Captain Marvel

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. (Now playing, various theaters) SUZETTE SMITH

recommended Captain Marvel
See review. (Opens Thurs March 7, various theaters)

CatVideoFest
It can be quite challenging to keep pace with the global production of cat videos. Luckily, the CatVideoFest collects the most important submissions of the year, so you can be at the vanguard of the genre. (Sun March 10, Living Room Theaters) MARJORIE SKINNER

Climax
With Climax, controversy-courting director Gaspar Noé—the enfant terrible behind Irreversible, Enter the Void, and Love—does everything within his power to fuck with viewers’ perceptions. The movie begins with the final moments of the story to come, followed quickly by the closing credits (running backwards, naturally). About a third of the way into the film, he drops the eye-popping opening credits, and throughout, Benoît Debie’s camera dips, rolls, and spins. All of the above tricks feel like typical Noé, but here, the jarring visuals and strange interruptions serve a greater narrative purpose, embedding viewers deep within the mindset of a modern dance troupe that’s unwittingly dosed with high-octane LSD, with the psychedelics unleashing the dancers’ underlying tensions. (Now playing, Cinema 21) ROBERT HAM

recommended Fighting with My Family
A heartfelt family wrestling movie from the comedy writer partly responsible for the UK version of The Office? The quality of Stephen Merchant’s directorial debut was never going to be as preordained as the outcome of a pro-wrestling match, but this scrappy underdog might be the most charming, entertaining movie of the young year. The phenomenal Florence Pugh plays real-life wrestler Paige, who went from the youngest in a working-class wrestling family in Norwich, England, to a WWE superstar. Her journey, with family conflicts and self-confidence issues, is not an especially unpredictable one, but Merchant gets every note exactly right, from producer Dwayne Johnson’s appearance as himself to Paige’s rough but irresistibly loveable family (Lena Dunham, Nick Frost, and Jack Lowden). Vince Vaughn as Paige’s coach, too, is perfectly cast—for once—and the movie’s one of those miraculous things that makes you laugh and cry and clap for joy. It just works. NED LANNAMANN (Now playing, various theaters)

recommended The Great Muppet Caper
Do you not like this movie? Oh, that’s okay. It’s actually pretty overrated. JUST KIDDING. THAT WAS A TEST. A test to see if you have a SOUL. You FAILED. (Mon March 4, Clinton St. Theater)

Greta
Chloë Grace Moretz plays Frances, a recent transplant to New York City who’s grieving the death of her mother and perhaps unconsciously seeking a bond with a surrogate maternal figure. Enter Isabelle Huppert, Queen of France, who plays the titular Greta—a lonely widow with shiny black fingernails filed into points, a habit of leaving stylish leather purses on the subway, and a daughter-shaped hole in her heart. Greta is billed as a “twisted little thriller,” and if you don’t take it seriously, it’s 98 minutes of campy fun riffing on the trope that naïve newcomers will get “eaten alive” by New York City. But under closer examination, it’s just another example of a harmful narrative in which young women are violently punished for trusting a stranger. I think we see enough of that in real life. (Opens Thurs Feb 28, various theaters) CIARA DOLAN

recommended House of Price
Vincent Price, that is. One of Hollywood’s all-time greats, Price defined an era of horror with unforgettable performances that ranged from 1959’s The Tingler to 1971’s The Abominable Dr. Phibes. (Oh, and don’t forget his excellent monologue in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”) Not only is the Hollywood Theatre screening two of Price’s most beloved and chilling films on 35mm—House on Haunted Hill (1959) Friday, March 1st, and House of Wax (1953) Saturday March 2nd—but they’re also bringing in Price’s daughter, Victoria Price, who, in post-film Q&As, will reflect on her father's inimitable legacy. (Fri March 1 & Sat March 2, Hollywood Theatre) ERIK HENRIKSEN

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. (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

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 Kid
Remember that crummy remake of The Magnificent Seven from a couple of years ago? Three of its titular septet—Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, and Vincent D’Onofrio—have reteamed for another western, perhaps to make up for the shortcomings of their previous attempt. While The Kid isn’t exactly good enough to right past wrongs, it’s a mildly diverting entry into a genre that you either love or don’t give a shit about. In other words, it’s a western, and if you love westerns, you’ll get something out of The Kid. Everyone else should probably just go see Captain Marvel. (Now playing, various theaters) NED LANNAMANN

A Madea Family Funeral
“What is dead may never die.” —The Drowned God of the Iron Islands (Now playing, various theaters)


Greta

Portland International Film Festival
Don’t expect much in the way of glitzy premieres or red-carpet photo ops, but the Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) is probably the closest thing to a high holiday on the local film calendar. A bursting-at-the-seams, two-week catchall of globally produced films screening at five local theaters, this year’s PIFF has more movies than any person could reasonably be interested in, let alone see. But there’s enough intriguing stuff that it’s worth rolling up your sleeves, digging into the festival program, and finding something up your alley. Click here to read the Mercury's preferred picks. (Thurs March 7-Thurs March 21, Cinema 21, Cinemagic, Fox Tower 10, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, OMSI’s Empirical Theater) NED LANNAMANN

Portland Kids’ Film Festival
The grownups get to have a sprawling, serious film festival, so why shouldn’t the kids in this city get one too? One with way more cartoons, featuring entries from all over the world, and an opportunity for attendees to not only vote on the awards, but to spend time with local writers and filmmakers. (Sat March 9 & Sun March 10, Clinton Street Theater)

Ruben Brandt, Collector
Animated Hungarian crime dramas about tortured psychotherapists with teams of professional thieves at their disposal don’t come around every day, you know. (Opens Fri March 8, Living Room Theaters)

recommended Sunset Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard deserves to go head-to-head with Citizen Kane and The Godfather for the title of the best American movie ever made. (Fri March 8-Thurs March 14, Academy Theater) NED LANNAMANN

recommended Thelma & Louise
When Thelma and Louise released in 1991, the poster’s tagline read, “Somebody said get a life... so they did,” which is an... interesting means of selling this amiably heartbreaking road movie about two put-upon Texas women (Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis) just trying to drink a little, dance a little, smoke a little, and enjoy their low-key vacation without every single goddamn man in the world getting in the way and fucking everything all to hell. (Fri March 1-Thurs March 7, Academy Theater) 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. It by and large looks incredible. Better still, it’s an effective documentary in its own right, telling a cohesive and emotional story about the soldiers’ experience on the ground, contrasting unaltered film in scenes shot in Britain with Jackson’s transformed footage for the theater of war on the continent. (Now playing, various theaters) NED LANNAMANN

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 it’s 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, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN