Like all of us, you just don't have time to make all the films you want--cue the One-Minute Film Fest, the fest for filmmakers on the go. Created by the rad arts nonprofit Telegraph, last year's OMFF was an incredibly fun blur in which 25 films were shown in, well, less than a half-hour. Telegraph is putting out an official call for submissions. It's ONE freaking minute, filmmakers! (Justin Sanders) Deadline is May 20. For more info, hit telegrapharts.org.
3-Iron This odd, dreamy love story steps completely outside the realm of both linear time and normal human interaction. A young man breaks into houses while the owners are away, sleeps in them for a few nights, does the laundry, and leaves. On one such visit, he encounters a beautiful woman who has been badly beaten by her husband. This eerie romance challenges and expands conventional notions of perception and human connection. (Alison Hallett) Fox Tower 10
The 3rd Floor Picture Show The 3rd Floor is a great live sketch comedy troupe, and that's not just in comparison to other Portland sketch comedy troupes. But there's a world of difference between sketch comedy on a stage and sketch comedy on film--and 3rd Floor's video shorts need some fine tuning. Tony St. Claire's episode involving a chess player's feud with a chess-playing robot is a brilliant idea that doesn't really go anywhere, as is Andrew Harris and Ted Douglass' foray into barbershop melodrama, Hair: A Love Story. But hell, none of these are boring, and your ticket money goes to sending 3rd Floor to NYC's renowned Sketchfest, where, in the live arena, they will surely represent P-Town with flying colors. (Justin Sanders) Miracle Theatre
Beat Angel A film from Seattle about "the ghost of Jack Kerouac." (Kind of like Field of Dreams, maybe. But with books instead of baseball.) CO 7 Gallery
Cocaine Fiends This 1935 film astutely notes that if you use cocaine, you'll turn into a FIEND. Consider yourself warned, coke-head. Cafe Nola
Crash Crash, the directing debut of Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis, certainly doesn't want for hubris, but ultimately it's an exhibit of laudable ambition overwhelming Haggis' still-developing narrative abilities. Although Haggis' would-be epic portrayal of race relations in Los Angeles sports a handful of genuinely searing moments, it's hard to shake the sense of someone constantly rearranging 3x5 cards behind the scenes for maximum impact. (Andrew Wright) Regal, etc.
Doing Time, Doing Vipassana This documentary has all the ingredients to make a prison drama junkie like me be stricken, like a moth unable to tear itself away from the light of a movie screen: It examines the grim world of prison life in India's Tihar Prison, long known for having the worst conditions and violence in that country. Well, actually, it more closely examines how Kiran Bedi, then Inspector General of Prisons in New Delhi, reformed the prison using a meditation technique called Vipassana. Maybe I'm a sick person, but I would have found the pre-reform documentation a hell of a lot more interesting, and here the corruption's only glossed over towards the beginning--and, moreover, it's only relayed by the doc's narrator, rather than shown. Boo hoo. (Marjorie Skinner) Clinton Street Theater
Downfall An epic film taking place in Hitler's Berlin bunker, in the last days before the end of the war and his suicide. Much like taking a short trip into one of the circles of Hell, it's a cement-filled world teeming with Nazis who know they have lost, who are getting drunk, planning their suicides, and painfully watching their Fuhrer descend further into failure, frailty, desperation, and rage. (Marjorie Skinner) Fox Tower 10
Dust to Glory An uneven documentary about the no-holds-barred, off-road race the Baja 1000. (Erik Henriksen) Mission Theater
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room This is more than just a play-by-play look at the rise, fall, and impact of Enron--the film also asks why people act immorally, and (perhaps more damningly) why others allow it to happen. Surprisingly, all of this makes for dark comedy rather than a muckraking expos; rather than pushing its political agenda, Enron simply confronts you with the worst of human nature. (Andrea Chalupa) Hollywood Theatre
Fearless Freaks See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre
The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle & X: Live in Los Angeles Jackpot Records presents this free double feature--with Swindle being a biography of the Sex Pistols, and X taking a look at--you guessed it--X. Lola's Room
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy When Earth is destroyed by alien bureaucrats, there's only one survivor: A very perplexed Brit, Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman), who's suddenly alone in a very bizarre galaxy. Thanks to a breezy (if wildly uneven) script, strong characters, and relentlessly witty visuals from director Garth Jennings, Hitchhiker's isn't as good as the book--but as a film adaptation, it's mostly harmless, succeeding at capturing the manic, hilarious spirit of Adams' work. (Erik Henriksen) Regal, etc.
House of Wax Everybody knows Paris Hilton's going to die in this, so the real question is if her death is going to be good. It is--and she's wearing red lingerie when she goes. In Ms. Hilton's cinematic death, at least, you won't be disappointed. Which is good, because the rest of House of Wax is pretty lame. (Erik Henriksen) Regal, etc.
It's All Gone Pete Tong Tracing the tall tale of legendary (read: fictional) deaf club DJ Frankie Wilde, Its All Gone Pete Tong is an incredibly uphill battle from the onset: A premise protracted beyond its welcome, a first half buried in shoddy drug clichs and tedious performances, and a predictably forced love story that, strangely, nearly saves the whole mess. Taking a great many of its cues from 24 Hour Party People, Tong fails in nearly every way that (admittedly flawed) film succeeded: Its visuals are staid, its characters are never compelling, and its jokes are painfully unfunny. (Zac Pennington) Fox Tower 10
Kicking & Screaming See review this issue. Regal, etc.
Kika Pedro Almodovar's 1993 film about a ditzy makeup artist who becomes a celebrity after a videotape of her being raped is broadcast on the national news. Funny and charming... in an ugly and unsettling way. Whitsell Auditorium
Kingdom of Heaven Every "epic" film I can remember pits the underdog against an unbeatable enemy: A hero of purity and conviction against a giant blob of brute force. Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven monkeys with the formula a little--its enemy is a bit more complicated and compassionate than most--but in the end, the film fits the standard: Big, expensive, theatrically violent, thrilling, sad, and overall, worth the eight bucks. (Katie Shimer) Regal, etc.
Law of Desire Before he was, well, before he was Antonio Banderas, he did small artsy films. In this odd but charming 1987 film, Banderas stars as the neurotic fan of a local playwright who seduces his object of desire, then (oops) kills the playwright's former lover. Don't you hate it when that happens? Whitsell Auditorium
Lines The third episode of Lines, a series of short films about "piloting a modern sportbike through some of the best twisty roads in the Pacific Northwest." Hollywood Theatre
A Lot Like Love I can already hear the Ashton Kutcher apologists: "Take it easy, it's just an escape." But this film is no escape; it's Hell. And I'm talking about the first circle of Hell, way past the gnashing of teeth and the smell of burning flesh--this is the place where you're strapped to a chair and your eyes are held open by tiny metal fingers, all Clockwork Orange style. (Ryan Dirks) Movies on TV , Lloyd Mall , Cinema 99 , Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing , Sherwood 10
Melinda and Melinda Woody Allen's latest has a promising premise: Two playwrights (Larry Pine and Wallace Shawn) discuss the situation of Melinda (Radha Mitchell), an unstable, travel-worn woman who unexpectedly arrives at her friends' Upper East Side apartment. One playwright envisions Melinda's background as a tragedy, while the other invents a comedy. Allen looks at both, and the film delineates the playwrights' respective takes, essentially making two films. Since he's been toying with comedies and tragedies for decades, Allen here has the perfect chance to capitalize on his proficiency in both genres. But while Melinda and Melinda is theoretically two Allen films for the price of one, its sum is far less than even one of Allen's past masterpieces. (Will Gardner) Cinemagic
Mindhunters See review this issue. Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing , Century Eastport 16 , Movies on TV
, Division Street , Lloyd Mall
Mondovino See review this issue. Cinema 21
Monsier N If all you know about Napoleon is that he was French and short... well, that's probably all you really need to know. But should you for some reason feel compelled to learn more, Monsieur N is a fairly entertaining, not-too-demanding take on Napoleon's life after exile. (Alison Hallett) Hollywood Theatre
Monster-In-Law See review this issue. Regal, etc.
One Missed Call The phones in Takashi Miike's One Missed Call possess a nifty voicemail feature that enables the phones' owners to hear messages from their future selves... as they scream and die! It's a catchy, pulpy premise, and if you're thinking One Missed Call sounds a lot like another Japanese horror film in the vein of Ringu or The Grudge, you're right. Miike's a constantly interesting and daring filmmaker with plenty of rabid fans--but whether or not he's a good choice to helm material this mainstream (the main character, Yumi, is played by Japanese pop star Kou Shibasaki) is definitely up for debate. Clinton Street Theater
Palindromes Todd Solondz's Palindromes chronicles the adventures of 13-year-old Aviva, who, after getting knocked up by her cousin and forced into an abortion by her creep-tastic mom (Ellen Barkin), embarks on a quest to get impregnated again. As always, Solondz pulls no punches in dealing with his heavy material, and as always, the results are hilarious, unsettling, and endlessly thought provoking. (Justin Sanders) Fox Tower 10
Paper Clips Paper Clips follows what happened when staff members at Whitwell Middle School in Tennessee decided to teach their almost exclusively white, Protestant students about tolerance. Teachers developed a curriculum that used the Holocaust as an example of unchecked intolerance; after finding it difficult to conceptualize the number of Holocaust victims, students set out to collect one paperclip for every Jewish death--six million paperclips. This well-meaning but schlocky documentary follows the project from its inception to the final creation of a Holocaust memorial in Whitwell. (Alison Hallett) Hollywood Theatre
Pizza Girl A hipster version of Amelie. That said, it's a darker, more sardonic tale about a young woman (a pizza girl, in this case) who goes on a mission to save her customers from themselves. See this locally produced indie film for the message: Yes, even hipsters need to grow up. And it has cool special effects--one character is totally pixilated throughout the film, until he finally stops isolating himself by obsessively playing videogames. (Andrea Chalupa) Clinton Street Theater
Reefer Madness "The reefer" is far, far more dangerous than it first appears, and according to this 1938 anti-"the reefer" propaganda film, it's the single most dastardly and life-ruining substance to ever threaten God's green earth with its cursed blight. (Erik Henriksen) Cafe Nola
Schultze Gets the Blues Gently funny, this film is full of the sort of geriatric humor that ensues from putting a fat old German guy in an unfamiliar environment. (Marjorie Skinner) Cinemagic
Secret Cinema Saturday Cafe Nola shows a secret film. Aaand... that's about all there is to say about that. Cafe Nola
Sex Madness This 1938 film warns that if you have sex, you'll get an STD and your life will be ruined forever. Cafe Nola
Sexual Dependency The young Bolivian director Rodrigo Bellott teamed up with an African-American screenwriter, Lenelle N. Moise, to make this film about five characters dealing with different issues of sex. Uses a movie-length split screen gimmick to depict the interconnected stories. Guild
Spider John Koerner Director Don McGlynn has produced a series of top-star music documentaries--about Louis Prima, Charles Mingus, and Howlin' Wolf. But this story captures a much more elusive and lesser known folk star: Minneapolis-based Spider John Koerner. Guild
Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith HOLY SHIT! This movie KICKS ASS! Showings start on Thursday, May 19 at 12:01am, so watch for our Star Wars blowout in next week's Mercury (also May 19). In the meantime, know this: This motherfucker's what Star Wars is all about. It's melodramatic space opera at its finest, with big space battles, bigger emotions, kickass lightsaber fights, and DARTH MOTHERFUCKING VADER. In other words, this is the dark, fast-paced film that Lucas promised when he first announced the prequel trilogy. Better late than never.(Erik Henriksen) Regal, etc.
Trailer Trash Tuesdays Cafe Nola serves up an all-night-long program of vintage movie trailers and ads. Cafe Nola
Two Women Two coeds in '80s Tehran deal with everyday problems--like, you know, stalkers throwing acid at girls and stuff. And it's in Farsi! When's the last time you got to see a movie that was in Farsi? PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
Unleashed See review this issue. Century Eastport 16 , Movies on TV , Broadway Metroplex , Division Street , Wilsonville , Vancouver Plaza , Tigard Cinemas , Westgate , Hilltop , Oak Grove 8 Theater , Evergreen Parkway , Lloyd Cinemas , Sherwood 10
Vera Drake With women in a frenzy over the GOP's implied threat to yank our reproductive rights from under us, it's as good a time as any to revisit the wholesome, family value driven days of illegal abortions, yeah? (Marjorie Skinner) Fifth Avenue Cinemas
Winter Solstice Jim (Anthony LaPaglia) lives with his two sons, Gabe (Aaron Stanford) and Pete (Mark Weber), in a fairly wealthy-looking suburb. His wife/their mother died a few years back, and the three of them are just kicking it, having reached the point of being able to cope with the tragedy. Other than that, there's no plot, really, and no one has any life-affirming realizations, which makes Josh Sternfeld's Winter Solstice a pretty accurate portrayal of how an upper-middle-class family would react to losing a loved one. It's like real life, and like real life, it's really, really boring. (Justin Sanders) Laurelhurst
Born Into Brothels Rare is the documentary that feels too short, but this wrenching look at kids growing up within the squalid red-light sector of India begs for a more detailed exploration. The film follows the efforts of co-director/photographer Zana Briski to save the children of Calcutta's sex workers, initially by encouraging their photographic skills, then by navigating through unbelievable levels of bureaucratic quicksand. (Andrew Wright) Hollywood Theatre