Jumanji: The Next Level Frank Masi

21 Bridges
Well, there’s Jeff, and Lloyd, and Beau... uhm, I don’t think there’s any more? Pretty sure that’s all the Bridges. (Now playing, various theaters)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
It’s unusual to witness real cinematic magic these days, but the Fred Rogers biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood absolutely has it. Director Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) wisely avoids the visual slickness one might expect from a Tom Hanks-centric melodrama, instead employing a lived-in style and scene transitions that consist of miniature cities harkening back to the opening of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Hanks is totally committed to Rogers’ appearance and manner, but A Beautiful Day is more about Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) a fictional journalist profiling Rogers. Where Heller’s film becomes transcendent is in its cinematic pressure points: The striking slowness of the narrative (it’s meant to emulate the pace of Rogers’ show, and you get used to it), the mirroring of Rogers and Vogel in their interview styles and drawn-out reaction shots, and a profound moment of silence that grips your heart like, “Did that really just happen? Why was that so intense?” (Now playing, various theaters) SUZETTE SMITH

And with Him Came the West and Tombstone
Director Mike Plante’s film about Wyatt Earp—with Plante in attendance—followed by a 35mm screening of 1993’s Tombstone. (Mon Dec 9, Hollywood Theatre)

At the Video Store
See "James Westby’s At the Video Store Pays Tribute To the Movie Rental Era." (Sun Dec 16, Hollywood Theatre)

Black Christmas
A PG-13 reboot of the 1974 slasher cult classic. (Opens Thurs Dec 12, various theaters)

Cinema Classics: The Apartment
Billy Wilder’s all-timer of a comedy/drama—is there a better one? Probably not!—stars Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine before she was insane, and uses its Christmas setting to slice deep into pretty much everything: romance, class, depression, and the thin-but-strong bonds that tie us together and pull us apart. It’s the best, and this is the perfect time of year to see it. (Sat Dec 7-Sun Dec 8, Hollywood Theatre) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Dark Waters
As infuriating and horrifying as the subject matter of Dark Water is—it’s based on “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare,” a 2016 New York Times Magazine story by Nathaniel Rich—it is, in many ways, another paint-by-numbers, based-on-a-true-story legal thriller. Here, Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo), a corporate lawyer with a history of representing chemical companies, switches sides to reveal DuPont’s decades of catastrophic malfeasance. But Portland arthouse director Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, Carol) oversees things here, and he captures Dark Waters’ sickening story in chilly blues and jaundiced yellows while figuring out exactly how to get the most from his cast. (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

A New Leaf paramount pictures

Directed by Elaine May
It’s weird that one-half of the greatest comedy duo ever (Mike Nichols and Elaine May) only got to make four feature films (May), while the other half (Nichols) got every single opportunity to achieve greatness gifted to him on a rotating series of silver platters (The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Catch-22). Did I say it was weird? I guess I meant something more like “shamefully normal and historically expected.” But the Northwest Film Center is doing its best to retroactively right those wrongs with this mini-fest of May, putting each one of her films (A New Leaf, Fri Dec 13; The Heartbreak Kid and Mikey & Nicky, Sat Dec 14; Ishtar—which never deserved to be raked as hard as it was—Sun Dec 15) on their big screen. (Fri-Sun Dec 13-15, Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium) BOBBY ROBERTS

Doctor Sleep
The Overlook Hotel doesn’t feel quite the same without Jack Nicholson hamming it up and hacking down doors, but then again, that isn’t really the point: Rather than trying to be a slavish follow-up to Stanley Kubrick’s inimitable The Shining, Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep is a looser, goofier trip that just so happens to wander some of the same territory that Stephen King first explored four decades ago. (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Duet for Cannibals
Did you know that a studio in Sweden invited essayist and cultural critic Susan Sontag to make a movie for them at the end of the 1960s? And that despite having never made a movie, Sontag, because she was a genius who made it a point to do whatever the fuck she wanted, took them up on their offer and delivered Duet for Cannibals, a surreal partner-swapping satire of domesticity? (Sat Dec 7, Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium)

The Expanse
See "In The Expanse’s Great Fourth Season, Humanity Explores a New Frontier—But Still Has All Its Old Baggage." (Streams Fri Dec 15, Amazon Prime Video) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Ford v Ferrari
If you’re a lover of car-racing movies, you should probably check out Ford v Ferrari—because this film is likely to be one of the last of its kind. A biopic about the late ’60s rivalry between failing racecar company Ferrari and the “wants to be sexy soooo bad” Ford Motor Company, F v F is about how corporations can’t help but crush the passion and innovation they so desperately need. But it’s impossible to ignore the two elephants in this room: The fetishization of white male toxicity and car culture. Ford v Ferrari is a very good movie that, a decade ago, would’ve been considered great. Now it feels like a brand-new film that’s already an antique. (Now playing, various theaters) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Foreign Affairs: The Seventh Seal
A 35mm print of Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film. You know, the one with the guy who knows Bill and Ted! (Thurs Dec 19, Hollywood Theatre)

Frankie
Movies as quiet and graceful as Frankie are becoming harder to come by, and not even one starring the legendary Isabelle Huppert—in one of the most understated, poignant performances of her storied career—is going to change that. In part, that’s because a story like this is a hard sell to the masses: A beloved French actress (Huppert), diagnosed with cancer, draws her extended family to a vacation on the coast of Portugal to settle her affairs and say farewell. The ensemble drama gets messier and messier, but remains blessedly free of histrionics and showy performances. (Now playing, various theaters) ROBERT HAM

Friday the 13th Double Feature
The Gaylords of Darkness (Stacie Ponder and Anthony Hudson) celebrate the spookiest of all dates with this double feature of the first two entries in one of cinema’s longest-running-and-qualitatively-shittiest examples of pure exploitation, the Friday the 13th series. Stars (and final girls) Adrienne King and Amy Steel in attendance. (Fri Dec 13, 6:30 pm, Hollywood Theatre)

Frozen II
It starts out with Young Elsa and Young Anna, and, I don’t know, this is just my opinion, but I didn’t think that part was very necessary, necessarily? I thought the story was good. I thought the parts were well thought out and they had some depth to them, if you know what I mean? Like some parts were really sad, and some parts could be interpreted in a lot of different ways. Also, you know how in the first Frozen, there’s like this main song that you know is the main song? In this one, there’s like three or four different songs that could be that main song. There were songs that like Elsa and Anna and Kristoff sang that could qualify for that position. I thought they were fine. I don’t hate them but I don’t like them. They’re not my style. They’re tolerable. This second movie was more dark and generally, on the scare-o-meter, it would be higher than Frozen. I thought the animation in the movie was actually pretty good. There were those ice figures, and seeing the memory of Elsa’s mother and father. And the salamander fire dude was honestly really cool because he’s really cute and he’s a small salamander that causes large fire things. So I would honestly give the CGI a thumbs up. (Now playing, various theaters) SIMON HAM, AGE 12

The Good Liar
The Good Liar is the most bonkers film I will see this year. What begins as a cautionary tale about the dangers of grandma’s online dating unfolds into a baffling series of reveals, all of which support the twist that we already gleaned from the trailer: Roy (Ian McKellen) is trying to double cross Betty (Helen Mirren) and take her money... but she’s not that easy to trick! How all that happens, though? I could never have predicted it. What a septuagenarian mine cart ride! (Now playing, various theaters) SUZETTE SMITH

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Having been expelled from Hogwarts by a jilted Professor Flitwick, young Harry Potter begins an exciting journey as an apprentice to a violent prostitute in Pattaya, Thailand. (Fri Dec 6-Thurs Dec 12, Academy Theater)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
While attempting to heal his physical and psychological scars with tequila and cocaine, young Harry Potter mistakenly crucios one of his dearest friends. (Fri Dec 13-Thurs Dec 19, Academy Theater)

Honey Boy amazon studios

Honey Boy
Oh, how easily this could’ve gone sideways. There’s nothing more cringingly embarrassing than a privileged white artist depicting their tragic life on film, forcing their audience to wallow alongside them in their self-serving importance. But in Honey Boy—a mostly autobiographical depiction of Transformers star Shia LaBeouf’s scary upbringing as a child actor—there’s so much more. In a dazzling, heartbreaking performance, LaBeouf portrays his real-life father, a recovering addict, Vietnam vet, and frustrated performer who’s in the witheringly humiliating position of being employed by his successful 12-year-old son, Otis (a fantastic Noah Jupe). Dreamy imagery from director Alma Har’el and cinematographer Natasha Braier brilliantly captures this slow-motion train wreck of a tale that, weirdly enough, supplies a modicum of hope while depicting the toxicity that fathers inflict on their sons—and what results from the poison they inherit. (Opens Thurs Nov 21, various theaters) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

The Irishman
The chatter around The Irishman has mostly involved Martin Scorsese shit-talking Marvel and/or how Netflix stepped up to fund a three-and-a-half-hour epic after traditional Hollywood studios told Marty to fuck off. All that’s interesting, but not nearly as interesting as The Irishman itself. A reality-inspired crime epic that spans decades, The Irishman’s heart is Frank Sheeran (De Niro), who “paints houses” for big-shot gangsters; his paint, it should be noted, only comes in blood red. Sheeran’s main employer/benefactor/BFF is the intense, sharp-eyed Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), though once Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) enters the picture, Frank’s torn between the sometimes clashing demands of two hard-willed, charismatic men. While the intense focus on Frank & Pals comes at the expense of other characters, like every single woman (Anna Paquin plays the most prominent one, with maybe three lines of dialogue), the end result is stunning: a saga that’s horrifying and funny and melancholy, sometimes in different scenes, sometimes all at once. (Now streaming on Netflix) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Jojo Rabbit
There’s more to the complicated Jojo Rabbit—set in the waning days of WWII, it focuses on fanatical young Nazi Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) and his imaginary BFF, Adolph Hitler (Taika Waititi)—than first appears, and only a director as committed, inventive, and life-affirmingly good-hearted as Waititi would even have a chance of pulling it off. He does. (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Jumanji: The Next Level
The first one was fine. (Opens Thurs Dec 12, various theaters)

Knives Out
Rian Johnson knows his shit. Ever since Brick, the writer/director’s brilliant neo-noir from 2005—and on through his conman caper The Brothers Bloom, his sci-fi action flick Looper, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which somehow managed to both deconstruct all the Star Wars movies to date while also being the best Star Wars movie to date—Johnson has played with genre in ways few filmmakers can. Both a devotee of formula and a guy who can’t resist ripping formulas apart, Johnson makes movies that’re simultaneously comforting and surprising—offering a warm rush of the familiar, chased by the acidic sting of the new. They’re fun, heartfelt, and jaw-droppingly smart—just about the best possible combination of things you want a movie to be. Knives Out, Johnson’s phenomenally enjoyable riff on a murder-mystery whodunit, is no different. (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Kontrast
The premiere of a music documentary series from director Jon Meyer. (Sat Dec 7, Kelly’s Olympian)

Last Christmas
The romantic comedy Last Christmas explores humankind’s greatest question: What if we took George Michael’s song “Last Christmas”... LITERALLY???!?? This movie is bad. It’s so bad. But what’s great is that if it’s even a modest hit, it could inspire a whole cinematic universe of movies loosely based on George Michael songs, and “Father Figure” would be weird as hell. Go see Last Christmas! (Now playing, various theaters) ELINOR JONES

Marriage Story Netflix

Marriage Story
In 2005, Noah Baumbach wrote and directed The Squid and the Whale, a movie that dug deep into what it feels like to be a kid in a family that's pulled itself past its breaking point. Baumbach captured the emotions that riot at the core of a divorce so accurately, so sharply, that it was impossible not to feel like the movie like a punch to the gut. Almost 15 years later, Baumbach's written and directed Marriage Story, a movie that digs deep into what it feels like to be a husband and a wife in a family that's pulling itself past its breaking point. As was the case in Squid and the Whale, the specifics are aggressively upper class: Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) is a big-deal actress, Charlie (Adam Driver) is an acclaimed theater director, and along with their young son Henry (Azhy Robertson), they spend much of Marriage Story at either a bougie apartment in Manhattan or a bougie house in West Hollywood. But once again, Baumbach—within the film's opening seconds, even—drills down to unearth the singular combination of grief, fury, melancholy, and pain that can only come from divorce. Marriage Story is brutal and sharp, but it's also funny and sweet, and captures something that's impossible to put into words: The feeling of life as it changes, and the feeling of stories as they come to an end. (Opens Fri Dec 6, Cinema 21; streams Fri Dec 6, Netflix) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Support The Portland Mercury

Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements
The latest from Portland filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky (Beware the Slenderman, The Final Inch) is a documentary about her son, who is going deaf, and her deaf grandparents, whom she previously profiled in her award-winning film Hear and Now. (Wed Dec 11, HBO)

Mickey and the Bear
A small family drama about a headstrong teenage girl whose coming of age is tied to escaping the influence of her grizzled war vet of a father. (Opens Fri Dec 6, Regal Fox Tower 10)

Minidoka: An American Concentration Camp
A documentary about the Idaho concentration camp where Japanese Americans from the Pacific Northwest were imprisoned during WWII, featuring the experiences of the camp’s survivors. (Sun Dec 8, Hollywood Theatre)

Mondo Trasho: Tammy and the T-Rex
Denise Richards and Paul Walker star in this 1994 comedy, in which cheerleader Tammy (Richards) discovers that the brain of her boyfriend (Walker) has been transplanted into the body of a robotic tyrannosaur. Cinema is a revered art form with an illustrious history. (Fri Dec 6, Hollywood Theatre)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The prequel to the beloved 2003 TV movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure. (Fri Dec 13-Thurs Dec 19, Academy Theater)

The Next Best Place
Short films from Bill Brown. (Fri Dec 6-Sun Dec 8, Fifth Ave Cinema)

No Safe Spaces
Better known to its intended audience by its original title, Well, Actually: The Movie, this docu-drama (that’s what they’re calling it, so that’s what I’ll call it, lest I incur the wrath of a thousand sea lions) follows Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager—two “comedians” subsisting on the wallets and attention spans of the sort of self-marginalized men who think YouTube comments are still relevant—as they investigate why young people on college campuses are no longer willing to eat their shit whenever they serve it up. Co-starring far-right pundit Ben Shapiro, alt-right fave Jordan P. Peterson, convicted coke snitch Tim Allen, ambulatory waffle Van Jones, and (checks notes) Cornel West? What the fuck? (Opens Fri Dec 6, Regal Bridgeport Village Stadium 18 & IMAX) BOBBY ROBERTS

Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival
International short horror films, including the excellently titled offerings Witches Get Stitches, Keep Mum, and The Ill-Timed Enlightenment of Jason Voorhees. (Fri Dec 6-Sat Dec 7, Avalon Theatre & Wunderland)

Parasite
Going into Parasite, it’s hard to know what to expect. Advance reviews and discussions of the film speak of the film obscurely. For good reason: There’s a gleeful and terrifying twist—which I won’t spoil—that radically and dramatically alters the tone of the film. But Parasite is director Bong Joon-ho at his very best. At turns hilarious and deeply unsettling, it’s a departure from the sci-fi bent of his recent movies (the post-apocalyptic Snowpiercer and the factory-farming-themed Okja), though it’s no less concerned with the state of society. (Now playing, various theaters) JASMYNE KEIMIG

Playmobil: The Movie
Like The Lego Movie, but for kids whose parents make them play with Playmobil instead :( (Now playing, various theaters)

Queen & Slim
Queen & Slim may be the best—and is almost certainly the Blackest—film of 2019, and is perhaps most poignant for its gorgeous, complex, and multifaceted portrayal of the Black experience, where sparks of joy and love exist alongside pain, struggle, and oppression. One of the reasons director Melina Matsoukas and screenwriter Lena Waithe’s made the film with Universal Pictures was their guarantee that Matsoukas and Waithe would have say over the final cut—a choice Waithe says was to ensure the film wasn’t influenced whatsoever by the white gaze. They only did one test screening, with an all-Black audience; the result is a new American romance/drama written in the Black American language, told via a fully Black lens, and including a diverse array of characters who show that Black people are not a monolith. For 48 hours after seeing this movie, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. (Now playing, various theaters) JENNI MOORE

Queer Commons: Carol Wilson Webb / The Weinstein Company

Queer Commons: Carol
“What a strange girl you are,” Carol (Cate Blanchett) tells Therese (Rooney Mara) in the masterpiece Carol. “Flung out of space.” That’s kind of the way I feel about the film as a whole—but, as with Carol’s sexually-charged sizing-up of Therese, I mean it in a good way. This is a film about queer women that is exquisitely crafted, heartfully acted, nuanced about each character’s motives and morality, and can be watched by actual queer people without making us cringe. Shown as part of the Hollywood’s ongoing Queer Commons film series, Carol gets the red carpet treatment it deserves. (Wed Dec 11, Hollywood Theatre, $7-9) BLAIR STENVICK

Queer Horror: The Sentinel
The Hollywood’s bimonthly Queer Horror series is a goddamn Portland treasure, featuring scary flicks with an LGBTQ+ bent. This month, host Carla Rossi shares a particularly nutballs drag pre-show before putting Michael Winner’s 1977 “gay panic nightmare” The Sentinel on the big screen in 35mm. Death Wish director Winner was never known for possessing either taste or restraint, and he displays neither in this 90-minute parade of repugnance about a fashion model who moves into a hotel that’s being used by excommunicated priests as a portal to hell. Starring (no shit) Ava Gardner, Jerry Orbach, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Walken, Burgess Meredith, Jeff Goldblum, and Deep Space Nine’s Nana Visitor. (Thurs Dec 12, Hollywood Theatre)

Re-run Theater: Christmas in Space
As is its horrible holiday tradition, Re-run Theater hosts a big-screen showing of the Star Wars Holiday Special, which you’ve heard is horrible, but you don’t truly know how horrible it is until you’ve sat through it, from Bea Arthur’s solemn musical number (“Just one more rhyme, friend/Yes, it’s a crime, friend/But you know time, friend/Time can fly”) to the scene where Chewbacca’s dad, who is named Itchy, masturbates to a hologram of Diahann Carroll. The ostensible reason for all of this is a celebration of the Wookiee holiday “Life Day,” which was recently mentioned on The Mandalorian, so... I guess this is all canon now? (Wed Dec 18, Hollywood Theatre) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Re-run Theater: Christmas in Space Lucasfilm

The Report
The Report is short for “The Torture Report,” which is short for “The Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program,” which is short for the 6,700-page account of one of America’s most horrifying and shameful stretches of history. Expertly distilling an infinitely complicated, infinitely disturbing chain of events, writer/director Scott Z. Burns follows the efforts of increasingly troubled Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Adam Driver, excellent as ever), who, under the oversight of Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening), works to discover and document the CIA’s continued use of barbaric and ineffective “enhanced interrogation techniques” on prisoners captured after 9/11. (Now playing, various theaters) ERIK HENRIKSEN

Repressed Cinema: Psychotronic After-School Special
A program of 16mm “bizarre holiday films and movie trailers” from film archivist Greg Hamilton. (Sun Dec 15, Hollywood Theatre)

Richard Jewell
Clint Eastwood (wow, still alive!) tells the story of Richard Jewell (played by I, Tonya and BlacKkKlansman’s Paul Walter Hauser), the security guard falsely accused of being behind the bombing at the 2016 Olympics in Atlanta. (Opens Fri Dec 13, various theaters)

The Shining
Like Doctor Sleep, but better! (Fri Dec 6-Thurs Dec 12, Academy Theater)

So Bad, It’s Rad: Chopping Mall
Local band Rad Max presents 1986’s cult horror/comedy Chopping Mall, in which robotic security guards go all Westworld in a shopping mall. (It was originally released under the title Killbots, which is also what they should’ve called Westworld.) Rad Max promises “antics” throughout, along with live performances of “rad wave dance rock before, during, and after” the film. It’s safe to say Chopping Mall has never before received this much enthusiastic adoration. (Sat Dec 14, Clinton Street Theater)

Waves
To explain much of the plot of Waves would be a disservice. Even a quick description of writer/director Trey Edward Shults’ story—a uniquely American, character-driven drama about a Florida family’s idyllic bubble bursting—feels like too much of a reveal. As with its title, you need to give yourself over to the film’s turbulent narrative and see where it takes you. The immersiveness of Waves is heightened by its structure: Cinematographer Drew Daniels’ vaporous camera movements and splashy colors combine with a distorted score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and Shults and editor Isaac Hagy find the perfect rhythm to keep the film flowing so smoothly that 135 minutes breeze by. (Now playing, various theaters) ROBERT HAM

Wyrd War Presents: The Beyond
Composer Fabio Frizzi visits the Hollywood for a screening of Lucio Fulci’s 1981 horror flick The Beyond, with a live score followed by a concert. (Wed Dec 11, Hollywood Theatre)