Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt
A beautifully complex portrait of Townes Van Zandt, who wrote some of the most heartbreak-y flower child/alt-cowboy songs ever recorded. Van Zandt expedited his self-destruction with an addiction to bottles and needles, but Be Here to Love Me paints a three-dimensional profile of the artist, digging not only into his songs, but into his late-adolescent shock treatments, his needlessly run-down life, and his wonderfully metaphoric mind. Includes tons of rare performances, as well as interviews with ex-wives, family members, and musicians such as Guy Clark, Joe Ely, and Willie Nelson. CHAS BOWIE Hollywood Theatre.
Beauty and the Beast
It’s a tale as old as time—the kind of beautiful love story that subtly normalizes stuff like kidnapping and bestiality. CIARA DOLAN Various Theaters.
Years ago, when I first saw Marcel Camus’ beautiful, mercilessly hectic retelling of the Orpheus myth set in 1950s Rio de Janeiro, I didn’t realize that the original Greek figure was credited with “creating” pederasty—making it sort of creepy that he’s constantly followed around by eight-year-old boys in the movie. Watch it for the bossa nova soundtrack (and buy the awesome Vince Guaraldi album it inspired), love it for the implied man-boy love. (Not really.) SCOTT MOORE NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
Charming and obsessive, filmmaker Joe Dante (Gremlins, Piranha, Twilight Zone: The Movie) hits the Hollywood to screen and discuss his 1989 comedy thriller starring Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, and the late Carrie Fisher. The ’Burbs is gonna be fun to watch with a sold-out crowd, for sure, but the real fun will be the Q&A—few film geeks are as knowledgeable and passionate as Dante, who’s worked alongside everyone from Roger Corman to Steven Spielberg. Chances Dante’s Q&A about The ’Burbs stays limited to The ’Burbs: zero percent. ERIK HENRIKSEN Hollywood Theatre.
“Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!” Cinema 21.
Ghost in the Shell
The race thing is not handled very well in this live-action adaptation of one of the greatest anime movies ever made, Ghost in the Shell. Both films are set in Hong Kong, but the central characters in the original are Asian and all but one of the core characters in the new version are white. And it is not explained why these white, English-speaking characters—the main baddies, the sidekick, the star—are in an Asian city. They are just there, and we are asked to accept that as a fact. If Black female rocket scientists can produce a box-office hit in the US, Hidden Figures, then surely Asian cyborgs, scientists, and CEOs can do the same. CHARLES MUDEDE Various Theaters.
Going in Style
Going in Style is a Zach Braff-directed remake of a 1979 Martin Brest movie about three old men robbing a bank. Braff is the spectacularly untalented writer/director of Garden State, which was indirectly responsible for the Shins, who were indirectly responsible for Portlandia. Therefore, Braff is wholly accountable for the fact that it now takes 40 goddamn minutes to cross the Hawthorne Bridge. In his version of Going in Style, the three old men are played by Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin, and Michael Caine, all of whom have redefined the word “slumming” by venturing anywhere near this thing. (The less said about Ann-Margret’s performance, the better. I hope she’s okay.) Caine, specifically, is one of the finest and most charming actors in film history, and is also one of the most prolific—he’s appeared in The Last Witch Hunter, Jaws: The Revenge, Now You See Me 2, Bewitched, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, Blame It on Rio, Gnomeo & Juliet, Cars 2, and Austin Powers in Goldmember. In other words, he’s been in some real shit. Going in Style is far and away the worst thing he’s been involved with. He will be dead soon. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
I Called Him Morgan
The documentary I Called Him Morgan is about a great jazz trumpet player, Lee Morgan, his common-law wife, Helen, and the events leading up to the early morning hours of February 19, 1972, when Helen shot her husband in the gut (with a gun he had given her) between sets at the aptly named Slug’s Saloon in NYC’s East Village. A more comprehensive biography of Lee Morgan’s life and career would make a great documentary, but that is not this documentary. I Called Him Morgan is smaller than that and much bigger at the same time. It is about Lee and Helen and a love gone wrong; it is about how men use women; it is about genius and those who want a piece of it; and it is about what can and cannot be forgiven. Shot simply, delivered clearly, and accompanied by one hell of a soundtrack. AHAMEFULE J. OLUO Living Room Theaters.
Funny how all it took was a single rumor that Warner Bros. was thinking about maybe rebooting The Matrix for everyone to finally stop complaining about its sequels (which aren’t very good) and reflect on what a cinematic miracle the 1999 original really was. The Wachowskis’ live-action anime fires off philosophical musings amidst a torrent of fists and bullets that’s somehow simultaneously even more retro and more futuristic than it was almost 20 years ago. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
Movies in Black & White: Set it Off
A series that brings people together to “watch movies and talk about race, featuring guest panelists from the worlds of film, art, and comedy.” This time around: Set it Off, F. Gary Gray’s small-scale crime epic about four Black women who decide they’ve had enough of the world’s shit, and start robbing banks to even the score a little. Post-show discussion will include host Jason Lamb and comedians Marcus Coleman and Belinda Carroll. Hollywood Theatre.
Native Wisdom Films
Wisdom of the Elders presents four of director Lawrence Johnson’s documentaries examining changes in the Northwest environment, and how those changes affect the cultural and economic lives of Native Americans in the region. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
The New Tale of Zatoichi
The Samurai Sunday series continues with a 35mm screening of 1963’s New Tale of Zatoichi, the third chapter in the long-running, always satisfying series of films charting the stabby, slicy adventures of cinema’s favorite blind swordsman. Hollywood Theatre.
The word “genius” gets batted around with regard to filmmakers with a numbing, reductive frequency. But if Hayao Miyazaki doesn’t qualify for that title, who does? Since making his directorial debut with 1979’s The Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki has blazed his own distinct trail, blending atomic-clock action timing with an awe-inspiring, hand-rendered sense of the infinite. Nobody else can balance exhilarating weightlessness with moral gravity in quite the same proportions. Mononoke isn’t just one more example of that balance, it’s maybe the best example. ANDREW WRIGHT Laurelhurst Theater.
Queen of the Desert
Werner Herzog’s relentless work ethic and embrace of digital filmmaking has resulted in a flood of projects from the director—to the point where getting his films distributed now seems his biggest hold-up. Queen of the Desert, Herzog’s Gertrude Bell biopic, was completed in 2015, yet is only now finding American distribution; following Into the Inferno and Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, this film, for Americans at least, marks his third in eight months. This one’s not as good as those other two, but it does thrum with a tough, sun-beaten grace as it follows Bell (Nicole Kidman) on her travels through the Middle East in the late 19th and early 20th centuries—when oil-craving white colonialists started to slice up the region, and before, as Queen notes, “today’s incoherent conflict between Muslim traditionalists and extremists.” Lawrence of Arabia is clearly a touchstone (a decidedly less charismatic T. E. Lawrence even shows up, played by Robert Pattinson and calling Bell “Gerty”), with the notable difference that, as Bell treks through the sands, seemingly everyone she meets—including James Franco’s Henry Cadogan and Damian Lewis’ Charles Doughty-Wylie—falls in love with her. It’s easy to see why: Bell is fascinating and determined, and Kidman is great. Even if parts of Queen drag, Kidman and Herzog’s clear-eyed passion for Bell makes the whole worthwhile. ERIK HENRIKSEN On Demand.
The French make everything look delicious... including cannibalism, which happens to be the case in the wonderfully disgusting Raw. It’s a coming-of-cannibal tale by Julia Ducournau that’s as atmospheric as Let the Right One In, as dark as the 2007’s under-seen vagina dentata saga Teeth, and a Bildungsroman that makes The Hunger Games look like a tiptoe down the candy aisle. Bloody, stylish, and incredibly disturbing, Raw is a meaty piece of body horror about a virginal vegetarian who’s gagging for some sweet human flesh—figuratively and literally. COURTNEY FERGUSON Cinema 21.
What T2 does well, it does astonishingly well. More than a few scenes are hysterically funny, and more than a few escapades are white-knuckled fun. But what sticks with me are the things I never thought I’d get out of a Trainspotting movie—the smart, emotional things it has to say about friendship and the passage of time. NED LANNAMANN Fox Tower 10.
“Golf is a good walk spoiled,” Mark Twain said—correctly, if probably apocryphally—but this biopic of father-and-son golfers Tom and Tommy Morris had me thinking the sport might not be so bad. Set in 1870s Scotland, this old-timey version of golf is all windswept heaths, rugged moors, crashing surf, and deeply impressive sideburns. Course, there are still plenty of rich idiots to ruin everything—young Tommy Morris wasn’t born a “gentleman” but still tries to make his way on the professional golf circuit. Directed by Sean Connery’s son, Son Connery (not his actual name), Tommy’s Honour feels very far away from Mar-a-Lago, and that can only be a good thing. NED LANNAMANN Fox Tower 10.
A movie about rock climbing, and the risks inherent in rock climbing. Risks like falling off the side of a fucking rock and dying. Clinton Street Theater.
A cop, a junkie, and an ornery vigilante venture into a dark basement beneath a deserted hospital. They refuse to work together, because they’re all men with anger and trust issues, and also so that no one had to write backstories for them. There’s just a lot of grunting, gun-grabbing, and steamy close-face staring. The Void’s Canadian directors, Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, may be familiar to serious horror fans for their jokey, creature effects films; this is their attempt at a Serious Horror Drama. It is, at times, pretty to look at, and empty hospitals are legitimately creepy, even without the elder gods getting involved. SUZETTE SMITH Hollywood Theatre.
MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, April 14-Thursday, April 20, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.