13 Tzameti
The French 13 Tzameti hinges on one plot device. Since the scene in question is enough of a doozy that I don't want to give it away, forgive the blurry vagueness: While repairing a neighbor's roof, young Sébastien (George Babluani) finds himself observing the house's residents, one of whom is drug-addled Godon (Philippe Passon). There's mysterious stuff going on in this house, and just as Sébastien begins to get intrigued, Godon dies, and Sébastien's left jobless. Or, rather, he would be—if he hadn't come into possession of some mysterious papers of Godon's. Sébastien eventually finds himself an unwilling participant in a terrifyi—Oh, you'd like to know what happens next, I'm sure, but that means you'll have to see the film; the most I'll tell you is that 13 Tzameti's big reveal lands somewhere between The Most Dangerous Game and Russian roulette. What that big reveal doesn't do, however, is justify the film's molasses-paced, unfocused intro, nor does it really keep things all that interesting or original from then on out. ERIK HENRIKSEN Living Room Theaters.

Agnes and His Brothers
A German family drama about—you guessed it—Agnes and his brothers! Not screened for press. Living Room Theaters.

Bill Plympton's Secret Animation Show
"As a special holiday gift to his hometown of Portland, filmmaker Bill Plympton has put together a special sneak peek at some of his latest top secret animation projects," proclaims the press release for this event. Uh, thanks, Bill! That's... ah... just what we wanted? Okay. But... uh... we're kind of tired of your cartoons. Um... did this maybe come with a gift receipt, or...? Filmmaker (and other local animators) in attendance. Mission Theatre & Pub.

The Bridesmaid
French director Claude Chabrol has been making movies since the late '50s; he is obsessed with murder, with crime, with locating and exploring the roots of evil. The Bridesmaid is about a working-class family that's anchored by the industrious eldest son (Benoît Magimel). An incestuous something exists between him and his single mother (Aurore Clément). Something weird is also going on with the youngest daughter (Anna Mihalcea). And a third sibling, Solène Bouton, is engaged to a fireman. During the wedding, the son meets Senta (Laura Smet), a bridesmaid and cousin to the fireman. The two fall in love instantly. Senta (sensual, sexual, instinctual), however, has the same dark view of power that led Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov to murder "the hag." She is beautiful, she is Icelandic; he is handsome and enthusiastic—in the original Greek sense of that word, meaning, she possesses him like a demon. Will he kill for her? Can he break her spell? CHARLES MUDEDE Living Room Theaters.

The only reason for films like this is that there must be an unwritten checklist of clichéd roles for young actors to run through over the course of their careers. Candy hereby marks Heath Ledger's completion of the assignment "take a role as one half of a couple of disgusting, pointless drug addicts in love, complete with greasy skin/hair, a pregnancy gone horribly wrong, and some form of prostitution." At best, Candy could be argued as a clumsy homage to films like Jesus' Son or Trainspotting, but it's entirely absent of the charm and wit seen in those films. True, there's some adolescent fascination in watching junkie losers lose, and it's kind of interesting to watch people barf, but mostly Candy's just an exercise in awful, or maybe a public service announcement advocating hygiene. MARJORIE SKINNER Fox Tower 10.

Down in the Valley
Writer/director David Jacobson comes out of nowhere (his last film was a 2002 flick about Jeffrey Dahmer) with a beautifully sinister and metaphorical movie about the West, love, trust, reinvention, and menace. CHAS BOWIE Living Room Theaters.

See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

Eragon, the first in a projected trilogy of kid-friendly fantasy epics, can barely muster enough energy to work on a cheese level. Debuting director/effects vet Stefen Fangmeier manages to pull off a few decent visual coups, particularly with a nicely animated blue-eyed dragon, but without the rich conceptual texture of the LOTR series (or, hell, even the goofy exuberance of The Beastmaster) to draw on, what remains is a load of generic mush perhaps best served as a piece of bitchin' '70s van art. ANDREW WRIGHT Regal Cinemas, etc.

The Good Shepherd
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

The History Boys
The History Boys—which follows eight teenagers who are studying to apply at Oxford and Cambridge—is based on Alan Bennett's play of the same name, and the film's roots in the stage are revealed in its arch, hyper-literate tone. The transition from stage to screen could've been smoother—parts of the movie feel stiff and contrived, perhaps because many of the actors used were also in the original theatrical production. For the most part, though, the cast makes it work; the film is undeniably entertaining, and deals thoughtfully with some heady, engaging ideas. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.

Have a thing for obscure 1930s actress Janet Gaynor? So does the Northwest Film Center, apparently. Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium

Look Both Ways
The Australian Look Both Ways deals with matters of life and death in a thought-provoking way: The film charts a weekend in the life of a community affected by a tragic train crash, dealing with the role of artists and the media in interpreting such events, but also skewing things onto a deeper level through the eyes of one character who finds out he's dying of cancer. With this plot, the film could easily be melodramatic—but it's expertly done, so it's not. MATT DAVIS Living Room Theaters.

Marie Antoinette
Sofia Coppola's rose-tinted Marie Antoinette is a story of teenage euphoria, a study of naiveté, and a tragedy of manners and history. And whether or not it's accurate, it has beauty, verve, and spirit. Too bad the second act is boring as hell, and too bad that talentless, snaggle-toothed hag Kirsten Dunst is in it. ERIK HENRIKSEN Academy, Laurelhurst, Mission Theatre & Pub, St. Johns Theater & Pub.

Night at the Museum
Wacky Ben Stiller hijinx! In a museum! With Robin Williams! Just the film you've been waiting for! If you're a mentally disabled kindergartner! Not screened in time for press; read our review at portlandmercury.com on Friday, December 22. Regal Cinemas, etc.

Rocky Balboa
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

Sweet Land
In the tradition of Terrence Malick's Badlands, Sweet Land lovingly portrays its characters and, most importantly, its landscape with tenderness and beauty. A love story set in 1920 rural Minnesota, the film features the brilliant and beautiful Elizabeth Reaser as Inge, a woman who travels from Europe to marry a Norwegian man she has never met. Unbeknownst to Olaf she is German, and that sticks in the craw of her future husband and the narrow-minded community, who are still smarting from the end of WWI. What follows is a touching saga, filled with beautiful wheat fields and sweeping skyscapes. COURTNEY FERGUSON Hollywood Theatre.

See review this issue. Cinema 21.

We Are Marshall
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

There's no other way to say it: Crossword fanatics are some of the biggest nerds to ever walk the Earth. Which makes them the perfect subjects for a documentary. And that documentary is Wordplay, a shockingly entertaining film about the phenomenon of crossword obsession—featuring celebrities, puzzle writers, and world champions. SCOTT MOORE Living Room Theaters.