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: Will 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 — be a flop, or another Titanic? Reviews so far are good. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. Also in 3D.
Burma: Reflections on a Hidden Land: Filmmaker Sean Cassidy shows Burma, a documentary about his travels (with fellow filmmaker Patricia Keith) to Burma, and their attempts to look beyond the promoted tourist fare. 6:30 pm Monday, Dec. 21, DIVA. $4. sug. don.
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.
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.
Frost/Nixon: Ron Howard directs this look at the 1977 interview in which David Frost (Michael Sheen) took on Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) in a televised battle of wits. “Involving, engrossing cinema,” said the L.A. Times. R. 122 min. 2 pm Thursday, Dec. 17, Campbell Community Center, 155 High. Free. (1/29)
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)
Heckler’s Night: The Goat gets out The Man From Snowy River, which made my child self weep because horses got hurt it in (or was that the sequel?). My child self also had no idea the story was set in Australia. Refresh your memory at 7 pm Wednesday, Dec. 23, Wandering Goat. Free.
Hurt Locker, The: Director Kathryn Bigelow returns with an incredibly well-received story about soldiers trained to defuse homemade bombs in Iraq. The L.A. Times’ Kenneth Turan said it’s “Overwhelmingly tense, overflowing with crackling verisimilitude.” R. VRC Stadium 15. (9/3)
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)
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. Cinemark.
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.
Saw VI: By this point, the horror is simply that these movies keep coming out. Sorry, did I say something? A detective is under investigation, but he’s still carrying on Jigsaw’s nasty legacy. R. Movies 12.
Video Slam: Monthly event invites video artists — students, professionals, amateurs — to submit short videos for discussion and competition. 7 pm Sunday, Dec. 20, DIVA. Free.
Films open the Friday following EW publication date unless otherwise noted.
An Education: Relative newcomer Carey Mulligan has rightly been called “luminous” in her role as Jenny, an eager-to-grow-up 16-year-old in 1960s England who meets a much older man. David (Peter Sarsgaard) introduces her to the world she dreams of inhabiting. He changes her life, but not in the expected way, and not for the expected reasons. PG-13. 95 min. Bijou. (11/19)
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.
Boondock Saints II: All Saints’ Day: The sequel to the cultish 2000 Boondock Saints reunites the vigilante MacManus brothers (Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus); the rest of the cast includes the fantastic Clifton Collins Jr. and reliable Julie Benz (Dexter), but reviews are calling it style over substance. R. VRC Stadium 15.
Box, The: Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly continues to perplex fans with his third film, a thriller about a couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) whose lives seem normal enough — until Frank Langella shows up on their doorstep with a troubling proposition. “If you make a preposterous movie that isn’t boring, I count that as some kind of a triumph,” said Roger Ebert. PG13. Movies 12.
Brothers: Jim Sheridan (In America) directs this story about Grace (Natalie Portman), whose husband Sam (Tobey Maguire) is presumed dead in Iraq. His brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) steps in to help; a connection is made; Sam returns, and things get complicated. R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Christmas Carol, A: Robert Zemeckis turns his 3-D obsessed attention to the classic holiday story. I’m assuming this will have less dick jokes than did Beowulf. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
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)
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. VRC Stadium 15. (12/3)
Fourth Kind, The: People are disappearing from a small town in Alaska; are aliens really to blame? Milla Jovovich keeps appearing in poorly-received thrillers and horror flicks; how do we stop this? PG13. Movies 12.
G-Force: Talking guinea pigs save the world! Or whatever. Is this just an entire film capitalizing on the animation used to create that creepy-eyed creature in the godawful Bedtime Stories? PG. Movies 12.
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. Movies 12. (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. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. See review this issue.
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)
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.
New York, I Love You: Slight, sometimes sweet string of short pieces from a variety of filmmakers shows one side of New York, but doesn’t get very adventurous. Bijou. (11/25)
Old Dogs: Two middle-aged dudes have to — gasp! shock! — handle a pair of twins. Mayhem supposedly results. Listen, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Don’t give these people — the ones who try to spoon-feed you such schlock — your money. They don’t deserve it. Go buy a couple of lattes instead. You might get more giggles from them. PG. Cinemark.
Planet 51: In this animated tale, Dwayne Johnson voices an astronaut who finds, after landing on a strange planet, that not only is he not alone — he’s not normal. He’s the alien to the alien creatures who live there, and who really fear alien invasion. PG. Cinemark.
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. See review this issue.
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.
2012: Roland Emmerich continues his series of films in which the world is destroyed (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) with this disastertastic absurdity starring John Cusack as a dad trying to keep his family together while the word dissolves around them. (This summary entirely based on conjecture from the preview.) Look, it’s just there for the special effects and we all know it, right? Why are you going? PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (11/25)
Up: In the latest film from Pixar, a crotchety old balloon salesman sends his house into the sky (via balloons, of course) to escape from it all — only to find that he has an unwanted stowaway on his porch. The praise is already flowing — and deserved. PG. Movies 12. (6/4)
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.
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