2001: A Space Odyssey
Movies don’t get much better than Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 science-fiction epic, and if you’re watching it on your TV, you’re doing it wrong. The Laurelhurst has a fancy digital print of one of the most extraordinary (and extraordinarily beautiful) movies ever made; go see it on the big screen, as Kubrick and HAL 9000 intended. ERIK HENRIKSEN Laurelhurst Theater.
300: Rise of an Empire
With a sequence of events strangely encircling those of the first 300, Rise of an Empire courageously commits itself to the Speed principle of sequel-making: (1) Replace your leading man (Gerard Butler, seen here only in muted footage, presumably left over from the previous film), and (2) throw the whole thing onto a boat. ZAC PENNINGTON Various Theaters.
Access, Activism, and Collectives
Cinema Project and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art present experimental filmmaker Tony Conrad, with a "selection of films which examine socio-cultural power structures." Artist in attendance. More info: cinemaproject.org. PICA.
The Art of the Steal
A crime comedy in which Kurt Russell plays an art thief/stunt motorcycle driver named "Crunch Calhoun," and if you don't think that sounds great, maybe it's time to reassess your priorities. Jonathan Sobol's light caper flick is crammed with breezy banter (Russell's first deadpan line is "You don't forget a second of your stay in the Warsaw penal system," while the man who fathered both Russell and Matt Dillon's half-brother characters is casually described as "the Johnny Appleseed of sperm"), with Jay Baruchel and a bone-dry Terence Stamp rounding out the cast. Relying on the considerable charm of its leads, Sobol's film is a reminder that heist flicks are better the more fun they are; American Hustle could learn a thing or two. ERIK HENRIKSEN Living Room Theaters, On Demand.
Better Living Through Chemistry
A by-the-book small-town pharmacist (Sam Rockwell) dips into his own supply and is soon torn between his nagging, athletic wife (Michelle Monaghan) and his wealthy, pill-popping mistress (Olivia Wilde, far outclassing her surroundings). Better Living Through Chemistry seems more like a sex fantasy of its first-time writer/directors Geoff Moore and David Posamentier than an actual comedy about actual people. The script must have read incredibly well to attract this cast—Jane Fonda is the narrator, and you'll wish she wasn't—but none of that promise is on the screen. NED LANNAMANN Living Room Theaters.
The Bicycle Film Festival
New York's Bicycle Film Fest brings a whole lot of short films that "celebrate the bicycle" to Portland. More info: bicyclefilmfestival.com. Clinton Street Theater.
A series showcasing "Latin American classic cinema from the golden era of film." This installment features the lucha libre film Santo and Blue Demon vs. the Monsters, plus a pre-movie fashion show. Hollywood Theatre.
Classics from Studio Ghibli
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? As a NW Film Center retrospective (featuring new, subtitled, 35mm prints) demonstrates, nobody else can balance exhilarating weightlessness with moral gravity in quite the same proportions. ANDREW WRIGHT Whitsell Auditorium.
A Clockwork Orange
"It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen." Academy Theater.
Northwest Film Center's month-long retrospective of cinema's second greatest Burt continues. This weekend's selections include two terrific, influential westerns: 1957's Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, with Lancaster as Wyatt Earp, and 1954's bawdy Vera Cruz, whose coarseness and bleak outlook were picked up a decade later by Sergio Leone. Also up are two solid prison flicks: 1962's Birdman of Alcatraz, plus Jules Dassin's truly great, tragic Brute Force from 1947. Eat your saccharine heart out, Frank Darabont. NED LANNAMANN Whitsell Auditorium.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
See review this issue. Cinema 21.
A drama about a 14-year-old girl's "dream to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone." Somebody should show her All Is Lost. Clinton Street Theater.
Making and Unmaking TV
Cinema Project and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art examine "the history of video when the interview as a practice and television as a medium were important sites of innovation and intervention for politically minded artists." Artist Tony Conrad and guest curator Paige Sarlin in attendance. More info: cinemaproject.org. PICA.
Need for Speed
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Emilio! Hollywood Theatre.
A monthly series at the Hollywood Theatre, "showing vintage and contemporary films that are obscure, neglected, and from the fringe." This month: 16mm shorts about "the world of the outsider." Hollywood Theatre.
Team America: World Police
"Burqa! Burqa burqa burqa!" Fifth Avenue Cinema.
That Darn Cat
The 1965 Hayley Mills children's film, now playing for a delighted audience of lonely cat ladies. Hollywood Theatre.
A documentary that follows a quirky inventor, Tim Jenison, who attempts to recreate a painting by Johannes Vermeer. The journey is funny, the results are impressive, and Tim's Vermeer is one of the most entertaining art documentaries I've seen (and I watch a lot of 'em... a lot of 'em being boring). JENNA LECHNER Cinema 21.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
"Now, look what we have here before us. We got the Saracens sitting next to the Jones Street Boys. We've got the Moonrunners right by the Van Cortlandt Rangers. Nobody is wasting nobody. That... is a miracle. And miracles is the way things ought to be." Hollywood Theatre.