Under the Silver Lake A24

Amazing Grace
Even at a remove of 47 years, and even with Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace album firmly established as a familiar classic in the canon of recorded music, the movie is a staggering thing to behold, and is probably the greatest filmed document of American gospel music that has ever been captured. While everyone’s relationship with God (or lack thereof) is different, I don’t think there’s anybody who can sit through Amazing Grace and not pick up on something recognizably holy in this music. Whether it’s proof of a divine creator is entirely up to you; for me, it’s more than enough that the music itself is capable of attaining the quality of what we generally think of as divine. (Now playing, Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre) NED LANNAMANN

Araby
A 2017 Brazilian slice-of-life drama from co-writers/directors Affonso Uchôa and João Dumans, about a teenager who—when he’s not tending to his sick brother—just sorta rides his bike aimlessly around town until he discovers the diary of an itinerant worker and falls into the stranger’s journey toward self-improvement. (Fri May 3-Sun May 5, Fifth Avenue Cinema)

Ask Dr. Ruth
On a recent episode of The View, 90-year-old sex therapist and media personality Dr. Ruth warned the roundtable of women that threesomes are "very bad" for a marriage. "Do not engage in a threesome," she said, "because that third person might be a better lover." This is bad advice. Have threesomes. But this documentary isn't about Dr. Ruth's advice, it's about Dr. Ruth. And damn, her story is long overdue for a good documentary. She is a pioneer—and a very funny one. (Now playing, Cinema 21) CHASE BURNS

Avengers: Endgame
See Movies & TV, this issue. (Now playing, every theater, everywhere, all the time)

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

Dogman
Matteo Garrone’s BAFTA-nominated film about a low-key dog groomer in an Italian suburb who also slings a little yayo on the side. Does he end up complicating his pupper-populated life thanks to unsavory coke-related acquaintances? Mmmmmmaybe. (Opens Fri May 3, Living Room Theaters)

Donnie Darko
“Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!” (Fri May 3-Thurs May 9, Academy Theater)

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Zac Efron is Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, the story of how Ted Bundy murdered a lot of women in the 1970s. Director Joe Berlinger’s film is adapted from The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy, a memoir detailing the six-year relationship author Elizabeth Kloepfer had with Bundy as he, yunno, murdered women. Yet Zac Efron is top-billed, Zac Efron takes up all the space on the poster, Zac Efron has the most screen time, and for some reason it seems to believe you don’t already know that Ted Bundy killed a whole bunch of women. Spoilers: Ted Bundy was a fuckin’ serial killer. (Streams Fri May 3, Netflix)

Family
Isolated, work-obsessed Kate (Taylor Schilling) is forced to take care of her 11-year-old niece Maddie (Bryn Vale) during a family emergency. The twist in Laura Steinel’s formulaic comedy is that Maddie wants to be a Juggalo, and the film includes a sequence set at the Insane Clown Posse’s infamous Gathering of the Juggalos. Actually, there’s a bigger, better twist with the admittedly slender, sitcom-y Family: It’s legit hilarious, with a phenomenal supporting cast that includes Brian Tyree Henry, Kate McKinnon, Matt Walsh, and Natasha Lyonne as a Juggalette. Plus, Schilling is flat-out terrific, and the movie warmheartedly recognizes there’s more to being a Juggalo than face paint and Faygo. (Opens Fri April 26, Fox Tower 10) NED LANNAMANN

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The last great(ish) thing Terry Gilliam ever did, this adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo travelogue is probably the closest anyone ever got to lifting the lid on Thompson’s dome and accurately portraying the nest of writhing, hyper-aggressive lizards screaming, shitting, and fucking behind his eyeballs. It’s also one of the few movies about being fundamentally altered that works best while seen stone sober. Sure, people love getting ripped out of their fucking gourd and putting on the Johnny and Benicio show (BTW, this is also the last great thing Depp ever did), but the real power of Gilliam’s work is in how he manages to translate the feeling of Hunter’s astronomical fucked-upitude to utterly straight, square minds. (Mon April 29, Clinton Street Theater) BOBBY ROBERTS

The Films of Maya Deren
NW Film presents a curated weekend’s worth of works from writer/director/ethnographer Maya Deren, who was one of America’s most influential figures in early avant-garde cinema. (Fri April 26-Sun April 28, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
I don’t know why Italians decided to start making westerns in the 1960s, but the resulting subgenre is a bizarre caricature of a caricature—like Russian nesting dolls building increasingly falsified (but undeniably gripping) narratives off of each other. Clint Eastwood’s iconic Man with No Name is quietly cunning, constantly sunburned, chain-smoking cigarillos, lightning-quick with his equalizer (which he hides under a sweet-ass poncho), and committed to his own (often convoluted) sense of justice. Eastwood’s stoic and vengeful gunfighter probably wasn’t the best role model for young men—feel your feelings, my dudes—but more than 50 years later, the mystery shrouding his character still captivates. (Fri April 26-Thurs May 2, Academy Theater) CIARA DOLAN

Hail Satan?
Like the Satanic Temple, director Penny Lane’s Hail Satan? isn’t quite what it seems: Yes, Lane’s affectionate and funny documentary does feature some pig heads getting slammed onto spikes, and yes, there are some naked writhing people. But Hail Satan? is more interested in the organization’s vision of “contemporary Satanism”—one that doesn’t include worshipping the Devil but does include progressive activism and providing a “socio-political counter-myth” in a country that’s too often characterized as a “Christian nation.” (Full disclosure: I am a member of the Satanic Temple, and I urge you to join me. But in a scary demon voice, like this: JOIN ME.) (Now playing, Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Hellboy
Well, this was a mistake. Eleven years after Guillermo del Toro’s second and final Hellboy movie comes this exhausted, exhausting reboot that’s drenched with pointless, joyless gore and scabbed over with dumb exposition and dumber jokes. Stranger Things’ David Harbour, taking over Hellboy’s horns from Ron Perlman, does his best to liven things up, but he’s foiled by an overcrowded, confused script (a baby that’s secretly a pig man? Sure! A Leni Riefenstahl cameo? Uh...) and a supporting cast that’s uniformly terrible. (Ian McShane is unexpectedly lousy; Milla Jovovich is her usual level of lousy.) Sloppy, frantic editing and uninspired direction from Neil Marshall make this thing feel about 20 hours long, and it’s one of those movies that clearly cost a bunch of money to make but still looks cheap. (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Her Smell
I’ll start by stating the obvious: Elisabeth Moss is a really, really good actor. Her Smell might be the greatest testament to her talent yet; it’s her third movie with writer/director Alex Ross Perry, and Moss’ performance as riot-grrrl-era rock star Becky Something is provocative, immersive, and galvanizing. It’s also both grueling and inspiring to sit through. It’s a tough movie to recommend, but Moss really is one of the best actors in the world right now, and Perry knows how to conjure a precise emotional mood even as it seems like everything happening onscreen is utter chaos. (Now playing, Cinema 21) NED LANNAMANN

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. (Now playing, Fox Tower 10, Laurelhurst Theater) NED LANNAMANN

The Intruder
A movie all about how you probably shouldn’t buy a house from Dennis Quaid. Or Randy Quaid, for that matter. If you can aspire to a Quaid-free existence, that’s probably a good place to be. (Opens Fri May 3, various theaters)

Little
It’s been a while since we had a good ol’ body-switch comedy. Well, okay, Shazam! just came out, but not everything gotta 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. (Now playing, various theaters)

Long Shot
Thankfully, Long Shot isn't another addition to the mid-2000s family of comedies where dude-bros are nagged to death into loving beautiful women. It’s maybe... 10 percent that. The other 90 percent is a reverse Pretty Woman, including lots of making out, amazing outfits, and yes, Roxette. Seth Rogen is fully competent as a funny schlub, and Charlize Theron destroys as a secretary of state and presidential hopeful, and the two of them together are—I know, this is weird—charming as hell. (Opens Fri May 3, various theaters) ELINOR JONES

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. (Now playing, various theaters) BEN COLEMAN

Network
In 1976, Paddy Chayefsky and Sidney Lumet’s Network—about the corporatization of everything and its resultant debasement of the news—was considered many things: Sharp, insightful, ridiculous, mean, and silly. Many thought it was over-the-top, and in some ways (particularly the heads meeting discussing the risk/reward ratio of an on-air assassination) it still is. At some point over the next 20 years, it was reduced to a catchphrase you vaguely knew about but hadn’t actually seen: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!” Divorced from context, Network became a face-value celebration of righteous indignation. But watching Network in the 21st century is profoundly bewildering and upsetting, because almost nothing in it reads as over-the-top now. It basically all happened. It might as well be a docudrama, charting the rise of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch; a how-to guide for grifting millions of desensitized simpletons through the combined powers of branding, inarticulate rage, and loud noises. Oh, it’s still funny—but in the way gallows humor can put a scratchy chuckle at the back of an already-noosed throat. (Fri April 26-Sun April 28, Fifth Avenue Cinema) BOBBY ROBERTS

Penguin Highway
Anime penguins? Anime penguins. Odds are pretty decent this story will be the single cutest thing you see in a theater all year. (Fri April 26, Hollywood Theatre)

Performance
Shawn Levy is a man who has worn many hats in Portland. Film critic, author, scholar, benevolent godfather of Portland Timbers fandom, the list goes on. A recent addition to that list is “film programmer” via his “Swingin’” series at the Hollywood Theatre. Previously he’s paid tribute to Italian cinema, and this spring he’s giving love to London with a rare screening of Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell’s 1970 art film Performance, about a mobster who gets his mind blown while hiding out at Mick Jagger’s town house. (Mon April 29, Hollywood Theatre)

QDoc: Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival
See Movies & TV, this issue. (Thurs May 2-Sun May 5, Hollywood Theatre)

Red Joan
A dull, floppy, and fictionalized account of the life of Melita Norwood, an Englishwoman who gave A-bomb secrets to Soviets after World War II. The virtually espionage-free Red Joan leaps haphazardly backward and forward through time, with old Joan played by Dame Judi Dench at her Dench-iest, with young Joan played by Sophie Cookson (Roxy from the Kingsman movies). The charming Cookson tries her best (Dench barely registers), but legendary theater director Trevor Nunn doesn’t seem to have much of an eye for film, turning the story into a sub-par episode of Masterpiece. NED LANNAMANN (Opens Thurs May 2, Fox Tower 10)

RZA: Live from the 36th Chamber
Few kung fu movies are as rightfully revered as The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, the 1978 Shaw Brothers classic starring Gordon Liu. Even if you haven't seen it, you've seen and heard the movie's repercussions, in everything from the Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. This weekend, Wu-Tang founder RZA is performing a live, original score to 36th Chamber's picture. RZA's well-documented love for 36th Chamber—and his history with and knowledge of martial arts movies in general, from appearing in Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai to writing, directing, scoring, and starring in The Man with the Iron Fists—should make for a remarkable screening. (Sat April 27 & Sun April 28, Hollywood Theatre) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Tuca & Bertie
Review forthcoming at portlandmercury.com. (Streams Fri May 3, Netflix)

UglyDolls
(Shrugs, drags deeply on cigarette.) Yeah. Sure. Fuck it. Whatever. (Exhales, closes eyes, rubs temples.) (Opens Fri May 3, various theaters)

Under the Silver Lake
At the beginning of Under the Silver Lake, listless slacker Sam (Andrew Garfield) becomes infatuated with his new neighbor Sarah (Riley Keough). The day after they meet, she disappears, and he spends the rest of the film bumbling across Los Angeles looking for a woman he barely knows (“I couldn’t even find her online”). Though it sources inspiration from the likes of Rear Window, Chinatown, LA Confidential, and Inherent Vice, Silver Lake is a thoroughly millennial noir; fueled by paranoia and FOMO, Sam obsessively attempts to decode the patterns, symbols, and subliminal messages he believes are encrypted in America’s glut of seemingly disposable media (even Vanna White’s facial expressions). There’s a flurry of intriguing ideas and visuals crammed into the film—a dog serial killer, a secret club beneath the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, an ex’s face on a billboard advertising contact lenses—but they’re all dead ends. It doesn’t help that it’s got a painfully unlikable protagonist; Sam thinks he’s a detective uncovering the city’s sinister underbelly, and even if he is, he’s also a vibrator-sniffing narcissist stalking women who never asked to be found. Under the Silver Lake touches on some promising themes: the simultaneous desire to be beloved and fear of being followed; the paranoia that perhaps everything you’ve ever dreamed of being a part of isn’t real; and how the line between reality and fantasy can blur in Movie City. But it doesn’t have anything smart to say about any of those things—instead, it’s just the pretty shell of a film that could’ve been great. (On demand, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, etc.) CIARA DOLAN

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. (Now playing, various theaters) CIARA DOLAN

Wyrd War Presents: Hagazussa
Wyrd War’s fourth annual Walpurgisnacht celebration is all kinds of phantasmagoric. “But wait,” you ask, “How many kinds of phantasmagoria are there?” The answer resides in the fucked-up forests of Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse, Lukas Feigelfeld’s 2017 supernatural 15th century drama about an orphaned daughter amongst superstitious rabble, inexorably drawn to a terrible power. (Tues April 30, Hollywood Theatre)