Overlord Opens Fri 11/9 various theaters

The Addiction
Abel Ferrara’s 1995 vampire flick, starring Lili Taylor and Christopher Walken. (Sat Nov 17, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

recommended Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Fifty-four-year-old artist Ai Weiwei is both an art-world celebrity and an outspoken critic of China’s record on human rights. After 2008’s Sichuan earthquake, he worked tirelessly to identify those killed in the quakes, with particular emphasis on the schoolchildren who died in shoddily constructed schoolhouses. The Chinese government responded to such criticism by shutting down his blog (he’s extremely active on social media), subjecting him to constant surveillance, and, in 2011, briefly imprisoning him. First-time filmmaker Alison Klayman gets all of the above on film in her remarkably absorbing and affectionate documentary. (Fri Nov 16-Sun Nov 18, Fifth Avenue Cinema) ALISON HALLETT

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
The Coen brothers’ latest is a western/comedy/anthology/drama? Yes. Sign us up! Even though it wasn’t screened for critics. (Streams Fri Nov 16, Netflix)

Beautiful Boy
I’ve never been a parent or a junkie (yet!), but I found a lot that resonated in Beautiful Boy, a low-key film based on a pair of interconnected memoirs from father and son David and Nicolas Sheff. It’s a narrative that could have easily been filled with blame and recrimination—not to mention a lot of slammed doors, teary shouting, and woozy Velvet Underground songs—but director Felix Van Groeningen isn’t interested in making something visceral or edgy. He’s instead chosen to unspool the story of the Sheffs (played by Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet) with frankness and compassion, and that makes Beautiful Boy the type of movie that asks questions rather than prescribing answers. Even during its most sentimental moments, it lets the viewer decide how to feel. (Now playing, various theaters) NED LANNAMANN

Bohemian Rhapsody
When Bohemian Rhapsody focuses on Freddie Mercury—as it damn well should—it soars. Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek nails both Mercury’s flamboyant stage persona and his off-stage idiosyncrasies, which is no small accomplishment. But when director Bryan Singer zooms out to include the rest of Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody falls victim to the clichés that encumber every rock doc and biopic. Some of this is inevitable: Band origin stories are boring to watch because they’re inherently boring. No amount of unique personalities can make a meeting with a record label executive seem fun. (Now playing, various theaters) MORGAN TROPER

recommended Boy Erased
Joel Edgerton might not be the first person you’d expect to make a movie based on Boy Erased, Garrard Conley’s memoir of his experience in gay conversion therapy. While Edgerton gives himself a juicy role as a slightly deranged leader of a conversion therapy program, he gives center stage to the film's timely and important story. It stars Lucas Hedges as Conley’s stand-in, Jared Eamons, and Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman as his well-meaning but conservative parents who send him away in a misguided attempt to turn him straight. The film is subtle and heartfelt in showing how good intentions—when they’re based on rancid, bigoted philosophies—can affect even the families that truly love each other. See story, this issue (Opens Fri Nov 9, various theaters) NED LANNAMANN

Burning
South Korea’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, directed by Lee Chang-dong. (Opens Fri Nov 9, Fox Tower 10)

recommended Clinton Street Video Celebration Party
After 23 years of movie memories—memories that were transferred, from Portlander to Portlander, via well-loved VHS tapes, DVDs, and Blu-rays—one of the city’s last remaining video stores, Clinton Street Video, is closing its doors. Before they do, the good folks at the shop are continuing to share their movies as they sell off their collection, with the sale going all the way through their final day of business on Saturday, November 17. BUT WAIT! It’s not all doom and gloom! To celebrate those 23 years, the free Clinton Street Video Celebration Party will take over the Clinton Street Theater and offer “snacks, weird bits of film, hugs, and good times”—a fitting tribute not only to a beloved piece of Old Portland, but to all the cinematic delights that were shelved within. (Sale runs through Sat Nov 17 at Clinton Street Video, 2501 SE Clinton; Clinton Street Video Celebration Party is Sun Nov 18 from 1-3 pm at the Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton, FREE) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Creed II
See next issue for review. (Opens Wed Nov 21, Various Theaters)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Review forthcoming at portlandmercury.com/film. (Opens Fri Nov 16, various theaters)

The Front Runner
Review forthcoming at portlandmercury.com/film. (Opens Fri Nov 16, various theaters)


An American Werewolf in London Sun 11/11 Hollywood Theatre

The Girl in the Spider’s Web
They just keep making these, huh. (Opens Fri Nov 9, various theaters)

Green Book
Review forthcoming at portlandmercury.com/film. (Opens Wed Nov 21, various theaters)

The Grinch
Benedict Cumberbatch voices the Grinch in yet another attempt to make this thing into a feature-length motion picture. This time Tyler, the Creator is helping, though, so... should go great! (Opens Fri Nov 9, various theaters)

Hairspray
Turns out when John Waters isn’t making people eat dog pickles on camera, he’s got some pretty decent pop sensibilities. But just because Hairspray fizzes over like a freshly shaken bottle of effervescent sunshine doesn’t mean Waters took a break from tweaking the squares. The surface-level joys—the dancing, the music, the sense of style that makes Effie’s Hunger Games couture look like a burlap sack and a barrel—constitute the deliciously campy candied shell coating messages about institutionalized racism in 1960s Baltimore and the multiple ways society unfairly judges its children, especially its girls. (Fri Nov 9-Thurs Nov 15, Academy Theater) BOBBY ROBERTS

Hollywood Babylon: Three on a Match
The Hollywood Theatre’s new series, focusing on films made during Hollywood’s “pre-code era,” from 1929 to 1934, kicks off with a 35mm screening of the 1932 crime drama starring Bette Davis, Joan Blondell, and Ann Dvorak. (Thurs Nov 15, Hollywood Theatre)

Instant Family
Octavia Spencer and Rose Byrne are (hopefully) paid well to co-star in this family comedy with Mark Wahlberg as an aging teenager with never-solved anger problems and little-to-no moral fiber, repeatedly purchasing his way into starring vehicles ill-designed to feebly rehabilitate his permanently soiled and unsalvageable public reputation as one of the biggest assholes to ever stalk the earth. (Opens Fri Nov 16, In Any Theater Shameless Enough to Book It)

recommended Invincible Shaolin
This month’s installment in Dan Halsted’s ongoing celebration of all things whoop-ass is the only known 35mm print of 1978’s Invincible Shaolin, bringing back the stars of the spleen-rending badassery that was Five Element Ninjas in a martial arts showdown that pits North Shaolin against South Shaolin (bet you didn’t know there were boroughs, huh) to determine whose unique kung fu is the best. If you’re a fan of training sequences—and you should be, training sequences are the beating, bleeding heart of classic kung fu films—this film’s got your number. (Thurs Nov 15, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Masters of Practical Effects
The Hollywood Theatre is celebrating a wondrous cinematic art form: practical special effects. For decades, makeup artists and effects geniuses Rick Baker and Chris Walas have been responsible for the jaw-dropping visuals of movies like VideodromeThe FlyRaiders of the Lost Ark, and Hellboy—not to mention Harry and the HendersonsGremlins, and An American Werewolf in London. With the weekend-long Masters of Practical Effects, the Hollywood is showing those last three movies—in 35mm and on their big screen—and they’ll have Baker and Walas in attendance to discuss their astonishing work! These two are responsible for some of the weirdest, funniest, and creepiest visuals in all of cinema—and hearing them talk about their craft will be a rare and unmissable treat. (Sat Nov 10-Sun Nov 11, Hollywood Theatre) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Notes on an Appearance
The debut full-length mystery from director Ricky D’Ambrose. (Mon Nov 12, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

The Nutcracker and The Four Realms
Disney’s latest holiday horror masquerading as a family film. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is the potentially sweet story of a girl, Clara (Mackenzie Foy), whose mother died and left her a small locked orb, which Clara must find the key to, and the key is in a magical land full of castles and candy and snowflakes and flowers and clowns and possessed toys and abandoned amusement parks and towering rodent giants. Then there are also a couple of gorgeous ballet sequences starring famous ballerina Misty Copeland. The whole experience is all over the place; I’d estimate that the 100-minute runtime was about 25 minutes of boring exposition, 45 minutes of decent Narnia/Hugo-esque fantasy adventure, 10 minutes of ethereal dancing, and 20 minutes of pure nightmare fuel. (Now playing, various theaters) ELINOR JONES

Overlord
While carrying out a vital pre-D-Day mission, a ragtag bunch of American Dogfaces stumble across a small French village that’s just packed to the rafters with secret Gestapo experiments. (Note: In what may be a controversial move in this day and age, the Nazis are unequivocally depicted as the Bad Guys.) Genre mashups are often content to rest on their high-concept laurels, but this J.J. Abrams production is very willing to do the grunt work, solidly establishing its war movie bonafides—an early paratrooper sequence is genuinely alarming—before transitioning into full-tilt body horror. (This is an extremely moist movie.) If this sounds even remotely like your sort of thing, Overlord’s combination of heavy artillery and horrid creatures should prove to be pretty irresistible. When it comes to B-Movies, nasty, brutish, and short all count as positive traits. (Opens Fri Nov 9, various theaters) ANDREW WRIGHT

Portland Book Festival: Film to Page
In conjunction with the Portland Book Festival, the NW Film Center presents four films: The Cool World, Fermented, Augmented Images: Bent Image Lab, and Alien—with post-film Q&As after each. More at nwfilm.org. (Fri Nov 9-Sun Nov 11, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

A Private War
Rosamund Pike plays Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin in Matthe Heineman’s biographical drama. (Opens Fri Nov 9, various theaters)

recommended Prospect
See review, this issue. (Opens Fri Nov 9, Fox Tower 10, director Zeek Earl in attendance for 7:20 pm show on Sat Nov 10)

Queer Commons: Rafiki
This month’s installment of the Hollywood’s queer-focused series is the Cannes-approved Kenyan drama about two young women living—and loving—in a country where homosexuality is illegal. (Wed Nov 14, Hollywood Theatre)


Room 104 Starts Fri 11/9 on HBO

Ralph Breaks the Internet
The second installment of the hit film series that was supposed to be, at some point, kind of a Roger Rabbit riff that was also a loose TRON remake about classic video game characters bumping into each other in hilarious ways. But it never actually became that, and is now something more like a Comic-Con panel with a plot, featuring special guest stars the Disney Princesses. That doesn’t mean it can’t be entertaining! Comic Con panels are (kinda) fun, right? Bonus: This movie won’t end with an interminably awkward Q&A! (Opens Wed Nov 21, various theaters)

recommended Re-run Theater: Daleks vs. Cybermen
The Hollywood’s monthly TV party presents for November a throwback that’s more like a light underhanded... toss-behind? We’re not tripping through the time vortex back to the scarfed days of the ’70s, or the pompadour’d ass-kickery of the late ’60s, but to the somewhat-recent 2000s, with a pair of Doctor Who episodes starring modern favorite David Tennant as the 10th Doctor, overseeing the first-ever battle royale between the show’s most recognizable villains, a battle that ends in what many fans consider one of the most heartbreaking finales of Doctor Who’s 50-plus year history. With British commercials adverts during the breaks. (Wed Nov 21, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Robin Hood
“Pew pew pew! Gotcha, I’m the prince of thieves!” (Opens Wed Nov 21, various theaters)

recommended Room 104, Season Two
Mark and Jay Duplass’ phenomenal anthology series takes place in a typical American motel, with each episode focusing on different people who pass through the titular room and the weird shit they do there. The shared setting is pretty much the only thing linking these stories, which include the psychological thriller “Ralphie,” about a babysitter tasked with watching a very strange little boy; the sweet Mormon romcom “The Missionaries”; and the nostalgic “Voyeurs,” which is told through interpretive dance. The Duplass brothers are masters of taking a simple idea—something like a pizza delivery, or a young man trying to teach his mother how to use the internet—and gradually exposing the subtext and complex emotions behind every human interaction. The second season will feature appearances from the likes of Mahershala Ali, Michael Shannon, Charlyne Yi, and Rainn Wilson. (Starts Fri Nov 9, HBO) CIARA DOLAN

recommended Run Lola Run
Tom Tykwer’s 1998 film, originally titled Lola Goes for a Jog, presented on 35mm. (Fri Nov 9-Sun Nov 11, Fifth Avenue Cinema)

Short Circuit Touring Program
Nine short films presented by the Victoria, British Columbia’s CeneVic Society of Independent Filmmakers. (Wed Nov 14, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

recommended Space Is the Place
A “sci-fi/musical/documentary” conceived, written by, and starring Sun Ra. Guess what? It’s pretty damned nuts. (Fri Nov 16, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

Suspiria
There’s so much to love about Daria Argento’s 1977 giallo horror film Suspiria: the oversaturated color palette; the melodramatic, opulent gore; Goblin’s twinkling score; and viscerally disturbing images like maggots falling from the ceilings, which will never not make me frantically comb my fingers through my hair. The whole thing feels like a tormented fever dream—intoxicating and at times barely coherent. But that’s why it’s great. Argento’s Suspiria sucks you in and traps you, woozy and disoriented from some unknown spell. Call Me by Your Name director Luca Guadagnino’s reinterpretation of Argento’s film is a precisely choreographed mindfuck, but it’s also frequently bogged down by overcomplicated subplots and distracting details. (Now playing, various theaters) CIARA DOLAN

Widows
Review forthcoming at portlandmercury.com/film. (Opens Fri Nov 16, various theaters)

The Wiz
A 1978 Motown production of a Universal Picture based on a Broadway musical reinterpreting L. Frank Baum’s children’s book, adapted by Joel Schumacher (!) and directed by Sidney Lumet (!!), starring Diana Ross as Dorothy Gale, Richard Pryor as the titular character, Lena Horne (Lumet’s mother-in-law at the time) as Glinda, and the littlest member of the Jackson Five as Scarecrow. That Jackson kid almost didn’t get the part because Lumet thought Jimmie Walker from Good Times should have it, and besides, the Jacksons were kinda has-beens, weren’t they? Anyway, nothing in this film is as weird as the ’70s actually were, but the music is really good. (Fri Nov 16-Thurs Nov 22, Academy Theater)