★ MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday-Thursday, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.
AIR FORCE ONE
In 1997, Wolfgang Petersen’s ludicrous action thriller Air Force One was about two clicks shy of full-blown fantasy: Indiana Jones is THE PRESIDENT. The President is basically JOHN McCLANE. And he and his FINGER OF DOOM are going to wag, bag, and tag every last Russkie terrorist with the temerity to try hijacking his plane. In 2018, the film has become 100 percent fantasy because now our president is a demented racist slumlord with a string of bankruptcies almost as long as his history of sexual assault, and Russians wouldn’t have to hijack Air Force One, our bloated dipshit-in-chief would not only invite them on, but hand-feed grapes to their shirtless smirking godhead. Never before would I have thought to describe this above-average actioner with the word “wistful,” but somehow we occupy the reality in which that fits. BOBBY ROBERTS Kennedy School.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
You need to be at Ant-Man and the Wasp ON TIME. The sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man comes in hard on a tender, relevant flashback that shouldn’t be missed. The scene’s weird placement suggests it was added at the last minute to catch-up confused audiences: While Ant-Man and the Wasp is fun, funny, and exciting, it also runs the risk of being incomprehensible to those uninitiated in the ways of Marvel. The 20th(!) film in Marvel’s decade-long franchise, Ant-Man and the Wasp will delight loyal fans with obscure superhero references, but it’ll also completely lose anyone who haven’t seen the majority of the 19 Marvel films that have preceded it. SUZETTE SMITH Various Theaters.
A 2017 Brazilian slice-of-life drama from co-writers/directors Affonso Uchôa and João Dumans, about a teenager who—when he’s not tending to his sick brother—just sorta rides his bike aimlessly around town until he discovers the diary of an itinerant worker and falls into the stranger’s journey toward self-improvement. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) stars as a mover, literally carrying the furniture for the rich folks rapidly gentrifying his hometown of Oakland, California as he tries to make it through the last 72 hours of his felony probation—despite the best/worst troublemaking efforts of his tryhard whiteboy best friend. Various Theaters.
BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER
Jamie Babbit’s ahead-of-its-time satire tells the story of a teenage girl sent to rehab for being gay, only to discover that rehab for being gay is a giant load of bullshit. How ahead of its time was it? When it released in 1999, it was initially rated NC-17 until trims were made to limit the homosexual content in the film, and myopic, cynical film critics couldn’t process it as anything other than a labored John Waters knock-off. Now it’s considered one of the best examples of the late ‘90s teen comedy renaissance, a clever blend of cute, corny, and cutting, containing two of the best ever performances by both Clea DuVall and Natasha Lyonne. In other words, it’s the perfect choice for the Top Down: Rooftop Cinema series, and a perfect opportunity for newcomers to discover its gaudy charms, and for the already-converted to rediscover them on the big screen. BOBBY ROBERTS Portland State University Parking Structure 2.
Brad Baruh’s indie thriller gets its Portland premiere at the Clinton Street, starring Re-Animator’s Barbara Crampton as a politician found unconscious in the woods, revived just in time for her rescuers to realize supernatural fuckery is afoot. Clinton Street Theater.
DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT
Gus Van Sant’s biopic of Portland cartoonist John Callahan slots in comfortably with the rest of Van Sant’s work from the last decade: It’s compassionately made and graced with subtle, artsy touches, but it’s also presented with a slight tentativeness, as if fearful of alienating a wide audience. ROBERT HAM Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre, Lloyd Center 10.
★ DOWN BY LAW
Jim Jarmusch’s 1986 cult classic is less a noir than it is a black-and-white jailhouse fantasy carried by the ingratiating performances of Tom Waits, John Lurie, and Roberto Benigni. Sure, there’s a story here (kind of) but this is quintessential Jarmusch—you’re not really here for that. You’re here to soak up the the atmosphere, the scenery, and dialogue pouring out of characters effortlessly radiating pure cool at a level only Jarmusch seems equipped to capture. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
See review, this issue. Various Theaters.
THE EQUALIZER 2
Art it most assuredly wasn’t, but 2014’s The Equalizer had its pulpy virtues, most notably a vigilante with obsessive-compulsive tendencies who enacted ridiculously excessive amounts of righteous vengeance on his foes. (A revenge movie that can actually make you feel briefly sorry for Eurotrash human traffickers is doing something right.) The Equalizer 2 tries hard to recreate that primal red-meat formula, but takes far too long puttering around to really deliver the exploitation goods. Just get to the equalizing already! ANDREW WRIGHT Various Theaters.
FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES
As with the recent restoration of John Waters’ fantastic second film, Multiple Maniacs, another landmark of queer cinema has been rescued and revived. Released in 1969, Toshio Matsumoto’s Funeral Parade of Roses shares similar thematic DNA with its counterpart from Baltimore. Both feature daring sex scenes, a plot involving a love triangle, and moments of shocking violence. But instead of relying on Waters’ in-your-face weirdness, Matsumoto lets his experimental style do the work of setting the audience at unease. A gender-fluid take on Oedipus Rex that takes cues from Jonas Mekas (who’s name-checked in the film), Seijun Suzuki, and Andy Warhol, Funeral is a frenetic hodgepodge of styles and moods. ROBERT HAM Fifth Avenue Cinema.
The second of two Brazilian tag-team efforts screening at NW Film Center this weekend, Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra’s Good Manners is as insightful about the effects that economic disparity can have on people as Araby, but in markedly different ways. That movie is a gentle story about two men moving towards self-improvement. This movie is about two women—one rich, white, and manipulative, one poor, Black, and needing a job—and what happens when it turns out the rich white woman is also a pregnant werewolf. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
Samwise Gamgee and Thanos ask Short Round, a chubby exhibitionist, and a bad Michael Jackson impersonator to join them on a treasure hunt at the Oregon coast, where Joey Pants and the FBI dickhead from Die Hard are illegally detaining an ex-football player with encephalitis. Will this motley gang of misfits find Captain Dick Joke’s secret stash of gold coins? Will everyone speak solely in perforated shrieks and yelps? Will you start to wish you were just playing the old NES game again instead of sitting through your 50th viewing of this tired nostalgia exercise that constitutes roughly 17 percent of Astoria’s economy? Hah! C’mon. Goonies never say die, right? It’s our time down here! BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION
Dracula’s back—and he’s hitting the beach! Or fucking whatever the fuck, we’re not looking it up. Various Theaters.
★ INCREDIBLES 2
What Incredibles 2 sacrifices in cohesion and heart it makes up for with action and comedy, enhanced by Brad Bird using animation to do things that live action just can’t. He opens Incredibles 2 with back-to-back set pieces that quickly put the previous film’s finale in the rearview; he closes the film with a team-based triumph that any three X-Men flicks combined couldn’t compete with; and when he goes for the gag (which is often), it feels like Chuck Jones-era Looney Tunes via classic-era Simpsons. Incredibles 2 isn’t as good or affecting as the original, but it is prettier, louder, faster, and funnier. BOBBY ROBERTS Various Theaters.
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM
This is a movie bursting with bugfuck shitbird INSANE ideas, but to its credit, it commits to all of them. Here is a list of things in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that you will think I am making up to fuck with you, but I assure you, I am not: A Scooby Doo mansion full of seeeeecrets! Multiple baby dinosaurs engaging in multiple cuddling scenarios! Evil Russians buying weaponized dinosaurs! (Timely!) Elder abuse! A jailbreak that relies on a head-butting Pachycephalosaurus?? Murrrrderrrrrr. A Trump-quoting mercenary who collects dinosaur teeth... so he can make himself a pretty necklace! A CLONE?!?!?! ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
“I don’t know what the hell you’re doing with this movie,” the head of the road crew says to director Eugene Jarecki midway through The King. The expensive stunt prop for Jarecki’s meandering, celebrity-studded documentary about Elvis Presley—a 1963 Rolls-Royce that once belonged to the King—has just broken down, and as a tow truck carries the immobilized Rolls, the crew member helps Jarecki work out an effective thesis for his directionless film. Up to that point, The King is mostly an aimless series of interviews about Presley, conducted with actors, musicians, and other assorted celebrities as they perch awkwardly in the backseat of Presley’s Rolls. (“Why didn’t you get one of his Cadillacs?” someone asks, reasonably.) A few of the interview subjects, like James Carville and Ethan Hawke, have worthwhile things to say; others, like Alec Baldwin and Ashton Kutcher, don’t. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
★ LEAVE NO TRACE
If you lived in Portland in 2004, you remember it: The discovery that, for years, a father and daughter had been living in Forest Park in an undetected campsite. They were eventually found and housed by the authorities, but soon disappeared again. The story inspired a novel, My Abandonment, written by Reed College creative writing professor Peter Rock, and that book has been adapted into a compassionate, graceful movie by Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik. NED LANNAMANN Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre.
THE LEGEND OF SURIYOTHAI
Chatrichalerm Yukol’s 2001 historical epic focused on the life of Queen Suriyothai, Thailand’s leader during the 16th century’s Burmese invasion and civil war. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN
I want to reconsider my stance on marriage so that I can marry Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. I want it to be one of my daughter’s fathers. It is the lightest timeline. It is the good place. Aside from parenting my child, it is the most uplifting experience I’ve had in the last two years. It’s important to be engaged, but mental health breaks are important, too, and while you could just silence your phone and try to ignore each news alert signaling our further descent into doom, it’ll be much better to watch Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and fully immerse yourself in pure, batshit joy. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
★ MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT STARRING TOM CRUISE
See review, this issue. Various Theaters.
★ NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1988)
VHS was the means by which many a trash classic was made in the ’80s. Films that theaters seemed ashamed to screen would enjoy a second life on video store shelves, their garish, tasteless covers beckoning to pubescent thrill-seekers. 1988’s Night of the Demons is one of the best examples of that phenomenon—its box featured a prom queen from hell, red-eyed and leering, warning that this film was too scary for Freddy and Jason! For its 30th anniversary, the Hollywood has unearthed a 35mm print and invited its star, horror icon Linnea Quigley, to answer questions from a crowd packed full of people formatively scarred by its foul mouth (this film taught 11-year-old me “fuck” could be placed into bowls and eaten, which was a mindblowing approach to profanity at that age) its ample gore, and its still-somewhat-transgressive feel. Yeah, it’s basically just an Evil Dead riff, but a good one, maintaining a delicate balance between cheese and “Jesus Christ that is fucked up” for 90 minutes. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
There will be people who say that the Ocean’s 11 franchise is ruined now that it stars women. To them I say: What’s it like to be joyless? Because (1) Heist movies are always good, and (2) it’s not like the Ocean’s movies were Citizen fucking Kane. This spin-off builds off of an already-insane universe and incorporates women’s empowerment and beautiful jewelry. What’s not to like?! ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
PATH OF BLOOD
Award-winning director Jonathan Hacker presents his latest, a look at terrorism in the Middle East via footage recovered by Saudi security forces tasked with stopping the attacks—footage shot by members of Al Qaeda themselves, capturing events inside jihadi boot camps as young men hatch various plots to overthrow the Saudi government. Clinton Street Theater.
Of all the things this Hitchcock classic is often championed for—its score, its cinematography, its fucking perfect sense of pacing—maybe the most notable achievement is how completely it manipulates an audience’s empathy. Steven Spielberg is often considered one of cinema’s master magicians, but even he wouldn’t be so bold as to hinge an entire movie’s success on his ability to not only put you in a matricidal, murdering peeper’s shoes, but convince you to put those shoes on yourself without even thinking twice about it. Hitchcock has made better films, but never any as sneaky as Psycho. BOBBY ROBERTS Mission Theater.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not a silly person. She’s fucking smart. Like, I’m-embarrassed-that-this-idiot-brain-is-the-one-I-have-to-use-to-write-about-her smart. She was the second woman confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court. She was the first woman on both the Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review. She can do more push-ups than you. She eats prunes. She’s not a kooky old grandma. In fact, in terms of beloved old beings, she’s more Gandalf than Betty White. Y’all shall not pass shit. ELINOR JONES Academy Theater.
It’s in Skyscraper—the latest in a streak of big-budget high-concept Dwayne Johnson blockbusters—that he finally claims Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mantle. Not in terms of body count or catch phrases, which are relics of another era. (Sorry, The Expendables.) What Skyscraper represents is an absurd action movie that simply couldn’t justify it’s existence without Johnson’s presence. He’s an enormous charisma engine; drop him into a shiny plastic shell, and suddenly you’ve got a vehicle. BEN COLEMAN Various Theaters.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
Ever since Disney gave George Lucas a $4 billion check in exchange for all things Star Wars, the squallingest sections of fandom have repeated the same whining complaints whenever a new Star War happens: “It’s pandering fan service!” “They’re milking our nostalgia!” “They’re turning Star Wars into Marvel!” This cynical cacophony usually comes from pissbabies who don’t remotely know what the fuck they’re talking about, but get this: All of those things are 100 percent true for Solo: A Star Wars Story. And yet: It’s fitting that Solo, a film about a charming dipshit who succeeds despite his dumbassery, is still a very entertaining movie! Much like its plot, Solo shouldn’t work. It doesn’t work. It wins anyway. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater, OMSI Empirical Theater.
★ SORRY TO BOTHER YOU
It says a lot about the regressive state of America in 2018 that perhaps the only effective way to inject a pro-union theme into a movie is to cloak it in an outrageous, surrealist, science-fiction-tinged dark comedy. Not that Sorry to Bother You restricts itself to a single “message”—writer/director Boots Riley, of hip-hop group the Coup, has made a dense, dizzy pageant of social commentary and sheer what-the-fuckery. It’s an angry screed against racism, capitalism, violence as entertainment, and economic inequality, but it’s also hilarious and wholly unique. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES
The surprisingly subversive superhero show for kids (why the hell aren’t they all for kids, by the way) makes the leap to the big screen without becoming a drab, sour-faced live-action slog (cough-ahem Batman v Superman) and without a desaturated, gun-toting Robin stabbing street criminals in the neck and uttering the words “Fuck Batman” before stomping out of frame (ahem-cough-hack Titans ahem). Instead, it’s a mile-a-second satire/parody of superhero comedy that looks to out-joke Deadpool, minus all the profanity and headshots (and thankfully, without T.J. Miller, too). BOBBY ROBERTS Various Theaters.
★ THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS
If Three Identical Strangers were a book, it would be the kind of page-turner that you devour in a single weekend. Unlike most paperback potboilers, though, Three Identical Strangers’ bizarre, emotional rollercoaster lingers with you—and not merely because it all actually happened. Tim Wardle’s documentary ends up taking viewers to a very dark place, and, even as it remains a compulsively watchable and digestible experience, it refuses to offer the kind of clear-cut resolution we demand from mysteries. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
A documentary that answers more questions than I knew I had about Whitney Houston’s life, from her religious upbringing to how she was groomed by her musical family, and from her meteoric rise to the top of the charts to her spectacularly sad struggle with drugs—a struggle that, unfortunately, overlapped with parenthood. It’s a lot, and Whitney’s two-hour runtime can feel padded with superfluous info and context, even when it doesn’t have a ton to do with its subject. (Sit down, Berlin Wall!) The real meat is found in the extensive, heartfelt interviews with Houston’s family members, including the evil enabler Bobby Brown (boo, hiss), as well as touching, never-before-seen footage of Houston herself, being very human. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
THE WIZARD OF OZ
1939’s The Wizard of Oz is less a film than it is an American touchstone; a rite of passage for children of every generation; a silly, sentimental constant always running in our popular culture’s background like a TV in the other room. But when you set all that aside and actually watch it as a film—holy shit is it one fuckin’ weird movie, an acid-trip wonderland full of flying monkeys and melting witches and lions and tigers and bears and little dogs, too. There’s a reason dipshit burnouts have been trying to make Pink Floyd its unofficial soundtrack for decades now. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
Was Fred Rogers—the writer, producer, and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood—really a soft-spoken, sweet-tempered man? Spoiler alert: Yes, he was! Finally, one single thing has escaped your childhood without scandal! SUZETTE SMITH Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre, St. Johns Twin Cinemas.
WYRD WAR’S SUMMER BUMMER
Wyrd War offers up an opportunity to beat the summer heat not just via the Hollywood’s air-conditioning, but with a very cool double feature from cult director Jeff Lieberman, including 1977’s Blue Sunshine, an indictment of Southern Californian suburbia in the form of LSD-and-alopecia fueled murder, and 1981’s Just Before Dawn, the other early ’80s camp slasher filmed at Silver Falls State Park. Director in attendance. Hollywood Theatre.
Don’t just watch it because this is the movie that Sergio Leone flat-out ripped off to make A Fistful of Dollars, and don’t just watch it because it’s an Akira Kurosawa film and you’re supposed to watch Kurosawa so you can become a more sophisticated, learned, well-rounded aficionado or some shit like that. Watch Yojimbo because it’s just really, really fucking good, and it’s also one of the best things Toshiro Mifune ever did, so good that within about five minutes of his appearing onscreen it becomes very apparent—Clint Eastwood’s whole acting career is literally a pale, watered down, and stepped-on pantomime of Mifune’s. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.