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 beautiful and eerie romance challenges and expands conventional notions of perception and human connection. (Alison Hallett) Fox Tower 10

Antonia's Line A Dutch matriarch oversees a community based on feminism and liberalism. (Also, if the title's any indication, there's at least a little bit of cocaine involved.) Pix Patisserie

THE AVIATOR Like Oliver Stone's Alexander, Martin Scorsese's three-hour biopic of the late eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes is the tale of a prickly visionary whose own obsessions brought about his downfall. But unlike Alexander, The Aviator is engrossing, self-assured, well acted, and not a big pile of crap. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Laurelhurst

Bad Education If Hitchcock's Vertigo collided head-on with a drag queen variety show, the brilliant wreckage would be Pedro Almodóvar's Bad Education. (Ryan Dirks) 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) Laurelhurst

Cinderella Man (Advance Screening) Russell Crowe plays Jim Braddock, a Depression-era fighter who woulda been a contender had it not been for that pesky Depression. Down, down, down he spirals along with his plucky wife (Renee Zellweger) and three adorably plucky kids. Braddock jumps at one last chance in the ring, and naturally he wins, and now that he's fighting for a reason (to feed his family), Braddock slugs his way back to the top--BUT AT WHAT PRICE?? Director Ron Howard continues to furnish his audience with a shocking lack of surprises, and Crowe plays Braddock with a nice sense of restraint and quiet fortitude... which cannot be said for Zellweger, who is (surprise!) once again eye-rollingly awful. Thank heavens then for the always wonderful Paul Giamatti, who as Braddock's trainer, appears to have stepped straight out of an MGM feature from the '30s, and is worth the price of admission alone. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Century Eastport 16 , Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing

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 3 by 5 cards behind the scenes for maximum impact. (Andrew Wright) Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing , Tigard Cinemas , Fox Tower 10
, City Center 12 , Lloyd Mall

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Steve Martin and Michael Caine play two conmen who each try to steal $50,000 to prove who's the best. Hee-larious--mostly because one scene has Martin wearing an eye-patch and wetting himself. Now that's comedy! Jones' Public House

Dot the I What hath The Usual Suspects wrought? Dot the I, a highly touted Sundance fave, begins well, yet fatally clevers itself into a hole in its quest to leave the audience gasping at the fade-out. The set-up: On the eve of her wedding to a snotty blueblood, a woman with a mysterious history and a serious temper has a chance romantic encounter with a tech-geeky starving actor (Gael García Bernal). But isn't their bachelorette party meeting maybe just a tad too convenient? And what's with Bernal's fetish for surveillance cameras? To be fair, the initial love triangle/who's stalking whom scenario has a decent amount of open-ended promise, but ultimately dumps it all in favor of an increasingly ridiculous series of third-act twists, culminating in a final whopper that would have even Keyzer Soze and M. Night Shyamalan calling bullshit. (Andrew Wright) Fox Tower 10

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

Eating Out Starring ex-American Idol wannabe Jim Verraros and Desperate Housewives' Ryan Carnes, Eating Out is another "playful romp" from gay cinema: A straight man dates a dude so that he can get close to the dude's straight girl roommate. Despite the fact that this film is queer-written and -directed (by Q. Allan Brocka), the gay "themes" seem incidental--the breeders end up deciding the fate of them all. An odd-but-piquing phone sex scene and some snappy gay-speak ("What's the big Kim Deal?") are the only reasons to watch--but soon, even these become, respectively, creepy and forced. (Will Gardner) Hollywood Theatre

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

FEVER PITCH Ben (the incorrigibly grating Jimmy Fallon) is a teacher whose life is dominated by his love for the Red Sox. But when he hooks up with Lindsey (the ineffably angelic Drew Barrymore), things get rough--Lindsey's a baseball neophyte, and justifiably freaked out by Ben's fandom.Pretend you're a Red Sox fan, and think of Fever Pitch as one of the Sox's pre-'04 seasons: You have a bad hunch about how predictably disappointing it'll turn out, but that doesn't necessarily make it any less enjoyable. (Erik Henriksen) Avalon, Kennedy School, Bagdad Theater, Mission Theater, St. Johns Pub, Laurelhurst

GARDEN STATE First time writer/director Zach Braff plays Andrew "Large" Largeman, a struggling L.A. actor who returns to his New Jersey home for his paraplegic mother's funeral. Large's less than cheery homecoming is uplifted by Sam (Natalie Portman), a compulsive liar who lives with her mother and a house full of hamsters. There are definitely some holes in Braff's writing and directing, but the film's solid enough for one to look past its flaws and simply enjoy the story and the characters. (M. William Helfrich) XV

Happy Hour Happy Hour is summed up (or puked out) in the first scene: A man and a woman meet in a bar, then begin a love affair. The woman (Caroleen Feeney) asks the man (Anthony LaPaglia) if he's a "clichd writer with a drinking problem." The answer to that, and to the question "Is Happy Hour a clichd movie about alcoholics that's also boring and painfully unfunny?" is the same: Fuck yeah. Also, Eric Stolz provides an embarrassing addition to his resume, and a colostomy bag puts in an appearance in the middle--two factors that should induce riotous laughter, yet instead produce dry heaves. (Will Gardner) Hollywood Theatre

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) Century Eastport 16 , Oak Grove 8 Theater , Pioneer Place Stadium 6 , Movies on TV , Wilsonville , Tigard Cinemas , Evergreen Parkway , Hilltop
, Lloyd Cinemas , Cinema 99 , Sherwood 10, City Center 12

Hotel Rwanda Even if the acting is stiff and the plot a bit too tidy, you're obligated to see Hotel Rwanda. In 1994, over the course of 100 days, nearly one million Rwandans were slaughtered with machetes and clubs. Hotel Rwanda tells the true story of a hotel manager (Don Cheadle) who gave refuge to 1200 Rwandans in the midst of that hell on earth. (Phil Busse) Laurelhurst

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) Movies on TV , Vancouver Plaza, Division Street , Milwaukie 3 Theater

In The Realms of the Unreal See review this issue. Whitsell Auditorium

The Interpreter Nicole Kidman plays a U.N. translator who accidentally overhears an ominous assassination plot; paranoia perfunctorily sets in, and she's paired with a reluctant FBI agent (Sean Penn). In The Interpreter's best moments, director Sydney Pollack channels the verve and momentum of his excellent Three Days of the Condor--but more often than not, the otherwise excellent Pollack, Kidman, and Penn trust in a tepid, uneven screenplay that's neither fluid nor convincing. (Erik Henriksen) Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing , Division Street , Evergreen Parkway , Wilsonville , Tigard Cinemas , Sherwood 10, Hilltop , City Center 12 , Fox Tower 10 , Milwaukie 3 Theater , Lloyd Mall

IT (Independent Tuesdays) Nocturnal's homemade film and video event. Nocturnal

Kicking & Screaming Unlike its very funny star, Will Ferrell, Kicking & Screaming isn't very funny. Kicking offers family friendly jokes and trite morals--there's hardly ever an excuse for Ferrell to indulge in his madcap, absurdist, self-deprecating comedy. No, here Ferrell has other priorities: Namely, trying to invigorate a tired clich of a plot, which has a coach making a bunch of adorable loser kids into adorable winner kids. (With its bland suburban setting, whitewashed characters, and annoying kids, Kicking was apparently made only so Beaverton's families can take a two-hour break from their real life existences of bland suburbia, whitewashed neighbors, and annoying kids.) (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.

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) Century Eastport 16 , Movies on TV , Oak Grove 8 Theater , Cinema 99 , Wilsonville , Hilltop , Pioneer Place Stadium 6 , Evergreen Parkway , Lloyd Mall , Westgate

Kontroll Never leaving the Hungarian metro system, Kontroll navigates a labyrinthine world of farcical comedy, supernatural evil and dark paranoia. Ticket inspector Bulcsu (Sándor Csányi) seems psychologically unable to leave the underground, where he sleeps in the tunnels and wanders between a murder mystery, a romance, a series of gang fights, and the bumbling adventures of his inspection crew. The brooding plot suffers with all this disparate action, but the entertainment-factor does not. Given all the shadowy symbolism, it's easy to make Kafkaesque comparisons, but Kontroll is just too fun for that. (Ryan Dirks) Fox Tower 10

Kung Fu Hustle The latest from Hong Kong's superstar director and star Stephen Chow, Kung Fu Hustle is all over the map: It's part slapstick, part hokey drama, part action extravaganza, and part cartoon--and Chow blends all of these seemingly disparate parts to make a nearly perfect comedy. (Erik Henriksen) Westgate , Fox Tower 10 , Lloyd Mall , City Center 12

Ladies in Lavender See review this issue. Fox Tower 10

The Last Woman on Earth Roger Corman's 1960 film about--you guessed it--the last woman on earth. Preceded by an episode of the '50s sci-fi serial Radar Men from the Moon! Cafe Nola

Layer Cake See review this issue. Fox Tower 10

The Longest Yard See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

Lost Embrace Lost Embrace is the entertaining story of an adorable, self-absorbed 20-something named Ariel (Daniel Hendler) who's struggling to come to terms with his absentee father and his own identity as an Argentinian Jew. Set primarily in a mall in Buenos Aires, where shop owners include Italians, Koreans, and Lithuanians, the film is fast-paced, boisterous, and jam-packed with multi-cultural kookiness. While Lost Embrace is far too formulaic to enter the coming-of-age canon, the solid acting and deft dialogue make the film an easy, engaging watch. (Alison Hallett) Guild

Madagascar Madagascar is kiddie slop puffed and polished into a Pixar-wannabe sheen. Ben Stiller, unfunny even while animated, stars as a lion named Alex, who's the star attraction at the Central Park Zoo. Content to perform several times a day before his adoring fans, Alex has no desire to leave the cozy confines of the zoo--until his best friend, a zebra named Marty (Chris Rock), hits the road in search of freedom. Joining Alex in his rescue of Marty are two zoo neighbors: Melman (David Schwimmer), a hypochondriac giraffe, and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith), a hippo. They give chase, find Marty, end up on a ship, arrive on the shores of Madagascar, and learn lessons about the wild vs. captivity, hunger vs. friendship, and how to build a plush tiki bar without opposable thumbs. Too bad none of it's funny in the least. (Bradley Steinbacher) Regal Cinemas. etc.

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) Mission Theater , Laurelhurst

Monster-In-Law Jane Fonda is old, and J.Lo is a terrible actress. Despite all that, Monster-In-Law isn't quite as bad as you'd expect. You'd think it's just pure, cheesy, horribly stilted garbage, when it's really more like pure, cheesy, horribly stilted leftovers than actual garbage. (Katie Shimer) Regal Cinemas, etc.

Moog & Made In Sheffield Jackpot Records presents a free screening of two electro-centric documentaries: Moog: A Documentary and Made In Sheffield: The Birth of Electronic Pop. Don't worry--there will be more than enough blurps, bleeps, and assorted other beepy noises to go around. Lola's Room

Native Film Festival Featured films include Remembering Celilo, a documentary about the fishery of the Columbia River and its loss; Dustin Hoffman's Little Big Man; the documentary A Seat at the Table: Struggling for Native American Religious Freedom; and the dramas Powwow Highway and Lakota Woman. PCC Cascade Campus

Pacific University Student Films These are the senior projects from the film majors at Forest Grove's Pacific University, and that should pretty much tell you what to expect: A slew of films, ranging from documentaries to dramas to animation, some of which are fine and some of which are pretty horrible. But even in the bad ones, there's something that's important, yet is sometimes lacking in student film: A respect for the medium and a sense of genuine excitement to be working in it. It's a vibe that makes even the clunkiest of these films somewhat enjoyable. (Erik Henriksen) Clinton Street Theater

A Place in the World: Robert Frank Robert Frank's films, especially the more personal work in Cinema Project's series, are explanations of the "big moments" that pass through every day. Scenes alternate between morning cups of coffee with his wife, a birthday party, a ride-along with the local mailman, still shots of photographs, and Frank filming himself talking about the weather and the past. Brief, often confessional moments are woven into self-referential montages, echoing themes of memory and perception. One of the giants of American photography, Frank's films are a self-deprecating, funny, and uniquely honest look at the artist's life--one filled with equal parts success and tragedy. (Ryan Dirks) Cinema Project @ New American Art Union

Random "B" Movie The folks at XV present--you guessed it--a random "B" movie. XV

Rusty Nails: Retrospective See review this issue. Clinton Street Theater

Sahara It's never a good sign when all I can remember about a movie is the leading actor's mustache. But... there you have it. Sahara is one of those wisecracking, adrenaline-pumped thrill rides that Hollywood consistently makes, and consistently makes incorrectly. But ohhh... that mustache. That pervy, prickly, sexy-lookin' mustache. It's why Burt Reynolds works, it's why Tom Selleck works, and now that Matthew McConaughey wears one, we can finally forget about his ceaseless string of awful movies, which naturally includes this one. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Movies on TV , Cinema 99 , Milwaukie 3 Theater , Tigard-Joy Theater , Avalon , Kennedy School , Bagdad Theater , St. Johns Pub , Edgefield , Laurelhurst , Mt. Hood Theater

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

She Gods of Shark Reef Hot chicks on a tropical island, sharks, and a "hideous stone god," all circa 1958 and courtesy of Roger Corman. Preceded by an episode of the 1950s detective drama Dragnet. Cafe Nola

Sin City A brilliantly creative, enormously cool piece of pop art; a film that has bigger balls, more fun, and a bigger heart than a year's worth of standard blockbusters. Based on Frank Miller's dark, pulpy, neo-noir graphic novels, and co-directed by Miller and action master Robert Rodriguez, the film isn't flawless (it's unerringly faithful to the comic, and at times, Rodriguez and Miller unintentionally demonstrate that what works in literature doesn't always work in cinema), but what Sin City gets right, it gets really fucking right. (Erik Henriksen) Westgate , Lloyd Mall

Star Dreams While crop circles are undeniably pretty cool, the New Age-y, cultish, and unintentionally hilarious Star Dreams does its moronic damndest to convince the viewer that the shapes use "vibratory frequencies" to... well, they never really get to that, really. Between showing hippies meditating in crop circles and showcasing interviews with psychics and alien abductees (one claims, deadpan, that the "Galactic Federation" is behind the crop circles, which will help mankind reach a "heart chakra" and develop like 13 helixes in our DNA), the general meaning of Star Dreams is that whether aliens, Gaia/Mother Earth, or hoaxers create crop circles, in the end they're all about peace, love, "divine potential," "ancient prophecies," and various other terms synonymous with "hippie bullshit." (Erik Henriksen) Hollywood Theatre

Star Wars: Episode III-- Revenge of the Sith Unquestionably the best of the prequels, Revenge of the Sith is even better than 1983's Return of the Jedi. With the Clone Wars raging across the galaxy, cue two great Jedi generals: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen). As Anakin's wife, Padm (Natalie Portman), discovers she's pregnant, Anakin's friendship with Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) takes a sinister twist--Palpatine, it turns out, knows the ways of the dark side, and is more than willing to teach them to Anakin. It's the strong characters and tragic plot that differentiate Sith from its predecessors: Finally, here are the visual nods to the originals, the answers to Lucas' dangling plot threads, and a shit-ton of lightsaber fights. Sometimes Sith--mostly in its uneven first act--resorts to the painfully cutesy stuff that alienated many from the prequels, but visually, emotionally, and mythically, this prequel finally feels as epic, as touching, as cool as the original Star Wars films. Better late than never. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.

The Times of Harvey Milk Perhaps more than any event, the assignation of San Francisco City Commissioner Harvey Milk politicized the west coast's gay movement. This spellbinding documentary weaves together a cross-section of testimonies to tell an intriguing tale about Milk's life, the birth of a political movement and the changing American psyche. Sponsored by PSU's Women's Studies Department, which will follow the screening with a community panel to discuss the film and its issues. Fifth Avenue Cinemas

Trailer Trash Tuesdays Cafe Nola serves up an all-night-long program of vintage movie trailers and ads. Cafe Nola

Unleashed Elsewhere in the world, Jet Li's amazing Chinese action epics have made him one of the most famous actors around. To Americans, though, Li's merely that guy in lame-ass flicks like Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 the Grave. And of all the many injustices of modern cinema, that's one of the biggest--because Li's a great actor, and he's an even better action star. Unleashed does a kickass job of showing both sides of Li; it's as much a drama as it is a kung fu demo reel. And that ungainly combination is pulled off well enough that it's easy to forgive the film's occasional oversights. (Erik Henriksen) Century Eastport 16 , Movies on TV , Division Street , Vancouver Plaza, Westgate , Evergreen Parkway , Sherwood 10, Lloyd Mall

The Upside of Anger The Upside of Anger makes an all-too-blatant grab for the award-friendly glory road well plowed by the likes of American Beauty and Terms of Endearment, yet is nearly redeemed by a cast that wrings out every last bit of potential from the formula. After being abandoned by her husband, a brittle housewife (Joan Allen) strikes up a boozy relationship with the scruffy ex-jock next door (Kevin Costner). Since you're going to eventually end up seeing it anyway, best to shrug off the flailing stabs at higher meaning and enjoy it for what it gets right: Two fine, yet often neglected, actors teeing off on a series of telegraphed pitches and repeatedly knocking the damned cover off of it. (Andrew Wright) Westgate , Fox Tower 10

Visuals 5.05 Local and student artists show off their film and video, from traditional works to experimental ones. Plus, the whole thing's kicked off by music from the bands Yuma Nora and General Studies, and... wait for it... there's free admission! And free pizza! And free popcorn! AND FREE BEER! Why, how could you ever lose? Weather permitting, it'll be outside at the South Park Blocks, in front of PSU's Smith Memorial Student Union. Otherwise: Fifth Ave. Cinemas. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill is a feature-length documentary with all the depth of a human interest story on the nightly news. Parrots follows a patently dull, quasi-homeless hippie who tends to a flock of wild parrots in an old San Francisco neighborhood. Here's my impression of the film: "SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK!" "I really think the parrots have come to love me. I know I've come to love them." "SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK!" "That's Connor! He's my favorite of all the parrots." "SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK!" (Cue cheesy montage of parrots in trees with laughably bad, bluesy New Age music.) "Some people love dogs. Some people love horses. I happen to love these parrots!" "SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK!" (Chas Bowie) Cinema 21