In 1947, America's two most beloved pastimes, baseball and racism, came to a contentious head when Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Despite the noblest of intentions, 42 addresses this momentous occurrence with all the clumsy tact an overly glossy Hollywood sports film can possibly muster, heavy-handedly topping The Blind Side at the game of feel-good race relations and athletics. EZRA ACE CARAEFF Various Theaters.
Imagine, if you will, a screwball romantic comedy starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, America's sweethearts. It would be madcap! A romp! Zingers would zing, opposites would attract, and bespectacled brunettes nationwide would wallow in the satisfaction of seeing one of our own smooch Josh from Clueless. (Suck it, Silverstone!) But alas, there's not that much fun to be had in the new Fey/Rudd teamup Admission, directed with ponderous good intentions by Paul Weitz (About a Boy). Admission is overstuffed and clumsy, and though it takes a running leap toward madcap romcom fun, it misses by a wide margin. ALISON HALLETT Academy Theater, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst Theater, Liberty Theatre.
Torture porn magnate Eli Roth (Hostel) plays "Gringo" in this Chile-set film in which travelers discover an earthquake "is just the beginning of their nightmare." Not screened in time for press; review forthcoming. Living Room Theaters.
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
While Darren Aronofsky's dance/horror flick is a lot of things—beautiful, weird, sexy, daring—it's a bunch of other things, too: inconsistent, goofy, unintentionally funny. Ticket proceeds go to Oregon Ballet Theatre and the Hollywood Theatre; screening is preceded by a meet and greet, a costume contest, and OBT performances and followed by a Q&A with Interim Artistic Director Anne Mueller and OBT company members. ERIK HENRIKSEN Hollywood Theatre.
Cloud Cult: No One Said
It Would Be Easy
This 2009 documentary on Minnesota band Cloud Cult follows the band's formation, development, environmentalist agenda, and the personal tragedy of the band's Craig and Connie Minowa, who lost a child at age two. While there's a compelling story here, the film is doused in reverent worshipfulness, making it clear it's a fans-only project. NED LANNAMANN Mission Theater.
Are you scared your teenager is going to sext a naked picture of himself to the wrong person and then kill himself? Terrified of identity theft? Losing sleep over underage online prostitution? Then you should see the terrible, dumb Disconnect! It will validate every one of your internet-based night terrors. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
The Great Gatsby
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
Harry Smith Séance
The Oregon Cartoon Institute presents a selection of films by experimental filmmaker Harry Smith, with an introduction by Rani Singh, the curator of the Harry Smith Archives, and a panel with Singh and authors Darrin Daniel and Sheldon Renan. Hollywood Theatre.
He's Way More Famous Than You
"Armed with a stolen script and two pitchers of sangria," aspiring actress Halley Feiffer (played by Halley Feiffer) attempts to make it big in Hollywood in this "zany bit of fame-whore lambasting." Okay. Clinton Street Theater.
I know you're kinda interested because Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) is in it, and she's so damn funny and good, and you're probably still harboring some Arrested Development-based affection for Jason Bateman, even though he's done literally nothing since then to justify your ongoing interest. But just... don't even worry about it. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
In the House
François Ozon's latest, in which a 16-year-old "insinuates himself into the house of a fellow student and writes about his family in essays that perversely blur the lines between reality and fiction." Moral: NEVER TRUST A 16-YEAR-OLD. Living Room Theaters.
Iron Man 3
Tonally, Iron Man 3 takes a few riffs from Christopher Nolan's happiness-loathing bat-movies, which means it's the darkest Iron Man to date. But! Thanks to writer/director Shane Black's blisteringly great dialogue—not to mention his willingness to throw one or two hard left turns into Iron Man 3's plot, imbuing it with subversive humor—it's also the Iron Man that's both the funniest and the most fun. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Kung Fu Theater
1972's Queen Boxer on 35mm. Hollywood Theatre.
The Loreley's Grasp
Amando de Ossorio's 1976 tale of "violent bloodletting, buxom young beauties, and mythical creatures." Clinton Street Theater.
The Lyrical Space of Claire Denis
A series focusing on French filmmaker Claire Denis (Chocolat), featuring "nine of her directorial efforts, plus three of her best-known assistant-directed films" (like Jim Jarmusch's Down by Law and Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas). More info: nwfilm.org. Whitsell Auditorium.
Deepa Mehta's adaptation of Salman Rushdie's 1981 novel. Fox Tower 10.
A Mother's Day Aquatic Arts Revival
"Aquatic arts dance collective" the Olivia Darlings present "old and rare footage of synchronized swimming," along with a 16mm video they made with Y La Bamba. Proceeds benefit the Olivia Darlings and their goal of an "aquatic arts revival." Hollywood Theatre.
The latest from writer/director Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) is a sad, sweet story about growing up and discovering that adults don't hold all the answers. If that sounds like a cliché, Mud offers a worthwhile variation that contains real feeling. NED LANNAMANN City Center 12, Fox Tower 10.
A Night at the Opera
The Marx Brothers! That is all you need to know! Laurelhurst Theater.
Pain & Gain
Somewhere out there in an alternate universe, I like to think that the Coen brothers directed Pain & Gain. It's a premise that seems ideal for them: the true story of a team of lunkheaded Florida bodybuilders who decide to kidnap a wealthy deli owner and hold him hostage until he agrees to sign over his fortune. The story gets weirder, ultimately involving a porn magnate, a retired private detective, several bushelsful of severed body parts, and a whole lot of stupid choices. But for whatever reason—karmic punishment?—we live in a universe where Michael Bay directed Pain & Gain. PAUL CONSTANT Various Theaters.
The Place Beyond the Pines
The latest from Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) is made up of three interlocking stories, focusing first on Luke (Ryan Gosling), a stunt motorcyclist who makes his living as a daredevil with a traveling carnival; then on rookie cop Avery (Bradley Cooper), who investigates corruption in the police force; and then Luke and Avery's sons, who, 15 years in the future, meet in high school. Pines is a big, jumpy, restless film, filled with intriguing characters whose motives remain tantalizingly hazy. But it's also got grand ambitions, and these very qualities are what make it frustrating: Despite its plottiness, it's far more effective as a character study than as some epic commentary on fathers and sons. ALISON HALLETT City Center 12, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Mall 8.
A documentary that frets over "the consequences of a childhood removed from nature" by taking six teenagers and sticking them in the woods with "no electricity, no cell phone service, no virtual reality." This just in: Settle down, old people. Everything's going to be okay. Clinton Street Theater.
A monthly "open screening potluck" that combines food and experimental film. More info: cstpdx.com. Clinton Street Theater.
QDoc: Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival
The Queer Documentary Film Festival kicks off with a screening of I Am Divine, with director Jeffrey Schwarz and actress Mink Stole in attendance. For more info, see next week's Mercury. Bagdad Theater.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Mira Nair's third masterpiece—her first is, of course, Salaam Bombay!, and the second is Mississippi Masala—succeeds as a political thriller (big themes, big images, big Hollywood sound), a work of global cinema (it connects several stories in very different and distant societies—USA, Turkey, Philippines, and Pakistan), and as a criticism of the dominant economic form for the past 30 years (market fundamentalism). The film concerns a young, bright, and ambitious Pakistani man, Changez (Riz Ahmed), who, after obtaining a business degree from Princeton, enters a position in a Wall Street firm that makes its money in much the same way that Romney's Bain does (stripping vulnerable companies of their value). Changez is on top of the world until two planes bring down the Twin Towers. Suddenly the society he loves is transformed into a society that hates him, his color, his culture, his religion. Changez returns to Pakistan a bitter and broken man but eventually becomes a popular anti-American professor at a university in Lahore. His lectures are fiery, his followers dedicated, and his commitment to Islamist politics is absolute. But that is not the end of the story. There is an important surprise near the end of Nair's third masterpiece. CHARLES MUDEDE Living Room Theaters.
Return to Noir Ville
See Film, this issue. Cinema 21.
A documentary that examines Stanley Kubrick's The Shining from the point of view of five obsessed fans. Their takes on the film vary wildly; one sees it as an allegory for the slaughter of Native Americans, another thinks it's all about the Holocaust, another claims the film is Kubrick's veiled confession about his role in faking the Apollo moon landing. While the occasional bit of insight is sprinkled among these conspiracy theories, for every bit of fun trivia there's some truly crackpot junk. NED LANNAMANN Living Room Theaters.
Rock Hudson stars in John Frankenheimer's 1966 sci-fi thriller. Whitsell Auditorium.
Here are some of the problems you may have with director Harmony Korine's already infamous Spring Breakers: (1) The young college gals depicted in the film invite degradation upon themselves with voracious, proud abandon. (2) Plotwise, there's probably less here than meets the eye. And perhaps most importantly, (3) Spring Breakers may make you come to the sudden, surprising realization you have a big stick up your ass. This is one hell of a polarizing film, and I'll say right now that, as someone who's sick of stale, predictable Hollywood product, I loved it. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Academy Theater, Bagdad Theater, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst Theater.
Star Trek Into Darkness
J.J. Abrams' sequel to his 2009 reboot Star Trek. Paramount isn't screening this for critics until three hours before public screenings start—as far as bad signs go, that's pretty much a red alert. Various Theaters.
David O. Russell's fantastic Gulf War flick from 1999, starring George Clooney, Ice Cube, Marky Mark, and Spike Jonze. Fifth Avenue Cinema.
To the Wonder
Terrence Malick's latest is a lot less confounding than The Tree of Life (there aren't any dinosaurs in it, for better or worse), in large part because rather than tackling the entirety of existence, it focuses on something ostensibly smaller: relationships. In particular, one between Marina (Olga Kurylenko) and Neil (Ben Affleck). Because it's Malick, everything looks stunning, though it never loses its Ansel Adams-like layer of precision and distance. It sounds great, too: Only a few lines of dialogue are spoken (Affleck gets about two lines), though much is said, via subtitled voiceover. But while the impressionistic To the Wonder is remarkable to see and hear, it's also both intimate and remote—an odd sensation that keeps the film's characters just past arm's length. ERIK HENRIKSEN Living Room Theaters.
Trance, like most Danny Boyle movies, is confident, and gorgeously shot, and beautifully scored—and there's undeniable potential in the idea of a psychological heist flick. But while Trance's first 10 minutes or so are tight, flashy, and fun, from the second "I know! Let's hypnotize him!" is turned into a supposedly legitimate plot point, everything goes from taut and sharp to messy and sloppy. ERIK HENRIKSEN Hollywood Theatre, Living Room Theaters.
Like his first film, Primer, Shane Carruth's sci-fi/body horror/romance Upstream Color can come off as clammy and occasionally baffling. Movies that make you work for it can be a tough draw, of course, and Carruth's melding of Kubrickian control and Malick's expansiveness will likely have some begging off early. Those on the film's wavelength, however, may well find themselves floored by the nearly wordless final act, where all of the seemingly disparate elements are drawn together with a beauty and power that's a little freaky to behold. ANDREW WRIGHT Hollywood Theatre.
The Waiting Room
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to spend a day in an Oakland hospital filled with uninsured patients, here you go: The documentary The Waiting Room tracks numerous tragic stories, showing us the anguish of everyone in a hospital—from the patients who can't afford care to the hospital staff scrambling to figure out how to treat everybody. Though I would've liked to see more about the patients and how our health care system operates, The Waiting Room successfully offers a glimpse at some of America's most troubling issues. ROSE FINN Hollywood Theatre.
Women's Edge Film Series
A "new collection of independent films for women and by women." This time: The Mosque in Morgantown, a "rare look at the real controversies that divide a Muslim community." Clinton Street Theater.