Film » Film Shorts

Film Shorts

In Which We Hit It and Quit It

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recommended 22 Jump Street
Hollywood is littered with the decaying carcasses of failed sequels. But 22 Jump Street—the follow-up to the implausibly funny 21 Jump Street starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum—not only overcomes "the curse of the sequel," it laughs in the curse's face, shoves it down the stairs, and laughs some more. Then it feels bad about hurting the curse, and calls an ambulance to take the curse to the hospital. But don't worry! The curse is going to be okay! And trust me, the curse will go on to curse many more sequels. But oh boy—this time around? The curse couldn't lay a hand on the hilarious 22 Jump Street. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Various Theaters.

recommended Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
"Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?" Laurelhurst Theater.

The Byrd Who Flew Alone
A documentary chronicling the life of Gene Clark, one of the '60s most influential musicians. Screens as a benefit for KBOO community radio. Clinton Street Theater.

recommended Chef
In order to enjoy Chef, it's necessary to swallow the notion that there's anything novel about a fancy chef starting a food cart. It's a bit of a strain—especially considering, well, Portland—but it's worth making the leap. Chef might be a little too taken with the concept of food trucks using Twitter, but on the whole, Jon Favreau (who wrote, directed, and stars) has put together a smart, ramblingly charming little film. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.

Dire Digest
A horror anthology featuring shorts from six writers and directors. Clinton Street Theater.

The Discoverers
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10.

recommended Edge of Tomorrow
A fun, funny action movie with science-fiction smarts, deft satire, a nail-biter of a plot, and lots of cool explosions. If you see a better popcorn movie this summer, it's going to be a very good summer indeed. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.

recommended The Fault in Our Stars
John Green's The Fault in Our Stars is one of the most popular young adult novels of the last several years, and one of the rare YA titles to make serious headway with adults as well. Through the lens of two love-struck teenagers—both of whom happen to have cancer—the novel addresses mortality and illness with clarity, humor, and depth. So it's understandable that in adapting Green's novel for the screen, director Josh Boone and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber hewed closely to it. In some regards, their respect for the novel pays off; other elements of the book probably should've stayed on the page. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.

Filth
See review this issue. Kiggins Theatre.

recommended Grindhouse Film Festival
The Grindhouse Film Festival is gonna hit you like a truck: Truck Turner, to be specific, starring Isaac Hayes and featuring Nichelle Nichols as one of the baddest asses in all of blaxploitation history. Hollywood Theatre.

Hecklevision
The Hollywood's series, in which heckle-worthy movies are shown on the big screen—and you can text your smartass remarks from your phone, then see them pop up onscreen. And you're going to have plenty to say as the '90s landmark Space Jam goes bounding across the screen in its infinite ridiculousness. Hollywood Theatre.

How a People Live
Vancouver, BC filmmaker Lisa Jackson's documentary about the forced relocation of the Gwa'sala and 'Nakwaxda'xw First Nations people of Canada. Director in attendance. Whitsell Auditorium.

recommended How to Train Your Dragon 2
How do you train your dragon? With love. That was the message of a certain unexpectedly magnificent cartoon from 2010, and the let's-all-try-to-get-along vibe is continued in How to Train Your Dragon 2, a worthy follow-up with all the heart and humor of its predecessor. Set five years after gawky teen Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) helped his Viking village turn dragons from enemies into friends, the sequel has him and his proud father (Gerard Butler) disagreeing on how to handle Drago Bloodfist (!), a fearsome warrior who's assembling a dragon army. Thematically, it's "people can change" vs. "no they can't" as writer/director Dean DeBlois expands the story's mythology and ups the emotional stakes by reuniting Hiccup with his long-lost mother (Cate Blanchett). One more rousing success like this and How to Train Your Dragon will be the second-best animated trilogy in history. (Nothing's gonna touch Toy Story, sorry.) ERIC D. SNIDER Various Theaters.

Jersey Boys
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

recommended Jodorowsky's Dune
At first, Frank Pavich's documentary seems like little more than a glorified DVD bonus feature—a "making of" doc, with the catch that the film it chronicles the making of doesn't exist. In 1984, when the big-budget faceplant of David Lynch's Dune was released, few people knew that audiences could have seen something else entirely. For years, Alejandro Jodorowsky had desperately been trying to make his version of Dune—a film he humbly thought would be "the most important picture in the history of humanity." Jodorowsky's Dune is about his still-burning passion, and it's by turns exciting and heartbreaking to hear him explain—see him show—what might have been. ERIK HENRIKSEN Laurelhurst Theater.

Lessons Learned
See Arts, this issue. Hollywood Theatre.

recommended The Lunchbox
A young woman carefully packs lunch every day for her unappreciative husband; when the lunch is mistakenly delivered to a sour, lonely accountant, a friendship blossoms via notes passed through the daily lunchbox. Despite the premise, this isn't a meet-cute, but rather a thoughtful look at how relationships affect the texture of our lives. Plus, all of the food looks amazing. ALISON HALLETT Laurelhurst Theater.

Maleficent
It's been a long time since I've seen an Angelina Jolie movie. I'm pretty sure she's only played a spy in trench coats and sunglasses for at least 10 years. Boring. Predictable. Everybody gets lame after having kids; how could a sexy millionaire humanitarian be any different? I gave up. And hadn't you? BUT GET THIS: It's not too late for our beloved St. Angelina! As "Mistress of All Evil" Maleficent, Jolie gives us nothing but the badass, murder-faced, classic Angie we fell in love with years ago. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.

A Million Ways to Die in the West
Maybe it's best to think of Seth MacFarlane as the guy in class who copies your homework. He's shrewd enough to find a way to pass the class, but he hasn't done any original work all semester. Let's look at MacFarlane's career: His weirdly ripe singing voice is cribbed from Sinatra. His interminably enduring Family Guy is ripped off wholesale from The Simpsons, with a bit of All in the Family sprinkled in. And here's A Million Ways to Die in the West, ostensibly MacFarlane's version of Blazing Saddles, a comedy that injects the familiar western genre with bawdy toilet humor—and yes, there are poop jokes that make Blazing Saddles' farting campfire scene look like Oscar Wilde. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.

Neighbors
Neighbors pits cranky-old-man Mac (Seth Rogen), his wife Kelly (Rose Byrne), and their shockingly adorable baby Stella (some baby) against the shenanigantastic fraternity next door, led by frat president Zac Efron. It's sort of annoying that Neighbors thinks it has to have any sort of moral, but there's some Serious Business about growing up crammed into the end. Spoiler: It's not the worst thing in the world! Babies are cute! If you need someone to explain those facts to you while you laugh at some dick jokes, then Neighbors is the middle-of-the-road comedy for you. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.

recommended North by Northwest
"That wasn't very sporting, using real bullets." Hollywood Theatre.

recommended Obvious Child
See review this issue. Cinema 21.

recommended Only Lovers Left Alive
It would be dumb to recommend a new vampire flick without acknowledging that the genre has been awful in recent years. We agreed not so long ago as film-going people that vampires were over. Luckily, Jim Jarmusch didn't get the memo, and Only Lovers Left Alive is totally different, weird, and fantastic. ELINOR JONES Academy Theater, Laurelhurst Theater.

The Other Woman
A lot like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, except the pants are Jaime Lannister and they give everyone who wears them chlamydia. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.

The Past is a Grotesque Animal
A documentary focused on Kevin Barnes, the weirdo frontman for indie pop band Of Montreal. Not screened for critics. Hollywood Theatre.

Portland EcoFilm Festival
A monthly series of "films covering topics of nature conservation, environmental activism, agriculture and community wellness." This month: GMO OMG, a documentary that should nicely stoke science-illiterate Portlanders' latest frantic hysteria. (Not to be confused with BMO OMG, a documentary about the best character on Adventure Time.) Hollywood Theatre.

recommended 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 Whitsell Auditorium.

Redwood Highway
Marie (Shirley Knight) is a spirited but frustrated woman living in a Southern Oregon retirement home who decides to sneak out and walk 80 miles along the Redwood Highway to the ocean. Her reasons are unclear, and the film is doddering but bubbly, much like Marie. Along the way she encounters mostly helpful folks like Tom Skerritt and Michelle Lombardo, battles some demons from her past, and comes to terms with some obvious stuff about her granddaughter. There's much in Redwood Highway that's unsophisticated, and yet you can't help falling for the naïveté of Marie's adventure—if for no other reason than that retirement-age women rarely get to do stuff like this, especially not in the movies. MARJORIE SKINNER Living Room Theaters.

Reel Feminism
A film series sponsored by In Other Words Feminist Community Center. This week's film: Georgie Girl. More at cstpdx.com. Clinton Street Theater.

recommended Re-run Theater
This time around: "Epic Space Battles II," a double feature of fine, late '70s interstellar cheese: The final episode of the original Battlestar Galactica, followed by a very special episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, guest starring Gary Coleman. Includes music videos and period-specific ads to run during the commercial breaks. Hollywood Theatre.

recommended The Rocketeer
One of the most underrated, entertaining, and beautiful films ever made about an average guy wearing a jetpack and beating up James Bond. Also starring Jennifer Connelly as the most stunningly gorgeous person of 1991. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.

recommended The Rover
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

The Secret of NIMH
Behold the unholy alliance of Dom DeLuise, Shannen Doherty, and Wil Wheaton! Academy Theater.

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon
See review this issue. Living Room Theaters.

Think Like a Man Too
Kevin Hart just keeps making movies. Not screened for critics. Various Theaters.

recommended We Are the Best!
Set in Sweden in the 1980s, We Are the Best! is the rare coming-of-age film that makes room for an adult perspective while remaining faithful to the intense, all-consuming passions of adolescence. Cute, charismatic Klara (Mira Grosin) is an outsider weirdo by choice; her best friend Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) has no other options, trying in vain to twist her short hair into spikes and frowning through her tiny wire-rimmed glasses like a worried owl. Their punk band is terrible—their first song is about how much they hate their gym teacher—but it infuses the girls with a sense of purpose and focus, even as they squabble over boys and navigate their chaotic home lives. ALISON HALLETT Hollywood Theatre.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
You could do a lot worse if you want to see Wolverine wave his claws around while Magneto lectures boring regular people about how fancy he is. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.

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