Amelia: The latest from Mira Nair (The Namesake) is a biopic about Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank). Early reviews haven’t been kind, suggesting that the film ticks off Earhart’s accomplishments without ever painting a full portrait of the aviation pioneer. “Why does such an exciting life make for such a dull movie?” asked A.O. Scott on At the Movies. PG. Movies 12.
Daybreakers: “Millions of people, all walking around … like Happy Meals on legs,” said Spike (James Marsters), in a long ago episode of Buffy. But what happens when everyone’s a vampire (those dratted viruses again!) and the snacks are running out? Starring Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe. R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Germany, Year Zero: The LCC/DIVA Open Lens seminar shows Roberto Rossellini’s 1947 film, the third in his trilogy of war movies, which tells the story of a child and his father struggling to survive in post-war Germany. 7 pm Tuesday, Jan. 12, at DIVA. $3.
Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, The: The latest film from Terry Gilliam arrives under a dark banner; it includes Heath Ledger’s last role. The fantastical film tells the story of a traveling theater owner who made a deal with the devil a very long time ago, and another deal less long ago — one that’s about to cause some problems. The preview is more than enticing. PG-13. 122 min. Bijou. Cinemark.
Leap Year: Amy Adam’s character wants to get married to the perfect guy, who, one suspects from the poster, is not the dude she’s is dating at the start of this film (Adam Scott), but Matthew Goode, last seen stiff and blonde in Watchmen. This romance-goes-to-Ireland romance is directed by Anand Tucker (Hilary and Jackie). PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Men Who Stare at Goats, The: The funny is all in the preview for this wishy-washy semi-satire that looks, in flashbacks, at the peculiar military attempt to train soliders to use psychic powers as weapons. George Clooney and Ewan McGregor are game, but the story gets lost somewhere in the Iraq desert. R. 93 min. Movies 12. (11/12)
Youth In Revolt: I have three words for this adaptation of the funny novel: Please. Don’t. Suck. Michael Cera stars as Nick Twisp, who creates an alter ego in order to win the love of Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday). Also, a lot of other stuff happens. Destruction and stuff. R. 90 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Films open the Friday following EW publication date unless otherwise noted.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel: Annoying voices! Jason Lee! Girl chipmunks singing “Single Ladies!” Every time I have to watch this preview, God kills a kitten. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Astro Boy: The beloved manga character comes to life on the big screen. With the voices of Freddie Highmore, Kristen Bell and Nicolas Cage. PG. Movies 12.
Avatar: James Cameron’s latest multi-hundred-million gamble — a sci-fi tale about an ex-Marine whose consciousness is put into an alien body, leading to all kinds of conflict and realizations about the worlds — is so ideologically slippery, everyone who’s seen it has a convincing argument for why their take is the right one. It’s pretty, and it’s tired. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. Also in 3D. (12/24)
Blind Side, The: Sandra Bullock stars as a rich Southern lady who takes in a homeless African-American kid who becomes a star footbal player. Tell me you see the problems with this. “What The Blind Side offers is a kind of liberal Hollywood version of conservative values: all rock-solid valor, all the time,” said Entertainment Weekly. PG-13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. See review this issue.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: Portland critics were abuzz about this animated kids’ movie, which is apparently far more charming than the previews led us all to believe. Based on the book of the same name, it’s about a town where food, rather than the more ordinary forms of precipitation, falls from the sky. Movies 12.
Couples Retreat: Four Midwestern couples — among them Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell and Malin Ackerman — head off on a group retreat to a couples resort where couples therapy turns out to be necessary. Directed by Peter Billingsley, aka that kid from A Christmas Story. PG13. Movies 12.
Damned United, The: Peter Morgan (The Queen) scripted this British soccer story, which focused on manager Brian Clough (Michael Sheen, whom The Oregonian says is “absolutely remarkable”), an abrasive, outspoken fellow who gets a chance to coach the country’s best team. With Timothy Spall, Jim Broadbent and Colm Meaney. R. Bijou. (12/10)
Did You Hear About the Morgans?: Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker costar as a Manhattan couple whose troubled marriage is improved when the FBI sends them to a small town to hide from baddies after they witness a murder. Did this come out of a plot-generating website? PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
District 9: Producer Peter Jackson gets top billing, but this sci-fi film about aliens taking refuge in South Africa is actually the feature-film debut of director Neill Blomkamp. The buzz is good; Blomkamp is already being dubbed one to watch. R. 112 min. David Minor Theater. (8/20)
Fantastic Mr. Fox: Wes Anderson (Rushmore) steps into the animated world with this adaptation of the Roald Dahl book about a thieving Fox (George Clooney) who gets himself in a battle with three nasty farmers (the leader of whom is voiced by Michael Gambon). Anderson’s stop-motion world is delightful, but the film feels a little distant. PG. 88 min. Movies 12. (12/3)
(500) Days of Summer: Oh, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. If only this movie were as good as you are in it. A quirky sorta-romance with a carefully created indie aesthetic, Marc Webb’s feature debut has a lot of charming offerings, but suffers from an ill-defined female character, played as if from a distance by Zooey Deschanel. PG-13. 95 min. David Minor Theater. (8/6)
Hangover, The: This summer’s dirty-fun buzz movie stars Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifinakis and Ed Helms as three guys who have no idea what happened at the bachelor party last night. Where’d that guy’s tooth go? Where’d the baby come from? It’s a really good time finding out. David Minor Theater. (6/11)
Inglorious Basterds: Quentin Tarantino’s long-anticipated WWII movie stars Brad Pitt as the leader of a group of Jewish soldiers who “engage in targeted acts of retribution” against the Third Reich. “Energetic, inventive, swaggering fun,” said The Village Voice. R. David Minor Theater. (8/27)
Invictus: Morgan Freeman tackles a South African accent to play Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood’s latest based-on-a-true-story film, about Mandela’s effort to unite his nation “through the universal language of sport” — in this case, rugby. Matt Damon plays the rugby team captain. PG13. VRC Stadium 15. (12/17)
It’s Complicated: Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta Give) — recently the subject of a fawning and grating NYT Magazine profile — tells yet another story of the romantic problems of the rich and middle aged. Here, Meryl Streep is caught between her amorous ex (Alec Baldwin) and her architect (Steve Martin). R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Julie & Julia: Julie Powell’s book about cooking her way through Julia Child’s masterpiece comes to screens as a two-part story: One part follows Powell in her Queens apartment, the other Child in France. David Minor Theater. (8/13)
Law Abiding Citizen: Ten years ago, Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler)’s family was murdered, but a plea bargain set one of the killers free. When the killer is released, he quickly turns up dead — and assistant DA Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx)’s family might be next! R. Movies 12.
Me and Orson Welles: Richard Linklater directs Zac Efron. Surely that information alone should be enough to get you into the theater? No? Oh, fine: Efron plays an aspiring actor who lands a role for Orson Welles’ (Christian McKay) production of Julius Caesar. Claire Danes is his older-woman love interest. PG-13. Bijou.
New Moon: The Twilight saga continues with this adaptation of the series’ soggiest book, in which Bella, devastated with Edward’s departure, takes up with an old friend with a secret, and resorts to being an adrenaline junkie ‘cause it makes her hear Edward’s voice. Dakota Fanning and Michael Sheen join the cast as the creepy vampire Volturi; Chris Weitz takes the reins from Catherine Hardwicke. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Paranormal Activity: The latest low-budget horror movie sensation is about a pair of twentysomethings whose new house is maybe not so empty, and maybe its residents aren’t so into the new tenants. R. Movies 12. (11/5)
Pirate Radio: Richard Curtis (Love, Actually) directs the story of eight British DJs who unlawfully broadcast rock ‘n’ roll from a boat in the North Atlantic in the 1960s. With Philip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Night, Rhys Ifans and Nick Frost. R. Movies 12. (11/19)
Precious: Lee Daniels’ widely praised film (based on the novel Push by Sapphire, as its awkward subtitle tells you) is the story of a 16-year-old African-American girl with a truly horrible life. A place at a new school sets her on a new road. Starring Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton and Lenny Kravitz. R. Bijou. (12/24)
Princess and the Frog, The: The latest princess film from Disney sets the classic “Frog Prince” in New Orleans, where hardworking waitress Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) meets a frog (Bruno Campos) who, on his less green days, is a penniless, lazy, music-loving prince. G. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/17)
Road, The: John Hillcoat (The Proposition) directs this adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cormac McCarthy novel. Viggo Mortensen stars as a father trying to keep his young son (Kodi McPhee) alive after the planet is ravaged by disaster. R. VRC Stadium 15. (12/24)
Sherlock Holmes: Guy Ritchie (Snatch) turns out what’s said to be a steampunky Sherlock (Robert Downey Jr.), in which Holmes is kind of a badass and has a hot Watson (Jude Law), an entertaining nemesis (Mark Strong) and a mystery to solve — that threatens all of England, of course. With Rachel McAdams. PG-13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/31)
Stepfather, The: A young man (Penn Badgley) comes home from military school to find that his mother’s new boyfriend (Dylan Walsh) has moved in — and maybe isn’t so cool as mom (Sela Ward) thinks he is. PG13. Movies 12.
Up in the Air: Juno’s Jason Reitman (I prefer to remember him as the director of Thank You For Smoking) follows up his megahit with this story of a man (George Clooney) whose job is to fly all over the country and fire people. His lifestyle is complicated by a young, threatening colleague (Anna Kendrick, from Twilight) and an interesting fellow frequent flyer (Vera Farmiga). “A classic in the making,” said A.O. Scott on At the Movies. R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/31)
Where the Wild Things Are: Spike Jonze adapts Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book into something more complicated and more elaborate than expected — yet it’s also decidedly handmade, unexpedtedly difficult and sweetly unsentimental, for the most part. With Max Records, Catherine Keener and the voices of James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Catherine O’Hara and Lauren Ambrose. PG. Movies 12. (10/15)
Young Victoria: Emiy Blunt’s earned a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of the queen as she’s crowed, a young woman caught in court machinations and pressed to marry. “Blunt makes [her] journey at once authentic and relevant,” said Entertainment Weekly. Bijou. (12/31)
Zombieland: Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland) goes back to the amusement park (OK, so the films aren’t related, but it is kinda funny) in this zombie flick that costars Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone (Superbad) and … Abigail Breslin? Little Miss Sunshine fights zombies? I’m in. R. Movies 12. See review this issue.
Bijou Art Cinemas
Bijou Theater 686-2458 | 492 E. 13th
David Minor Theater
David Minor Theater and Pub 762-1700 | 180 E. 5th
VRC Stadium 15 342-6536 | Valley River Center
Movies 12 741-1231 | Gateway Mall
Cinemark 17 741-1231 | Gateway Mall