THE DARK CRYSTAL Horrifying, subhuman monstrosities—now in 70mm!
★ MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday-Thursday, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
You need to be at Ant-Man and the Wasp ON TIME. The sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man comes in hard on a tender, relevant flashback that shouldn’t be missed. The scene’s weird placement suggests it was added at the last minute to catch-up confused audiences: While Ant-Man and the Wasp is fun, funny, and exciting, it also runs the risk of being incomprehensible to those uninitiated in the ways of Marvel. The twentieth (!) film in Marvel’s decade-long franchise, Ant-Man and the Wasp will delight loyal fans with obscure superhero references, but it’ll also completely lose anyone who haven’t seen the majority of the 19 Marvel films that have preceded it. SUZETTE SMITH Various Theaters.
BLOOD & STEEL: CEDAR CREST COUNTRY CLUB
A doc about the “one-of-a-kind skateboarding playground that attracted skaters and bands from all over.” Director in attendance. Hollywood Theatre.
★ THE DARK CRYSTAL
This weekend, the Hollywood Theatre is showing a pair of ’80s classics in their full 70mm glory. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the one where Indy and his dad (Sean Connery) fight Nazis as they search for a dirty old magic cup. It’s an action-packed delight! The Dark Crystal is the weird, creepy Muppet movie that doesn’t have any actual Muppets in it, about a quest for a shard of magic rock. It scarred the collective childhood of a generation! NED LANNAMANNHollywood Theatre.
★ FIRST REFORMED
Paul Schrader redeems his recent misfires with the extraordinary First Reformed, a film whose outward restraint belies emotions just as explosive as those in his screenplays for Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Ethan Hawke gives a career-best performance as a pastor at a neglected church in upstate New York; after counseling a doomsday-minded environmentalist, he spirals into his own set of crises. In the movie’s second half, Schrader does a couple of audacious things that may alienate more literal-minded viewers, but this is a movie that seethes with ideas even as it, like Hawke’s pastor, maintains an outward asceticism. Plus, Cedric the Entertainer! NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
If you’re not comfortable with the very real possibility that you’ll be drenched in sweat and cowering in the fetal position by the end of Hereditary, perhaps this is one cinematic experience you should skip. But you’d be missing out—writer/director Ari Aster’s feature debut might be one of the most beautiful and nauseating horror movies ever made. CIARA DOLAN Various Theaters.
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION
Dracula’s back—and he’s hitting the beach! Or fucking whatever the fuck, we’re not looking it up. Various Theaters.
★ INCREDIBLES 2
What Incredibles 2 sacrifices in cohesion and heart it makes up for with action and comedy, enhanced by Brad Bird using animation to do things that live action just can’t. He opens Incredibles 2 with back-to-back set pieces that quickly put the previous film’s finale in the rearview; he closes the film with a team-based triumph that any three X-Men flicks combined couldn’t compete with; and when he goes for the gag (which is often), it feels like Chuck Jones-era Looney Tunes via classic-era Simpsons. Incredibles 2 isn’t as good or affecting as the original, but it is prettier, louder, faster, and funnier. BOBBY ROBERTS Various Theaters.
★ INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE
This weekend, the Hollywood Theatre is showing a pair of ’80s classics in their full 70mm glory. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the one where Indy and his dad (Sean Connery) fight Nazis as they search for a dirty old magic cup. It’s an action-packed delight! The Dark Crystal is the weird, creepy Muppet movie that doesn’t have any actual Muppets in it, about a quest for a shard of magic rock. It scarred the collective childhood of a generation! NED LANNAMANN Hollywood Theatre.
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM
This is a movie bursting with bugfuck shitbird INSANE ideas, but to its credit, it commits to all of them. Here is a list of things in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that you will think I am making up to fuck with you, but I assure you, I am not: A Scooby Doo mansion full of seeeeecrets! Multiple baby dinosaurs engaging in multiple cuddling scenarios! Evil Russians buying weaponized dinosaurs! (Timely!) Elder abuse! A jailbreak that relies on a head-butting Pachycephalosaurus?? Murrrrderrrrrr. A Trump-quoting mercenary who collects dinosaur teeth… so he can make himself a pretty necklace! A CLONE?!?!?! ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
While your normal jubilant time will be had watching babyfaced Jennifer Connelly alternately fuss and frolic in a Muppety wonderland full of magic dancing and farting bogs, every viewing of this Jim Henson classic going forward will be a just a little bittersweet, being that we now exist in the dark timeline where David Bowie has left the building. Guess you’ll just have to sing along all the louder when he makes his fabulous presence felt. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
★ LEAVE NO TRACE
If you lived in Portland in 2004, you remember it: The discovery that, for years, a father and daughter had been living in Forest Park in an undetected campsite. They were eventually found and housed by the authorities, but soon disappeared again. The story inspired a novel, My Abandonment, written by Reed College creative writing professor Peter Rock, and that book has been adapted into a compassionate, graceful movie by Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
See review, this issue. Fox Tower 10.
★ A NIGHT WITH DANNY LYON
Two films by Danny Lyon, Willie and Murderers explore the rants and reasonings of Lyon’s subject and friend, Willie Jaramillo, who found himself repeatedly imprisoned. Lyon made a name for himself during the civil rights movement with arresting, evocative black-and-white photography, documenting protesters and their brutal interactions with police. The subjectivity of Lyon’s prison footage affords his 1985 feature Willie and 2005 short Murderers a modern relevance. It feels wrong to be moved by nostalgia for these low-tech prisons, with their hand-drawn signs and lanky, mustachioed guards who just want Lyon to make sure he shuts the door when he’s done. (This will be an unpopular opinion, but compared to today, the prisons feel so much more homey.) Long pans focus on the sweaty physique of inmates, in ’70s-style knee socks and track shorts, lifting weights in the prison courtyard. A shirtless inmate, wandering outside the cells, stops Lyon to ask him to film his muscles as he assumes Bruce Lee-esque poses. “Check this out,” he says. “Check out the patterns of the dragon, man.” Lyon records it all. Filmmaker in attendance. SUZETTE SMITH Hollywood Theatre.
There will be people who say that the Ocean’s 11 franchise is ruined now that it stars women. To them I say: What’s it like to be joyless? Because (1) Heist movies are always good, and (2) it’s not like the Ocean’s movies were Citizen fucking Kane. This spin-off builds off of an already-insane universe and incorporates women’s empowerment and beautiful jewelry. What’s not to like?! ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
PRIMER Possibly the best science-fiction film ever made.
Quite possibly the best science-fiction film ever made, Shane Carruth’s Primer explores the troubles of two suburban engineers after (and before??) they accidentally discover a way to travel through time. Nearly everything about Primer is extraordinary, including the dialogue, the structure, the editing, and the score, all of which are provided by writer/director/star Carruth. Made for a mere $7,000, Primer’s 2004 debut was a rebel yell that inspired a generation of indie filmmakers to strive for new heights with small budgets and superior scripts. This week, the NW Film Center presents a very rare chance to see it on the big screen. SUZETTE SMITH NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.
REPRESSED CINEMA: IT’S ALIVE
This month’s deep dive into vaults of mostly-unseen cinema history unearths a 16mm print of the 1969 sci-fi film in which “a loony farmer finds a prehistoric monster hiding in a cavern on his land.” Sooner or later, it’ll happen to all of us. Hollywood Theatre.
ROBOT FILM FESTIVAL
A day-long festival with films intended to “inject both artistry and playfulness into traditional robotic engineering and to explore the frontiers of the human-machine relationship.” More at robotfilmfestival.com and beneath the human skulls crushed to dust by the metal feet of our T-800 conquerors. Mission Theater.
The Rock fights a skyscraper. Review forthcoming at portlandmercury.com. Various Theaters.
SORRY TO BOTHER YOU
The debut film by rapper/iconoclast Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You is a satirical dystopian fantasy starring Lakeith Stanfield as a teleporting telemarketer living in Terry Crews’ garage while dating Tessa Thompson. Upon being gifted an immeasurable nugget of wisdom by Danny Glover, he uses David Cross’ voice to peddle corporate slave labor for Armie Hammer. This apparently all happens in the first half-hour of the movie, and then shit gets really weird. Not screened for Portland critics. Various Theaters.
★ THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS
See review, this issue. Living Room Theaters.
★ THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE
“They don’t make ’em like they used to” is a phrase usually mumbled by dazed grandpas staring off into space as they wet themselves. But in the case of westerns—one of the finest genres of film there ever was—they really don’t. Luckily, this week, the Academy has John Huston’s 1948 classic The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, starring Humphrey Bogart. Go see it on the big screen, just like your grandpa did. ERIK HENRIKSEN Academy Theater.
A documentary that answers more questions than I knew I had about Whitney Houston’s life, from her religious upbringing to how she was groomed by her musical family, and from her meteoric rise to the top of the charts to her spectacularly sad struggle with drugs—a struggle that, unfortunately, overlapped with parenthood. It’s a lot, and Whitney’s two-hour runtime can feel padded with superfluous info and context, even when it doesn’t have a ton to do with its subject. (Sit down, Berlin Wall!) The real meat is found in the extensive, heartfelt interviews with Houston’s family members, including the evil enabler Bobby Brown (boo, hiss), as well as touching, never-before-seen footage of Houston herself, being very human. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.
WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
Was Fred Rogers—the writer, producer, and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood—really a soft-spoken, sweet-tempered man? Spoiler alert: Yes, he was! Finally, one single thing has escaped your childhood without scandal! SUZETTE SMITH Various Theaters.