Film Geek
dir. Westby
Opens Fri Jan 13
Cinema 21

Portland writer/director/long-time video store clerk James Westby's Film Geek follows a robot-voiced cinephile, Scotty Pelk (Melik Malkasian) who harasses customers at the video store he works at until he gets fired. From there, he stalks a hot artist, Niko (Tyler Gannon: hot), masturbates into his sink several times, and tries to get his movie website noticed by the mass cyber-public. Shot extremely cheaply, with poor sound quality, Film Geek is watchable for a while, thanks to sharp editing (again by Westby) and Malkasian's enthusiastic performance in a thankless role. Fun is also to be found in funny cameos from cool local actors like Jon Breen and Tony St. Claire. But in the end, Scotty is just too thoroughly creepy and gross to embrace as the romantic anti-hero he becomes, and the contrived plot twists that transpire to make his ending a happy one (which include embarrassing fake interviews from Willamette Week and Oregonian film critics David Walker and Shawn Levy, respectively) are just plain dumb. JUSTIN WESCOAT SANDERS

The Real Dirt on Farmer John
dir. Siegel
Wed Jan 18

Forget writing—I'm gonna be a farmer! What a documentary! What a story! The last in his line, "Farmer John" Peterson works the Illinois land that's been family-owned since the Depression. But he's not your average farmer: After his father died in the '60s, Farmer John came back from college with his hippie friends and turned the place into a commune. Now middle-aged, he's a real-deal, hardworking farmer, but still a freak, doing whatever the fuck he wants. Of course, his intolerant neighbors in the farm community want him GONE. And The Real Dirt on Farmer John details this epic struggle, and the fight when his business tanked in the '80s, but it also tells the story of American farming's slow death, and of determination, and how old values can actually jibe well with weirdness. Beautifully shot. Heartbreakingly sad. Funny as shit. A+. ADAM GNADE


dirs. Edwards, Edwards, Leech

Opens Fri Jan 13

Various Theaters

I love when CGI kids' features, in all their cutesy, self-referential postmodernism, try to appeal to pre-teens by using crazy kid lingo that was already out of style nine years ago. Take Shrek rip-off Hoodwinked, a Rashomon-style retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, in which cops (played by anthropomorphized pigs—get it?) discover that sweet old Granny's not as saintly as she wants you to believe. Cue Granny turning to the camera and deadpanning, "That's right... I like to live life... to the extreme!" After a four-minute musical number of Granny snowboarding down a mountain, Little Red Riding Hood gets teary eyed at her grandmother's secrecy, admonishing her, "You expect me to be a good girl and stay in the forest... while you're out living la vida loca?!" Maybe in the 2008 sequel, we'll finally hear the inevitable "I'm the Big Bad Wolf, bitch!" (It should also be noted that after Hoodwinked's press screening, one especially noteworthy event took place. One of the attending film critics actually dropped trou and mooned the movie screen. That doesn't bode well.) CHAS BOWIE