Another Gay Movie
I can't help but wonder if the makers of this film considered titles like American Quiche, or Ten Things I Like About Cock, or any other send-up of the ubiquitous teen sex comedy. But I guess Another Gay Movie works as a title, as that's exactly what this movie is. The freshly-graduated boys of San Torum High have until the end of the summer to fuck another guy, thereby heralding their ascension to manhood. Will Andy get some ass before he defiles all of his mother's produce? Will Nico find the Daddy of his dreams? Is Jarod's dick big enough? Is Griff's ass bubbly enough? Did Dawn the bull-dyke really fuck the entire pep squad? Wantonly filled with cameos by such gay icons as Scott Thompson, Lipsynka, Matthew Rush, and Survivor's Richard Hatch, the boys answer all their questions with yucks, hijinx, and gratuitous C&A (cock and ass). And of course, there's the question on all of our minds: Will we finally see Richard Hatch's junk? Well, I don't want to ruin it for you. (Brad Buckner) Cinema 21
The Ant Bully
Another CG kids' flick, with another slew of famous actors (Nicolas Cage, Paul Giamatti, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep) providing voices. This one, though, also boasts the buttery-smooth voice of the one and only Ricardo Montalban, whose name must always be written and said in italics: Ricardo Montalban. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Army of Shadows
This 1969 film is centered around the French resistance during the German occupation of WWII. Reflecting the fact that the people who made up this "army of shadows" were ordinary folks, there's no glamour or 007-type gadgetry—the film is bleak and slow, but the moments of drama, when they come, are all the more exciting. (One particularly excruciating scene involves the execution of a traitor, carried out by three bumbling operatives who don't know what they're doing. It's a scene reminiscent of someone's first crack at killing a chicken: They unnecessarily draw out the unpleasantness, haplessly torturing the victim out of ignorance.) While sometimes tediously slow, Army is a worthwhile reminder of a time when films were more ponderous than frenetic. It's a pseudo-educational specimen of historical fiction that doesn't go overboard to sensationalize the era—which could be repellent or attractive, depending on how your tastes run. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre
Humanized cows do NOT make good cartoon characters. You can't stand a cow up on its hind legs and make it talk and dance around with its bright pink phallic udder swinging everywhere! That's not cute and goofy! These cartoon cows don't even have buttholes drawn onto them, yet we get to watch their perverse udders just flap around in the wind the whole fucking movie? Uh, ew! There's also a creepy coyote in this movie that, when threatening the hens in the hen house, turns it into this weirdly sexual situation and like, starts talking all deep and weird while stroking the chickens and shit. Kids probably won't pick up on it (they're sorta dumb), but I totally noticed and it made me uncomfortable. But if you're into that sorta thing—you know, bestiality—than Barnyard is the perfect movie for you! (Megan Seling) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Best of CineKink
Selections from CineKink, "the really alternative film festival." With kink-friendly bits featuring S&M, leather, polyamory, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Director/curator Lisa Vandever in attendance. Clinton Street Theater
Brothers of the Head
See review this issue. Cinema 21
The best and funniest film Smith's made since the first Clerks. Lloyd Mall
In the first half of The Descent, writer/director Neil Marshall threatens to drown you in a convoluted psychological tale of transcendence—but you'll be happy to know the film later incorporates practically any and all horrors that could be lurking in a cave hundreds of feet below the surface. (Jenna Roadman) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The 1996 sci-fi flick, not the 1994 Coolio video. Lame. Fifth Avenue Cinemas
The Fantastics: Tales of the Tele-Gods: Infestation
Calling all D&D dorks! According to the press release, The Fantastics is a "A psychedelic, stylized meditation on the lives of high school outcasts who get a little too involved in role-playing games. When the lure of 'leveling up' becomes too strong for the persecuted Bobby Henderson, he attempts to usurp trans-dimensional powers from within the game and summon forces from fantasy into the realms of the real." From local experimental collective Fantamation Studios. East Bank Saloon Banquet Hall
The Great New Wonderful
An anthology of five "darkly comic and deeply human stories," all told in relation to a post-9/11 NYC. Featuring Tony Shalhoub, Olympia Dukakis, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, who apparently is only doing 9/11 films from here on out. Hollywood Theatre
Local animator Bill Plympton's film about high school in the '50s (and zombies) will be preceded by two of Plympton's short films, "Guide Dog" and the Oscar-nominated "Guard Dog." Mission Theater
An Inconvenient Truth
An Inconvenient Truth is workmanlike and clumsy at times—but it's also hugely invigorating. Tracking Al Gore's global-warming lecture as he schleps his Apple laptop across the country and to China, it's a collection of scientific facts and correlations made urgent through human drama and low-tech slide-show magic. It should be required viewing for every American citizen. (Annie Wagner) Fox Tower 10, Tigard-Joy Cinema
John Tucker Must Die
Where most teen movies delight with humor and quirks, and characters with at least a small amount of depth, John Tucker Must Die just doesn't cut it. It's a shell of the prototype, the bare minimum, hardly scraping by. If you feel like seeing some fine teen fun, do yourself a favor and rent Mean Girls instead. In fact, I own Mean Girls, and I think I'll go watch it right now. (Kaitlyn Burch) Century Eastport 16
Lady in the Water
Lady in the Water is, by all measures, a fairy tale, a story for kids; following a stuttering super at an apartment complex, Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti), the film wastes no time introducing its fantasy elements. There's the water nymph (Bryce Dallas Howard) who shows up in Cleveland's swimming pool, talking in annoying half-riddles about "the blue world" and asking if Cleveland feels "an awakening." Soon, there're enough fantastical elements to make a Dungeons & Dragons dweeb blush: evil dogs made out of plants, magical monkeys in nearby trees, giant eagles swooping through the sky. But writer/director M. Night Shyamalan's storytelling here is so cluttered and clunky and self-conscious that Lady in the Water is also, by nearly all measures, a failure. (Erik Henriksen) Division Street, Tigard Cinemas, Cinema 99, Lloyd Mall
The Lake House
Based on the 2000 South Korean film Siworae, The Lake House follows Alex (Keanu Reeves) and Kate (Sandra Bullock), both of whom live in a beautiful, Frank Lloyd Wright-esque house that's made almost entirely of glass, and sits, perched on stilts, above a lake. Weird thing is, Alex and Kate aren't living there at the same time—they communicate through letters, and as far as they can tell, Kate's living in 2006, while Alex is in 2004. The Lake House's first act is surprisingly solid and interesting, something that the filmmakers desperately try to remedy halfway through by turning the thing into an embarrassingly stupid and syrupy mess. (Erik Henriksen) Laurelhurst, Edgefield, Avalon, Academy Theater, Milwaukie Cinema
Little Miss Sunshine
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
More like Miami NICE! (Adam Gnade and Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
So there's this woman and her husband and they build a house, but then she dies in the heart of it so the house is scary and it has a heart, and a chimney with smoke that comes out of it, and a big mouth. It has legs and arms and walks around, and these kids go in with a key but then it's pretty scary. Yeah, I liked this movie! You should go see it! But it was pretty scary. I had to hold my dad's hand for a lot of it. (Kayla, the Mercury's resident six-year-old) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Night Listener
In many ways, The Night Listener is a throwback to the Hitchcock-ian uncanny, but its resemblance to so many recent literary scandals (the plot seems to be a note-for-note echo of the JT LeRoy hoax) is distracting. Gabriel Noone (Robin Williams), a writer and radio storyteller, receives the manuscript of a memoir written by a teenage boy, Pete Logand (Rory Culkin), the victim of a harrowing childhood in which his parents exploited him as a sex slave. Now Pete is dying of AIDS, one of his only joys being Noone's radio show. The two develop a telephone relationship, but as time goes by, doubts are raised as to the authenticity of the memoir and of Logand's existence, with Noone desperately attempting to root out the truth. (Marjorie Skinner) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
See Sold Out, pg. 57. Cinemagic
The latest in teenybopper horror, this time starring Veronica Mars' Kristen Bell. Not screened for critics; hit portlandmercury.com on Friday afternoon for our review. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Rise Above: The Tribe 8 Documentary
Tribe 8 were (and kind of still are) a surly, gender barrier destroying, viciously feminist punk band. Always controversial, they divided the queer music scene early on, were accused of promoting violence against women, and lived fucking hard: drugs, booze, tons of sex, heavy tours, savage stage shows, the whole bit. Rise Above shows the band's classic lineup in the later years of its career, focusing heavily on a women's music festival the band played in 1994, in which they were protested, debated, and—in the end—accepted and asked to come back the following year. The film's a well-shot and thorough look at the group, but it moves with a choppy, disjointed pace and seems to have little regard for any sort of timeline. Another downer: The last few minutes talk about how three of the main subjects left the band and shows what they're up to now, but doesn't go into any detail as to why they left; weirdly, it's presented as a footnote rather than as a major turn of events. (Adam Gnade) Clinton Street Theater
A Scanner Darkly
Philip K. Dick's writing is some seriously wacked-out stuff, happily walking a tightrope between comprehension and confusion, and veering into philosophic acrobatics as comfortably as it does visceral blows. Richard Linklater's note-by-note screenplay adaptation of his novel and inspired visuals nail Dick's fascinating plot and unsettling tone—throw in some dead-on performances, a soundtrack that flows with the prickly, urgent, and moving strains of Radiohead, and, for all its otherworldliness, A Scanner Darkly feels damningly prescient and tangible. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10, Cinemagic
Woody Allen's older, great comedies had an edge to them fueled mostly by his unrelenting anxiety and self-loathing. Now, he's comfortable in his skin, he finally likes himself, and the tension is gone. Remember how funny grandpa thought it was when he asked you to pull his finger? Scoop is like 90 minutes of that. (Justin Sanders) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Shadowboxer has a number of startling sights. There's the sight of Cuba Gooding, Jr. bedding Helen Mirren in the middle of a forest. Of Stephen Dorff's flaccid and condom-bedecked sausage dangling post-coitus. Of a broken pool cue being plunged, sharp end first, into an unwilling cornhole. That last sight, thankfully, is snipped away from our eyes before it gets too grisly. But it speaks to just the sort of film Shadowboxer is: brutal, irrational, and unafraid of offending. The plot, paper-thin as it is, finds contract killers Rose (Mirren) and Mikey (Gooding, Jr.) at a crossroads in both lives and career; she's dying of cancer, he's little more than a killer robot in need of constant direction. When they're hired by lunatic Clayton (Dorff), via a third party, to kill off Clayton's family, things start to get silly. First-time director Lee Phillips employs and arsenal of visual gimmicks—everything from saturated colors to jelly on the lens—but no amount of gussying up can cover the fact that the story he has to tell lacks imagination. The tale of the hitman struggling to go legit is one we've seen a number of times (Grosse Pointe Blank, Panic, et al.), and even with Phillips's bizarre casting choices (don't get me started on Joseph Gordon-Levitt making out with Mo'Nique), Shadowboxer can't survive its own unoriginality. (Bradley Steinbacher) Fox Tower 10
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Strangers with Candy
For those just joining us, Strangers was a wickedly funny show that ran on Comedy Central for three seasons. It featured the talents of David Sedaris' funnier sister, Amy, as ex-crack whore Jerri Blank who returns after a stint in prison to finish high school. A clear parody of the ABC After-School Specials, Strangers put a hilarious spin on such heavy teen issues as drug abuse, body image, and mental retardation. Though barely watched by mainstream America, Strangers was an absolute hit on the fringe, with pickle-jar tight direction, and an average of three laugh-out-loud jokes per minute. Which makes it really uncomfortable for me to relay the news that the Strangers with Candy movie... well... kind of sucks. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Hollywood Theatre
Fernando Perez's documentary about 24 hours in Havana. Whitsell Auditorium
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Considering that Anchorman is probably the best movie Will Ferrell will ever make, comparing Talladega Nights to it is kind of unfair—but also inevitable. Ferrell's Ricky Bobby is a borderline retarded, all-American racer who drives a Wonder Bread-branded car and serves as a hero to mouth-breathing NASCAR fans everywhere. Until, that is, a nemesis shows up: The all-French racer Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen). Disappointingly, Ferrell just phones it in here—it's the film's two supporting characters who make Talladega so entertaining. Da Ali G Show's brilliant Cohen is hilarious as the crêpe-loving Girard, and he's shown up only by the great John C. Reilly, who giddily plays Ricky Bobby's dumb, loyal friend Cal. Whenever Reilly and Cohen are on screen, Talladega Nights is a blast—fast, goofy, unpredictable, and willing to go all-out for laughs. You know, sort of like Anchorman. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Three Outlaw Samurai
Samurai hijinx! Whitsell Auditorium
Who Killed the Electric Car?
Have you ever cried over a car, one that wasn't even your own? You might, if you see this movie. Director Chris Paine explores the life and tragic death of GM's EV1, a zero-emission electric vehicle that hit the streets in the late '90s to meet California's tough new emissions standards—only to have nearly every car scooped up by the automaker a few years later as the California standard was rolled back. The sporty, perfectly useful cars were inexplicably corralled and crushed at the junkyard. (Amy Jenniges) Fox Tower 10
World Trade Center
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Tim Allen's latest family comedy; not screened for critics. Some reactions from the Mercury's cadre of editors: "I'd rather lick vomit out of a dog's mouth than see Zoom." (Wm. Steven Humphrey) "I'd rather be skull-fucked by Larry the Cable Guy than see anything Tim Allen does." (Chas Bowie) "I'd rather be fisted by a traffic cone full of gravel than suffer through Tim Allen's Zoom." (Amy Jenniges) "What's so wrong with Zoom? Seriously? I kind of want to see that movie." (Scott Moore)Regal Cinemas, etc.