$100 & A T-Shirt A video documentary about zines in the Northwest.
Hollywood Theatre Because of Winn-Dixie A new children's film about a smiling dog, based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo and featuring--wait for it--Dave Matthews! Watch for our film short next week. Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Best of Empty Noggin Comedic short films from the folks at Empty Noggin.
The Know Bigger Than the Sky Filmed in Portland, Bigger Than the Sky follows the hijinx of a community theatre company. Not screened in time for review; watch for our film short next week. Fox Tower 10
The Chorus In The Chorus, the French take on a favorite American theme--dedicated teacher turns society's outcasts into the upright citizens of tomorrow (see: Sister Acts I and II, The Mighty Ducks I, II, and III, etc.). Sure, it's cheesy--but it's French cheese; stinky, unpasteurized and tasty, without the plastic, mass-produced quality of most American shit. (Alison Hallett) Fox Tower 10
Constantine See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Cosmic Africa A documentary about a South African astrophysicist attempting to reconcile traditional folklore with his scientific approach to the cosmos. A selection of the 15th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films. Kennedy School
Dôl The story of four boys in Gabon who, inspired by "the international language of rap," decide to start engaging in larceny. A selection of the 15th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films. PCC Cascade Campus
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn Part of the Mercury's Prozac Film Series! See My, What A Busy Week! pg 13. Clinton Street Theater
Hitch Hitch (Will Smith) is New York's "date doctor," helping socially awkward men woo gorgeous women. Predictably, Hitch falls for a gossip columnist (Eva Mendes); even more predictably, whenever the wooing Hitch tries to practice what he preaches, he fucks up. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Impact A noir about Walter Williams (Brian Donlevy), whose backstabbin' wife tries to kill him. Cafe Nola
Inside Deep Throat Looking at Deep Throat now, it's an almost laughably innocuous experience--the film's practically cute when compared to today's hardcore porn industry. But in 1972, the infamous skin flick showcasing Linda Lovelace's talent for fellatio became a lightning rod for national controversy--ensnaring everyone from porn actor Harry Reems to Richard Nixon in a furious battle over pornography, censorship, and moral righteousness. Inside Deep Throat looks at the film and its lasting legal, cultural, and financial repercussions. While the documentary's sometimes overbearingly stylized and thematically meandering, it's still one of the most insightful, powerful, and incensed films of recent memory--and a sobering reminder that while Americans love to talk about how freedom of speech is our big thing, we're equally defined by our suppression of it. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10
Just Hustle An independent private detective film. Features a post-show Q&A with filmmaker Sage Bannick. PSU Smith Memorial Union
L.A. Twister Boy, that L.A. sure is a wacky place, isn't it? Two average Joes stumble anew across this universal truth as they struggle against all odds to get their dream project made. Which turns out to be the movie we're watching. Or something. Occasional semi-promising stabs at self-reflexism aside, director Sven Pape's painfully earnest debut fails to bring anything fresh to the follow-your-dreams-eyes-on-the-stars formula. (Andrew Wright) Hollywood Theatre
Noah's Arc A documentary about how professional surfer Noah Snyder found God. Hey, have you seen that T-shirt that says "Jesus surfs without a board"? That shit's funny. Cinema 21
Purple Butterfly Set just before the Japanese invasion of China, Purple Butterfly is an oddly poetic historical epic. From subtle jump cuts to large jumps in time, the movie has an unconventional underlying structure, but the beauty of the actors (Zhang Ziyi and Toru Nakamura) and the locations, combined with a sadly fatalistic view of romance in times of war, make this a film well worth seeking out. (Andy Spletzer) Clinton Street Theater
Real Genius & Heathers Remember back when Val Kilmer, Christian Slater, and Winona Ryder had careers? Chance of Rain Cafe
Rear Window Jimmy Stewart's bedridden after an accident and finds solace spying on his neighbors. When he witnesses what he believes is a murder, he takes it upon himself to play Sherlock Holmes. Cinema 21
Shanda A documenatary about Zimbabwean musician Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi. Plays with On Tiptoe, a doc about South African singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Selections of the 15th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films. PCC Cascade Campus
Soldiers of the Rock Soldiers of the Rock is about a young man trying to establish a mining cooperative in South Africa. Director Norman Maake in attendance; a selection of the 15th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films. Hollywood Theatre
Son of the Mask See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation The good ones: three Happy Tree Friends shorts (which you can rent at the video store). The bad ones: everything else. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Cinema 21
Straight-Jacket A quick-witted 1950's period piece about a queer actor, Guy Stone (Matt Letscher), and the struggle to retain his cred as Hollywood's most eligible (and straight) bachelor. If you're a fan of films like Down With Love, loaded with lavish period sets and costumes and quippy jokes, then you'll like Straight-Jacket a whole lot. (Katie Shimer) Hollywood Theatre
Touki Bouki A couple in Senegal attempt to con their way to a better life in Paris. PSU Smith Memorial Union
20:30:40 (Hong Kong/Taiwan) A blithe, lighthearted look at the lives of three women (aged 20, 30 and 40--get it?) living in Tapei. Writer/director Sylvia Chang aims to give a glimpse of what women want and need at various points in their lives, and the three lead actresses are charming almost to a fault as they scamper around the city looking for love and acceptance, their lives intersecting in subtle ways. (Alison Hallett)
5 x 2 (France) The story of a doomed romance, told in reverse--which means that things can only get more cheerful, right?
Bombón-El Perro (Argentina) A Patagonian road movie about a mechanic (Juan Villegas) who unexpectedly gets a fancy-pants show dog.
Campfire (Israel) Tracing the lives of a widow and her two daughters set to join a Zionist settlement following Israel's 1981 withdrawal from the Sinai desert, Campfire is, more than anything, an appropriately feminine coming of age story--and one that is considerably more human than the previous sentence fragment might suggest. (Zac Pennington)
Crónicas (Equador/Mexico) Starring the perpetually underrated John Leguizamo, Crónicas follows a reporter (Leguizamo) searching for a serial child killer called "The Monster of Babahoyo"--which is the least-threatening name for a killer ever.
Crying Ladies (philippines) Three women in Manila's Chinatown make their livings as professional mourners (or criers) at traditional Chinese funerals. The film explores each of the women's lives, one who is trying to regain custody of her son, another who lives in the past, romanticizing the days when she was a B-movie actress, and a third who is having an affair with her best friend's husband.
Days of Santiago (Peru) A young soldier, Santiago (Pietro Sibille), returns to Lima, only to find his family distant, his rigid habits out of place, and his only real career option being robbing a bank.
Four Shades of Brown (Sweden) The NWFC writes that this film stars "Killinggänget," a "popular comedy troupe" that's "roughly a Swedish Monty Python." That sounds absolutely excruciating.
Grandma's Boy (US) A 1922 drama/comedy about a little kid (Harold Lloyd) who's a great big chicken until his grandmother teaches him to nut up.
Head-On (Germany) Depressed Cahit (Birol Ünel) meets young Sibel (Sibel Kekilli) in a psychiatric clinic, and--as both are desparate to escape their culturally mandated roles--they get married.
Here (Croatia) A film composed of loosely connected vignettes. Croatia, having suffered through years of conflict, is attempting to return to "normal" life, which the film explores. The actors' faces for long enough to see every little scar or mark, and the actors are solid and emotional, embodying all the pain and frustration of their characters in a world trying to move forward while so weighted down by their past. (M. William Helfrich)
The Hero (Angola) Vitório (Makena Diop) is a soldier who's lost a leg due to a land mine. When sleeping on the street, some bastard steals his prosthetic leg, which leads Vitório to a flirtatious schoolteacher, Joana (Patrícia Bull).
The House Keys (Italy) Gianni (Kim Rossi Stuart) is a handsome young man with a pretty wife and healthy baby, but this film is about his other family--the handicapped son (Andrea Rossi) he abandoned 15 years ago when the boy's mother died in childbirth. Meeting for the first time, Gianni struggles with his son's problems, sincerely trying to reconnect and understand the bright, funny, spirited, but severely challenged teenager he finds. Serenely plotted, the story takes its time exploring both the lighthearted and emotional moments that both men endure. (Marjorie Skinner)
Insaat (Turkey) A black comedy about two construction workers in Istanbul who end up digging graves and hiding bodies for the mob.
The Ister (Australia) A philosophical examination of Martin Heidegger's work, featuring respected philosophers and artists Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Jean-Luc Nancy, Bernard Steigler, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, and Crocodile Dundee. Okay, maybe Crocodile Dundee isn't in this. But he might be. Because this film is from Australia. And so is Crocodile Dundee.
The Liberace of Baghdad (Britain) Filmmaker Sean McAllister profiles Samir Peter, a famous Iraqi piano player who is forced to deal with the catastrophic fallout of the Iraq war.
Man Who Copied (Brazil) Good kids get away with all manner of criminal behavior in this cheerful coming-of-age story about a boy with a dead-end job operating a photocopy machine. (Anne Wagner)
Mardi Gras: Made in China (US) Sure--drinking, throwing beads, and seeing boobies is all fun and games at Mardi Gras! But did you ever think of the sweatshops where those beads are made? No. Of course you haven't... and we can't blame you! Who wants to think about that stuff when there's booze to drink, beads to throw, and boobies to see?
Moolad A film about Africa's female excision. Moolad focuses on Coll (Fatoumata Coulibaly), the wife of a village elder who refuses to have her daughter undergo the procedure.
Nobody Knows (Japan) Modern parenting at its finest: A mother moves into a small apartment with her four young children, keeping three of them secret from the landlord. Then the mom abruptly skips out, leaving only a note and some money for the kids to take care of each other.
Old Boy (South Korea) Quentin Tarantino's favorite film at last year's Cannes festival (and winner of the Q.T.-led Jury Award), writer/director Park Chanwook's exercise in ludicrous and luscious extremes flits constantly on the verge of collapsing into total chaos and/or self-parody, yet somehow sees its amped-up insanity through to a surprisingly poignant, albeit seriously warped, finale. (Andrew Wright)
Or (Israel) Winner of the best first feature category at Cannes, the NWFC calls Or a "gripping psychological portrait of an aging Tel Aviv prostitute and her daughter." Soon to be remade into a slapstick comedy with Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott.
Porco Rosso (Japan) An anime set in the 1930s, about a pig who also happens to be an aviator and bounty hunter. From legendary anime filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, who's so fucking good that it's not even funny. This screening features a live Q&A with David Ogden Stiers, who provides a voice in the Disney-approved dubbed version of the film.
Producing Adults (Finland) Venla (Minna Haapkyla), a psychologist at a fertility clinic, decides to steal some sperm when her child-fearin' boyfriend gets a vasectomy. But then Venla hits it off with Satu (Minttu Mustakallio), a doc at the clinic!
Roma (Argentina) An isolated writer (Jos Sacristán) is reminded of his youth in Buenos Aires in the '50s and '60s, and of his relationship with his mother.
Schultze Gets the Blues (Germany) When Schultze (Horst Krause) retires, he finds he has little to do. Living alone, he cleans his collection of yard gnomes, plays his accordion, hangs with his fellow pensioners, and listens to the radio. One day he flips the dial and hears a different kind of accordion playing--a fast one! Taken with this, he embarks on something of an obsession with Southern American culture, takes a trip to Texas, and has a slow-paced adventure of sorts. Gently funny, the film is full of the sort of geriatric humor that ensues from putting a fat old German guy in an unfamiliar environment. (Marjorie Skinner)
Short Cuts II Another collection of shorts, with all of these coming from Portland--including works from Bill Daniel ("Selective Service System Story"), Will Vinton ("The Morning After"), and Matt McCormick ("Towlines").
Short Cuts III The NWFC says that this is "a program of recent avant-garde films curated by the Cinema Project." That means it's a good idea to smuggle a fifth of whisky and a few bottles of aspirin into the theater with you.
Short Cuts IV More PIFF-approved shorts from all over the world.
Short Cuts V Shorts selected from the past five years of the NWFC's Young People's Film & Video Festival. Yoshino's Barber Shop (Japan) A tale about a small town where all the kids have the same dorky haircut. That is, until Yosuke (Noritsugu Ishida)--the handsome young city scamp with a rock star haircut--moves in, and all the other kids realize they look like idiots. Conflict arises when the kids protest, and run into a brick wall in the form of the town barber, who happens to be the mother of one of the boys. It's an obvious parable, which the film explores only superficially. (M. William Helfrich)
Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (US) A documentary about Los Angeles' short-lived cable channel devoted to rare films and its demise in 1998 when its programmer, Jerry Harvey, killed his wife and himself. Features rare clips and interviews with Quentin Tarantino, Robert Altman, Alexander Payne, Jim Jarmusch, and Penelope "I Directed Wayne's World" Spheeris.