2005 British Advertising Awards
Though you wouldn't want to live there, the Brits do have one thing going for them—terrific TV commercials. However, the times they are a changin'—and while American commercials have definitely improved (let's not count that Fanta commercial, okay?), the Brits' creative wellspring seems to be running dry. Or so the not-so-great winners of the British Television Advertising Awards (BTAA) would lead us to believe. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Whitsell Auditorium
At the Limits of Cinema—A Leslie Thornton Retrospective
Do you like "feminism, representation, semiotics, history, and colonialism"? Shit, yo! Who doesn't!? See you at this three-part Leslie Thornton Retrospective at Cinema Project! Cinema Project @ New American Art Union
Caché hinges on the idea that just underneath society, and deep within the lives of normal people, all sorts of vile and unspeakable things lurk in wait. In fact, the film's almost too nuanced to be the thriller it purports to be—in addition to the marital drama, it touches on class, voyeurism, childrearing, and some pretty heavy race-related subtext. Nope, not a hardcore thriller. But totally worth watching all the same. (Alison Hallett) Laurelhurst, Academy Theater
CSA: The Confederate States of America
It's a scenario that's too disturbing to think about, but what if the South had won the Civil War? That's the premise this surprisingly effective little film posits, and the answers are horrifying. Shot like a PBS or History Channel special, CSA shows an alternate American present, where African Americans are still held as slaves and abolitionists are treated as enemies to freedom—the production even includes commercial breaks for products like Darkie Toothpaste and Sambo Motor Oil, which have actually been available in the past century. CSA is darkly funny, uncomfortable, and infuriating all at once—meaning I recommend it wholeheartedly. (Scott Moore) Hollywood Theatre
The Da Vinci Code
See review at portlandmercury.com. Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Devil and Daniel Johnston
Of all the unsung, outsider geniuses in rock's crowded compendium, there are few more deserving of a lovingly crafted, silver screen tribute than the absurdly brilliant Daniel Johnston. With a list of fans that reads like a veritable who's who of '90s alternative rock (see: Beck, Pearl Jam, and most notably Kurt Cobain, among many others), the regularly institutionalized Johnston is also one of the most talented and prolific pop songwriters in all of independent rock music (whether anyone actually owns any of his records is another matter). With his Sundance award-winning documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston, director Jeff Feuerzeig tackles the truths and the fabrications (hint: it's mostly truths) of the man and his mythology with a loving, impressively thorough hand. Absolutely essential viewing for anyone who cares a lick about the power of pop music. (Zac Pennington) Cinema 21
Flamenco: A Personal Journey
Filmmaker Tao Ruspoli presents his 1995 documentary about "the art and lifestyle of the gypsies in Andulusia, Spain." Fifth Avenue Cinemas
Forest Film Fest
See page 49 or hit forestfilm.com for more info.
Goal! The Dream Begins
Just the name alone (Goal!) should be a big enough tip-off that this film is full of more clichés than stitches on a soccer ball. Let's see: Soccer is Santiago Munez's "only ticket" out of the LA slums. He must "overcome extraordinary odds" on this "incredible journey." (In case you don't understand the film's basic premise the first time, it is repeated generously throughout.) Okay, fine—the film is slick and beautiful, and has some exciting close-ups of feet and heads hitting balls. But why is it that every sports movie must begin and end with a cliché? The producers are cocky enough about its success, though, that they already have a sequel filmed and yet another on the way! (Phil Busse) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Grace Lee Project
Filmmaker Grace Lee realized that she had the most common name among her race—"Grace Lee" is to Korean-Americans as "Sarah Brown" or "Jane Smith" is to WASPs. Everyone she met seemed to know at least one other Grace Lee. So she set out on a journey to find as many other women with her name as possible, seeking what makes each Grace Lee unique as well as what bound them all together. This feel-good movie, laced with bits of comedy, takes a look at what would happen if you did more research than just typing your name into Google to see what other people with your name are like. And c'mon—you know you've Googled your name before, weirdo! (Christine S. Blystone) Guild
Just My Luck
Lindsay Lohan's latest, which wasn't screened for us. I can see two good things about the movie anyway, though, and both can be found by Googling "Lindsay Lohan + boobs." Ka-ZING! (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
A "romance thriller" from Holland. Yeah, right. Like they have either "romance" or "thrills" in Holland. All they have are stupid windmills. Hollywood Theatre
Mountain Patrol: Kekexili
See review this issue. Cinema 21
The Notorious Bettie Page
Shot almost entirely in black and white, this biopic—starring Gretchen Mol as Bettie Page—lets you tag along with the infamous pin-up girl as she ventures from Nashville, Tennessee to New York City, where she begins her modeling career in the 1950s. Though the film portrays Page as a naïve girl who didn't quite understand what her racy bondage poses really meant, it's still an engaging peek into the life of a pop culture icon. (Amy Jenniges) Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre
Over the Hedge
This is a movie about a turtle and some porcupines! I don't remember how many porcupines there are, but there are some. My favorite character—well, I liked the squirrel, but my favorite was the one... that one? With the nose? Yeah! The possum! He pretended to be dead! And then there was this part, my favorite part, when there was this trap! And this guy was trying to get food from the bear, and so the squirrel hit a button, and there was this light, and then everything exploded, and then this lady didn't have any hair after it all blew up, and it was really, really funny. (Kayla, the Mercury's resident eight-year-old) Regal Cinemas, etc.
A completely unnecessary remake of 1972's The Poseidon Adventure, in which a massive luxury liner is sailing along minding its own business when WHAMMO! The boat is cold-cocked by a rogue wave. This is especially alarming to the failed TV and B-movie actors on board who find themselves bonking their heads when the ship flips upside-down. So if you like watching people bonk their heads and drown for 90 minutes, then stop reading now, race to the theater, stuff your fat face with popcorn, and enjoy the shit out of Poseidon. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Queens of Heart: Community Therapists in Drag
A one-time benefit screening of the upcoming film about the female impersonators of Darcelle XV. Proceeds from the screening will go towards finishing the film. Hollywood Theatre
See No Evil
I didn't get a chance to see this movie yet, but that's OK cuz they've been showing the preview every week on Smackdown for like three months. It's got Kane—but not with the tag team belts—and he's this wicked evil dude who kills people and steals their eyeballs. It looks almost as cool as the time Kane and Paul Bearer buried the Undertaker at the casket match at Bad Blood! I'm thinking this movie's gonna rock hard, but the one I'm really excited for is Triple H: The Cerebral Assassin That's gonna be AWESOME! (HulksterRulz1987) Century Eastport 16, Lloyd Mall
Sir! No Sir!
A well-timed documentary about dissention among the soldiers in the Vietnam War. Hollywood Theatre