★ MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday-Thursday, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.
★ B-MOVIE BINGO: KARATE COP
Your monthly opportunity to literally check off a bingo card full of B-movie clichés! This month: The fireworks may not start until tomorrow night, but nothing getting shot into the sky for Fourth of July can compare to the incendiary joys of 1991’s Karate Cop, starring Ronald L. Marchini as a former cop (who knows karate), wandering the scorched, gang-ridden earth undercover, trying to bring order to (and/or use teleportation to escape from) his corner of the post-apocalyptic wasteland. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
★ BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA & PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID
Few directors were as adept at shooting themselves in the foot as Sam Peckinpah, an astonishingly kinetic filmmaker whose career was often stymied by fights with higher-ups and his own base impulses. Still, as the NW Film Center’s 35mm double-shot of two of his greatest films proves, when he was on, he was on. Following the financial success of The Getaway, 1973’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid stands as one of the strangest and eerily lovely Westerns ever made, with passages of languid beauty and the director’s trademarked splattery close-quarter gunfights somehow held together by Bob Dylan’s ethereal score. (All this, plus a send-off for Slim Pickens that rivals his exit in Dr. Strangelove.) 1974’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, on the other grimy hand, is a work of pure, snarling nihilism, following the peerlessly scuzzy Warren Oates on a desperate South of the Border quest that starts off hellishly, and then just keeps spelunking downwards. (By the second act, even the sun looks hungover.) Catch ‘em both, and marvel at The Evil That Men Can Do, self-inflicted and otherwise. ANDREW WRIGHT NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
I’ve never seen a movie begin with its best image—the grizzled face of an old preacher (Robert Forster) as he cycles through personal devastation against a breathtaking backdrop of Utah’s red rocks—only to watch it decline so steadily, so gradually, that the experience could be expressed as a perfect falling diagonal (or a cartoonish slide whistle). The Zeller brothers’ 2014 film Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter also had pacing issues, but it operated on the inverse—a slow start and a powerful ending, supported by a truly magical score from the Octopus Project. The Zellers’ Damsel looked promising, but even the Octopus Project can’t save her. She doesn’t want to be saved. SUZETTE SMITH Fox Tower 10.
A documentary based on the memoir by Jonathan Safran Foer, narrated by Foer’s BFF Natalie Portman and examining the moral and physical repercussions of eating meat in an industrialized world. (Spoiler: It is bad and you should stop doing it.) Fox Tower 10.
Xavier Beauvois’ drama stars Nathalie Baye as the matriarch of a family farm that perservered in the absence of men during WWI. Various Theaters.
★ O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?
Naturally, when the Coen Brothers decided to riff on Homer’s Odyssey, they turned it into a madcap comedy set in the Depression-era South, starring a fast-talkin’ George Clooney. O Brother, Where Art Thou? never got the accolades Fargo and No Country for Old Men did, but it’s one of the Coens’ very best. ERIK HENRIKSEN Rooster Rock State Park.
RABBITS: MISTAKES R MADE
If one band could be crowned King Shit of the Portland underground music scene for the last decade or so, it’d be Rabbits. Rabbits’ brand of loud, heavy, abrasive, and yet somehow therapeutic noise rock is a thing to behold on a record—but, to get a real feel for them, see them live. July 1 is the 13-year anniversary of Rabbits’ first live show; to celebrate the milestone, they’re showing three music videos and premiering a concert film, Mistakes R Made, made up of footage from their 10-year anniversary show at the (old) Know. Rabbits is a monstrous band to see live, so catching a live show on the big screen where they’ll be the size of monsters is guaranteed to be something. Plus, they’ll be selling VHS copies of Mistakes R Made at the screening. Freakin’ VHS! ARIS HUNTER WALES Clinton Street Theater.
SONIC CINEMA: A STORY OF SAHEL SOUNDS
There is no exposition in this 2016 documentary about Portland-based record label Sahel Sounds, which has been distributing music from West Africa for nearly a decade. In fact, we barely get introduced to the imprint’s owner, Chris Kirkley. Instead, you learn of his passion for sharing the art of people like Mdou Moctar and Fatou Seidi Ghali through the work he does: shipping out boxes of records, DJing sets of AutoTune-heavy Afropop, and traveling to Niger and beyond to meet the musicians in person. In that sense, it helps to have some baseline knowledge of Sahel Sounds, yet, bringing a patient and curious mind should be more than enough to appreciate this lovingly crafted film and the joyous swirl of the music throughout. ROBERT HAM Hollywood Theatre.
SONIC CINEMA: MILFORD GRAVES: FULL MANTIS
A documentary retrospective of the life and pioneering influence of Milford Graves, a jazz percussionist whose active, adventurous mind is kept busy not just through polyrhythms, but by the dojo in his backyard and the laboratory in his basement. Hollywood Theatre.
A bunch of current- and ex-NBA stars wear highly questionable old-age makeup in this adaptation of the popular Pepsi commercials, as directed by the guy who got famous for making very popular Budweiser commercials. Your basketball-crazy kids will probably like it. Maybe. Various Theaters.
WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
Was Fred Rogers really a soft-spoken, sweet-tempered man? Spoiler alert: Yes, he was! Finally, one single thing has escaped your childhood without scandal! SUZETTE SMITH Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre.