★ MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday-Thursday, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.
★ THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD
Ray Harryhausen’s 1958 masterpiece showcases not only his technical skills, but also the boundless imagination that inspired 1,000 careers—including those of James Cameron, George Lucas, and Tim Burton. H. PERRY HORTON NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
ALL YOU CAN EAT BUDDHA
This Canadian/Cuban cult comedy (?) is a slow-motion trip into gluttonous, sexual surreality involving a big eater, a bigger octopus, and questions of godhood. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
Writer/director Timothy McNeil tells the story of a suicidal Mississippi man (John Carroll Lynch) who moves to Los Angeles after the death of his wife and strikes up a tentative romance with a transgender sex worker (Matt Bomer). Various Theaters.
★ APOLLO 13
Ron Howard is going to be flying the Millennium Falcon through a galaxy far, far away very soon, but the first time he took a trip into outer space he returned with the best entry in his long filmography: this 1995 dramatization of NASA’s workmanlike efforts to rescue three astronauts stranded in orbit, using literally nothing more than some tubing, some duct tape, and math. The cast is amazing (Ed Harris, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Tom Hanks), James Horner’s score is an all-timer, and the ending is appropriately triumphant, although time has made it bittersweet since, yunno, our country has basically abandoned space exploration and science in general. We weren’t always this disgustingly ignorant and willfully stupid, and Apollo 13 is one of the better reminders of what we used to be. BOBBY ROBERTS Clinton Street Theater.
★ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
Marvel’s attempt to put an exploding bow on 10 years of corporate synergy is a lurching, ungainly colossus of a blockbuster, with far too many characters and storylines stretching across a series of planets that resemble ’70s prog-rock album covers. The thing is, though, while you’re watching it? None of these elements feel like debits. Sometimes, excess hits the spot. ANDREW WRIGHT Every Theater.
Four lifelong friends read 50 Shades of Gray in their book club and have their lives altered by the experience. We didn’t get to see it (the screening was on election night) so we’ll just assume this is a very tasteful examination of the ways in which Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen became sexually omnivorous sadomasochistic dominatrixes. You’ll have to see for yourself if that’s the safe assumption. (For real though, how do you assemble this cast and not just make a Golden Girls movie instead? Good going Hollywood, you assholes.) Various Theaters.
In Taken and its clones, bad guys realize they’ve messed with the wrong family when it turns out Liam Neeson has a particular set of skills. Skills gleaned from a lifetime of... I don’t remember, being a secret agent assassin or something. In this gender-swapped version—pioneered first by Halle Berry in Kidnap and now genericized further by Gabrielle Union in Breaking In—the bad guys realize they’ve messed with the wrong family when it turns out the mom has a particular set of skills. Skills gleaned from a lifetime of... well, being a mom. That’s really it. There’s no backstory. Moms are just moms, nothing more. Union turns into a badass when her kids are threatened because moms love their kids. And even within a framework that uninspired, Breaking In is still shockingly lazy. It’s choreographed like someone was late for lunch and shot like an overdue homework assignment. Uh, happy Mother’s Day? VINCE MANCINI Various Theaters.
★ THE ENDLESS
The Endless feels like one graceful, continuous spiral, with optical illusions and death-defying phenomena adding to the uncertain buzz in the air. The film straddles the genres of sci-fi, psychological thriller, and horror, but most of its terror stems from one question: Is something always watching us and manipulating our world? CIARA DOLAN Hollywood Theatre.
GRINDHOUSE FILM FESTIVAL: GATES OF HELL
You would think the name of the genre would be enough warning for some, but people frequently dive into the blood-and-guts-y deep end of the Hollywood Theatre's Grindhouse Film Festival thinking they're gonna have a fun little swim. Director Lucio Fulci doesn't believe in such happy-go-lucky bullshit. He believes in nonsensical plots, mind-bending violence, and a general bent towards social irresponsibility. 1980's Gates of Hell is, frankly, stupid as fuck. But so are most nightmares—when you're in one, smarts don't matter, and Fulci's degenerate zombie trash is 100 percent malevolent dream. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
★ LEAN ON PETE
Andrew Haigh’s fantastic and harrowing new film explores the sadness and danger of an upbringing that affords altogether too much freedom. Charley (Charlie Plummer) is the son of a single father who can barely keep himself out of trouble, let alone make ends meet, but the 15-year-old doesn’t rebel in the typical teenager ways. Instead, he’s constantly on the lookout for the stability his home life can’t provide, leading him to spend time at a nearby racetrack, where he does odd jobs for a horse trainer, Del (Steve Buscemi), and bonds with a quarter horse named Lean on Pete. The film was shot in Portland and the southeastern Oregon town of Burns, and Haigh’s screenplay is adapted from the excellent 2010 novel by local writer/musician Willy Vlautin. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
★ LET THE SUNSHINE IN
Celebrated French director Claire Denis’ latest feels less like a film and more like a tone poem, a free-floating exploration of the beauty and indignity of one woman attempting to find love in middle age. We follow Isabelle, a Parisian artist played by Juliette Binoche, as she succeeds and fails to make intimate connections with a series of men, including her ex-husband, an egotistical actor, and a married banker whose idea of foreplay is to hike up her skirt and ask if she’s been masturbating. It’s devastating and often disheartening to watch Isabelle put herself through these motions, tempered only by those small flickers of joy or defiance that seem to hit like a fast-moving wave. Binoche hits another career highlight with one of the most honest, complex depictions of womanhood to arrive in theaters this year. ROBERT HAM Various Theaters.
★ LIFE OF THE PARTY
The past few years, Melissa McCarthy has fallen into a rut of playing brash, silly characters with oversized glasses and bad hair. Her movies are always serviceable, because she’s great, but they’re never groundbreaking. So that’s pretty much all I expected from Life of the Party. But Life of the Party is more than serviceable—it’s one of the funniest, cleverest movies I’ve seen in ages. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
LYNNE RAMSAY DOUBLE FEATURE
Over 10 years separate the two films in this Lynne Ramsay double feature, but both 1999’s Ratcatcher and 2011’s We Need to Talk About Kevin share a similarly forceful impact, via Ramsay’s incisive questions about the relationship between society and morality. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
MATCH CUT MOVIE CLUB
Normally, the Match Cut Movie Club is just a one-shot mystery box: you buy a ticket, and you get surprised with a cinematic classic, be it American Graffiti, Lone Star, or The Birds. But this time, Hotel deLuxe is making a whole damn day out of it, with a six film, 13-hour marathon that begins with some Saturday morning cartoons before sprinkling in vintage commercials and mini-documentaries between four all-ages-appropriate features and two for-the-grown-ups-only movies. RSVP at matchcutmovieclub.com. Hotel deLuxe.
MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s 1968 landmark Cuban drama uses documentary and newsreel footage to tell the conflicted story of a privileged man set adrift by the effects of 1959’s revolution and the Bay of Pigs invasion. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
NW ANIMATION FESTIVAL
The annual NW Animation Festival is back, offering a weekend’s worth of talks, events, and a curated lineup of animated shorts from all over the world. SUZETTE SMITH Hollywood Theatre.
POPE FRANCIS: A MAN OF HIS WORD
Wim Wenders' documentary about the Pope popin' it up. Starring the Pope! Various Theaters.
PORTLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL
A celebration of underground and underseen cinema, both foreign and domestic, including shorts and features. See cstpdx.com for a full list of titles. Clinton Street Theater.
A few years ago, the biography Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out, and while the title of Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik’s book suggests it’s nothing but printed internet hype, the book provided plenty of insight into this smart lady’s quiet, revolutionary life. We learn that Ruth Bader Ginsburg the Human is not a silly person. She’s fucking smart. Like, I’m-embarrassed-that-this-idiot-brain-is-the-one-I-have-to-use-to-write-about-her smart. She was the second woman confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court. She was the first woman on both the Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review. She can do more push-ups than you. She eats prunes. She’s not a kooky old grandma. In fact, in terms of beloved old beings, she’s more Gandalf than Betty White. Y’all shall not pass shit. ELINOR JONES Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre.
The nationwide film festival featuring films made by and focused on people with disabilities stops in Portland to showcase shorts from Michael Achtmen, Tony Borden, Nicole Ellis, and Maya Albanese. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
Hello darkness, my old friend... I’ve come to talk with you again.... Various Theaters.
Memes can be movies now, did you know? And why shouldn’t they be? If you can make a giant-ass movie based on a game of fuckin’ Battleship, you can pull some creepy decade-old bullshit out of the Something Awful messageboards and give it to the guy who directed Stomp the Yard. Various Theaters.
★ TOTAL RECALL (1990)
Once Blade Runner broke the seal in 1982, Hollywood never stopped raiding the works of Philip K. Dick. It’s almost impossible to avoid his influence in the 21st century, with his name badged on multiple TV shows, high-concept films—hell, they even got around to making a Blade Runner sequel! One of the most successful Dick adaptations, 1990’s Total Recall is also one of the most unfaithful, directed by the guy who made RoboCop and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a man who, on the page, is an unassuming, nebbish tourist who might really be an interplanetary spy. A faint whiff of the paranoia Dick is known for still lingers in the atmosphere, but it’s drowned out by gleeful gunfire and the parade of one-liners Arnie, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, and Michael Ironside are spitting. Thoughtful, considered sci-fi has no home on this planet—Paul Verhoeven’s Mars is a comic book funhouse designed to make your eyes pop out and that’s it. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
I LOVE Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, but their latest made me never want to have children in the same way that Blue Valentine made me never want to get married. Yikes! Like she did in the very underrated Young Adult, Charlize Theron turns in a typically solid performance, here as an exhausted mother aided by a helpful night nanny (Halt and Catch Fire and Blade Runner 2049’s Mackenzie Davis, who can do no wrong) because her husband is a hapless sitcom spouse. While Tully has moments of levity—and while I’m always glad to see any movie dig into the complicated and not-always-adorable reality of parenting and childhood—it’s a bummer to see Theron pushed into an exhausted, maternity-induced fugue state. I mean, it’s real, but too much of anything gets banal after a while, misery included. MEGAN BURBANK. Various Theaters.