Do The Right Thing

recommended Alita: Battle Angel
I have never recommended seeing a movie in 3D, let alone IMAX 3D, because films should either succeed in 2D or they aren’t worth seeing. But for Alita: Battle Angel, I will—for the first time—tell you to splurge on the IMAX. With this visually stunning adaptation of Yukito Kishiro's manga, we should applaud Alita’s depth, not split hairs over her eyes—which, in the film, are irresistibly beautiful. (Opens Thurs Feb 14, various theaters) SUZETTE SMITH

recommended Barton Fink
The cult of the Coen brothers’ Barton Fink is much smaller than the Dude’s, but for the chosen few listening at the precise wavelength this freaked-out, disorienting satire is broadcasting on, Fink is sweaty, flame-broiled film nirvana. (Sun Feb 17, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium) BOBBY ROBERTS

A City of Sadness
A rare 35mm screening of Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s 1989 drama set in post-World War II Japan, focused on four brothers caught in the turmoil of their country withdrawing from Taiwan and being placed under martial law under the Kuomintang government. (Mon Feb 18, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

Cold Pursuit
“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody. I’m ashamed to say that, and I did it for maybe a week—hoping some ‘Black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.” —Liam Neeson, on the press tour for Cold Pursuit, ensuring there is no way you could possibly watch Cold Pursuit without thinking of this quote the entire time. (Now playing, various theaters)

Do the Right Thing
“Let me tell you the story of Right Hand, Left Hand. It’s a tale of good and evil. Hate! It was with this hand that Cain iced his brother. Love! These five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand, the hand of love. The story of life is this—static. One hand is always fighting the other hand, and the left hand is kicking much ass.” (Mon Feb 18, Clinton Street Theater; Fri Feb 22-Thurs Feb 28, Academy Theater)

Fighting with My Family
It’s really weird to look back at The Office now, knowing that Ricky Gervais would become an insufferable vial of smug poured into a bag of loose skin, Martin Freeman would end up being both John Watson and Bilbo Baggins, and Stephen Merchant would end up directing a Dwayne Johnson-produced biography of WWE superstar Paige. By many accounts he’s directed the best film about rasslin’ since The Wrestler, but without all the unrelenting, leathery misery that film trafficked in. (Opens Thurs Feb 14, various theaters)

Happy Death Day 2U
Two years ago, horror writer and director Christopher Landon (of Paranormal Activity fame) debuted Happy Death Day, a film that paired the time-looping premise of Groundhog Day with college students, creepy single-toothed baby masks, and classic slasher tropes. It was wildly popular, grossing $125 million from a $5 million budget, and had fans clamoring for a sequel. Happy Death Day 2U is the latest installment, and contrary to my expectations, it’s one of the best Blumhouse movies I’ve seen. In Happy Death Day 2U, fear and existential angst intersect with nonsensical science-fiction (at one point, a nerd uses a napkin to explain the multiverse) to create a perfectly serviceable, surprisingly feel-good horror movie. (Now playing, various theaters) CIARA DOLAN

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Heads up: If you've ever owned a dog, a cat, or a dragon, the final 20 minutes or so of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World will reduce you to a wheezing, weeping, snot-soaked wreck, and because this will happen at the very end of the movie, as soon as you stumble out of the theater, everyone is going to know that a children's movie about friendly dragons just reduced you to a wheezing, weeping, snot-soaked wreck, and this is a thing you will have to deal with for the rest of your life. Another heads up: The rest of the movie isn't very good. (Opens Thurs Feb 21, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

I Am Cuba
An anti-American, Cuban-Soviet-produced propaganda film from 1964 that suggests a fruitful, wondrous future under the caring, guiding hand of Fidel Castro. The politics might not hold up, but director Mikhail Kalatozov’s skills do. (Fri Feb 22-Sun Feb 24, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

recommended Isn’t It Romantic
In Isn’t It Romantic, Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is unlucky in love... until she suffers a blow to the noggin that transforms her world! It's impossible for me to explain how much I absolutely loved this movie without reminding myself (and everyone else) how much I hated the last romcom about a woman who suffered a brain injury that altered her reality: Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty. But Isn’t It Romantic is everything that I Feel Pretty wasn’t: it’s smart, it’s hilarious, and most importantly, it doesn’t punch down. Plus, it has what I never realized every film needs, which is a bare-chested Liam Hemsworth playing the saxophone. (Now playing, various theaters) ELINOR JONES

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part squarely occupies (sorry!) a middle ground between the first Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie: The premise is played, but there’s still some fun to be had. (Now playing, various theaters)SUZETTE SMITH

recommended Miller’s Crossing
Miller’s Crossing is everything the Coens ever were and everything they’d ever be in the decades that followed. The dialogue, the plotting, the whiplashing tones, all sewn together in a way that makes everything feel effortless without making any of it seem easy. In honor of the very recent passing of acting legend Albert Finney, you need to witness his portrayal of gangster Leo O'Bannon on the Hollywood’s screen, which—despite its considerable size—is still not big enough to contain Finney’s performance. (Thurs Feb 21, Hollywood Theatre)BOBBY ROBERTS


How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Muriel’s Wedding
For those of you who only just recently became aware of Toni Collette through her blistering, gut-churning performance in 2018’s feel-bad-hit-of-the-summer, Hereditary, you are in for a goddamned delight of a treat if you travel way back in time to Toni’s breakout role in this painfully-awkward-yet-charming-as-fuck Australian comedy from 1994. (Fri Feb 15-Thurs Feb 21, Academy Theater) BOBBY ROBERTS

Never Look Away
This factually loose, three-hour biopic inspired by the early life of German artist Gerhard Richter is directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, best known for his 2006 East German film The Lives of Others. Unfortunately, Never Look Away is a tastelessly romantic, sun-dappled vision of WWII. Richter himself—who’s still alive, and can now see a film play fast and free with the murder of his aunt by Nazis—said in a recent, far more riveting New Yorker article that he dislikes both the film and the director who made it. (Opens Fri Feb 15, various theaters)SUZETTE SMITH

Oregon’s Black Pioneers
OPB's Oregon Experience series turns its focus to one of the most underrepresented stories in the state’s history: The large role Black explorers, farmers, trappers, and merchants had in shaping the state’s future, despite the white settlers who tried to force them out. (Screens Wed Feb 20 at Oregon Historical Society; airs Mon Feb 25 on OPB)

Pipe Organ Pictures: Wings
Before you break out your Thomas Haden Church T-shirt, keep in mind that this is a screening of 1927’s silent film Wings, with an original score composed and performed by Jonas Nordwall on the Hollywood’s newly refurbished pipe organ. (Sat Feb 23, Hollywood Theatre)

recommended Police Story and Police Story 2
Conventional wisdom is that Drunken Master II is as good as Jackie Chan ever got, the perfect mix of action, comedy, and “Holy shit, human beings aren’t allowed to do that, right?” But conventional wisdom is made to be broken, and Police Story is the kind of film that says, “Who gives a shit about a perfect mix when I can just turn everything up full blast?” Jackie’s singing! He’s dancing! He’s so in love with his bone-breaking stunts he’s just gonna rewind and show it to you another three times! A shopping mall gets demolished! There’s a goddamn pie fight in here. (Police Story Sat Feb 16, Hollywood Theatre; Police Story 2 Fri Feb 22, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

recommended Re-Run Theater: Deep Space Nine Double Feature
The Hollywood’s monthly TV party pays tribute to the best Star Trek that ever was. Tonight’s double feature is the best example of how Deep Space Nine looked to the past as a means to evolve and improve into the future, with “Trials and Tribble-ations” as a literal homage to the old days, and “Far Beyond the Stars” as a heartfelt, spiritual one. (Wed Feb 27, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Repressed Cinema: A Bucket of Blood
Ian Sundahl dedicates this month’s entry in his ongoing showcase of rare 16mm delights to the memory of character actor Dick Miller with a screening of the 1959 Roger Corman classic A Bucket of Blood. (Tues Feb 19, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

recommended They Shall Not Grow Old
For They Shall Not Grow Old, Peter Jackson and his team his team got their hands on archival footage from WWI, then used computers to colorize, clean up, and speed-correct the film to make it more realistic. With the addition of narration from veterans recorded by the BBC years later and some unobtrusive, newly recorded foley, the documentary gives us a fresh, immersive look at images from more than a century ago. (Now playing, various theaters) NED LANNAMANN

recommended The Umbrella Academy
See review, this issue. (Streams Fri Feb 15, Netflix)

The Wandering Earth
Based on a story by the remarkable Chinese science-fiction author Liu Cixin, The Wandering Earth often feels like any number of generic, CGI-bloated American disaster movies. But at its best, the Chinese blockbuster captures a bit of the brain-stretching majesty and humbling intelligence of Liu's writing. Every once in a while—whether its the characters' traversal of a silent Shanghai that's been enveloped by ice, or the lonely sight of a mostly dead Earth, hanging in the endless void of space—The Wandering Earth feels grand, beautiful, and desolate, with a perspective that can only come from a straightforward accounting of humankind's impermanence and meaninglessness. (Now playing, Century Eastport 16) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Wyrd War Presents: 2019: After the Fall of New York
Wyrd War loves digging through ’80s detritus and sharing schlock treasures with fellow appreciators of vintage trash. One of the decade’s most unrepentant garbagemen was Italian director Sergio Martino, who, after apparently catching a marathon of Alien, The Road Warrior, and Escape From New York, threw a couple bucks towards the chiseled slab of man that was Michael Sopkiw and imagined a cheapjack post-apocalyptic 2019 that is, in many ways, still more dignified than the real 2019. (Sat Feb 23, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS