★ MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday-Thursday, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.
One half of the Hughes Brothers (Albert) directs this adventure about a boy in the Ice Age who makes friends with an injured wolf, and in the process, invents dog ownership. Thanks, kid! Various Theaters.
It’s difficult to know what to make of Spike Lee’s latest joint—a fact that positions BlacKkKlansman almost perfectly within the filmmaker’s larger oeuvre. Few directors with as many films to their name as Lee have such an incredible body of work that is both brilliant and eye-rollingly annoying, often in the same movie. And while BlacKkKlansman never hits the rocky depths of Lee’s more troubled or narratively uneven films, it also falls short of the inspired artistry that defines the director’s best work. DAVID F. WALKER Various Theaters.
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG
Four years after unleashing upon the world what has come to be (rightfully) considered the worst British accent in the history of film, Dick Van Dyke was placed in yet another UK-originated children’s story. But there are quite a few differences between 1964’s Mary Poppins and 1968’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and—aside from both films containing catchy songs filled with nonsense syllables—not a lot of similarities. Firstly, this isn’t Disney. Secondly, it’s based on a book by Ian Fleming (the creepy guy behind the relentlessly ugly-as-fuck James Bond novels) and adapted by Roald Dahl (the silly guy behind James and the Giant Peach). Thirdly, Van Dyke gets to keep his American accent, which is a great call because this film already has way too much going on for you to be distracted by Dick’s glottal manglings. Seriously, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a lot; a lot of song, a lot of plot, a lot of crazy inventions and dead-eyed kid actors... It’s like a cinematic Clif Bar of kid-film clichés. Chew carefully. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
★ GODZILLA (1954)
When asked what the platonic ideal of a Godzilla movie should be, people tend to describe something like a backyard wrestling bout with rubber-suited men clumsily powerbombing each other through cardboard cityscapes. While some Godzilla movies do fit that description, Godzilla was born more than 60 years ago as extremely effective allegorical sci-fi/horror in Ishirô Honda’s 1954 film. Watching the original on the big-screen is a must, no matter if you’re new to the series or a veteran kaiju-lover. But if you are a newcomer? Welcome to the fold, and apologies for how harshly your visions of cornball monster fights will be replaced by the black-and-white terror of a people—less than 10 years removed from real-life nuclear holocaust—wrestling with that physical, mental, and spiritual fallout. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
THE LAST MOVIE
Dennis Hopper’s re-acceptance into popular culture is generally credited to his performance as a barely-dried-out drunk riding the bench next to Gene Hackman in 1986’s blindingly white basketball drama Hoosiers. But what did he have to come back from? Well, aside from his reputation as a never-dried-out pain in the ass to everyone he’d ever worked with, the large-scale failure of 1971’s The Last Movie is a pretty big reason why Hopper disappeared. It’s essentially a metatextual musing on Hopper’s creative impulses, with key assists from his friends Sam Fuller, Rebel Without a Cause screenwriter Stewart Stern, and Kris Kristofferson. It’s also, as Roger Ebert famously put it, “A wasteland of cinematic wreckage.” The Last Movie is kind of a tough sit, but the trip into Hopper’s (obnoxious, self-indulgent) young mind does reap its own odd rewards. BOBBY ROBERTS NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
The problem with The Meg isn’t that it’s dumb, it’s that it isn’t dumb enough. This is a movie about Jason Statham fighting a giant prehistoric shark that eats submarines, which isn’t the sort of material that demands the My Dinner with Andre treatment (although I would watch that). All a super-shark chomp-’em-up like this needs is a series of increasingly improbable chompings and a cast willing to gnaw more scenery than their ravenous, doll-eyed counterparts. Deep Blue Sea got this formula pretty close to right 19 years ago, but The Meg hasn’t learned much from history. BEN COLEMAN Various Theaters.
An R-rated drama starring acclaimed Scottish thespian Kelly MacDonald as a neglected woman whose life is irrevocably altered when she plunges headfirst into the mysteriously alluring world of (checks notes) ...competitive jigsaw puzzle-solving. Various Theaters.
★ QUEER HORROR: THE FINAL GIRLS
Carla Rossi’s bimonthly celebration of a genre known for its predilections towards transgressive shock returns to the Hollywood Theatre with yet another postmodern deconstruction of horror-movie mechanics, 2015’s The Final Girls, a film that riffs on the (botched) premise of Last Action Hero while also poking at the myriad clichés that classic slasher films have historically made of their female leads, somehow combining the tones of both Scream and Shaun of the Dead into a single film about resilient women enduring way more bullshit than anyone deserves. The Final Girls is preceded by Rossi’s tribute to the genre’s greatest “Final Girls.” BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
REPRESSED CINEMA: 16MM INTERNATIONAL PSYCHOTRONIC SHORTS
Ian Sundahl reaches into his vault full of 16mm fascinations and presents a carefully curated collection of really fucking weird shit from all over the world, including psychedelic travelogues, silent film-era sci-fi shorts, amateur home movies, and even a Godard spoof. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
The director of bizarro-documentary The Wolfpack returns to theaters with the all-girl skateboarding crew the Skate Kitchen in Skate Kitchen, a sorta-pseudo-documentary (but with Jaden Smith) about New York’s skateboard subculture. Hollywood Theatre.
★ UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s story of a dying man in Thailand takes place in a rarefied state where folk tales and ghost stories mingle with everyday life. Meditative and mysterious, full of long takes and dreamy ideas—including hairy ape men with glowing eyes and randy fish who take out their sexual frustration on human women—Uncle Boonmee is as unpredictable as it is enthralling. JAMIE S. RICH NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.