B-Movie Bingo: Traxx
Your monthly opportunity to literally check off a bingo card full of B-movie clichés! This month, get your mind boggled by the cinematic refuse that is 1988’s Traxx, starring ’80s pop-culture flotsam Shadoe Stevens as an ex-cop who’s retired from murdering international drug dealers to focus on baking cookies. As you watch Stevens blow shit up in all his sweaty, hairy glory, keep in mind his day job was introducing Roxette records on Los Angeles Top 40 radio. And yet he’s still more convincing in this role than anything Adam Carolla’s ever done outside of Loveline. Go figure. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
Oh good: a Robert De Niro movie dribbling out in early February after going through three different directors over the course of six years, each trying to bring to life a script credited to four different writers (one of whom is “Roastmaster General” Jeff Ross) about a salty old shithead comedian who gets community service for assaulting an audience member, where he meets a young woman and god-fucking-dammit what happened to you, Bobby D? Various Theaters.
Ghost in the Shell
Of the many films that followed in Blade Runner’s wake, Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s manga Ghost in the Shell gets closest to usurping that cyberpunk throne, with a similarly mesmerizing blend of visuals and music in service of a similarly frustrating and awkwardly ponderous story that muses on the meaning of humanity in a future where robots and cyborgs are better people than actual people. Catch up with its slow-motion delights now, before the live-action remake starring Scarlett Johansson drops later this year. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
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.
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 Various Theaters.
Portland Black Film Festival
Runs Thurs Feb 9 through Wed Feb 22. See next week’s Mercury for more info. Hollywood Theatre.
Portland International Film Festival
Runs Thurs Feb 9 through Sat Feb 25. See next week’s Mercury for more info. NW Film Center at Whitsell Auditorium.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Ostensibly the final entry in the action/horror/video game series. Not screened for critics. See “Resident Evil Actor Ryan McCluskey: The Resident Evinterview,” Film, Jan 25. Various Theaters.
“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” Academy Theater.
“So, Lone Star! Now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.” Laurelhurst Theater.
Everyone rags on director M. Night Shyamalan for being a one-trick pony. But guys, he’s so much more than that! His films can be pretty great (2000’s Unbreakable) or they can be embarrassing garbage (2015’s adult-diaper-filled The Visit). That’s two whole tricks! With Split, he’s back to vintage Shyamasurprise® Time, and the result is a fairly solid thriller with only a few missteps. Not bad, sir, not bad. COURTNEY FERGUSON Various Theaters.
Throne of Blood
Hidden in the long and amazing filmography of legendary director Akira Kurosawa is a trilogy of Shakespeare adaptations that aren’t really adaptations of the Bard, but more like cover versions using the original melody to spin off intricate and powerful compositions. The trilogy includes 1985’s Ran (adapting King Lear) and 1960’s The Bad Sleep Well (adapting Hamlet), but the first of these—1957’s Throne of Blood—not only takes Macbeth and drops it feudal Japan, but easily improves it in the telling. Of course, you put Toshirô Mifune in anything and you’ve improved whatever you’re watching twofold at minimum. BOBBY ROBERTS Screens as part of the Hollywood’s new Samurai Sunday series. Hollywood Theatre.
A movie you should see. It’s funny, heartwarming, and wise, except for when it’s being dark and existential. It features a pair of rich, subtle performances, and it marks the emergence, with her third feature, of director Maren Ade as an important international filmmaker. Also, there’s a scene where a guy ejaculates onto a petit four. So, pretty much something for everyone. MARC MOHAN Cinema 21.
MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, February 3-Thursday, February 9, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.