Toy Story 4 Pixar

Aladdin
Disney’s live-action remake of 1992’s Aladdin is a loud, obnoxious concoction of demographic targeting, corporation-backed nostalgia pandering, and ugly CGI. It has all the urgency of a (very expensive) piece of community theater and all the artistry of a quarterly earnings report. Yet this ungainly, garish thing is not as detestable as these ingredients would lead you to believe. Mind you, it’s not good—lord, it is not that—but this Aladdin is like a messy, smelly dog that belongs to somebody you don’t like very much. You’re not overjoyed when it jumps up and slobbers on your face or sheds on your couch, and its witless barking is truly deafening (sweet Christ, this movie is so loud). But you’re not going to hold any of that against the dog. It’s a dog. It just wants to be loved. (Now playing, various theaters) NED LANNAMANN

Avengers: Endgame
If you have enjoyed the past 21 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you will very much enjoy the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Especially the scene where Hulk gives Ant-Man some tacos. (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

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All Is True
A drama about Shakespeare, starring professional Shakespeare dweebs Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, and Ian McKellan. (Now playing, various theaters)

American Woman
Semi Chellas’ drama, inspired by the 1974 Patty Hearst kidnapping. (Now playing, various theaters)

Annabelle Comes Home
And she’s way past curfew! Annabelle! You’re grounded! (Opens Tues June 25, various theaters)

Booksmart
Booksmart is about Molly and Amy (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever), two accomplished girls currently enjoying their final day of high school—and realizing that they’ve alienated all of their peers by focusing only on school and each other. When Molly decides the pair needs a party experience before graduation, it kicks off an epic night of social awkwardness, attempted hook-ups, accidental drug use, and inescapable theatre kids. The love-you-to-death friendship between Molly and Amy is the heart of director Olivia Wilde’s movie, and major credit is due to Dever and Feldstein for crushing that chemistry. They’re lifted up by a brilliant supporting cast of fellow teen misfits (including Billie Lourd, who steals every scene she barrels through) and fuckup grownups (Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Williams, and Mike O’Brien) who round out a laugh-inducing, cry-inducing, and utterly relatable high-school universe that I both wanted to inhabit even as it gave me PTSD. (Now playing, various theaters) ELINOR JONES

Child’s Play
One wouldn’t think that a 1988 horror flick about a stabby doll would inspire six sequels, a forthcoming TV series (Chucky, coming to Syfy in 2020), and this reboot starring Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry, and the voice of Mark Hamill... and yet? Here we are. Cinema is a noble and illustrious art form. (Opens Thurs June 20, various theaters)

Creature from the Black Lagoon
The 1954 creature feature, screening in old-school, 35mm 3D! It’s just like The Shape of Water, except there’s no fish fucking. Or at least no on-screen fish fucking. Who can say what sacred sensual delights the Gill-Man enjoys in his submarine grotto, gently caressed by the Black Lagoon’s silky waves? Who can say? (Fri June 28-Wed July 3, Academy Theater)

Dark Phoenix
Unlike a lot of X-movies, the dour Dark Phoenix carries a heavy, ominous feeling throughout, which actually isn’t a bad look for the X-Men. (The stories people remember best from the comics—including the “Dark Phoenix Saga”—have all been pretty emo.) After all was said and done, I realized that, despite my gripes, I liked Dark Phoenix. But I liked it without the confidence of someone who knows that the thing they are describing is good. I like Dark Phoenix with my fan heart, but not my critic mind. Read our interview with Dark Phoenix’s “Proud, Feminist Dad.” (Now playing, various theaters) SUZETTE SMITH


The Dark Crystal Henson Associates / ITC Entertainment

The Dark Crystal
A constant fixture at Portland’s dwindling number of second-run theaters, Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s trippy fantasy from 1982 is about two creepy, childlike burn victims who traverse a haunted land of hideous, mutated freaks as they bravely look for a pink rock. Visually remarkable and narratively serviceable, it’s worth a rewatch if you’re planning to check out Netflix’s upcoming Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance series, which is made with many of the same painstaking puppeteering techniques as the original, but starring a whole new batch of creepy, childlike burn victims. (Fri June 28-Wed July 3, Academy Theater) ERIK HENRIKSEN

The Dead Don’t Die
Jim Jarmusch has been on a streak lately. 2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive was one of the best films in the 66-year-old writer/director’s astonishingly rich oeuvre. Three years later, Paterson was just as good. And after that, he headed into documentary territory, sharply profiling Iggy Pop and the Stooges for Gimme Danger. Iggy is back in Jarmusch’s latest, The Dead Don’t Die, as is Paterson star Adam Driver—but aside from that, Jarmusch’s zombie comedy comes hard out of left field. It’s goofy, gory, and great, and it’s exactly the kind of rambling, light-hearted movie that should never be discussed using obnoxious phrases like “astonishingly rich oeuvre.” (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

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. I mean, it looks like the right hand, Love, is finished. But hold on, stop the presses—the right hand is coming back! Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes, now, that’s right! Boom, it’s a devastating right and Hate is hurt! He’s down! Ooh, oooh, Left-Hand Hate KO’ed by Love. If I love you, I love you. But if I hate you...” (Sun June 30, Hollywood Theatre, Regal Bridgeport Village & IMAX)

Echo in the Canyon
The Wallflowers’ Jakob Dylan interviews white-haired boomer rock legends about the LA music scene of the 1960s, with particular focus on the Byrds, the Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, and the Mamas and the Papas. Some of the interviews are nice—hey, Tom Petty! we miss you—but they’re intercut by footage of re-recording the era’s songs in either neutered studio versions, or slightly peppier live renditions with guests like Beck and Fiona Apple. It feels like a promotional press kit to supplement the inevitable soundtrack album rather than a legit documentary, and the film’s omissions (Joni Mitchell, Love, Spirit, and the Doors, to name just a few) are nothing short of egregious. (Opens Fri June 21, Regal Fox Tower 10) NED LANNAMANN

Framing John DeLorean
Until now, John DeLorean’s cinematic legacy was limited to Michael J. Fox driving his car around in the ’80s. But as DeLorean’s son helpfully points out in Framing John DeLorean, John’s real story includes “cocaine, hot chicks, sportscars, bombed-out buildings, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, FBI agents, hardcore drug dealers,” and now, Alec Baldwin with twin caterpillars on his forehead as the disgraced mogul. Is it a documentary? A docudrama? A biopic? A documentary of someone making a biopic? Somehow, it’s all of those things. (Opens Fri June 28, Living Room Theaters)

Halston
Halston, the documentary from Frédéric Tcheng about the career of fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick, begins and ends exactly as you’d expect—first, with the former milliner becoming a sensation in the fashion world, and then, his hubris and the evils of commerce upending his reign. But the way this tale is recounted is where the film gets interesting: Intercut among the talking-head interviews of Halston’s favorite models, former business associates, and longtime friend Liza Minnelli, and along with some fabulous vintage footage of his many TV appearances, are scenes featuring former Rookie editor Tavi Gevinson playing an unnamed character who’s attempting to take stock of Halston’s precipitous rise and Icarus-like plummet as she marvels at the beauty of his flowing frocks. Those moments make little sense, but they both provide a break from the monotony of the typical documentary arc and make a case for the timelessness of Halston’s couture. (Now playing, various theaters) ROBERT HAM

John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum
In the first few minutes of John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum, John Wick kills people with a library book, about 14 zillion knives, and A HORSE. So yes, this installment is exactly as good and fun and batshit as it should be, with a bad guy (Mark Dacascos) who just wants to be John Wick’s BFF, a bureaucrat known only as “The Adjudicator” (Asia Kate Dillon) who coldly lays out this world’s nonsense rules (so, of course, Keanu can immediately crash and shoot and stab through them), Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, and a vision quest that may or may not be in search of... the world’s very first assassin? It’s not entirely clear, but it’s excellent. (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Inspired by a true story, The Last Black Man in San Francisco is about the city’s rapid gentrification and those crazy looks white folks give Black and brown people for daring to feel at home in their own neighborhoods. It centers on carpenter Jimmie Fails, who becomes obsessed with his massive childhood home in the city and sets out on a mission to buy it. (These days, it’s going for a cool $4 million.) While there are lots of subtle clues about San Francisco’s vile history of gentrification, Last Black Man still comes off as empathetic toward gentrifiers. “These aren’t bad people,” the movie seems to say. “They’re just complicit.” With the film refusing to place any blame, it’s ultimately unclear why its story needed to be told. (Opens Thurs June 20, Cinema 21) JENNI MOORE

The Last Unicorn
1982 was an amazing year for film, and among classics like E.T. and Blade Runner stands the melancholy The Last Unicorn, a film I first encountered when my mom brought home the VHS one afternoon. I was confused by it—there were no transforming alien trucks or renegade scientists shooting glowing ropes at ghosts, so I checked out quickly, because I was a dumb boy trained to react in grunting affirmation to half-hour toy commercials. But millions of other people (including my mother, who never paid attention to our cartoons but was snuffling back tears at the end of this one) heard the song Peter S. Beagle’s story was singing—and I don’t mean the wood-paneled, orange-hued theme song by America. I mean The Last Unicorn’s sad-yet-sweet song of loss and transformation. For those millions, this was a formative touchstone as valuable and meaningful as Star Wars or the Muppets, and revisiting it on the big screen is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss. (Fri June 21-Thurs June 27, Academy Theater) BOBBY ROBERTS

Late Night
Something great has been happening in comedies the last few years: Women who grew up watching the Nora Ephron comedies of the ’80s and ’90s realized Hollywood studios aren’t making movies like that anymore—comedies by and about women, where women are real characters and not just plot devices to advance a man’s growth—and they said fuck it, let’s make some! There have already been some excellent women-driven movies this year (Booksmart, Isn’t It Romantic), and now there’s Late Night. The film stars Mindy Kaling (who also wrote the film) as a quality-control specialist at a chemical plant who ends up in the all-white, all-male writing room for a late-night TV host (Emma Thompson) who refuses to adapt even as her ratings tank. Will this plucky newcomer be the only person in the room with the power to mix! things! up?! Gee, I wonder! Look, Late Night is super predictable. But Kaling and Thompson are magnetic in everything they’re in, and they’re more than capable of turning this otherwise light film into something not unlike the smart, mid-budget comedies Kaling and I grew up on. (Now playing, various theaters) ELINOR JONES

The Loudest Voice
This Showtime limited series—developed from Gabriel Sherman’s book The Loudest Voice in the Room by Sherman and Spotlight screenwriter Tom McCarthy—attempts to chart the rise of Fox News and its role in our current political shitshow, while also exploring the paranoia and perversions of the network’s CEO, Roger Ailes (Russell Crowe, waddling under 30 pounds of padding and fake jowls). It’s a worthy undertaking, but one that’s hobbled at each step by overwrought dialogue, overheated acting, and some of the worst prosthetics this side of Trash Humpers. (Starts Sun June 30, Showtime) ROBERT HAM

Men in Black: International
Well, somebody must’ve wanted this. Men in Black: International is the fourth movie in the sci-fi comedy franchise, and yes, I’m counting correctly. There was a third Men in Black movie back in 2012, though our collective memories of that particular installment seem to have been erased by one of those neuralyzer flash thingies. This one’s a soft reboot, with Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth sporting the dark suits, waving the neuralyzers, and going through the motions. Whatever happens in the next Men in Black, I’m pretty sure that by that point, we’ll have forgotten about this one, too. (Now playing, various theaters) NED LANNAMANN

Mondo Trasho: Cabin Boy
Twenty-five years ago, cinema was forever changed when Cabin Boy (1994, dir. Adam Resnick) captured the hearts and minds of audiences around the globe. Starring Chris Elliott as Nathanial Mayweather, an imbecilic “fancy lad” aboard the good ship The Filthy Whore, and featuring Russ Tamblyn as the half-man, half-shark “Chocki” and David Letterman as the unforgettable “Old Salt in Fishing Village,” Cabin Boy was recognized with a record 78 Academy Awards—and, to this day, is the gold standard against which all of humankind’s achievements are measured. At long last, the Hollywood Theatre is presenting this milestone achievement in the arts and sciences as it was meant to be seen: On the big screen, in 35mm, and among other cineastes who have been profoundly changed by Cabin Boy’s soaring beauty and relentless power. Also starring Ricki Lake as the ship’s figurehead. (Fri June 21, Hollywood Theatre) ERIK HENRIKSEN

OMSI Animation Film Festival
For four days, the giant screen at OMSI’s Empirical Theater is taken over with animated shorts and features that range from innovative fare from the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival to Mirai, Song of the Sea, Perfect Blue, and more. Complete schedule at omsi.edu. (Thurs June 20-Sun June 23, OMSI Empirical Theater)

Paris 1900
A summer-long celebration of the Parisian Belle Époque period (1870-1915), in conjunction with Portland Art Museum’s exhibition of the same name, featuring films by John Huston, Jean Renoir, François Truffaut, Georges Méliès, and more. More at nwfilm.org. (Through Sun Sept 1, Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

Phoenix, Oregon
Director Gary Lundgren’s Ashland-made film in which a divorced, middle-age graphic artist (James LeGros) who’s suffering “delusions of aliens controlling his life” and decides to buy an abandoned bowling alley. That’s one depressing-sounding midlife crisis... but also, hey! Bowling! (Fri June 21, Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

Pipe Organ Pictures: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Is “hunchback” today’s preferred nomenclature? Uh... probably not? The 1923 Lon Chaney movie returns to the big screen, with a live score played on the Hollywood Theatre’s pipe organ. (Sat June 22, Hollywood Theatre)

The Proposal
Six years ago, artist Jill Magid began an extensive project on the life and work of revered Mexican architect Luis Barragán, whose vast archives are currently held by Swiss furniture company Vitra. The core argument she’s making about corporations co-opting and profiting from the work of creatives is important, but it gets thoroughly obfuscated in The Proposal, Magid’s film tracking her efforts to convince the overseer of the archives, Frederica Zanco, to crack open the vault. Barragán and his beautiful buildings take a backseat to Magid’s narcissistic quest to get what she wants, and the way she goes about it—including exhuming Barragán’s ashes and using her leverage with the late architect’s family—never feels less than gross. (Opens Fri June 21, Living Room Theaters) ROBERT HAM

Queen of Diamonds
Nina Menke’s newly restored 1991 drama “questions the magnetic lure” of Las Vegas, “pulling back the curtain to reveal a shimmering nightmare.” Vegas, baby! Vegas! Hey, remember when Vince Vaughn was in Jurassic Park 2? And True Detective? Weird. (Mon July 1, Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Maybe the most perfectly constructed film in cinema history. Maybe. I’m sure someone out there has an argument on deck, but I’m betting their champion of choice doesn’t include a giant pit of snakes; a fight inside, on top of, and hanging off the front of a truck at 50 mph; a holy box that melts Nazi faces like Totino’s Party Pizza; and—most importantly—the presence of peak Harrison Ford in all his sweaty, smirky, silly-yet-sexy glory. (Fri June 21-Thurs June 27, Academy Theater) BOBBY ROBERTS

Raising Arizona
“Edwina’s insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase.” (Sat June 29, Rooster Rock State Park)


Re-Run Theater: Miami Vice Fest 8

Re-Run Theater: Miami Vice Fest 8
Better than cocaine, Christmas, and your birthday COMBINED, Miami Vice Fest returns for its for its eighth annual celebration of neon, speedboats, and the sweat-soaked, heart-thudding friendship between Detective James “Sonny” Crockett and Detective Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs. This year, Miami Vice fans (“Vice-heads”) will be enraptured by two classic episodes—“Evan,” which introduces Crockett’s bullshit former partner, and “Back in the World,” which revisits Crockett’s troubled time in Saigon—while decked out in their finest ‘80s attire and surfing swells of synthy beats. God bless you, Crockett and Tubbs, and God bless you, Miami Vice Fest. (Wed June 26, Hollywood Theatre) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Rocketman
Rock biopics tend to focus a little too heavily on the “creative process,” acting almost like VH1 Classic Albums reenactments and estranging laypeople who might not necessarily care how their favorite records were made. But Rocketman doesn’t only presuppose that its audience doesn’t know about Elton John’s music, it assumes they wouldn’t even care. The result is insulting not only to the intelligence and taste of moviegoers, but to Elton John’s legacy as a songwriter, showman, and immensely significant queer idol. Rocketman’s Elton John (Taron Egerton) is, instead, a coke-addled asshole who’s basically indistinguishable from any other rich guy whose ordinary problems are elevated and romanticized by our narrative-obsessed society. (Now playing, various theaters) MORGAN TROPER

Rocky
There is the idea of Rocky, and then there’s the 1976 original. The idea has been built up over decades of caricature via both audiences and Rock’s creator, Sylvester Stallone. And thanks to Stallone’s constant alternating between identifying with his Italian Stallion (Rocky, Rocky Balboa, and Creed, which is the best film in the series, fight me) and being ashamed of him (all the other movies but especially the third and fourth), the character is not unlike Godzilla: fondly recalled as a lumbering, nonverbal implement of destruction, celebrated most for his stupidest exploits. And like a revisit of the first Godzilla film, that cartoon bullshit just... goes away as you experience John G. Avildsen’s quiet domestic drama (!) about a few broken, forgotten, disrespected people fumbling towards feeling like human fucking beings for just a little while. Yeah, there’s a massive (and massively unrealistic) boxing match at the end, scored with some of the most uplifting film music ever composed. But Rocky is great not because it’s a greasy, jingoistic, incoherently masturbatory celebration of Stallone’s worst impulses (that’s Rocky IV). It’s great because it’s one of the most human films the 1970s ever produced, and that’s saying a hell of a lot. Screens as a benefit for Help Hope Live; more info at hollywoodtheatre.org. (Sun June 23, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Samurai in the Oregon Sky
The world premiere of the latest documentary from Portland director Ilana Sol (On Paper Wings), about former Japanese WWII pilot Nobuo Fujita, who dropped incendiary bombs over Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest. Years later, Fujita returned to Oregon, and began “a 35-year friendship with the people of a small Oregon town.” (Sat June 22, Hollywood Theatre)

The Secret Life of Pets 2
People online have, for the sake of brevity, acronymed this film’s title to “SLOP 2” which seems very appropriate in multiple ways. Hey, at least the producers replaced Louis CK as the voice of the main character, so, you know, the absolute lowest of bars has been cleared, if you’re thinking of letting your children ingest all the SLOP 2 their tiny eyes can handle. (Now playing, various theaters)

Shaft
How terrible is the latest incarnation of Shaft? It’s terrible on a multitude of levels—it’s poorly made, the story is dumb, and the acting is mediocre—but so are a lot of movies, right? However, this one distinguishes itself by relying heavily—and I mean HEAVILY—on homophobia, racism, transphobia, and misogyny for its humor, and then, weirdly enough, getting defensive about it. (Now playing, various theaters) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Too Old to Die Young
You are correct to be apprehensive about director Nicolas Winding Refn’s first foray into episodic television. A moody, neon-lit noir about a cop (Miles Teller) mucking his way through LA’s underbelly, Too Old to Die Young is almost mind-numbingly tedious, offset by occasional blasts of excitement, usually in the form of sex or violence or sexualized violence. Unless something is seriusly wrong with you, you won’t feel good about liking these parts of Too Old to Die Young, and the rest of it isn’t likeable to begin with. (Now streaming, Amazon Prime) NED LANNAMANN

Toy Story 4
At their cores, each Toy Story film is about the adventures of a gaggle of charming kids’ playthings, but as the franchise has carried on, the ideas underpinning those hijinks have gotten richer and darker: By Toy Story 3, the first Toy Story's simple message of tolerance became, in part, an exploration of accepting death. (Who could forget that harrowing scene of Woody, Buzz, and the gang holding hands as they stared down the fiery maw of an incinerator?) This entertaining fourth installment eases up a bit, with a much simpler theme of not being afraid to grow up. Along the way, Toy Story 4 visits some of the strangest corners of the Pixar universe, including an antique store dominated by a sinister doll (voiced by Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks) and her immensely creepy ventriloquist dummy lackies, and an underground network of lost toys that includes a preening French Canadian Evel Knievel knockoff (Keanu Reeves). (Opens Thurs June 20, various theaters) ROBERT HAM

The Warriors
Normally Walter Hill’s The Warriors isn’t included in run-of-the-mill listicles about the best fantasy films. Sure, people love to put Conan and Dark Crystal and even Beastmaster (I’ve seen it done!) on such lists, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen The Warriors make the cut, and that’s a tragedy. This is 100 percent an epic quest set in a fantastical, otherworldly version of New York City. Did Walter Hill mean to make a fantasy movie out of Sol Yurick’s much-more-straightforward novel? Who cares! Experiencing The Warriors for the first time feels like being forced in a closet with a carton of candy cigarettes and being told to actually smoke all of them, before stumbling out into the real world at its end, sugar crashed and scowling, exhilarated but burnt out. (Sat June 29, Hollywood Theatre) BOBBY ROBERTS

Xanadu
Olivia Newton-John’s 1980 fantasy... musical... roller-skating... thing. On 35mm! This is either your idea of Heaven or your idea of Hell. There is no middle ground. (Fri June 28, Hollywood Theatre)

Years and Years
This HBO/BBC dystopian soap opera from Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies follows the lives of four adult siblings from Manchester, England, during the years 2019 through 2034, as they’re affected by Brexit fallout, Trump trade policies, bank closures, food scarcity, and more. The end result is a bizarre hybrid of Black Mirror and This Is Us, with some really goofy speculation about future tech and a sentimental streak a mile wide. The show occasionally lapses into histrionics, but more often it makes for a smart, funny, and emotional ride, as Davies uses the futuristic milieu to comment on current-day anxieties and the pliable yet resilient nature of the family unit. (Starts Mon June 24, HBO) NED LANNAMANN

Yesterday
Review forthcoming at portlandmercury.com/film. (Opens Thurs June 27, various theaters)

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