★ 3 WOMEN
Robert Altman once said the story for his artsy 1977 film 3 Women came to him in a dream while his wife was in the hospital. The whole thing exists in an eerie metaphysical realm where time somehow feels both fluid and cyclical, and where characters’ identities can shift haphazardly at any moment. The three women in question are the overly talkative, egotistical Millie (Shelley Duvall), who works at a geriatric health spa in the California desert; the immature and timid Pinky (Sissy Spacek), Millie’s new coworker and roommate; and the pregnant Willie (Janice Rule), who rarely speaks and paints disturbing murals of monsters around the apartment complex her husband owns, where they all live. Millie, Pinky, and Willie are all at very different stages of life (and womanhood), and their close proximity at the Purple Sage Apartments promises conflict. Though 3 Women can get a little heady, it’s driven by realistic tension and periodically hilarious (specifically Duvall’s improvised rants about fashion and “Penthouse Chicken”). CIARA DOLAN NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
You need to be at Ant-Man and the Wasp ON TIME. The sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man comes in hard on a tender, relevant flashback that shouldn’t be missed. The scene’s weird placement suggests it was added at the last minute to catch-up confused audiences: While Ant-Man and the Wasp is fun, funny, and exciting, it also runs the risk of being incomprehensible to those uninitiated in the ways of Marvel. The 20th(!) film in Marvel’s decade-long franchise, Ant-Man and the Wasp will delight loyal fans with obscure superhero references, but it’ll also completely lose anyone who hasn’t seen the majority of the 19 Marvel films that have preceded it. SUZETTE SMITH Various Theaters.
Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) stars as a mover, literally carrying the furniture for the rich folks rapidly gentrifying his hometown of Oakland, California, as he tries to make it through the last 72 hours of his felony probation—despite the best/worst troublemaking efforts of his tryhard whiteboy best friend. Fox Tower 10.
This Trainspotting sequel might be the saddest film in that unlikely trilogy, following a completely domesticated Renton, living a quiet, square’s life under an assumed identity, hounded by plush hallucinations with gentle voices, reminding him of the personal wreckage left in his wa—wait, hold on. (Checks notes.) Oh shit. Apologies, readers! Apparently this is a Winnie the Pooh movie. That makes way more sense! Various Theaters.
DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT
Gus Van Sant’s biopic of Portland cartoonist John Callahan slots in comfortably with the rest of Van Sant’s work from the last decade: It’s compassionately made and graced with subtle, artsy touches, but it’s also presented with a slight tentativeness, as if fearful of alienating a wide audience. ROBERT HAM Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre.
Aw-shucks/jokes/keyboards YouTube star Bo Burnham wrote Eighth Grade about his own youth, then swapped in a girl character to spice it up, and I’ll just call that what it is: wearing girlhood like a costume to make a familiar story more interesting. SUZETTE SMITH Various Theaters.
Arguably the scariest horror film of the past decade was 2012’s Queen of Versailles, photographer Lauren Greenfield’s documentary about the ludicrously wealthy Jackie and David Siegel—and their ludicrously misguided quest to build themselves a garish, 85,000 square-foot palace modeled after Versailles, complete with a grand ballroom, three indoor pools, 11 kitchens, a baseball diamond, and a 30-car garage. Versailles was a jarring portrait of the Siegels, but like Wolf of Wall Street, its true subject was the corrosive acid of American capitalism and the Roman excess of a dying civilization. Now Greenfield’s back with Generation Wealth, which tackles many of the same themes, beginning with her youth in privileged Los Angeles. Greenfield examines how the American dream turned into “a quest for fame and fortune” by abandoning “the values of hard work, frugality, and discretion that had defined our parents’ generation”; along with talking heads that include Bret Easton Ellis and Chris Hedges, she examines our sociopathic obsession with consumerism that began under Reagan and now spreads from Iceland to China. Greenfield includes everyone and everything: TV, the 2008 housing crisis, adult actress Kacey Jordan, hip-hop, plastic surgery, Donald Trump, her own career, and motherhood. But without such remarkable focal points as the Siegels, Generation Wealth doesn’t cohere; the result is simply tableau after tableau of gilded desperation. ERIK HENRIKSEN Fox Tower 10.
★ GODZILLA (1954)
When asked what the platonic ideal of a Godzilla movie should be, people tend to describe something like a backyard wrestling bout with rubber suited men clumsily powerbombing each other through cardboard cityscapes. While some Godzilla movies do fit that description, Godzilla was born more than 60 years ago as extremely effective allegorical sci-fi/horror in Ishirô Honda’s 1954 original. Watching it as part of 2018’s Top Down: Rooftop Cinema series is a must, no matter if you’re new to the series, or a veteran kaiju-lover. If you’ve seen it before, watching the big G level Tokyo while the skyline of Portland sits in your periphery should put an extra chill in the summer air. If you’re new, the chill will likely come from inside as your minds-eye technicolor visions of cornball monsterfights are replaced by the black-and-white terror of a people—less than 10 years removed from real-life nuclear holocaust—wrestling with that physical, mental, and spiritual fallout. BOBBY ROBERTS Portland State University Parking Structure 2.
★ INCREDIBLES 2
What Incredibles 2 sacrifices in cohesion and heart it makes up for with action and comedy, enhanced by Brad Bird using animation to do things that live action just can’t. He opens Incredibles 2 with back-to-back set pieces that quickly put the previous film’s finale in the rearview; he closes the film with a team-based triumph that any three X-Men flicks combined couldn’t compete with; and when he goes for the gag (which is often), it feels like Chuck Jones-era Looney Tunes via classic-era Simpsons. Incredibles 2 isn’t as good or affecting as the original, but it is prettier, louder, faster, and funnier. BOBBY ROBERTS Various Locations.
★ THE LAST UNICORN
1982 was an amazing year for film, and among classics like E.T. and Blade Runner stands the melancholy The Last Unicorn, a film I first encountered when my mom brought home the VHS one afternoon. I was confused by it—there were no transforming alien trucks or renegade scientists shooting glowing ropes at ghosts, so I checked out quickly, because I was a dumb boy trained to react in grunting affirmation to half-hour toy commercials. But millions of other people (including my mother, who never paid attention to our cartoons but was snuffling back tears at the end of this one) heard the song Peter S. Beagle’s story was singing—and I don’t mean the wood-paneled, orange-hued theme by America. I mean The Last Unicorn’s sad-yet-sweet song of loss and transformation. For those millions, this was a formative touchstone as valuable and meaningful as Star Wars or the Muppets, and revisiting it on the big screen is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
★ LEAVE NO TRACE
If you lived in Portland in 2004, you remember it: The discovery that, for years, a father and daughter had been living in Forest Park in an undetected campsite. They were eventually found and housed by the authorities, but soon disappeared again. The story inspired a novel, My Abandonment, written by Reed College creative writing professor Peter Rock, and that book has been adapted into a compassionate, graceful movie by Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik. NED LANNAMANN Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre.
MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN
I want to reconsider my stance on marriage so that I can marry Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. I want it to be one of my daughter’s fathers. It is the lightest timeline. It is the good place. Aside from parenting my child, it is the most uplifting experience I’ve had in the last two years. It’s important to be engaged, but mental health breaks are important, too, and while you could just silence your phone and try to ignore each news alert signaling our further descent into doom, it’ll be much better to watch Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and fully immerse yourself in pure, batshit joy. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
MARATHON OF THE APES
Cinema is a proud and illustrious art form, and its wondrous contributions will echo throughout the centuries. And yet, out of all of humankind's tens of thousands of motion pictures, eight stand above all others as the apex of human achievement: THE PLANET OF THE APES MOVIES! Thank Caesar that the Hollywood Theatre is recognizing this indisputable fact with their Marathon of the Planet of the Apes, which will show each and every Planet of the Apes film on the big screen to celebrate the series' 50th anniversary! Things kick off with 1968’s classic Planet of the Apes (Sat Aug 4), the thrilling, brilliantly allegorical classic that maroons Charlton Heston on a planet full of talking monkeys! Then, the ape-pocalypse continues with the batshit crazy sequel, 1970’s Beneath the Planet of the Apes (Sun Aug 5), which features TELEPATHIC MUTANTS WHO WORSHIP A NUCLEAR BOMB, and 1971’s Escape from the Planet of the Apes (Mon Aug 6), in which loveable super-chimps Cornelius and Zira visit 1973 Earth! (Please note: This film also features Ricardo Montalbán and a montage in which chimps be shoppin’.) Things take a serious turn with 1972’s smart, dark Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (Thurs Aug 9), which swerves hard into social and racial commentary… only to be followed by 1973’s low-budget (and, okay, pretty stupid) Battle for the Planet of the Apes (Mon Aug 13). BUT WAIT! The Hollywood is also showing the critically acclaimed reboots: 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Mon Aug 20), 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Wed Aug 22), and 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes (Mon Aug 27), all of which are must-sees for man and ape alike. And just in case all this series’ twists, turns, simian romance, and monkeys shooting machine guns wasn’t enough, attendees can also pick up a gorgeous screen-printed poster by Nate Ashley to commemorate the marathon. Because the only thing better than seeing all the Planet of the Apes movies is having a poster that, for the rest of your life, will remind you of this momentous occasion. ERIK HENRIKSEN Hollywood Theatre.
★ MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT
In terms of pure action cinema, Fallout absolutely sings. Every punch cracks teeth, every bullet thuds against brick or body armor with a real sense of weight, and every stunt has a very real feel of risk to it. (Probably because there was.) Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie directly draws from the weighty European car combat of 1998’s Ronin, but hey, if you’re going to steal, steal from the best. And in echoing a masterpiece, McQuarrie has created a masterpiece himself—at least in terms of frenetic motorcycle chases through downtown Paris. BEN COLEMAN Various Theaters.
★ THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER
“Salvation is a last-minute business” in The Night of the Hunter, Charles Laughton’s 1955 noir about a “reverend” (Robert Mitchum) with L-O-V-E and H-A-T-E knuckle tats who woos and brutally murders Appalachian widows for their money. (Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing references his iconic ink.) But this faux-zealot meets his match in one widow’s young son, who refuses to tell him where his dad hid a $10k fortune. Creepy hymns! Egg-headed kids! Long tracking shots! It’s a mildly spooky watch. At one point the narrative goes off-roading into confusing moralistic territory, but the reverend reels you in with convincing charm. He even announces “I can feel myself gettin’ awful mad” in a transatlantic accent that’ll make you think you’re watching It’s a Wonderful Life—until the murder, that is! CIARA DOLAN Hollywood Theatre.
★ OLLIN: SOCIAL JUSTICE FILM SERIES
A film series presented by the Latino Network, “dedicated to exploring social justice themes through film” and featuring post-screening panel discussions. This week’s film: Frida, Julie Taymor’s 2002 colorful, sprawling biography of surrealist icon Frida Kahlo, featuring a career-defining performance from Salma Hayek. Hollywood Theatre.
For years, people watched John Waters’ 1981 comedy classic Polyester the only way they could: in the privacy of their own homes, accompanied by whatever random scents their domicile contained. But this is not what trash cinema’s smirking overlord intended when he made his loving homage to the films of Douglas Sirk, and if you haven’t seen the garish, sweaty delights of Polyester on a big screen like the Hollywood’s, in a packed theater full of like-minded freaks, in ODORAMA, you haven’t really seen it at all. Experience the scratch-and-sniff genius of John Waters as you were meant to. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
★ SORRY TO BOTHER YOU
It says a lot about the regressive state of America in 2018 that perhaps the only effective way to inject a pro-union theme into a movie is to cloak it in an outrageous, surrealist, science-fiction-tinged dark comedy. Not that Sorry to Bother You restricts itself to a single “message”—writer/director Boots Riley, of hip-hop group the Coup, has made a dense, dizzy pageant of social commentary and sheer what-the-fuckery. It’s an angry screed against racism, capitalism, violence as entertainment, and economic inequality, but it’s also hilarious and wholly unique. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME
Hopefully writer/director Susanna Fogel stuck the landing on this spy spoof, because it’d be a goddamn shame to waste a cast this good: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Hasan Minhaj, and Gillian Anderson? Please don’t suck. Please. Various Theaters.
In 1996, Jan de Bont’s Twister was his high-concept follow-up to the runaway success of Speed. It’s not anywhere near as good—most people seem to remember Twister’s trailer (flying cows and giant tires comin’ atcha!) more than they do the film, but in 2018, screenings of Twister come tinged with sadness, as the two most lively performances come via men who left us way too early. Bill Paxton anchors Twister so well you almost never question the dual insanities that are (a) his life as a professional storm-chaser, or (b) his romantic interest in the personality vacuum that is Helen Hunt; and Philip Seymour Hoffman, very early in his film career, kills it as Twister’s ever-optimistic comic relief. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
Was Fred Rogers—the writer, producer, and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood—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.