2004 Bioneers Conference Do you know what "bioneers" are? They're HIPPIES! (Nice try, hippies! With your hemp and your Ben Harper albums and your making up of new names for yourselves! We're not fooled, you filthy hippies!) And there'll be "bioneers" aplenty at this video screening of speakers from the 2004 Bioneers Conference, with a lot of talk about "sustainability," "energy security," "environmental justice and reciprocity," and various other hippie bullshit. First Unitarian Church
The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Beyond the Sea Don't worry--this isn't a showing of Kevin Spacey's disastrous, ego-driven Bobby Darin biopic. Rather, this identically titled 2003 film examines 1980's Mariel Boatlift, in which 130,000 refugees sailed from Cuba to Florida. It was a journey in which they faced many hardships--only to find more when they arrived. (Hardship Number One? Arriving in a country where they'd have to put up with Kevin Spacey.) Guild
Broken Limbs Movies about the farming crisis--namely big corporate farming operations shutting out smaller family-owned farms--have an interesting premise, but aren't always interesting movies. Broken Limbs is about the apple crisis in Wenatchee, WA and details how the director's dad has difficulty making ends meet on his orchard, and how this is indicative of what's happening to the whole town. Sadly though, the movie is pretty boring and cheesy and didn't inspire me to action, although I did think twice when snapping up some Braeburns on sale at Fred Meyer. Part of the Food and Farms Film Series, and preceded by The True Cost of Food. (Katie Shimer) Guild
Brothers Every Danish movie I've ever seen has left me feeling as though my will to live just got taken out back and beaten with a tire iron. Brothers is true to form. Michael (Ulrich Thomsen) is a professional soldier with a beautiful wife (Connie Nielsen) and two adorable little girls. When his plane is shot down in Afghanistan, he's presumed dead and his devastated wife, Sarah, is left to pick up the pieces of her life. One of the pieces she picks up is Michael's brother, Jannick (Nikolaj Lie Kaas). The catch? Michael isn't dead; he comes back a changed man who beats on his wife and terrifies his children, and everyone realizes that life was better when they thought he was dead. (Alison Hallett) Fox Tower 10
The Candy Snatchers 1973's obscure cult film about an autistic boy who's the only witness to a kidnapping. Clinton Street Theater
Convoy The Northwest Film Center's Sam Peckinpah series continues with this 1978 trucker film starring Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, and--damn straight--Ernest Borgnine. Whitsell Auditorium
Crash Paul Haggis' would-be epic portrayal of race relations in Los Angeles sports a handful of genuinely searing moments, it's hard to shake the sense of someone constantly rearranging 3 by 5 cards behind the scenes for maximum impact. (Andrew Wright) Fox Tower 10 , City Center 12 , Lloyd Mall , Westgate
Cross Across America A benefit screening of some of the footage shot for Cross Across America, a documentary made by Josh Cross as as he tries to ride across the country on a motorized scooter in order to raise money for tsunami relief. Hollywood Theatre
Deconstructing Supper If you want to see a film that outlines the GMO crisis and Monsanto's hostile takeover of the seed and food market see The Future of Food. This film tried to do what Future did, but has the most lackluster script and monotone narrator ever, and won't hold your interest, much less change your eating habits. Part of the Food and Farms Film Series and preceded by King Corn. (Katie Shimer) Guild
Deserted Station A couple who has had two stillborn children goes to the holy city to pray for the live birth of their third. On the way, their car breaks down in a small town; the wife helps out by teaching class while the mechanic is fixing the car, and becomes transformed by the charm of the isolated world and of course, the children. (Katie Shimer) Hollywood Theatre
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room This is more than just a play-by-play look at the rise, fall, and impact of Enron--the film also asks why people act immorally, and (perhaps more damningly) why others allow it to happen. Surprisingly, all of this makes for dark comedy rather than a muckraking expos; rather than pushing its political agenda, Enron simply confronts you with the worst of human nature. (Andrea Chalupa) Hollywood Theatre
Fed Up! A low-budget documentary explaining the myriad and very real dangers of genetically modified foods. Though it starts off strong with hilarious archival footage meant to convince the public that the agricultural revolution would save the world, Fed Up! is choppy, rather dry, and somewhat rambling. However, this doesn't mean you should write it off, as Fed Up! contains a lot of information you really should have--like why the FDA refuses to admit or label that 70% of the food you eat is genetically modified and why the bio-tech industry spends $50 million a year to fool you into believing GMOs are safe. What you don't know can hurt you, after all. Part of the Food and Farms Film Series, and preceded by Terminator Tomatoes. (Erin Ergenbright) Guild
Finding Rev. Phil: Exposing the Portland Icon Apparently, there's some guy named "Rev. Phil." And according to a press release sent to the Mercury, he's a "beloved Portland icon," a "Zoobombing, bike poloing, independent movie-making, and Free Geeking minister." We here at the Mercury are pretty sure all that "beloved icon" stuff is bullshit, but there's a short documentary about him anyway. Hollywood Theatre
Germinal Coal miners are exploited in France. As the French would say, "beu heu." PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
High Tension See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Holy Girl See review this issue. Cinema 21
The Honeymooners See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Horseman on the Roof An Italian officer helps a young French woman search for her husband in 1830s Provence. PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
Howl's Moving Castle See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
Hybrid Much like Alfred Kinsey's single-minded, obsessive study of Americans' sex habits, Milford Bigley spent his life studying and altering the sexual habits of corn. Hybrid is a poetic, beautifully strange documentary about America's belief in Manifest Destiny, and the eccentric, driven man who transformed Native American corn into the industrial cookie-cutter crop that is now the foundation of our food supply. Preceded by The Head of the Table. Part of the Food and Farms Film Series. (Erin Ergenbright) Guild
In The Realms of the Unreal When 81-year-old Henry Darger--a lonely, reclusive janitor--died, his landlords went to clear out his apartment, and they discovered another world, a world that Darger called "The Realms of the Unreal." Shelves and drawers were stuffed with hundreds of paintings and manuscripts. There was an autobiography, notes, sketches, cut-outs from magazines, and a 15,000-page novel. While most biographical documentaries yield to a desire to encapsulate the subject's life in a tidy package, Jessica Lu's brilliant documentary, In the Realms of the Unreal, revels in the unknown, lyrically excavating Darger's life without posing easy answers. (Ryan Dirks) Hollywood Theatre
India Song Set in 1930s India, Marguerite Duras' India Song follows a diplomat's wife (Delphine Seyrig) who's "haunted by the spirit of a beggar woman." (Like Casper. But poor.) Whitsell Auditorium
Inside Iraq: The Untold Stories To be fair, Inside Iraq offers more than its share of stuff that you probably haven't seen. But for every revelation, there's 10 minutes of negligible footage. And despite Inside Iraq's focus on the aftermath of the U.S.'s actions, filmmaker Mike Shiley largely settles for documenting only the rosiest aspects of America's influence. Shiley will be at every show to introduce the film and answer questions. (Erik Henriksen) Mission Theater
Junior Bonner Trapped in the dusty yellow glow of an early '70s Prescott, Arizona, this film finds Steve McQueen as Junior Bonner. An aging ex-rodeo cowboy star, he wanders home to find his family changed and alienating, and the old Western world that he identifies with slowly being usurped by the next wave of modern times. This film is a notable addition to Sam Peckinpah's oeuvre, which is alternately criticized and praised for its tendency towards violence and action. Bonner is almost entirely absent of this vibe, a meditative and relatively uneventful character sketch of a strong man rolling down the backside of his life. Fans who relish the usual blast of gory action from Peckinpah may find themselves bored by the switch, and conversely those put off by it might finally find affection for the director's talents. (Marjorie Skinner) Whitsell Auditorium
Ladies in Lavender Ladies in Lavender has Judi Dench and Maggie Smith playing two dames sharing a house in lovely Cornwall. One morning, the sisters spy a body splayed out on the rocks. Discovering a young man (Daniel Brühl), they nurse him back to health. The most interesting moments come when Ursula (Dench) reveals her unrequited romantic fascination with the young man, and when snippets of subtext-heavy dialogue result between the sisters. In terms of plot, there's a whole lot of light stroking along these lines, yet the film never quite gets to the soap opera-like climaxes that seem inevitable. (Evan James) Fox Tower 10
Layer Cake Neophyte director Matthew Vaughn doesn't steer too far from the neo-British gangster/heist film genre with this one, and considering I'm the only person under the age of 31 who didn't like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, I wasn't expecting to enjoy Layer Cake. But I did. Daniel Craig stars as an unnamed London dope distributor (he's credited as "XXXX") who's hoping to retire. His last assignment, of course, is a snafu waiting to happen, and XXXX soon discovers that you can never leave the business--or if you do, it won't be when or how you decide. What distinguishes Layer Cake is that it avoids making its characters caricatures. As a result, the film escapes becoming a Ritchie--or even a Tarantino--knockoff and is content for what it is: A good crime thriller. (Will Gardner) Fox Tower 10
Lo Fi Landscapes: Pictures from the New World Lighthouse Cinema has rechristened themselves "40 Frames," and they're presenting this program of films from Bill Brown and Thomas Comerford. Examining "the space of history and the history of spaces," the program boasts Brown's Mountain State, a sometimes trying but overall interesting look at America's weird, unsavory history that roadside monuments only hint at. (Erik Henriksen) Oak Street Building (Rooftop)
Lords of Dogtown Lords of Dogtown, the mass-marketed dramatization of the excellent skateboarding documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, isn't a bad film so much as an unnecessary one. Sure, the human elements of the Z-Boys' story get more room to breathe than they did in the doc, but there's no new viewpoint added to the Z-Boys mythos; the super-slick, Sony-produced Dogtown just feels like a retread of the documentary, and one written as if it were a tween-targeted pilot for the WB. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Machuca An outstanding film set in the final days before Pinochet's coup in Chile, told from the point of view of two young boys (Matías Quer and Ariel Mateluna). It's a singularly moving story--seething with hatred, but at least temporarily transcending it. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre
Mad Hot Ballroom Enjoy watching this documentary about Puerto Rican children who compete for first place in a do-or-die ballroom dance competition between New York public schools. Witness a little kid who can't speak English woo the crowd with his scandalous Cuban motion. See elementary schoolers dance. Feel simultaneously proud and jealous. (Evan James) Fox Tower 10
Mr. and Mrs. Smith See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Mudd and Bones Short Films Portland-based production company Mudd and Bones screens some short films from local indie filmmakers. Plus, there'll be live music. Plus, it's free. The Know
Oldboy Min-sik Choi stars as the utterly unextraordinary Dae-su Oh, who, without warning or reason, is abducted and imprisoned in a tiny room. Inexplicably waking up on the roof of an apartment building 15 years later, Dae-su discovers he has only five days to unravel the knotted mystery of his imprisonment. Chan-wook Park's brutally euphoric film is an appropriately surreal, bloody, and moving story of vicious revenge and shocking mystery. It's not an easy film to watch, but it is a great one. (Erik Henriksen) Cinema 21
Poona the Fuckdog A funny adult fairy tale of a play, caught on tape. Cinema 21
The Princess and the Warrior The second collaboration between director Tom Twyker and the stunningly beautiful German actress Franka Potente. This time around, though, the pair has replaced the frenetic Nintendo plot of Run Lola Run with a carefully paced romance. PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants seemed to have all the comfortable trappings I've come to expect in vapid tween fodder. Imagine my surprise, then, when halfway through this episodic coming-of-age story a rather startling sentiment began to emerge in my mind: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is fucking delightful--it's a perfectly contrived teen heart-tugger, and a surprisingly enjoyable watch. (Zac Pennington) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Skaters for Portland Skateparks Benefit Check out an evening of skate video premieres (Fuck Those Guys, Dude, Where's My Gnar?, and This Axe Was Made to Grind), indulge in beer, and enter raffles--and all of it goes to help out the very excellent organization Skaters for Portland Skateparks. (Erik Henriksen) Kennedy School , Mission Theater
Time Regained Chilean director Raul Ruiz' brilliant adaptation of the final volume of Proust's In Search of Time Lost, arguably the best adaptation of Proust to date. PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen An unequivocally great music documentary on the SoCal punks the Minutemen. Between archival footage of late vocalist/guitarist D. Boon and the loving recollections of a now-grandfatherly Mike Watt, it's nearly impossible not to be smitten with the subjects, whose insular language fueled the impenetrably personal politics of the band's discography. Ultimately, We Jam Econo is a warm, earnest, easily lovable tribute to one of punk's most earnest and easily lovable bands. (Zac Pennington) Clinton Street Theater
The Wild Bunch Aging cowboys attempt one last train heist. They battle fiercely with horses and Winchesters while automobiles and pump action shotguns fight back. Yee haw! Laurelhurst
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill Here's my impression of the film: "SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK!" "I really think the parrots have come to love me. I know I've come to love them." "SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK!" "That's Connor! He's my favorite of all the parrots." "SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK!" (Cue cheesy montage of parrots in trees with laughably bad, bluesy New Age music.) "Some people love dogs. Some people love horses. I happen to love these parrots!" "SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK!" (Chas Bowie) City Center 12 , Cinemagic