American Vandal

MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday-Thursday, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.

American Vandal: Season 2
Shot in Portland but set in Bellevue, Washington, the second season of Netflix’s true-crime mockumentary is just as clever and addictive as the first. This time, earnest high-schooler documentarians Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam Ecklund (Griffin Gluck) take their investigation skills to St. Bernadine’s Catholic School, where, ever since a tragedy dubbed “The Brownout,” the student body has been terrorized by a splattery series of “poop crimes” perpetrated by “The Turd Burglar.” The suspects and victims are numerous, from beloved basketball star DeMarcus (Melvin Gregg) to vest-wearing, tea-sipping Kevin “Shit Stain” McClain (Travis Tope); in their unflagging quest for the truth, Peter and Sam dig deep into teachers’ dubious alibis and students’ revealing emoji habits. This season is a slower burn than the first, but over the course of its eight episodes, its perfectly played characters prove deeper and better, including “a theater kid who lives in the friend zone” and a man known only as “Hot Janitor.” While Peter and Sam are stymied by secrets, lies, and possible sabotage (Mrs. Wexler, St. Bernadine’s dean of students, repeatedly refuses their requests for an interview), the duo’s intrepid reporting and keen crime-scene analysis (“That is way too big for dogshit”) ensures the Turd Burglar’s identity will be discovered. Like the first, this season of American Vandal is consistently hilarious, but it’s also sneakily, subtly emotional—you’re going to end up caring about all these awkward teen weirdos, and, of course, very invested in who had the motive and the means to mastermind the Brownout. (Available Fri Sept 14, Netflix) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Blaze
Directed by Ethan Hawke, Blaze explores the legacy of country singer/songwriter Blaze Foley, who belonged to the same scene as Townes Van Zandt, but was murdered before many people got to know his name. There’s plenty of mythology surrounding Foley and his hillbilly charm—he was known for wearing duct tape on the tips of his cowboy boots—but Ben Dickey’s raw performance makes the focus the flawed, tender man behind the songs (Lucinda Williams once called Foley “a genius and a beautiful loser,” which pretty much nails it). The film’s best moments involve his relationship with actress Sybil Rosen (Alia Shawkat) and the time they spent living together in a treehouse in Georgia, but those get cut off due to frequent jumps to sepia-toned flashbacks. That nonlinear narrative also kind of makes sense, though, given the fact that Blaze’s history was lived by people who were often engulfed in a cloud of cigarette smoke and suffering from whiskey amnesia. It’s not the first time Hawke has made a film about a forgotten musician—his 2014 directorial debut Seymour: An Introduction retraced the life of classical pianist Seymour Bernstein. Blaze isn’t particularly remarkable, but the attention given to Foley’s love story and the toll of his addiction are quietly gripping. (Opens Fri Sept 21) CIARA DOLAN

BoJack Horseman: Season 5
While all you tantrum-throwing assholes were setting McDonalds on fire for packets of liquid salt in fealty to the diminished, sickly cynical shine of Rick and Morty, animation fans of a more sophisticated bent were indulging the dark sweetness of BoJack Horseman, a show that began as a satire of celebrity and has, over the course of four seasons, become a tightly plotted, painfully insightful, and emotionally draining examination of depression, addiction, and how to let yourself enjoy what brief rewards you earn in the struggle to be better than you are. Starring Will Arnett as a brown horse and Amy Sedaris as a pink cat. (Available Fri Sept 14, Netflix) BOBBY ROBERTS

Crazy Rich Asians
Crazy Rich Asians is the first major American motion picture starring a predominantly Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club came out in 1993. That is BONKERS, and it makes this film’s release noteworthy. Great! Let’s talk inclusion! I love it. Thumbs up, Hollywood! Now let’s talk about the next most important thing: Crazy Rich Asians is romantic comedy gold that should be celebrated not only for its cast but also for its perfect execution of light, breezy escapism. (Now playing) ELINOR JONES

Fags In The Fast Lane
The Portland premiere of Josh Collins’ campy, unapologetically gay-as-fuck Australian exploitation entry into the superhero canon, centered on the adventures of Beau Cockslinger and his Mary Men. There is also a magic gold dildo. (Fri Sept 14, Clinton Street Theater)

Fahrenheit 11/9
Michel Moore’s latest, about the 2016 election and the presidency of Donald Trump (who lost the popular vote by 2,864,974 votes). Whether it’ll be as sharp as Moore’s great stuff (2002’s Bowling for Columbine) or as self-indulgent as his more recent stuff (2016’s Michael Moore in TrumpLand) is TBD, as it wasn’t screened for critics. (Opens Fri Sept 21)

Fast Break
In 1978, Director Don Zavin gave unto thirsty Blazermaniacs a rambly, contemplative, slightly stoned gift of a documentary, Fast Break. There is no real narrative arc, the closest thing to a through-line basically gets abandoned halfway through, and there’s nothing particularly insightful or profound to be gleaned from following the team through their quiet Pacific Northwest adventures following their shock-the-world championship run in 1977. Which is fine, because Fast Break works best as a time-travel device anyway, a shaggy portal back to a Portland that will never exist again, where Maurice Lucas is chilling at the pool, Dave Twardzik is teaching kids the fundamentals, and big bike-riding Bill Walton is doing that charmingly infuriating Bill Walton thing where gallons of melodic syllables rain down over his jutting chin and evaporate into senselessness right around his collarbone. Walton would break his foot in '78 and flee Portland a year later, the team's chemistry slowly soured, and never another Finals would be won, but Fast Break perfectly captures the weirdly serene scenes before it all fell down. (Mon Sept 17, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Halloween (1978)
In the final trailer for David Gordon-Green's upcoming sequel to this film, the voice of Jamie Lee Curtis dramatically intones through whispery reverb that "40 years ago, on Halloween night, Michael Myers murdered three people." The statement comes off as oddly comical now, after four decades under the Shape's hulking shadow, with thousands of bodies strewn across the sordid history of a genre he elevated to prominence—three seems like child's play. Hell, Child's Play racked up a bigger body count. But watching John Carpenter's breakout film (the most profitable indie ever made for a very long time), the weight of those three deaths feels heavy indeed. Halloween is considered the father of the slasher, but Carpenter's film maintains its power because it doesn't really slashthat much. It simmers, and stares, and slowly glides into menacing situations and abandons you there until the shadow of Michael Myers swallows you right up. That sort of thing seriously fucked people up in 1978. It still works pretty damned well in 2018. (Sat Sept 22, Hollywood Theatre, followed by a Q&A with star P.J. Soles) BOBBY ROBERTS

The Land of Steady Habits
The latest from writer/director Nicole Holofcener (Lovely and Amazing, Enough Said) features a quietly amazing cast (Edie Falco, Connie Britton, Ben Mendelsohn) clumsily hurting and healing each other through a series of mundane-yet-emotionally powerful events. Holofcener is not yet a genre unto herself, but she should be soon. (Available Fri Sept 14, Netflix)

Life Itself
Dan Fogelman, the creator and showrunner of the tear-jerking machine that is NBC’s This is Us writes and directs this romantic epic starring Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Mandy Patinkin, Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas and oh man you’re crying already, aren’t you. God this guy is good. (Opens Fri Sept 21)

Lizzie

Lizzie
In a revealing interview with the Huffington Post, Chloë Sevigny said she’d hoped Lizzie—the new film in which she portrays Lizzie Borden, who was accused of murdering her father and stepmother with an ax in 1892 Massachusetts—would be a “rousing, smash-the-patriarchy piece,” and admitted that director Craig William Macneill’s final product isn’t what she’d imagined. Building off the wealthy family’s battle over inheritances and the rumor that Borden killed her parents after they discovered her relationship with the Irish maid Brigid (Kristen Stewart), Lizzie tries to find the seemingly impossible balance between family drama, murder mystery, and queer romance. Though it’s a compelling idea, it doesn’t work—the forbidden love story isn’t fleshed out enough for that motive to be believable. And in 2018, when depictions of queer romance are just starting to get mainstream attention with films like Moonlight and Call Me by Your Name, I’m not sure this hypothetical lesbian link to a grisly murder is really necessary. It’s valuable to reexamine history with the knowledge that women weren’t always granted the opportunity to tell their own stories, but Lizzie is more like a rogue spitballing session that reframes Borden’s infamous crime as a justifiable rebellion against injustice. (Opens Fri Sept 21) CIARA DOLAN

Love, Gilda
By anyone’s standards, Gilda Radner is comedy royalty. She was a member of Toronto’s Second City troupe that included fellow future legends like Joe Flaherty and John Candy, the first woman cast to National Lampoon Radio Hour, and the first person hired to be part of Saturday Night Live’s inaugural season. In other words, she’s the ideal candidate for a documentary about her accomplishments and impact on the comedy world. Love, Gilda is not that film. The well-intentioned effort by director Lisa D’Apolito strives to highlight Radner’s fearless energy but gets stuck on her precipitous rise to fame and her many famous lovers, layering it all with a quaint rosy glow. It’s only when the film focuses in on the last part of its subject’s life—as she dealt with multiple bouts with cancer—that it finds depth. (Opens Fri Sept 21) ROBERT HAM

Mandy
See review. (Opens Thurs Sept 13)

Mulholland Drive
Jesus holy mother of fuck what the CHRIST is that goddamned thing behind the diner? What IS THAT. UGH. (Starts Fri Sept 14, Academy Theater)

Noche De Película
A series of shorts presented by PDX Latinx Pride, celebrating Latinx and LGBTQ communities. (Sun Sept 16, Hollywood Theatre)

Pipe Organ Pictures: The Cat and the Canary
1927’s silent horror classic, featuring an original score composed and performed live on the organ by Dean Lemire. (Sat Sept 23, Hollywood Theatre)

The Predator
See review. (Opens Thurs Sept 13)

Re-Run Theater: Battlestar Galactica
40 years ago, an enterprising television producer named Glen A. Larson saw Star Wars and said "I think this could be done as a Mormon allegory on television! I know, I'll write a meanderingly weird ripoff and sell it to ABC. I'll get the old cowboy who sells dog food and make him the star." Thus, Battlestar Galactica was born, a budget-busting one-year wonder starring Lorne Greene that stole Star Wars's visual effects mastermind to realize space battles were eye-meltingly awesome on '70s-era television sets (and still kinda impressive now). But the pilot episode Re-run Theater is screening tonight? Eeeehhhh... Once the Cylon apocalypse concludes in the first third, Galactica keeps asking "so what the hell do we do now" and arriving at increasingly stupid answers like "lets play with this annoying robot dog" and "lets visit a casino planet," and "What if casino planet is really run by insect monsters?" But then the Death Star casino planet explodes, and the movie ends, and all the preceding bullshit just kinda slides off, leaving not much more than faintly warm memories of pew-pew and boom-boom. And for a lot of little kids in the late '70s—that was apparently enough. But don't get it twisted: for as much cheesy fun as this might be (and mileage definitely varies) the 2003 reboot is better in every conceivable way. (Wed Sept 26, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Repressed Cinema: Psychotronic After School Special
A carefully curated collection of really fucking weird shit, including a “documentary” about a dystopian future hosted by Orson Welles, an anti-alcohol ’80s film titled The Glug, and a 1975 educational film about the pleasures and dangers of processed food in America. (Tues Sept 18, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Searching
What makes Searching—a mystery that takes place predominantly on a series of computer desktops—more than a gimmick is how well it captures the limited but instantly recognizable emotional language of computer use: the typed but unsent message, the search query that’s loaded with dread, the shortened email subject line that belies bad news. All of these are effectively deployed in service of a fairly conventional missing-person story, enabling the film’s limited field of view to capture the feelings of familial isolation, technological confusion, and desire for connection. (Now playing) BEN COLEMAN

A Simple Favor
A thriller directed by Paul Feig and starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively. (Opens Fri Sept 14)

Stephen King Double Feature
It's Stephen King's 71st birthday—and the Hollywood is celebrating with a 35mm double feature of two movies penned by the horror and literary mastermind! First up is 1982's pulpy anthology flick Creepshow, directed by Night of the Living Dead's George Romero; second is 1985's Cat's Eye, directed by Lewis Teague and featuring James Woods, Drew Barrymore, and, of course, an evil troll. Hail to the King, baby. (Fri Sept 21, Hollywood Theatre) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Supergirl
God, I want to like 1984's Supergirl. And Supergirl really, really wants you to like it, too. That goodwill is present in the winsome performance of Helen Slater as Kara Zor-El, and it's definitely there in the striking melodies of all-time-great composer Jerry Goldsmith. But goodwill is not enough to make up for Jeannot Zwarc's steamrolled-flat direction, Faye Dunaway's embarrassing turn as the villain, and a story by David Odell that (successfully) does its damndest to undermine everything mythic and majestic about Kara and her world, pouring sugar in Supergirl's empathy engine until she's left stranded in a soupy stew of failed gags and short-circuited drama. The real saboteurs? The film's producers, sworn enemies of goodwill Alexander and Ilya Salkind, whose petty, wrongheaded decision-making process hamstrung Superman II in 1981, kneecapped Superman III in 1983, and unfortunately turfed almost all of Clark's big-screen potential a mere six years after Superman: The Movie, and unfairly damaged Kara's for decades with this disappointing botch-job of a cash-in. There are some joys to be found in Supergirl but too many of them depend on a forgiving audience willing to do the sort of heavy lifting that would leave even the Girl of Steel winded. (Sat Sept 15, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Swinging Roman Cinema: Il Boom
Dolce Vita Confidential author Shawn Levy continues his series showcasing the best of Italian cinema with a screening of 1963’s Il Boom, a dark comedy about Italy’s economic revival, directed by Vittoria De Sica. (Wed Sept 26, Hollywood Theatre)

We the Animals
We the Animals invites its audience into the exclusive, powerful magic that comes with belonging to a group of three young brothers, running wild in a rural town and trying to make sense of their parents’ abusive relationship. Though similar in theme and feel to 2017’s The Florida Project, We the Animals focuses on the internal view of the youngest brother, Jonah (Evan Rosado). In Justin Torres’ novel, on which the film is based, the actions Jonah undertakes and the repercussions he faces are serious—but director Jeremiah Zagar’s film is more concerned with showing the beauty of youth with all the boring parts cut out. (Now playing) SUZETTE SMITH

White Boy Rick
See review. (Opens Fri Sept 14)

Worlds of Ursula K LeGuin

Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin
See review this issue. (Fri Sept 14-Sun Sept 16, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, director in attendance)