All the Rage
A documentary following physician John Sarno through an almost 50-year career treating back pain by focusing on the connection between the mind and the body, and the nature of stress. Director in attendance. Clinton Street Theater.
American Made is a movie about Barry Seal, a former TWA pilot who smuggled weapons for the Contras and cocaine for the Medellín Cartel in the ’80s. Well, ostensibly it’s about Barry Seal. American Made, like all movies starring Tom Cruise, is actually about Tom Cruise. I don’t think there’s a single scene in the movie that doesn’t feature Cruise flashing his famous billboard grin; looking boyish as ever, he scurries and sweats across each frame like the most tenacious kid in movie-star class, working his little tail off to make sure that you are having a darn good time at the picture show. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
★Battle of the Sexes
A film inspired by the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell. Watching a hard-working woman beat an entitled sexist prick on an international stage is glorious, and something I want on instant replay inside my eyelids so I can close my eyes and watch it instead of whatever’s actually happening in 2017. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
Blade Runner 2049
See review, this issue. Various Theaters.
What if little kids were prohibition-era gangsters? Singing and dancing musical-ass gangsters performing songs by diminutive soft rock genius Paul Williams, driving pedal cars, and toting “splurge” guns? The only person in the world who has ever asked such a set of ridiculous fucking questions was director Alan Parker, who answered them in the form of his 1976 debut starring Jodie Foster and the young soulless husk of Scott Baio, who sucks, has always sucked, and will always suck. BOBBY ROBERTS NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
Why in the fuck would anyone want to revisit Ben Affleck’s shittacular gangster “comedy” from 2003? Wasn’t it bad enough the first time? This is the one with turkeys hiding in Jennifer Lopez’s pants or some sh—wait. Wait, I fucked up. This isn’t Gigli, it’s Gigi! The one that doesn’t have an “L” in its title. The ’50s musical from Vincente Minnelli starring Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier as a playboy and a mistress who fall in love in 1900s Paris. Okay, yeah, this is cute. Watch this. Not Gigli. Never watch that. BOBBY ROBERTS Fifth Avenue Cinema.
The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival & CthulhuCon
Portland’s annual celebration of all things slimy and betentacled, with special guests including Barbara Steele, F. Paul Wilson, Courtney Gains, Cody Goodfellow, and Andrew Leman. More at hplfilmfestival.com. Hollywood Theatre.
★Hecklevision: The Wizard
Your opportunity to turn your phone into a weapon of textual comedic destruction, aimed at 1989’s syrupy video game melodrama The Wizard, a film that led children to (incorrectly) believe the Power Glove was worth a shit, and whose primary utility was to act as a really, really long trailer for Super Mario Bros. 3. 1990 Nintendo World Championships finalist Robin Mihara leads an expert panel stacked with local comedians (David Mascorro, Ian Durias, and Phil Mills) as they chuck poison mushrooms at this interminable turd staining the resumes of Beau Bridges, Christian Slater, Fred Savage, and Jenny Lewis. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
In theory, It should work: Many of the things that make Stephen King’s book so remarkable are here, and all those elements are better than those of the 1990 miniseries. But for a movie with so much blood, It feels disappointingly bloodless. Maybe its sequel—which promises to tell the second half of the story—will find the scope and the horror missing from this chapter, but for now, It feels less than the sum of its parts. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Kingsman: The Golden Circle suffers from sequel-itis. It’s bloated and overlong, with some fun retreads of ideas from the first Kingsman, a few new tricks done incredibly well, and more than a few stretches that pale in comparison to the original. But even though The Golden Circle’s excess reaches gluttonous levels, there’s plenty to be enthralled by, including the Prince-soundtracked taxi chase that opens the movie, an uncountable number of fight scenes, and the hilarious presence of Elton John, which puts his appearance in Spice World to shame. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
★Kung Fu Theater: Lady Kung Fu
This month’s installment in Dan Halsted’s ongoing celebration of all things whoop-ass is a very rare 35mm print of this little-seen landmark of the genre, starring Angela Mao as the star student of the Korean martial art Hapkido. She’s sorta like the Hermione Granger of kung fu, except instead of constantly taking the back seat to Harry and Ron (Sammo Hung, Carter Wong), Mao stands firmly at center stage as she proceeds to beat the living shit out of every evil dickhead that dares to come at her. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
See review, this issue. Cinema 21.
Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards
A documentary about Manolo Blahnik, the man who turned footwear into legitimate art, featuring interviews with Blahnik, and fashion luminaries including Anna Wintour, Isaac Mizrahi, Naomi Campbell, and Rihanna. Cinema 21.
Darren Aronofsky’s latest is the kind of movie that’ll have some declaring it a work of genius and others decrying it as a piece of garbage. (I’m guessing zero people will land in the middle; nobody’s leaving Mother! with a shrug.) And good luck trying to classify it: Is it an arthouse horror movie? A thriller? A twisted romance? Sure, Mother! could be a trippy take on a disintegrating marriage, or it could serve as a Biblical allegory for the creative process. Is it a far-reaching indictment of America’s lifestyle consumerism, or just a movie about how far Aronofsky has his head up his ass? Is it brilliant? Is it terrible? Is it both? It’s Mother! ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
The Mountain Between Us
See review, this issue. Various Theaters.
My Little Pony: The Movie
Hasbro is a giant company that makes toys for children. One of their most popular are the Transformers. In 2007 a bad man named Michael Bay was put in charge of making movies about the Transformers, and he’s since dedicated his entire life to summoning forth an ever-swirling hurricane of cinematic dogshit that—even at its friendliest—is 100% inappropriate for the kids these increasingly ugly fucking toys are (ostensibly) manufactured for. Somehow, Hasbro’s other major property, My Little Pony, has escaped such a hell. Sure, there was that weird “Brony” thing from a couple years ago, but that’s mostly dead now. This movie is just a simple animated film about magical multicolored talking horsies. That’s it. There won’t be any decapitations, dismemberments, pissing, robo-testicles, or laminated cards promoting statutory rape anywhere in the film. Just singing cartoon ponies. And rainbows. That’s it. Promise. BOBBY ROBERTS Various Theaters.
★Night of the Living Dead
There are legends in film history, and then there are legends. George Romero is the latter. Horror as social commentary? He did that. Horror as art film? He did that. Horror as testing ground for some of the most innovative and stomach-churning visual and practical effects imaginable? He did all of that. There isn’t much in that world Romero didn’t pioneer in his career, and the genre resides in the darkness of his massive shadow. Celebrate his eye, his compassion, and his storytelling power with a screening of what is still a stunningly truthful look at how broken this country is when it comes to race: 1968’s Night of the Living Dead. BOBBY ROBERTS Clinton Street Theater.
For a man who had the career that Harry Dean Stanton had, a single week of tributes isn’t nearly enough. Hollywood is making sure that homage is paid correctly by screening Wim Wenders’ 1984 classic Paris, Texas, serving double duty as both a remembrance of Stanton’s unique charms as an actor and writer Sam Shepard’s deft touch with both characterization and dialog. And if you’ve never seen the movie before, you’ll get the bonus satisfaction of going “Oh, so that’s where the mural at Bunk Bar comes from!” Hollywood Theatre.
Portland German Film Festival
There’s nothing quite like a film festival drawn along ethnic parameters to make it clear how arbitrary a distinction that can be. The Portland German Film Festival demonstrates the current diversity of mood, style, and subject matter in Germany’s filmmaking community, as well as dusting off a few select 20th century gems. MARJORIE SKINNER Cinema 21.
The Reagan Show
There is no narrator in this documentary, no talking heads, no experts, no direct analysis. The entire thing consists of archival footage from network news and the machinery that manufactured the images of America’s 40th president. Ronald Reagan and his team changed the whole game of American politics by transforming the White House into a movie studio. These men understood that he wasn’t a president, but playing one in Hollywood. Without this understanding (make everything a movie), the new conservatives (or neoliberals) would not have finally and effectively defeated that five-decade truce between workers and capitalism called the New Deal. The Reagan revolution was indeed televised. The documentary also makes it clear that Donald Trump is a rank amateur and completely lacks Reagan’s art and discipline. CHARLES MUDEDE NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
The 21st century has done weird things to us. For example, Citizen Kane is now “the movie where the fat guy clapping .gif comes from!” and Scanners is “Exploding Head.gif: The Movie.” There is, of course, a lot more to Scanners than seeing heads pop like balloons filled with ketchup and dog food (although that moment, which comes very early in the film, is still fucking horrifying, even after 30-plus years.) It’s a David Cronenberg movie, how could there not be more to it? BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
“Movies don’t create psychos. Movies make psychos more creative!” Laurelhurst Theater.
Slapped! The Movie
A premiere (with a red carpet and everything) for this made-in-the-Northwest body-switch comedy about two best friends—one skinny, one large—who learn valuable life lessons after encountering a magic bum one fateful day. Clinton Street Theater.
Sonic Cinema: Poison Idea—Legacy of Dysfunction
Mike Lastra’s documentary about the infamously legendary (or legendarily infamous) Portland punk titans, with footage of them wreaking havoc on stages for almost four decades intercut with interviews from those pulled into the Poison orbit and made a part of their extended, very dysfunctional family. Director in attendance. Hollywood Theatre.
Strangers on a Train
Remember in Throw Momma from the Train, when Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal switch murders, and DeVito kills Crystal’s ex-wife, forcing Crystal to murder the mean old woman from Goonies? Remember how DeVito got the idea from an old black and white Hitchcock movie, in which two strangers meet on a train and decide to “criss cross” each other’s murders? That’s this movie! NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
The Hollywood pays tribute to Tobe Hooper with his debut feature, which is also his magnum opus, which is also a lot more subtle than both its title and your memories might have it. Hooper’s southern-fried horror classic is notable for how violent it isn’t—Massacre nails its oppressively disconcerting tone through almost perfect pacing, framing, and amateur performances whose rawness lends sweaty desperation to an increasingly breathless movie, steadily escalating to a full-on hyperventilating freakout of almost incoherent imagery that just... stops. Hooper never got this good again, but almost nobody else in the genre has either. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
Year by the Sea
The film adaptation of the best-selling memoir by Joan Anderson, who decided that instead of following her husband from New York to Kansas, she was gonna spend a year in Cape Cod getting her groove back. Fox Tower 10.