All I See Is You
“What is this movie about?” That’s what I jotted down at the halfway point (awfully late for the question to still be necessary) of All I See Is You, a psychological drama from director Marc Forster that spins its wheels stylishly but doesn’t go anywhere. Blake Lively stars as Gina, a blind American woman living in Bangkok with her much older, mildly Australian husband James (Jason Clarke), with whom she’s trying to have a baby. Surgical restoration of Gina’s sight (she’d lost it in a car wreck) changes the dynamics of her and James’ relationship, creating a strain. The story meanders through subplots that reinforce the basic idea of James no longer feeling necessary while obscuring what’s going on in Gina’s head, culminating in an abrupt climax and a “Wait, what?” ending. What is this movie about? Never mind, I don’t care anymore. ERIC D. SNIDER Various Theaters.
Animated Worlds: Stop Motion Classics
A series dedicated to spotlighting some of the most miraculous cinema ever created, with entries from directors including Henry Selick, Nick Park & Peter Lord, Wes Anderson, and Travis Knight. See nwfilm.org for a full list of titles and showtimes. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
The Best of XRAY TV
Your opportunity to catch up on all the local televised goodness that upstart indie radio station XRAY.fm and community media creators Open Signal have been collaborating on all year. Sample from their eight original series, and stick around after the screening for a chance to talk with the creators. Hollywood Theatre.
Cat People (1942)
In the 1980s, tortured vulgarian Paul Schrader saw fit to remake Jacques Tourneur’s supernatural horror Cat People for modern audiences, which meant adding a lot of nudity and violence, and subtracting most of its class and atmosphere. But you can’t “update” Cat People that way—the weird blend of scary and sultry works because of its suggestiveness, the freaky little headspace it occupies is unsettling due to the mystery and darkness it bathes in. Schrader’s pervy impulse to turn all the lights on and ogle was the wrong move—sitting down to catch the original on the big screen is a much better call. BOBBY ROBERTS NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini's documentary about Dina Bruno and Scott Levin, who prepare for their wedding while facing several challenges (Levin has Asperger’s and Bruno is autistic), won the Grand Jury Prize for US documentary at this year’s Sundance. Not screened in time for press. Fox Tower 10.
Dispatches from the Dead: Golden Era Trailer Scare Show
For those of you who firmly believe the trailers are the best part of going to the theater, Jackpot Records has raided the collections of filmmakers Joe Dante and Jon Davidson for a night of nothing but trailers, and the cheesiest and most shameless examples of horror advertising from the 1950s through the 70s at that. Hollywood Theatre.
★ The Gold Rush
Charlie Chaplin goes to snowbound Alaska for the Klondike Gold Rush in this 1925 silent comedy, reedited in 1942 to include Chaplin’s narration. It’s one of his best, which means it’s whimsical, sad, lovely, and hilarious. NED LANNAMANN NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
Hobo with a Shotgun
Based on a faux trailer created for the publicity blitz surrounding Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse, Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun joins the likes of Machete and The Devil’s Rejects in the curious subgenre of movies that exist to pay homage to the exploitation flicks of yesteryear. Seemingly aware that he’s a little late to the party, Eisener lays the gore on thick with a wink-wink sensibility that is both energizing and hollow—Hobo starts off exhilarating, but turns noxious and empty fast. DAVE BOW Fifth Avenue Cinema.
★ I Wake Up Dreaming: Film Noir Festival
Earlier this year, film programmer Elliot Lavine moved his “I Wake Up Dreaming” film noir festival—along with himself—from the Bay Area to Portland, and now the second Portland installment of Lavine’s weeklong dive into the world of shady detectives and troubled dames takes over a screen at Cinema 21. This batch comes from the Warner Archives, with a focus on the movies of Robert Mitchum, including On Dangerous Ground and Crossfire. Other big titles include The Big Sleep and Murder My Sweet, but I’d suggest dropping $7.50 for a double feature of something you’ve never heard of (the truly obsessed can pay $29 to binge all 18 movies). Even the most obscure of these midcentury Hollywood potboilers hold their own magic. NED LANNAMANN Cinema 21.
Oh shit, are we already at the point where we start doing nostalgia-based cash-ins based on shitty horror films of the 2000s? Not screened for critics. Various Theaters.
★ Near Dark
Kathryn Bigelow’s second film, 1987’s Near Dark, is a weird, low-budget, slightly disjointed vampire western. If it didn’t feature a completely unhinged Bill Paxton, it might have only been remembered for the many shots of apocalyptic beauty Bigelow and cinematographer Adam Greenberg captured. But Bill Paxton is in this film, and while his recent (and way-too-soon) death might still sting, it’s almost impossible to watch him work and not feel joy. There is no catchphrase, no one-liner, no throwaway look that he doesn’t turn into pure gold. Which is basically what Paxton did all the time. BOBBY ROBERTS NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
★ 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 Hollywood Theatre.
★ The Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival
The NW Film Center’s regional, indie-focused film festival enters its 44th year; in the past few years, it’s generally focused on high-risk, high-reward selections. See next week’s Mercury for our rundown of this year’s offerings. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
F.W. Murnau’s 1922 horror flick, starring Max Schreck as a rat-faced monster with great taste in coats, featuring a live score composed and performed by Mood Area 52. Hollywood Theatre.
Pamela Yates: The Resistance Saga Trilogy
Over the course of three decades, Pamela Yates’ camera has captured the struggle of the Mayan Indians in Guatemala as their country weathered multiple upheavals, and this weekend NW Film screens her works, including 1983’s When the Mountains Tremble, 2011’s Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, and 2017’s 500 Years. Director in attendance. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
★ Poltergeist (1982)
It may seem like the Academy is running two Tobe Hooper horror classics in honor of Halloween, but of all the worst kept secrets in Hollywood, maybe its most obvious is Poltergeist wasn’t really Hooper’s movie. Even if you could write off the presence of Spielberg’s name in the credits and all his favorite storytelling fetishes in the story, it’s pretty hard to ignore the film itself, a careful, candy-coated snowglobe full of monsters and meat that is utterly unlike anything else in Hooper’s filmography—but fits perfectly between, say... Close Encounters and E.T.. Regardless who shot the thing, what was shot is still a beautiful blend of frights and dark suburban satire that works just as well now as it did 35 years ago. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
Portland Film Festival
The sixth annual Portland Film Festival occupies an awkward intersection of indie and corporate: Sponsored by Comcast, the fest markets itself as a “festival by filmmakers, for filmmakers” and offers workshops, panels, and networking events—but it also isn’t above trying to convince volunteers to hand out programs in exchange for “a free Regal ticket to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” In the past, the festival’s booking has been questionable, lavishing attention on vanity projects and valuing quantity over quality. This year’s screenings take place at the Laurelhurst Theater (across the street, the usually low-key Cardinal Club will serve as the “Comcast Filmmaker & VIP Lounge”) and features 152 features, docs, and shorts (notably, 89 are directed by women). As in past years, the films themselves are all over the map, ranging from the intriguing (a block of shorts made by kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Portland, with the young filmmakers in attendance), to the eye-rolling (in #TAKEMEANYWHERE, “Shia LaBeouf embarks on his latest performance art project by roadtripping across the United States”), to the... well, however you’d describe a screening of 1987’s forgotten Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn vehicle Overboard, with screenwriter Leslie Dixon in attendance. More at portlandfilmfestival.com. ERIK HENRIKSEN Laurelhurst Theater.
★ Queer Horror Halloween
You had to know Carla Rossi’s bimonthly celebration of all things splatter, camp, queer, and crazy was going to do things up lovely for Halloween—but did you expect live death metal burlesque? Did you expect an unholy collision of satanic feminism and underground short film? This is less a movie night and more like a black mass that just happens to have possessed the bejeweled heart of Sandy Blvd. Revel in it. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Tobe Hooper’s debut feature 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 Academy Theater.
The Watcher in the Woods
Disney is basically a multinational government unto itself at this point, but the House of Mouse wasn't always such a titanic presence in entertainment. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, nobody at Disney knew what the hell Disney was even supposed to be anymore, so they started throwing as many ideas as they could at theaters—ideas like TRON, and Condorman, and The Black Hole. This obviously did not work. But one of their more interesting attempts at capturing a new audience was Watcher in the Woods, a Goosebumps-ish horror film for sixth graders. While it’s not as good an attempt as 1983’s adaptation of Something Wicked This Way Comes, there’s still some spooky charm to this kid-friendly campfire story, largely due to the bug-eyed presence of Bette Davis, who was always kinda scary no matter what she was doing. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
An advance screening of Todd Haynes’ latest, based on the novel by Brian Selznick and starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, and Millicent Simmonds. Haynes and Simmonds will be in attendance for a post-film Q&A; tickets range from $25-100, with the money going toward financial aid for students attending Southeast Portland’s Tucker Maxon School, which “teaches deaf and hearing children to listen, talk, learn, and achieve excellence together.” Hollywood Theatre.
MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, Oct 27-Thursday, Nov 2, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.