TANK GIRL God bless you, Ice-T dressed up as a kangaroo man.

See review, this issue.

9 TO 5
The sheer size of 9 to 5's popularity is hard to understand almost 40 years after the fact, but it was a monster. It would have easily been the highest grossing film of 1980–if The Empire Strikes Back hadn't been released that same year. 9 to 5 is powered by the unexpectedly solid comic chops of Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton's infectious theme, Dabney Coleman's sweaty swagger, and the mind-altering imagery of Lily Tomlin as Snow White (complete with animated forest fauna conspiring to poison her boss). What's even more amazing (and frustrating, and honestly, sorta depressing) is how relevant the film still is, and how distant our heroic trio's dream of equal rights and equal pay remains. 9 to 5 already had bite. Somehow its teeth are even sharper now, and its comedy cuts even more painfully. Part of the Hollywood Theatre's Feminist March film series. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.

It might be easier to explain Annihilation by telling you what the movie isn't. It isn't a comedy, that's for sure. Nor is it a period-accurate costume drama. Beyond that, though? Annihilation could squeeze into just about any label you give it: a horror film; a science-fiction flick that toys with the possibility of extraterrestrial life; a wilderness adventure; a romantically yearning character study; a chilling, painfully suspenseful mystery; a "message" film about either the environment or male toxicity, depending on where you feel like directing your anger; an abstract, allegorical art piece with long stretches of dialogue-free visuals. However you classify it, Annihilation is the best kind of cinematic experience–one that floods the senses without battering them into submission, and one that moves the mind and heart without manipulating them. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's latest film is a small-scale tale of interplanetary invasion, focused on three aliens scouting Earth in preparation for the event, inhabiting human forms that were not theirs to take and leaving psychological wreckage in their wake. Hollywood Theatre.

This surprise hit from 2002 wasn't in American theaters for very long; most people discovered the film on DVD. So it's definitely worth catching this 35mm screening of the charming romcom/drama/sports/family film about a teenage girl whose skill at football causes trouble in her strict Punjabi Sikh household. Part of the Hollywood Theatre's Feminist March film series. Hollywood Theatre.

Marvel movies get a bad rap for their cheesy dialogue, disjointed plots, and CGI-crowded battle scenes. But you never know when they'll drop a gem. Ryan Coogler's Black Panther is one huuuge gem, and comes closer to achieving truth and realness in its story than any Marvel film has before. Fully embracing its Blackness, the film smartly toes the line between history and fantasy. JENNI MOORE Various Theaters.

Director Kadazia Allen-Perry tells the story of being a Black woman with a debilitating illness that limits her life expectancy to 37 years, and her choice to spend as much of that time as possible making films in a way that nobody in the film industry expects. Director in attendance. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

DEATH OF STALIN “Get up, ya faker.”

It's a bad time for political satire–things are simply feeling a little too real right now. The rawness of our current moment is really the only problem with The Death of Stalin, the historically accurate comedy from Armando Iannucci (Veep) about the infighting between Joseph Stalin's lackeys after the Russian dictator's death in 1953. There are very funny performances from Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, and Monty Python's Michael Palin, whose comedic influence can be felt throughout Iannucci's script, particularly in a sidesplitting funeral scene. But there's something legitimately upsetting about witnessing the incompetence and corruption of the banally evil; each laugh sticks deeper in your throat until you don't really feel like laughing anymore. Oh well–at least we've got our own revolution to look forward to. NED LANNAMANN Fox Tower 10.

Daniela Vegas' amazing face–even her most muted expressions communicate visible thoughts–carries most of the weight of A Fantastic Woman, Sebastián Lelio's endurance test of a movie. Even in nominally progressive media like Transparent, cisgender men are often cast as transwomen, so it's somewhat revolutionary to see Vegas, who is transgender, play transgender singer Marina, whose mourning for her dead partner, Orlando, is disrupted by brutal treatment from Orlando's bigoted family and the police and hospital workers handling his body. There's a lot of rhetorical and physical violence in A Fantastic Woman, and all of it is hard to watch (and almost enough to make you wonder at what point depicting abuse leveled at a marginalized character becomes more exploitative than instructive). But a strain of emotionally startling fancy pushes A Fantastic Woman away from gratuitous pain and into the surreal, with moments that are visually striking and frame Marina's inner life and reserves with the respect they deserve. MEGAN BURBANK Cinema 21.

A celebration of one of the most remarkable women in Hollywood history–an arresting screen presence, a confident businessperson, and the only woman in the 1950s studio system to progress from actor to director to producer. Throughout March, the Hollywood will screen 35mm prints of her most notable works, including The Hitch-Hiker (Sat Mar 3), On Dangerous Ground (Thurs Mar 8), and They Drive By Night (Wed Mar 21). Hollywood Theatre.

See review, this issue. Various Theaters.

See review, this issue. Cinema 21.

Dick Van Dyke is a national treasure and one of the most charming men to ever step in front of a film camera, but holy shit his attempt at a British accent is one of the worst crimes against that country since Guy Fawkes. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

Ian Sundahl reaches into his vault full of 16mm fascinations and presents a carefully curated collection of really fucking weird shit from all over the world, including psychedelic travelogues, silent film-era sci-fi shorts, amateur home movies, and a special screening of Greta Snider's 1996 short Portland. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.

Steel Magnolias might as well be a synonym for the term "tearjerker." The 1989 hit attacks heartstrings like Eddie Van Halen with a power drill, with almost every actor getting one big showstopper Oscar reel moment. But remove that cultural context built up over almost 30 years, and give it a fresh watch now–Steel Magnolias reveals itself to be a lighthearted ensemble comedy, executed winningly by a stacked cast; a good-natured caricature of the American South, much like Moonstruck was a caricature of New York Italians two years prior, both films benefitting from the secret comedic weapon that was Olympia Dukakis in the late '80s. BOBBY ROBERTS Clinton Street Theater.

Time capsules are funny things. The idea of one holds such optimistic appeal, on the part of both the person burying their artifacts and the person digging them up–but then you open it up, and there's this mound of confused, well-intentioned junk. Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days is a perfect representation of that disappointing-yet-fascinating experience. Featuring a (not great) screenplay by Jay Cocks and James Cameron, Days is clearly inspired by current events circa 1994 (the Rodney King and O.J. Simpson trials), but incorporates those aspects with all the aptitude you'd expect from middle-aged white guys who are pretty sure they get "that whole Black experience thing." The film is (barely) saved by the combo of Angela Bassett in Sarah Connor mode and Ralph Fiennes doing a slippery James Woods impersonation. Strange Days is hopelessly dated and tone deaf, yes, but like even the most disappointing time capsules, still strangely compelling. BOBBY ROBERTS Fifth Avenue Cinema.

In 1995, Rachel Talalay directed an adaptation of the cult comic Tank Girl, starring Lori Petty and Naomi Watts. Nobody in the film industry had carved out a space for something like Tank Girl to exist within, so when Talalay and Petty made that space, a lot of people (men) sneered at its loud, scattered, ridiculous indulgence and dismissed it. And it is those things! Most comic book adaptations are! But instead of starring roided-up hulkmen bleeding asinine catchphrases, Tank Girl centers on an irreverent feminist anti-hero who gives not one solitary fuck about protecting for any dude's limited conception of what "comic book" movies can be. Tank Girl, even in its compromised, misunderstood form, is still something of a minor miracle of the genre. It shouldn't exist. But there she is. Straddling a tank turret, laughing, and flying double birds at you from 1995. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.

One of gone-way-too-soon actor Anton Yelchin's final roles is Tim, the skewed, spacey, and sorta-kinda-sinister would-be murderer in writer/director Cory Finley's black comedy about homicidal upper-class teenage girls. It's a scenario that immediately draws comparisons to Heathers, a comparison the marketing isn't even trying to play down. Not screened for critics. Cinema 21.

Raoul Ruiz's 1999 trip through the mazes of Marcel Proust's mind, using the final volume of In Search of Lost Time as the framework to bounce Emmanuelle Béart, John Malkovich, and Catherine Deneuve off each other. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

See review this issue. Various Theaters.

See review, this issue. Netflix.

Support The Portland Mercury

At the end of the day, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time is a book that you read to children to get them used to the idea that science and math can interact with their day-to-day lives. Ava DuVernay's film also accomplishes this noble pursuit–and while it might not stand the test of time like the book, it will help this generation grow more curious about their world. SUZETTE SMITH Various Theaters.

Raoul Peck's follow-up to I Am Not Your Negro is this biopic focused on a 26-year-old Karl Marx as he and his wife Jenny meet Friedrich Engels in Paris and begin their journey towards promoting large-scale political upheaval. Hollywood Theatre.

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