Destroyer

recommended MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.

An Acceptable Loss
The latest from writer/director Joe Chappelle, starring Tika Sumpter as a former US security adviser being targeted by cold-as-ice politician Jamie Lee Curtis. (Opens Fri Jan 25, Living Room Theaters)

Aquaman
Aquaman is very goofy, and if it was an hour shorter, it would totally be worth your time. As the affably bro-y fishman, Jason Momoa punches CGI monsters and supervillains who wear stupid costumes; he also, in the film’s best moments, flips back his dripping hair and, angling his shirtless torso for maximum gleam, all but winks at the camera as an electric guitar wails. Eagerly and clumsily, Aquaman dispels the joyless grimdark that’s infested other movies based on DC Comics, and director James Wan delivers some genuinely great stuff—a horror-tinged encounter with dagger-toothed wretches from the deep, a psychedelic submarine chase through a fluorescent Atlantis. But he’s hampered by too much plot, dreary politicking that aims for Game of Thrones but lands at Phantom Menace, and a plasticky sheen that cheapens everything from the bad guys’ Power Ranger suits to the digitally de-aged faces of Temuera Morrison, Willem Dafoe, and Nicole Kidman. Aquaman’s super fun when it embraces its silliness—there’s an octopus who plays the drums! there’s an army of cranky crab-men!—but by the end, it just feels bloated and squishy. (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Bridget Jones’s Diary
As part of the Hollywood Theatre’s new ongoing film series Isn’t She Great, Elizabeth Teets and Anthony Hudson host this screening of the 2001 Renee Zellweger vehicle Bridget Jones’s Diary. It was fairly weird for Helen Fielding’s hyper-British novel to become a Renee Zellweger vehicle back then, and time hasn’t made it any less so. While Zellweger isn’t bad in the part (she got an Oscar nomination, for what that’s worth), the (stunningly attractive) presence of Colin Firth and Hugh Grant as the two legs in Bridget’s love triangle is what makes the movie worth returning to. (Thurs Jan 31, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Bumblebee
Here’s the amazing thing about Bumblebee, the seventh theatrically-released blockbuster based on a line of toys for young children: It’s the first one to present as a family film. The 1986 film was barely a movie, much less fit for children’s consumption, and at no point in 2007 (or any time ever, really) did Michael Bay give fuck one about tailoring his leering, sneering spectacle for family friendly tastes. But Bumblebee is (mostly) safe for kids ages six and up (just like the recommendation on the toy packaging!), and is often very fun. Imagine that—trying to have fun with your toys. Huh. (Now playing, various theaters) BOBBY ROBERTS

Glass

Destroyer
Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, The Invitation) directs this bleak, bleary LA noir about a damaged cop (Nicole Kidman, under layers of de-prettifying makeup) tracking down the leader of a crime ring in which she spent months undercover. Told through fractured timelines, Destroyer occasionally clicks as a feminist interpolation of typically male-dominated anti-hero detective tropes, and there are some truly electric moments, including a bank-heist shootout and a cameo from Bradley Whitford as—what else?—a shitweasel lawyer. But Kusama makes this a character study foremost, at the expense of the supporting characters and the story’s more interesting genre elements. (Opens Fri Jan 18, various theaters) NED LANNAMANN

recommended The Favourite
Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest is a hysterical, brutal take on the Restoration-era comedy of manners, using historical figures from early 18th-century England to make some decidedly bleak points about power struggles and human nature. The fact it’s the funniest movie of 2018 shouldn’t jibe with its sumptuous production design and gorgeously appointed costumes, but it does. This is a movie that works magnificently on every level. (Now playing, various theaters) NED LANNAMANN

Glass
Glass is a pretty-but-emptily-ponderous mess, it's sole accomplishment being a near-total waste of whatever goodwill Shyamalan had left after spending the better part of a decade as a punchline. As an act of pure regression, it is nearly flawless, with all his worst filmmaking instincts shamelessly indulged—especially his crippling, all-consuming addiction to "The Twist." (Opens Fri Jan 18, various theaters) BOBBY ROBERTS

recommended Grindhouse Film Festival: The Killer
John Woo’s two-fisted (each fist closed around a pistol, of course) 1989 melodrama The Killer isn’t really what you’d call a “grindhouse” film, but genre labels are meant to be stretched, and bullet ballets like these are meant to be screened in 35mm—so if putting this overheated symphony of super-stylish violence in the Grindhouse Film Festival gets that done, so be it. The story is 100 percent silly soap opera bullshit, but the commitment and the energy from all involved in bringing it to lurid life is still amazing to behold, especially when it comes to Chow Yun-Fat, operating at the peak of his charisma—a level maybe only two or three other movie stars have ever attained in the history of film. (Tues Jan 29, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Hollywood Babylon: Red Headed Woman
The Hollywood Theatre’s series, focusing on films made during Hollywood’s “pre-code era,” from 1929 to 1934, starts 2019 strong with Red Headed Woman, starring Jean Harlow as not just a social climber, but—so far as the early ’30s were concerned—the social climber. Harlow’s portrayal of feminine ambition was so unnerving that some regions of the country flat-out banned the film. (Thurs Jan 24, Hollywood Theatre)

The Kid Who Would Be King
The Kid Who Would Be King reminds me of the kids movies I watched as a kid, where an actual child comes into possession of something they shouldn't, like a spaceship, or a professional baseball team, or, in this case, King Arthur's enchanted sword Excalibur. Wildly irresponsible behavior and at least one heartfelt exchange with a single parent ensues, end everyone learns a valuable lesson about the value of family and the importance of teamwork. It was great stuff back then and it's fun to see now—although, as with a lot of purely childlike fantasy, it doesn't hang together as well as you'd hope. BEN COLEMAN (Opens Fri Jan 25, various theaters)

King: A Filmed Record—From Montgomery to Memphis
A digital restoration of Sidney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1970 documentary, using testimonials from well-known supporters (including James Earl Jones, Ruby Dee, and Paul Newman) to supplement the mountain of archival footage tracing King’s arc from regional activist in the ’50s to leader of the Civil Rights movement in 1968. (Mon Jan 21, Clinton Street Theater)

Mean Girls

Mean Girls
Tina Fey’s loose adaptation of Rosalind Wiseman’s Queen Bees and Wannabes has ascended to a position of royalty in the pantheon of teen movie classics, and rightfully so—the film served as a springboard for talents including Rachel McAdams, Lizzy Caplan, and Amanda Seyfried, is still the high-water mark of Lindsay Lohan’s turbulent career, and proved to the world that you could put Tim Meadows in a movie and he’d actually register as... well, as anything (the only other time this occurred was Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, which nobody watched). But of all the legacies in Mean Girls’ wake, the most remarkable is the unexpected perserverance of ‘Fetch.’ I guess Gretchen was right after all. (Fri Jan 18-Thurs Jan 24, Academy Theater) BOBBY ROBERTS

The Navigator
Vincent Ward’s bizarre 1988 fantasy (‘bizarre’ and ‘Vincent Ward’ being synonyms and all) about a medieval town using the prophetic dreams of a young boy as a guide to escaping the Black Plague—an escape that leads them through a tunnel and into 20th century New Zealand. (Sun Jan 20, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

On the Basis of Sex
On the Basis of Sex is a fictionalized telling of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s time attending law school, teaching at Columbia, and then trying some of her early game-changing cases. That’s one heck of a premise for a film, and I hate to write the following: It is not very good. Okay, it’s fine. It wanted to be great, but it’s corny and just... bleh. (Now playing, various theaters) ELINOR JONES

Pandora’s Box
Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s silent film from 1929, screened on 16mm and spiced up considerably via a live performance of an original soundtrack composed by local sextet Abronia. (Tues Jan 29, Clinton Street Theater)

The Passenger
Michelangelo Antonioni’s revered 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson. (Mon Jan 21, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

Portland Latin American Film Festival: Ruben Blades Is Not My Name
Ruben Blades is of the best “oh it’s that guy!” presences in modern film. Ruben Blades is also an amazing musician. And it’s that long, much-acclaimed music career that gets examined in director Abner Benaim’s 2018 documentary. (Wed Jan 23, Hollywood Theatre)

Re-Run Theater: Bionic Man vs. Bigfoot
Every month, the Hollywood Theatre becomes a brilliant re-creation of a ‘70s living room via Re-run Theater, a celebration of the sort of televised schlock only the most polyester of decades could provide—and holy shit does that mission get accomplished via this screening of the two-part Six Million Dollar Man episode where Lee Majors as Steve Austin meets Bigfoot (!) as played by Andre the Giant (!!) who turns out to be a fuckin’ robot (!!!) constructed as a defense mechanism to protect a secret alien base. (!?@*$#). With vintage commercials during the ad breaks. (Wed Jan 30, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Reel Music
Each year, the Northwest Film Center rounds up a slew of new and noteworthy music-related films for its Reel Music series—illustrating not just the power of documentary filmmaking as a tool to tell musicians’ stories, but also the ever-changing roles that sound and music play in today’s audiovisual narratives. With fewer films than previous years, this year's Reel Music is a more focused, manageable batch to navigate, with a handful of must-sees (and a couple you should skip). See "Movies for Your Ears: Northwest Film Center’s Reel Music Returns" for our picks. (Fri Jan 18-Sat Feb 16, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

recommended Roma
See Roma, and see it on a big screen, and see it loud. Alfonso Cuarón’s first film since Gravity is decidedly less flashy—a semi-autobiographical drama, it’s set in the early 1970s and is almost entirely focused on Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a live-in housekeeper and nanny for an upper-class family in Mexico City. But while Roma’s smaller in scope, it can be as jaw-clenchingly intense as Gravity, as melancholy and humane as Y Tu Mamá También, and as viscerally overwhelming as Children of Men. Roma is Cuarón firing on all cylinders, and it’s about as powerful a cinematic experience as one can have. (Now playing, various theaters; now streaming, Netflix) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Samurai Sunday: Shogun Assassin
Probably one of the most badass movies ever made, 1980’s Shogun Assassin tells the heartwarming story of a samurai, his adorable toddler son, a lethally tricked-out baby carriage of doom, and the duo’s quest for bloody, bloody vengeance. (Sun Jan 27, Hollywood Theatre) ERIK HENRIKSEN

recommended Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Superhero fatigued? NO ONE CAN BLAME YOU. In addition to all the Avengers movies and Justice League movies and X-Men movies, roughly 616 Spider-Man movies have come out in the past few years, and even for a lifelong Spidey fan (*raises hand, makes THWIP noise, gets lunch money stolen*) that is too many Spider-Mans. Especially now that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is here—a movie that’s hands down, no exceptions, no question the best Spider-Man movie, not to mention one of the best movies of the year. Does Planet Earth need any more Spider-Man movies? Probably not! But they’re going to keep coming, so here’s hoping they’re even half as fun and smart as Spider-Verse. Ugh. YOU GUYS. This movie is just SO GOOD. (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Stan & Ollie
Stan & Ollie seeks to bring the two back into the spotlight, at least for a bit, and to that end, it's got one major coup: Great casting, with John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy and Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel. Coogan gives the clever Laurel a soft melancholy, just behind the eyes; Reilly's affable Hardy finds grace and heart even as he bumbles around with clumsy slapstick. And... that's about it, because the rest of Stan & Ollie is shallow and slapdash, digging into little of the character, history, and insights that, in a story like this one, would seem to be readily available. ERIK HENRIKSEN (Opens Fri Jan 25, various theaters)

The Upside
A prosaic remake of a successful foreign film, The Upside is unexceptional in every regard except for the fact it stars Kevin Hart. I can’t think of anything I’d like to do less than rehash the headlines surrounding Hart (including his homophobic “humor,” the 2019 Oscars telecast he’s not hosting, and Ellen DeGeneres’ weird decision to come to his defense). Let’s not talk about any of it. Just be aware that it’s all more noteworthy than anything that happens in The Upside, a movie that’s pleasantly, almost apologetically banal. (Now playing, various theaters) NED LANNAMANN

Vice
A damning, decades-spanning portrait of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Vice is a far cry from the genial comedies Adam McKay used to make, like Anchorman and Step Brothers. Instead, it’s an angry, messy, overbearing, and frequently brilliant film—one that’s indulgent in ways that are simultaneously admirable and irritating. At worst, it feels like a mashup of Oliver Stone’s and Michael Moore’s worst tendencies. At its best, though, Vice is an elaborate juggling act of ideas and techniques, including broad comedy, documentary footage, propaganda, fourth-wall-busting, vicious satire, expository narration, and reworked Shakespeare. It’s impressive. It’s also exhausting. (Now playing, various theaters) NED LANNAMANN

Waiting for Guffman
Is there anything in the world of film more reliably entertaining than a Christopher Guest mockumentary? (Fri Jan 25-Thurs Jan 31, Academy Theater)