The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
One-hundred-year-old Allan (Robert Gustafsson) escapes his retirement home and discovers a money-filled suitcase, angry skinheads, and an elephant. Allan's simple worldview (accepting whatever happens) keeps him a step ahead of danger as he reminisces about the times he met Stalin, Franco, Truman, and Reagan. While basically a mashup of Forrest Gump and Being There, this is more adorably funny than either. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Cinema 21.
The Apu Trilogy
A digital restoration of Satyajit Ray's acclaimed trilogy—1955's Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road), 1956's Aparajito (The Unvanquished), and 1959's Apur Sansar (The World of Apu). Cinema 21.
The Black Pirate
1926's Douglas Fairbanks pirate flick, screening as a benefit for Friends of Trees. Which is weird, because pirates don't give two fucks about trees. Hollywood Theatre.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
This threadbare plot could've been set up and resolved in two episodes, but that would've left out a whole bunch of douche. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.
From Ex Machina's relatively realistic opening moments—it subtly calls to mind both Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs and David Fincher's The Social Network—things spiral to stranger, creepier places. It's not as if the themes explored in Ex Machina are new—from Asimov to Blade Runner, we've pondered them before—but they're handled here with a depth and intelligence that gives them jarring impact. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Following up some of the best pop movies in recent history, the seventh—seventh!—installment in the genre-hopping series finds the family paying tribute to Paul Walker while also embarking on a 007-style super-spy adventure. Under director James Wan, Furious 7 amps up the insanely over-the-top spectacle, crams in all the loveable characters (most notably Tyrese Gibson's Roman and Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs), and earnestly goes for the series' hallmarks, both beloved (Vin Diesel grumbling about family) and subtle (progressive multiculturalism). This is a big cartoony jumble of action and melodrama, but it also zeros in on the movies' heartfelt core. Furious 7 isn't the first Fast & Furious movie that had me clapping and laughing throughout; it is the first that ended with me realizing I had a lump in my throat. ERIK HENRIKSEN Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater, Mission Theater.
Grindhouse Trailer Apocalypse
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
Heaven Knows What
Heroin probably isn't the best life choice, as repeatedly demonstrated by Arielle Holmes in Heaven Knows What. Holmes plays Harley, a teenage addict on the streets of New York who's madly in love with brooding Ilya (Caleb Landry Jones). Their love might be... uh... a little unhealthy, as moments into the film, after an intense makeout sesh, Ilya goads Harley into slitting her own wrists—which she all too willingly does. It's a harrowing, anxiety-ridden scene in a film that's full of them. COURTNEY FERGUSON Cinema 21.
I'll See You in My Dreams
Films about senior citizens frequently succumb to the cute and the mawkish, so writer-director Brett Haley's empathetic character study comes as a refreshing change of pace. After the death of her beloved dog pushes her back into the world, Blythe Danner's retired schoolteacher befriends a younger man (a very good Martin Starr) and a cigar-chomping older one (a squinty Sam Elliott), but this is mostly Danner's show and she's terrific. KATHY FENNESSY Various Theaters.
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Internet Cat Video Festival
It can be quite challenging to keep pace with the global production of cat videos. Luckily the annual Internet Cat Video Festival collects the most important submissions of the year, so you can be at the vanguard of the genre. MARJORIE SKINNER Hollywood Theatre.
Nobody whooped when Samuel L. Jackson's arm fell off in the first movie, yet the crowd I watched Jurassic World with straight-up applauded when one minor character was mauled to death by a trio of dinosaurs. Are we supposed to feel like this? Is there some greater point being made about capitalism and human destruction? Are we, the viewers, being metaphorically eaten by this franchise? Whatever! ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
King Kong (1933)
"He's always been king of his world, but we'll teach him fear." Academy Theater.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
You can tell a lot about someone by which James Bond is his or her favorite. Judging from Kingsman: The Secret Service, director Matthew Vaughn's favorite is Roger Moore. Moore's Bond films were glamorous, extravagant trash, and Kingsman is both a love letter to that goofy camp and a mild critique of the dour, serious Bond we've got now. Based on a comic by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, Kingsman is smashingly fun, finding common ground between today's comic-book action flicks and classic British espionage thrillers. NED LANNAMANN Laurelhurst Theater.
"I am Ergo the Magnificent. Short in stature, tall in power, narrow of purpose, and wide of vision! And I do not travel with peasants and beggars. Goodbye!" Clinton Street Theater.
Love & Mercy
Although the Beach Boys became one of the most successful enterprises in popular music, their only truly significant work is confined to two records: 1966's Pet Sounds and its famously aborted (though eventually released) follow-up, Smile, which began production in late '66 and was shelved in '67. That's the period dramatized in the better parts of Love & Mercy: Paul Dano pulls off the idiosyncrasies of the young Wilson perfectly. By comparison, a parallel arc with John Cusack portraying Brian Wilson in his 40s—an overmedicated, incapacitated man-child at the mercy of despotic pseudo-psychiatrist Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti)—can't help but feel dull. MORGAN TROPER
Mad Max: Fury Road
A brutal, beautiful, two-hour action overdose injected with a welcome feminist bent. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Pitch Perfect 2
Anna Kendrick smells of chocolate-chip cookies and lemon verbena. COURTNEY FERGUSON Various Theaters.
Portland Jewish Film Festival
There are infinite ways in which to reshuffle categories of film, and the world puts out so much that the sheer quantity begs for organization. And so we have strange, simultaneous exercises in homogeny and disparity like the NW Film Center's annual Jewish Film Festival. Come for the annual compendium of culturally specific accomplishments; stay for a series that covers a massive amount of ground in theme, geography, and style. MARJORIE SKINNER NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
POWFest's film series, featuring films "made by women that address issues of gender equality and the varied nature of women's lived experiences." This month: But I'm a Cheerleader, the story of a teenage girl sent to rehab for being gay, only to discover that rehab for being gay is bullshit. Starring Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall. Clinton Street Theater.
"V Wolf" is an '80s action TV double feature that smashes the rat-eating, lizard-licking glory of V: The Series up against the Ernest Borgnine-infused elegance that only a classic episode of Airwolf can provide. As always, era-specific commercials will be shown during the ad breaks. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
One of the least watchable movies I've seen in years. It doesn't even work to judge it solely on the merits of its special effects, as it's impossible to illustrate catastrophe without humanity, and the California of San Andreas feels about as lifelike as Sim City (although I suppose one could argue that's a pretty accurate portrayal of Los Angeles). MORGAN TROPER Various Theaters.
A story of guns and horses and men, and a woman or two—a western, albeit a contemporary, art-laced, off-kilter one. (Can we stop calling every western that's been made since The Wild Bunch "postmodern" or "revisionist"? This particular genre has obviously found substantial room for mutation since John Wayne's heyday.) Slow West's best moments are the still, thoughtful ones, where gorgeous photography of an unravaged, almost magical West evokes the characters' inner thoughts. NED LANNAMANN Academy Theater, On Demand.
I had my doubts about Paul Feig's latest Melissa McCarthy vehicle, but right around the moment I realized I'd get to see McCarthy beat the shit out of lunky Bond villains for 120 minutes, I knew they were unfounded. I also physically could not stop laughing. MEGAN BURBANK Various Theaters.
A collection of shorts from students at the NW Film Center's School of Film. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
The great promise of the Space Age—an era Tomorrowland gleefully fetishizes—was a combination of optimism and humanism. The Space Age asserted that science could, and would, solve the world's problems. While there are bits of that philosophy in Tomorrowland, they're hard to find, and harder still to piece into anything coherent. For all its ambition, Brad Bird's adventure film feels like a movie where entire scenes have gone missing, even as others blur by in a jumble of technobabble. By the time Tomorrowland ends, the only thing that's clear is that George Clooney might want to fuck an eight-year-old robot. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Hitchcock didn't just make fetishistic murder fantasies for his own edification. He made spy movies too! Sure, there's fetishistic murder fun in there (bird gotta fly, fish gotta swim) but this adaptation of Leon Uris' Cold War novel is one of Hitch's more underrated gems. (get it? Topaz? An underrated GEM? Aha. Ahahaha. A-herm.) Laurelhurst Theater.
The Way We Talk
A documentary on the science behind stuttering, and the struggles of people trying to get past it. Director in attendance. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
When Marnie Was There
Supposedly, this is the last Studio Ghibli film we're getting. One could argue, though, that the studio really died once it shifted focus from bizarre, original projects to making movies out of well-known children's books. In 2010, Ghibli director Hiromasa Yonebayashi refashioned The Borrowers into The Secret World of Arrietty, and now he's adapted When Marnie Was There, a British children's book by Joan G. Robinson. SUZETTE SMITH Various Theaters.
While We're Young
Noah Baumbach takes what could have been Look at These Fucking Hipsters: The Motion Picture and transforms it into a hilariously sharp look at the generation gap. The movie distributes its scorn equally and with a rueful good humor. It gets as good as it gives. ANDREW WRIGHT Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.
Six short stories revolving around the micro-meltdowns of society. In each case, things fall definitively and spectacularly apart, as the gray areas of characters' motivations clash with bad luck, terrible timing, and, most of all, each other. Wild Tales is disaster porn for the socially scarred skeptic, and it restored my ability to laugh at the messy bullshit we all encounter in our pursuit of a nice life, which is all I'd dare to ask of two hours spent in a dark theater. MARJORIE SKINNER Laurelhurst Theater.
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre, Living Room Theaters.
Woman in Gold
Irresponsibly dull. Starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, and featuring Katie Holmes reprising her role as a housebound, baby-having yes woman. MARJORIE SKINNER Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.