Master Z: Ip Man Legacy Well Go USA

Airport Cinema Showcase
A screening of the locally-made shorts currently playing at Hollywood’s microcinema at the Portland airport, including Cindy Sullivan’s Stones, POW Girls’ Great Expectations, David Van Auken’s Carnatic Wave, and Rob Finch’s How Seamus Gets a Fish. (Sun April 14, Hollywood Theatre)

Amazing Grace
The double-platinum album Amazing Grace was recorded live, at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, in 1972. The singer was 29-year-old Aretha Franklin, returning to her gospel roots for two nights, and the shows she put on were electrifying. That album was the soundtrack to a documentary by Sidney Lumet that never got released for various reasons, some more understandable than others. After Ms. Franklin’s recent passing, Lumet’s film is finally available, and 2019 audiences can effectively pull up a pew and bear witness to how she put in work across those two days in the January of 1972. If you are not already familiar with the term “transcendent,” you should practice its usage—you’ll need it if you’re hoping to speak on what got captured in this film. (Opens Fri April 12, Cinema 21) BOBBY ROBERTS

American Honey
Yes, this is an indie film with Shia LaBeouf in it. Yes, he’s still kind of a distracting weirdo radiating awkward shame in every direction. But writer/director Andrea Arnold knows how to use that effectively in support of Sasha Lane, the real star of the film (her name is literally Star), as a teenager on a cross-country journey with a crew of like-minded wanderers slinging magazines door-to-door. (Fri April 12-Sun April 14, Fifth Avenue Cinema)

The Bad News Bears
A heads-up for you parents out there: Michael Ritchie’s 1976 comedy The Bad News Bears is quite a few things: It’s often hilarious, no doubt. It’s maybe the perfect vehicle for the galumphing charms of Walter Matthau. It’s a pretty authentic snapshot of the casually cynical (and sexist, and racist, and homophobic, and abusive) mid-’70s, and—most importantly—it’s probably cinema’s best use of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” But while Bears is often categorized as a “family” film, (the Hollywood is screening it as part of their Family Pictures weekend series), this shit is not a kids’ movie. Not even fuckin’ close. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go see it! I’m just saying maybe be ready to have an... interesting talk with your little’uns once it’s over. (Sat April 13-Sun April 14, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

The Beach Bum
Harmony Korine’s spiritual sequel to Spring Breakers stars Matthew McConaughey, in X-Treme McConaughey mode, as “Moondog,” the titular beach bum who fucks around the Florida Keys with his buddies Snoop Dogg (who plays “Lingerie”), Martin Lawrence (who plays “Captain Wack”), and Jimmy Buffett (who plays “Jimmy Buffett”). The Beach Bum is simultaneously gorgeous and garish—all radioactive sunsets, fluorescent clothes, and light shimmering along waves and guns and bongs—and big chunks of the movie are basically music videos. I’m pretty sure you’ve already decided if you’re going to see it, and also if you’re going to love it. (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

The Best of Enemies
The Best of Enemies is based on events that took place during the summer of 1971 in Durham, North Carolina. (The film’s marketing copy describes it as “the racially charged summer of 1971,” like it was the only one—nothing racially charged around here anymore!) Durham held a 10-day community forum on school integration, co-chaired by opposing town leaders: Black community organizer Ann Atwater (played here by Taraji P. Henson) and president of the local chapter for the Ku Klux Klan, C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell). But even to say these people are just “opposing”—that doesn’t work. You can’t “Let’s hear them out!” or “There were very fine people on both sides!” with white supremacy, yet that’s exactly what The Best of Enemies attempts. (Now playing, various theaters) ELINOR JONES

Blow-Up
Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 drama that you feel guilty about never having seen, now lovingly restored! All that painstaking work should make the cinematography shine like it’s never shined before, so the film can be at its most beautiful when you say, “Huh, always meant to see that, heard good things!” before folding this paper back up and returning it to the bus seat where you found it. (Mon April 22, Hollywood Theatre)

Breakthrough
Topher Grace follows up his performance as David Duke in BlacKkKlansman with this turn as Pastor Jason Noble in this bit of Christian propaganda. Can’t knock the hustle, Foreman. Get yours. (Opens Wed April 17, various theaters)

The Chaperone
Is this the new Downton Abbey movie? It’s gotta be, right? It’s made by Downton people and there’s a Downton lady in it, and everyone’s dressed very Downton and oh boy look at this trailer with all of this Downton-style repression! Wait, no... The Chaperone is just a Downton-ish drama about someone babysitting famous flapper Louise Brooks. The actual Downton Abbey movie isn’t out until September. But this might make for some good, Downton-flavored movie methadone. (Opens Fri April 12, Fox Tower 10)

The Curse of La Llorona
A Conjuring sequel/side-quel sorta thing, starring Linda Cardellini as a haunted social worker in the ’70s who enlists the assistance of a disillusioned priest to exorcise the presence of La Llorona, a filicidal g-g-ghost! (Opens Fri April 19, various theaters)

Diane
In Diane, time moves quickly and loneliness is the only constant. If that sounds depressing, it is! This film reckons with death and the uncomfortable reality that when it comes, we probably won’t have everything figured out. Mary Kay Place is amazing as the titular Diane, who spends every waking minute driving around her small New England town, delivering casseroles to friends, volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting her sick cousin in the hospital, and attempting to forcibly course-correct the life of her drug-addicted son. She devotes herself to others, but also seems addicted to helping. In that sense, Diane is a movie about shame, and how the quest to atone for sins can eat away at life. There are some tender moments between Diane and her community that save this movie from being a total bummer, and the conflict caused by her son’s eventual recovery is family drama at its best. But Diane is incredibly punishing—it’s worth seeing for Place’s performance, but only if you’re prepared to plunge into an ice bath of existential dread. (Opens Fri April 12, Living Room Theaters) CIARA DOLAN

EcoFilm Weekend Showcase
The reliable, inventive, and well-curated Portland EcoFilm Festival presents its annual selection of films for Earth Day weekend, which this year includes a documentary about giraffe biologist Anne Innis Dagg (The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, screening Sun April 21); a look at the life of landscape architect, artist, and ecologist Roberto Burle Marx (Landscape Film: Roberto Burle Marx, Fri April 19); Maxine Trump’s “deeply intimate exploration of her personal process deciding to ‘come out’ as choosing to live childfree” in an era of resource scarcity and climate change (To Kid or Not to Kid, Sun April 21); and a visually surreal epic from Akira Kurosawa (Dreams, which, fittingly, screens on Sat April 20). More at portlandecofilmfest.org. (Fri April 19-Sun April 21, Hollywood Theatre) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Essays of a City
Oregon Filmmaker Stuart Eagon presents his experimental documentary in three parts, shot on Super 16mm, charting the decay of various urban landscapes. Screens as a benefit for HOMEpdx. (Thurs April 18, Clinton Street Theater)

Funny Face
Stanley Donen’s other huge ’50s musical, swapping out Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly for Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn, with music from the Gershwins. This movie, only barely based on the Broadway show, is kinda-sorta-maybe-not-really based on the life of photographer Richard Avedon, but is mostly, unapologetically about itself, showing off the indulgent extravagance of old Hollywood. (Sat April 20, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

Game of Thrones
Nearly eight years to the day after the first episode of Game of Thrones premiered on HBO, its final season begins—bringing back Arya and Jon, Dany and Tyrion, and some dragons that are ready to fuck shit up. And while there are only six episodes this time around, expect those episodes to be longer—between an hour and 80 minutes each—and reeaaaally pretty, considering HBO dropped 90 MILLION DOLLARS on this single season. All signs point to Game of Thrones going out with a bang—rattling your speakers, breaking your heart, and leaving George R.R. Martin’s still-unfinished book series in the dust. (Starts Sun April 14, HBO) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Grindhouse Film Festival: Q: The Winged Serpent
The latest installment of the Hollywood Theatre’s monthly exultation of exploitation cinema is a tribute to genre auteur Larry Cohen (1936-2019) with one of his best: 1982’s Q: The Winged Serpent, about a pair of harried detectives (David Carradine, Richard Roundtree) who have their Aztec cult murder investigation (!) interrupted by a literal flying dragon (!!) claiming the Chrysler Building as its birthing den. (Tues April 23, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS


Hellboy Lionsgate / Mark Rogers

Hellboy
See review. (Opens Thurs April 11, various theaters)

Her Smell
You know how Gus Van Sant’s Last Days wasn’t really about Kurt Cobain, but was 100 percent about Kurt Cobain? Well, Alex Ross Perry’s Her Smell is pretty much the exact same thing, but swap out Kurt for Courtney, as played by Elisabeth Moss. (Opens Fri April 19, Cinema 21)

High Life
French arthouse director Claire Denis’ first science-fiction film depicts outer space in a way we’re not used to seeing on screen: through the utter absence of visual information. The spaceship is a clunky rectangular box, its interiors are shabby and grimy, and the cosmos is represented by a few sprinkles of light on a black background. Denis’ story is abstract and nonlinear, and her characters function like allegorical symbols rather than humans. Some will be impressed by the weightiness of Denis’ jag into zero gravity, but for me, High Life was a frustrating experience, a collection of half-developed ideas being sucked into an unfocused void. (Opens Fri April 12, Fox Tower 10) NED LANNAMANN

Japanese Currents
Returning for its 12th year, the NW Film Center’s Japanese Currents series brings audiences a glimpse into the recent cinematic climate of Japan. This year’s selections—drawing from films released in Japan in 2017 and 2018—has some indie, some anime, and a three-and-a-half-hour documentary about an asbestos disaster that I didn’t hate! (Through Sun April 14, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium) SUZETTE SMITH

The Juniper Tree
Nietzchka Keene’s 1990 drama starring Björk as a young woman in medieval Iceland whose life is thrown into upheaval after her mother is burned for witchcraft, and her older sister begins practicing sorcery. Yep, sounds Björk-y! (Mon April 15, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

The Last Gospel of the Pagan Babies
Jean Donohue’s 2013 documentary about the Pagan Babies, an underground group of gender-bent artists and drag queens set on challenging the norms of homosexual culture in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. (Wed April 24, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

Little
It’s been awhile since we had a good ol’ body-switch comedy. Well, okay, Shazam! just came out, but not everything has to be superheroes all the time, right? Regina Hall is a shitty boss with Issa Rae as her put-upon assistant; one day, under way too much pressure, Hall wishes she could be a little kid again. Wish granted. Now she’s 14-year-old Marsai Martin from Black-Ish, who (no lie) got the movie made after watching Big for the first time and telling producer Kenya Barris about it. Not screened for critics. (Opens Thurs April 11, various theaters)


Master Z: Ip Man Legacy Well Go USA

Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
If you’re going to artificially extend the life of this already exhausted film series, you could do worse than getting Yuen Woo-Ping, Michelle Yeoh, Dave Bautista, and Tony Jaa to show up and whup ass. (Opens Fri April 19, Fox Tower 10, Hollywood Theatre)

The Matrix
Funny how all it took was a single rumor that Warner Bros. was thinking about maybe rebooting The Matrix for everyone to finally stop complaining about its sequels (which were fairly not-great, sure, but not that bad, either) and reflect on what a cinematic miracle the 1999 original really was. The Wachowskis’ live-action anime fires off philosophical musings amid a torrent of fists and bullets that’s somehow simultaneously even more retro and more futuristic than it was 20 years ago. BOBBY ROBERTS (Fri April 19-Thurs April 25, Academy Theater)

Missing Link
The latest from Hillsboro-based stop-motion studio Laika is astonishingly beautiful. From the secluded, cerulean glens of Pacific Northwest timberland to the jaunty, slate-topped roofs of Victorian London, every scene represents artwork on the highest level from an army of masters in their craft. But despite its visual splendor and charming premise—a lonely bigfoot recruits a hard-luck cryptozoologist and a feisty adventuress to transport him to what he hopes will be a welcoming tribe of Himalayan yeti—it’s perplexing that a studio that’s had trouble with cultural representation in the past (“Why is the movie’s main cast so white?” asked BuzzFeed about 2016’s Kubo and the Two Strings) would pick a colonialist gadfly to serve as Missing Link’s protagonist. (Opens Thurs April 11, various theaters) BEN COLEMAN

Mondo Trasho: Jawbreaker
This month’s installment in the Hollywood Theatre’s series of mostly irredeemable trash “classics” is sort of incongruous, in that it’s not really trashy or in need of any redemption. 1999’s Jawbreaker isn’t just a satire of high school movies (which were undergoing a renaissance at the time), but a mean-spirited mixtape of prior high school satires, including Heathers and The Craft. Rose McGowan, Rebecca Gayheart, and Julie Benz do very good work as this film’s trio of queen bees, but Judy Greer as their malicious Eliza Doolitle is the real star. (Fri April 12, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Paris, Texas
It’s highly unlikely that if the film industry lasts for another 100-plus years, it’ll even come close to producing another Harry Dean Stanton. Despite instantly improving any film he would appear in, he almost never got to play the lead. Which makes Wim Wenders a genius for building Sam Shepard’s heartbroken, elegiac Paris, Texas around him. And Stanton? Well, if you weren’t convinced of his own shaggy, hangdog magic before you saw this classic, you will be once it’s finished wringing you out. (Bonus: you’ll get the satisfaction of realizing “Oh, so that’s where the mural at Bunk Bar comes from!”) (Fri April 12-Thurs April 18, Academy Theater) BOBBY ROBERTS

Penguins
Steve the Penguin just wants to start a family. Wuzzo wants a friend. The Antarctic is a frozen wasteland populated with naturally programmed killers. Will Steve and Wuzzo make it? Well, Penguins is a G-rated Disney documentary narrated by Ed Helms, so.... (Opens Wed April 17, various theaters)

Re-Run Theater: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
The Hollywood’s monthly TV party screens super-producer/thief Glen A. Larson’s satiny reboot of pulp hero Buck Rogers! 1979’s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century stars an amiable, ambulatory heap of hair and protein named Gil Gerard as frozen caveman astronaut William Rogers, who somehow simultaneously looks kinda like both Sean Connery and Will Ferrell. He gets accidentally frozen in the far-flung future of 1987, wakes up on some repurposed Battlestar Galactica sets after 500 years of William Conrad narration, meets Erin Gray and a penis-headed tinfoil robot with a talking clock on its chest, and off they go to free the slaves of the planet Vistula. Bidi-bidi-bidi it’s fucking dreck, Buck! (Wed April 24, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Shazam!
You like your nephew! Let’s call him Dewie. He’s nine years old, absolutely adorable, and as boring as a bar of Ivory soap. Dewie is genial, mostly polite, and doesn’t really have any rough edges—except for the occasional comedic burp, which comes off as planned adorableness. And that’s pretty much the vibe of Shazam!, which, like Aquaman, is practically begging to be known as “the fun one” in DC’s line of grumpy, mostly unenjoyable superhero flicks. And the result? Okay... it’s cute. And if you’re nine years old, you’ll think it’s pretty good. (Now playing, various theaters) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Singin’ in the Rain
It’s the 1920s in Los Angeles, and Hollywood up-and-comer Kathy Selden has come to make a name at a studio. Instead, she’s going to have to save it. Within this sound stage high above the city, 12 terrorists have declared war. They’re as brilliant as they are ruthless. Now, the last thing Selden wants is to be a hero, but she doesn’t have a choice. She’s an easy woman to like, and a hard woman to kill. Debbie Reynolds in: Singin’ in the Rain. Yippe-ki-yay, motherfuckers. ELINOR JONES (Fri April 19-Sat April 20, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

SPLIFF Film Fest
Brought to you by your pals at the Mercury and Oregon’s Finest, the SPLIFF Film Fest has a single, simple goal: To provide you, dear reader, with the very finest in short films made by and for stoners. It’s all going down on 4/20, because of course it is, and SPLIFF’s not-at-all-high curators promise that you’ll see “films that will make you laugh, films that will make you think, and films that will make you ask, ‘What the fuck was that?!’” In other words, going to SPLIFF—hosted by cannabis lover/sex columnist Dan Savage—is the best possible way to celebrate this very fun, very dumb holiday, and you should get your tickets ASAP. (Sat April 20, Revolution Hall)

Teen Spirit
Elle Fanning is a would-be popstar Cinderella whose teen spirit (hey, that’s the title of the movie!) is tested when she enters a singing competition. Not screened for critics. (Opens Fri April 19, various theaters)

Us
Us, an exceedingly great slasher movie and Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out, is a movie about doppelgängers—our evil twins that, according to folklore, must be killed, lest they kill us and assume our identities. But Us is also about shadows emerging from their own darkness; the illusory depths of mirrors; the fear we project onto the “other” instead of examining our own brutality; and, more abstractly, the barbaric history of slavery and mass genocide that America has unsuccessfully tried to bury, how the country is actively destroying itself, and what it’ll look like when its chickens finally come home to roost. CIARA DOLAN (Now playing, various theaters)

The Wild Bunch
In 1969, Sam Peckinpah’s great, controversial, and violent The Wild Bunch shot adrenaline right into the tired heart of the western genre. Tonight, the Hollywood’s got this classic on the big screen—and in 35mm, celebrating the film’s 50th anniversary. (Sat April 13, Hollywood Theatre) ERIK HENRIKSEN


ALCATRAZ FILMS / WILD BUNCH / ARTE FRANCE CINEMA / PANDORA PRODUKTION

Wild Nights with Emily
Everyone knows that poet Emily Dickinson was an anxious, lonely spinster. What this film supposes is: What if she wasn’t? There’s a boatload of academic evidence to support a vision of Dickinson (played here, with resting bitch face perfection, by Molly Shannon) as an educated, engaged poet who carried on a romantic relationship with her brother’s wife, Susan (Susan Ziegler). Wild Nights with Emily operates in the vein of films like The Little Hours, taking up the curiously growing Drunk History approach of dressing comedians up in period-appropriate outfits and setting them loose in drawing rooms to tear down whatever respect we had for the past and invite audiences to see historical figures for all their flaws as relatable, hilarious people. (Opens Fri April 19, Fox Tower 10) SUZETTE SMITH

Working Girl
As part of the Hollywood Theatre’s new ongoing film series Isn’t She Great, Elizabeth Teets and Anthony Hudson host this screening of 1988’s Working Girl, a film that earned Melanie Griffith an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, despite the fact she’s exactly the same as in every other film she’s been in. The only real difference seems to be the sheer tonnage of hair piled onto her head, but even that’s dwarfed by the mountain of follicles crushing Joan Cusack’s spine. Cusack is great, by the way, as is Sigourney Weaver as Griffith’s duplicitous boss, and Harrison Ford in one of his last legitimately charming roles before ruling the ’90s as a confused action grump. Also starring Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey Christopher Plummer. (Fri April 12, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Wyrd War Presents: Contamination
Wyrd War loves digging through cinematic detritus and sharing schlock treasures with fellow appreciators of vintage trash. Inspired by the Easter holiday, they’ve unearthed 1980’s Contamination, director Luigi Cozzi’s confused, cocaine-financed 1980 ripoff of Alien. It’s a B-movie basket full of disgusting glowing eggs and more than a few surprises, including a score by Goblin and a Lovecraftian cyclops chilling on a Brazilian coffee plantation. (Wed April 17, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS