood Theatre’s timely film series Rebellion & Revolution: Insurgent Cinema. This week: Hate, or La Haine (1995), which, in the aftermath of Parisian riots, examines the cruel intersections of race, class, and violence. ERIK HENRIKSEN Hollywood Theatre.

Sailor Moon R: The Movie
For the first time ever, this classic anime is shown uncut in America. Now you can experience the timeless story of a schoolgirl given superpowers thanks to a magic brooch bestowed upon her by a talking cat just in time to stop the world from total devastation via dangerous flower-monster legions! Anime! Hollywood Theatre.

Saving Banksy
Exploring the complexity of opinion around art collector Brian Greif’s attempt to remove and preserve a Banksy piece in San Francisco’s Mission district, Saving Banksy conveys the exact conversation people have about graffiti art both in undergrad humanities classes and at art patron dinner parties. Director Colin Day provides three tiers of interviews: a hodgepodge of assembled graffiti artists, a single philanthropic art collector, and a single German-accented art seller. (The artist interviews run in the neighborhood of, “A lot of people say [Banksy]’s not real. He’s more real than the people saying he’s not real.”) The only subject who comes off well is London artist Ben Eine, who cagedly admits he might like some of his street art pieces preserved—some day. SUZETTE SMITH Cinema 21.

recommended Silence
Silence, which is perhaps Scorsese’s most overtly religious movie, is self-recommending: It’s a nearly three-hour film about Portuguese missionaries in post-feudal Japan, and a slow meditation on the nature of one’s faith in one Jesus Christ. Based on that description, you’re either all in or all out. If you’re in, you’re lucky, because Scorsese has some really interesting questions to pose to you. NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.

recommended Some Days Are Better Than Others
With Some Days Are Better than Others, local filmmaker Matt McCormick presents some of the prettiest footage of Portland you’ll ever see. Whether he’s shooting an overpass or the inside of a Goodwill, McCormick’s representation of the city is arresting, with a heft and depth that demand you consider Some Days as a visual statement as well as a narrative one. Director in attendance on Fri Jan 20. ALISON HALLETT Fifth Avenue Cinema.

Split
Review forthcoming at portlandmercury.com. Various Theaters.

recommended Tampopo
Juzo Itami’s 1985 film defies easy description. The director himself calls it a “ramen western,” due to the main story of a couple truckers helping a woman named Tampopo establish herself as master of noodles. But it’s also a comedy, a romance, a surreal gangster movie, and an erotic screwball farce. Its steaming collection of disparate ingredients gets pretty messy at times, but the result is one of the most sensual movies of the 20th century. There’s no guarantee every element will hit the spot, but you will leave this screening hungry as hell. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.

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Ultraman Double Feature
Two Ultramans! The “special 50th anniversary film” Ultraman X the Movie AND Ultraman Ginga S the Movie! Ultramans! Hollywood Theatre.

recommended recommended xXx: Return of Xander Cage recommended recommended
Review forthcoming at portlandmercury.com. Various Theaters.


recommended MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, January 20-Thursday, January 26, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.

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In person at the Clinton St. Theater 10/29 & 10/30