Airport Cinema Celebration Showcase
In honor of the Hollywood Theatre opening up their first-of-a-kind free microcinema at the Portland International Airport, HouseSpecial, Blue Chalk Media, and local filmmakers gather to show off the shorts and music videos that will be screening there, and to discuss the future of the Airport Shorts program that keeps the projector glowing at PDX. Hollywood Theatre.
Beauty and the Beast
It’s a tale as old as time—the kind of beautiful love story that subtly normalizes stuff like kidnapping and bestiality. CIARA DOLAN Various Theaters.
Before I Fall
Before I Fall hits the necessary marks for a teen movie: It’s got a conceit sophisticated enough for adults, an actor who can emote (Zoey Deutch), and a good soundtrack (Grimes!). I was thoroughly sold on its Groundhog Day gambit almost all the way through, although the movie’s ethos definitely holds a teenage girl to a higher moral standard than Bill Murray, which seems unfair. MEGAN BURBANK Various Theaters.
A feature-length version of the not-quite-joking sentiment among African Americans that the suburbs, with their overwhelming whiteness and cultural homogeneity, are eerie twilight zones for Black people. Far from being a one-joke movie, however, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is both a clever, consistently funny racial satire and a horror film, one that mocks white liberal cluelessness and finds humor in—but doesn’t dismiss—Black people’s fears. ERIC D. SNIDER Various Theaters.
Grindhouse Film Festival: Shogun Assassin
Hollywood’s monthly grindhouse celebration presents a rare 35mm print of Shogun Assassin, a cinematic mixtape of the Lone Wolf and Cub series’ greatest hits, cut to minimize early ’80s art-house vibes and maximize English-dubbed blood ’n’ guts mayhem that viscerally impacted impressionable minds such as RZA and the GZA, who used the film as a loose framework to build the all-time classic Liquid Swords around. So even if you haven’t seen this movie, you’ve heard this movie. Bear witness as the ruckus gets brought on a long, bloody road to hell. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
Hecklevision: Ghost Rider
An opportunity to turn your phone into a weapon of textual comedic destruction, aimed directly at the (literal) flaming heap that is 2007’s Ghost Rider. Nicolas Cage, such a comic book nut that he took his stage name from Marvel Comics, almost got to play Superman in one of the industry’s longest running production clusterfucks, then named one of his children after Superman, and finally landed a superhero role and it was... this fucking thing. He eats candy out of a martini glass. His head catches fire. He has a really long chain? His archnemesis is the dude from the first Hunger Games with the super-shitty beard. Ghost Rider is a target-rich environment. Fire freely. Fire often. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
With its charming pop-art magical realism, cinematic flashbacks, and the ability to present intimate documentary-style footage of Hedwig’s misfit band on tour with their charlatan business manager, the movie version of Hedwig is able to emphasize the rich plot far better than the stage version did. Although, admittedly, the movie ending—a Christ-like nude walk across a city street with a close-up on Mitchell’s ass—is still wildly obscure. (I could never figure out Tommy or Rocky Horror either.) JOSH FEIT Academy Theater.
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.
I Am Not Your Negro
Working off an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin, director Raoul Peck creates a brilliantly absorbing history of American racism, bolstered by Samuel L. Jackson’s impassioned narration. ANDREW WRIGHT Hollywood Theatre.
This documentary about Istanbul’s sizable stray cat population is so full of kindness and warmth that it’s like jumping into a pile of freshly-laundered bedding just pulled out of the dryer, or floating around in a slightly stoned bubble bath, or, I don’t know, being a kitten? The squee opportunities are abundant, but what doesn’t appear on-screen is as important as what does. To describe Kedi as an extended cat video is to ignore the sociopolitical context of the city where the cats live—context that’s only hinted at in statements from the locals, but that adds poignant sophistication and an ever-present emotional core to a documentary some will dismiss as lighthearted entertainment. MEGAN BURBANK Cinema 21.
Kong: Skull Island
There are so many monsters in Kong: Skull Island! Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (who I knew in my youth and who I interviewed for this very publication) has created a monster ecosystem for Skull Island that’s immersive, magical, and kind of silly. But it’s difficult to tell if Kong: Skull Island wants to be cool, campy, or horrifying—it succeeds at all those things, but never melds them together. Instead it sort of drags itself back and forth in a tone-shift tug-of-war. As predicted (by me), John C. Reilly steals every scene he’s in (because he fucking rules—he Dr. Steve Brules). And while the rest of Skull Island’s cast is also lovable, it’s one thing to accept a giant monkey with a baseball bat and another to believe Tom "Mr. Diction" Hiddleston would be useful in a jungle. Also see “Beauty and Terror: Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts on Monsters, Vietnam, and Kong: Skull Island,” Film, March 8. SUZETTE SMITH Various Theaters.
For all Logan’s nods to genre—and it’s as much a western as a superhero movie—it’s about bigger things, too. This Logan is burned out and worn down: Not for nothing does he grunt softly when hoisting himself out of a car. Not for nothing does he wear cheap reading glasses. (Superman wears glasses as a disguise; Logan wears glasses because his eyes aren’t what they used to be.) And not for nothing does he glower when one of his claws refuses to SNIKT. (Whether they make Viagra for mutants is, alas, never addressed.) Logan is a movie about what it’s like to get old—to realize that one’s body and memories offer more pain than power, that one’s optimism and love have hardened to stubbornness and regret. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
The first film is a sweaty, weird Ozploitation flick. The third film is an ungainly hybrid of action and family film dipped in pigshit. The fourth is distilled, uncut raw, feminist action perfection. But The Road Warrior is still what people think of when they think “Mad Max,” and for good reason—George Miller’s early ’80s classic set a bar not just for stuntwork and action cinematography, but for aesthetics and tone that an entire decade’s worth of action hacks would fruitlessly chase for the next 15 years. It’s an irresponsible, mean, merciless flurry of indelible moments that are as effective now as they were over 30 years ago. BOBBY ROBERTS Laurelhurst Theater.
Magic & Loss: Coming of Age Onscreen
A festival programmed to highlight the best in cinematic coming-of-age stories, from directors Gordon Parks, Elia Kazan, Ingmar Bergman, John Singleton, and more. If you’re looking for Molly Ringwald-type shit, look elsewhere. More at nwfilm.org. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
Olivier Assayas’ latest is a cinematic Frankenstein monster, stitched together from different genres into something that transcends its sources: Kristen Stewart plays a young American in Paris working as an assistant for a globe-trotting supermodel, buying high-end clothes but never getting to try them on. (It’s a metaphor.) She’s also trying to make psychic contact with a twin brother who died from a heart defect—a disease she also has. She’s also trying to maintain a long-distance Skype relationship with her boyfriend. Things get sinister when Stewart starts receiving anonymous, threatening text messages, and eventually there’s a murder. MARC MOHAN Cinema 21.
Pipe Organ Pictures: The Cameraman
The classic 1928 silent comedy starring Buster Keaton, with live organ accompaniment by Dean Lemire, preceded by a Laurel & Hardy short and a Max Fleischer cartoon. Hollywood Theatre.
Portland EcoFilm Festival: Wolf OR-7 Expedition
A documentary following six adventurers trying to retrace the steps of California’s first wild wolf in 90 years. Followed by a panel discussion on wolf conservation featuring representatives from Oregon Wild, the Center for Biological Diversity, and members of the film. More at portlandecofilmfest.org. Hollywood Theatre.
Re-run Theater: Wonder Woman Double Feature
Before you see whatever it is Warner Bros. have done to Diana Prince in this summer’s Wonder Woman, soak up a couple hours with Lynda Carter’s definitive version of the bullet-blocking, lasso-throwing, skateboarding (yup!) superhero. The skateboard episode will be screened in 16mm, and the one where she foils a plot to replace military scientists with robots will be on good ol’ video, complete with ’70s-era ads during the commercial breaks. You’re hearing the theme in your head right now, aren’t you? Good. BOBBY ROBERTS
The Red Turtle
A nearly perfect movie for kids (and adults) of almost any age. If you’re too young to appreciate it, you probably shouldn’t be in a movie theater, and if you’re too old to appreciate it, you probably need medical attention. MARC MOHAN Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
A top-secret screening for supporters and members of the Hollywood Theatre! *fingers crossed* please be Mortal Kombat, please be Mortal Kombat Hollywood Theatre.
A screening of Justin Zimmerman’s documentary about the Los Angeles’ Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team, with proceeds benefitting the Oregon Humane Society. A panel discussion follows, featuring Zimmerman, SMART members Armando Navarrete and Annette Ramierez, and members of Oregon Humane’s rescue team. Hollywood Theatre.
You know what it is. (It’s people.) Hollywood Theatre.
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.
Though Table 19 hammers home the theme that everyone is a goddamn mess—and while some of its jokes, stunts, and twists are clever enough to hold one’s attention—at its core it’s a typical, gooey romcom. Good thing Anna Kendrick is in it, then—her involvement ends up being crucial to the film’s watchability. JENNI MOORE Various Theaters.
See review, this issue. Cinema 21.
MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, March 24-Thursday, March 30, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.